Meet 16 Most Important Facebook Engineers
Meet 16 Most Important Facebook Engineers. Know 16 of Facebook’s most important engineers, working on its biggest products and guiding its future.
Table of Contents
- 1 Meet 16 Most Important Facebook Engineers
- 1.0.1 1. Yael Maguire wants to connect billions of people to the internet (and Facebook) for the first time.
- 1.0.2 2. Lars Backstrom, who keeps the News Feed ticking along.
- 1.0.3 3. Maher Saba is building the tech underpinning one of Facebook’s big bets — video.
- 1.0.4 4. Raymond Endres, a Microsoft veteran stewarding one of Facebook’s biggest apps.
- 1.0.5 5. David Mortenson is an engineer who empowers other engineers.
- 1.0.6 6. Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger is still its techie-in-charge.
- 1.0.7 7. Pedro Canahuati’s team helps keeps Facebook safe from Russian hackers and other bad actors.
- 1.0.8 8. Jason Taylor oversees the infrastructure for Facebook’s AI.
- 1.0.9 9. Rajeev Rajan is helping Facebook go toe-to-toe with Craigslist.
- 1.0.10 10. Vladimir Fedorov keeps Facebook’s advertising juggernaut running.
- 1.0.11 11. John Carmack is a games industry legend tackling gaming’s next frontier — virtual reality.
- 1.0.12 12. Nam Nguyen is the head honcho when it comes to software engineering for the Facebook platform.
- 1.0.13 13. Vijaye Raji is leading Facebook’s gaming efforts, from streaming to Farmville.
- 1.0.14 14. Rafa Carmago is guiding the engineers building Facebook’s next generation of hardware products.
- 1.0.15 15. Nitin Gupta oversees engineering at 1.5-billion-user messaging app WhatsApp.
- 1.0.16 16. James Everingham is helping Facebook dive into the wild world of blockchain.
Meet 16 Most Important Facebook Engineers
Facebook can be heaven for software engineers.
The Silicon Valley tech giant provides the opportunity to work on some of the most challenging and pressing issues in computer science today, and has nurtured a culture that venerates technical talent. That talent, in turn, builds the apps and services that have made Facebook and its subsidiaries so vital to our digital lives.
But out of Facebook’s legions of engineers, who are names you absolutely need to know?
Business Insider has tracked down 16 of the most important engineers at the company, from those maintaining its core products of today, to those leading the charge on its most ambitious moonshots.
These are all people that work directly in engineering roles for specific products and areas; they might not be guiding product strategy or calling the shots at the end of the day — but they are the figures who are stewarding Facebook’s engineering efforts, and keep the leviathan running.
In order to focus on the people actually on the ground, this list also omits leadership figures like Mark Zuckerberg, who have technical backgrounds but are no longer involved in the day-to-day nitty-gritty of engineering, as well as top execs like Jay Parikh or Mike Schroepfer who oversee technical aspects of the business but have a broader focus.
Keep reading to see the full list — but first, did we miss anyone? Contact the author at email@example.com or +1 (650) 636-6268 (Cell/Signal/WhatsApp) from a non-work phone with any feedback or tips.
1. Yael Maguire wants to connect billions of people to the internet (and Facebook) for the first time.
Facebook announced it was ending its plans to build wireless-internet-beaming drones in June 2018, after Business Insider reported on upheaval at the project, but its broader connectivity efforts are anything but dead.
In its efforts to provide internet connectivity to the billions of people who aren’t online yet, the company is exploring a number of areas — from urban wireless internet hardware, to working in partnership with third-party companies developing aerial-vehicle-mounted connectivity solutions.
The engineering behind all this is managed by Yael Maguire, a grad of MIT and Queen’s University, who cofounded and worked as CTO at RFID chip startup ThingMagic before joining Facebook in 2012.
MIT Technology Review once described him as “a technological omnivore … [who] moves fearlessly among fields such as physics, engineering, biology, and software design.”
2. Lars Backstrom, who keeps the News Feed ticking along.
Lars Backstrom leads engineering efforts on one of Facebook’s most biggest products, also often its most controversial — the News Feed. Over the past year or so, the company has been under intense scrutiny over the feed’s role in the spread of misinformation, from Russian propaganda to homegrown conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.
Backstrom’s role means he is, according to his LinkedIn, “responsible for all ranking and backend infrastructure in News Feed” — he’s the guy who makes sure it’s all chugging along.
Backstrom, a VP of engineering, has been in that role since August of 2013, but has worked at Facebook since 2009. Before that he built backend infrastructure for the People You May Know feature, and managed the News Feed Ranking and Feed Ads engineering teams.
