At Facebook, data helps us understand Facebook’s products and growth, identify new opportunities, and execute ideas at a global scale. Our data scientists enable us to make smarter, more informed decisions and develop better products that maximize our impact and help us bring the world closer together.
Meet Meytal S., a data scientist in our Tel Aviv office who is working to bring Facebook Lite, a version of the Facebook app designed for low speed connections and low spec phones, to more people around the world. The Facebook Lite team helps build community and connect more people around the world, especially in regions with less internet connectivity. We spoke to Meytal about what it's like to be a data scientist at Facebook, how she’s able to make a global impact with her work, and what makes working in data science at Facebook unique.
What led you to the Data Science team at Facebook?
Before I joined Facebook, I was a senior data analyst at a startup. While I was on maternity leave, a recruiter from Facebook reached out to me about a data scientist role. It felt like the timing was right for me to make a change and explore something new.
Now, I’m a data scientist working to bring Facebook Lite on iOS to more countries around the world. Facebook Lite uses a lower amount of bandwidth and consumes less battery power so people in regions with slower internet speeds and phones with less specifications can stay connected with friends and loved ones on Facebook.
What does being a data scientist at Facebook mean?
As a data scientist at Facebook, you become an expert in your respective domain. While I have a manager who is a data scientist and other colleagues who are data scientists with whom I share ideas and advice, I mainly collaborate with engineers, product managers, product designers, and other cross-functional teams. It truly feels like being a part of a team, where we’re learning from one another and everyone is working toward a common purpose. Together, we’re making an impact by bringing the world closer together. We’ve launched Facebook Lite in 13 countries so far.
How has being at Facebook changed how you work as a data scientist?
Not only are we working at a very large scale with a lot of data, but there are also a lot of different stakeholders. This is unlike other places where I’ve worked as a data scientist. As a result, Facebook has allowed me to really improve my communication skills. Because there is so much data and information to analyze, we have to be very clear and concise when we communicate and present our findings and recommendations. I've also improved my analysis and statistical skills, and I credit this to my talented colleagues who I've been able to learn so much from since I've been at Facebook.
What makes working in data science at Facebook different compared to other places?
Being a data scientist at Facebook gives you an opportunity to work at a global company, which means you have many opportunities to work on different projects and grow your skill set. More importantly, you get to do work that positively affects millions of people around the world—and that’s not something you’ll find at most places of work.
I was recently part of a UX research trip to Manila, where I had the chance to meet people who use Facebook Lite. At other companies, it’s not common for data scientists to go on these research trips. It was an eye-opening experience for me because I was able to better understand how the app is used. As a result, I can make stronger product recommendations based on my data analysis.
We also have a strong sense of ownership of the projects we work on at Facebook. Even as a data scientist, I build my own product roadmap. I’m considered to be in a decision-making role, which makes me feel very valuable and involved.
How would you describe the culture at Facebook?
Before I accepted the job at Facebook, I had concerns that I might be joining a large, corporate company where I wouldn’t be able to make a real impact. I quickly found that I was wrong. I have ownership of my work, I get to collaborate with cross-functional units, and I’m able to make a real, global impact.
The culture at Facebook allows you to have an open dialogue and learn from knowledgeable and passionate teammates. Team members have diverse experiences, so there are always opportunities for mentoring, coaching, and learning. I’m constantly inspired by my colleagues and the work we do together every day.