As tech layoffs continue around the world, thousands of workers have found themselves back in the job market. Whether you take the time to focus on your personal life or throw yourself into the job search, you should first consider the unique opportunity that a situation like this presents—more specifically, could now be the time for a career change?
About 74% of workers recently hired after losing or leaving a job at a tech company remained in the industry, according to a ZipRecruiter survey in October 2022. The remaining 26% switched to companies in industries such as retail, financial services, and healthcare.1 That’s good news for those outside of the tech bubble, because they’ve finally had the chance to finally recruit some of the tech talent they so desperately need. As for the tech professionals themselves, it also presents the time and space to reevaluate their career trajectory and pursue something that aligns more closely with their interests and goals.
If you’ve been affected by tech layoffs, Santa Clara University and the Leavey School of Business have master’s degree options, networking events, and tech-specific opportunities (including a $3k or more scholarship) to help you find your footing. But first, let’s take a closer look at what your immediate next steps could be.
Next Steps for Tech Workers
1. Evaluate Your Situation
Try to resist jumping into the next offer right away when you find yourself looking for work again.
“The immediate reflex following a layoff is to hurry up and find another job,” said Caroline Castrillon, career coach and founder of Corporate Escape Artist. “Yes, a paycheck is important. But, if you’ve been laid off and received an attractive severance package, this might be the perfect time to consider a professional pivot.”2
Use this time you have to reflect on what you’re looking for in your next job. Would you like more flexibility? Do you want to be part of a team vs. working independently? Are you looking for more fulfillment, responsibility, or room for growth? Additionally, do you like the substance of your work? Do you believe in it (or do you need to)? This can help you narrow down your options and be more intentional about where you end up next.
2. Focus on Your Transferable Skills
Anyone with a background in tech is probably familiar with the typical skills that employers look for in engineering, development, and analyst roles: Java, Python, C++ codebases, AWS Cloud, ML algorithms, etc. However, hiring managers will also look for transferable skills, or skills that can easily be used in different settings and in different ways. This applies to hard and soft skills.
Examples of transferable soft skills are:3
- Time management
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Conflict resolution
For hard/technical skills, other examples are:3
- Data analytics
- Coding (Java, Python, Go, R, SQL)
- Web development
When you look to make a career pivot, be sure to highlight your transferable skills on your resume and how they could apply for the position in which you’re interested. For example, if you think you might excel as a project manager, highlight examples of situations in which you used time management, leadership, and a close attention to detail.
3. Consider a Master’s Degree
If you’ve thought about pursuing a master’s degree in the past, the time between jobs would be the perfect time to do it. Not only will adding an in-progress master’s degree to your resume and/or LinkedIn immediately interest recruiters, but it also allows you to keep job searching, working, and/or spending time with family if you earn your degree online. Universities offer a plethora of other career resources that you can take advantage of as well.
Your master’s degree program should match the skills and knowledge needed for your desired career path, but don’t feel limited by what feels “right” for your industry. Some universities, like SCU, not only offer specialty master’s programs (like an MS in Business Analytics), but also let you customize your learning with electives, concentrations, and capstones/practicums. This way, you can make sure you learn and are trained in exactly what you need to make yourself the best candidate for whatever job interests you.
Right now, the SCU Leavey School of Business is also offering adapted admissions requirements and a guaranteed scholarship to all applicants affected by tech layoffs. This includes:
- Scholarships of at least $3,000
- Waiving your application fees
- Lifting the GMAT/GRE requirement for those with tech backgrounds
Other Industries for Tech Professionals
You might think that breaking out of the tech bubble can be difficult, or that it wouldn’t be something you would enjoy. However, the job market is usually favorable to those with tech backgrounds because your skills and knowledge are needed in so many other industries and roles. Many organizations are looking for people to help them digitize, innovate, and automate their work, and tech professionals like you know exactly how to make that happen.
Here are a few industries to consider when looking for your next role.
If education, and the ability to access and distribute it, is important to you, then consider the opportunities within higher education. Universities and their affiliated colleges and schools are at various stages of tech sophistication, depending on their size, structure, and available funds, but it remains a steady, reliable industry with consistent tech demands.
