From Ethiopian Village to Google: Natnael Belay’s Journey to Becoming a Tech Innovator

Natnael Belay, originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has made an exceptional journey to become a leading Technology Program Manager at Google in Cambridge, MA. His early life in Ethiopia, marked by a deep curiosity and passion for learning, set the foundation for his future successes. Belay, a self-described “nerd” in his school days, was deeply fascinated by astronomy and physics, often utilizing his mother’s workplace resources to quench his thirst for knowledge.

After moving to the United States for higher education, Belay excelled at Eastern Connecticut State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA in Computer Science and Business Information Systems. He was actively involved on campus, contributing as a Mathematics tutor, mentor, and resident hall assistant, and earning numerous accolades for his academic and leadership skills.

Belay’s career trajectory rapidly ascended post-graduation, starting with a role as a program manager at PTC, Inc., where he demonstrated exceptional skills in program management and technical expertise. His journey led him to Google, where he currently serves as the lead Technical Program Manager for the Android Jetpack program. In this role, Belay oversees the development of over 200 Android Jetpack libraries, vital to both internal Google teams and millions of external developers.

Belay’s impact extends beyond his technical contributions. As a Black professional in a predominantly white industry, he is a trailblazer, participating in forums and podcasts to advocate for organizational efficiency and inclusivity. Leveraging his native Amharic language skills, he has also enhanced Google’s Text to Speech technology, making it more accurate and inclusive.

Dedicated to inspiring the next generation, Belay shares his knowledge and experience as a guest speaker, offering guidance and mentorship to aspiring professionals and entrepreneurs. His story is a testament to the power of determination, intellectual curiosity, and the importance of nurturing talent from all backgrounds.