Facebook Software Engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

Facebook Software Engineer Reviews

Updated December 15, 2017
518 reviews

Filter

Filter

Software Engineer

4.6
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO

Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
Cons
  • Work-life balance can be an issue (in 217 reviews)

  • Work-life balance: pressure to move fast (in 58 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (436)

    "Open, fast, no bs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Facebook full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It might be easy to roll your eyes when people from Facebook say how open their culture is, but it's true; it's more open than any other place I've worked at. At a company wide-level, secret projects, public incidents, important non-public business metrics and the like are all openly discussed. You can ask questions about them directly to Zuckerburg at the weekly Q&A. I think the idea is that if everyone is on the same page or at least, differing views are heard, the company will be stronger, and solutions may be offered from a place you didn't expect. This is much different from previous companies I worked at, where discussions on internal email lists would be shut down by some lawyer saying that there's certain things that can't be discussed, and important data is divided up to groups and individuals on a "need to know" basis, etc.

    This culture applies at a lower level too. You feel comfortable giving feedback to each other about each other, about product decisions, about management, etc. The flipside of this openness is that you of course, have to be willing to receive the feedback, you have to recognize that while openness and feedback is highly encouraged, decisions have to get made, and actions and data are more valuable than words. At the higher level, since the company trusts employees with access to so much information, keeping such info confidential from the outside world is taken seriously.

    It's a great place to work as an engineer. You're given a lot of freedom, but it's also a responsibility to make sure you're doing things that are valuable. You don't get much credit for working hard or being smart if you don't produce valuable output.

    One cool thing about Facebook, in contrast to other comparable companies (Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, though in truth, FB is much smaller), is how they have a pretty singular focus. Even with the differing areas (including advertising and such), they do a good job of keeping their eye on their mission of connecting as many people as possible. I also think they are way more empathetic to their users than most people give them credit for. It seems like popular opinion has it that FB is arrogant and only cares about its users insomuch as they represent $-signs. From within the company, it didn't feel this way at all. I saw a lot of empathy towards users, and a lot effort spent to improve or things or fix broken things with no direct financial benefit. The strategy is not complex. The thinking is that if they can make FB easier and more fun to use, then more people will use it for more time each day (which will also have a network effect of attracting even more people to use it), then the advertising dollars will follow. Of course, it is true that FB wants to make the audience more accessible to advertisers as well, but there are a lot of people at FB who care about privacy and security.

    They have really good infrastructure and really great ways to share the infrastructure and code. They have a lot of cool internal tools, and what they've built is really impressive, and more importantly, it helps your team build products faster without having to solve problems that someone else already solved. Every software company tries to do this, but FB seems to have been more successful with it. Perhaps it's because they're still relatively small, but if anything, I can at least say it is very cool while it lasts.

    The perks and work environment are great, unless you're one of those types that can't stand open office spaces. I've worked in both a private office and open offices in multiple companies. While I do think a private office has some benefits, I mostly think it's a personal luxury for the employee and a huge waste of money for the company. I'd much rather have the money go into other areas like salary, benefits, and other workplace improvements rather than the added real estate necessary to have offices.

    Of course, you've heard about the food and snacks. They have an amazing selection of great stuff, and what I like about it is that it sort of goes above and beyond expectations. Sure, some days, lunch is better than others, but I really can't complain, and the selection of drinks and snacks is amazing. It's not like you should work at FB just because of that, but it demonstrates FB's desire to make work as fun and convenient as possible.

    You'll be surrounded by people who like being there. I can't think of a better environment to work in. If you have a giant ego, you may not like it as much. Respect is definitely given to those that have deep experience in the industry, and they are expected to lead others and mentor more junior employees. However, if for whatever reason, you can't perform at the level expected, no one is going to care if you did this and that at Google or shipped ten things at MS, etc.

    FB also has a lot of fun events, and I made a lot of friends working there, so going to the events was fun. Also, if you're older and worried that FB is just a bunch of 22-year-olds, and that you won't fit in, I wouldn't worry about that. FB does have a lot of young employees (who are really smart btw), and it does hire a lot of people straight out of college, but it also attracts a lot of experienced engineers from other top companies like Google, MS, Amazon, etc.

    Work-life-balance seemed totally normal to me. It may be different depending on your team, but I felt you could do 40-50 hours of work a week for the most part and you would be totally fine. It's about what you produce, not how hard you're working. Other team members who had children would work normal hours and go home at normal times. I didn't see any of these folks have a problem when they left early to take care of their child or things like that. Of course, there could be times that people are expected to work extra if something critical happens, but for the most part everyone wants to avoid this and this happens sparingly, from what I observed. Now, there were many times where I chose to work late myself, but I never felt any pressure to do so. The caveat is that there are on-call rotations, and in addition, even if you are not on-call, you are expected to be reasonably available if the on-call person needs your help. However, again, no one wants this, and your team will work on ways to avoid these situations.

