When the COVID-19 pandemic began, and millions of people began self-isolating at home, Netflix found itself in a peculiar position. On one hand, demand for its streaming shows and movies spiked. On the other, it faced the same difficulties of any other company during these weird times: namely, managing a remote workforce while trying to maintain its tech stack and deliver its services under extreme circumstances.
That Netflix succeeded without many public-facing hitches is, of course, a testament to the company’s focus on cutting-edge technology. If you’re a longtime reader of Netflix’s engineering blog (and if you’re interested in anything related to the cloud, handling massive amounts of data, and streaming technology, you should be), you know that the company’s engineering core is extraordinarily innovative when it comes to everything from machine learning to making its data infrastructure as cost-efficient as possible.
For the company, that sort of expertise comes at a price it seems willing to pay. Netflix has a reputation for offering its engineers fat salaries, at least in comparison to other technology companies—but those technologists are expected to deliver extreme value for the money they’re paid. Here’s how Netflix’s software engineer salaries compare to other companies in the streaming arena; this comes from levels.fyi, which crowdsources its salary data:
(Yes, crowdsourcing data is an inexact process; there are lots of software engineers at Netflix who no doubt earn far less than this. Nonetheless, this should reinforce what we’ve learned from other sources, which is that Netflix pays really, really well.)
If working for Netflix appeals to you, it’s worth asking which skills and jobs they’re currently recruiting for. In order to obtain an answer to that question, we turned to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. We narrowed our query window to the past 90 days, as well as Netflix’s technical roles. With those parameters in place, here are the skills that Netflix is looking for:
You might ask yourself why cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) aren’t a more prevalent part of these skills breakdowns. While companies such as Netflix are more than willing to pay immense amounts for specialists in these technologists, they’re usually more in need of legions of technologists who can wrangle with core systems day after day. It takes hundreds of data experts and Python developers to keep a company running; you only need a handful of A.I. specialists with PhDs to build that ultra-cool recommendation system.
With that in mind, let’s look at the top jobs at Netflix over the past 90 days, also using data from Burning Glass:
At least for the three-month period in question, Netflix had a big need for senior developer/engineers, as well as various kinds of product and project managers. From a certain perspective, you can take this as an encouraging sign: Despite the pandemic forcing companies around the globe into a very reactive mindset, the hunger for managers suggests that Netflix is continuing to concentrate on its longer-term initiatives.