Mar 20 2023

Growth over ease: choosing the career that inspires you

By Meta Careers
Share icon
Facebook share icon
Facebook share dark icon
Whatsapp share icon
Whatsapp share icon
Twitter share icon
Twitter share dark icon
Close icon
Michael K., a machine learning engineer, has never lived his life based on “should.” Raised between Moscow and London, he describes himself as a book lover and right-brain thinker — and also happens to be a retired professional basketball player. Despite needing to build new skills and start over throughout his career, Michael prefers to pursue the path where he can learn and grow, instead of staying comfortable.
According to Michael, his basketball career started “late” at age 12. While many kids in Moscow begin playing as young as 6, Michael spent his early childhood transported by stories and movies. “By the time I became interested in sports, I was behind my peers, learning the basics while they were already competing,” he remembers. “Basketball didn’t come naturally to me, but I was able to reach the next level by putting in extra work off the court.”
That early lesson in perseverance led Michael to play pro ball on teams in Russia and France for years. As he traveled from country to country — 51 to be exact — he discovered new communities and ideas for what the future could hold. “Traveling the world helps you keep your mind open, be less judgmental and appreciate a wide range of things,” he says.
"Michael sits outdoors against a wall holding a basketball."
Michael has made many pivots in his life: on the basketball court, in finance and now at Instagram.
When Michael was ready to hang up his jersey, he entered the world of finance — a new chapter that brought him to the US to pursue his MBA at the University of Michigan. After two years in the investment banking and buy-side industries, Michael wanted a change and felt called to New York City. “I thought, ‘If I’m going to change locations, I should explore new roles and industries, too,’” he shares. “Machine learning was taking off at the time, and I wanted to be part of it.”
Reinventing his career again, Michael joined the tech industry as a data scientist. While he knew enough math to pass the interviews, the rest he learned on the job — including a realization: He didn’t want to be a programmer. “I’m not driven by a love for code,” he explains. “I’m passionate about the human element of engineering, listening to people and finding common ground. I knew I needed to find a role where I could bring my business knowledge and technical skills together.”
“I knew I needed to find a role where I could bring my business knowledge and technical skills together.”
Seeking that balance led Michael to Meta. “The people here appreciate my creative, right-brain thinking in addition to my technical abilities,” he says. “Together, we get to build a brighter future for a community of billions of people around the world. The opportunity to make a long-term impact at this global scale is only possible at Meta.”
Michael joined the Instagram well-being team where he collaborates closely with user researchers and policy teams. No stranger to being a team player, Michael and his cross-functional partners develop safety guidelines and build automated machine learning solutions that decide which posts can be on the platform. “We provide a safe user experience to everyone using Instagram while still empowering the voices of creators,” he shares. “We always want to find the balance between engagement, inclusivity and safety.”
“We always want to find the balance between engagement, inclusivity and safety.”
Michael is especially proud of delivering SCC (sensitive content control), a feature that allows people using Instagram to choose what level of sensitivity they want to see on the app. His team recognized that people had different preferences around content and wanted to provide equally diverse choices when it comes to their experiences. “Empowering the people using Instagram, especially younger generations, to protect themselves is the most motivating and rewarding part of the job,” he beams.
Reflecting on his career, Michael offers a piece of advice for others who want to make a transition. “Learn the value of focusing on your goals early on,” he says. “Stay open to new information and filter out anything that won’t help you. When you combine focus and an open mind, the world will open up in front of you.”

Stay connected.

Meta is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, reproductive health decisions, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, genetic information, political views or activity, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. You may view our Equal Employment Opportunity notice here. We also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local law. We may use your information to maintain the safety and security of Meta, its employees, and others as required or permitted by law. You may view Meta Pay Transparency Policy, Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law notice, and Notice to Applicants for Employment and Employees by clicking on their corresponding links. Additionally, Meta participates in the E-Verify program in certain locations, as required by law.

Meta is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at
Let us know you're interested.
Share your resume or LinkedIn profile with our recruiting team and create personalized job alerts.