- Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
- A former Cambridge Analytica engineer told Business Insider that he’s gotten more than 30 job inquires on LinkedIn since the firm shut down earlier this month.
- He said big data companies were interested in hiring him and didn’t see his experience at the embattled firm as a liability.
- He maintains that everything CA did was legal and standard in the industry.
A former Cambridge Analytica engineer says he’s received more than 30 job inquiries from recruiters and executives at big data companies in the weeks since the scandal-plagued data firm announced it was shutting down and filing for bankruptcy.
The employee, who requested anonymity because legal proceedings surrounding the company are currently ongoing, told Business Insider that despite Cambridge Analytica’s litany of scandals, he has fielded numerous offers from recruiters and CTOs working with big data. And he said that some of his colleagues at CA have received similar levels of interest from recruiters as well.
While the Cambridge Analytica name has become tarnished in the public realm following a string of scandals like its misuse of Facebook customer data, the controversy does not appear to have hurt the market value of the engineering experts and computer programmers who created the technology.
That’s partly due to a shortage of tech talent in the booming big data industry, the source that BI spoke to said.
What’s more, he said, recruiters and interviewers at data firms seeking to offer him a job- none of which were primarily political companies – did not hold his prior employer’s sins against him; some even assured him that they believed much of the media reporting about Cambridge Analytica was “fake” and “didn’t make sense.”
“I know people think that we are the devil itself but it’s not true, the work we did at Cambridge Analytica and SCL was legal and the stuff on the press is mostly lies from my point of view,” he said.
“I don’t want to be in this position again”
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About 100 Cambridge Analytica employees, The Wall Street Journal reported, are looking for new jobs after the Trump-linked political research firm ignited a global debate about data privacy by breaking Facebook’s own rules to improperly obtain the personal data of 87 million Facebook users. Former Cambridge Analytica executives were also caught on camera appearing to suggest that they could manipulate elections and entrap political candidates with sex workers and bribes.
“Personally I would like to see the unedited version [of the video], but also some of the stuff he said should never have been said,” the engineer said of the video featuring the company’s CEO. Still, he added, “at the end he is a businessman and it’s trying to sell his product.”
The comments are in contrast to Christopher Wylie, one of the whistleblowers that bought the Cambridge Analytica story to light and who has said the company’s technology was turned into a “psychological warfare” tool.
About 35 or 40 of the 100 CA employees worked in technical roles, the engineer told Business Insider.
The toll of working at a company with an incredible amount of scrutiny from the media has taken its toll, though. The employee said that he declined every offer from a big data company because he said he doesn’t want to be at the center of a media firestorm again.
“This Cambridge Analytica story made me realize that common people don’t understand how these companies operate and I don’t want to be in this position again, when the press disagrees with the next company I go work for,” he said.
Cambridge Analytica is under several investigations in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Still, the employee maintains that everything Cambridge Analytica did was legal and standard for the industry, parroting the defense the company has made publicly.