Got Skills?

Last October, a certain blogger said:

LinkedIn needs to implement some kind of concept extraction to provide a useful topic facet (something I’d also love to see for their regular people search). This is a challenging information extraction problem, especially for the open web, but I also know from experience that it is tractable within a domain. Given LinkedIn’s professional focus, I believe this is a problem they can and should tackle.

Shortly after writing that post, I interviewed at LinkedIn and met Pete Skomoroch, who showed me an early preview of the work his team was doing to make skills a facet for exploring the space of LinkedIn member profiles. That demo made a strong impression on me, giving me a taste of the great products LinkedIn’s data scientists were working on in the lab.

And now I’m delighted that everyone can try out the beta launch of LinkedIn Skills which was announced today at O’Reilly’s Strata 2011 conference on Big Data.

As Pete says in his blog post:

If you search for a particular skill, we’ll surface key people within that community, show you the top locations, related companies, relevant jobs, and groups where you can interact with like minded professionals.  You’ll also be able to explore similar skills and compare their growth relative to each other.

I encourage you to check it out — whether you’re looking for experts on Hadoop, cheese, or anything else! It’s a beta, so I’m sure you’ll find rough edges; but I hope it gives you a sense of how LinkedIn’s data can enable a incredibly powerful and useful exploratory search experience.

No forward-looking statements, except to say that it only gets better from here!

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

6 replies on “Got Skills?”

Couple of questions:

(1) What does “Relative Growth” mean? Relative to what? Why not absolute growth? Is this for the skill’s supply, or demand?

(2) At the bottom it says “* Based on LinkedIn data”. I’m always fascinated by the appearance in the last few years of the “dangling asterisk”, which seems to mean that it’s a generic disclaimer that applies to the whole page, or maybe applies to some of it but it’s up to the reader to figure out where. In this case, what does it refer to, the whole page?


Relative growth is based on the supply of member profiles that have that skill.

As for “based on LinkedIn data”, of course the whole page is based on our data. But I agree that the asterisk is confusing, and I’ll mention it to the team working on the page.

Thanks for the feedback!


We are suffering huge damage from the LinkedIn skills page. Lack of transparency about criteria used to select the companies owning a particular skills led to paradoxical situations such as the following:
1) our company, one of the biggest European businesses in our niche, is not listed at all
2) non-profits like the foundations are listed among the skilled companies.
As soon as we learned that Skills Beta was launched, we credited our technical people with the specific skill (namely, “Plone”) – but it was too late. LinkedIn Customer Support was unable to handle our issue and refused explicitly to put us in touch with some legal issues department to handle our disconfort. I hope that this post may elicit useful comments. BTW, excuse my english.


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