The Great (Tech) Resignation
Or, Continuous (Re)Deployment
We knew last winter it was going to be a hot something summer. Not even counting the wildfires and heat domes, we knew all the pent-up post-pandemic energy that was just waiting to be unleashed was going to spill out into dancing in the streets. And even with the sobering surge of Delta, the dance has arrived in the form of what is being called The Great Resignation. It’s impacted the entire economy, with 8.7M unemployed and 10M job openings, but is perhaps most pronounced in technology. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years now,” said a friend referring to the tech recruiting fireworks on display, “even in the craziest days of the Dot Com rush in the 90s.”
What’s driving The Great Resignation in tech? Well, according to Marketwatch: pandemic burnout, employee backlash against the all-too-powerful (and not always quite so ethical) in big tech, a startup scene flush with cash, and all industries pouring money into digitalization.
I get it, those are surely some of the solid reasons — but what about some of the emotions at play? Perhaps we can point to a crisis of belonging: In a survey of tech workers in July, 50% said they had left or wanted to leave “because the company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable”, while 68% said they have felt uncomfortable because of “their gender/ethnicity/socio-economic background or neurodevelopmental condition,” writes Steven Melendez in Fast Company.
With the “normal” challenges of building an inclusive culture amplified through the pandemic’s sudden move to remote work, and the loneliness of quarantine, colliding with a wave of newly remote positions, rethinking of work/life balance, and a hearty splash of YOLO (and maybe a twist of FOMO), the result is a frothy summer where many more developers are on the move for many more open positions in an already typically busy recruiting space.
Has this massive change in the market brought newfound influence or negotiating power to developers? Perhaps “Yes”, at least anecdotally, as companies are forced to shift to quicker interview cycles, or even dropping coding rounds altogether for senior developers.
And what’s to come out of this “new normal”, where remote or hybrid is the default at your new gig? Luckily for tech The Great Resignation is also The Great Reset, where you can imagine different ways to find meaning in your work — that feeling of belonging as a part of something much larger than yourself — beyond the curly braces and semicolons.
It’s not just a mass job search, it’s a post-pandemic hunt for purpose.
The Bullet Points for August 18, 2021
On Matters of Recruiting + Interviewing
How Vidyard, a business video platform, is competing in the wildest tech hiring market in anybody’s memory: “I wouldn’t say the big giants are stealing the talent. The shift I’m seeing is that candidates have so many choices, we have to win them over and sell our opportunity for success above salary, but total compensation still has to be market competitive. I often say, we’re interviewing you but you’re interviewing us, and that holds true more than ever now.” [The Globe and Mail]
Lots of good info on the complexity and struggles with “AI” candidate screening in the In Machines We Trust podcast, including the tidbit that the top online resume builders may actually hurt your chances of success when it’s parsed by machine. [Technology Review]
On Matters of Gender + Diversity
A UC Berkeley/Univ. of Chicago study with 83,000 fake job applications for entry-level positions at 108 companies — most of them in the Fortune 100 — found that when resumes include names that sound white (e.g. Jake or Molly), they are read and followed up on more than resumes that sound Black (e.g. DeShawn or Imani). This is even the case when the resumes with white names aren't as accomplished. [NYTimes]
Social media routinely ranks at the top for information sources about career aspirations [Shoutout: codergirl_]. But students are more likely to learn about a career in software development or tech from TV and film (27%) than from school. Why does this matter? Well, have you seen what computers do on TV and film? It would be helpful if your school guidance counselor could do just a teensy-bit better than that. [ZDNet]
Twilio has made a commitment to work toward being an anti-racist company, targeting actionable programs that help every employee feels appreciated, that they can succeed based on their skills, and that they truly belong. [Techcrunch]
Tribalism and the tech talent imbalance: “The tech field has been talking about diversity for 20 years, and not a single thing has changed”, says Carlton Gates, a Chicago-based recruiter for Yum Brands. “Engineering teams are tribal.” [Crain’s Chicago Business]
“Nothing actually changes. This has been happening forever. Everything feels really temporary and performative,” Pariss Chandler, a Boston-area coder and founder of the Black Tech Pipeline, in an article by Pranshu Verma in The Boston Globe.
“Nationwide, technology companies that made statements of solidarity with the Black community after the murder of George Floyd employed 20 percent fewer Black employees on average than those that didn’t, according to an analysis by Blendoor, an analytics company that specializes in diversity issues.” [The Boston Globe]
On Matters of The Joy and Pain of Devex
Take your pick: Coding, Design, Data, Support, or Infrastructure. On finding the right job in tech, even if coding ain’t your thing. [Silicon Prairie News]
Double Dipping: When the pandemic freed employees from having to report to the office, some saw an opportunity to double their salary on the sly. Why be good at one job, they thought, when they could be mediocre at two? [Wall Street Journal]
See also, with examples: Classic post from Hacker News from 2017
How will Low-Code and No-Code (which, truly, is just somebody else’s code) impact the workplace?
And how will AI impact the workplace? Maybe job losses or greater individual productivity, or both. Lots will still depend on your employer, and you. [Venture Beat]
Shift-Right: The death of QA (or, perhaps, the birth of “Customer as your default QA”) [SD Times]
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft's Visual Studio Code (VS Code) takes the “most popular” ribbon home, but in second place? (Hug your favorite vim devotee: It’s Neovim) [StackOverflow’s Developer survey, in ZDNet]