Social networking giant Facebook visited UOW yesterday (Wednesday 11 December) to recruit students and alumni and to give a behind-the-scenes insight into the world of code behind the site that boasts 1.19 billion active monthly users.

UOW network engineer graduate Mr Cooper Lees, now an operations engineer who works on Facebook’s site reliability, returned to UOW to share his story – from how he got his big break to what it takes to work for the California-based conglomerate that collected US$5.1 billion last year.

Before meeting with UOW’s best and brightest information science students, Facebook engineering manager Mr Joel Pobar gave guests an insight into Facebook’s fast-moving software engineering culture.

“A few billion likes and a few hundred million photos uploaded a day. A hundred or so petabytes of [questionable] data and a handful of power hungry datacentres. And it’s all humming while code is being written and deployed twice daily without users noticing,” Mr Pobar said.

Dean of Engineering and Information Sciences at UOW, Professor Chris Cook, said the event was an exciting opportunity for students and recent graduates to get their foot in the door at the world’s largest social media company.

“The world is changing fast and we want to make sure our graduates are well aware of and can contribute to the science and technologies which are having such great social and technological impacts. Facebook of course is one of the most powerful and instructive examples of how entrepreneurs and researchers can change the world and we are very pleased indeed to be hosting this visit by Facebook to our University.”

Associate Professor Daniel Saffioti, who holds dual roles in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering and as Deputy Director of UOW’s Information Technology Services, said the event was an “excellent opportunity for our talented IT students to get out there and show the world what they can do”.

Director of Advancement, Ms Monique Harper-Richardson, who manages alumni relations at UOW, said she was thrilled that Mr Lees was returning to UOW to help give a helping-hand to the next generation.

“The University of Wollongong produces the highest number of IT graduates out of any NSW university and many of them are now working with the world’s best – companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon – and many have developed their own successful startups,” Ms Harper-Richardson said.

“Cooper is a great example of a UOW graduate at the top of his game just a few years after graduating. We are thrilled he has returned to UOW to speak to the next generation.”