Hackbright Academy Goes to Facebook!

The Spring 2014 class of Hackbright Academy engineering fellows visited Facebook‘s Menlo Park office on Tuesday for a field trip.

The morning rain cleared up a trip to Philz Coffee on the Facebook campus, where we loaded up on caffeine before heading into a Facebook conference room for talks amidst views of salt flats.

We were welcomed by Facebook software engineer Jason Bonta who spoke about working as a user interface engineer (UIE) at Facebook. He discussed what it means to work on the frontend and spoke to developing a library of abstractions for a growing company.

Next, Facebook engineering manager and search veteran Kari Lee spoke about Facebook’s architecture, teams and common challenges for product generalists/engineers. She gave in-the-trenches stories and perspective on building scalable, high-performance code, and discussed challenges and trade-offs in Facebook’s engineering decisions.

Last but not least, Instagram engineer Brina Lee (pictured) gave a “Crushing Your Coding Interview” talk where she emphasized the importance of learning to talk through your thoughts in technical interviews. She repeated “Practice, practice, practice!” – as even her smartest peers would fail technical interviews without a lot of mock interviews and time spent figuring out how to solve common coding challenges.

Brina reminded engineering fellows that it’s more than just knowing the answer, but how you got to it, the trade-offs involved and being able to let the interviewer see your train of thought so they can give you the benefit of the doubt. She recommended Hackbright engineering fellows to think of interviewers as advocates – “they want to hire you.” She underlined the importance of speaking up and talking through thoughts, so that interviewers have something to take back and advocate for you with.

Thanks to Facebook for hosting the Hackbright Academy class for spring 2014! We enjoyed lunch, the talks from Facebook engineers, the visits to Philz Coffee at Facebook and Sweet Shop – and we look forward to seeing Facebook at Career Day!

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