Twitter talk at @Scale 2015

Twitter’s Tips for Making Software Engineers More Efficient

Unpacking this a bit:

Peter Seibel, currently the tech lead of Twitter’s engineering effectiveness group, is the author of two books

  • Coders At Work, interviews with a few dozen influential programmers
  • Practical Common Lisp: two editions, 2005 and 2012

He tried to start a new online programmer magazine in 2010 called Code Quarterly but pulled the plug on it a year and change later, which is too bad, because there is still a need for something like this.

In a nutshell, here’s what he said about concerted efforts to make engineers more efficient

  • if you have 1 to 10 people, don’t devote anyone
  • at 100 people, you need 2 people devoted to tools and the like, and those 2 will be as effective as 101 engineers
  • at 1000, you need 255 to support the rest, and they’ll be as effective as 1400
  • at 10,000, you need 1/3rd of your group devoted to this

Twitter has 2,000 engineers. For what it does, that seems excessive.

Facebook has 10,000 engineers now. Holy moley.

Apple had around 12,000 engineers in 2014 in the US, and an unknown amount outside the US. Total number probably around 16,000 (at least so says LinkedIn).

Google has about 28,000 engineers. Current headcount as of June 30 2015 is 57,148. As of December 31 2014, total headcount was 53,600 with 20,832 in R&D and 7,637 in operations.

Samsung has about 40,00 engineers (as of 2013). Still less than Microsoft, although Samsung has more total employees.

Microsoft has around 55,000 engineers.

Samsung has more employees than Google, Apple, and Microsoft combined

Amazon has more than 1000, but can’t find numbers. Low thousands of software engineers.

IBM probably still has 50,000 software engineers?

Oracle probably has 10,000 or more