Move Fast and Break Things–My Internship Experience

eric-2016 Electrical, Eric, Internship, Viterbi Summer Leave a Comment

This summer I have been incredibly lucky to get the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects at Facebook and here is what I have experienced so far! If you didn’t know, Facebook was originally a social networking service website developed by Mark Zuckerberg from his college dorm room and now has 1.4 billion monthly users all across the globe. (If you didn’t know about Facebook you should definitely check it out and make an account because it’s super awesome.)

Anyways, I started on May 18th, the monday after I finished all of my finals, so I basically moved directly from my room in Birnkrant (woo BK8!) into corporate housing in Mountain View right next to the Googleplex.

Caught by my roommate working hard!

Caught by my roommate working hard!

Kitchen for the summer--Not too Shabby!

Kitchen for the summer–Not too Shabby!

So as you can probably tell, just having to share that 2 bed 2 bath apartment with one other person wasn’t that bad of a living situation. The following Monday I started ‘work’ but was just sitting all day listening to various speakers as a part of an orientation program that really opened my eyes to what Facebook really does and brought me to the realization of how insane the amount of impact each individual at the company was. The orientation was great, but on Tuesday I was finally introduced to my team and my specific project. It was everything I was hoping for and more; my mentors are some of the coolest engineers I know who has been involved in some of the coolest projects, startups, and companies in Silicon Valley, my team is full of brilliant engineers and managers, and my project was perfect for my skill set and interests. After being pleasantly surprised with all these introductions, I had to sit through a few days of less-than-exciting legal trainings and workplace behavior courses, all of which I appreciate we have but still not enthusiastic about attending.

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My First Day @ Facebook! Orientation Class Photo!

But finally, after getting situated into the Facebook family and getting a grasp around the campus and the location of the various places to acquire free food as well as other perks (yes, food at Facebook is free and it is awesome), it was finally time to start working on my project. Sadly, like Alex Coco, I cannot share exactly what I work on but I assure you it is an incredible project and when it gets publicly released, I will let you know! But luckily, I can talk about the various skills that I have honed, learned, and applied at Facebook, many of which I picked up during my first year at USC! Even though I am no longer a mechanical engineering major, I was enrolled in Professor Paul Ronney’s AME101 class and am super grateful for what I learned in that class (I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in any type of mechanical design and/or loves mechanics). At Facebook, I get to use Solidworks and other CAD software often and the core fundamentals that I learned in that class both in using Solidworks and from an engineering perspective in materials analysis and structural design applied to industrial design. Another relevant class that I took last semester was Professor Weber’s EE109 class (Embedded Systems) and the fundamentals covered in that class are critical to any electrical engineering/computer engineering job role–understanding how computer systems worked at their core made it easy to adapt to various systems and quickly learn new computer architectures and use a wide variety of computing systems. Even a lot of the extracurriculars that I did at USC have been of extreme use here during my internship at Facebook. As an electronics engineer on the USC Formula SAE racing team, I had started to learn how to do PCB layouts and schematic layouts and currently at Facebook, a majority of my work has been in PCB design and board design–all done in Altium Designer.

Facebook Microkitchens--Where the Endless Snacks live

Facebook Microkitchens–Where the Endless Snacks live

My time here thus far at Facebook has been crazy–from all the cool projects that I’m working on to seeing the innovative work being done at Facebook and all the other Facebook campuses (including Facebook’s new AI Lab in Paris!). But not everything has been work related. Facebook has put a lot of effort into making sure that interns have a productive and fun summer here in Silicon Valley. There have been intern events such as a day on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a barbecue at Shoreline Aquatic Center, an SF Bay Cruise/Lunch, and this Saturday, they are taking all the interns to a Giants game! Hackathons are incredibly popular at Facebook seeing that they are very much so a software company and like to recruit heavily out of hackathons so every once in a while there will be a corporate-funded hackathon!

Even with non-FB friends I’ve also been having a great time! I was luckily placed in corporate housing in Mountain View where I got to meet lots of Trojans interning in the area and we hang out all the time.

Sushi w/ Trojans after our Hike!

Sushi w/ Trojans after our Hike!

So as you can see I’ve been having an amazing time this summer and have been living life to the fullest. But one thing that I try and do throughout life in general is ask myself, ‘What are some things that I have learned from this experience?’. Although my role at Facebook has been very much so technical, one of the many things that I’ve learned is far from technical. From Facebook’s inception in Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to the $275 billion dollar company that it is today, there have been many lessons learned along the way and a pattern that I see not only at Facebook through these times of rapid but other successful companies and institutions is

commitment to their core values. Culture is and has always been seen as something that was important but until I started working at Facebook, I had never seen a corporation or organization actively alter and tailor the group’s culture. The first day I was here I saw posters of quotes hanging on walls, stuck to the back of laptops, and even spray painted in the hallways. Like many core values and mottos, to outsiders and people new to the institution, these quotes mean little to nothing, but just a few days in, you really feel connected to the underlying meaning and origin stories of these various sayings and I believe that many of the ‘good moves’ that Facebook has made in the past and will in the future is because of these core values that the company and all its employees strive to follow. So in honor of great institutions and great mottos, Fight On!

 

 

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Electrical Engineering (Robotics), Class of 2018, Learn more on his profile here!

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