‘I Don’t Really Want to Work for Facebook.’ So Say Some Computer Science Students.

from NYTs

A job at Facebook sounds pretty plum. The interns make around $8,000 a month, and an entry-level software engineer makes about $140,000 a year. The food is free. There’s a walking trail with indigenous plants and a juice bar.

But the tone among highly sought-after computer scientists about the social network is changing. On a recent night at the University of California, Berkeley, as a group of young engineers gathered to show off their tech skills, many said they would avoid taking jobs at the social network.

“I’ve heard a lot of employees who work there don’t even use it,” said Niky Arora, 19, an engineering student, who was recently invited to a Facebook recruiting event at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. “I just don’t believe in the product because like, Facebook, the baseline of everything they do is desire to show people more ads.”

Emily Zhong, 20, a computer science major, piped up. “Surprisingly, a lot of my friends now are like, ‘I don’t really want to work for Facebook,’” she said, citing “privacy stuff, fake news, personal data, all of it.”

More here.

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2 Responses to ‘I Don’t Really Want to Work for Facebook.’ So Say Some Computer Science Students.

  1. Douglas Tkac December 7, 2018 at 1:59 am #

    Man oh man, did I find this to be an interesting article for so many reasons.

    First things first, let’s discuss the state of Facebook at the moment: total calamity. Earlier this year when it all proverbially “hit the fan” with Facebook exposing access to the data of 87 million people to Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm. This sparked all sorts of questions and concerns from everyone and anyone: Is Facebook selling my data to others? Who else has access to this information? Do they have my information?

    Because of all of this, Facebook has increasingly grown a bad reputation in 2018 and is desperately trying to rebuild itself through the hoarsely-given responses through Zuckerberg and a overhaul in rebranding, and I can’t say it’s working at the moment. I can’t even tell you of a Generation-Z citizen that uses Facebook more than once a month, let alone trusting the company with any potential data the company might’ve siphoned from said citizens.

    Once that public image of a company starts to become negatively affected, the public will show you how they really feel. As the article says, Facebook seems like a dream job for software developers, seeming like it would be a utopia for the software engineers who have been longing to land a job with one of the “big boys” (among the ranks of Google, Microsoft, SAP, or some other cool company in SoCal). Even an article written by Time.com’s “Money” sector sited Facebook as the #1 Best Place to Work in 2018.

    That article was written in December of 2017, with this article being written November 15th, 2018. Crazy how a year can flip the script right?

    Anyway, I think that this article describes something a lot deeper: the concept of the future generations understanding ethics. This student mentioned in the article could very well make a cool, clean $140K working for Facebook, doing exactly what she planned for and giving her satisfaction (as well as a FAT bank account for a 19 year old). However, she (Niky Arora) doesn’t see it that way. The fact that she is able to distinguish all the trouble that Facebook has had recently and the possible breaches of ethics and is able to tell herself to steer away from Facebook gives me hope for my generation. That is a tough decision to make, and I know that a lot of other kids might have looked into applying and nabbing the position to make a quick buck, but the fact that our generation is starting to care more and more about ethics is a great sign.

    It just goes to show you your company can be great and benefit and spoil its employees to the absolute max, but if the public image isn’t there and your company’s ethics are put into question, then the money and benefits in question might not even matter.

    Schrodt, Paul. “The 100 Best Places to Work in 2018 | Money.” Money, Time.com , 6 Dec. 2017, time.com/money/5047491/the-100-best-places-to-work-in-2018/.

  2. Henry S December 7, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

    I found this article really interesting, as it added a fresh view to the trend I have been tracking og increasing numbers of students seeking jobs in tech. Beyond computer science majors, there are many in the finance world who dream of jumping ship entirely to work at a Facebook, Google or startup. This NYT article reports entry level software engineers earning $140,000 per year, a solid chunk more than entry level investment bankers even with bonus. Until reading this article, I seemed only to hear that a high paying job at a FAANG name was the golden ticket to better work-life balance and a solid paycheck… But this article helped me to question my presupposition.

    As the article reports, it is not the pay or the work-life balance, but rather the changing public perception of Facebook and other tech giants that represents a powerful force pushing students away. The NYT even goes as far as calling the reputation of the company “toxic” and reports that young hires at FB are afraid to share their new jobs with family and friends. It almost sounds like a Wells Fargo or Deutsche Bank situation within finance, in that the jobs still have prestige, but the prestige has been significantly scaled back as “scandal after scandal” break international headlines.

    Across Silicon Valley, the Times reports that career coaches are noting the correlation of tech scandals with the divergence of tech companies’ operations and their mission statements. I thought this finding was pretty interesting. After originally praised by society, I think of movies like “The Social Network” (2010), social media is being vilified. Although denied by companies like FB, perhaps a shrinking talent pool can contribute to a push for the company to behave more ethically.

    We also have a responsibility as society to keep up with how FB and other tech giants are conducting business. If those close to the situation, young software engineers, are raising red flags that something is not right, we need to increase our awareness of the role social media plays in our lives. A digitally literate population maybe the key to ensuring that big tech stays in check.

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