The Stability of Developer Careers
I’ve seen this question rise in popularity in the recent months. It’s not just software developers that are searching for the answer, everyone is wondering if their field is recession-proof.
Software Developers are people too, contrary to what everyone I worked with says (we’re not robots), and they exhibit the most basic human emotion too, fear. Fear that they’ll lose their job. Fear that this is the time that companies decide that they’re overstaffed and start cutting back heavily, indefinitely. So, is the fear real or are developer jobs actually recession-proof?
Let’s Start with the Bad News
Software Developer jobs are not recession proof. If you’re working for a company, regardless of the field, you can get laid off for whatever reason. Sometimes a recession is an excuse to kill a project. Other-times, it’s necessary to roll back because business is not coming in or the company over-hired due to poor projections.
Shopify is stating that the pandemic e-commerce boom is over and that people are starting to become more conservative in their spending due to the constant recession talk. They’ve laid off 10% of their workforce, or roughly 1,000 employees.
These are not 100% software developer roles, but Shopify is taking the opportunity to look at its workforce and clean-up the ones that were there for convenience sake.
Meta has announced that the company has declined in top-line revenue for the first time since going public. No surprise then that it slashed its projection to hire 10,000 new engineers to about 6–7,000.
Uber is freezing hiring and is only focusing on the most important positions. It’s treating hiring as a “privilege” going forward.
Check out this Crunchbase article for a full list of tech companies laying off employees in 2022.
Is There Any Good News?
If you’re a skilled software developer, you most likely don’t have much to worry about. You may need to take a slight pay-cut, but you’ll still be employed. The problem with software development is that there is a shortage of skilled developers in the workforce.
According to a study conducted by iCIMS, the “2019 average time to fill for a tech position is 66 days, compared to 43 across all roles.” That means that it takes roughly 50% longer to hire for tech positions than it does for all other positions.
Forbes mentions that there are “920,000 unfilled positions for software engineers in the U.S. alone and only 165,000 potential applicants.” That’s almost 6 jobs for every applicant.
What’s causing the shortage? If you’ve gotten a degree in Computer Science, it’ll be extremely evident. Schools are teaching outdated material and are incapable of adapting to the pace of technological progress. Even if they picked a curriculum for the next four years, by the time you graduate, your skills would be dated. That and the fact that Computer Science is not meant to teach you to become a programmer. There needs to be a heavy investment into the technology-education sector with a focus on programming degrees.
How Can You Take Advantage of This?
It’s time to become a quality developer if you’re not one already. There are so many resources online that it would be impossible for you to read/watch everything in your lifetime.
It also might be the time to make yourself actually recession-proof, and that means working on becoming self-employed. It might be the time to put your faith into your own hands.
If you’re interested in learning more, I’ve written an entire article on this topic.
Although nobody is really recession-proof, quality software-developers don’t have much to worry about. You may lose your job, but there are plenty of other ones out there. Teach yourself the sought-after trends to make yourself even more valuable.