Tech jobs boom, bust, and move. In recent months, according to a sampling of tech expansions and contractions that made the news, it’s boom times for autonomous vehicles, bust times for networking hardware, and more than a few moving vans just might be heading toward Santa Cruz, Calif., or the Midwest. Here’s a look at hiring plans and layoff announcements that made the news between 1 July and 15 October 2017.
In Silicon Valley: Autonomous vehicles, hired; Networking hardware and software, fired
Ciscofiled a notice in September indicating that it will cut 310 jobs in San Jose, including engineering and software development management and senior software, hardware, and networking engineers.
Another networking hardware and software company, Brocade Communications, announced it will lay off 96 engineers and marketers from its San Jose office, blaming the cuts on a response to issues related to delays in closing Broadcom’s acquisition of the company.
Oracle in September revealed that it was slashing 983 jobs in Santa Clara, including 615 hardware developers. These cuts overwhelmingly hit the teams remaining from the company’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise in September unveiled plans to cut at least 5,000 jobs around the world, or 10 percent. If the cuts fall evenly on the global workforce, that would represent about 250 jobs in Silicon Valley.
Intel in July gave notice that it would in August cut 93 employees in Silicon Valley, and another 40 in Ireland, in the wake of shutting down several IoT projects. The company at the time pointed out that it had 130 mostly technical job openings in artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, data centers and, ironically, IoT, so the cuts marked a retargeting, not a contraction.
Tesla this month terminated some 400 to 700 employees, the San Jose Mercury News reported; later reports put the number over 700. The cuts fell on engineering, manufacturing, sales, and administration across the U.S., but details on how many jobs were cut where are sketchy. These cuts came during a time of problems for Tesla, including production delays for the Model 3 and a recall affecting the Model X SUV. Tesla insisted that the dismissals were not layoffs, and therefore did not need to be reported to the state, but rather were part of the normal performance review process. But some of those affected have been challenging that claim.
In a piece of bright news for Silicon Valley, Lyftannounced plans to open an autonomous driving laboratory at Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, and aims to grow the division to several hundred people by the end of 2018.
Over the hill: Alexa, hired; Startups, also hired
Amazon has been quietly but quickly growing its Alexa operations, particularly in Santa Cruz, Calif. The company’s job site currently posts openings for 28 developers for its rapidly growing secretive Santa Cruz laboratory, with about 1,500 openings for Alexa workers around the country.
A number of small Santa Cruz startups are on hiring sprees, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. These include electric aircraft maker Joby Aviation with 26 tech jobs open, business payments company PayStand, and App security company AppDome.
Up the coast: Supercomputers, fired; Surface touchscreens, also fired
Seattle-based supercomputer maker Crayannounced that it will eliminate 190 jobs, affecting 14 percent of its workforce at unspecified locations.
Microsoftannounced plans to close an engineering office in Wilsonville, Ore., dedicated to the company’s Surface touchscreen computers, with layoffs hitting 124. The group was originally part of Perceptive Pixel, an interactive touchscreen maker acquired by Microsoft.
Across the country: Retail tech, hired; File sharing, fired
McDonald’s in Chicago announced a partnership with tech consulting firm Capgemini to open a “global digital retail center” with 400 to 500 new employees along with 100 existing McDonald’s technologists.
Also in Chicago, Walgreens Boots Alliance, the parent company of Walgreens, indicated that it’s adding 300 tech jobs to its Chicago office to help beef up the technology used in pharmaceutical sales.
In O’Hara, Pa., Delphi Automotive has revealed its plans to add about 100 engineers and administrators to its automated vehicle technology development effort.
Cloud services provider Citrixannounced layoffs around the world, with no total numbers to date, including dozens in its Raleigh, N.C. operation, that started out as ShareFile, a company acquired by Citrix in 2011.
Across the pond: Streaming video, hired; Virtual reality, fired
Amazon announced plans to add 450 research and development engineers in London to work on technology for streaming video.
Customer service software company Zendesk said it would add 300 people to its engineering and software development workforce in Ireland, more than doubling the size of that group.
Nokia announced that it will stop development of its virtual reality camera, OZO, and lay off 310 in Finland, the United States, and Great Britain.
And across the other pond: Virtual reality, hired; Finance tech, hired
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced plans to hire 500 engineers in India to focus on technologies for augmented and virtual reality.
Goldman Sachssaid it plans to hire 30 percent more engineers for its office in Bengaluru, India in 2018, up from 250 in 2017.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.