Searching for Jobs in Technology in the Pandemic? Consider These 3 Things

By Katie Dunn ● January 06, 2021

How has the pandemic impacted the search for jobs in technology? Specifically, for our software developer graduates? These are important questions we at Momentum, a Durham coding school, have recently been receiving.

The short answer: COVID-19 certainly has affected the market for jobs in technology. And Momentum has adapted accordingly.

Like the US job mar­ket in gen­er­al, we saw the mar­ket for Junior Soft­ware Devel­op­ers slow down in ear­ly 2020. This pre­sent­ed a chal­lenge for our grad­u­ates in their search for jobs in technology.

For some per­spec­tive, consider that since mid-2018, the US unem­ploy­ment rate was con­sis­tent­ly below 4% until March 2020. How­ev­er, due to the pan­dem­ic the unem­ploy­ment rose to a high of 14.7% last April (Source: BLS). At that time, com­pa­nies known for reg­u­lar­ly hir­ing soft­ware devel­op­ers sud­den­ly paused on onboard­ing new hires while recruiters who filled these jobs in tech­nol­o­gy saw their open job req­ui­si­tions dis­ap­pear as if overnight. Some recruiters report­ed the loss of as much as 90% of their req­ui­si­tion load.

In these current times, we’ve observed 3 things to keep in mind as you con­sid­er a search for jobs in technology:

1. Landing Jobs in Technology During the Pandemic Takes Time

A key dif­fer­ence in hir­ing trends dur­ing the pan­dem­ic is how long it takes to secure a job. The good news is com­pa­nies are back to hir­ing soft­ware devel­op­er roles. As a job seek­er though, you can expect the process to take longer than pre-pan­dem­ic norms.

To illustrate this, here’s some data on the length of times our grads are spending job-seeking: Momen­tum soft­ware devel­op­ers who grad­u­at­ed right before the pan­dem­ic spent an aver­age of 50 days job-search­ing before land­ing a job offer. In com­par­i­son, those who grad­u­at­ed at the peak of unem­ploy­ment and eco­nom­ic uncer­tain­ty in April 2020 saw the aver­age length of their job search extend to 96 days. The major­i­ty of these April grad­u­ates now have jobs in tech­nol­o­gy despite the fact that it is tak­ing more time.

An encour­ag­ing trend: grad­u­ates who com­plet­ed our Durham cod­ing school in the sec­ond half of 2020 are find­ing suc­cess a faster rate than those who graduated in April 2020. Take for instance our soft­ware devel­op­ers who grad­u­at­ed in August. Over 50% of them now have jobs in tech­nol­o­gy with an aver­age salary of $64,500. We hope to see hir­ing rates con­tin­ue in this direc­tion and the time-to-hire decrease in the com­ing months.

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Grad­u­ates who com­plet­ed our Durham cod­ing school in the sec­ond half of 2020 are find­ing suc­cess at a faster rate.

2. The Job Market is Improving, Slowly

The Momen­tum grad­u­ate expe­ri­ence in the cur­rent job mar­ket is close­ly mir­ror­ing the data for tech employ­ment in North Car­oli­na. Accord­ing to NC TECH, IT job post­ings declined 27% between March and May 2020, decreas­ing to 22.7K open IT jobs in May. But in Novem­ber 2020, the tech mar­ket recov­ered to 28,120 job postings.

3. “This is Already Double What I Was Making Before”

We’re thrilled to see Momen­tum grad­u­ates still land­ing jobs in tech­nol­o­gy dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, espe­cial­ly amid such chal­leng­ing times, and we con­tin­u­al­ly cel­e­brate them. The skillset our soft­ware devel­op­ers grad­u­ate with enables them to land jobs that change their lives and those of their fam­i­lies. I encour­age grad­u­ates to nego­ti­ate their com­pen­sa­tion pack­age when they receive a job offer. A com­mon response I hear from them is, “But this is already dou­ble what I was mak­ing before.” This is anoth­er rea­son why the career ser­vices sup­port Momen­tum offers is so impor­tant: We want all of our grad­u­ates to know the value of their skillset and to feel con­fi­dent ask­ing for it accord­ing­ly. Even in these uncer­tain times, hir­ing man­agers under­stand the val­ue of the soft­ware devel­op­ment skillset and are will­ing to nego­ti­ate with you.

Bot­tom line: We tell our stu­dents to be pre­pared for a job search that lasts 4-5 months at this time. We hope to see this return to a more nor­mal, 3‑month time­line soon. As we con­tin­u­al­ly learn more and adjust in these ever-chang­ing times, being trans­par­ent about our jobs data and set­ting appro­pri­ate expec­ta­tions is impor­tant to us at Momentum.

Job Searching Requires Commitment

A job search requires a job seek­er to be active­ly engaged on a dai­ly basis, work­ing on dif­fer­ent approach­es to move the job search for­ward. This is true under any cir­cum­stances and espe­cial­ly now dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. That’s why our Durham cod­ing school employs a very struc­tured career services process that coaches stu­dents through the entire job search process. We cov­er every­thing from how to iden­ti­fy job oppor­tu­ni­ties and build a tar­get com­pa­ny list to tech­ni­cal inter­view preparation and salary nego­ti­a­tion. Momen­tum also has a grad­u­ate com­mu­ni­ty who active­ly engages with our stu­dents to assist with net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and leads for jobs in technology.

Stand Out

We focus on help­ing our stu­dents stand out in the job mar­ket from oth­er can­di­dates. This means offer­ing guid­ance on show­ing up to an inter­view well-pre­pared and mak­ing the most of infor­ma­tion­al inter­view oppor­tu­ni­ties. We encour­age our grad­u­ates to build their pro­fes­sion­al net­works, be active con­trib­u­tors in the tech com­mu­ni­ty, and con­tin­ue to build on the sol­id tech­ni­cal train­ing they learned in our Durham cod­ing school by keep­ing up with ongo­ing projects.

Join Us for an Event

Momentum regularly hosts virtual events and Meetups to discuss jobs in technology, how our coding school works, and ways to learn new tech skills. Join our next event and talk to our team and graduates about how we can support your tech career. You’ve got this! And we’ve got you.