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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

These 3 Meta Employees Might Inspire You to Help Build the Metaverse

Carol Y., Michelle B., and Jessica D., Meta employees who are helping to build the metaverse
Carol Y., Michelle B., and Jessica D., Meta employees who are helping to build the metaverse.
| Courtesy of Meta

During her college years, Carol Y. had her whole life planned out, right down to the town where she would live and the school where she would teach. But a few years after graduation, Carol realized teaching wasn’t her dream job after all. Next, she tried out fashion design—but that also didn’t feel quite right.

It was only upon moving to the Bay Area—and finding herself among people working in tech—that Carol saw it was possible to impact the world in a way she had long hoped for. But with no experience in the industry, she wasn’t sure how to make the leap.

The pathway emerged when Carol realized she already did, in fact, have the right skills. In teaching and in fashion, she had gained experience as a team leader that would translate into a managerial role anywhere. Likewise, she had toughness and resilience gained by changing careers and overcoming obstacles. Presenting herself as a manager empowered by those skill sets and experiences was the key to landing a role at Meta, where Carol is now a strategy and operations lead helping to build the metaverse.

The metaverse is best described as an unlimited series of virtual spaces where people can connect with others; you can do everything from play VR games and attend educational lectures to collaborate with coworkers and socialize at a party. Much like the internet or mobile phone, it has the potential to impact the way we live and interact with each other in the future.

Something as ambitious as the metaverse requires more than just software developers and engineers. The collaboration of people with a wide range of perspectives and experiences is necessary, especially to ensure the metaverse is a place for everyone. This is why, across Meta, employees from a variety of backgrounds—many of them women—are proving that you can have a successful career in tech even if you’ve never worked in the industry.

Like Carol, Jessica D.—a strategic partnership manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)—didn’t initially picture herself in the tech sector. A consultant with expertise in international politics and relations, she spent time in Africa working on issues such as the public health supply chain. But when her husband got a job in Dubai, Jessica, who was living in Kenya at the time, began researching opportunities so she could join him.

“People recommended that I look at tech,” Jessica says. “I said, ‘I have no background in tech, I wouldn’t even know where to start.’ I don't know how to code, and I don't have any of those skill sets.”

Someone connected her to a recruiter at Meta, who believed she would be an invaluable addition to the company thanks to her background and contacts in the EMEA. Jessica now leverages partnerships across the region to help countries and companies buttress their communication networks and other infrastructure, which improves both the quality of life and prepares those places for the advent of the metaverse.

In her role at Meta, Jessica leans on skills gained throughout her career, such as effectively communicating with different audiences. In her previous roles, for example, she met with everyone from government officials in Nigeria to a room full of businesspeople in the United Arab Emirates. “Being able to appropriately engage people based on culture, language, history, or religion makes a really big difference,” she says.

Her experience as a negotiator has proven invaluable, too. Jessica learned powerful lessons about how to engage with multiple stakeholders and help them see how their goals could be achieved through collaboration, a skill that lies at the heart of her work with Meta. And crucially, she came to realize that her worldview as someone who previously worked outside the technology sector has proven to be a strength, not a weakness.

“Because I didn’t come in with a tech background,” Jessica says, “I was willing to ask more foundational and fundamental questions about what we were doing—what is the priority, why are we doing this, and who are we supposed to be helping? In asking those questions, sometimes it makes the engineer rethink the value proposition of what we’re doing.”

Michelle B.—a former nurse and high school vice principal—has a similar Meta success story. Though she did have some prior experience at tech companies, working within supply chains and revenue analysis, Michelle didn’t know much about building virtual spaces prior to joining Meta in 2020. Nevertheless, she realized that a surprising number of her soft skills were valuable when she was recruited to a team working on metaverse initiatives.

“Being an emergency clinic nurse, you definitely know how to handle pressure, stress, and ambiguous situations,” she said. “Your brain knows how to problem-solve when you’re under that kind of pressure. And from working with children as a vice principal, I learned a lot about patience.”

Carol, Jessica, and Michelle have all succeeded at Meta despite having more untraditional backgrounds—yet working on the metaverse team has also helped them develop new skills that will help them grow their tech careers in the long run.

Michelle, for example, says she has learned the power of working without fear. “The metaverse team is working on the cutting edge of what’s going to be happening in the future,” she says. “And it's okay to fail. It’s okay to try things and make a left turn or a right turn. We’re all learning, we’re all growing, and we’re all trying to figure it out.”

Indeed, it can be difficult for people working outside of the tech industry to picture themselves contributing to a project of this magnitude. Yet, Carol says, these are the exact people who are absolutely crucial for the metaverse’s success.

“The only way that it will succeed is with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints,” she says. “We’re building a very human space and product. There’s no way that we can build the metaverse without diversity in mind—without both people who have been in the industry and people who have been outside of it—because we’re basically creating a new world.”