Some educational institutions may be just beginning to build an information security network, while others may need help with creating and maintaining sophisticated online learning management systems. Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: they all need more cybersecurity on top of those routine tech operations. The education industry experienced the most cyber attacks in 2022, with an average of 2,148 attacks per organization every week.4
Healthcare is teeming with tech opportunities at hospitals, clinics, rehab facilities, and nursing homes. With the near ubiquity of electronic health records (EHRs) and the massive volume of patient data, healthcare organizations are always looking for professionals to help them collect, store, organize, analyze, and report on what’s collected. There’s also the day-to-day operations of these facilities, which often involves a lot of staffing, scheduling, research, device tracking, and more. Finally, cybersecurity is also a major concern for healthcare, the third most attacked sector in 2022.4
Finance, and FinTech specifically, has grown remarkably in the last two decades. What started as ATMs and electronic banking has turned into online investment portals, digital insurance, online lending platforms, and more.5 Along with its growing capabilities, the risk of cybersecurity attacks has increased as well, especially when dealing with multiple providers or sensitive financial data.
As the FinTech sector continues to evolve, there’s no shortage of opportunities for tech-savvy workers: developers, analysts, engineers, architects, and managers. Although a working knowledge of finance can be helpful in these positions, it’s not always required.
Just like every other industry, marketing has become almost fully digital and embraced automation, analytics, and optimization. Marketing technology (MarTech) has emerged as its own concentration, and with it its own set of skills, specialties, and job titles. In marketing, you could work on developing websites and apps; creating and deploying email campaigns; collecting consumer data; overseeing customer relationship management (CRM) software; or managing search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns.
Tech may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of governmental agencies, but they need developers, technicians, analysts, and engineers just as much as any other sector. For example, an agency might develop proprietary software or its own internet for internal communication. From the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a background in tech can get you into some prestigious and influential organizations.6
Example Career Options
For those who really want a change, you might consider an entirely new job title outside of tech. Again, you can rely on transferable skills and relevant experience to make this switch, or you can find a role that appeals to you and seek further education or training on the subject. The following are just a few examples of new positions you could pursue.
Using your intimate knowledge of products, software, or processes, you can translate complex, technical jargon into consumer-friendly materials. You’ll work with designers and engineers to simplify dense, tech-y language into something simple and understandable for people outside of tech, as well as helping those designers and engineers refine their product. This can range from producing brochures and sales materials to working on websites, apps, and instructional videos.7
Job openings: 5,400*
A user experience (UX) designer works with writers, developers, user interface (UI) designers, and end users to create technologies that are accessible and easy to use. Based on your knowledge of technical processes, the functions or your technology/product, and how people interact with it, you’ll design a user journey that guides them to the ultimate desired action (e.g., submit their email, complete a survey, download a PDF).
Job openings: 21,800
Social Media Manager
Help brands create and share content online by managing, analyzing, and sometimes even designing their social media posts. This position goes far beyond drafting Instagram posts; as a social media manager, you’ll work with an organization’s creative, strategy, analytics, and digital/media teams to track the effectiveness of communication strategies and measure against your goals.8
Job openings: 35,300
Make the Pivot at SCU
Time for a career change? Make sure you have the experience, knowledge, and skills to break into new industries and gain an edge on the competition.
Schedule some time to talk with an Admissions Advisor and see how an SCU Leavey graduate program can improve your hiring potential. As your advisor gets to know you, your situation, and your unique strengths and goals, they can direct you to the online graduate program that’s right for you. They also can give you more details about the current tech worker scholarship, walk you through the application process, and help you better understand the Online MBA, Online MSBA, Online MS in Finance and Analytics, and Online MS in Marketing programs.
1. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://www.ziprecruiter.com/blog/laid-off-tech-workers/
2. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-craft-resume-after-layoff-get-ahead-by-linkedin-news/
3. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/transferable-skills
4. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://blog.checkpoint.com/2022/10/26/third-quarter-of-2022-reveals-increase-in-cyberattacks/
5. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://cointelegraph.com/news/the-history-and-evolution-of-the-fintech-industry
6. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://joinhandshake.com/blog/students/top-jobs-for-tech-majors/
7. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm
8. Retrieved on February 27, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/youre-a-what/social-media-specialist.htm