Twitter University: Engineers Head to Class

3 minute read
Dom Nicastro avatar

They're going to school at Twitter.

Growth Goals for Engineers

The social networking site, constantly evolving and working to become more than just the home of the 140-character message, debuted this week Twitter University to help its engineers develop skills and provide mentorship.

Twitter University will be a beacon for growth, it says, providing engineers with “world-class technical training,” in addition to imparting their wisdom on fellow engineering Twitter-ites at the San Francisco-based organization.

“We want Twitter to be the best place in the world for engineers to work,” Chris Fry (@chfry), senior vice president of engineering, said in a company blog post. “…I’ve been inspired by these efforts. Being able to continually learn on the job and develop a sense of expertise or mastery is a fundamental factor in success in the technology industry and long term happiness at a company. Twitter University will be a vital foundation for our engineering organization.”

Business-Driving Site?

Boosting engineers’ skills is another way Twitter is trying to prove itself as a business sales-booster. The company has been touting its ability to get people to buy things online through exposure to tweets.

Some numbers suggest so.

A Datalogix study reported that tweets -- both organic and promoted -- do impact offline sales: 12 percent are more likely to buy something in a store when they engaged in a tweet, and 2 percent are more likely to buy when they viewed a tweet.

Learning Opportunities

Followers who see promoted tweets buy more as well, Twitter reported. Those followers purchased 29 percent more from that brand than followers reached by organic tweets alone.

Training Enhanced

Twitter already offers orientation classes for new engineers in the areas of:  

  • iOS Bootcamp
  • JVM fundamentals
  • Distributed systems
  • Scala school

Twitter itself provides most of the instructors for classes, organized often around the company’s quarterly Hack Weeks.  

Third-Party Source Trainer

Twitter acquired Marakana to lead the program. The Marakana team and Twitter plan to release some of the Twitter University content online publically. Marakana engineers were already teaching classes at Twitter several months ago. Marakana has developed courses over the past decade on Android, Java, HTML5, Scala, Python, Hadoop, jQuery and others. It has taught classes to more than 100,000 professional software engineers.  

Gaining Users

The number of Twitter users has doubled since 2010, but it’s still trailing Facebook. Numbers this year have Facebook with more than 1.15 billion users while Twitter registers in at 200 million.  

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