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Zoom to expand in U.S. with engineering centers in Phoenix, Pittsburgh

FILE PHOTO: The Zoom Video Communications logo is pictured at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York, New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) – Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O) said Thursday it plans to hire 500 software engineers for research and development locations in Phoenix and Pittsburgh over the next two years, expanding its engineering workforce by about 60{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}.

The San Jose, California-based videoconferencing company has seen a large spike in usage as families, friends and organizations use its software to connect while under lockdown orders during the global coronavirus pandemic. The company said last month it has about 300 million daily meeting participants, up from 10 million in December.

The sudden crush of traffic revealed a number of privacy and security issues that caused Zoom to pause new feature development for 90 days to address the concerns. It also prompted Zoom to seek out an additional cloud computing vendor, Oracle Corp (ORCL.N), to help handle the volume.

Zoom’s current engineering workforce is mostly split between its San Jose headquarters and China. Zoom Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg told Reuters the company is looking for offices near Arizona State University and Carnegie Mellon University to tap engineering talent coming out of the schools.

Steckelberg said hiring will start immediately, and the new employees will work from home until at least September. Zoom had previously said it does not plan for staff to return to its offices until at least then.

Zoom is roughly halfway through its 90-day plan to improve its privacy and security. Steckelberg said the hires in Arizona and Pennsylvania will be for “longer term capabilities” rather than the immediate work for the plan. However, she said almost two dozen engineers who came to Zoom from Keybase, an encryption firm it acquired last week, will have an “immediate impact” on the company’s security work.

Steckelberg said the new locations will also give Zoom the ability to hire engineers hesitant to move to Silicon Valley due to its high living costs. The median home value in San Jose is more than $1 million, according data from Zillow.

“Today, most of our U.S.-based engineering staff is in San Jose, so this will be a really great opportunity to extend our talent base across the U.S.,” she said.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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