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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Internship at Facebook...
... and why it sucks if articles are edited and published without
consulting the author
This post has the unedited version of an article I
wrote for The Fifth Estate - IITM's campus news
body. I do realize and totally understand that our goals
and motives differ and from T5E's point of view, the
editing was perfectly justified. They want to provide
concise, to the point and factual information useful to


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Memoization made easy
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the reader community (mostly the students), while I

7 lessons I learnt during Facebook


want to insert poor jokes, ill conceived puns, double

Placements Placements!

meaning titles, comp. sci. specific jargon and most

Let no one tell you

importantly, self boasting in as many places as possible.

It hurts

Also, my excessive use of smilies and exclamation

marks probably would not have been suitable for a

Cracking the coding interview[s]


"formal" article. But I kinda sorta believe that you

(sparrow's sorrow)

should write the way you talk. And if you have talked
to me, you would realize that text without exclamation
marks and smilies won't at all sound like it came from me! ;) Having said that, along
with the article, let me discuss what all was edited and why I liked the way it originally
was. Blue's what was edited/chopped off.
They edited my intro!

Sujeet Gholap is a 4th year B.Tech student in Computer Science and

Engineering department. Apart from his goal in life to crack worst PJs
possible, he loves to code, socialize and watch movies. A wannabe
photographer and blogger, he is an emotional fool struggling hard to get
rid of that trait. When not biking around the campus listening to audio
books for hours together, you can catch him in his room crashing off at
unusual timings. After finishing his "official" internship at (now almost
defunct) Yahoo! Labs last year, this year he is doing an internship at...
wait for it... Facebook!

About me
Got a job at Google!
Internship: Facebook
Internship: Yahoo!
My self-image
Brief account of JEE preparation
My awesome teachers
My school days

addon bad design birthday blogger








about me being a PJ maniac and an emotional fool and the useless info that I crash at
arbit times (sleep at unusual timings) in my room was very well justified for removal;
but C'mon! they even removed that I blog. Regarding the audio book listening habit, I
believe it is an interesting piece of information, something which people might not
have thought of before and would like to do. Sad that they had to remove it as well.



life logic memoization

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listening to audio books. Read great books while you burn away your calories, not to

books does not compare well with listening to audiobooks, but still one can look at it




and all the seven Artemis Fowl books that way. No denying the fact that reading


facebook family fantasy fiction

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post html hypocrisy IAS IITM india

After all, I spent countless hours biking around the institute's beautiful campus
mention the dose of refreshing air! I listened to all the three Lord Of The Rings books




It was so exciting to write about myself in third person! Well, agreed that the part





tricks tutorial



USA userscript yahoo

Blog Archive
2015 ( 4 )




as a handy and useful optimization. I must agree that these guys at T5E are pretty

2014 ( 23 )

good at chopping off narcissistic statements. As much as I would like to boast that last

2013 ( 28 )

year, I did an internship at this awesome research lab they call Yahoo! Labs, it did not

2012 ( 22 )

escape their scissors either.

December ( 5 )
October ( 3 )

Selection, sort of...

September ( 1 )

Looks like it should be a matter of pride for our insti[tute] that out of
total 9 interns from India, 4 are from IITM! Being a part of the

August ( 4 )

Internship Representatives team, I can safely say that the Facebook

July ( 2 )
7 lessons I learnt during
Facebook internship

internship selection procedure was the most mysterious and quirkiest of

all. There was an initial online coding round hosted on Interview Street

Internship at Facebook...

along the lines of programming contests. Unlike the year before when
they had given an NP complete problem and no one could get through,

May ( 4 )

this year's problem was relatively easy... out of the 50+ participants, only

April ( 1 )

one (Arijit, who represented India in the world finals of International

March ( 2 )

Collegiate Programming Contest) could solve the problem! Surprisingly,

his name was not there in the initial list of shortlisted candidates! Of
course, once brought to their notice, they included it, but the mystery of
the basis of selection remains. One can not but notice that none of the
shortlisted candidates had a CGPA below 9, although nothing can be
concluded from that (but it won't hurt to say that a good CGPA is
always a plus). The next two rounds consisted of online technical
interviews by Facebook hackers. For most of the part, the questions were
of low to moderate difficulty level and anyone with a fair grasp of
algorithms and data structures would be able to solve them. The
interviewers were friendly and encouraged you to think aloud, and
helped out in reasoning process. After joining Facebook and talking to

2011 ( 15 )

Getting into IIT (?)

