Amazon opens Cape software centre
US online retail giant, Amazon.com, has opened a software development centre in Cape Town.
The division is headed by local IT personality Chris Pinkham, who has recruited Willem van Biljon to join him.
The new centre will join three others Amazon has already established in Seattle, Scotland and India.
According to Pinkham, who has the position of Amazon VP and MD for the Cape Town Software Development Centre, staff recruitment is under way and he expects no more than 50 members in the medium-term.
Pinkham says the centre will focus on developing new and innovative Web services to help software developers build innovative applications using Amazon technology.
He says the new centre is looking for exceptional computer scientists and software engineers with entrepreneurial spirit to join the start-up team. Specific roles that are available include software development engineers as well as specialists in the areas of open source operating systems, networks and security.
"We want to build a team of the most talented individuals that SA has to offer. Candidates should have experience in designing and building complex yet maintainable systems, and should be able to do so in about one-third the time most competent people think possible," Pinkham says.
While management is concentrating on establishing a strong core of senior engineering talent, it is also setting up an internship programme and will be looking to engage recent and soon-to-be South African graduates with strong computer science skills.
"All employees in SA will be employee-owners of Amazon.com. Amazon.com prefers the ownership model of employment rather than the rental model - owners tend to look after their stuff better than renters," Pinkham says.
The South African team will work independently and have complete control of the development process for the products they build.
"Amazon.com strongly believes in the idea of creating independent teams to work on separable services with minimal requirement for coordination," Pinkham says.
He says the South African team will deal with idea generation, and technical design through to development and deployment across a variety of architectures and technologies.
Pinkham is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and was one of the original founders of the country`s first Internet service providers, Ticsa, which eventually evolved into UUNet.
Van Biljon was a founder, and until recently new business development director, of Nasdaq-listed Mosaic Software. He is also on the board of the Cape IT Initiative.