1. Why did I choose Solutions Eng over other offers?
Even though I had multiple job offers with roles ranging from core networking and systems engineering to generic software engineering roles I ended up choosing Solutions Eng at FB. My motivation for doing so was that solutions eng was the only role which could help me build a diverse skill set while working on high impact projects. Being a new grad I wanted to work on my core engineering skills but didn't want it to be the only skill I develop and wanted to touch on business development and project management as well so that down the road I am in a good shape build a startup once I gather enough experience working in industry.
2. My Experience with the team:
In just one year with the team, even though I was coming right out of college I had the opportunity to drive some high impact projects. For example, I led engineering efforts for a Google Tag Manager Integration with Facebook which made it extremely easy for end clients to set up Facebook's targeting code on their website. Within days of its launch, this project started yielding millions of new signals for Facebook to improve relevance of the ads delivered resulting in better return on investments for the advertisers. This project was solely implemented by 2 solution engineers and we took care of backend implementation with API integrations, front end development and post launch growth efforts to make sure project saw adoption. Since then I have shipped two more engineering projects with similar impact opportunities and this is only the 50% for our jobs.
On the client facing front, I traveled to NY and LA offices multiple times to go meet client's CEOs, CTOs etc and discuss with them on a strategic level on what is the roadmap for their companies and if that needs to be tweaked based on our knowledge of where Facebook is headed. These were also good opportunities for me to discuss with them what problems they were facing and what we could build to help accelerate their growth.
3. Role Overview:
Mission statement of our team is to help advertisers grow their business through technology. In order to facilitate that we have an even 50/50 split in coding and client interactions. Half of the time you work with clients in your vertical (for example, somebody in entertainment would work with netflix), observe what their problems are, identify common themes of problems and come up with a solution to solve those problems. Once you have a solution which can either be a new product, addition of a new feature or modification of an existing feature, you connect back to core engineering teams who have little visibility in to client's day to day problems and kick off a collaboration with them to implement your proposed solution. You as the solutions eng are responsible for defining, driving and executing the project which helps you build a range of skills. Even though the scope of project would be smaller than what other Software engineers would work on but you have an accurate idea of the big picture on what needs to happen and why.
In my experience, the great thing about Solutions eng is the autonomy you get. Usually you are the sole person for your vertical so you get to define what do you want to work on based on the potential impact for your vertical. This could be practically anything you think needs to be built as long as you can get buy-ins from all the involved parties like the core product team. Also, once you have built out a project which on average takes like 6 months, you transfer the ownership to the product team to maintain this project so you can move on and go through the cycle of identifying problems and creating solutions.
4. What Solutions Eng is NOT:
Its NOT a support role, even though we have some client support requests come in on and off, it is not supposed to be more than 5% of your job.
We don't develop one off solutions for any particular clients. There are roles with similar names in other companies which involve building one off solutions however our focus is to create solutions which scale to most of the clients in our vertical.
5. Hiring Process: Hiring bar for our team is relatively high since we are looking for technical skills that are on par with other Software engineers Facebook hires so you need to go through all that prep for sure. In addition, you also need to have great communication skills since its a part of the job to regularly communicate with clients. Another important piece that we look for is your business sense since we see solutions engineers as strategic partners for our clients rather than support partners so dont be surprised if you are asked questions like 'What would be your vision as the CEO of Facebook?'
In case you are interested in applying for the role, you can send me your resume and I can relay them to our recruiter to have a look. Email Address is firstname.lastname@example.org and start email subject with "[SolEngLead]" so I know you have read this article.
Here is what Interviewing process with our team looks like:
Online technical challenge
Technical Phone Screen (Same as Software Eng role)
Engineering Interview 1 (Same as Software Eng)
Engineering Interview 2 (Same as Software Eng)
You are given an assignment week before the interview for you to build and bring to this interview. You are asked to demo your application and then within the interview you are asked to add some feature in to your code with open access to google and stack overflow