Laid Off? With the Right Skills, You May Have Your Pick of Jobs

Earlier this month, Snap announced plans to lay off 20 percent of its staff. Numerous divisions suffered cuts, including the jobs responsible for drone hardware and social mapping.

However, it seems that laid-off Snap employees are in high demand. According to Business Insider, recruiters and hiring managers from Google, Netflix, and other tech giants have flooded the inboxes of former Snappers; one anonymous employee reported contacts with 30 recruiting firms about potential jobs.

“I had over 70 companies reach out in the first week, and it’s definitely trailed off a little bit since the first week, but not that much honestly,” another reported. “I mean, we could go through the LinkedIn messages here, and it’s still pretty ridiculous. I still have God knows how many invitations that I haven’t processed.”

As other tech giants have slowed or frozen hiring, rivals have likewise attempted to snatch up top talent. According to the Financial Times, Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs are offering outsized compensation to draw technologists away from their jobs at Google and other tech companies. “The market [remains] competitive, particularly for engineers with the most sought-after skills,” executives told the paper.

Even if you don’t work for a tech giant, there’s something heartening in all of this hiring and poaching activity: no matter how turbulent the economy (or intense the fears of a potential recession), companies need technologists with the right mix of skills and experience, especially in cutting-edge arenas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.). But what should you consider before learning an in-demand skill?

Know the Path Before You Walk It

If you’ve spent any time in tech, you know which skills are “hot.” You hear lots of chatter about data science, machine learning, augmented reality (AR), and other technologies that—at least in theory—will only grow more important in coming years. Before you decide which of these to pursue, though, it always pays to do a little research: look into the related skills you’d need to learn, certifications you’d need to earn, and job opportunities.

Once you have a more tactical idea of the effort and time needed to learn a particular skill, you’ll have a better idea of whether to pursue it. But don’t plunge in before doing a full analysis.

Get Feedback

When it comes to learning new skills, you can always take classes (either online or in-person) or even study on your own. But what can really help is finding a mentor in the field who can give you advice on how and what to learn, as well as potential pitfalls to avoid. With the right advice, you can save yourself a lot of effort and heartbreak.   

Get Your Company to Pay for It

If you’re still employed at a particular company (and not in-between roles), you can ask if your manager’s willing to pay for your training, education, and certification in a new skill. Studies have shown that companies are aware of the importance of upskilling their workforces; chances are good they have budget allocated to pay for classes and other educational activities.

Do Some Independent Work

Want to show a future recruiter that you’re passionate about cutting-edge technology? Spin up some independent projects; put the results on GitHub or a personal website. That’ll potentially help you stand out in a crowded field of applicants for your next position.

2 Responses to “Laid Off? With the Right Skills, You May Have Your Pick of Jobs”

  1. Jake_Leone

    Machine learning is an area of rapid change in the last 5 years. Having a certificate, in ML, might date you. I think you are better off reading recent books on the subject. Follow that up with a lot of your own research. Also make sure your base skills in data-science and programming are in line with employer needs. Most companies are looking for some advanced Python capability, with a concentration on the data-science libraries Python affords. That’s most, others might have other programming requirements. Knowledge of the basics of the systems involved. So on the systems used, there are a variety, concentrate on cloud based integration, where employers can rent GPU hardware.
    The rent vs. own hardware issue, is almost always resolved to rent, and that requires cloud integration. But, you know, a different product, different team, might have to use some combination of local hardware and models developed in a scalable cloud space.

    • jake_leone

      Also, realize the hype about unfilled jobs, far exceeds employer willingness to take on new full-time employees. I hate this about my profession and I don’t like the massive lying about a mythical worker shortage, by companies. That is why I have stuck with one steady employer for the last 22 years. Some companies only hire contractors, then they lay them off. And that is not something you want.
      The only report that you can trust about whether or not employers are hiring, is the one from the DOJ vs Facebook case. In that indictment, Facebook admitted it finds 30x more qualified local STEM/IT employees than it can hire. Facebook will lie all it wants to the press and public about a mythical STEM/IT worker shortage. But they could not lie to Federal Investigators (because it carries a 10-year prison sentence). You should be able to read the indictment on the DOJ website. I have saved a copy in my archives. The Democrats received a hundred million in campaign contributions from the Zuckerbergs. And this DOJ case, had a face value of 260 million. It was quickly settled by Joe Biden for 15 million. Which points out, that campaign contributions pay back about 1000 times over (for donors at the expense of the U.S. economy).
      To overcome this, pray for better times, or use the tried and true it’s not what you know, but who you know, that can get you in. If you want to do data science, who you know won’t ultimately save you, but it might get a full-time job that you will (with work) grow into.