First standard to IIT (a whirlwind

Javascript Function documentation

the recruiters, we found out that during the interview, apart from
correctness of the solutions, the key things they look for are whether the
candidate uses meaningful variable and function names, whether the
candidate splits the code into manageable and meaningful functions et
cetra (unless of course you solve a N^2 problem in N*log(N))
Coming to the heavily edited second paragraph, they edited my favorite title! When
you make "Selection, sort of..." into "The selection process", you have already lost a
reference to our good old familiar selection sort! And the contents of this paragraph
were, in my opinion, turned upside down. Again, I can understand them removing my
attempted boasting about being an "Internship Representative"; but conveying
something totally different than what was intended is something they should have
watched out for. First, it was annoying when I got blocked on a small detail about the
selection process. As much as hate waiting on others, after I had written the article, I
waited for three whole days just to get confirmation of what I was going to put in the
article was factually correct and not just a theory (as it turned out, it was a wrong
theory and good that I waited before going ahead and submitting the article). All this
was no use! At the end, the T5E version ended up concluding blatantly that "CGPA
matters for FB internship". All I was saying is that "look, shit happens! And however
rarely, when it happens, it might have helped us just a tiny bit that we had a good
CGPA". To put it plainly, although for such kind of internships, your coding skills are
of paramount importance, this year, due to various funny circumstances, Facebook
ended up selecting based on an unknown and mysterious criterion. I know that this is
no help for aspiring interns, but after all those are the facts. Also, it is not every year
that a team from our insti competes in ICPC wold finals, something to be proud of,
but alas! references to that were removed too.




The "main course"

The sheer diversity of the enormous amount of work being done at
Facebook makes it impossible to single out a course from department
curriculum as the most important course. But as far my work here is
concerned, Principles of Software Engineering is the only relevant one.
And although depending on the project other courses might gain
importance, the aforementioned course is simply indispensable. The
associated lab, if done with sincerity and interest, helps immensely while
working here, where wading through millions of lines of code and
pursuing apparently bizarre bugs is the rule of the day. The concepts of
modularity, object orientation, separation of concerns, orthogonality of
modules taught in class come in handy when you want your code to get
shipped as quickly as possible.
Okay, agreed that "The 'main course'" is a pretty lame title, still, it had double
meaning :P and the sacred word for every programmer : main!
Making a mark
The biggest plus point of working at Facebook, in my opinion, is what
I would call "instant gratification by amplification of impact"! To put it
simply, within a week of joining, the code which you have written goes
live and the mere fact that around 900 million people are using your
code and potentially benefitting from it makes your chest swell with
pride. My internship started off with fixing tiny annoyances here and
there on the site and making small small changes here and there. These
small tasks helped me get comfortable with the code base and gave me a
sense of getting some work done simultaneously. As far as my project
and other projects which I am working on are concerned, all I can say is
keep your fingers crossed! This brings me to another cool aspect of
working here : you get to be on the bleeding edge of Facebook! You get
to see the new and shiny features as they evolve, get polished, and
ultimately shipped. For the last year interns, it was timeline, this year it is
something, and next year it would be something else!
Here, again, the part about working on the bleeding edge features was completely
dropped! In my opinion, even from a student's point of view, that description would
have been exciting and enticing. Making one feel like doing an internship at Facebook.
I seriously have no damn clue why it did not get through.
Bad allocation
I was given a choice of working on either a C++ backend project or a
frontent project involving PHP, CSS, HTML and JS. Having seen how
frustrating working with C++ can be, I chose the later. My project was
split roughly into two loosely coupled sub project. Halfway through the
internship when I was done with the initial prototype of my project, we
came to know that another intern from the photos team was working on
a project exactly same as the first part of mine! Boom! The approach
taken by our team was to build the feature from scratch, while photos
team had some tools already built up, which they intended to use for the
same thing. And just like that, I had to chuck away my code, forget
about the first part, jump onto the second part of the project, which later
would be integrated into the Andrew's (the other intern) work... Good?
Bad? Who knows! I was relieved! Half the workload!




Of events and listeners

Always abuzz with various activities, the company has events for
everyone. If you are a good listener, you stand to accumulate a lot of
technical know how. The various talks ranging from the first in which
they told various ways to get fired to how javascript can be made to
work at blazing speeds are interesting and captivating. Even better,
interns have many more events arranged especially for them. Those
included outings to places like the golden gate bridge, the aclatraz island
and yosemite national park. Not to forget team specific events, just last
month my team went on "cooking wars", where we were split into
groups and each group was given a professional chef for guidance, the
team to cook the most delicious food being the winner. No wonder that
the group yours truly was part of "almost" won! One of the biggest
annual events at Facebook, the game day, aslo happens to be during the
internship time. The whole company is split up in four giant teams which
compete against each other in an outdoor festival consisting of an
assortment of games like capture the flag, tug of war, football oops...
soccer. Enthusiastic people go overboard with their team pride and paint
themselves with as much of team color as possible. From my picture at
the beginning at the blog post, you could guess that I was part of the
blue team, which, again "almost" won! Another event worth highlighting
here is the weekly Q&A sessions with Mark Zuckerberg, where he and
the management team answer any questions asked my employees. Just
for the heck of having a conversation with Mark, I asked him what he
thinks about the domain name ""! No need to say that a burst
of laughter followed. It is truly amazing, the amount of transparency and
sense of truest the company has internally. For people who work there,
there are no company secrets and no question is a forbidden question.
During one of these sessions, somebody even asked Mark about his
honeymoon plans!
Apart from the main routine of code - get reviewed - ship - code, one
can easily arrange for a colossal waste / quality investment of time here
at Facebook. There are arcade gaming machines, tabels full of
chessboards, cabinets filled with interesting technical books, a slew of
board games, not to mention foosball and pool table, heck! they even
have a piano lying around! And if you are into food, or for that matter
getting as much food into you as possible, again, you are at the right
place! Every floor of all the buildings have several places called microkitchens where you can find racks full of various chocolates and chips,
fridges overflowing with soft drinks as well as energy drinks not to
mention some three various types of milk and seasonal fruits. At the
same time, it can get quite frustrating for vegetarians when many of the
times you get sick of the bland veg food and end up eating pizzas all the
time! Yep, they have a free pizza shop and burrito bar which come to
rescue of poor vegetarians like me.
"Coroutines" made much more than just sense here... Y U change it??
Continuation or a breakpoint?
Unlike other tech companies, Facebook does not have a separate
procedure for offering jobs for interns. There are no additional interviews
or tests to be written. You are judged by how you have worked during
your internship here, how is your code in general, your enthusiasm level




