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Twitter launches Twitter University to build better employees, buys company to help

August 13, 2013 12:17 PM


Twitter announced a new internal learning initiative today, Twitter University, to give its employees better skills. And the fast-growing social network bought a company to help make it happen.

“We want Twitter to be the best place in the world for engineers to work,” Twitter SVP for Engineering Chris Fry posted today.

The acquisition that will help Twitter be that place is Marakana, which has delivered courses on Android, Java, HTML5, Scala, Python, Hadoop, jQuery, and other languages for over 100,000 engineers, and provided training videos for more than five million additional people.

Which makes you wonder: Is that database of engineers and technical people perhaps as valuable as the courses and training personnel themselves? That seems likely given this additional comment:

The Marakana team has cultivated a tremendous community of engineers in the Bay Area, and we look forward to engaging with all of you at meet-ups and technical events.

Twitter’s existing in-house training program, Fry said, covered mobile development, Java Virtual Machine fundamentals, distributed systems, and more. Most of those courses are built and delivered by Twitter engineers. With Marakana taking the lead, however, Twitter engineers will have constant access to some of the best training in the world on very specific, hardcore programming topics.

That will be good for Twitter engineers. And what’s good for Twitter engineers is good for Twitter.

“Being able to continually learn on the job and develop a sense of expertise or mastery is a fundamental factor in success in the technology industry and long term happiness at a company,” Fry wrote. “Twitter University will be a vital foundation for our engineering organization.”

Not coincidentally, perhaps, Twitter is hiring.

Marakana, which had called itself the “future of learning,” is essentially shutting down. Some of the courses the company will continue to build will be available outside of Twitter, but not all. However, some of the company’s trainers have appeared to form a new company — with Twitter’s and Marakana’s blessing — called NewCircle, which will continue to offer open source training and development.

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