A new report by Protocol suggests that Apple is hiring legions of cloud-computing experts, suggesting a rising interest in cloud-based apps and services.
“The quantity and quality of the new hires has caused a stir in the tight-knit cloud community,” the publication reported, “and could indicate that Apple is finally getting serious about building tech infrastructure on par with companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google.” Many of these new employees have extensive experience working for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google.
For many years, Apple depended on sales of hardware such as the iPhone and iPad to drive revenue. However, those hardware sales have largely leveled off (except for wearables such as AirPods), which means the company must look to services such as Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and cloud storage if it wants to continue its monster revenue-growth trajectory. The App Store is also a longtime revenue driver, with Apple encouraging developers to sign up users to longer-term subscriptions in lieu of one-time app downloads.
Another big question is whether Apple, traditionally a very consumer-centric company, will attempt to challenge Amazon and Microsoft in the realm of cloud-based developer and business tools. Certainly Apple has enough money to build something that would rival AWS or Azure for functionality—but would it even bother?
Whatever Apple’s roadmap, it clearly views cloud expertise as the way forward. What else is the company hiring for? For the answer, we can turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country; although it can’t capture every Apple hire (some jobs for high-level engineers and designers are never posted, with specific individuals recruited by Apple executives), it gives us a good idea of what the company is looking for in its latest batches of employees.
For the purposes of this article, we also limited our data collection to the past 60 days. As you can see, the top positions are software developer/engineer, software QA engineer/tester, network engineer/architect, systems engineer, and data scientist:
It’s also useful to look at the specialized skills that pop up in these job postings (again, over the past 60 days). As you can see, Apple is looking for technologists proficient in some standard, widespread skills, including Python, C++, and Java. Machine learning also has a big presence, which isn’t a shock: Apple has spent out years trying to build up a robust A.I./machine learning practice.
For those developers who play in Apple’s ecosystem, the company’s intensifying focus on the cloud and services could have substantial effects on how they build apps, games, and other products. And for those technologists who want to work for Apple, it seems that a focus on the fundamentals of development, as well as knowledge of well-known languages and tools, is key.