    The best thing I can say is that working at FB is about productivity. I didn't experience and political bs and it was a pleasure working with a group of people who were all concerned with producing a good product and making the best of the time spent while doing it.

    Cons

    FB expects a lot out of engineers, and you can't slack off. Of course, you shouldn't slack off at any job, but since FB is pretty fast-paced, there is a risk that you'll have trouble adjusting at first.

    FB has a lot of custom infrastructure and tools, and prehaps more impressively, it works great. It makes doing your job really great, but on the other hand, you'll end up learning a lot of stuff that won't be applicable elsewhere.

    FB's code-base is very good in some ways, but in other ways, it's not as great as some of the existing engineers think it is. I don't think this is that big of a deal, but the important part is that as an engineer, you need to quickly learn FB's values and practices and "get with the program" so to speak. If you don't like some things, then you just have to deal with it, as it's not likely you're going to change people's minds at this point. The nice thing is that things are at least very consistent.

    Advice to Management

    You need to focus on how you are going to maintain the existing culture and protocols as you grow. I think this could be really tough.

    Facebook Response

    Jul 10, 2015 – Your Friends at Facebook

    Thanks for your great feedback. We really appreciate the transparency from Mark, Sheryl, and the entire leadership team. This open culture does permeate throughout the company, and we are focused on... More


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Warm supportive culture, embraces autonomy and diversity, full of elite talent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Facebook full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I've been at Facebook for 6 months. I've never been one for loyalty to my job or my company, but at least in Social VR, my team are some of the most genuinely supportive and caring people I've ever met in my life and I really feel like they accept me and will be there for me both when I need things at work and when I'm having personal difficulties. I'm given full autonomy to pursue the things that I think are most important. My team is incredibly diverse (including transgender, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, and an unusually high percentage of women) which shows both an extraordinary commitment to diversity and gives me faith that the product will be built to serve diverse customers. And the backgrounds of the people on my team are shockingly elite, with many projects on their resumes that are immediately familiar to and admired by me. I'm also proud that Facebook has so many people at the very top who are strongly committed to VR - like Zuckerberg's ambitious announcement at OC4 that his goal is to have a billion people in VR.

    Cons

    Facebook is hugely committed to transparency and authentic identity. So if you value separating your personal life and work life, don't want to share your personal feelings with coworkers or hear about theirs (or offer emotional support), or don't like to share with other people in the broader company what you're working on, it may be a bad fit for you. Likewise, if you prefer to be directed by leadership rather than establishing your own direction autonomously, Facebook might be a bad fit for you. Finally, Facebook's primary Menlo Park campus is located in the middle of nowhere with very little else around - you eat and get all your services on campus, with the nearest downtown a 15 min drive away. If you prefer to be in an urban center, you should either consider a different location, or a different company.

    Advice to Management

    Honestly just keep doing what you're doing. You're making a lot of great decisions and supporting me in the best way I can imagine.

  3. "Internship program encourages growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer(Internship) in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Intern - Software Engineer(Internship) in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Facebook as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Structured internship program is transparent about your evaluation and gives rich and actionable feedback. Lots of recreational activities for different peoples' interests.

    Cons

    Internal tools break too often. Things are deprecated before they are documented or before their replacement is finished. Average of 2 competing incompatible systems for each common task.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.
    Management acknowledges many of Facebook's challenges and tries to fix some of them, which has been working well.
    Higher-level management seems to have time horizons 1-2 orders of magnitude longer than their employees, a condition management seems to be struggling to change.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Best Large Tech Company Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Facebook full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    From the start, Facebook has been amazing.

    Bootcamp was a great experience; not too many companies let a new grad spend 6-8 weeks searching for a good team fit. They let you pick a team, which essentially means you get to pick your tech stack (Backend; Front-end; Mobile; Infrastructure), the org you work for (Messenger, Facebook, Oculus, Instagram, etc.). More importantly, you get to pick your manager + team mates, where as in other large companies, it's the other way around; you are assigned to a product & org & manager whether you like it or not. This is way different compared to Google's opaque 'host matching' process and Microsoft where they just randomly place you in a division like Azure or Office.

    The company values really shine through every day. Before Facebook I thought the concept of company values was kind of corny and B.S. Now that I'm at FB I can at least say that here the company values are actually values held by top management + majority of the workforce and not just marketing / HR speak.

    Everyday I really feel like we are moving fast and shipping a lot of product very quickly. We A/B test lots of features, analyze the data, and swiftly decide what to ship to the public. I never feel stuck; I always feel like I'm either implementing an A/B test or analyzing data so we can ship more features. There are not long product cycles with lots of prognostication from product leadership; we build, measure, then learn. Thats it.

