As Paul Krugman says: These are strange times. We are living under unusual circumstances and there are a ton of negative stuff to think about. A lot of people have been laid off of their jobs and are looking for a new gig.
For software developers we have an interesting market, some companies are reducing the headcount and some others are hiring. For junior or mid software developers there is an additional challenge they might fit in different positions based on the programming languages they know or like. Which one should I study? Should I polish the ones I already know? Should I learn a new one? As always the answer is: it depends. I’ll elaborate on the following paragraphs.
I’ve seen a lot of similarities between finding a new job and selling enterprise software (please don’t run yet, bare with me). In sales we have a pipeline were we manage opportunities and try to maximize our sales numbers. Here you only need 1 win, only need to be right once. I’ll explain in simple terms what’s a pipeline and how you can use it to survive this tough situation.
The pipeline has 5 stages. We have some interesting assumptions and facts:
- Not all opportunities have to go through the 5 stages.
- As we advance in the pipeline the probability of winning should increase.
- Opportunities have different velocities to the pipeline, some can change really quickly and others can be very slow.
The 5 stages are:
- Identify: Here opportunities are like gossiping. You heard a company is hiring, you read a post on LinkedIn. At this point we know there might be an opportunity but you don’t even know if you have what it takes.
- Qualify: To be able to pass to this stage you must assess if the opportunity is a fit for you. Review the seniority level they are looking for, years of experience, programming languages and industry.
- Pursue: Once you send your application (CV) or you asked a friend to refer you, then we are on pursue. By this point, it might be a good idea to polish or learn new languages.
- Closing: Now we are in the interview phase. This can vary a lot from company to company: you can have several phone interviews, in the past, you might have an on-site and you could be interviewed by your future boss, to name a few.
- Won: You accepted the offer! Congrats! Hopefully, you’ll be on this stage pretty soon.
After that long explanation, I would say you should study new languages or polish the ones you know based on your pipeline. Probably doing an Elixir course based on an opportunity in the Identify stage could not be a great idea (it could if you really want to work on Elixir). You could get serious about a new language if you are on Pursue or Closing.
This advice might not apply to everyone and every situation. It’s my 5 cents to try to help in this difficult time we are living.
Good luck finding your next gig!