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Facebook Software Engineer Internship: A Complete Guide

Facebook Software Engineer Internship: A Complete Guide

5 minute read | July 8, 2020
Sakshi Gupta

Written by:
Sakshi Gupta


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Software engineering is a vital role in today’s always-online world, and a software engineer intern has an unparalleled advantage in finding a sought-after permanent role in the best tech companies, such as Facebook. A software engineering internship gives budding coders the chance to develop their work experience by joining engineering teams working on some of the most in-use apps and websites in existence.

Internships can be one of the best paths to a full-time job at tech companies. Software engineering internships at Facebook are extremely popular and attract the best talent. So what do prospective Facebook interns need to know?

If you’re keen to become an intern at Facebook and proceed to land a job, here’s what you need to know about Facebook internships and the processes surrounding them.

What does an intern at Facebook do?

Software engineers at Facebook work as part of a team to build new features and improve products across Facebook’s products and family of apps, from the newsfeed itself to Instagram, Oculus, Novi, and more. Facebook is renowned for treating its interns just like permanent employees, meaning software engineering interns at Facebook work on real products, and help to drive results for the company.

Ex-Facebook interns note that they were able to control the way they work during their time interning and that on a regular day they could:

  • Code in a variety of scripting and programming languages such as Java, Javascript, C++, Perl, and/or Python
  • Review code written by others
  • Meet about product development
  • Code high-volume software and complex algorithms
  • Assist development of systems on the server-side of Facebook’s products
  • Create web applications using PHP or implementing web interfaces using XHTML, CSS, and Javascript

What is the process to get a software engineering internship at Facebook?

Facebook offers several levels of internship to software engineers depending on experience in a related field, completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, years of experience, and preferred qualifications. The company advertises for interns required to fill specific roles in global teams at multiple levels, from graduates up to Ph.D. students.

The large-scale Facebook summer internship program, in which 1,000 interns join teams at all stages of the development cycle inside Facebook offices around the globe for a 12-week duration, is highly competitive. The company says this internship program is “a key part of our recruiting strategy”, so landing one of these positions puts a student or graduate software engineer in good stead to become a full-time employee.

Finally, Facebook University is an eight-week program that focuses on placing younger people, especially from underrepresented communities, in the company to work on their own projects in teams. This allows them a closer perspective on the people, products and services of Facebook while they pick up new skills. The company has shared some of the insights of Facebook University interns.

The process to land an internship at Facebook is similar to regular job application procedures and includes:

  • Stage one: An initial phone interview to screen potential candidates
  • Stage two: Usually a Facebook campus interview, currently completed via video link due to health and safety procedures.

The two interviews follow a similar format, so preparation will be the same. Both interview stages for a software engineering internship at Facebook, run by a Facebook engineer, contain three parts:

  1. Introductory interview. About five minutes discussing your background, software engineering experience, aspirations, and why you want to work at Facebook.
  2. Coding interview. Around 35 minutes completing one or two coding questions that could be based on data structures, algorithms, binary trees, or other elements of Facebook’s technology. Interview questions for the coding interview could include: Compute the square root of an integer, without using the built-in square-root method; Write a function to determine if a string is a palindrome.
  3. Q&A. Time for you to ask any questions of the interviewer.

Of course, these are some of the most competitive internships in the world. Qualified individuals and computer science experts will get the first look-in for these positions. But Facebook is known for also placing a high emphasis on personal attributes alongside qualifications, and people who are able to solve complex technical problems, demonstrate high levels of creativity, and have expertise and experience in algorithms, architecture, data mining, networking or systems, will have an edge in their applications.

Facebook itself offers some tips about how to ace your software engineering internship interviews, which is helpful for preparation.

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Are interns working in software engineering at Facebook paid?

A 2019 study by Glassdoor found that Facebook interns earn median monthly pay of $8,000, making it the highest-paying internship in the United States, ahead of other tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple. While Facebook internships usually last up to 12 weeks, if earned annually this salary ($96,000) would be the equivalent of 1.8 times the national median.

Facebook treats its interns well, with those chosen working on real products that apply to existing or new Facebook products. Interns are also often supplied accommodation close to their Facebook office, and there is an active social side to the internships, with regularly organized events.

Besides the pay, many interns rave about the perks at Facebook, including, according to a review on Glassdoor, “Amazing perks (free food, snacks, transportation, housing (own bedroom and bathroom!)), as well as completely-paid-for intern events on the weekends.”

What’s it like to be an intern in software engineering at Facebook?

What’s really valuable to most interns is the experience, learning, and exposure a Facebook internship grants. Among the benefits of a software engineering internship at Facebook, based on Glassdoor reviews, include:

  • It was a “great way to learn a lot about (software engineering) full-time positions and just to learn some skills. They have so many resources available for you and a 1:1 mentorship program so you are supported throughout the internship.”
  • Ability to “develop on impactful code that actually gets shipped to millions and billions of people.”
  • It’s “still a startup culture in a big company, so you can drive your own projects, launch your own events, do your own workshops if that’s what you’re passionate about. Sure there are opportunities, but they’re not given, you make your own.”

But don’t think Facebook internships are easy roles. Most reviews mention hard work, often involving overtime. There’s a fast, demanding pace to the work and high expectations placed on interns. But interns are resoundingly satisfied with their experience and the meaningful ways they have contributed to both their career progression and to Facebook.

A highlight for many interns is the Facebook Hackathons, whereby employees and interns spend a day working on projects unrelated to their day-to-day work. These projects are presented at the end of the day and, if they receive a good response, can be taken further and integrated into apps, new products, or developed into internal tools or processes.

Interns at Facebook also have access to a 1:1 mentor as well as their direct manager and have access to the broader engineering team and Facebook employee community to guide them during their time interning, whether at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, or any other office around the world.

At the completion of the internship, there is an opportunity to build your professional profile and to be considered for another summer internship in the coming years, or for a full-time position post-graduation. Internship veterans will find themselves in a good place to become employed as full-time software engineers at Facebook.

Since you’re here…
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About Sakshi Gupta

Sakshi is a Managing Editor at Springboard. She is a technology enthusiast who loves to read and write about emerging tech. She is a content marketer with experience in the Indian and US markets.