and your tendency to take initiatives et cetra. If they are satisfied, you will
be made an offer you can't refuse. That's it!
The US of A
Initially it took time to get over the feeling of everything being so
damn expensive. It was quite some time before I stopped thinking like
"Oh my god! A sandwich for 500 rupees!". But once you get over the
habit of converting everything into rupees, life in US is pretty smooth.
Once you have a bike, you are all set to go! Roaming around in the
sprawling lush green campus of Stanford University, hanging out in San
Francisco and window shopping in huge malls keeps your mind at calm
and at peace. Silicon valley and especially Menlo Park is very neat and
beautiful. Clean and broad roads, flowers everywhere, huge trees and
noise free trafic make you want to keep on biking. Facebook sure knows
how to pamper the interns. They housed us in an expensive corporate
housing which costs around 3.6k USD per month! Another thing I found
to be noteworthy and sorely lacking back in India is tap water is potable
Pascal said, what BEGINs must come to an END
So let me conclude by narrating an interesting incident. It was late in
night and we were coming back from theater after watching "Avengers".
Aboard the the Stanford shuttle (insti bus), a man suddenly started
talking animatedly to us interns! (I was the only one from IITM gang
present, most other interns being from Canada) He said, and let me
quote, "Do you know, in India, there are these schools called IITs, damn
talented people I tell you! There was this guy from IIT Madras, genius!
Went back to India to help his people after studying here and now he is
big shot there. What Stanford needs is more IITians..." That was the
proudest I ever felt to be an IITian! :)
The funniest part? The did not spot "... Having seen how frustrating working with
C++ can be, I chose the later..."
Posted by Sujeet Gholap at 7/19/2012 12:56:00 PM
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Labels: experiences , opinion


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Rakesh Misra July 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM
I would have loved to see the title of the 3rd section written as "Making a Mark". That would
have been a zucking good pun! :D



Sujeet Gholap

July 19, 2012 at 6:29 PM

What else did you think I was referring to? Just thought a capital M would be not
subtle at all.

Shachit Iyer July 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM

An interesting and well conveyed anecdote on your sojourn there. Kudos!!

paras rautela October 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

What is the procedure for getting intern qt facebook?

Mohamed Rafeek December 16, 2012 at 4:48 AM

i would like to make internship with fb so how do i can ??? help me

Sujeet Gholap

December 16, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Hi Mohamed,
In my case, Facebook came to campus to recruit for internships. If that is not the case with your
Also, if you have someone who knows you at facebook, you could get them to refer you.
(Referral does not imply internship, it just implies that chances of you getting interviewed will be
much greater)

arvind.k March 6, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Hi Sujeet, nice post :)
Do they look at CG for internship??
Do they look at CG in the employee referral route? Please reply!

Sujeet Gholap

March 6, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Hi Arvind,
For internship, at least in the campus procedure, your Cumulative Grade Point Average, is
definitely one of the many factors involved in selection.



I am not aware of the workings of the employee referral routes.

gpalve July 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Jinklas mitra !!

aashna November 15, 2013 at 10:07 PM

I am a 3rd year computer science student , Btech. I am trying for internship at Facebook and
need your help regarding it.
I have cleared the online coding round at Interview Street and also the first technical interview. I
had my 2nd interview 3 days back and the results are awaited. I just want to know how tough
are the recruiters and do I hold any chances if I did both the questions correct?

Sujeet Gholap

November 16, 2013 at 7:23 AM

If you did the questions in the interviews correct, don't worry too much about it. You
should have quite a good chance of making it to the 3rd interview.
All the best!

aashna November 16, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Sir thanks for the reply.
How many rounds are there exactly? I thought there are only two of them

Sujeet Gholap

November 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Varies from two to three

aashna December 22, 2013 at 4:14 AM

Hi Sir,
I gave the interviews as discussed with you previously, the recruiter went on a leave
for 1 month till 16th December, I mailed her for her response but there is no reply yet.
I even mailed to two more recruiters but didn't get a reply from anywhere. Its been 5
weeks I have not been informed of the results. What should I do?

Sujeet Gholap

December 22, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Hi Aashna,
Right now, here it is holiday time. Even I am waiting for a couple of companies to get
back to me about internship interview results. Don't worry, the latest it would be is by
first week of January. Till then, keep this topic off your head.

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