Interview with a developer from Facebook

    Interviewed by Maxim Korystov. By the age of 25, he had worked as a teacher at the university, as a developer at VK, Zenefits and Facebook. It turned out a small success story of a simple guy from Orenburg, who became a motivator for me.

    - Tell me something about yourself. Where did you come from and how did you start your development path?

    I was born in Orenburg, a city in southern Russia with a population of half a million. When I was 13 years old, I set about trying to make animation. I came across the hands of the Macromedia Flash Studio tool (later adobe flash). It turned out that in addition to the animation there you can write in ActionScript - my first programming language. From the 9th grade I started going to programming contests. Went twice to Summer Computer School. There I met the guys from St. Petersburg State University, I liked them, I entered St. Petersburg State University. From the 10th grade I was engaged in freelance, made web services, websites.

    - Cool, fighting childhood was! After studying, where did you go to work?

    While studying at St. Petersburg State University, I gave lectures about algorithms and data structures for schoolchildren based on the VKontakte educational program. And the last course he got there to work as a developer.

    - What are the tasks performed in the VC? An example of some interesting?

    Worked on a noSql database to replace mysql in some places. It stores statistics about posts, for example.

    - You have a powerful LinkedIn profile. I would even say frightening. But let's start from the beginning. At what point did you decide to look for a job abroad?

    This happened when I was working on Vkontakte. I graduated from university - the last months of the 4th year at St. Petersburg State University on Matmex. There is such a site HackerRank, where competitions for programmers take place. There you need to solve problems, and the more problems you have solved, the more points you have and you are higher in the standings. Sometimes they give 10 best people t-shirts there.

    Sometimes such competitions are held by companies. To people who occupy high places, they write letters “We are looking for people. Do you want to have an interview with us? ”. They arrange these competitions with an advertising purpose in order to hire programmers. And with the help of tasks they eliminate those who are not interested in them.

    And my friend offered to take part in such a competition. I participated. It turned out that he was accompanied by the company Zenefits, which invited me to interview. I passed several Skype interviews. A couple of days later they wrote to me that I really liked and want to work for them.

    - What was the most difficult job?

    I was very worried because I had bad English. I taught him at school, taught at the university, understood the basic words of the table, apple. I read normally technical English. But when the conversation took place, it put me in a stupor. Because there is already “life” - they tell you, and you should immediately say so that all people understand. When I arrived on onboarding in San Francisco at Zenefits (to understand how things work in the company), interaction with people gave me a lot of stress. It was very difficult to understand something.

    - Last year, during your trip to America, you still managed to go for interviews with local companies. Got offers from Amazon, Square and Google, but eventually got on Facebook. What did not like the rest?

    I interviewed in the spring of 2017. It was then impossible to ask the company to apply for a work visa in the USA, and I was interested in moving to the USA. Amazon and Square offered jobs in Canada, but I didn’t really like to go back to Canada. In addition, the work visa has ended, which takes six months to complete. That is, I would sit for six months without work.

    And Facebook offered to London. It was interesting to go to London, because there are friends there, and I myself rested there a couple of times. I liked the city: a cool place, they speak English clearly, the center of Europe. Although not only because of the location I chose Facebook.

    By the way, if I had chosen Square, then I would have grown rich pretty now. Because there they offered a good amount of shares, and they grew 5 times. Now it is generally a lot of money. But the only thing I did not like, they have an office in a Canadian village near Toronto. It is clear that you can constantly go to Toronto or to New York, but still, by default, you would live in a village.

    Amazon just didn’t really like the company when I interviewed. Amazon has also doubled since. On the contrary, Facebook fell from the moment I joined it.


    - What was asked at the interviews? Only algorithms or development language also had questions?