He has also written academic papers about Facebook, including “Romantic partnerships and the dispersion of social ties: A network analysis of relationship status on Facebook,” and “Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle.”
Backstrom earned a doctorate in computer science from Cornell University.
3. Maher Saba is building the tech underpinning one of Facebook’s big bets — video.
Facebook has expended vast amounts of effort and capital in the last few years making a push into video, from building out a livestreaming platform that competes with Twitter’s Periscope and Amazon’s Twitch, to enlisting legacy media partners to create bespoke shows for its video platform, Facebook Watch.
Shepherding the engineering efforts that underpin this is Maher Saba, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Purdue Austin, who did roughly decade-long stints at IBM and Microsoft before joining Facebook in November 2013.
He’s a VP of Engineering who handles “Facebook Videos, Live, and News,” and describes himself as an “engineer leader who is looking for elegant solutions to complex software problems.”
4. Raymond Endres, a Microsoft veteran stewarding one of Facebook’s biggest apps.
Before Raymond Endres joined Facebook, he was a Microsoft veteran, working for the Seattle tech titan from 1991 through the June of 2011 — a whopping 20 years. He held an array of roles while at there, from a software design engineer working on Windows 3.1 to a development manager on Windows Live.
At Facebook, Endres is the VP of Engineering for Messenger.
Originally just a messaging service bolted onto the side of Facebook’s core social network, Messenger has only grown in prominence in recent years as it’s become a smash-hit app in its own right.
Today, Messenger has more than 1.3 billion users.
5. David Mortenson is an engineer who empowers other engineers.
Facebook’s army of engineers can’t do their jobs unless they’re given the proper tools to do so — and that’s where David Mortenson comes in.
He’s VP of engineering for the Developer Infrastructure team, which builds the digital scaffolding to support the rest of the company’s engineers. As he puts it on his LinkedIn, “the mission of the team is to make Facebook engineers extremely productive so that as a company we can build fast and delightful products that give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Before joining Facebook in 2011, Mortenson worked at Microsoft as a director of development, and he studied computer science at the Univerité de Sherbrooke and the University of Washington.
6. Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger is still its techie-in-charge.
Mike Krieger, CTO, Instagram.
Mike Krieger is one half of the two-man founding team of Instagram, the wildly popular social network that Facebook acquired for $1 billion in 2012. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur continues to serve as its chief technology officer (CTO).
In an interview with The Independent in 2017, Krieger said his key advice for other founders is “don’t try to become too big too quickly,” and that “it’s very important that users feel a connection to the people behind the product.”
True to form, he now has almost 3 million followers on Instagram — and even his dog Juno is a minor celebrity on the platform, with more than 10,000 followers.
Before the Instagram days began in 2010, Krieger worked as a user experience designer and engineer at now-defunct messaging service Meebo, as an oral communications tutor at Stanford University, and as an intern at Microsoft.
7. Pedro Canahuati’s team helps keeps Facebook safe from Russian hackers and other bad actors.
Facebook’s scale means the company battles serious security threats on a daily basis; in a recently leaked memo, now-former chief security officer Alex Stamos remarked that “I’ve spent 75% of my youngest child’s life as the CISO of companies in battle with the Russian intelligence services.”
The man leading Facebook’s engineering security efforts is Pedro Canahuati, in charge of guarding the social network’s infrastructure against everything from amateur hackers to hostile foreign powers. He’s a nine-year Facebook veteran who worked on site reliability engineering before transitioning to security in 2016, and was director of operations as social media site Buzznet before joining.
Canahuati is an alumni of the University of Maryland (Computer Science) and the American InterContinental University (Information Technology).
8. Jason Taylor oversees the infrastructure for Facebook’s AI.
Over the past few years, artificialiIntelligence (AI) has been baked into Facebook’s products deeply, from automatically moderating terror-group linked content, to scanning and describing photographs to blind users.
Helping maintain the infrastructure that allows Facebook’s engineers to use AI is Jason Tayor, a vice president of infrastructure at the company. He was CTO of card-printing company ink2 until 2009, and founder of gift certificate platform Lucidity before that.
He has a PhD from MIT in Quantum Computers and Ultrafast Lasers, and studied electrical engineering, physics, and math at Vanderbilt University.
9. Rajeev Rajan is helping Facebook go toe-to-toe with Craigslist.
Facebook is well-known for putting a heavy emphasis on growth, and is constantly searching for new areas to expand into. Marketplace, launched in late 2016, is Facebook’s answer to Craigslist — a listing service where Facebook users can buy and sell anything from old comics to cars.
