Facebook is expanding in the Pacific Northwest beyond its new data center in central Oregon. It’s opening up an engineering office in Seattle, Wash. with the intention of doing some local hiring.
All big technology companies have offices around the US and the world. Facebook, more than many companies its size, has kept most employees at its Palo Alto headquarters, at least until the last several months. Its user and revenue growth have made expansion a requirement and an opportunity.
Seattle has a strong technology culture due to the engineering schools like the University of Washington, and leading technology companies like Microsoft and Amazon. “We’re looking for a handful of stellar engineers to form the initial team,” long-time Facebook engineer Ari Steinberg says today. The branch should open this summer, once the company finds office space. It plans to hire around 30 years over the coming year, according to TechCrunch‘s Michael Arrington, who is coincidentally also moving up there.
Steinberg will lead the team, with the help of locally-based Hadi Partovi. An interesting twist here is that Partovi was most recently the cofounder of iLike, the reigning music application company on Facebook, that was bought last year by social network rival MySpace. He and his brother and iLike cofounder Ali recently left MySpace. They’re serial entrepreneurs and angel investors who trace their tech experience back to Microsoft. Hadi Partovi is taking an advisory role with Facebook, with the purpose of helping the office do more networking and hiring in the Seattle area.
Facebook has been growing in every direction recently. Its number of monthly users has climbed to what we believe is near 500 million people distributed around the world, around 117 million of whom are in the US. Its revenue is also growing. The company is likely to pass $1.1 billion in total revenue, according to our calculations and other estimates.
Its head count and office space has grown to match. The company expanded down the street from its Palo Alto headquarters to a massive new office building in March. It also has continued hiring for other offices abroad, including its regional headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, a new office in Hyderabad, India, and an unannounced office in Singapore (but not that rumored office in mainland China).
Facebook has been busy expanding nationally as well, with some form of presence in most major cities. Austin, Texas is the most recent new location in the US, with an office there expected to hire hundreds of employees.
Another interesting note is that this is the first satellite office for Facebook’s core engineering team. Other engineering positions have been limited: it is hiring some technical employees for the data center in Prineville, Oregon; it has localization-focused engineers in Tokyo that work to “adopt unique Japanese culture and modify Facebook to best fit” the country’s custom; it has also been hiring sales engineers and other technical support staff in Dublin, and likely other parts of the world.
The company continues to say that it has one engineer for every million users. Going by its last official announcement about its total user count — 400 million — that means around 400 engineers. However, the engineering team has likely grown with the rest of the company, which we understand to have more than 1,300 employees overall by this point. The engineering count is more likely to be around 500 at this point. The new Seattle office, in other words, will be a small but significant portion of the company.
[Seattle skyline photo via dherrera_96]