Pivoting to Tech Leads to Co-op and Full-Time Job at Facebook

Yuqi Fang

Yuqi Fang, ME’21, information systems, wanted to pivot her career from psychology to information technology. She joined the information systems program at Northeastern’s Silicon Valley campus, and focused in web development and design. One of Fang’s notable endeavors was a Facebook hackathon, where participants build projects using Facebook programs. She did a co-op with Facebook’s privacy team, and is now a full time software engineer there.

Yuqi Fang, ME’21, information systems, had been working as a high school psychology teacher in Shanghai, China for two and a half years when she decided to change careers. “I was really into technology, so I decided to pivot to tech,” she says.

A friend and Northeastern alumni thought Fang was a good fit for the MS in Information Systems program. The program prepares its students to become leaders in the information technology field by teaching problem-solving abilities and innovative software-development skills, as well as offering help from the extensive alumni network.

“They can provide you with a lot of support,” Fang says. She also heard about the degree’s reputation through other alumni and word-of-mouth. “It really gave me confidence in the program,” she says. Fang jumped at the chance to move to California and attend classes on Northeastern’s Silicon Valley campus. So, she took the plunge and started her program in January 2020.

As part of her master’s program, Fang took web development and web design classes. “When I am building the front end of the website, I like seeing how things change with the code,” she says. In her spare time, Fang also worked on an open-source project and was a part of the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors club.

One of Fang’s notable endeavors was a Facebook hackathon, where participants build projects using Facebook programs. She built an educational robot with the Messenger app. “You can chat with it and it will give you a reply,” Fang says. “It can help you learn about certain topics. When I was a teacher, I had students who wanted to learn about LGBTQ but they didn’t want to publicly talk about it. The robot would be a good way for them to learn about the topic on their own.”

Her various experiences and projects allowed Fang to catch the attention of a Facebook recruiter. In summer 2021, she did a co-op with the company’s privacy team, where she built a testing tool for the team to use when testing parts of the website. Fang valued her time at the company. “I learned how to write codes and collaborate with others in a big company,” she says. After her co-op, Fang was offered a full-time position as a software engineer with Facebook, which she begins after her graduation in December 2021. At that time, she will participate in a “boot camp” to talk to different teams within the company and decide where she will work.

As her time at Northeastern comes to a close, she reflects on her favorite memories. “I really enjoyed the pre-co-op course,” she says. “I didn’t have confidence because I was new to this, but my advisor was encouraging and super supportive.”

Fang also offers advice for students who want to follow the same path as her. “You have to believe in the power of networking,” she says. “Do not be afraid to reach out and show how great you are.”

Related Departments:Multidisciplinary Masters (IT Areas)