Second year Computer Science student, Yasir, talks about a networking event he was able to attend at Facebook.
An invitation to the Facebook Headquarters in London
Hey! My name is Yasir and I am a second year Computer Science student at City University London. I wanted to share an experience I had which could not have been made possible without being a student at City. An opportunity which would contribute to my professional development as a prospective IT professional.
As a Computer Science student at City, you are given exclusive access to the Professional Liaison Unit (PLU), a dedicated team who work with students to help boost their future career prospects by providing assistance with applications to organisations which have internship programs. They assist with everything from checking your CV to holding mock interviews and giving feedback so you can improve in time for the real one. The PLU also offers students the opportunity to join the Professional Pathway Scheme which increases the duration of your Bachelors degree from 3 years to 4 so you can study at a slower place and be able to work 4 days a week at a company during your 2nd, 3rd and 4th year. It was being a part of this scheme which led to a member of the Facebook recruitment team inviting me to a social evening to learn more about the opportunities available at Facebook.
As a Professional Pathway student, I began my second year working at a film company in a business analyst capacity. Not long after starting, a University recruiter for Facebook came across my LinkedIn profile, saw that I was an intern and got in touch with me about an event they were holding for interns working in London regarding the opportunities they had available. Attending a networking event like this would be invaluable, giving me an idea of what different positions are available within a large company like Facebook and also allowing me to develop contacts with current employees who I could speak to in the future.
It was only after searching the location of the Facebook London office that I realised it was not too far from the main City campus based at Northampton Square. The central location of City means you are not far from different IT companies in the surrounding area, making them easily accessible, just like this one. The only difference is Facebook generates just under £8bn of revenue a year. Not a bad company to be working for as an intern at the beginning of your professional career. It is no secret Facebook is a highly reputable company to work for so I was lucky to be invited to this networking event.
Once there, a few existing employees presented the opportunities that were available, ranging from summer internships (up to 3-month duration) to internships of up to 6 months. Alternatives also included being a part of the Facebook University for Engineering which is an 8-week program to provide mobile development experience. It involves having 2 weeks of mobile development training followed by 6 weeks of hands on experience in a small team, applying current programming knowledge and learning new technologies.
In addition to these options, there is also a possibility of doing a month of work at a different office abroad. You could do a ‘1-month trial period’ where you could go and work at another Facebook office around the world for a month to see if you would find the job enjoyable and also to make sure you were comfortable with the living arrangements during your exchange. If you find this to be the case, you could relocate and continue working abroad instead. One of the employees at the event was on her second exchange, coming down from Menlo Park, California to work at the London Office, giving her a more cultured experience of employment.
The different opportunities were categorised into 4 different teams that you could work in, one being focused on Mobile Development, the next focused around Infrastructure Development, the third about System Engineering and the final team working under the generic IT development team. In spite of these differences, there is a cool perk which each employee is presented with upon working at Facebook. They each get their own version of the site, with a personal colour scheme (red, green, blue, violet, etc.) where they can play around with the code and make changes to it to see how the functionality is affected.
Having attended this event meant I would be given priority over other applicants applying for an internship at Facebook which would make the application process somewhat easier The only way I was able to find out about this incredible opportunity was due to being an intern at a company right now. This was only possible due to the help I received from the PLU with my CV and applications to different companies as a part of the Professional Pathway scheme, currently unique to City. Having experience in industry is vital when it comes to graduate jobs and future employers look favourably upon candidates with such experience so a summer internship or year in industry would be something to consider.
Good luck with your application and I hope to meet you at City in September!