Layoffs have surged in 2023, with tech companies responsible for a large portion of the job cuts.
Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce are just a handful of the tech giants that announced significant cuts this year. However, despite these attention-grabbing downsizings, the demand for tech professionals – especially in non-tech industries – remains strong, due in part to digital transformation initiatives.
According to a recent survey conducted by Filtered, 78% of talent acquisition leaders stated that they are actively hiring for technical roles or maintaining their regular pace of hiring. Less than a quarter reported any kind of hiring slowdown.
Moreover, hiring managers have shifted their focus from background-specific requirements to a skills-based recruiting model, which allows a broader range of candidates to consider careers in the tech industry.
ITPro Today interviewed Dan Finnigan, CEO of Filtered, a skills-based hiring platform, to discuss his top three tips for individuals seeking a career in tech.
Tip #1. Discover Tech Careers in Non-Technical Industries
Finnigan: Candidates looking to break into tech should expand their job search beyond traditional technology companies to include mid- to large-sized enterprise businesses in non-technical industries, which often struggle to find enough talent.
These non-technical industries are seeking professionals with a diverse skill set that includes not only technical expertise but also a strong understanding of business operations and digital integration.
By broadening their search and highlighting their cross-functional abilities, candidates can tap into this demand and find new opportunities in unexpected sectors.
Tip #2. Learn How To Use Generative AI Tools Effectively
GitHub’s recent announcement of Copilot X is a perfect example of GAI [general artificial intelligence] offerings like ChatGPT becoming necessary skills for tech workers' day-to-day workflow. With Copilot X's advanced coding and technical capabilities, it's clear that GAI is not just a nice-to-have tool but rather a critical part of staying competitive in the tech industry. Your raw technical skills, as well as your ability to properly leverage tools like ChatGPT and other GAI offerings, will set you apart from other candidates.
As the tech industry continues to evolve, candidates who can effectively leverage the power of GAI alongside their raw technical skills will possess a valuable edge in terms of productivity, innovation, and problem-solving capabilities, making them highly sought after by employers.
According to Filtered’s survey, 96% of people said it was somewhat or very important that candidates have experience with generative AI tools for coding assistance. However, it’s important to view GAI tools as just that – tools – and to continue to develop the engineering skills that are essential to effectively use GAI for coding.
Tip #3. Invest in Upskilling, Reskilling, and Mentoring
Candidates looking to break into tech should invest in online training and education to sharpen and/or learn skills that align with the current demands for tech talent in the job market.
Mentorship is important no matter who you are, but it is especially significant for young graduates who are beginning their careers. Networking is a key part of career success, and mentors can help you expand your network and connect with influential people. These connections can open doors to new opportunities and accelerate career advancement.
By proactively seeking support, candidates can confidently navigate the rapidly changing tech landscape and increase their chances of success in securing desirable tech roles. And once you find your dream job, make sure to pay it forward by embracing opportunities to mentor and support other people breaking into the professional technology world.
Which Tech Fields Have the Most Employer Demand?
While non-technical industries are seeking tech workers at higher rates, technical fields remain promising for emerging tech workers. As companies prioritize their digital transformations, a large part of their infrastructure will shift to the cloud, which makes cloud engineers a hot commodity for many organizations. Engineers with an understanding of how to shift between cloud and on-premises environments will be particularly attractive candidates.
Cybersecurity remains of utmost priority to most organizations, which means demand for skilled labor will likely only increase. Cyberattacks pose a serious threat to organizations and are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect, which has led to many companies hiring more security personnel.
Survey respondents said network security engineers (48%) and system security managers (44%) represent two of the top three most common technical positions hired in the past year, along with AI/ML engineers. The generative AI arms race has placed candidates with AI, ML, and prompt engineering skills at the top of the list in terms of employer demand.
“By demonstrating proficiency in these sought-after skills, candidates can position themselves as forward-thinking professionals ready to contribute to the evolving demands of the AI-powered digital era,” Finnigan said.