What It Is Like To Be Itern At Facebook
Facebook offers a slew of amazing features and benefits that small businesses just can't match, and that many other big corporations don't seem to provide either. However, although benefits and facilities are nice to have, they should only have a little influence on your choice to work for one business over another. The quality and effect of the job itself, the business culture, and the degree to which it will help you achieve in your future pursuits should all factor into your choice. With that stated, here is a collection of Facebook's great quirks:
Food is provided for free.
Burger Shacks, Pizza Shacks, Salad Bars, Naan Stops (Indian Food), Sandwich Bars, Smoothie Bars, Mexican Food Trucks, Vietnamese Restaurants, and Halal Food Trucks are just a few examples. There is also a free ice cream store on site, as well as lots of food in the break rooms. The majority of the food is of reasonable quality (all local and organic), but it may be unhealthy at times, and as a consequence, I gained 5-10 pounds! Even though there was a lot of variety, I was still fussy about what I wanted to eat, and the cafeteria cuisine did not appeal to me for some reason. The Naan Stop and the Salad Bar were the two places I went on a regular basis, but I grew bored of eating the same thing all the time. This is probably a lot to ask, but it would have been fantastic if they provided Persian cuisine, like Apple does. Speaking with several vegetarian acquaintances, I got the sense that Facebook might do more to enhance its vegetarian meal choices, although that problem may not be exclusive to Facebook. Make no mistake: I am very grateful that Facebook offers free meals!
Housing for Corporations
For the length of the internship, all interns are provided with housing. Alternatively, they may accept a stipend and arrange their own lodgings instead. I decided to keep my stipend (for which, by the way, Facebook pays the tax!) and live with my parents. Almost all interns opt to reside in corporate housing, which may be found in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and Foster City, among other Bay Area towns. The homes are well-kept and attractive, although their appearance varies greatly depending on their location. The apartment complexes did not seem to have much social activity, based on my observations. I didn't have much energy, and several interns told me they didn't engage with their housemates much. I got the idea that there would be a plethora of parties and get-togethers, but this was not the case. You'll have to work a bit harder to locate those kind of individuals if you're searching for them.
Q&A sessions for interns exclusively
Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also spoke during the occasion. Speaking directly with the speakers and asking them questions in person is not difficult; the interns just queue up to ask questions on a first-come, first-served basis. Some difficult issues were raised, such as how Facebook should balance free speech and hate speech, and how to handle the social anxiety that social media may cause. When it came to these delicate subjects, the executives were understandably protective of the business, deflecting inquiries by outlining the measures the company was doing to resolve the problems. I could see they were reluctant to acknowledge the bad impacts of social media, which came off as dishonest at times.
Internal Public Relations Events
The Internal Real Madrid Event was a highlight for me. The event was organized by the Internal MPK Soccer organization, and the RSVP form was filled up in less than 5 minutes. Everyone on the squad was present, with the exception of Cristiano Ronaldo 🙁 There was still Bale, Isco, Marcelo, and Zinedine Zidane, the legendary manager and former player. There was also an autograph session at the end, and I was able to get all of the players to sign my jersey!
Intern Social Events
SF Giants Game, Santa Cruz Boardwalk Day, Intern Field Day, Save the Bay Day, and Summerfest Carnival are just a few examples. These gatherings were a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and create new friends. We went to the bay for a few hours to pull up weeds and apply mulch on Save the Bay Day, which was a lot of fun. Intern Field Day consisted of many hours spent at an off-site sports facility playing different activities such as soccer, bubble soccer, foosball, ping-pong, and even tricycling! There was so much to accomplish that day, but all I could think about was soccer 😛 Finally, the Summerfest Carnival was a lavish little carnival in the heart of campus where we could play games and slide down inflatable slides. These activities added a lot to my internship experience and allowed me to meet a lot of new individuals.
Bike Rental at No Cost
Every intern has the option of borrowing a free bike, either a road or a hybrid cycle. Furthermore, Facebook offers free bike repairs for any kind of bike repair, but bike components must be purchased separately. After my brother “borrowed” my bike and crashed and damaged it, I brought it in and they fixed everything for me, free of charge!
The Way of Life
Despite its massive influence on the globe (consider its 2 billion active users, which accounts for more than half of all internet users), Facebook is still considered a tiny business, at least in comparison to the other digital behemoths. The company's slogan, “move fast and break things,” accurately reflects the company's ethos, allowing it to function more like a big startup than a major corporation. This argument is supported by three reasons in particular.
To begin with, the teams are very tiny. The team I worked with, which is responsible for maintaining Apache Zookeeper, is regarded an essential backbone of Facebook infrastructure; it used to be fewer than 5 people, but now it has grown to a whopping 10 or so full-time workers. Surprisingly, there were 5 more interns on the team (including me), resulting in a 1:2 intern-to-employee ratio. This isn't simply a tendency in my team; it's a trend across the business. The high number of interns suggests to me, based on observation and conjecture, that Facebook intends to significantly expand its staff, and that it intends to do so by offering full-time positions to the interns.
The ownership that Facebook offers interns is the next feature that makes it function like a business. I didn't anticipate to be working on such a big project or have such an effect when I first came to Facebook. I also didn't anticipate having much control over my project or the ability to establish my own design objectives. It took me some time to understand this, and it was difficult to take it for granted at the time, but in the end, it made working at Facebook a really rewarding experience. Ownership, with all of its benefits, is not without its drawbacks. You're always aware of the weight of duty bearing down on your shoulders. The ultimate test comes in the last few weeks, when you must thoroughly test your work before shipping it into production.
Finally, interns are expected to be very self-sufficient. Having a lot of queries for your boss is seen as a flaw. Instead, you must be able to make good decisions on your own and deal with ambiguity. You're encouraged to create code quickly and expect to make a lot of little modifications down the line. I first struggled with this since I had come from a school environment where I was encouraged to prepare ahead of time and ask questions. The adjustment from education to employment was difficult, but in the end, I found the experience to be very beneficial.
Final Thoughts and Lessons Learned
I had no experience working in industry and, apart from my research project, no experience with large-scale software engineering projects before I joined Facebook. I learnt several important things during my brief 12 weeks at Facebook: