Amazon has kicked off a major hiring campaign in Israel, seeking out dozens of engineers to develop its cloud platform, AWS.
Those engineers are needed at Amazon's two Development Centers in Israel, where they will be working on, among other things, technologies for Amazon's drone delivery system Prime Air, which aims to get packages into customers' hands in 30 minutes or less.
That program, if it ever gets off the ground (Prime Air will need regulatory approval in countries where it operates) will require the use of cameras, cloud database access, and drones. Amazon is already focusing on at least two of three of those technologies in Israel; according to the company, engineers in the country are working on cameras for mobile devices, along with advanced networking and storage technologies for cloud data storage and access.
But all that is off in the future. Right now, Amazon is working on solidifying and advancing its AWS market position - not just for small businesses, but for enterprise organizations as well, according to Harel Ifhar, country manager for Amazon Israel.
If that comes as a surprise to some people, it's because they are not up on the latest developments in the world of AWS, said Ifhar. "AWS is of course popular among startups, but we also count among our customers many large enterprises."
In Israel, that includes companies like telecoms tech companies Comverse and Tadiran - both large-scale international firms - as well as a slew of banks, networking and communications firms, and others. Internationally, Amazon's enterprise customers include Time Inc, Comcast, Novartis, and Adobe. A recent report by Gartner, said Ifhar, "shows that AWS is ten times bigger than its 14 closest competitors combined".
The hiring spree follows AWS' recent Tech Summit in Tel Aviv. On display were a host of new services for AWS, some of them being displayed live for the first time. "There were no canned scripts or demos - everything we did at the event happens in real time on AWS. Instead of just putting up a Powerpoint presentation, we actually had someone working with these services, producing a final product that was activated on a server. I can't speak for other companies, but when we provide a service, we make sure it works as needed before introducing it," Ifhar said.
One example of that was a demo of Amazon's new machine learning system, which brings in data from Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift, or Amazon RDS, analyzes it, and generates predictions for an application. The live demo analyzed Twitter content to identify customer support issues, continuously monitoring all tweets that mention a specific Twitter handle, and predict whether or not a customer support team should reach out to the poster.
"This is accessible to anyone who can program, such as writing Python scripts. Other platforms require learning special algorithms or other specialized knowledge. Not so with machine learning, where you can do some amazing stuff without specialized knowledge."
Among the jobs Amazon will be seeking to fill are research scientists, systems modelling staff, software and application development engineers, account managers, solutions architects, technical account managers, business development managers, silicon designers, verification engineers, operation managers, system engineers, signal integrity engineers, and 'software ninjaneers', staff who can deep-dive into the techiest parts of Amazon products to solve vexing programming problems.
One of Amazon's internal evangelists for the company's expanded operations in Israel has been company CTO Werner Vogels, who has headlined each of the five Tel Aviv AWS events held since the first event in 2011.
"We have been active with Israeli customers through Amazon Web Services for years, working with them as they move to the cloud to be more innovative, agile, lower their costs, and scale their IT operations globally in minutes," said Vogels. "During this time, we have been extremely impressed with the creativity and strong engineering talent available in the country. Locating the development of key parts of Amazon's business in Israel further accelerates our efforts to deliver innovation to customers around the world."
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