Facebook Software Engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

Facebook Software Engineer Reviews

Updated May 18, 2017
455 reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work/Life balance could be better (in 182 reviews)

  • Work-life balance: pressure to move fast (in 49 reviews)

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  1. Helpful (396)

    "Open, fast, no bs"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 (2)

    "Great perks, but limited growth opportunities"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    From the moment you walk in the door, it is very evident the company goes to great lengths to make you feel welcome and cared for. From a slew of on-campus food choices, to a gym, and a Disney-like feel to the campus, the place really pushes the bar to what working at a company feels like on the surface.

    Cons

    After being with Facebook for some time, the not-so pretty things come to light. They have very aggressive rules for tenure, where you are expected to be promoted or asked to leave the company. Performance reviews at Facebook feel like they are pushing a one-size-fits all model, where they literally represent you as a post-it note on a whiteboard for managers to place on a bell curve against your fellow employees according to how they feel you performed.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Amazing for female engineers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 a year)

    Pros

    I'm a software engineer who has been at Facebook for almost a year. It is hands down the best place I have ever worked.

    To be frank, I didn't have high expectations going in that it would be very different from the misogynistic cultures I've had to navigate at previous companies.

    Before working at Facebook, I'd kind of come to accept that being a female engineer would always be a somewhat isolating existence and the best I could do would be to find a team with 90% great colleagues and just try and avoid the creepy and rude ones as much as possible. I'd seen that as long as they performed well (or held some other utilitarian value for the company) they would always have a place in a company and their treatment of women would be an open secret and accepted.

    Honestly, my first couple months at Facebook made me aware of how much effort I'd been spending navigating those types of situations.

    It's incredible working with people who assume your competence rather than constantly having to battle to prove yourself.

    It's amazing seeing constant efforts towards dissecting internalized biases and senior male employees openly discussing their efforts to catch themselves unconsciously interrupting people. It's laughable to try to imagine this happening at my previous companies.

    It's so precious being able to find a place where you can just focus on your work.

    Cons

    It's a long commute for San Franciscans who come down to Menlo Park because we don't have an SF office yet.

    Advice to Management

    I wish we were less humble and more braggy about the culture here. I didn't realize until working at Facebook how different it was, and I think I would've come sooner if I'd known.


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  5. "Just starting, but everything has been a dream so far"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Everything seems too good to be true, but I haven't heard anybody stating that it ever ends

    Cons

    Absolutely nothing so far, granted it hasn't been long.


  6. "Great place to work"

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

    I worked at Facebook (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The food is free and always delicious.

    Cons

    Overbearing management needs to let engineers be.

    Advice to Management

    No more overbearing please


  7. Helpful (1)

    "All good here."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    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 a year)

    Pros

    - In FB you work hard but FB also works hard to make you happy.

    Cons

    - Engineering processes can be chaotic due to the rapid growth of the company.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "I couldn't imagine a better place to start my career"

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

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

    Pros

    + Tremendous autonomy: It is still very much a culture where you are expected to find impact and deliver.
    + Fast paced culture: Very few people try to stop you from getting things done. Everyone values the benefits of iteration
    + Easy internal mobility: No interview, no BS. Everything was decided in a day for me.
    + Great perks: Comp, food, office space, healthcare, you name it!
    + Exciting work: Facebook is building everything from social media to VR, React to airplanes.

    Cons

    - Tremendous autonomy: It REALLY is up to you.
    - Size: Definitely feels big if you are trying to meet new people.

    Facebook Response

    May 24, 2017 – Director, Global Recruiting Programs and Operations

    Thanks for sharing! We're glad to hear that you are enjoying career growth and autonomy here at Facebook. Thank you for all you do to support our mission of making the world more open and connected. ... More


  9. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Flexibility to move between teams. Openness​ in discussing all ongoing projects.

    Cons

    Work life balance might not be great.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Life-Changing Opportunity/Environment. Really Underrated in the Valley, IMO..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 a year)

    Pros

    There are an endless amount of pros about working at Facebook. If I were to pick one pro out of all of them - it's the people. Whatever you heard or read about Facebook really doesn't give the place enough credit. I'm not in HR/recruiting or even management, but I do see a common trend in everyone they bring on board. Everyone is smart, motivated, non-judgemental, and freakishly CARING. There are so many people with heart at FB.

    To be honest, you can be one heck of a coder, but if you're selfish - I don't think you will get hired here. I've previously worked at Google and MSFT; FB blows both of them out of the water (maybe I'm a little biased). Other pro's of course are...

    + Free world class food options all day long on the main campus cafeteria (MPK 20/21).This includes great snacks/drink options everywhere else as well.
    + Fantastic PPO/HMO health care options. The premiums are very reasonable.
    + Resources. They will give you everything you need so you can do an amazing job - period. Hardware, software, etc...
    + Did I mention the people? :)

    Cons

    FB (especially MPK) is expanding very fast. Things get unorganized and chaotic. Communicating with colleagues in international branch offices can be tricky.

    Advice to Management

    At the end of the day, we spend most of our time with the people we work with. Keep bringing on great, empathic people. I really think it has transformed the culture (in a super duper positive way).

    Facebook Response

    May 24, 2017 – Director, Global Recruiting Programs and Operations

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Mark and Sheryl, along with the Facebook leadership team continue to set this example for us by "walking the talk." We are building a different kind of ... More


  11. "Software Engineer at Facebook"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior 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

    Amazing coworkers, great comp, great work environment, and great perks.

    Cons

    Amount of work can be quite high from time to time, and finding/digesting all the information you need for your job can be complicated.