May 13 2024
Trying new things helped this anime fan, DIYer and manager grow
By Meta Careers
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When you hear about all the lives Anita Z., software engineer manager, has touched — from her teams to her communities — it makes sense that she describes herself as “hands-on.” But she wasn’t always this way.

Finding her voice

“I was a very shy kid who never raised my hand in class,” Anita shares. “My high school English teacher, Ms. Wong, an Asian woman like me, helped change that. She gave us projects that were more creative than those of a typical English class, like building storyboards. She told me that she used to be shy, but learned she needed to speak up for herself if she wanted something. Her story stuck with me, and it’s the reason I pushed myself to grow.”

After that, Anita not only spoke up when she had an idea or dream, but she turned each moment into an opportunity to learn and connect. “During undergrad, I was interested in being part of a backstage crew for events, so I joined a student organization called AB Tech. Stage management taught me the value of planning, community and leadership.”

When Anita joined Meta after completing her undergraduate degree, she discovered the more new things she tried, the more skills she developed. “At Meta, I’ve had an unmatched opportunity to choose projects and decide how to do them. I thought my role would be writing code, but I learned about the huge web of technologies that Meta offers and how everything is connected.”

“I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have the freedom to challenge myself at Meta.”

Excitement about trying new things has become part of who Anita is. In 2017, she began volunteering at FanimeCon, a multi-day, fan-run anime convention in San Jose, CA. Anita helps run a cafe at the event where she and other volunteers dress up, serve patrons and grow their social skills. “It’s like running a successful restaurant for three days. Supporting the cafe helped me build up the skills that make me a better manager.”

Bridging open source and infrastructure for Meta

While Anita never expected to be a manager, she supports the teams that connect open source systems technology to the production infrastructure at Meta: the Linux Userspace and OpenBMC Compute/Storage teams. “My teammates find it rewarding to see their work in places beyond Meta,” she explains. “Engineers who enjoy low-level systems — from the kernel to the infrastructure application space — thrive in this space.”

“People use open source projects everywhere — from running Linux on their desktops to companies on their servers. The impact is expansive.”

The Linux Userspace team collaborates on open source systems projects, such as system and CentOS, to innovate on the Linux ecosystem. “We’re shaping the future of Linux operating systems in the industry and helping define the building blocks that the infrastructure at Meta is built on,” Anita explains proudly. “We work closely with the Linux kernel teams at Meta to integrate the latest developments in host-level systems into open source projects. The Linux Userspace team is best positioned to understand the problems that infrastructure teams are facing and discover solutions that benefit both Meta and the Linux community.”

Anita chatting with one of her direct reports outside, at the Meta campus.

The OpenBMC Compute/Storage team is helping shape baseboard management controllers (BMCs) in the open source community, bringing up new platforms in the production fleet. “We’re in the process of onboarding our first platform to Linux Foundation (LF) OpenBMC, an open source distribution for BMCs,” shares Anita. “This is a major shift that will ease the engineering resources needed to onboard each new platform. It requires working closely with both LF OpenBMC to implement missing features and infrastructure teams at Meta to integrate new tooling for LF OpenBMC — such as a new service we created to proxy BMC requests in production and ease migration.”

Growing as a leader

A manager, Anita knows the value of a more personal approach. “I work in the Menlo Park office because I love meeting people face to face,” she shares. “Most teams are distributed, so I have weekly one-on-ones with all the engineers. I also meet regularly with different partner teams to ensure our projects are aligned. I continue to do some engineering work, because I still like to be involved.”

“I carry over what I learn from my hobbies outside of work into management at Meta — from coordinating and planning experience to the soft skills I build.”

Whether at Meta or outside of work, this balance captures Anita perfectly. She loves helping others while also making her own imprint — including when tackling DIY projects at home. “I love working on my house,” she smiles. “Every project calls for something different — a creative eye, unexpected hurdles and the opportunity to add your personal touch. In this way, supporting projects and people is similar: a thoughtful approach makes all the difference.”

Stay connected.

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