The news these days feels pretty dismal, marked by layoffs, recession, inflation, and hiking interest rates. Major tech organizations like Meta, Twitter, and now Amazon are laying staff off in headline-making droves.
There is a lot of noise happening in the tech industry. We know from previous times of economic uncertainty that Big Tech tends to lead the rest of the world in laying off staff before the recession really hits, marking troubling times in the economy.
Still — don’t be alarmed. Tech is going to likely fare the best out of every other industry during this recession, and we know this because of current job growth projections and, of course, history.
Let’s discuss why:
The tech recession of 2008 – or was it?
According to Forbes, the US saw 6.8 million job losses during the Great Recession between 2008 and 2009. These numbers were reported across all industries.
The tech industry was a different story. InfoWorld reports that tech actually gained 77,000 jobs during this time period, many of those in particular roles:
“The U.S. high-tech industry gained about 77,000 jobs in 2008, despite losses of 38,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of the year, according to a report from trade group TechAmerica.
Two segments of the high-tech industry driving the job gains in 2008 were software services, including software publishing, custom programming and computer systems design, and engineering and tech services, including computer training, testing labs and research and development, said the report, released Tuesday.”
Technology has evolved rapidly, and Big Tech as its own subset of the industry has exploded since the 2008 tech recession. Even then, the job outlook was promising, with data analysts and software engineers taking the 1st and 4th spots, respectively, in the BLS’ job outlook handbook.
As many historians and statisticians are looking to 2008 as a comparison to 2022 and what’s to come in 2023, we have a little bit more reassurance that particular roles will remain secure and, in some cases, even more in demand.
Why 2023 will not be the year of a tech recession
While layoffs.fyi predicts about 118,000 jobs have been lost so far this year — and more may be to come — the disposition in tech hiring is not as gloomy as the news makes it seem.
Big Tech may be dominating layoff headlines, but these companies reflect just a small portion of the tech industry at large. There are still plenty of startups and smaller organizations needing tech talent. They may hiring slower than before, and they may not have the salaries or benefits packages that can compete with the likes of Meta, Amazon, and Twitter even now, but the job security and overall outlook for roles — particularly those in programming — is still strong. In fact, many of these smaller organizations are attracting Big Tech talent in order to bolster their staff with those who have the mindset and work ethic of more giant organizations.
As Wired notes:
“At the same time, companies including Amazon and Apple have slowed or frozen their hiring, reducing the number of open roles in Big Tech that can soak up people suddenly out of work. Yet while many individual workers must now find new jobs, the broader outlook for tech workers remains strong. Their skills are still in demand, and their peers have responded to recent cuts with a wave of grassroots support to help laid-off workers find new jobs.”
The shifting tides of the talent war and increased demand, despite layoffs
“The end of Silicon Valley’s twenty-year boom,” glare headlines. The previous decades saw Big Tech’s biggest boom ever, with cash infusions flooding top companies and enabling hiring.
According to the New York Times:
“In recent years, tech companies responded to the flood of cash from investors and a rapidly growing business by pouring money into expansion via sales and marketing, hiring, acquisitions and experimental projects. The excess capital encouraged companies to staff up, adding fuel to the war for talent.”
But the war on talent has shifted. As mentioned earlier, the talent demand can be divided up more fairly across the broader tech landscape. In a talent pool that is already too small to meet demand, Big Tech had a tendency to eat up top recruits. Now, as companies lay off capable workers, the pool of talent deepens, and companies that are sitting on those cash infusions are ready to recruit.
Tech isn’t the only industry needing this talent, either — many non-technical employers are still heavily recruiting tech talent, especially those that tend to be more recession-resistant or those who are rapidly building out more digital and technical solutions, like e-commerce, healthcare, and entertainment.
The tech recession isn’t happening in the way the media has led us to believe — at least, not across the industry as a whole. For roles in software engineering, web development, and other programming-adjacent jobs, demand and projected growth is remaining steady despite hiring freezes and layoffs, and that projected growth remains one of the highest in any industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Recession-proof your career as a software engineer
While no job is 100% secure during a recession, certain roles in certain industries are. Tech, historically, has fared better than other industries during times of economic uncertainty, and particular roles within tech like software engineering, web development, mobile app development, and programming are still in high demand as companies and startups of all sizes and scales look to attract talent.
If you want to recession-proof your career and join an already in-demand talent pool, learn about our bootcamp programs. They can take you from a complete beginner to a full-fledged tech employee in just a few months.
Learn more about App Academy and our program options.