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Love it or hate it, Twitter is hot. So much so that it received $48m in free media coverage over the past 30 days by one estimate.

But Twitter faces some major challenges and not everything is rosy in Twitterville. A flurry of job listings the company posted over the weekend hints that Twitter is looking to hire the talent it needs to keep the company from falling off the tracks.

Here are a number of the new job postings:

Search Performance Engineer

"Twitter is looking for new members of our technical staff to focus on improving the performance of search application and infrastructure components".

Required qualifications include:

  • Experience maintaining large-scale search indexing and query processing systems
  • Demonstrable knowledge of search query processing and indexing

Software Engineer - Security

"Twitter is looking for new members of our technical staff to focus on application and infrastructure security. You should have a passion for securing high-profile web sites that will be used by millions of people".

Duties include:

  • Pro-actively look for ways to improve Twitter's web security practices
  • Analyze and improve security of existing Rails web application
  • Design, implement, and maintain application security policy, standards, and procedures
  • Run periodic application vulnerability assessments

Software Engineer - Anti-Spam

"Twitter is looking for new members of our technical staff to focus on on our spam detection system".

Responsibilities include:

  • Pro-actively look for ways to make Twitter a safer place
  • Design and implement core, back-end spam components
  • Analyze disparate data sources to find obfuscated patterns

Spam Support

Twitter Support needs a dedicated person to help with spam...You'll be responsible for reducing a high volume of email requests in an efficient and timely fashion, and communicating frequently about new and known issues with a team of fellow enthusiasts.

Responsibilities include:

  • Work closely with spam team lead to resolve user issues
  • Note trending spam types and help develop strategies
  • Communicate rules/violations to users clearly, objectively, patiently

Software Engineer - Platform/APIs

"Twitter is looking for a new member of our technical staff to focus on development of our API".

  • Implement new API methods and services
  • Maintain existing API methods
  • Work closely with, and incorporate feedback from, product management, back-end engineers, and third-party developers

Sr. Manager of Corporate IT

We are looking for a self-motivated IT Manager to lead a team of IT professionals to provide administrative direction and support for daily operational activities of the IT Department. This individual will plan, coordinate, direct, and design IT related activities of the organization, and also streamline and make improvement for company IT infrastructure. The IT Manager will work and coordinate with other department leads as well as the company executives to identify, recommend, and implement the cost effective IT solutions suitable for the company business requirements.

The Analysis

Although much of Twitter's internal dialog regarding strategy was laid bare through Twittergate, Twitter's current recruitment efforts provide an alternative perspective and provide some not-so-subtle hints as to what Twitter is focusing on:

  • Search. We know that Twitter's interest in search is not new but Twitter's recruitment of engineers to focus on "improving the performance of search application and infrastructure components" may be a sign that Twitter is getting more serious about building a truly compelling search product that can serve as the foundation for commercial opportunities.
  • Security. Twitter has already been the victim in more security incidents than perhaps any other hot startup today. It's pretty clear that the Twitter application isn't the most secure and it's thus no surprise that Twitter is looking for help in this area.
  • Anti-Spam. Spam has become a huge problem on Twitter and it could conceivably threaten the company's future if not taken care of. The hiring of one or more engineers to deal specifically with the issue indicates that Twitter knows this. In the meantime, Twitter is going to use good old manual labor to attack the issue.
  • TOS Enforcement. The posting for the spam support agent discusses rules violations. And there are plenty of them, such as fake celebrity and brand profiles. Reasserting some control over what is currently a laissez-faire environment may be more important than it seems: if Twitter wants to win business from brands and media companies once it goes commercial, it's going to be expected to keep the reins on its service as it relates to issues like intellectual property.
  • API. Twitter's API (and firehose) could be one of the company's most valuable monetization assets. Perhaps the "new API methods and services" Twitter refers to in its job platform/API job posting have something to do with commercialization.
  • Corporate IT. Twittergate revealed that Twitter's internal IT practices are extremely dysfunctional. The description for the Sr. Manager of Corporate IT fits the bill of the type of person Twitter should have hired long ago to manage day-to-day IT operations and work with other departments on IT issues.

Photo credit: JoshSemans via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 21 July, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2429 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Ricki

Good article, although the fact that you assume Twitter "faces some major challenges and not everything is rosy in Twitterville" is a negative spin on what is essentially positive news. Surely recruiting new staff, considering the economic climate, is good news?? It is a pretty crude assumption that all of these new hires that are being recruited to “keep the company from falling off the tracks”. Looks to me as if they are looking to build on their already impressive performance to date and open up new avenues for revenue. Hats off to them! 

over 7 years ago

Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles, Tech Reporter at Econsultancy

Ricki,

Twitter has the potential to build something great and I'm not trying to spin things negatively. It's fantastic that they're hiring.

But the reality is that Twitter does face growing challenges and Twittergate really damaged the company's credibility.

Let's be honest:

Security: a recurring problem.

Spam: only increasing in volume.

Search: potentially a big part of Twitter's commercialization but still lackluster in many ways.

Operations: employee accounts have now been hacked more than once (don't forget that the hackers who defaced celebrity profiles gained access to a web-accessible admin interface by compromising an admin account). Basic security procedures and policies are clearly not in place.

If Twitter doesn't recruit the talent necessary to address challenges in these areas, how could anyone expect it to thrive over the long term?

over 7 years ago

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