Jay Hammonds

jayhammondsI have always had high expectations for myself, despite setbacks I faced when I was younger. My mom suffered from drug addiction, and at the age of four, I was abandoned by my parents and adopted by a family friend. Before Year Up I was going to college, but I ran out of money after my first year and returned home hoping to get a decent-paying job at a grocery store. Then I found out about Year Up through my college counselor. I knew it was a great opportunity to grow, but to actually see the end result in the alumni stories – where I could end up – was the tipping point that made me apply.

I’ve always been interested in technology, but I never thought that I could have a career in it. During the program, I was more motivated than ever. A lot of my family and friends didn’t understand what I was doing. They thought it was “too good to be true” and would say, “Where’s the scam?” They couldn’t fathom something that good, but when I got the internship at Facebook I was proof that the program was real.

On the first day of my internship, I honestly was a little nervous. I thought that I had learned everything I needed to know during the classes, but really the knowledge was just the foundation. My biggest challenge was speaking up and reaching out, but I turned it into a strength. For example, our teams utilize Facebook groups to communicate. I would post in the groups often to increase my visibility and gain more opportunities. I overcame my fear of diving into something and took more initiative in reaching out to other people. This helped me tremendously!

I was so excited the day Facebook offered me a full-time position. The thing I like best about the company is how different the work environment is, especially for IT. It is based around efficiency, speed and a great user experience. I love working with people, and adding the technical aspect makes it the ideal job. I’ve been promoted a couple of times since I started, and I’m now providing IT support to Facebook executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, CIO Tim Campos, and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Looking forward, I would like to become an executive in IT at Facebook, and my manager helped me draw up a plan to accomplish that goal. Before, I thought that at 25 years old I would probably just leave college and start work. Now, when I turn 25, I’ll probably be managing an entire IT team.

One of the things that I often think about while I’m at Facebook is the ripple effect that Year Up creates. Because I did well at my internship and got a job here, it was a splash in the water. There are many more interns here now and everyone around the office is so excited about Year Up. I’m a small part of that movement and I’m so thankful that I had this opportunity and ran with it.

What's on your mind

Year Up interns start their internship journey at Facebook with Jay Hammonds as their mentor.



  • Read more about Jay Hammonds and the Opportunity Divide here.
  • Hear from Jay Hammonds on 60 Minutes.
  • Read more about Jay Hammonds on the Huffington Post, published on August 3, 2017.