COVID-19 layoffs have been happening left and right as businesses tighten their belts to ride out the recession. Unfortunately for software developers, even the tech industry hasn’t been immune.
For example, even if FAANG are still hiring, even they have posted drastic cuts in job openings. Some of them have been cancelling recent hires’ contracts as well.
When even names like Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google are feeling the burn, you know job security has hit a major low.
So now, between the spreading hiring freeze and the continuing layoffs, you have to wonder: is there a way to recession-proof yourself and protect your career?
While there’s no way to do this perfectly, there are things you can do to make yourself more resistant to layoffs than others. Today, we’ll list the top steps you can take for that as a software engineer.
1. Expand or Hone Your Skills
This should really go without saying, especially if you’re in an ever-evolving field like tech. It prevents you from getting stuck with obsolete skills and helps you build on your value as an employee.
One good way to do it is to get additional IT certifications. Getting these can even entitle you to a wage increase in some cases.
You can also practise in-demand programming languages, technologies, and more. Essentially, you need to add to your toolkit so that you become even more useful to your employer… and thus, harder to go without.
2. Invest in Your Professional Network
You should network for your career. Whether you’re trying to hold down a job or find one, networking is one of the best ways to build a good professional future.
Start by catching up with professional contacts. Get in touch with others in the field and former colleagues or even employers -- even just doing it on social media can be a good idea.
Network in your office too so that you can give yourself a social edge. Besides, this can help you keep your thumb on the pulse of the company. That way, you’re more likely to get a warning before shake-ups and the like.
Do it right and your networking will give you options to call on when the worst does occur. Referrals will be powerful in such situations and your contacts can cover you there!
It’s also worth noting that a fair number of software engineers confess this: they land more interviews at companies when they know someone in that company.
3. Start Watching Industry Trends
This actually relates to our first tip. You see, if you can keep an eye on industry trends, you’ll have a better idea of how to protect yourself from layoffs by investing in the right skills.
For example, paying attention to the tech industry should have shown you by now that cybersecurity attacks are on the rise (83% up for phishing attacks, 62% up for malware attacks).
As such, it’s unsurprising that cybersecurity is rapidly moving up in tech companies’ priority lists. That also means it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start brushing up on cybersecurity programming.
Many other in-demand skills can be predicted if you’re just keeping an eye on the trends. What we know of the pandemic and its effects makes the uptick in company interest in organisational change management and enterprise architecture fairly logical, for example.
4. Cultivate Flexibility
While engineering positions are less susceptible to layoffs in this recession than sales or customer success roles, they also tend to have higher salaries.
Why does that matter? Because it puts them in the line of fire for businesses trying to slim down and trim high expenses for survival.
That’s why you may need to learn how to be flexible to keep your job.
For instance, you may need to take on roles you didn’t use to, or cover parts of the project that weren’t your purview before.
You may even have to take a pay cut or slashed hours to keep your job.
If possible, just try to deal with it as best you can. If you have to reduce your hours, for instance, look at it as an opportunity to take on another (part-time) job.
Sometimes, you may even find better opportunities from situations like these, which can seem like misfortunates at first. Whatever happens, try to be positive, because falling into the doldrums won’t help.
And remember that part of flexibility is being willing to do things like ask for help or try new things.
For instance, if you’re having trouble finding another or back-up job, why not let us help?
At Skilledd, we provide a wide array of resources for software engineers seeking placement. We can match you to job openings, give you chances for technical assessment, and even direct you to free skill improvement resources.
To learn more about how we can help you find job opportunities even in a recession, visit Skilledd and join our community now.