Engineering Manager @ Meta - Ask Me Anything

There are many people here with different expertise level. Some might have questions about engineering at Meta / Facebook and I am happy to answer some of those.

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Welcome to fCC!

Can you share a few details about your role @Meta, what part of the company you are working in, how long you’ve been working for Meta? Thanks!

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I am working in Infra / Product which is building internal systems spanning across all products or as we call them Family Of Apps (FB, IG, WA, RL, AI, Oculus, etc). I am leading 3 cross-functional teams and have been with the company for close to 3 years now.

In terms of tech we work with all available technologies/languages - HackPHP, Python, React JS (not much), C++. And we partner with teams mainly in US/EMEA.

I am supporting engineers and manager of different level from IC3 - IC7 and some M1s.

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One hot topic was and still is for sure the tech layoffs of 2023. This and AI have changed and are changing the landscape.

What would you recommend aspiring developers and engineers coming into the field today if they want to get hired? In terms of knowledge they bring, the quality of the portfolio work they show.

Also what lands an application instantly on the reject pile for you?

Again thanks for offering your insights. This is the first time I see someone from big tech on here.

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On the topic of the layoffs I would say we are back to some normality, this is my personal assessment as an employee. Things have stabilized and I don’t expect to have such mass layoff events in 2024 but still things are recovering slowly. That said Meta is a global business and there are small pockets where projects will be dropped and teams will be disbanded but that is normal part of operating any business at that scale, i.e. +80k employees.

Regarding AI, my take is it’s the new hype. Definitely has opportunity to transform how we work, live and do business or even create art but there are many other areas that still require specialists and people. I mean Gen AI requires many other roles from Product and Infra that are still relevant and in use today. So if your career path is not tightly oriented towards AI / ML don’t worry there still will be plenty of opportunities to make a good living. If a person is later in their career I would say read, learn, experiment, stay up to date with relevant developments. If you can do that as part of your day-to-day work that’s best of both worlds, learning by doing and by solving real world problems.

I think that last sentence is a message to everyone we want people that are not just good but great Problem Solvers. The specific language you know or set of tech is relevant up to a specific point. I’ve had engineers on my teams that knew and have used 6-7 languages, at that point any new language is trivial to learn but the problem solving skills, learning how to navigate conflict, prioritize, escalate issues, unblock yourself and deliver Business Solution (emphasis on Business here) though Technology is what big tech is looking for.

I have seen engineers that have learned many things in their previous jobs so when they come to Meta for example they have to un-learn all of those bad habits. Here from IC4 level we expect you to drive things, you are a TL of your responsibilities and problem area. The higher up you go all that is changing is the size of the problems and the size of the responsibilities, but we still expect you to be the TL of that space. I have seen people that come from smaller companies and they expect the PM to give them the tickets/tasks or someone to tell them what to do. Or when their manager tell them this is what you should do they don’t challenge them. The culture that I personally build is one of trust and empowerment where anyone can challenge my assumptions obviously in a constructive way. This way I scale myself through the expertise of my team and their years of experience. That has a price as well, with empowerment comes responsibility :slight_smile:

In terms of resumes, we have very well established system and hiring process. There are multiple levels of reviews before a candidate reach to a hiring manager. Each level IC3/4/5/6 etc has specific requirements in terms of years of experience, previous roles held - titles are not always important as they get inflated in smaller companies or for example in banks everyone is a VP which obviously means something else in Big Tech.

General advice, if you want to apply to FAANG company look for a referral that increases your chance to be shortlisted through you still need to go through the standard process and reviewed. Overall I would say it’s standardized and fair process.

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Some important takeaways for the students here:

With all the layoffs, is it still worth learning?

Though you can’t predict the future, optimism coming from a Meta engineering manager that you have shown might help some here with their motivation.

In this context: Remember you don’t need to aim for big or even small tech, almost all industries need developers.

Will AI take my job?

I love and work with AI, but there is hype for sure. Current AIs are still limited in their scope. Give them a small task and they excel, give them a large code base and AIs will still lose track and start to talk nonsense.

That said AI will become better fast and is here to stay, so you need at least learn how to write decent prompts. I’m also convinced that there’ll be less front-end work in regards of building with HTML/CSS, this will all be just a prompt soon.

Do I have to memorize code?

The fact that you have to re-train some developers starting at Meta shows: You don’t. You might be working with a completely different language in your new job.

Learn the fundamentals of your first computer language: The new one might do the same things in another syntax. Syntax can be looked up in a minute.

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When it comes to working as a software engineer especially at a fast paced company like Meta, one would face a lot of pressure and stress to perform in such environment

I’d like to know:

  • what steps can one take to reduce stress and perform
  • understanding a codebase you are new to and have to contribute at (I have struggled a lot here)
  • how can we build experience that employers consider valuable considering the current situation where landing a job is so difficult. (perhaps open source or freelancing?)

Thank you in advance for your advice and helping people out here. You are awesome!