Resource Centre Career Development Switching to Tech Jobs Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Switching to Tech Jobs Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

switching to tech jobs

Many companies around the world have shut down operations, let staff go or given their employees a pay cut. Over one million people in Kenya lost their jobs due to companies closing down.  At the same time, an interesting trend has seen companies in the tech industry quickly adapt to continue conducting business amid the pandemic. As a career professional or job seeker, you might be considering switching your focus to tech jobs. In this article, we highlight some of the jobs you should check out and the skills needed to future-proof yourself for a tech career.

Remote Tech Jobs

Globally, some of the tech skills and companies that are still hiring despite the Covid-19  lock down. Tech investor Jai Sajnani surveyed these companies through a Google Forms database. The results showed that 61 out of 85 companies are hiring software engineers, 21 are open to design positions, and others are hiring digital marketers. This trend is likely to be replicated around the world including African markets as more companies become digitized. Based on this market study, we have come up with this list of in-demand skills for remote work.

Software Engineering 

switching to tech jobs

Software engineering is still a necessary skill during and after the outbreak. Most companies are currently looking for people who can develop software or fix the one they already utilize for their clients. For instance, the number of telemedicine companies is increasing, and most of them require software developers.

Internationally, there is an interesting initiative from IBM where they encourage developers to create solutions for social problems that affect humanity. Recently, IBM developers participated in the Global Code Challenge to address COVID-19. 

Software developers are in demand during this crisis for many reasons. Since companies in industries like healthcare are dealing with excessive loads, a software product can help them automate response services, help patients get informed, and identify the best strategy to take during an emergency. This also applies to companies whose staff are now working remotely and need to keep operations running. 

UX and UI Design

switching to tech jobs

 UX and UI designers are as important as software developers are right now; companies need functional digital products and UX skills can take a product to a whole new level in terms of customer satisfaction. These days there are more UX and UI-oriented websites and apps because it makes them more intuitive. Both occupations are in charge of providing a great user experience, from the interface to the visual aspect. 

Data Science 

switching to tech jobs

Data science is another crucial skill to understand trends, changing consumer behavior and consumer needs. It also helps in business projections and decision-making based on data during these uncertain times. Machine learning helps businesses find solutions to the challenges they are facing and helps them stay ahead of competition. 

Where can you learn these new skills?

Coding bootcamps and data science bootcamps are excellent options of acquiring these skills. Several schools are still working remotely like Flatiron School. Others even offer income sharing, deferred tuition, and money-back guarantees. So if you do not feel like you have the financial resource right now, you can go for a flexible program. Thinkful, for example, offers you a plan where you only pay after you’re hired. And if you’re looking for becoming a data science master, Galvanize has some of the most complete online courses.

So, give it a try. Learning a new tech skill can ensure your future for the couple next months and even years. Quarantine is a great opportunity for you to increase your career potential.

This article was written by Artur Meyster, Founder of Career Karma

5 Important Things That Get Kick-Ass Developers Hired

Sell Your Skills More Competently

You probably dislike interviews. If it were up to you, you would simply provide a sample of your work alongside your CV and let them do the talking for you. You are not alone. However,  the reality is that everyone must face an interview at some point. Most people have poor interview skills but developers generally suck at interviews more than all other professionals. Even the really competent ones. In your case, perhaps you did not strike a good rapport with your interviewer, which is mainly because as a developer, you work so hard at getting awesome in coding you forget to hone your people skills.

Yes, you’re brilliant at code, you have spent hours sharpening your programming skills but technical skills are not all you need on the job. To pass those interviews that stand between you and your dream job, you need more.

Here are key skills you need to have, in addition to your technical skills:

  1. An active GitHub account with your best code

It’s not enough to have a GitHub account. Instead, have some of your best code in there. Your best code is clean, easy to read, it has an easy-to-follow directory structure naming, it’s not replicated, it obviously leverages open source because you can work well in a team or community, and it goes beyond tutorials.

You need to have a portfolio of your work and GitHub is the place where you do your practice and store that code you have been developing, to show potential employers. Do not start looking at the interviewer with confusion when asked for a portfolio of your work.

  1.   A complete app/website you have built from start to finish

Have a sample of your work and let it speak for you. Anyone can go to a coding school, complete four years of university doing computer science, enrol for online courses and learn code. These are not easy to do but can be done. However, in any industry, you’re recognised for your work, for results and not simply for what you know.

Employers want to see whether you can do what you claim you are good at doing. Therefore, apply what you know. Create something, enjoy creating it, be passionate about it, and showcase it. Let your work speak for you.

  1.   Knowledge of the trends in the market
Market trends

Get that industry business acumen! According to the Spiceworks state of IT 2017, there is continued increase in the buzz surrounding artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D printing. Developers, therefore, are required to have a combination of knowledge of the trends in the market in addition to their programming skills.

Go beyond classroom theory, know trends in the market and demonstrate to your interviewers that you’re able to find a relationship between the trends and their business.

  1.    Ability to confidently communicate tech in a non-tech manner
Communication skills

You speak code fluently and that is awesome. But so does every other good coder. What differentiates the good from the great is the ability to clearly communicate code in a non-code format. Tech speak to non-tech people simply amounts to buzzwords. They do not have an impact on them.

Use words familiar to them instead of geek speak, as you are likely to come across non-tech interviewers especially in the initial stages. Beyond this, once on the job you need to explain the software or app you have just built and guide others on the best way to use it, and you will have to do it using non-tech language.

  1.    Proven willingness to learn new things and learn from others

An increasingly sought-after skill is the willingness to learn. Why? You probably already know that the tech world is fast paced. You will need to learn new technologies, be ready for disruption and more importantly have the intuition to differentiate a technology that is going to be disruptive and one that is a passing fad.

How do you then prove you’re willing to learn?

Give examples of situations when you learned a new concept and applied it in a short time. Describe a time you went out of your way to learn from a peer or a junior. Explain that time when you made a mistake and what you did to recover from it. You’re good, you want to be better, you aim for greatness and you know this is a journey.

In the end, there are many great developers but what sets one apart from the other is the ability to use resources such as GitHub, communicate in a non-tech manner, know market trends, build simple apps from scratch and finally, be willing to learn constantly. In a fast-paced industry and world, it is important to be able to stand out from the rest. Your technical and non-technical skills must be top-notch.

 For a developer to get hired, It’s not enough to just write good code, you need to prove it.

Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.
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