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This month in tech job listings: Coronavirus aftermath edition

Layoffs abound, but some giants are still hiring. So is a company planning to clean all those empty offices.

A woman wears an Oculus VR headset

Oculus VR is hiring for an ethics, safety and privacy manager, at a great time for escaping reality.

Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Two months ago, in Protocol's inaugural roundup of the most intriguing and revealing job listings in tech, we found strange (or at least strange-sounding) opportunities for "overnight happiness ambassadors," flying car engineers and scrum masters.

Last month we focused on how gig-economy companies were expanding from Colombia to Jakarta to San Francisco, spawning thousands of jobs not only for contract delivery drivers, but also data scientists, "people partner analysts" and jack-of-all-trades community managers.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and turned the job market upside-down. Would tech's thirst for new talent dry up? Are we all destined to work in on-demand delivery? Not according to Silicon Valley's biggest companies.

Job listings persist. In the last week alone, Google health care offshoot Verily posted 15 new openings on LinkedIn. At Netflix, as global consumers binge watched en masse, the company posted 140 new roles. On a much bigger scale, Amazon posted just shy of 12,000 new jobs — and not only for warehouse workers.

Here are five of the most telling examples of where we are:

Verily: Lead Technical Program Manager, Baseline

South San Francisco

Until a few weeks ago, Verily Life Sciences was just another one of Google parent company Alphabet's many side projects. That changed during a nationally televised briefing by President Trump, who thrust the company into the spotlight by promising that Google had "1,700 engineers" working on a coronavirus screening website. As it turned out, it was the much smaller team at Verily working on incorporating the virus into a health data effort called Project Baseline.

That division is now hiring for several positions, including a technical program manager tasked with delivering software projects that further Baseline's "quest to map human health." The role requires work with internal science, engineering, regulatory and business teams, as well as external partners — like the White House, perhaps?

Requirements: Bachelor's degree in computer science or equivalent experience, excellent "communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills."

Amazon: Head of Internal Communications

Arlington, Virginia

Coronavirus lockdowns have made Amazon more valuable than ever, but that doesn't mean it's been a smooth ride for the workers powering the operation. Amid a drive to recruit 100,000 new warehouse and delivery workers, the ecommerce giant attempted to quell a New York strike this week by firing the organizer and announcing that billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos will donate $100 million to U.S. food banks. Want to relay all of that (or at least some of that) to fellow employees? Check out the opening posted late last week for a new head of internal communications.

Requirements: Bachelor's in communications or marketing, 10+ years related experience, "a 'can-do,' problem-solving approach to managing ambiguity."

Oculus VR: Ethics, Safety and Privacy Manager

Menlo Park

People are locked down and physically farther apart than ever, so what better time to strap on a VR headset and mentally escape the cabin fever? Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus is hiring for several positions to help build "the next generation of computing devices to make people feel closer." But how do you keep the virtual world from spiraling out of control even faster than our own socially distant society? The company is currently scouting for a new ethics, safety and privacy manager to help figure that out.

Requirements: 5+ years of experience with a master's degree or 10 years with a bachelor's degree, skilled at "influencing stakeholders and engineers."

Netflix: Space Planning Manager

Los Gatos

While many companies go into survival mode, Netflix is trying to broaden its global reach by hiring new publicists in locked-down major markets including India. But at a time when more bored consumers than ever are glued to their screens, Netflix is also planning to grow its physical footprint in the Americas. And while much of the business world is debating whether the coronavirus-induced shift to remote work will obviate the need for brick-and-mortar offices, the streaming giant last week posted an opening for a space planner to map out a long-term strategy for its 1-million-square-foot "and growing" real estate portfolio.

Requirements: Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in architecture, proficiency in AutoCAD, expertise in "user research, occupancy planning and strategy, and space programming."

Zo Klean Technologies: Commercial Office Cleaner

San Diego

While Netflix and other tech tenants mull the future of corporate offices, one sector is accelerating hiring for people willing to go in to work right now: office cleaners. Take San Diego's Zo Klean Technologies, which allows businesses to book commercial cleaning services through an online platform. The company is offering $1,500 to 2,500 per week, no benefits, to clean offices, industrial labs and other buildings while the rest of the world freaks out about germs.

Requirements: High school education, U.S. work authorization.

People

Making the economy work for Black entrepreneurs

Funding for Black-owned startups needs to grow. That's just the start.

"There is no quick fix to close the racial wealth and opportunity gaps, but there are many ways companies can help," said Mastercard's Michael Froman.

Photo: DigitalVision/Getty Images

Michael Froman is the vice chairman and president of Strategic Growth for Mastercard.

When Tanya Van Court's daughter shared her 9th birthday wish list — a bike and an investment account — Tanya had a moment of inspiration. She wondered whether helping more kids get excited about saving for goals and learning simple financial principles could help them build a pathway to financial security. With a goal of reaching every kid in America, she founded Goalsetter, a savings and financial literacy app for kids. Last month, Tanya brought in backers including NBA stars Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, raising $3.9 million in seed funding.

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Michael Froman
Michael Froman serves as vice chairman and president, Strategic Growth for Mastercard. He and his team drive inclusive growth efforts and partner across public and private sectors to address major societal and economic issues. From 2013 to 2017, Mike served as the U.S. trade representative, President Barack Obama’s principal adviser and negotiator on international trade and investment issues. He is a distinguished fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company.
Sponsored Content

Building better relationships in the age of all-remote work

How Stripe, Xero and ModSquad work with external partners and customers in Slack channels to build stronger, lasting relationships.

Image: Original by Damian Zaleski

Every business leader knows you can learn the most about your customers and partners by meeting them face-to-face. But in the wake of Covid-19, the kinds of conversations that were taking place over coffee, meals and in company halls are now relegated to video conferences—which can be less effective for nurturing relationships—and email.

Email inboxes, with hard-to-search threads and siloed messages, not only slow down communication but are also an easy target for scammers. Earlier this year, Google reported more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in just one week and more than 240 million daily spam messages.

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Policy

Here are Big Tech’s biggest threats from states

The states are moving much quicker than Congress on privacy, taxes and content moderation.

Virginia is expected to be the second state to pass a comprehensive privacy law.

Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr

When critics say that Virginia's new privacy bill is "industry-approved," they're not totally wrong, said David Marsden, the state senator who has been working for months to shepherd the law through the state legislature.

It was an Amazon lobbyist who originally presented Marsden with the text of the bill, which hews closely to the failed Washington Privacy Act, versions of which have been pushed by Microsoft across the country.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Amazon's new interface tries to rein in the chaos

The company is rolling out a new interface with profiles and a big emphasis on live content to additional Fire TV streaming devices next month.

Amazon's new Fire TV interface is coming to additional streaming devices next month.

Image: Amazon

When Amazon's Fire TV team began pushing out a new interface to select streaming devices in December, it wasn't just aiming for a cosmetic refresh. The new Fire TV experience, which is scheduled to launch on Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube devices next month, promises to rein in some of the sprawl caused by Fire TV's last major UI change. However, the new changes also show how hard it can be for TV platforms to do the right thing for consumers without offending content partners.

The idea was simple enough: Instead of making consumers browse bland lists of apps, forcing them to choose whether they'd want to spend their evening with Netflix or Hulu, Amazon's Fire TV team wanted them to get straight to the movies and shows that matter. That's why in late 2016, the company was first among the major smart TV platform providers to introduce what's known in the industry as a content-first user experience, with rows and rows of shows and movies — from various streaming apps — directly on the TV home screen.

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Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

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