Mar 27 2023

People first: bringing empathy to engineering

By Meta Careers
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“You know that light bulb moment when you solve a problem or get something right?” Ben B., a software engineer, asks with a smile. “That feeling is why I love coding so much. I feel so inspired by trial and error, making mistakes and learning from them.”

This glimpse into Ben’s mindset sheds light on how he charted his path in tech, which he found through — as he puts it — “many twists and turns.”
Ben’s journey began at Indiana University, where he decided to study informatics to cast a wide net for his future career. During that time, he had the opportunity to interview for a software engineering role, and though Ben had little coding experience, he seized the moment. “I had three weeks to prepare, so I picked up a Java textbook and got reading,” he laughs. “I totally failed the interview, but it sparked my interest in coding and led me to pursue a minor in computer science and eventually, my career in tech.”
Following graduation, Ben moved to Seattle for an engineering role focused on enterprise products. After five years, though, he realized he wanted to build products that people use every day. Around that time, a recruiter at Meta reached out with an opportunity — but a serious bike crash sidelined Ben for months.
“I worried the window with Meta would close while I recovered from the crash, but the recruiter was super compassionate and encouraged me to pick up the interview process where we left off,” he shares. “The empathy I experienced from recruiting at Meta was special, and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to join the team — it was the right intersection of people and technology.”
=Ben stands in front of a blue background.
Ben realized early in his career that he wanted to build products that people use every day.
This life event reaffirmed how important community is to Ben and that he wants to support products that help other people build communities. That’s why, when Ben joined Meta, he intentionally chose an engineering role that would challenge him to develop more technical skills. “While being a program manager would embrace my existing people skills, the PMs I look up to most understand the technical side and how to empower people. I wanted to bring both worlds together so I could explore that path down the road.”
Today, Ben is part of the identity pillar of the Avatars and Identity team, working on third-party avatars solutions. He gets satisfaction knowing his projects impact his friends and family, and he often draws inspiration from his fiancée, an executive function coach who uses technology to empower people with disabilities. “My fiancée and I talk about how building technology requires diverse perspectives, and I love bringing my conversations from home to my team at Meta,” he says. authentic.”
This people-centric perspective touches every community Ben is part of at Meta — from helping team members thrive as an intern manager and bootcamp mentor to supporting candidates as a Meta ambassador. Looking ahead, he is focused on more opportunities to guide others.
“I want to set others up for success, whether it’s stepping up as a tech lead on projects or working cross-functionally,” Ben shares. “Being a great people manager isn’t about telling someone what to do, but understanding where they come from, supporting them through challenges and helping them find opportunities to grow.”
The key to navigating these ups and downs, Ben believes, is helping people feel optimistic about their lives. “Things change so quickly, but embracing the shift often leads to opportunity” he offers. “Sticking to one thing and resisting change doesn’t work — it slows people down and can make you feel unhappy. Whether you’re navigating a bug, outage or challenging project, your optimism will be contagious.”

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