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Thoughts on the State of the Tech Industry

If you haven’t already, check out this article covering the local Information Technology Industry, as we’ll reference below. In short, the tech industry nationally, as well as specifically in the Greater Louisville and Cincinnati Areas, has had a rough time since just before COVID, and particularly so since early 2022. This has led to considerably more challenges for those looking to enter the tech industry. 

The most obvious and concerning takeaway from the data is that tech jobs have been on a decline since COVID. While the most recent quarter has shown a slight increase, this isn’t enough of a trend to definitively say we’re in recovery and growth just yet. Our own local relationships with employers confirm this situation as well. We’ve all seen headlines about major tech companies in San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and other major hubs having large layoffs in the last year or two, but this is also happening locally. Humana, historically a company that has hired among the most Code Louisville graduates, has had several rounds of layoffs, as has UPS. This has directly impacted the rate and likelihood of Code:You graduates finding jobs in tech in the last year. We hear similar word from other local employers about hiring freezes or slowdowns, an overwhelming number of resumes received, and no certainty as to when they will return to growth mode.

It all certainly sounds dire, but technology isn’t going anywhere. All industries go through booms and busts and the need for software development, data analysis, web development, and all kinds of other tech skills are only going to rise over time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the next ten years the tech workforce will grow twice as fast as the overall U.S. workforce, so it’s only a matter of when, not if, the recovery will occur. When it does, we’ll see more job openings, as well as more people moving up the ladder leaving even more open positions to be filled. 

Does that mean you should put your job search on hold until recovery? Definitely not. Companies will eventually resume hiring and when they do you want to be ready to act on those new positions. We’ve put together an article of the things you can be doing in the meantime to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward and ready to act as soon as you see a solid job opening. Additionally, as the local data showed, the tech workforce is concentrated in a few sectors such as Finance, Professional Services, and Information. As you develop your portfolio, consider tailoring your portfolio, resume, and new skills towards one or more of these sectors to increase your attractiveness to the hiring managers. For those looking outside of Kentucky, Logistics and Healthcare are over-represented in the tech sector, so consider looking at those industries as well, rather than tracking down ‘traditional’ tech companies that only produce software. 

Picture of computers on a desk

Finally, consider what other skills you can pair with your programming talents to really stand out from the crowd. There are a variety of interesting skills, industries, and tools that are hot right now. Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Systems, Data, and more are all areas you should spend some time learning. Understanding these concepts, having some practical skills in them, and demonstrating those skills alongside your software development skills will make your resume attractive, get you past the automated resume systems, and dramatically increase your chances of getting noticed and hired. A challenge of programs like Code:You is what to cover in the limited time you are active within the program. We’d love to cover Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Big Data, and all of these other big and growing areas, and we try and at least introduce them through Pluralsight videos, guest speakers, workshops, and other activities. But at the end of the day, your best bet is to take what you already know and begin learning how more of these tools are being used. The best developers are the ones that aren’t afraid to pick up something new, play around with it, then give it a try at their company or in a personal project!

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