Google Software Engineer Shares True Blue Wisdom
Franklin & Marshall alum Horace Facey felt at home before ever visiting campus.
“Other schools that accepted me simply sent an email letter. F&M not only shipped a package to me in Jamaica, but it also contained a handwritten note,” said Facey ’19, now a software engineer at Google’s Seattle office.
His path to a career in technology, however, was not as decisive. That’s exactly what inspires Facey to guide current students on their career paths.
“I remember feeling lost at sea while trying to figure out the tech industry,” Facey said.
He found his footing in the industry and eventually landed a post-graduate job as a software engineer at Microsoft before moving to his current role at Google.
“After navigating the process successfully, I decided to share what I learned with others through mentoring. Mentoring has been an excellent way for me to give back and help others navigate the same process,” Facey said.
F&M senior Noah Fox was the first student Facey mentored through the True Blue Network mentorship program, though he has previously provided guidance to other undergraduates aspiring to work in the tech industry. See Noah’s mentorship story.
Horace Facey ’19
- Software engineer at Google
- Current city: Seattle
- Hometown: Spanish Town, Jamaica
- Double major: Chemistry, computer science
Why are you inspired to mentor F&M students?
During my senior year, I remember feeling lost at sea while trying to figure out the tech industry. I realized that tech and software engineering had different hiring cycles, interviewing practices and resume requirements compared to other fields. After navigating the process successfully, I decided to share my learnings with others through mentoring. Mentoring has been an excellent way for me to give back and help others navigate the same process.
Why did you choose to attend F&M?
I found out about F&M while reading a book about the best U.S. colleges for international students. The more I learned about F&M, the more I could envision myself calling it "home" for college. From the close-knit campus, to the small class sizes, to having all classes taught by professors (not teaching assistants), F&M felt like “pedagogy done right.” As an aspiring STEM major, the fact that I would have the chance to do research with the professors definitely sold me.
Describe a day in the life as a software engineer at Google.
Most days, I go into the office because my teammates are cool, and I like interacting with them in person. Also, the fact that the office has free meals means there's one less thing for me to think about. I typically work between 35 to 45 hours per week, depending on my workload.
In terms of what my workday looks like, my days are highly variable depending on where I am in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) for the project I'm working on. If I'm in the initial stages where I've simply been presented with a problem, my day will entail a lot of research and some meetings with stakeholders, trying to understand the problem space and requirements. At the point where I have a good idea of what the solution should be, my days will involve a lot of writing as I design the finer details (Google is very big on writing documents), as well as soliciting input and feedback from peers and technical leads.
Once the design is approved, a typical day will involve tons of coding (this is the part that people tend to associate most with a software engineering job) and reviewing code from my teammates. If I'm mostly just maintaining a project, then my days will involve quick loops of debugging, research and coding.
Overall, on average, I'd say I spend maybe one-third of my time coding, one-third reading and researching and one-third on other tasks like code reviews, looking at customer or production issues and maintaining our infrastructure.
Of note: While at F&M, Facey was a computer science head tutor, student supervisor in the Department of Athletics and Recreation, a housing adviser, and a Hackman Summer Research Scholar as part of Visiting Scholar of Chemistry Alex Davis' research group developing a virtual molecular model kit.
Facey also volunteered at Lancaster nonprofit Attollo Prep (a college access and leadership development program for high school students) as a code facilitator.
“Mentoring has been an excellent way for me to give back.”— Horace Facey ’19
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