I was dying to see the London Facebook offices for ages and thanks to London Girl Geek Dinners it finally happened last week. Not only did I get a glimpse of the place but I learned about what it is like to work there as well.
The event was put together by Phillip Su, one of Facebook’s leading software engineers who was also in charge of setting up their headquarters in the UK capital. In an attempt to tap into London’s talent pool as well as bring the platform closer to its users, Su is organising a series of taster events where attendees are given an insight into Facebok’s work culture.
Last week’s London Girl Geek dinner was all about working as a developer for this Internet company whose income rose to $1.26bn between July and September. In no particular order, here are some of the main points that came out:
- Facebook is a great place to be. There are some smart, friendly people to hang out with, who have their own cafe and gym and a cafeteria filled with healthy food. As a bonus you get to work on a great online product.
- It all starts with a hackathon. Most of the features we now enjoy on our Facebook walls originated from these intense programming sessions that usually take place within a small team. You come up with an idea, write the code, ship it and see what happens.
* Hackathon products are a mix of user feedback and engineering innovation and about 70% of them actually get delivered in the end.
- You do get to have a life. There are people who work hard and stay long hours [because they choose to] but there is a lot of flexibility. To quote Su, “it’s what you make of it”.
- One of Facebook’s objectives in London is to support women in technology, particularly in the 14 to 17 year-old range, when most young people tend to lose interest because of peer pressure, lack of social support and so on.
I’m sold and looking forward to more. By the way, they’re hiring interns!