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.