Managing your career in a downturn

By Jake from AlgoDaily on 2022-06-05 17:30:57 UTC

It’s a weird time to be job hunting as a software engineer. The overall stock market, which includes the equity of many tech companies, is down significantly overall. At the same time, numbers around the job market still appear strong. Similarly, there is news of layoffs, rescinded offers, and delayed IPOs – yet many companies are still actively hiring, with some even accelerating their recruiting efforts.

I’ve gotten dozens of emails in the past few weeks asking what to do in various scenarios. Questions like: should I stay put at my comfy but low-paying job, or move? Can I still negotiate salaries to the same compensation as last year? Should I be scared of being laid off?

I’ve decided to summarize my answers here. First and foremost, the biggest principle behind my response has always been to draw a hard line between what’s in your control, and what’s not. Focus only on what you can influence, and let the rest fall where they may.

The economy will always go through boom and bust cycles, but that shouldn’t affect your larger career objectives. Worrying about the state of your employer, industry, or government will not make things better. With that said, you can do things that make sure you’re putting yourself in a good place in this environment, regardless of what happens.

First, if you’re looking to move– heavily research the health of your current company and prospective companies. You can’t shape how their businesses are affected by the greater market conditions, but you can avoid companies that are burning through cash reserves or funding at an unsustainable rate.

Second, keep your interviewing skills sharp: Be ready to move or find a new job, if necessary. It’s not hard to do: get daily problems via our newsletter, watch a video, or review flash cards– all these things keep your head in the game. Many premium members have used AlgoDaily for nearly four years now, refreshing their skills as needed.

Third, keep your relationships in the industry strong. This is something we all know to do, but it’s easy to lose touch. Reach out to old managers and coworkers to see how they’re doing. Congratulate them on their recent wins. Meet folks at conferences and in your company. You never know where people end up, or how they may influence where you end up!

Finally, leverage your skills as a software engineer to create a backup stream of income. There are programmers who’ve gone freelancing, who’ve become YouTubers, and who start side projects. These could be good platforms to build off of should the worst occur, and they strengthen your engineering and communication skills for your day job regardless.

Feel free to reply directly to this email if you have questions about your personal situation. In closing, while times seem scary, you aren’t able to change the luck that you might have. What you can do is always improve your skills and yourself, so no matter what happens, you’ll turn out fine.

I wish you continued success in your software development career!

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