Very gratefully, I have good news. I have survived the great industry tech disruption 2023.
I started a brand new role at Solirius Consulting LTD as a Principal Engineer.
Solirius are an independent technology consultancy that supply advanced solution architectures to clients in the private and public sector.
The last few months have been, shall we say, challenging and I want to thank the many people who personally helped me out in a moment of need. In no particular order, these are the shout-outs:
- Ryan Cuprak
- John T Davies
- Hitesh Mistry
- Mark Heckler
- Edward Beckett
- Pieter Humphrey
- Kelly Baldwin
- Alex Todd
- Lewis Cowles
- Suleiman Leadbetter
- Parul Singh
- Matthew Quinn
- Alannah McIntyre
- Jonathan Lewis
- Patrick Boome
- Allan Kelly
- John Thompson
- Scott Shepherd
There were scores of other folk that I met from previous technology conferences who actually got in touch with me via social media offered up best wishes. I will explicitly name folk like Lisa Crispin, Andy Clarke, Dan Ormisher, John A De Goes, Dana White and Suelyn Jane Wright, because they offered REAL-TALK advice.
I will give some advice to those of you still under pressure from searching for the next gig. You might be unlucky in that the economic big axe might fall tomorrow, or next week or next month. I’ve seen past roles on LinkedIn with over 2000 applications. Jobserve UK up until May 2023 was a big ground hole. I had no hits when I posted my CV over there. I had better luck with CW Jobs UK and Total Jobs UK. At least recruitment agencies were searching for candidates using these two alternative job boards.
Somebody on LinkedIn suggested the online agent-less platforms: Otto, Cord and Hired. I did use those in the Spring months. I recorded my analysis as a here: YouTube Principal Technologist Episoode 7 Agent-less Job Platforms.
Let me give some home truths: if you only apply for jobs advertised online, you probably have less than a 1% chance or less of getting an interview. The brutal truth is that for many IT contractors, consultants and permanent job hunters, there are hundreds or thousands of other contractors just like you. Competition is at all time high, because of the compounded Tech Layoffs that started Winter 2022. In order to win in this economy, you need a differentiator. Please think about how you can maximise your chances of getting in front of a hiring manager and applying online is not the only way. The first thing is a clean and easy to read CV. The second thing is a list of career achievements. The third thing is a TRACK RECORD, your pointers to success, your portfolio, your unique selling point; of which you can definitely back up in the process of vetting (security clearance), verification (background search) stage when the job offer comes through. The bitter pill for contractors is that they also must fall under the same checks for some organisations.
For 2023 if you haven’t done this yet then it will be very hard. You should have started blogging, vlogging and creating a portfolio at least 18 months ago. IMHO you must develop multiple ‘routes to market‘ to get in front of potential clients. Easier said than done, but developing a network of new contacts, speaking to known agents and new ones, speaking to past clients, marketing yourself etc. Past clients and colleagues can be a great way to get referrals. However, past colleagues may not be so helpful if they are at risk of restructuring themselves, or worried about their own personal futures.
Post the pandemic 2020, because we are all online, human beings do want face-to-face contact at some stage. Online makes networking much harder. Yet if you look at the success of the Linux operating system open source project in the late 1990s and in Java world, the explosion of Struts web framework 2002 and beyond, people made online networking work in technology and social community, and this success happened before the commodity of fast ADSL home Internet broadband and the exponential growth of social media networks. I first got into Struts web framework programming in Spring 2001, I joined the struts-user email distribution mailing list. I met people from the USA and Europe online first. Only when I started travelling conferences like JavaOne (San Francisco, USA) and Devoxx (Antwerp, Belgium) did I actually put a real human face to an electronic username identity. Conferences do work.
My success as a Java Champion came from networking in London. In 2004, I started a Java User Group (JAVAWUG == Java Web Users Group) and contributed to open source. I even did some work with professional open source. It was Expresso Framework (Sandra Cann, she actually sent be a cheque for work 1500.00 USD or something.)
You don’t have to build a brand new user group, yet there are lots of different ways to network in the IT sector. Visiting a conference, a user group meeting, getting involve with mentorship volunteering, extra cirricula activities and code camps are great places to improve your chops. Proof of ability to help others, proof of contribution, proof of working well together in diverse teams and cultures are now so important to professional work. Basically, you want to be a good citizen [or the appearance there of] with the action and behaviours that go with the accountability and the responsibility, especially important, if you dream of a leadership role or if you already are a people manager. So go out there, build a network and jump start your track record.
I am now busy again and I will be super busy in one months time. I promise myself that I will myself get out again to tech conferences as soon as personal finances recover. I want to network with the wider technology community, not necessarily in Java though. However, my next tech conf probably won’t be happening this year though 2023. It’s been so tough, especially in the last 3 months or less. I am hearing from folk who had it really tougher lived experiences like 7-8 months out of contractor. (Yes! This is since January 2023. What the actuall flipping heck is going on out there in the market?) Moreover, don’t tip over the edge, become angry and transform in a digital troll. You and your family have enough trouble already if you are deep in the mire. All I can do is to tell you to keep your head up and keep jabbing, fighting the good fight.
A few of you have asked me, where did I get the 1% statistic?
I cannot find the original statistics of where I read about the “1% chance” of getting a job by searching only online. I wish that I had bookmarked the flaming news site, journal or article. I believe I saw this a couple of months ago when I read about the tech layoffs occuring / peanding at Facebook.