How to Recession-Proof Your Career in Tech in 2021

Brett Shanley

Brett Shanley

6 min read
Get into tech

Despite the fact that the tech industry is relatively resilient to economic ups and downs, it is certainly not bullet-proof. Tech professionals can still experience redundancies and a huge variety of work-related adjustments. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to remain relevant and protect yourself against changes in the industry. Here are just a few.

Get a Hang of Cloud-Based Skills

An increasing number of companies are implementing the so-called “cloud-first” strategy. Instead of utilising physical server clusters, they are shifting all their resources to cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure or AWS. As such, many of these companies are looking for professionals with cloud experience. To stay ahead of the game, invest your time in upskilling through cloud training — some of which is free. The areas that are particularly useful to get a handle on include cloud data management and migrations, as well as cloud infrastructure management.

Keep Learning

Keeping abreast of new trends can go a long way to helping you stay relevant in the fast-changing tech industry. After all, if you are not continually developing your tech skills, you risk becoming irrelevant. On the other hand, if you keep your digital skills up to date, you are more likely to keep your job even during periods of economic slowdown.

Since recession often spurs transformation, developing skills that drive this transformation can keep you in the game. For instance, some of the areas that have remained relevant throughout the Covid-19 recessions have included cybersecurity, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.

It is important to supplement the skills you are using and learning on the job with online training. YouTube and LinkedIn Learning are just two platforms that offer plenty of training opportunities for techies looking to reskill or upskill. In addition, keep a portfolio of your professional and personal achievements — showing prospective employees that you are willing to learn in your own time can put you at a definite advantage over other candidates for a position.

Join Industry Groups

They say that staying ahead of the pack is often about not what you know as much as it is about who you know. In the tech world, it is usually about both. While continually updating your skills is crucial to a successful tech career, joining industry groups can also be important in propelling your career to new heights. Significantly, it can help you learn new digital skills and broaden your knowledge about tech areas outside your own field of expertise.

Network

Joining industry groups and meetup communities can also help you develop new relationships with professionals in the tech industry, which can prove crucial when it comes to career shifts. For example, networking can help you find out about new job opportunities and even gain recommendations.

At the same time, lending a helping hand to people within your network can be both personally fulfilling and help you position yourself as an expert in your field. Having a reputation as somebody who is always willing to help and add value can open doors to new career opportunities in times of recession.

Make Yourself Difficult to Replace

While nobody is irreplaceable, you can make yourself difficult to replace. After all, enthusiastic employees who are valued for getting things done are unlikely to be laid off, even if a company hits a few bumps in the road. To make the best impression on your employers, be proactive and show them that you are committed to upskilling and even  reskilling (you can even ask your employer to sponsor some of the training programs you are interested in such as web development and programming).

Be Adaptable

Take a few minutes to think about your strengths and weaknesses. While you can certainly use your strengths to thrive in the tech industry, it is also crucial that you take the time to improve in the areas that might not be your forte. Having a broad range of skills can help you stay ahead of the curve during times of economic downturn. If you position yourself as an expert in only one field, you risk making yourself redundant when that area loses traction.

Develop the Right Attitude

Being the right person for the job is not just about hard skills. Soft skills such as communication are important in any industry and tech is no exception. As such, make sure that you develop people skills — as well as stay in touch with the company’s corporate culture and the requirements of its clients — so you can be the person others are comfortable turning to when they encounter a problem.

A can-do attitude is also crucial to making the most of available opportunities, no matter the economic situation. Stay on top of your company’s business model and any potential improvements that could help the organisation. Instead of standing on the sidelines during times of difficulty, be the one who comes up with solutions and new ideas.

Think Outside the Box

Never forget that tech skills are highly valued. As such, do not be afraid to look for fresh opportunities outside the tech industry. Even in times of recession, many companies are likely to still need professionals with experience in programming and web development — even if this may only be on a part-time basis. Freelancing, rather than relying on a full time job, is also a great way of recession-proofing your career. This is because even if you lose one client, you will still have others as a source of income.

Alternatively, get a side hustle you can work on from the comfort of your own home. For example, aside from their regular job, many tech professionals are also building apps and chat boxes or tutoring and creating online courses. If you are making money from more than one source, you will not be dependent on a single gig to keep yourself afloat in times of economic downturn.

white-high-right