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

Katie Dunn By Katie Dunn ● January 06, 2021
Jobs technology impacted pandemic
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.
2020 IT Job Trends Chart

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.

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