As part of our recurring series “Five Minutes With,” we shared a conversation with Jairo S., a product design engineer with Facebook Reality Labs at the Facebook company’s Taiwan office. In this interview, he shares how his passion for engineering and strong team relationships keep him feeling inspired. Read on to learn more about the collaborative work he does with teammates across the globe.
1) What led you to Facebook?
Before joining Facebook, I worked for a well-known technology company in China. I started out working on smartphones and tablets and the nature of my job evolved. Working directly with the factory team instead of being deeply involved on the design side, I realized this was not what I wanted. My true passion is building innovative products, so I decided to return to my roots as an engineer. Fortunately, a former client had recently joined Facebook. He reached out and asked if I'd be interested in considering a product design engineering role.
The more I learned about the job, the more excited I felt. It offered me a chance to not only expand upon my existing engineering skills, but to work on innovative products like Portal that connect people around the world.
2) Tell us a bit about what a typical day is like for you.
I joined Facebook in 2019 as the first engineer for the Product Design team in Taiwan. While I work with different teams in different parts of the world, I’m based in Taiwan. I’ve worked from home since I started in this role, given the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has had a big impact as it forced us to adjust to remote work when a lot of what we do—like visiting factories —has to be put on hold.
Most days, I wake up early so I can sync with my team in Menlo Park about what we need to accomplish that day. Afterwards, I’ll often meet with a product designer to discuss how we can improve the design or performance of a product we’re working on. Throughout the afternoon, I have virtual meetings to talk about packaging or production projects with my manager. I end each day with a team meeting where we confirm the progress we made and plan for the following day.
I like my routine because it keeps me focused, curious, and eager to learn. During the evenings, I spend time working on my English so I can communicate better with all of my teammates.
3) What skills does someone need to succeed on your team?
On top of a strong engineering background, it’s important that each person is a team player. Good interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate clearly are incredibly important for developing relationships and meeting our goals.
My team acts as a bridge between our teams in the Greater China Region and those in the US. Helping navigate the cultural differences is just one of many things that makes our work in Taiwan challenging and fun. Apart from that, we regularly collaborate with manufacturing engineers, the Optical team, and the Quality team, so it’s important that we’re able to connect with people outside of our specific focus area.
4) What inspires you each day? What do you like most about your role?
One of the things I enjoy most about being an engineer is that I’m constantly motivated to learn and grow. I’m especially grateful to work on projects that excite me, and my managers regularly check in to make sure I’m interested in what I’m doing. Sometimes, I find myself intrigued by a product someone else on my team is working on. When that happens, I reach out to my manager to see if I can support the project or get involved too.
I feel extremely empowered to walk my own path. That’s something I hadn’t experienced before I started working at Facebook, and it’s one of the reasons I wake up feeling excited every day.
5) What has surprised you about Facebook? What do you think people should know?
I was surprised to find that my manager cares just as much about me as he does about the products I’m working on. Knowing he wants to see me grow as an engineer motivates me to build great products.
I also have a deep appreciation for my relationships with my colleagues and the strong trust we have in each other. Whenever I need help solving a problem, I know they have my back. My teammates are respectful, tolerant, and friendly. I never feel like I have to be anything but myself.
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