Dec 05 2019

Facebook’s Top 12 Career Stories from Engineers in 2019

By Meta Careers
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The end of the year is a time to look back at some of our brightest highlights, biggest milestones, and key learnings. As we look ahead to the new year, we’re reflecting on the moments that remind us how far teams at the Facebook company, including Instagram and WhatsApp, have come in bringing people closer together.
Here’s a recap of some of our favorite 2019 stories from team members who work tirelessly to connect people and businesses with each other and opportunity around the globe. Learn how they’ve solved complex challenges, what they’re most proud of, and why their work is so meaningful.
="Four Facebook employees sit on couches with their laptops"

1. Building for over a billion people around the globe

“With over one billion users around the world, WhatsApp often serves as a lifeline for people to stay connected to their loved ones—no matter where they are in the world. So what makes this app so critical for people across continents? The key is WhatsApp’s laser-focus on creating an app that is simple, reliable, and secure for everyone.”

2. Sharing solutions that go beyond the walls of the Facebook company

“We have a strong engineering culture at Facebook, and there’s always more to learn from a team or the larger organization. There’s no strict code ownership, which increases our productivity. If you want to fix a bug, you don’t need to go through 20 layers of sign-offs. This flexibility is refreshing and it allows us to focus on the work we enjoy and provide for others. We only open source projects that we use in production and believe are useful for the industry. It’s exciting to be part of a team who solves interesting problems and shares our solutions with a community around the world.”
="Four Facebook employees drawings ideas on a whiteboard"

3. Working on products that put people first

“I’ve been an engineer for more than 20 years, and my current team is one of the strongest I’ve ever been a part of. We have an infrastructure that I haven't seen before, along with a rigorous testing process. We put people first, and we don’t release new features until they’re fully ready. When we do release a new feature, a quarter of the world's population has it within days. This makes me really proud.”

4. Building a community that feels safe and kind

“Instagram is home to some of the most critical work we’re doing right now as a company. We have teams here who are working tirelessly to ensure the Instagram community remains the safest, most welcoming, and kindest community for the one billion people who use it. After all, if people don’t feel safe on the platform, they won’t feel confident expressing themselves.”
="A lobby area and stairwell inside a Facebook office"

5. Being part of a ‘bottom up’ culture that empowers you to own your decisions

“One of the reasons I’ve stayed with [the Facebook company] for almost seven years is because of our ‘bottom up’ culture. As an engineering manager, and even when I was an engineer, I’ve always felt fully accountable for the strategy and roadmap of my team—not just the execution. I’ve had many conversations with leaders across the industry outside of Facebook, and I’ve discovered that in some other places you don’t have the same amount of influence on product strategy. Instead, it’s top down from the management team or from an external product management team. At Facebook, we have strong collaboration between product managers, engineers, product designers, data scientists and a lot of other roles. When we say the word ‘team,’ we don’t just mean engineers—we mean all the people who are accountable for making the Facebook Lite app better. And all these people are sitting together on the same floor, working shoulder to shoulder, to accomplish our goals.”

6. Immersing ourselves in culture to shape the future

“I’ve never been part of a company where people care so much about the people who use the product. More than 1.5 billion people across 180+ countries use WhatsApp. Our research team regularly takes development team members on research trips to places like Brazil, India, and the UK. We recently took our leadership to the rural and urban areas outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet with people from all walks of life—from those who are new to the internet to WhatsApp power users. Because we immerse ourselves in cultures around the world, our team is helping shape the product and future experiences.”
="Five Facebook employees sit outside on a wood patio"

7. Working with a passionate team of people from different backgrounds

“One misconception is that we only recruit people from big tech companies. While those people may have relevant experience, we’re also looking for people with diverse backgrounds who can bring unique perspectives and help us build well-rounded solutions. For example, in the Bay Area, we often recruit from healthcare companies. In London and New York, many leadership candidates have come from finance. We believe in the power of diverse ideas. What we look for when interviewing people for engineering leadership roles is that they either have interest in or experience in being an organization leader and that they have a passion for growing and supporting people within an organization.” - Nam N., Head of Engineering, Instagram

8. Innovating to make the platform safer for people around the world

“Last year, I decided I wanted to explore new ways to make WhatsApp safer for people. I was able to demonstrate a need and was given the opportunity to build a team around my idea. I relocated to London and now manage a team of people. We work with machine learning scientists, data scientists, and user experience researchers to detect abuse on WhatsApp and facilitate a safe experience for everyone. I come to work feeling proud because of the care we have for the billions of people around the world who use our platform. We believe you don’t need thousands of people to make something happen. You need a group of people who care deeply about a problem and will put their very best effort into solving it.”

9. Developing tools that are poised to change the way people connect

“When I first joined [the Facebook company], I was excited to switch gears from enterprise to consumer-facing products. However, when the opportunity to work on Workplace—Facebook’s first enterprise solution—came along, I couldn’t pass it up. The work we do doesn’t feel like traditional enterprise because we’re using Facebook’s approach to consumer products to build tools that help teams of all types and sizes stay connected. With Workplace, our goal is to help transform the work life of more than a billion people around the globe. It’s rare to have the opportunity to build something from scratch that has the potential to fundamentally change the way people interact with one another.”
="An indoor hallway at a Facebook office"

10. Giving people access to content that is meaningful and relevant

“Machine learning plays a pivotal role across Facebook because it enables multimodal content understanding. I lead a team of engineers that uses machine learning to proactively detect and remove policy-violating content across all of Facebook’s apps. Often times, when you visit other websites, you’ll notice ads of extremely low quality. This includes sensationalized headlines or adverts for things like weight loss pills. These websites are helping advertisers monetize at the cost of their users. With machine learning, we’re able to address this on Facebook to make sure we’re giving people high-quality content relevant to them.”

11. Seeing the real impact of our work

“On a trip to India, I realized how deeply WhatsApp is integrated into everyday life. It’s one of the few apps that works seamlessly, everywhere. People use it for everything, from contacting a small business with questions to suggesting a song to local radio stations. Seeing the real impact of our work has inspired me to take my job as a product designer at WhatsApp very personally. It’s easy to dismiss the design aspect of the app because it’s such a simple interface, but that’s actually the beauty of it.”

12. Embracing authenticity and building community

“When people talk about ‘having it all’ it creates a lot of pressure for perfection. I think the most important thing is being able to talk honestly and openly about what you’re struggling with. That’s why it’s so important to have support, in whatever shape that looks like for you—a neighbor, friend, parent, or a whole bench of babysitters and nannies. I love being part of SuperMoms@ Facebook and the external Facebook group I started, @MomLife, where it’s all about real talk. It helps me stay calm and feel heard. It’s like having cheerleaders on a bad day! I encourage everyone to find their own community and support network.”
="Eva Chen being interviewed while sitting at a high table"
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