Why you should work at Facebook over Apple

Why you should work at Facebook over Apple

Summary: If you had to pick between a job at Facebook or Apple, which would you choose? An engineer that has worked at both companies says the two are great, but the former should be your first choice.


Here's an interesting question I found on Quora: "Which is the better run company, Facebook or Apple?" It was posted over a month ago, but a solid answer was just posted this past weekend.

Facebook engineer Wei Yeh has worked at both companies. He first worked as a Software Engineer Intern for Apple between May 2008 and July 2010, and then as a Software Engineer between July 2010 and April 2011. Later that month, he moved to Facebook and is still working there today.

Without further ado, here's Yeh's answer to the Apple versus Facebook question:

I was fortunate to have worked at both Apple (2 years interning, less than 1 year full-time) and Facebook (almost 1 year now) as a software engineer.

Both companies are extremely well-run and very successful at building amazing products for millions of users. Both have incredibly smart, talented, and passionate employees who absolutely love working there. Both have revolutionary leaders and senior execs that constantly push the boundaries. And, both make products users go crazy over.

As an employee, the biggest difference between the two is internal communication: Apple is very secretive to its own employees, while Facebook trusts its employees enough to communicate openly with them.

At Apple, I worked on an internal Mac OS crash aggregation and reporting website, and got minimal visibility on the company's product plans. Everything is "Need to Know Confidential". If you didn't need to know it to get your job done, well, you wouldn't find out. The teams in my department didn't see new Lion features until the day Steve announced it on stage, even though we'd been living on and testing new builds daily, and never got to see new hardware. You had to pass through badged door after badged door to get anywhere. You couldn't get into most parts of campus. I was not allowed in the iOS areas, even though people from iOS teams could come by the Mac OS areas. We all worked in offices, sometimes shared with one or two other people, so we didn't end up socializing too much. In all my time there, I saw Steve Jobs just a handful of times, but only heard him speak just once to interns. Apple felt very closed to its own employees and I felt like I was just another cog in the machine.

At Facebook, I'm a UI Engineer working on Timeline. In terms of internal communication, Facebook is the complete opposite of Apple, and it's really a breath of fresh air. As an employee at Facebook, you have very good visibility into the company's plans and are constantly informed about what's going on across the company. Everyone sits in open areas, which works wonders for collaborating, brainstorming, and socializing. Your coworkers are your friends and family. Mark Zuckerberg answers any questions from employees at the weekly Q&A on Fridays. At Facebook, I feel like I'm truly part of the company.

It's hard to say which company is better run. But, in terms of employee morale, it's pretty clear Facebook beats Apple here.

Apple and Facebook have a complicated relationship, as you can see in the links below.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apple

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • Latter?

    As I read it, the former would be the better choice, unless you enjoy wading through shroud after shroud on the way to your Dev cave.
    • Fixed

      Sorry about the typo.
      • There is another point of view, which reflects that even if you do not know

        ... what others do at Apple, you still think of yourself as part of the company, which moves the world forward.

        Facebook develops a lot of interesting services, this company's main progress in social networks already happened with the very fact of FB's appearance and existence.

        Apple's push for progress was/is multifactored, so "[b]you should work at Apple[/b]".
      • DeRSSS: did you work for both Facebook and Apple?

        No? Then I'll take the word of someone who did over the word of someone who didn't.
  • Why you should work at Facebook over Apple

    Well that all depends on if Facebook will have their security raid your department and take your cell phones because of a suspected leak.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Forget your department, how about your house

    car, wife's underwear drawer, etc. Funny how the last iPhone and now iPad came out with nothing knew that everyone didn't already know about way ahead of time but the secrecy kept them from addressing the overheating problem ahead of GA.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Overheating overblown

      Over 3 million sold and a few have overheating issues. I don't see that as a widespread problem.
  • No wonder he hated working at Apple, he was bored out of his mind

    "At Apple, I worked on an internal Mac OS crash aggregation and reporting website"

    Since we are constantly told that OS X never crashes, he must have been bored out of his mind. What I would like to know is why Apple wasted any time on a website that they knew would never get used even once.

    Unless OS X does crash?