This past summer, I did a software engineering internship at Facebook. I was pretty excited about it going in – they had flown me out to California for “Facebook Intern Days” back in January and I had gotten to see the new Menlo Park campus right as people started to move in. It was awesome. It felt like a re-creation of the best parts of the college experience, with a hefty touch of Silicon Valley flair. There was a gym, an arcade room, two large cafeterias (with free food!), and bikes outside every building – in case the five-minute walk to other buildings was too much. Everyone worked at desks in large open spaces, including Mark Zuckerberg (whose desk I walked by on the way to lunch every day) – not a single cubicle or personal office in sight.
I started working the Monday after the IPO in May. So unfortunately, I missed one of the most exciting days in the company’s history, but the atmosphere was still pretty lively in the days following it. I got to work right away, and by the end of the week had fixed a couple bugs on the Facebook Android application, which I would be working on for my summer project. The previous summer, I had worked at a small startup of 10 people, so a 3,000 person company was quite a different experience, but the welcoming environment made it really easy to adjust. Everyone on my team was super helpful if I ever encountered problems with the code I was writing, and I enjoyed having so many people around who shared my interests, making conversation over lunch interesting and giving me plenty of activities to do outside of work time: I played foosball with a fellow intern after lunch a few times a week, and participated in weekly basketball and ultimate Frisbee games.
Like many other M&T students, I have ambitions of starting my own company at some point in the future. Working at Facebook was an awesome way to complement my experience at a start-up. I was able to contrast organizational structure at very different scales, understand how a company’s technology stack might change over time, and approaches at retaining the ‘start-up vibe’ once the company is 100 times that size. On weekends, I had the opportunity to meet with interns at other companies in the Bay Area, swapping stories about our internships and convincing some of them to come to Penn for PennApps in the fall and spring. The tech industry is booming right now, and the background I am building through my degrees in Computer Science from Penn Engineering and Wharton has already proven invaluable in opening up opportunities as I try to figure out what I want to do in life. I still don’t know where I’ll end up after I graduate, but Facebook was the best place to have worked last summer, and is high up there on my list.