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Stuck in bootcamp - What should I do?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [E3] at Meta2 years ago

I joined Meta very recently, so I'm in bootcamp. However, the company just announced a mass hiring freeze, so teams aren't taking in bootcampers at all effectively (there are very few exceptions). It's not clear when this freeze will end. Teams are still giving bootcampers tasks as they understand that we're pretty much "free" labor.

This is such a weird situation, and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I like Meta as a company a lot, but I'm unsure how to make the best of this situation. Any advice?

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(4 comments)
  • 12
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    Staff SWE at Google, ex-Meta, ex-Amazon
    2 years ago

    Ask. Ask your mentor, or another member of the boot camp team. If they don’t know, ask who to ask next. Escalate through your mentor’s mentor and so on. Ask the bootcamp program manager if you need to.

    I had a really hard time with team match. I was told that 4-6 months can start to raise eyebrows. During a hiring freeze it might be even longer. Know what the expectation is, this isn’t just a “you” problem.

    In terms of what to do, find teams to do “free labor” for that you’d like to work for, but be sure that if they don’t accept you it isn’t niche tech. If you want to work on Hack, work in Hack. If mobile, work on mobile. Learn GraphQL, learn about mercurial. Use the tools. Be ready when teams open up hiring. The freeze is unlikely to last forever. If it does, they MIGHT layoff people not allocated to teams but this seems VERY unlikely. If you don’t want to wait around with no permanent team, you could shop other companies but there ARE slowdowns, so that could take a while too.

    Good luck! Don’t worry alone, ask!

  • 10
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago

    This is an extremely weird situation, but I still believe that the best path is to continue being the best software engineer you can be and building deep relationships.

    On top of getting to know the Meta tech stack as Lee mentioned, I would also see this as an opportunity to really make some friends! Get to know your fellow bootcampers, using this as a very interesting point of solidarity. Find bigger bootcamp tasks so you can work with teams more, especially those you like (do a "hack-a-month" project if possible). Talk to the engineers and manager on those teams a lot. Drop in on a couple of their meetings and get to know the vibe. There's nothing stopping you from networking and having a good impact despite all this.

    All that being said, I wouldn't treat bootcamp too much differently compared to what it was before the hiring freeze. It looks like bootcamp will be at least 2-3 months for you, and you're TNTE anyways. The way I see it, you now have more time to make a better team selection decision compared to before (instead of spending just 2-3 days with a team, spend 2-3 weeks).

    It's really hard to predict the future at Meta, but I'm fairly sure the freeze will end by mid-January as that's when the next performance review cycle starts and the entire company revolves around PSC. It would be extremely unfair perf-wise to have bootcampers in purgatory past that as it will be much harder for them to get a good rating for 2023.

    Here's other great resources in Taro about team selection, bootcamp, and networking:

  • 6

    My team (and I know others too) will be creating a large number of bootcamp tasks to deal with this. The tasks, at least in my domain, require some knowledge of ML, flow-cli, and other internal tooling - we didn't have any headcount at the time of the freeze, however engineers are still rewarded when they help bootcampers, so there's that incentive.

    I would say I look back to my bootcamp experience (10 weeks, I was quite nervous by the end as I couldn't find a position I liked), and I think it was really difficult to contribute without the internal tooling knowledge: pick a domain you like and work on it, it's the best way to find yourself in a good team later on.

  • 11
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    Meta, Robinhood, Baidu
    2 years ago

    This is the first time Meta experiences this. Nobody prepared for an answer before all these happened. Ask your mentor. Ask them to escalate if they don't have a clear answer. Mentors meet with coaches weekly. Coaches meet with a few managers that run the whole Bootcamp program weekly. That's the escalation path.

    Tackling Bootcamp tasks might look like free labor but it doesn't mean you are not making any impact. Bootcampers usually start with less urgent tasks but as you learn more and more in Bootcamp you can start tackling more impactful tasks. Ask your mentor to help you find those tasks. Ask people on the team you want to join.

    In the end, it's not about whether you graduate from Bootcamp. It's about whether you are making an indisputable impact. As long as you are making a lot of impacts, regardless of how the company plans for the Bootcamp people will fight for you to have you stay.

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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