Corrections in Tech for 2023; It's personal!

The wave of layoffs sweeping through the tech industry isn't just a distant headline; it's hitting close to home as friends and colleagues are directly affected. It's no longer just news; it's personal. My heart breaks for the uncertainty that these layoffs can have for the person affected as well as their families. If you have worked in any industry for a sustained amount of time, you have no doubt been through "corrections" in the industry. These corrections are what drive the ebbs and flows of our jobs and long-term work strategies.

To me it feels a lot like what happened when COVID hit the scene in March 2020. We heard rumblings of it in Dec 2019, was a bit more focused in Jan-Feb 2020, and then BOOM, it was right in our neighborhood. It is easy to see headlines and just feel for the people going through it and then move on to your day. It's quite a bit different when people close to you are affected. While I know most of us will rebound after the correction, it's not very comforting for the uncertainty many are facing (including me).

Even though I own my own business, I still get affected by the pool of work available as companies make strict spending changes. Usually though, we all emerge as a fitter, healthier, more productive workforce as it allows us to reflect on what we had and ensure we have gratitude for the next round of flourishing that we are able to take part.

For those of you wanting to up-skill (which is a great time to do it), I am offering my classes for a deep discount (70%) for those affected by layoffs or change in industry. Simply send me a note detailing your situation, which classes you are interested in, and a time frame you wish to use your discount. These discount can only be made available on Big Agile hosted classes, but we do have plenty to choose from through Q1 2024. Having a certification or even just some experience learning can help you land the next job and stand out.

Back to the real reason for my post; to summarize some of the reasons I think the Tech Industry is correcting and what we can likely expect in 2024. Obviously this is not all encompassing and these are simply my thoughts, but I do have quite a bit of experience working in this industry and have great mentors that help me learn and grow to understand the markets better.

Known for its rapid growth and innovation, our beloved Tech Industry faced an unexpected and challenging year in 2023. Organizations that were once considered invincible saw themselves making tough decisions, including massive layoffs.

Summary of 2023 Corrections

Economic Uncertainty: The tech industry, like many others, was greatly affected by the global economic uncertainty in 2023. Factors such as inflation, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical tensions put significant pressure on tech companies' bottom lines. This, in turn, led to cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, to maintain profitability.

Market Saturation/Consolidation: Some segments of the tech industry experienced market saturation, where the demand for products and services became stagnant. Companies in these areas were forced to reevaluate their workforce to align with the decreased demand. Companies merged or streamlined their operations to eliminate redundancies resulting in some of the layoffs.

Remote Work Challenges: While remote work was widely adopted during the pandemic, it brought challenges related to productivity, employee engagement, and cybersecurity. Some tech companies found themselves restructuring their operations and reducing staff as they adapted to these new challenges.

Hyper-Competition: The tech industry is hyper-competitive, with new startups and established giants constantly vying for market share. To stay competitive, companies were compelled to cut costs and streamline operations, leading to layoffs.

Shifts in Consumer Preferences: Consumer preferences can change rapidly in the tech industry. Companies that failed to adapt to these shifts found themselves with excess staff, prompting layoffs as they repositioned their products and services. This is where agile can help make a big difference, but we have seen an outbreak of layoffs in agile coaching roles. Companies will now have to address the recursive problem of trying to be agile without people that focus the organization on techniques to do that.

Outlook for 2024

Continued Industry Consolidation: The layoffs in 2023 may lead to further consolidation within the tech industry in 2024. Larger companies may acquire struggling startups, leading to a more concentrated landscape.

Focus on Innovation: To remain competitive, tech companies will likely focus on innovation and research and development (R&D) efforts. This may lead to increased hiring in certain specialized areas even as layoffs persist in other departments.

Reskilling and Upskilling: Companies that survived the layoffs in 2023 may invest in re-skilling and up-skilling their existing workforce to adapt to changing technology and market demands. This could lead to a more agile and adaptable workforce in the future. If you are looking to change jobs for 2024 and remain in tech, perhaps these jobs will land you more favorable opportunities:

  • Software Developers: Software development roles, including web developers, mobile app developers, and full-stack developers, have consistently been in high demand due to the ongoing growth of software applications in various industries, but we must learn how to pair these jobs with AI and Code Generators (makes me think of the mid 1990's when Case Tools were trying to do the same thing LOL).
  • Data Scientists and Analysts: With the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making, data scientists and data analysts were expected to continue to be in demand to analyze and derive insights from data. There are tons of different jobs in this category, find one you like, learn it, and grab a seat at the table.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning Engineers: AI and machine learning technologies were anticipated to continue their rapid growth, driving demand for engineers skilled in developing AI and ML models and applications.
  • Cybersecurity Analysts and Specialists: As cyber threats evolve, the need for cybersecurity professionals to protect data and systems remains high, making cybersecurity roles a key focus in tech. Remember the remote workforce was a large reason expenses grew in this field.
  • Cloud Computing Specialists: Cloud computing, including roles related to cloud architecture, cloud security, and cloud management, was expected to remain central as more businesses migrate to the cloud.
  • DevOps Engineers: DevOps professionals who can streamline software development and IT operations processes were projected to be in demand for their role in improving efficiency and reliability.
  • Project Managers/Agile Coaches: Project managers with expertise in overseeing tech projects, such as software development or infrastructure upgrades, were expected to continue to be essential. Many organizations recognized the benefits of agile approaches for software development and project management, and they sought agile coaches to help them implement these practices effectively. The demand for Agile coaches was likely to continue as more companies aimed to improve their agile capabilities to stay competitive and deliver high-quality products. The problem is getting over the buzz word of agile and focusing on real agility and outcomes for the company.
  • Network and Systems Administrators: As businesses rely on complex IT infrastructures, network and systems administrators play a critical role in maintaining and optimizing these systems.
  • IoT (Internet of Things) Specialists: As IoT applications expand in areas like smart homes, healthcare, and industrial settings, specialists in IoT technologies were expected to be sought after.
  • Blockchain Developers: Blockchain technology has applications beyond cryptocurrencies, and developers with blockchain expertise were predicted to see growing demand.
  • UI/UX Designers: User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers were expected to remain important for creating intuitive and visually appealing software and websites.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Developers: With the growth of AR and VR applications in gaming, education, and other industries, developers in this field were anticipated to be in demand.

Sustainability and Ethical Tech: In response to growing consumer concerns about sustainability and ethical tech practices, companies may prioritize these aspects in their operations. This could lead to the creation of new job roles related to sustainability and ethics.

Remote Work Evolution: Remote work is likely to remain a significant aspect of the tech industry in 2024. Companies will continue to refine their remote work policies and invest in technologies that support remote collaboration.

Keep Our Heads Up!

While these layoffs are a struggle for many of us personally, they may also pave the way for a more resilient and innovative tech industry in 2024. Industry consolidation, a focus on innovation, re-skilling initiatives, sustainability, and the evolution of remote work are all trends to watch as the tech industry adapts to a rapidly changing landscape.

Corrections serve as mechanisms for industries to adapt, evolve, and remain resilient in the face of changing circumstances. While these corrections can be challenging and may involve job losses, they are often essential for industries to maintain their competitiveness and long-term viability.

Successful companies and industries are those that can navigate these changes, innovate, and emerge stronger on the other side. The tech industry was ripe for a correction, so let's get it out of the way and prevail to take advantage of what emerges on the other side. Some people might even find themselves working in new industries they now enjoy, but would have never moved if these corrections didn't occur. Find your light as a result of your circumstance and persevere to grow in this challenging time. Learn from it and prepare for the next one; which is inevitable at some point in the future.

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