Facebook – Final

Posted on 25th August 2014

This post is really late but will contain a couple of reflections on my time at Facebook.

#1 – Go work there. Seriously, it’s an amazing place to be full of people at the top of their field.

Facebook has perks in the top of the tech hierarchy and the salary is amazing.  However, beyond that is the chance to really learn from others. As much as I struggled with some things there, I gained a huge amount from those around me.

#2 – Find out if you want to be a software engineer.

Facebook is a really great place to be a great engineer. It doesn’t seem quite as good if you come in wanting to be involved in research-y stuff, but it’s really available to do on the side. If you want to be a software engineer, Facebook is a good place to make sure of that. If you don’t end up liking it there, chances are you won’t like it anywhere. I found that I wasn’t ready quite yet to be doing software development full time. Lucky I’ve started my PhD.

#3 – Cultural fit is really important.

I found it somewhat hard coming in to my team with no prior internships and no prior work in a formal setting. My team was pretty good at helping me settle in but there were definitely teething problems. It took me more than a little time to find my feet and fit in, and this definitely had an effect on my motivation. I’m not sure if ‘cultural fit’ is something you either have or you don’t. I definitely found my place much later in my internship, and perhaps late enough that it had an impact on the hiring decision of my manager  (I wasn’t going to be returning immediately).

#4 – Get involved.

What made the difference between my time at Facebook being miserable and my time being enjoyable on the whole was the level to which I took advantage of opportunities offered. In this case it was going to all the speakers on offer and most importantly, spending lunchtimes with the Vocal Network. Without making good friends, you’ll find it hard to achieve your goals work wise.

#5 – Accept failure and learn from it.

A workplace like Facebook is very intense. Getting an internship there in the first place is really difficult. Converting into a full-time or returning intern, even moreso. Be prepared for things not to work out as you would’ve liked. Sometime’s it’s for the better, sometimes you just lucked out. Maybe you and your manager just didn’t get along, or maybe you ran into too many difficulties with your project. Either way, use it as a learning experience on how you can improve yourself to overcome such hitches on the next run.

Overall my time at Facebook could best be described as worthwhile. Not always enjoyable. Sometimes hard enough to make me want to give up. However, the experiences, education and people I met there will stay with me for far longer than the three months I was there.

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