Written By Jess Feldman
Welcome to Ask a Career Coach, an advice-column where real bootcamp career coaches answer questions from Course Report readers. Today, Johnny Borchardt – a UI/UX Design Career Coach at Springboard and Recruiter at Peaksware Holdings – is answering a question about whether today’s layoffs at big tech companies are affecting coding bootcamp graduates in 2023.
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Our question comes from soon-to-be coding bootcamp graduate, who asks:
“Will the current tech layoffs affect coding bootcamp graduates?”
What’s the quick answer to this reader’s question, Johnny?
Anyone looking for a job, whether graduating from a bootcamp or not, should expect increased competition. However, bootcamp grads can leverage the fact that they were part of an intense learning experience, which is no easy feat!
Springboard grads can certainly highlight their projects and the 1:1 mentor support received from industry professionals. However, all job seekers need to go above and beyond in their job search and work with career coaches to iterate on their strategy. And continuous networking during this time will be crucial.
I think the greatest impact of these layoffs for bootcamp grads is the mental and emotional impact. Uncertainty takes a toll, but keep in mind that all the students I’ve spoken with just have a fear of the unknown. Changing careers is a risk, but can ultimately be a risk worth taking. Fear is an incredibly difficult emotion to overcome. It affects us on multiple levels, and then often becomes a weight that we carry with us that affects us on an interpersonal and social level. I suggest shifting focus away from fear-mongering news stories to your personal value proposition.
I’m all for optimism. I always ask my students where they are at mentally and emotionally so we can address that and have them leave our mentor calls feeling motivated. It’s important for job seekers to focus on what is in their control to avoid spiraling into a state of negativity.
That said, optimism and realism must go hand in hand. The layoffs will affect recent and future graduates harder than previous graduates as companies will be looking for strong specialists more than entry-level applicants. However, many companies have become flexible with their requirements over time due to various factors, such as cost. So I always recommend that my students not shy away from postings that ask for a couple more years of experience than they have.
Unfortunately, the high-profile layoffs fill our perspective, and some companies and industries that were in a hyper-growth mode during the pandemic are now being impacted. As a whole, companies are being more cautious in their hiring practices. The roles hit hardest have been in sales, marketing, and human resources.
I would advise job seekers to look at industries outside of tech (think: healthcare and hospitality) and at small and mid-sized companies.
In today's market and modern society, consumers look to certain industries for their necessities. Healthcare, government/social services, trade and utilities, tech, and yes, even entertainment are seen as essential! These all should rebound as their products and services are vital in the eyes of consumers.
Yes! We live in a digital world. Accessibility to information, products, and services is only going to increase in the coming years. Enrolling at a bootcamp makes a lot of sense, especially when it’s a Springboard program that offers a job guarantee.
People should also keep in mind that specialization is more important now than ever before. In-depth bootcamps and certifications are becoming more relevant to what companies are looking for. Skills and experience are important and being able to ask questions of industry professionals, networking with them, and learning-while-doing provides multiple advantages in making the information not only stick with you but become a tool you’re comfortable using.
At Springboard, we coach students on finding tech roles outside of the tech industry and how to lean on their network for advice and introductions. Springboard students have access to career curriculum and career coaching from day 1 of the program. By the time a student completes the program, they will have foundational job search knowledge to hit the ground running in their job search. In fact, it’s not uncommon for students to land a job before the program! We make sure students are prepared for their technical and behavioral interviews through practice sessions. In addition, students are paired with mentors who are industry professionals in the field and can give students critical guidance and feedback on their technical skills.
Adopt a growth mindset. Challenges are a part of life, and uncertainty can be terrifying. However, with that fear can come amazing new and previously unknown opportunities that could change you and your family’s life. Know yourself, ask lots of questions, get support, and don’t be afraid to take a risk.
Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps.
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