Facebook’s Mobile Advertising Interface Was Built By Interns

By Justin Lafferty 

Interns at Facebook are responsible for much more than getting coffee and making copies. They make valuable contributions. Peter Cottle, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkleley, and future Facebook engineer, reflected on his internship with the social network, writing that himself and another intern were responsible for most of the work on the site’s first mobile advertising interface.

Even Cottle (pictured), who will join Facebook full-time next spring, admitted that he didn’t expect to make much of an impact when he began his internship. He thought he would be testing already-established programs or writing documentation.

The powers-that-be had something else in mind for Cottle: to design Facebook’s first mobile advertising interface. He worked together with another intern, Leo Mancini, who was responsible for the mobile interface’s page insights experience.

For my internship project, I was tasked with implementing the promoted posts feature inside the pages manager for iOS application.

The implementation of this project was no small challenge. To deliver this product from end to end, I needed a performant client-side UI, API endpoints capable of scaling with the load, and a design that could internationalize to all of our page admins. What was great about this multidisciplinary work was that I received mentorship, collaboration, advice, and feedback at every corner of the company. The platform team helped me design and secure the necessary endpoints to deliver data to clients. The internationalization team collaborated with me to guarantee that our interface could perform with different currencies and budget scales, and the payments team helped optimize the UI flow for new advertisers.

Cottle wrote that the internship experience mirrors what has been written about the day-to-day lives of Facebook employees — equal parts work and play. He noted that in between writing code and prototyping touch gestures, he chowed down on ribs, played foosball, and participated in the intern hackathon.

Readers: How did your internship experience compare with Cottle’s?

 Images courtesy of Facebook.