    Large IT companies copy Google’s entire interviewing process. They originally came up with it. In the IT sphere, a standard has emerged that people are asked questions on algorithms and data structures. And it does not matter in what language you will implement them. This is not a test of what language you know, a particular data structure, or an algorithm. This is a standard that helps determine how well you think. It is believed that at the moment of solving the problem you argue out loud, and the interviewer understands how your thinking process takes place and evaluates it. Technical things that are like a reference book (language features, etc.), especially no one asks. Especially in big companies like Facebook or Google. You will first be interviewed at a company party, checking that you are a smart dude. Well, relatively smart. And then distributed to the team. That is, they first need to understand that you think well: quickly and clearly, and then determine. But if this is a specific role, for example, you talk to C ++ nickname, then naturally you will be asked about C ++ details. Tricky questions to check that you really had experience with this, that you can work effectively on this role.

    - What was sn in Facebook?

    In IT there is a tradition - not to speak your salaries in public. Therefore, I suggest that anyone who wants to find out what salaries in Google, Facebook and other companies, visit the wonderful site Glassdoor. You go there, enter the name of the company, the name of the place, and they tell you the salaries of people who used to work in the company. There everything is described in detail: there is a mention of how much they give compensation to the drain, how much they give a bonus. Everyone is guided by this site. For example, they give you an offer with numbers written there. You look at these numbers and compare them on glassdoor. After you understand, you are at the bottom or at the top of the range, you can still bargain or you already have a very good salary.

    - How many developers in Facebook earn with experience of 1-3 years?

    This is the same answer. In Facebook and other large companies, the RFP depends on your level. If you just come from uni, then you are a junior. If you have worked for three years, then you are the middle. And a few more years worked - Senor. Further even higher level, for example staf the engineer. In different companies differently called.

    The number of shares you are given is not so strongly related to the level. It rather reflects how much the company wants you. And this part is very well traded - companies are more willing to increase the bonus part than the salary. For each level there is a fork, how much the salary can vary. The company cannot go beyond this fork.

    - You wrote that Facebook is a swamp. Explain in more detail what did you mean?

    Facebook was the first experience in a large IT company. I noticed that a lot of people somehow do not work by force. It is very easy not to stand out from the crowd, to sit in gray, you will not be noticed, and you can continue to sit in your seat. I was demotivated by people who did not have much passion: they just came and went. But it all depends on the team, on exactly where the person works, on his goals. For me it was unpleasant, and it became boring at one moment. But I know a huge number of people who are happy and working on Facebook. They like it - the company gives a lot of bonuses, benefits and excellent salaries. It all depends on the specific situation.

    - Tell me about life in London. How did you spend your free time? Where did you rest? Where did he live? Did you miss your homeland? How much was spending per month?

    For myself, I immediately decided that I would live in the center. As a result, he lived in a 15-minute walk from work. I was pleased that I could go out and immediately go to some place for dinner, lunch. Or go out and immediately go to the park. No need to travel far by subway or other public transport.

    I like London because it's cool to walk there. In any place where you land, it will be cool. Especially in the center - the old streets branch out in different directions. The entire center is made for pedestrians. Now, if you drive a car, you feel uncomfortable - constant traffic lights, small narrow streets. And you are just wonderful with a pedestrian: you walk, look at buildings, periodically you get to parks, you pass through them. This is the coolest feature of London, that you can walk in it. It's nice.

    Another cool thing is that it is located above Europe, close to all countries. You can reach a maximum of any European country in two or three hours. What I actively used. Flew to friends in Switzerland and just unwind to Europe for the weekend. It is very easy.

    I did not particularly miss my homeland. Fly to Moscow in the same three or four hours. When I lived in Vancouver, there was a whole adventure with it. Firstly, there is not a single direct flight from Canada to Russia. Always had to change to fly. And then it's just London-Moscow 4 hours. Sit down and after four hours you're on the spot. The return flight is also great - the morning flight is on Monday. You sit down at seven in the morning, you arrive in the morning, and immediately you go to work. I often went to Moscow for a weekend, 10 times a year. Very comfortably. Bored - flew to Moscow.

