The Effects of COVID-19 on Junior Developers-2020 Job Market

With the current political climate, growing global pandemic, and economical crises that have occurred recently, the year 2020 has marked the end of a decade-long economical growth period. Subsequently, the ever-growing field of technology continues to expand with new talent ready to break into the software development field. Thus the question arises, how have the current events affected the industry for Junior Developers and recent Software Engineering graduates?

Changes in Software Engineering Job Postings

The national average for job outlook within the Software Engineering field, prior to the global pandemic, is nearly 22% (Bureau of Labor Statistics) which is much faster than fields that are experiencing average growth (9% to 10% outlook). The current recession period has observed differing statistics with an average drop of 20–35% of job postings for developers of different expertise levels at the height of the pandemic. In relation to other fields that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, the field of technology is sitting in the middle of the pack with an 11% job decline- making nearly 35,000 positions redundant(McKinsey & Company).

Does this mean that it will be difficult to enter the Software Development world for incoming students and independent developers?

According to McKinsey & Company’s initial analysis of the 2020 economical crisis:

Our analysis found that 86 percent of jobs that the pandemic has made vulnerable paid less than $40,000 a year. Part-time workers were disproportionately represented.

Their most up-to-date economical analysis from mid-April suggests that upward of 16 percent of workers earning more than $70,000 a year have become vulnerable (Exhibit 5).

This suggests that the impact of the economical crisis has expanded to the realms of higher-paying industries such as the Engineer sector. The demand for these positions has also varied depending on individual employers. Amazon, Walmart, and Cisco for example have seen a hiring pace jump in March over February with increased demand for E-commence merchandise (Spectrum Lee). The positions that these companies have been hiring for have also shifted to predominately mid-to-senior level positions, which isn’t great news for those of us who are new to the tech industry.

Job postings for positions requiring more experience, such as senior or principal embedded engineer, seems to be holding up better, with decreases in the 20–25% range. Openings for more junior titles are virtually off the cliff with a 35–40% drop.

On a positive note, in Q2 of 2020, it was estimated that online spending with US retailers is up 44.40% year over year (Digital Commerce). That means that 1 in every 5 US dollars are currently being processed through digital transactions. This new shift in the digital realm will generate new opportunities within the coming years in the field of Software Development, Cyber Security, and Data Science.

Best Jobs and Frameworks for Junior Devs in 2020

Junior developers breaking into the Software Engineering field in 2020 will most likely observe a variance in available opportunities based on the current economical scenario. Fields that have seen an increase in job opportunity include:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Engineer(Python, R, Java)- This position involves studying data science prototypes, designing machine learning systems, and understanding/writing machine learning algorithms.
  2. Cyber Security Engineer (PHP, Python, C++)- Plans, implements, manages, monitors and upgrades security measures for the protection of the organization’s data, systems, and networks.
  3. Data Scientist (Python, R, SQL)- Fetches information from various sources and analyzes it for better understanding about how the business performs, and builds AI tools that automate certain processes within the company.
  4. Full-stack Engineer (MEAN/MERN Stack)- designs user interactions on websites, develops servers and databases for website functionality and coding for mobile platforms.

Conclusion

All and all, we live in an unprecedented period in time where predicting future outcomes has become increasingly difficult, especially with the ever-expanding and changing field of technology. With many mid-to-senior level developers being out of work, hiring companies (such as Walmart, American Express, and Google) are able to be more selective in terms of skill and experience level for their new hires. This makes finding a job for an entry-level Junior Software Developer increasingly difficult for the time being, but not impossible.

Many companies and startups have changed their business model to operate online, which has created many opportunities for Software Engineers. As more companies begin to shift towards an E-commerce based platform, opportunities in the Software Engineering field have already seen a major increase since the beginning of the economical crisis in March of 2020. In order to stay on top of the current situation, keep your skills sharp and ready as the next best opportunity may be around the corner!

Software Engineer focused on Full Stack development with MERN stack and Ruby experience. Interested in sharing my learning journey with aspiring developers.

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