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Fear of picking a specialization/niche: Is focusing on front-end okay?

Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community

Hello Taro Community

I want to pick a specialization now due to the market and the lessons I’ve learnt being in the group.

A little context on the issue:

I had a mindset that more technologies I know the more options I’ll have and also working as a full stack dev in my last position I got a lot of hands on experience on different stacks. More like breadth of knowledge but not depth.

I was applying to jobs like Database, UI/UX, Front End, Back End, Software and DevOps couldn’t land any interview in the last job hunt.

Last month I let everything go and I told myself I’ll specialize in “Full Stack”. I have been also working on side projects for my portfolio.

However, a lot of senior devs told me Full stack is too broad and 2 and 1/2 years of experience that won’t cut it.

I want to specialize in Front End with React and go very deep in that. Build projects pertaining to React Front End for my portfolio.

My fears:

  • I’m closing down my options, and limiting myself to Front End
  • Also being a foreign student where you kinda have to “work in tech” since that’s my major a lot of fear is coming up. In case the time I go back in the industry there is lack of front end openings
  • A lot of family friends in the industry telling me that Front-End specialization will be a waste of time since the industry is very saturated with it

Deep down I have realized specializing will really make my portfolio, knowledge and resume stronger. Plus Front-End is something I genuinely am drawn to and enjoy doing.

Would love to know your input on this.

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How is the market right now for junior engineers?

Entry-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community

Hey, I just posted a question related to me considering to quit my job here:

TLDR: I am seriously considering quitting my job due to the commute, I live in SF, have 1+ years of experience and am looking to work in the city/remote. I have 6+ months of savings and am a U.S. citizen. Effectively, I'd say there's a 95% chance I'll quit my job in Jan 2024.

Considering this, I'm evaluating the current tech job market.

Generally, my impressions are that while the overall economy is doing quite well, the tech market is in a bit of a lull w/ potential layoffs in 2024-2025. We had the major overhiring of 2021-2022, then the layoffs in early 2023 and now are in a period of stasis relative to the bull market of the past 10 years+. I believe this is also due to the end of zero interest loans making capital expensive. This then leads to profits being more emphasized, then cost-cutting in large corporations (employees being a major cost, so layoffs occuring) and then difficulty for startups to raise money.

Additionally, I recently read The Pragmatic Engineer's take on .

"Unfortunately, I suspect Spotify is early in having a realization which other tech companies will also have, next year. With the zero interest rate period (ZIRP) over, it’s expensive to borrow cash. Spotify making a loss meant it was effectively borrowing money in order to operate. Turning a profit is more urgent than when capital was cheap. But how do you turn a profit if you cannot significantly increase revenue? You cut costs, and the biggest costs for most tech companies are employees, sadly.

As a result, Spotify could well become profitable, assuming it generates similar revenue in future. And this is exactly the plan; to keep doing the same as before, but with fewer people.

In this way, Spotify’s cuts make business sense in the context of business growth slowing, persistent loss-making, and a hiring spree in 2021-2022 which didn’t boost revenue. These cuts may be surprising for many at Spotify, but probably not for the leadership team. The only question is how many other companies are in the same position as Spotify, but with leaderships yet to draw the same conclusion from the economic conditions.

This is probably a good reminder that the tech jobs market remains volatile. If you have a stable job, it could be a good time to put aside some earnings for a nest egg, stay engaged with your network, and to position yourself to work in areas seen as profit centers, not cost centers."

What are your impressions of the tech market right now?
Any recommendations of how to navigate the market or resources to utilize?
Anything advice years-of-experience specific (Junior engineers vs. senior engineers vs tech leads vs. etc)?

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What should I add in my experience section in my resume?

Systems Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Systems Engineer at Taro Community

I have been part of an MNC for last three years. During this time I have been part of four different projects. I have added following points in my resume for those three projects.

Data Scientist (Apr 2022 - Mar 2023)

  • Analyzed data from various sources to identify issues impacting growth and profitability across product and service offerings.
  • Utilized a variety of tools and technologies to conduct data analysis and visualization.
  • Recommended solutions to address complex business problems based on findings from data analysis.
  • Tech Stack: Python, Pandas, PySpark, Databricks, NumPy, SQL, Excel

SAP BW Analyst (July 2021 - Apr 2022)

  • Created custom reports and flowcharts to present the raw data to clients in an easily digestible format.
  • Utilized innovative methods to increase efficiency and decrease run times for all reports by over 15%.

Network Associate (Nov 2020 - June 2021)

  • Monitored network capacity and performance to diagnose and resolve complex network problems.
  • Successfully resolved over 500 complex network issues, resulting in a 95% customer satisfaction rating.

For the last six months, I have been part of a Django development project as a backend developer, in which I could not get any work because the use case we are supposed to work on has not been finalized yet. I am actively looking for a job switch, looking for an entry level SWE or Data role and could not think about what should I write in the experience for the last 6 months.

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Learning new Tools for Interviews?

Data Engineer at Financial Company profile pic
Data Engineer at Financial Company

I'm a Data Engineer. Within the data engineering realm, there are a lot of tools, just like in the software engineering realm. The modern data stack is pretty popular these days. It includes things like Spark for ETL at scale, Docker for virtualized environments, Airflow for orchestration, dbt (data build tool) for transformations in SQL, Fivetran for automated data connectors, Snowflake for data warehousing, and more.

I'm far from knowing all of these tools well, primarily because I use very few of them in my day job. The main reason I want to change jobs is because of this.

I'm worried I'm caught in a catch-22 situation where I don't know the tools so I can't get jobs that have them, which I guess is similar to the new-grad cold start problem.

My question is, how should I think about learning new tools for job interviews? My current instinct is to learn via failure. That is, I have almost all of the above tools on my resume. If someone asks me about them and I'm not able to give a good answer, I will learn that part about the tool so if I'm in the same situation I can answer properly.

Another approach I can think of is to do Udemy courses of them so I have a deeper understanding of how they work. I've learned to be wary of course not tied to projects, though, so I'm hesitant.

I guess I could do projects to learn more about them, but those take time and right now I'm focused on applying to jobs.

I imagine some answers might focus on what my current problem is: can I get interviews or am I failing interviews? I don't think my issue is with failing interviews right now, and certainly not because of specific knowledge people have called me out for for not knowing these tools. I think my issue is more with sourcing interviews currently.

If there's general advice regarding how to think about prepping for an interview when you only have some of the requirements on the Job Description, would love to hear that too.

Thanks!

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3 Comments