    I spent a bit in London. When you work in a big company, you don’t spend any money on weekdays. Just wake up and go to work. There you have breakfast, you drink coffee, you have dinner, you have dinner, you come home or you walk with friends and that's it. Well, you can go to a restaurant to eat again, for some entertainment, to the cinema and so on. This is a little money. And so, in principle, you add money, you add it, and they don’t spend much on anything, unless you spend it on purpose.


    - You worked as a teacher of algorithms at the university, a developer in VK, Zenefits, Facebook. Where did you like most?

    The most pleasant memories from the work of Vkontakte, because this was my first job and I was very happy that I got there. When I taught at the Vkontakte office, I talked a lot with the guys who worked there, and I really liked everything they say, what is happening there. Vkontakte was then a newsmaker company that constantly does something, and it creates a resonance. It is very cool to be in the center of a company that creates trends, news that everyone is discussing. And it's just great to be part of such a team. I have the warmest memories from Vkontakte. Probably because the first job and interesting tasks.

    But each company was interesting in its own way. Zenefits is my first foreign job, a lot of interesting things. It's just different. The code must also be written, but everything else is different: culture, how people manage you.

    Facebook was interesting because it is the first big company, just a giant one. It is interesting to look at all these mechanisms: how they work, how orders descend from above, how commands react to them. Each work was interesting in its own way.

    - Judging by Instagram, after Facebook you decided to take a long rest from work. How many years of carefree life you have enough accumulated money?

    The truth is not quite so. After Facebook, I quit, flew to Moscow and started working for a Moscow-based company that deals with algorithmic trading. I did not have a vacation. Only a weekend to move from London to Moscow, and on Monday I started working.
    On account of the accumulated money - depending on how you live. Except travel, I live modestly. Enough, probably for a normal time. Just boring to sit and do nothing. I constantly think about projects, communicate with people. A lot of ideas, and I'm not going to sit just like that.

    - How much do you spend per month?

    This amount is about the same as in Moscow and in London. To maintain a comfortable standard of living and not count travel with large purchases, I spend 4-5 thousand dollars. Surprisingly, in Vancouver, London and Moscow, the same level that suits me costs the same amount.

    “How do you like Burning Man?” What can the developer take from there?

    Burning Man for me was the opening of this summer, this year. I'm going to go there again. Maybe a few more times. This psychologically reveals you so much. There is such an atmosphere ... For me, this is a festival of freedom. You come and see how other people express themselves. They are open and do whatever they want. And from the inside of you, even as if unwittingly, it comes out what you really are. It is much easier for you to open up, you understand yourself more easily, because you have no framework there.

    Usually in the society where we live, we have stereotypes. For example, you try to do something, the society condemns you, and you slaughter it in yourself and no longer show it. And there even a week is enough for you to open up. And there society encourages you to show what it really is. Everything is open, all around doing the same. You just understand that you can do whatever you want, and you are approaching the state you really are. You look the way you want. You behave as you want. This is the coolest feeling. This is the coolest part of borning maine for me. And as for the developer, there is nothing so special. For me as a whole, not as a developer, but as a person, it was interesting for a person.


    - What are your plans for the near future? Get back in the VC? Open your startup? Do cryptocurrency?

    There are several ideas that I am working on now, but so far I don’t want to tell anything concrete, because the decision has not yet been made.

    - What else do you want to add / tell?

    In fact, all the questions that you ask me, I am very flattered. Especially about the resume on LinkedIn you said that it is very cool. But it is not. I want to say to all the guys who would like to work on Facebook, Google or another big company that this is easy. Imagine, tens of thousands of programmers are working on Facebook and Google. This is a huge number of people. So much can not be super talented guys. Of course, they are all smart, cool, but they are not Nobel laureates. They are simple programmers who do a good job. This is not some kind of gift and so on. Just programmers who can program. If you are a programmer who can program well, you can get on Facebook, Google. You just need to send your resume there, get familiarized and then go to work.

    Also popular now: