Technology Jobs: The 2023 Outlook

 

Ben: Hey everyone. Thanks so much for tuning in today. I am your host, Ben Thomas. Today we’re going to take a deep dive into what the technology job market looks like for 2023. If you were to ask somebody on the street what their opinion of the job market in technology for 2023 would look like, it might be a little bit grim, but fortunately, the reality is quite different, especially on the B2B and enterprise side.

When you look at things like technology, AI management, cloud storage, and software development, the demand for those has never been higher, especially when you look at enterprise companies trying to make some of those shifts. And I didn’t wanna just talk to just anybody today. So I brought on somebody who’s much smarter than me and who could give some really qualified answers to the topic. That’s Giancarlo Hirsch, of Glocomms, thanks so much for being on the podcast.

 

Giancarlo: Hey, thanks for having me. Definitely not going to talk about how smart I am, but definitely have a decent amount of experience in hiring in the technology market and what this landscape looks like so I’ll be happy to share some insights.

 

Ben: Well allow me to speak on your behalf about all the knowledge that you’ve amassed over the years, but we’ll start here. Obviously, we live in a time right now admittedly where clickbait news headlines are what’s driving the media these days but the reality is despite what you keep hearing about layoffs and recession this, and recession that, and sure there are some of those challenges. The reality is the technology job market has never been better, you’re looking at companies step through a digital transformation at a breakneck pace, and the reality is the demand is so high for qualified people in those industries.

What’s driving all of this nonsense and kind of these, rumors that are going around right now?

 

Giancarlo: I, appreciate that. I, tend to agree with you there’s a lot of chat on the street about how grim it is when the reality is, the market’s a little bit more normalized.

I think the last 12 to 24 months, we’ve seen a pretty unreasonable market in the way that some of these large firms have tried to just absorb and consume talent at a scale that is not necessary and also didn’t necessarily pose true to the type of value that each individual is bringing to the table, right?

So the grim story of people getting laid off is, not generally the group of folks, the clients that we’re talking about, or the firms that we’re talking about that need to keep their business running right to the reality of the profit numbers and whatnot, it’s not necessarily going to be the same sort of trend with their profits as it has been with the sort of like mass layoffs.

They’re just cleaning up a little bit because there’s been a lot of people posting videos about how they’re doing very little in the tech industry for their 300k and those people got found out it looks like. The story on our end is that we burned down haystacks to find needles and the haystacks just got a lot bigger and t makes finding the needle just a lot harder, I think there’s a lot of talent flying around out there. There’s a lot, candidly, mediocre talent flying around out there. And the type of talent that, we partner with firms on to secure is definitely not those folks. It’s the folks that have built out that enterprise capacity at, varying levels.

I would say that the upside of this is that to your point, these companies are still in dire need of niche skill sets across certain technologies, like the cloud stuff you mentioned, we talk a lot about creative technology, right? Web, mobile UX design. Really a new sort of way of looking at how your technology touches customers.

A huge amount of companies are building out e-commerce capacities and all those sorts of opportunities to monetize customers. And the way that technology is transforming the landscape doesn’t change, right? It’s just the way that these companies are approaching this talent has changed in the last 24 months to more of a normal situation.

 

Ben: Let’s, stay there for a second. Obviously, there are so many companies right now going through digital transformation, whether it be things like e-commerce building, SaaS platforms, building applications, or things like that. And I think it’s easy to cherry-pick companies like Salesforce and really huge, massive conglomerates and ignore the fact that there are so many companies that are on the mid to semi-large level enterprise that is having a lot of these same challenges where they’re not able to actually hire at scale. Talk a little bit about what are some of the jobs that people are looking to hire for going into this year, right? Whether it be UX specific, whether it be cloud developers. What are the top jobs that you’re seeing people hire for in the tech, industry?

Giancarlo: Yeah, so in terms of Glocomms and what we do and what part of markets we touch and how we approach technology hiring at Phaidon International in general, Phaidon being our holding company, Glocomms being our technology-specific brand. We have six different brands. We also do a lot of technology work within our Selby Jennings financial services brand.

So a colleague of mine and I, Jared Butler sits out in Dallas, and we co-head the technology strategy across these two brands and have pretty unique access to talent, but also a consistent sort of go-to-market strategy across a couple of markets. So let me describe that and I’ll talk to you about a few of those different areas because they’re obviously the markets we’ve developed and see a huge amount of upside in the next few years to continue to grow into.

And the way we think about it is four technical sorts of verticals, if you will, we talk about software. We talk about data, we talk about cyber, and we talk about cloud and infrastructure. And then we also talk about a commercial services practice that spans horizontally across these four verticals to help customers with their go-to-market strategy.

We work with a lot of vendors. We work with a lot of consultancies, product sales, and marketing types of roles. Now, for each of those four technical verticals, we break down into niche skill sets, if you will, and obviously, those are big software data and cyber-type words. So software, we talk about core software systems development, real backend type of work. We also talk about this creative tech piece that mentioned around web, mobile, and UX, and I think that the creative side is an area that we see a huge amount of upside to in terms of a market. I think it’s an interesting market. I know you gave me a couple of bullet points about what we might be talking about later, so I hope I’m not jumping ahead too much here but one thing to mention is the idea that the market maybe is something that you can get into without having started your career with a computer science bachelor’s degree, and we can save the part of how valuable a bachelor’s degree in computer science is for a little bit later. But if you want to transition into tech and get involved, there are ways to be able to make impacts for products at a web development level, or UX and design type of capacity that may require a, slightly less technical chops type of background, which is great for people that are trying to get involved in the market. So that’s maybe not the market we work in but that’s a sort of good opportunity for people and, folks to get involved.

We’re working with more of those sorts of human-computer interaction folks who have degrees in focusing on how researching individual interactions on E-commerce websites, for example, is, going to get them to put more things in their shopping carts actively. That’s a market that’s been growing rapidly and we’ve been seeing a huge amount of demand their comps are increased as per years of experience, so to speak. Going down the line, we talk about data, right? Data is everywhere. We talk a lot about analytics, engineering, and science, right? We’ve completed a few large-scale projects with a couple of companies this past year that I think position us as having access to the most ridiculously talented data folks. The reality there is that is powering every business and whether it’s at a level where you’re leveraging machine learning and highly performing algorithms to do things like make sure that your electric vehicle doesn’t go into the crosswalk when it’s autonomously driving.

We’re just analyzing data and analytics to be able to power your business and leverage a business intelligence type of platform across any industry or enterprise. Those are high-demand roles that will continue to transform the American economy for the next bunch of years. Cloud, talk a lot about people getting off-prem and onto a more virtual type of infrastructure and how having infrastructure work as a service for an engineering team up, on top of that is like an entirely new modernized, and more effective way to approach technology. We’re not talking necessarily about the cutting-edge firms that did this 10 years ago, we’re past that wave. We’re talking about the supply chain industry, right? We’re talking about people that are still running servers to be able to keep track of simple, bits of data if you will. We’re not talking about a massive amount of data here. We’re talking about just an operating system that can be modernized.

There’s a huge application to cloud and digital transformation across a variety of industries outside of what I think has already transformed it in the technology industry.I work with a lot of hedge funds and banks and the ones that you hear in the news that make the most amount of money are the ones that are the furthest along in transforming their technology stack to modernize it in this way.

Then cyber. That’s been the most ridiculously under-brokered market over the last few years. The three years of experience get paid like they’ve got 25 years of experience in that market sometimes, right? It’s just hard to find the right folks who can really approach fundamental computer science problem-solving at an enterprise level with security domain expertise.

It’s just like the purple unicorn running through the field dancing with the daffodils, right? Yeah, so I think we’re in some markets that I mentioned that are the hottest and most under brokered and will continue to, drive the way businesses look to make hires.

Ben: I appreciate the distinction too, and I think it’s an important one. Especially looking at the B2B side where you’re having conversations about enterprise, cybersecurity, and data management, things like that. I think a lot of times people loop all technology into one whether it’s ai, or machine learning all the way to UX, and those are wildly different disciplines.

You, talk about a number of those different career paths opening up and, I wouldn’t necessarily say non-traditional, but less flashy and less probably positions that you hear about. What are the natural points of, entry for a lot of these positions, is it you see someone going to get computer science certifications or Cisco certifications and then naturally making that next step, or is it a traditional degree, four-year degree master’s doctorate? What typically is the point of entry for a lot of these candidates that you’re seeing?

Giancarlo: Yeah, so appreciate your point about the niche nature of these markets, right? Because I talked about an overview that doesn’t always pertain to computer science fundamentals every single time but a lot of it does. So I’m going to start there with the value of a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science being more valuable than a master’s degree in computer science for a variety of reasons.

All focused on your ability to problem solve using computer science fundamentals. So when we talk about computer science fundamentals, we’re talking about object-oriented programming and building algorithms and just thinking about data structures in the right way. And if you don’t take 101 classes, so to speak, it doesn’t necessarily always afford you the same ability to problem solve, right?

There are the outlying geniuses who drop outta school all day long but if you want a pedigree for what makes someone successful. Having those fundamentals is, really valuable. You go as far as to have a Ph.D. in computer science and you’re talking about someone who just knows how to make a computer answer any question there is in this world, and that’s an extremely valuable individual. Obviously, on the data side, there are stats and math and applied math types of degrees that are extremely attractive when we’re talking about already pretty clean data sets that need a huge amount of insights gained from them. Or a highly performant algorithm built within it.

When we go back to that computer science fundamental skillset. I’d say even the best data folks have a propensity and understanding of that side of the house because it all runs on top of the, engineered platform. So you know that’s probably the most valuable skillset if, I could put it to, anyone.

I hope all my kids know how to write Python code in addition to speaking a couple of other languages than just English.

 

Ben: There you go. You just said the wish I think of most parents at least here in America but it’s such a unique challenge, right? Because especially going into 2023, there are a lot of people who for the first time are making significant strides as a company toward digital transformation.

A chunk of these companies is making for the first time meaningful software tech stack hires. And talk a little bit from the perspective of an employer who’s maybe not necessarily sure where to start, how would you, recommend starting not only the hiring process, but the actual job description and, position building process?

Giancarlo: Yeah so I, think it depends, obviously on the type of employer and the situation that they’re at in, in, the lifecycle of their products, right? Because I think the greenfield type of projects where you can build things from the ground up is extremely attractive, where there’s an opportunity to offer that type of development.

But I think it’s a lot about the opportunity to have access to these different technologies and an open-minded technology leadership team to afford resources to be able to get them. So on the flip side of working at a place like AWS where it’s attractive for you to be involved in product and feature development before the street gets to see it, and you get to work with incredible technologies and its very resourceful environment.

It’s not as attractive to an employer to have someone just come from that very cushy type of environment. When we like to hire people out of Netflix, we’re not talking about Netflix for the last five to 10 years. And I don’t mean to knock Netflix because they’re one of the ones that everyone’s knocking on.

I just mean Netflix did really cool building 10 years ago, right? From 2012 to 2015, that’s when they built out an intelligent recommendation system that was cutting edge and so the folks that were involved in that development are extremely attractive in the market because they didn’t start in a resourceful environment.

And so having two sides of that coin of working in a startup capacity and getting scrappy and asking for resources and trying to use whatever you can get to do the best job coupled with enterprise scale and modern tech and the new world is very open source. There’s a lot of access to these technologies that you just got to find the right individuals to drive that type of technology culture in the org.

My numero uno suggestion is a diverse leadership team as quickly as possible. I think one of the biggest challenges is that these tech works present themselves with is creating homogenized groups. It’s a very like-minded way of thinking about problem-solving, and I think to really stress and urging people to think about finding people from different backgrounds and different types of schools that haven’t always worked together is a good way to approach new problems.

And, that’s something that I think will help catapult bringing in the right technology talent beneath that because it’s a type of structure that people can get behind.

 

Ben: Giancarlo, obviously everybody wants the crystal ball answer to what the job market’s going to do in 2023 but I’ll punt it to you, you seem like a smart guy. Tell me what’s going to happen in 2023 in the technology hiring job market.

 

Giancarlo: Yeah. It’s going to be back to the good old days, right? It’s going to be seeking talent that is not looking, it’s going be trying to poach from one another and get the best of the best to come over to your side of the table.

And I think that what’s going to really drive the direction of it is going to be what some of these companies decide to develop and, I don’t necessarily have some of the insights there, but as we see how certain companies transform and capture, market share, and build new products Tik Tok’s will become a place where a huge amount of technology talent has been interested in going just because of the general scale and challenges that a new cutting edge platform affords technologists, regardless of your opinions on anything.

It’s just a challenge that a computer scientist can get behind. So those types of companies will continue to transform this landscape. I’d say there will not be as many volumes of onboarding engineers, but I think that the, best engineers will continue to build, and then, the ones that aren’t doing too much will continue to get found out.

 

Ben: Look, Giancarlo, we always appreciate your expertise and appreciate you coming on the show today. Thanks for giving us your insight.

 

Giancarlo: Hey, Ben, really appreciate the time, and anyone interested in connecting or reaching out, feel free to find us at www.glocomms.com and would love to work with anyone out there.

Thanks so much, Ben.

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