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Silicon Valley Bound

Algoma University alumnus Connor Flood’s career trajectory took a giant step forward in March.

That’s when the 22-year-old accepted a Solutions Engineer position with Facebook. He will be based at the social media juggernaut’s campus in Menlo Park, California. The city is among several San Francisco Bay Area communities that form the world’s foremost technology hub.

Flood will complete requirements for a Master of Mathematics, Computer Science degree at the University of Waterloo this summer, and then enjoy some downtime before heading west.

“The job with Facebook is a dream come true and I’m really excited about getting started in September,” the 2015 Bachelor of Computer Science Dean’s List graduate said.

“It’s quite remarkable. For a long time I’ve wanted to be working in that area. I definitely didn’t expect to be doing this so early in my career. It’s one of those jobs that I’d thought I might be able to work up to with a few more years’ experience. To be able to start with a company like that is really fantastic. Silicon Valley is the home of innovative companies, ideas, and projects.”

The unassuming high achiever saw Facebook’s headquarters first-hand during a late-winter visit for a series of face-to-face interviews.

“I really enjoyed the atmosphere there. What I liked most was that even in the actual work environment which is very open, everyone seemed happy to be there and really nice to talk to. It had an exciting vibe to it. It just made me that much more excited to receive an offer from them after having a tour of the main campus.”

The opportunity presented itself after a multi-step process that had begun months earlier, Flood continued.

“I started preparing in the latter part of 2016. Much of the interview process revolves around your programming abilities. There was a lot of preparation, study, and practice involved in getting ready for the technical stages (that included multiple online, telephone, and in-person sessions). After much preparation, I applied online to Facebook in February.”

“The position I accepted peaked my interest because it’s not a typical software engineering job. I’ll spend half of my time coding and the other half communicating with Facebook clients directly. I’ll be working alongside other companies to help find technology solutions to meet their needs, especially as it relates to their advertising platform. Some of the interviews emphasized marketing and business, with the need to demonstrate the kinds of social skills required.”

While he is focused mostly on the near future these days, the winner of numerous academic awards hopes to eventually pursue another professional interest.

“This past fall I was a sessional instructor for Waterloo and it was a great experience,” Flood enthused. He became one of the youngest in the school’s history at the age of 21 when he started.

“I come from a family of teachers, so it’s in my blood. Once I’m comfortable with being in California and the new job, I’ll definitely be looking for other sessional instructor opportunities, possibly teaching one course per term. It’s something I’ve become quite passionate about.”

Also to be enjoyed, of course, is the fabled California lifestyle. “The warm weather will be an appreciated change,” the Sault Ste. Marie native chuckled. “I might have to buy some more shorts.”

As he contemplates the life-changing adventure ahead, Flood also looks back with gratitude. “The support I’ve received has really been astonishing and quite overwhelming.”

And, it turns out, doing his undergraduate studies at Algoma U proved to be a wise decision.

“The opportunities that came from attending a small university were unique,” he noted. “It was a little bit easier to stick out and be adventurous. I used the small school to my advantage, not disadvantage.”

Written by: Rick McGee

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