#76: Huu Thanh

“Thanks to mom, I became an engineer at Google, Meta.”

Thanh Nguyen Huu - Senior Software Engineer tại Meta (US), ex-Google

I’ve always felt fortunate that my mom had a 10-year vision. When I was in elementary school, she introduced me to Excel and the wonders of computer science. From that moment, I developed an interest and started participating in various computer science competitions at the provincial and national levels. In high school, I had to choose between specializing in Mathematics or Computer Science. Believing that I could go further with computer science, my mom encouraged me to pursue my passion, so I made the decision to switch from the Math class to the Computer Science class. It was a bold move, as the Math class had a prestigious reputation, and many wondered why I made the switch. Despite facing challenges and relying on a fair amount of luck, I managed to win numerous awards nationally and internationally, including a Silver Medal at the 24th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in Italy (2012) and the Golden Globe Award (2012). In 2013, I received a full scholarship to study Computer Science at NUS in Singapore.

During my internship, I applied and got accepted for an internship at Google in the US. Unfortunately, after four months, I had to return to Singapore due to the obligations of my scholarship at NUS. Upon returning, I worked as a Backend Engineer at Carousell, Grab, and later at Meta Singapore. Towards the end of 2021, I had the opportunity to relocate to the United States to work in the Video Infra team at Meta.

Throughout my career, I’ve ventured into various fields of work. Initially, I primarily worked as a Backend Engineer for Web Apps, dealing with databases, DevOps, and implementing logic to handle client requests. When I joined Meta, I transitioned into a Fullstack Engineer and started working on both Frontend for Web and Mobile. Currently, I’m part of the Video Infra Org, where I develop protocols and libraries for Live Streaming and Video on the Frontend. Before joining Meta, I had developed a complete Live Streaming product from scratch, but upon joining, I realized the vastness and complexity of Meta’s Video system. Each component is crucial, and every link presents challenging and fascinating problems. For example, working with network protocols to optimize latency while maintaining the quality of Live Streaming. I genuinely find this field exciting and I want to acquire more knowledge to succeed in it.

My current personal goal is to focus on my work and personal growth within Meta. In the big tech environment, it’s important not only to work according to personal preferences but also align with the company’s directions. Currently, I’m diving deep into the Video field, but with the rapid changes in technology, I also don’t want to limit myself to a specific domain. Therefore, I aim to build a strong foundation with diverse experiences in different fields and develop good programming and problem-solving skills. During my free time, I actively participate in tech forums like WeBuild to stay updated with new knowledge.

In the early stages of my career, I always felt inferior to my colleagues, and my performance seemed lacking… But experiencing the “imposter syndrome” (doubting oneself and feeling undeserving of past successes) is entirely normal. Everyone starting their career goes through similar emotions. And over time, as I become more familiar with the work, gain a better grasp of knowledge, and see senior colleagues move on, I gradually overcome it.

I don’t have excessive confidence in myself because the period of job interviews and working in big tech has shown me how extraordinary people can be. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing; it motivates me to strive for self-improvement. For instance, I have to admit that I’ve been too focused on developing technical expertise and neglected soft skills, management skills, and interpersonal skills. Lately, I’ve realized that I’ve been overly self-conscious and need to project more confidence outwardly. So, I adopt the attitude of “fake it till you make it.” Being overly self-conscious can create a sense of untrustworthiness, diminish the weight of my words, and make others perceive me as a junior. Therefore, I strive to strike a balance, maintain a gentle attitude, and not appear overly superior to others.

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