Apr 26 2023

Production engineering internship Q&A

By Meta Careers
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Discover production engineering (DPE) is an immersive 12-month development program designed to help people with non-traditional backgrounds develop both software and systems engineering skills. The program starts out with a five-week engineering bootcamp where participants learn engineering fundamentals. From there, participants gain hands-on experience with constant support from their manager, a mentor and a DPE program alumni. Participants gain meaningful experience and have the opportunity to be considered for a full-time position. Hear from program alumni Owen M. and his experience in the DPE program:

What did you enjoy the most about your internship?

It’s pretty hard to pick just one thing, but it would probably be the extent to which I was looked after and provided for. It’s amazing how much clearer you can think, and how much more you can get done, when you don’t have to worry about the little things like: “How am I going to find an apartment?”, “What am I going to eat today?” or “What am I going to do for fun this week?”, because that’s all being provided by the company you work for. I really like the fact that Meta makes sure there’s nothing stopping you from achieving your goals during your internship – it’s the ultimate test to see what you’re really capable of when there’s no obstacles in your way.

What made you choose production engineering?

I’ve always had an interest in working on big problems that require clever solutions. I love gathering huge amounts of data from complex systems and analyzing it, visualizing it, sharing it with others to get their opinion on it, and then finally using that information to make informed decisions about how I can improve the situation. This sort of workflow means that there’s always a wealth of very different tasks to be done every day.
So, production engineering seemed like the obvious role for me because it’s all about ensuring big websites like Facebook can provide the best experience possible, to as many people as possible, while using as little resources as possible. And since that’s such an open-ended goal, it’s bound to result in any number of important projects that would interest me specifically.

What about Meta has most impressed you?

The people who work here have been really great. Everyone’s always really passionate about the stuff they’re working on, and eager to help you out. When I’m at my desk there’s at least 3-4 people nearby that I can ask for advice on the really specific, technical internals of whatever I’m focusing on at that moment. And since everyone’s so connected, it’s really easy to find someone in Menlo Park, London or Tel Aviv to answer the really niche questions I have.

What was the impact you're most proud of to have contributed to during your internship?

My primary intern project was visualizing network health on a global level. This involved gathering a lot of data about how fast Facebook loads for people around the world, analyzing that data, and visualizing it on an interactive world map so engineers can quickly figure out where improvements can be made. I’m particularly proud of the impact I made with this project because of the autonomy I had while I was working on it. I made my own decisions about what technologies I used, how I organized the frontend, and how I deployed it. And even after I had fulfilled the initial specification of the project, I was free to explore all the extra ideas I had to improve upon it, which meant I really ended up leaving my own personal mark on the team.

What was the best event you went to during your internship?

We hosted a Summerfest in the Dublin office and that was a lot of fun. A bunch of university students came in to get a taste of what life is like here at Meta and we had games and food and all that good stuff. Plus, I got to give a talk on stage about what I was working on and what it’s like to be a production engineer intern. Which was kind of outside my comfort zone but in the end I was really glad I had the opportunity to share with people.

Which Meta value resonated most within your intern team?

Focusing on impact and being bold were definitely big priorities for my team, but moving fast was the Meta value that left the biggest impression on me. At Meta, moving fast means that you don’t need to wait around for the ideal time to release something you’ve been working on, and you don’t need approval from a bunch of people to start working on something new. So pretty much every day I’d come into work thinking: “I can’t wait to get started on that new feature!”, or “I wonder if my new monitoring service caught any interesting issues last night?”
I was used to really taking my time with my work and sweating all the little details, and worrying about how things might go wrong. So, it took some time getting acclimatized to the freedom and responsibility that moving fast entails, but in the end I found it really refreshing. It afforded me the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of interesting projects throughout the course of my internship, and it meant every day was packed with a bunch of new challenges to solve.

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