Tech Job Watch Nov 29 2010

Skype Hiring Hundreds of Engineers and Other Technology Workers

By john shinal

Skype plans to hire hundreds of engineers and other product developers around the world next year as it looks to put its Internet phone and video calling service on more devices.

The Luxembourg-based company, which has filed for an initial public offering in the U.S., wants to double its 100-person Silicon Valley work force as part of that global expansion, said Jonathan Christensen, general manager of Skype's platform development.

"We have a lot on our technology road map," Christensen said. "Our emphasis here is to expand our product-development capability."

Skype has 830 employees worldwide and is on track to end the year at about 920, according to Christensen. The company, which has development centers in Estonia, Stockholm, Prague, London, and in its home country, plans to add 350 workers worldwide next year, he said.

"We hire the best talent wherever we can find it," said Christensen.

Early in December, the company will move its Silicon Valley workers from locations in San Jose and Brisbane, Calif., to a new 90,000-square-foot office in Palo Alto's Stanford Research Park.

About 80% of the company's employees there will be tech workers, a percentage that will stay the same with the new hiring, Christensen said.

Skype, whose service to date has been used primarily on desktop computers, began getting its software application on mobile phones earlier this year through a partnership with Verizon Communications. It's accelerating those mobile efforts and also making a push into consumers' living rooms, working with makers of digital TVs to test a technology package it calls SkypeKit, according to Christensen.

Skype's new platform initiatives will require more engineers, including those with experience in digital signal processing, especially those who've developed audio and video applications using the C++ language.

"We have lots of work to do porting our technology" to run on different operating systems and in different computing architectures, Christensen said.

The company is also looking for Web developers with experience coding in PHP as well as database administrators, network operations engineers and technical support workers.

Skype's new location in Palo Alto puts it close to the headquarters of Facebook, with which it's competing for talent.

The company finds a lot of its employee candidates through employee referrals, and through connections that Christensen and other Skype engineering leaders have made previously.

"I like to hire from our networks," said Christensen, who joined Skype in 2006 when the company acquired Camino Networks, the mobile audio technology startup he'd founded.

The company is looking for workers who want to "get in on the ground floor... and make an impact," Christensen said.

Write to John Shinal

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