After a downturn in revenue during 2022, Meta, the company formerly called Facebook, announced that they would freeze hiring of new employees and are expected to cut their headcount throughout the next few years.
The New York Times reported that Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Meta, “froze hiring for engineers and low-level data scientists” in May, and he told employees in September that this would continue with current teams getting slimmed down.
Business Insider has also reported that Meta has canceled job offers close to the start dates for low-level positions. Additionally, a spokesperson for the company said they were pulling internship offers as well.
As a lucrative company for computer science majors, many Tech students seek internships or entry level jobs from Meta. While the hiring freeze may affect all levels of the company, prospective students at the Institute have acutely felt its impact.
“Around July, [Meta] announced that they would be delaying our return offers until December because of headcount,” said Joyce Deng, third-year CS and an intern at Meta for the past two summers.
Deng and the other interns realized they may not get return offers at all for the coming year, but says she is lucky that she is only trying to get another internship and not a full-time offer from the company.
“A lot of people who were trying to get a full-time offer have already gotten rejected because of headcount issues,” Deng said. “I think Meta may only be giving out very select number of offers to interns who got the highest performance rating and interns who started before a certain date.”
While Deng is worried about her chance to continue working at the company, she says her experiences at Meta have been overwhelmingly positive. She was able to cultivate her skills in coding, work on projects and the internships had a lot of benefits for their workers.
“I’m very fortunate that I was able to take two years at Meta and I’m not starting as a junior in my recruitment process,” Deng said. “I have past experience at a great company under my belt.”
Although Deng had an excellent experience working at an information technology company, the computer science industry can be intimidating as a field dominated by men. This is also true for the CS department at Tech, which enrolls almost three times as many male undergraduates as females. While Deng believes Tech has made some steps in terms of gender diversity in the College of Computing, she admits that women and non-binary students are treated differently than their male peers sometimes.
Cathy Foss, fourth-year CS, shared what it means to be a woman in computer science at Tech.
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve experienced any blatant discrimination [at Tech], but I definitely feel like walking into class I’m an outsider,” Foss said. “The classes are always male dominated. They are always nice to me, but I always end up in an all-girl group doing group projects.”
She also added that her male classmates “think that [she’s] not a serious student,” but feels inspired by “seeing other women like me in computer science.”
A highlight in her time at the College of Computing has been this year when she was sponsored to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) in September.
Started in 1994, the celebration is an event and conference that invites women and non-binary people from across the world to network and learn more about the field of computer science.
Multiple speakers talked at the event and companies sponsor the celebration and recruit during the Career Exposition.
“I have never seen so many women passionate about the same thing as I am, and getting to hear from other people, like other girls my age or other women, [and] hearing what they’ve accomplished is just so, so inspiring,” Foss said.
The GHC also seeks to include and uplift minority women and non-binary people who are underrepresented in computer science. Along with speakers and programs designed for underrepresented minorities, the GHC also awards scholarships to prospective attendees from these groups to encourage their participation in the computer science industry.
Ebube Uwechia, third-year CS, shared how being a Black woman in computer science can feel isolating at the Institute.
“I found friends in my classes who are also Black and women, so we all work together by default,” Uwechia reflected. “If I’m in classes without them, I realized that I’m looking at a bunch of Asian people and white people.”
Uwechia also added that there were few Black or Hispanic women in any of her CS classes, and she was the only girl on her team during a summer internship at Oracle Corporation.
For this school year, just under 15% of the women majoring in CS at Tech identified as Black or Hispanic, not counting individual students who identified with two or more races.
While Meta was a sponsor of the GHC, Foss said they did not appear to be recruiting at the Career Expo probably due to the company’s current hiring freeze.
Increased uncertainty posed from prominent companies in the field can create another barrier to women and non-binary people in computer science and will maintain the skewed demographics of the industry.
More information about the 2022 GHC in Florida and resources for underrepresented minority students to get involved with the organization can be found at ghc.anitab.org.