Rajeev Rajan joined Facebook in July 2017, and is the head of engineering for the product.
It’s only the second company he’s worked from since graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994 — for more than 20 years he worked at Microsoft, from a software engineer to the director of engineering on Office 365.
10. Vladimir Fedorov keeps Facebook’s advertising juggernaut running.
Advertising is the multi-billion-dollar juggernaut that keep’s Facebook’s lights on — and Vladimir Fedorov is the engineer tasked with keeping the business running.
He overlooks the ads engineering team, from ad delivery to measurement.
Fedorov has been at Facebook since 2009, working his way up from an engineer working on the Facebook API. Before that he was at Microsoft at seven years, and graduated from Caltrech in 2001.
11. John Carmack is a games industry legend tackling gaming’s next frontier — virtual reality.
John Carmack, CTO, Oculus.
John Carmack is a legendary figure in the games industry, cofounding id software and leading development on classic titles like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake.
In 2013, he joined virtual reality startup Oculus as its chief technology officer, and the startup was then acquired by Facebook in 2014.
The 47-year-old engineer remains in that CTO role to this day, leading the engineering efforts on Oculus’ efforts in virtual reality, a futuristic technology that many believe could be the next frontier for entertainment and computing.
Some trivia: The late Apple cofounder and then-CEO Steve Jobs asked Carmack to postpone his wedding in 2010 — so that Carmack could come and give a speech at the 2000 MacWorld Expo conference. Carmack, perhaps unsurprisingly, declined.
12. Nam Nguyen is the head honcho when it comes to software engineering for the Facebook platform.
Nam Nguyen manages the engineering for the core Facebook business itself.
The VP of Engineering oversees software engineering for the Facebook platform, and joined the company in February of 2011. Before that he had a 12-year period at Yahoo, and a number of other gigs including Cisco and Bay Networks after studying at Santa Clara University and the University of California Davis.
He also volunteers to do safety patrol at his kids’ elementary school, writing on LinkedIn that has “[grown] to learn and enjoy that simple task very much. I have had that ‘post’ since 2002, and that part-time job has gotten more fun every week.”
13. Vijaye Raji is leading Facebook’s gaming efforts, from streaming to Farmville.
Vijaye Raji heads up Facebook’s efforts in gaming, on both the engineering and the product sides.
The games Facebook is most commonly associated with are the likes of Farmville and Mafia Wars — addictive, free-to-play titles that were notorious for spamming players’ friends.
The company has more recently moved into other areas though, including tools to livestream video games — like Amazon’s Twitch — and a dedicated hub for games in the app.
Since joining Facebook in 2011, Raji has worked on areas ranging from Marketplace to Mobile App Ads and Audience Network. After graduating from Pondicherry University in 1999, he also did stints at Nokia and Microsoft.
14. Rafa Carmago is guiding the engineers building Facebook’s next generation of hardware products.
Building 8 is Facebook’s secretive skunkworks, where the social network tries to develop next-generation consumer hardware products — like the AI-powered smart speaker it is rumoured to be building.
After former head Regina Dugan left in October 2017, Rafa Carmago took charge, also serving as its head of product engineering.
Carmago also worked in a similar role at Google — as head of product engineering for ATAP, its experimental unit — and spent time at Intermec and Amazon after 12 years at Motorola. He studied at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain.
15. Nitin Gupta oversees engineering at 1.5-billion-user messaging app WhatsApp.
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has a famously lean and nimble team. Making sure everything is running smoothly is Nitin Gupta, its head of infrastructure engineering.
He came on board in October 2016, after working as vice president of engineering at b2b firm Riverbed Technology, and has a masters in information networking from Carnegie Mellon University.
16. James Everingham is helping Facebook dive into the wild world of blockchain.
In May 2018, Facebook made a surprise announcement: It was getting into block-chain, the insanely buzzy (and, perhaps, overhyped) technology behind bitcoin and other crypto currencies.
The company brought in some heavyweight names to helm these efforts. David Marcus, the former Messenger boss, is heading it up, and former Instagram VP of Product Kevin Weil is its VP of Product. Leading block-chain engineering, meanwhile, is James Everingham — previously the head of engineering at Instagram.
Before joining the house that Zuck built in 2015, Everingham was the VP of engineering for Yahoo’s homepage and verticals, and worked on two startups he founder — LiveOps and Luminate.
He studied computer science at Penn State University between 1983 and 1987.
Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg