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How to deal with a career gap?

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Systems Engineer at Taro Community21 days ago

I am asking this question on behalf of a friend who graduated with a major in Information Technology in 2020. He is not part of the Taro community, so I thought of putting this question to help him out as he is going through a tough time.

He couldn't secure a job during campus placements. Due to COVID-19, he lost about 1-1.5 years. He then joined a BootCamp, paying a hefty amount, and got a job through the BootCamp, but the pay was very low. Unfortunately, he was laid off without any notice due to organizational restructuring.

After being laid off, he continuously looked for a job but didn't get any opportunities. After a few months, he started upskilling himself as a Full Stack Developer. During this time, he became proficient in DSA and built and deployed some side projects.

The timeline is as follows:

  • Graduated - July 2020
  • Joined the BootCamp - March 2021
  • Started Job - April 2022
  • Laid Off - November 2022

Now, he is facing issues due to the career gap after his last job. He has applied to almost 1.5k job openings and received only a few responses, which didn't go very far.

He is now considering a Master's Degree to cover the gap, but the cost is very high, and it's very competitive in India to get into a good college for a Master's.

He wants to make a career in Technology, so what are his options now? What are some things or methods he could try to get a job despite his career gap?

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Discussion

(7 comments)
  • 0
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    Engineer @ Robinhood
    21 days ago

    Can you share an anonymized resume?

    • 0
      Profile picture
      Systems Engineer [OP]
      Taro Community
      21 days ago

      Hi Jonathan,

      Following is the text form of his resume -

      Objective


      I am a highly motivated and skilled Software Engineer with 7 months of hands-on experience in Java and Spring Boot. My problem-solving skills have been instrumental in reducing software defects and enhancing system performance. Additionally, I hold several industry-recognized certifications from premium institutes like Academind and freeCodeCamp in MERN, React JS, Node.js, Tailwind CSS, Frontend Web Development, and Responsive Design. I am proficient in creating full-stack web applications and am eager to leverage my skills in new and challenging projects.

      WORK EXPERIENCE - (Present - Freelancer)
      Company Name (7 Months - Java , Spring Boot) Bangalore, K.A, India
      Software Engineer April 2022 – Nov 2022

      Utilized SonarLint and SonarQube to conduct static code analysis of Java projects, ensuring code quality and adherence to best practices. Created APIs in Spring Boot and Spring Framework, removing numerous vulnerabilities and enhancing security. Reviewed and analyzed codebase reports generated by SonarLint and SonarQube to pinpoint areas for improvement. Worked closely with developers to provide actionable recommendations for code refactoring and enhancements based on SonarLint findings. Debugged and resolved complex issues in existing Java codebase, resulting in reduction in software defects.Optimized database queries and utilized JDBC to interact with relational databases, improving data retrieval time.

      Technical Skills

      Reactjs, Tailwind Css, Java, JDBC, Servlet & JSP, Hibernate, Spring Framework, Spring BOOT, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Typescript, SQL, MongoDB, Material-UI, Docker, ExpressJs, Redux, Data Structure & Algorithms, Microservices, Git, Maven, Rest API, Stripe, Github, Redux toolkit.

      PROJECTS

      MkShop - E-commerce Platform (MERN with Typescript) Deployed Link: MkShop MERN | https://mk-shop-mern-frontend.vercel.app/

      Responsibilities:

      ● Developed a full-fledged e-commerce platform using the MERN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js). The project includes comprehensive features such as user authentication, product management, order processing, payment integration, and an admin dashboard for managing the platform. Designed and implemented the user interface using React.js, Redux, Typescript, Tailwind CSS. Developed RESTful APIs using Node.js and Express.js. Integrated MongoDB with Mongoose for data persistence. Implemented authentication with Passport.js including strategies passport-local, passport-google-oauth20 and passport-github2. Set up payment processing with Stripe API. Built and managed an admin dashboard for streamlined operations and generated analytics bar, line and pie charts based on real data in real time. Deployed the application on Vercel (frontend) and Render (backend) leveraging benefits of Hybrid Architecture.

      Key Features:

      • User Authentication & Authorization: Secure login, registration, OAuth2 integration
      • Product Management: CRUD operations, image uploads, caching
      • Order Management: Placement, status tracking Payment Processing: Integrated with Stripe
      • Admin Dashboard: Manage products, orders, and users
      • Coupons: Create, retrieve, and delete discount coupons
      • Caching: Optimized for products and orders using Node-Cache.

        EDUCATION


      MEDI-CAPS UNIVERSITY (4 Years) Indore, M.P, India

      Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) Aug 2016 - May 2020

      Major in Information Technology; Specialization in Web Technology , Cumulative GPA: 6.33/10.0;

    • 1
      Profile picture
      Engineer @ Robinhood
      20 days ago

      I read through the resume and viewed the side project that had a link: there's unfortunately not much substance I can find on the resume.

      • The resume is just a salad of words and it's very hard to understand what they did.
      • The side project didn't even load immediately for me and I had no idea what it even does.

      The root cause of the problem is clear: your friend isn't writing enough code. I'll break this down into some themes:

      • The volume of code is low. Your friend is likely just spending more time spinning in circles than they are coding. They need more side projects.
      • The quality of code is low. Any projects linked need to at least have the happy flows working. The side project linked pretty much never really loaded for me.
      • The value of code is low. Being a software engineer is not special from any other profession: you get paid to do things that provide value to a business. Your friend's resume is more focused on the technologies and not the problem the work is solving.

      I'd recommend the following to them:

    • 0
      Profile picture
      Systems Engineer [OP]
      Taro Community
      20 days ago

      Thank you very much, Jonathan. I will ask him to focus more on building side projects and improving his resume.

      How much do you think the career gap will affect his chances of getting an interview?

    • 1
      Profile picture
      Engineer @ Robinhood
      20 days ago

      Since he's pretty junior as an engineer and has likely not being coding during the career gap, it will impact them signficantly. The gap itself is fine (can easily say career/mental health/whatever break) if anyone asks, but the time in that gap that was spent spinning is wasted. If they want to maximize their chances, they need to sink in time now and start writing code.

    • 0
      Profile picture
      Systems Engineer [OP]
      Taro Community
      20 days ago

      Thank you Jonathan

  • 0
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    19 days ago

    Sorry to hear about this - The market is so rough right now for junior engineers and very few companies are still hiring bootcampers as they're very risky hires.

    First, he needs to clean up his resume as Jonathan mentioned. You can go through the resume course and paraphrase the advice to him: [Course] Get More Interviews: Write A Stellar Resume As A Software Engineer

    For the resume, I can see low-hanging fruit immediately from things like the intro summary section.

    I would not recommend doing a Master's. I don't know what the market is like in India, but if it's anything like in the US, it will be a terrible investment of both time and money. I have literally never seen anybody revive their tech career by getting a Master's (this includes close friends and family which really hurts) because what you learn in school doesn't match what is done at a real job and companies know this. More thoughts here: "Do I need to do masters in Computer Science to move ahead in career?"