Thursday, 10 May 2012

Facebook Part 3 - The Technical Test..... (Prep)

Back by popular demand, I am carrying on my exciting tale of trying out for a job at facebook!

Now how do I say this modestly?  Oh there is no way!  I think I impressed the recruiter, and she started to tell me about the next stage, which would be a technical test over skype with one of the Software Engineers in California.  She suggested as I wasn't used to their style of technical tests that I prepared and practise, she told me that the interview would involve me doing an algorithm.  Ohhhh a proper test, the kind of thing I do every day - writing code!  How exciting!  She told me another HR type person would be in touch with the details.

So that very evening I started googling and I found an interesting book about cracking the Silicon Valley interview.  This is where it all went wrong for me... the book scared me!  Oh did this book scare me!!  It started off by saying that it takes a year to prepare for a Silicon Valley interview.  A YEAR?  I had 2 weeks, at best!  OK, so time to knuckle down and read this book.  As I started to read about linked lists, binary trees and the like, it all started to come back to me from uni, but I was getting through the book slowly as these things were quite rusty in my brain.  I didn't get round to practising many of the exercises and I kept going off on tangents when I came across something that interested me and spent time researching it on line.

A week has passed and I still didn't have a date for the technical test and I eased off the studying for fear of wasting my time.  I gave a gentle nudge to the recruiter, who asked me to contact her again if in a couple of days I hadn't heard anything.  Those couple of days passed and I sent her an email to tell her that I still hadn't heard anything and was starting to think that they'd changed their mind and didn't want to take the process any further.  However that evening I received my date for the technical test.  Just 3 days away.

By this point, I was extremely nervous, felt vastly unprepared - by a total of 50 weeks worth of under prepared-ness.  I'd got myself tremendously excited, this was an opportunity to be taken seriously.  It had gone from a good experience that would also look fabulous on my CV and would open further doors for me in the future, to this company is amazing and I'd like to work for them for the rest of my life.  It wasn't just the free canteen for breakfast, lunch and dinner or the fact that you can drop off your laundry in the morning and have it delivered to your desk.  But the whole ethos of the place.

I was reading about them moving into Sun's old offices (which on another level is kind of sad, as it really brought home to me that Sun are no more and not coming back - RIP Sun!  We all now hate Oracle for what they did to you!)   Anyway when facebook moved into the offices they knocked down all the walls, removed all the offices and had a nice open plan space, to innovate and communicate.  They pulled down one wall to reveal the pipes behind it, to remind everyone that their work is never done and there is always room for improvement.  Everything they seem to do, is to enthuse and try and bring a natural creativity to the organisation.  Black boards coat the corridors with every employee given a box of chalk.

Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it seems the right colour and temperature for me to want to take a sip and see if it tastes as good as it looks.

I had hoped to get to the technical interview in this blog.... seems I'll have to leave that for part 4!!

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