Rose W

Rose W



Having survived the first dotcom bubble here’s my advice for those worrying about the current tech hiring slowdowns / layoffs. 🧵(I’ll add to it over the day.)

Company size is no guarantee of safety. Startups can collapse but big companies can layoff entire business units independent of the skills of individuals in that unit.

Instead you need to understand the basics of the company’s business. Is it turning a profit? If not how much runway does it have with current investment dollars in the bank? Where is it in its next round of investment?

Does the company already have customers? Is there a long waitlist and/or are they struggling to get people interested? Not only are customers good for bootstrapping but in tight times VCs suddenly care about basics like are people currently paying you money?

Avoid jobs that are “building the second floor” type problems. What do I mean by that? You want to be doing something directly responsible for how the company makes its $ and not something that supports the making. No one noticed the second floor unless it vanishes.

As a personal example right now I write e-commerce software for a company that sells e-commerce software. At a past job I wrote e-commerce software at a company that sells physical products. My current role is much more important to the company’s bottom line than my last one.

Network, network, network! At the worst of the dotcom crash jobs we’re tight but they weren’t gone. People still need software. What was important was having a network of people who knew your value and could point you at jobs.

Cash is more important than options. You want company’s that can afford to pay you what you are worth and not ones that can only pay in options. I still have the option certificates from my first startup… very expensive but worthless.

Worried about actual stock at companies who’s price tumbled? If you think the tumble is done then it’s a great time to get an offer with stock while the price is low. (Let’s not talk about those of us who got it when the price was high!)

However this only counts if it’s a publicly traded company where once the stock vests you can trade it on your timeline. If you have options they are usually gone if you leave and non-public stick is tied up until public.

Degrees and/or experience will matter more than before. Is that startup tempting you to drop out one semester before graduation? Now is NOT the time to do it. When markets are tighter you will want that degree on the resume.

Don’t despair if you are bootcamp / self taught… yes people will get more picky over degrees but lots of us know your value now! Self taught plus 2+ years in industry may be viewed by many as equivalent to a degree if not better for the practical experience.

Don’t panic! I should have started with this. A few big companies pausing hiring / doing layoffs is not a crash. Long ago in normal times that happened. It can be a sign so prepare but it’s not a guarantee!

Keep your skills modern but you don’t need cutting edge. I left the first dotcom boom a firmware programmer with C and assembly skills. Right now I’m a web dev and know Ruby, rails, and react. Solid skills for a solid job in today’s economy.

Your emergency fund needs to be a minimum of 6 months of expenses and no credit card debt beyond using it as a tool to consolidate purchases that is fully paid off monthly.

That way you can job shop and not be desperate. Just like company’s need runways you need one too!

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