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Facebook Software Engineer Reviews

Updated January 7, 2018
526 reviews

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4.6
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Pros
Cons
  • work life balance is pretty tough to maintain (in 225 reviews)

  • Can have some busy weeks due to the "move fast" culture (in 58 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (437)

    "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. "Facebook is a milestone in my career"

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

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

    Pros

    1. Smart colleagues
    2. real impact
    3. Good engineer environement

    Cons

    Some times you have to overemphasis your impact.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Facebook is a amazing company to work for!!!!"

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

    I worked at Facebook full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Perks
    Pay
    People you work with
    Work impacts billions

    Cons

    Lots of pressure your beginning year.


  4. "Great place"

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

    I have been working at Facebook full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Everything is better than any other place I have worked

    Cons

    High pressure environment - you need to perform every week, work through holidays, christmass, new year, and weekends.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


  5. Helpful (3)

    "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.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great company, but a bit overhyped"

    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 (More than a year)

    Pros

    * An amazing amount of resources (including a completely open & greppable codebase) for engineers to teach themselves just about anything
    * Really awesome internal tools
    * Unbelievable compensation & perks
    * The company trusts & believes in its employees
    * You become associated with the Facebook brand
    * Also a con, but you have a ton of freedom in what you work on

    Cons

    The tl;dr is Facebook is a big company and its cons reflect that. The company mission and values are incredibly admirable, but have become increasingly difficult to implement as the company has grown.

    * You might find yourself working on a project with over a million lines of code, but nobody on your team has written more than 10,000. The need to sit down and figure it out yourself can be pretty stressful in an environment that is pushing you to "make an impact" and be constantly shipping new features.
    * The few senior engineers (in my org at least) show little interest in mentoring more junior engineers.
    * Sink or swim mentality among engineers, the mega-teams supporting products in the core app can be brutal and unwelcoming.
    * Launch decisions are very political - criteria for launching a change is opaque, and feedback from department leads happens far too late in the development process (often in the meeting where a launch decision is being made!). Little has been done to fix these issues despite it being constant feedback for the past year.
    * Performance reviews put too much emphasis on immediate personal output rather than collaboration and assisting other teams. This causes teams and individuals to focus inwardly. While it's never been malicious, I've seen this behavior directly harm other team's productivity or metrics.
    * Work/life balance is below average on the day-to-day, but oncalls are truly awful.
    * Decision-making has become a bit too distributed between orgs and reflects in the overall product.

    Advice to Management

    * Pay close attention to teams that have poor retention and take drastic measures to reverse the vicious cycle (the less seniority on a team, the faster the turnover rate becomes)
    * I think there is a gap between what's best for the company and what is rewarded in performance reviews. Fixing performance reviews (starting with incentivizing mentorship & collaborative behavior) will likely fix many of the current problems at Facebook.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing place to work"

    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 3 years)

    Pros

    Engineers gets to choose what to work on
    Work and learn from the best people in the field
    Fair rating and bonus procees

    Cons

    Remote offices need constant connection with Headquarters in California

  8. "Software Engineer"

    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

    Independendence -> reducing though
    Scale
    Impact of work
    Move really fast
    Switch teams

    Cons

    No process
    Different teams follow different development patterns

    Advice to Management

    Need a balance between top down and bottom up approaches for engineering.


  9. "Software Engineer"

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

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

    Pros

    Good people and nice area

    Cons

    nothing is wrong here it is good

    Advice to Management

    keep it up


  10. "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.