    I feel everyday that we have an open culture. At Facebook, we use Workplace, a tool thats kind of like Facebook but for corporations, made by you guessed it... Facebook. Within Workplace, just like normal FB, there are a ton of groups. I'm in a bunch of groups and basically get visibility on decision making + product updates + news from every part of our org. I feel like I'm in the loop and just learn so much about FB / product by reading my Workplace newsfeed. For example, today I read a research report about internet users in India, learned some stuff about dynamic ads, and saw one of the senior leaders announce a new partnership deal. All of that info isn't directly relevant to my day-to-day job, but because its all there and open to anyone, I learn so much and have so much clarity into FB's product vision & company objectives. Mark or Shreyl do Q & A's every Friday. Between hearing top leadership speak, and reading updates from every part of the company on Workplace, I feel that FB is a very open and transparent place to work.

    There are many other pros and cultural values that I like but let me get to a major pro to end this review. Food!
    Here's just a sample from today! I ate these 3 meals today at the company cafe 2 mins walk away from my desk.

    Breakfast:
    Soft Boiled Egg + Been + Cheese + Salsa Tostada. Organic Blueberries & Blackberries. Hemp & Pumpkin seeds.

    Lunch:
    Vegetarian Pho with Sous Vide Eggs, Tofu, Steamed Cabbage, Green Onions, Cilantro, & Bean Sprouts in it. Added Sriracha and Chili Oil to spicen it up.
    Thai Iced Tea Bobba (Bubble) Tea.

    Dinner (today was Jamaican themed):
    Sweet Potato & Corn Casserole, Collared Greens, Fried Plantains, & Quinoa.
    I also got a slice of cheese pizza :)

    Dessert: Mango Cheesecake made with Graham Cracker Crust.

    By the way, the menu rotates, and at the HQ, there are a ton of cafes to choose from so way more options for food are there.

    Cons

    Work life balance is tough. Can have some busy weeks due to the "move fast" culture. Plus you have a lot of ownership which brings with it some stress.

    The offices are crowded due to how fast we are growing. They are building a few new huge buildings but until those finish things are quite cramped, and the work place can get loud.

    Also not enough space in the gyms because of the general overcrowding on campus.

    Advice to Management

    As we grow bigger, invest in making sure execution pace is still fast and we don't get bogged down in bureaucracy like other tech giants. Put extra effort to make sure our current culture stays the way it is even as things scale.


  5. "Better than expected"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Facebook full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    • Great culture
    • Very smart people around
    • Amazing teammates
    • Flexibility to choose teams/projects at the beginning and later very easy to switch if you like.
    • Great resources within the company to keep learning
    • Great perks (specially the food, it’s awesome and free)

    Cons

    Most offices are cold, don’t know why but it’s annoying to have to wear a jacket in the middle of the summer


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer(Internship) in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer(Internship) in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Facebook (More than a year)

    Pros

    One of the best internships out there. Had a great summer internship with them for two years in a row now. Interned at HQ and the Seattle office and all the offices have their own little perks. Interns get all the same perks as full-time and more including housing and intern events.

    Cons

    Work-life balance is a bit tricky as they make it convincing to stay at on campus with all the free food.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent place to start. Meh place to stay."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Facebook full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of freedom - you are the master of your own career. You get full credit for your achievements (with a cost of taking full responsibility).

    Retains its "move fast" culture - you can get a lot of meaningful work done.

    Smart and proficient colleagues - you can learn a lot regardless of your level!

    Compensation is fair and sweet.

    Cons

    Forget about work/life balance. In fact, forget about work/sleep balance. Management does nothing to deal with the problem.

    Horrible working conditions. Wide and extremally noisy open spaces (impossible to concentrate), tiny desks, lines in restrooms, unavailable meeting rooms. I do most of my meaningful work from home. Management refuses to acknowledge the problem and praises facilities, so no chance of this being fixed.

    A strong political bias coming all the way from the top that pollutes working climate.

  8. "Awesome Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Intern - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Facebook as an intern

    Pros

    The pay is amazing. Environment is very friendly and open. Opportunity for advancement everywhere.

    Cons

    outside of the city. Not much to do.

    Advice to Management

    none


  9. Helpful (1)

    "The best tech company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Facebook full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Many interesting engineering problems to work on.
    Many smart coworkers.
    Ideas come from engineers bottom up.
    Open culture.
    Awesome perks.

    Cons

    WLB may not be the best depending on what team to are on.
    Rapid hiring creates office space problem in MPK. New building opening up next year will reduce the problem.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you are doing.

    Facebook Response

    Dec 12, 2017 – Global Director of Recruiting Programs

    Thank you for sharing your experience. As we grow and scale, we will continue to nurture and support the things that make Facebook unique. We have a lot more to do and appreciate that you have signed... More


  10. "Software engineer intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer(Internship) in Seattle, WA
    Former Intern - Software Engineer(Internship) in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Facebook as an intern

    Pros

    - challenging and impactful project with a lot of ownership
    - great benefits
    - supportive environment and helpful coworkers and mentors

    Cons

    - not a lot of documentation because of culture of moving fast
    - many employers are very invested in their work and spend long hours; as a result it can be easy to let work/life balance slip