Blending Technology and Business at Meta

Liya Chiu’s work helps streamline data access for the company’s research scientists and allows them more time to pursue future innovations.

Liya Chiu (MSIT ‘17) worked for four years in software engineering at Hewlett Packard in Taiwan, where she witnessed the growing impact technology had on businesses.

Chiu had technical knowledge, but she wanted to better understand that technology-business relationship. For that, she turned to Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program.

Liya Chiu“I learned to blend tech skills with business strategy, work well in teams, and keep learning as technology changes," she said. “This equips students for the ever-evolving tech industry. It also improved my problem-solving skills, which are vital in engineering.”

Chiu leverages those skills on a daily basis as a software engineer at Meta, the social media company formerly known as Facebook. Chiu interned there in 2017 as an MSIT student, then joined the company full time after graduation.

Today Chiu is involved with creating a platform that simplifies data access for the company’s research scientists.

“This project is key to speeding up innovation at Meta,” Chiu said. “It's designed to make querying and loading data more efficient, allowing researchers to focus more on their core work and less on data management.”

Chiu began her tenure at Meta as an individual contributor. Now, she is involved in the decision-making process and overall design of the company’s systems.

She also forms and leads cross-functional teams while serving as a mentor to the company's junior engineers.

“The journey has been challenging but rewarding,” Chiu said. “It's rewarding to create solutions that not only solve complex technical challenges but also streamline processes and enhance productivity across the organization. Seeing the tangible impact of my work on the team's efficiency and success is truly gratifying."

At Meta, Chiu leans heavily on her MSIT lessons. She appreciated the program's flexibility for her to take courses in computer science, database management, computer vision, and machine learning.  

The program’s business courses gave her the knowledge to understand Meta’s corporate objectives and find the best paths for her to help achieve them.  

“The lessons from MSIT are deeply ingrained in my work at Meta today,” she said. “This blend of technical and business education from MSIT is invaluable in my current role.”  

Because of that, Chiu strongly recommends the MSIT program to prospective students. She said an MSIT degree sets the program’s graduates apart in the technology industry.  

She also encouraged future students to expand their horizons and choose courses that challenge their limits.  

“Use group projects to collaborate and network with peers. Stay curious and keep learning about the latest trends,” she said. “Most importantly, apply what you learn to real-world scenarios to enhance your understanding and problem-solving skills.”

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