How Does Facebook Engineering Bootcamp Program Work
Facebook has a tradition of doing bootcamps. It's how the business turns new employees with a concentration on coding into Facebookers. It's a combination of cultural indoctrination and a hands-on, do-or-die exposure to the company's enormous codebase.
Everyone in Facebook engineering, regardless of product emphasis, prior training, office location, or seniority, attends bootcamp at the company's Menlo Park headquarters.
The heart of bootcamp is the combination of social and software. It isn't a top-down marathon of meetings with successive layers of management and tedious training films. New recruits are not handled as though they were defenseless children. Everyone is expected to row in the same direction and address issues from the start.
“At its finest, Facebook engineering aspires to shift the needle for a billion people.
While some of today's hires are recent grads who are hesitant to ask questions, much alone offer recommendations for changing features and products for a billion users, others are startup veterans who take pleasure in disrupting the status quo.
“A lot of the individuals we speak with from startups realize they want to have this effect and influence on the product process,” Shaver adds. “However, they are often the most entertaining to watch early on. They attempt to push it as far as they can.”
Facebook's ethos— its “move fast and break stuff” motto — encourages them to push those limits. It's a given that someone, somewhere, will break something in the codebase during bootcamp. And that's OK.
“We'd prefer you go and concentrate on advancing fast while taking some risks… “However, if you damage anything, there are individuals who would assist you in repairing it,” Recordon assures the new Facebook users.
Of course, the fact that everyone in the room is a genius in at least a few ways helps. “It's a really high engineering standard. It's the highest I've seen, and a lot of individuals who are that excellent are used to being the brightest people in the room,” Shaver adds.
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“Bootcamp is a really unique program that is very successful in getting our engineers onboarded very fast and providing them a chance to master our common tools and framework,” she adds over the phone following the day's bootcamp session. “We believe that giving new recruits a very safe method to really do— we believe that learning by doing is the greatest way to learn anything.”
It isn't only new employees who are learning. “An additional advantage we've discovered is that it assists our mentors in developing new teaching and management skills,” she adds.
This is shown by the town of Recordon. He's worked at Facebook for a few years, and although he's still young, bootcamp is providing him a taste of large-scale management.
In a one-on-one conversation, he says, “I love helping other people develop.” “How we expand the business and engineering, and how we think about growing our culture are all important to me.”
He explains us how the bootcamp came to be: Facebook engineering godfather Andrew Bosworth, a.k.a. Boz, instructed Mark Zuckerberg early in the company's existence that for the first six weeks, all new coding employees should report directly to him. The plan was approved by Zuck, and bootcamp was created.
Bootcamps are now held every other week on a regular basis. While the experience helps new recruits get familiar with the codebase and learn how to solve issues and think like a Facebooker, it also provides them and the business a better sense of where that engineer will wind up working — at least for the first year or two.
Another distinguishing feature of Facebook's recruiting process is that engineers are recruited as engineers rather than as members of a particular team.
“You gain exposure to various areas of engineering via code throughout the first four weeks of bootcamp… “Start by determining which of these broad areas you're most interested in, then look at the teams that are currently striving to grow,” Recordon says.
“I haven't heard of too many instances where it doesn't work out,” he says, citing Facebook's really enormous size.
Devs are allowed to take a month off every year and a half to hack about, investigate different teams and products, and consider moving to a new area inside the business.
“If you think about the brightest engineers you know, it's uncommon that they do the same job for three, four, or five years,” adds Recordon. “People want to solve a difficult issue, then tackle another difficult problem.”
Whatever issues they address, they'll do it in the hacker-centric manner that Facebook is known for.
“We expect new employees to do this,” Recordon adds, “to apply our corporate principles to the many circumstances in which they find themselves.” To move quickly, to be open, and to concentrate on impact. It's part of their duty to check whether they're doing that.”
And, in the end, that's what bootcamp is all about:
Brogramming's ascension and fall
It's no secret that the roots of Facebook engineering are typical of Silicon Valley: young, white, and male. Even yet, the company's development team and engineering management are dominated by young, Caucasian males.
However, Facebook, like many of its digital peers, is deliberately and aggressively moving away from that vernacular in favor of something more fair and reflective of its worldwide user base.
“In the first place, we want to encourage more women and other minorities to feel comfortable coming into software,” adds Shaver. “It's critical that we're not just openly inclusive, but also that the atmosphere is welcoming.
“And, to be honest, it doesn't always work. Those are issues that must be addressed.”
Including more women on engineering teams and expanding the pipeline of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) areas in general is one of the more apparent issues to address.
“We have a lot of women in tech positions at Facebook who are very enthusiastic about pushing women to pursue STEM choices,” Gupta adds. That outreach includes the vast majority of our technical women.” Gupta says the business is already involved with a number of organizations and events in the Silicon Valley region, and additional efforts are in the works. “We're putting together some fresh initiatives to really expand our knowledge and awareness,” says the narrator.
At Facebook, the concept of cultural diversity isn't simply something the company's executives aspire to; it's also an active component of the hiring process, according to Shaver. “That's something we look for in a cultural fit when we interview people,” he adds. “Is this new engineer going to bring us closer or farther away from the culture we want to have?”
That cultural ideal spreads to Silicon Valley companies and startups in other sectors, including startups established by former Facebook employees and non-Facebook employees who just admire Zuck's cult.
“We are aware of the fact that we have a distinct culture,” Gupta adds. “We are very proud of our culture, and we adore it. And we love it when individuals leave Facebook to create new businesses and bring a bit of the culture with them.”
Ensuring the quality of life for its workers is a major element of eradicating the last vestiges of brogrammerism. Workweeks of 80 hours and work-hard-play-hard undertones, which are commonplace at many startups, won't fly in a firm with tens of thousands of employees.
“If you're a fresh grad, you're going to run out here,” Shaver adds. “You feel compelled to prove yourself, and this is a pattern. School is “everything”… We've put a lot of effort into it.”
Everyone suffers when an engineer works around the clock doing “all the things,” literally sleeping and eating Facebook seven days a week.
“One of the difficulties, particularly with older individuals, is this requirement for breadth of interest, that raw curiosity,” adds Shaver. And what about a burned-out programmer who spends his days buried in code and never sees the sun? That man isn't inquisitive, and his horizons have narrowed to the point that he can't solve genuine problems.
To fight overworking and burnout, Shaver says he needs to individually talk to individuals about taking their paid time off or, in the case of new parents, the entire four months of leave.
“I'm fairly confident everyone is having fun in aggregate because the work is too hard to perform if you're not having fun,” he concludes.
Nonetheless, Facebook tries to preserve the positive aspects of its original culture. It indoctrinates new members with tales of boisterous young developers causing havoc with everything from crosswalk placement to architecture and interior design. It encourages people to participate in hackathons and all-nighters. It respects free and open-source software, recognizes its worldwide societal effect, opposes unnecessary heirarchy, and celebrates creative innovation.