Twitter's recruiting efforts hint at its plans

The company is looking for help in data warehousing, search technology and business partnerships

As pundits debate what strategy Twitter should follow, the company's job openings provide a peek at its plans, which seem to include boosting partnerships, leveraging a massive data warehouse, strengthening its search engine and solidifying its service in Japan.

Twitter's job openings include a director of strategic partnerships, a software engineer for business intelligence, a Japan country manager and several positions related to its search engine.

In all, the Twitter jobs page has 15 open positions, a significant number considering that the small company appears to employ just 25 to 35 people. In February, Twitter announced it had raised $35 million in its latest funding round.

Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, so it's not clear how many of these jobs, if any, have been filled. Regardless of their status, the postings give outsiders hungry for Twitter information something to chew on.

The director of strategic partnerships job is described as "the first business development role in our mostly product- and engineering-oriented company," a sign that Twitter is now starting to build a revenue-generating team.

The person hired for this position will be expected to evaluate partner requests, define a partner strategy, and seek and finalize partnership deals, specifically with media and Internet companies "that drive distribution of Twitter," according to the job description.

In addition, as Twitter's usage increases by leaps and bounds, the company has apparently decided to find value in data warehousing and data analysis technology, as evidenced by its search for a business intelligence software engineer.

Twitter wants someone who can oversee an end-to-end business intelligence project "from raw data to warehouse to reporting," the job posting reads. The system should be able to generate scheduled reports based on predefined parameters, as well as on-the-fly SQL queries for data-mining purposes.

Twitter's intentions may be "as simple as BI to analyze their financials or operations, or as sophisticated as analyzing tweets, finding patterns, who's talking about what, et cetera," said Forrester Research Inc. analyst Boris Evelson.

But the second scenario is more likely, he said, given the fact that under "additional preferred experience," the ad seeks people who have experience working with multiterabyte data sets and environments with 100 million-plus daily transactions, as well as knowledge of technologies such as the Hadoop distributed computing framework, which is used by Yahoo Inc., among others.

And another part of the ad cautions applicants that they "will be prototyping systems that have never [been] built before with little or no technical documentation/requirements."

Twitter is also looking for several search staffers: a search operations engineer, a search product manager and a search software engineer. Beyond its pioneering status in microblogging -- short, real-time messages -- the company is also an example of what some consider an emerging search trend, thanks to its search engine's ability to retrieve and deliver real-time musings from its millions of users based on keyword queries.

The search product manager, for example, will define new products and features for Twitter's search engine and should have a "strong grasp" of user experience design. Interestingly, it's desirable for the candidate to also have an understanding of search advertising, a clear indication that Twitter wants to monetize its search engine.

Meanwhile, the search software engineer will be expected, among other things, to design, implement and maintain search application and infrastructure components, and the search operations engineer will join a team involved in scaling the company's search engine.

Finally, the Japan country manager will apparently be expected to build upon the Japanese version of the service, announced a year ago in response to the heavy use of Twitter in that country.

The Japanese Twitter service was built in collaboration with Digital Garage Inc., which invested in Twitter and committed engineering and development resources to the project.

It's not clear whether the Japan country manager will take over some tasks previously performed by Digital Garage or to what extent this new official will redefine the partnership between Digital Garage and Twitter. What is evident from the job posting is that the job carries broad responsibilities, including leading all Twitter business operations in Japan.

This person will also form partnerships, bear responsibility for Twitter investments in Japan, draft a road map for localization, define a hiring plan and create a dashboard of Twitter usage and trends in the country. The candidate will also be expected to help Twitter with its international expansion beyond Japan, the company said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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