I worked at Google for several years and moved to FB for a year now. Though they are two of the best companies to work for, the differences are like night and day! I didn’t expect it to be so different. I thought Google would be my end all be all but after years of being recruited by FB, I decided to give it a try. I wouldn’t have thought it, but I personally felt I found a company better than Google - at least for me. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked google but I’m much more proud and engaged at fb even after a year here. Since I’ve left, google has asked me twice to come back...
For those who’ve worked at both, what are the pros and cons of both? Do you prefer one over the other? Would you go back to the first company or are you happy where you’re at?
What I like more at Google:
- Higher density of senior engineers
- Infrastructure is way more stable.
- Diversity of products to work on. At FB there are many things to work on, but ultimately you'll be working on a social network product.
- Engineering offices around the globe if I want to transfer it off the bay area.
- Monthly RSU vesting
- Work directly on my server
- GSuite (at Facebook I had to use MS office, Outlook, Quip...)
- People care about quality way more. At FB nobody really cared about writing tests.
- Peer review cycles in March instead of December.
- Levels are visible (you can opt out tho) while at Facebook they are completely hidden and you are not supposed to tell your level to others.
- Complexity over "impact". At Facebook people were encouraged to focus on short term projects so they could show user impact in every cycle. At Google people are usually expected to work on more complex, longer term problems.
What I miss about FB:
- Food is definitely better. I am actually not a big fan of foods provided by tech companies but Google's food is complete crap when compared to FB's, specially if you are not vegetarian.
- Facebook's microkitchens are an order of magnitude better.
- I like zuck's leadership style.
- Memes when reviewing/accepting diffs
- Easier to find tools for a specific task. Google has lots of different tools trying to do the same thing and it's quite confusing.
- Their stack makes it easy to prototype new tools. You literally just write a few lines of php and it is working.
- People seemed more friendly overall.
- Using FB@Work is awesome for work. You can effectively do any kind of communication there. At Google we still rely too much on mail lists, like we were in the 90's.
- It's a huge corporation that still felt like a startup. Google not so much.
All in all I don't regret going to Google. As a backend engineer I'm really happy with the stable infra and the SREs helping keeping the services up. However I still think FB is a great company and would consider going back one day when I feel like I'm done with Google.