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Unemployed Career Development Videos, Forum, and Q&A

Grow Your Tech Career at Unemployed

For those who were laid off, taking a career break, or any another reason why they're not working right now. It's good to be unemployed every once in a while!

Would an "unfinished" project(s) be worthy to present in interviews?

Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed

Hi there, everybody. I was aiming to build a few applications to present in interviews. Last week, I was building a small-scale Spring Boot application with the help of a tutorial. The project I was working on was meant to retrieve data from a database using PostgreSQL to provide multiple choice DSA questions. I was creating an automated study buddy for technical interviews. Unfortunately, I've been trying to figure out some technical issues and database connectivity mishaps for some days, unfortunately to no avail. Currently, I'm working through a Node.Js tutorial to build an application geared to help me keep track of the things I'd like to do during my job search, so I can always stay on task. I don't know if I'm going to run into some more issues that plague me.

The thing is, I'm learning a LOT from both experiences. Now I feel I can have an educated conversation on the trade-offs of monolithic and microservice architectures... and I LOVE what I'm learning. I'd really like to have at least 3 small-scale projects handy that I'm using to automate my own life and make this job search easier for me.

Of course I'm going to continue to try to plow through these issues, and I'm not here to necessarily ask for help with my applications (although I won't say no if someone wants to help). It'd be great if I can explain how I solved these problems, because I know the challenging problems I've solved are what I'd want to highlight to people in an interview.

But let's say if the day comes where I have an interview and DON'T have a "finished" product, yet I still have these code samples that I can defend and show that I've gained a great deal of experience from... would it be a good idea to present these in an interview?

Thanks for the help,

Evan

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Recently laid off. I want advice on what to do next in my job search! Can someone help?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed

Hello, everyone. It is March 29, 2024 at the time I am creating my first ever post on Taro. This is the Friday night where as of now, I am no longer an employee of a Fortune 500 company I used to work for. I was, how one says in corporate talk, "impacted by a layoff". I was given news of this on March 7th that I had a few weeks before I needed to return all my work technology and leave. This is the night of my last day in the company. People in the company liked me, so they told me to apply and come back again. A LOT of people were willing to let me use them for referral. It was one of the top 10 worst feelings of my life. But, it should not be one of the top 10 worst things to happen in my life. It's on me to make sure of that. I'm only 24, so I'm confident I can bounce back. I was also given a severance package to last me until the end of July. My company provided me outplacement benefits (resume writing, interview prep, etc), but I heard they honestly weren't too helpful. That's why I'm here.

What I've done in the meantime is update my résumé. I also have a plan of action for how I want to handle this upcoming first week of the job search. I want to build small-scale projects of each programming language on my resume which showcase understanding of mid-level to advanced topics of the skills I list in my stack. I want to treat my job search like a 9-5 job, where half the work day is spent building meaningful connections, applying strategically, and interview prepping (I need a LOT of that now), and the other half is spent on coding, be it refining what I think I know and adding new skills: hopefully getting chances to contribute to open source and giving back to the community.

I think I need to work on things such as making my résumé stand out, ensuring my interview prep is rock solid, and finding opportunities to show what I can do.

In the meantime, I'll check out some content that Alex and Rahul have on Taro, but I want to ask everyone else how I can refine the best way to begin my approach. What do you all think I can do?

Thanks!

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Apply for jobs without a job or take a guaranteed job?

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Senior Software Engineer at Unemployed

I was unfortunately let go from my previous company in mid November of last year. Took Nov/Dec of last year off to rest and fully cope. Now that the new year is here, I'm starting the job hunt.

Recently, I found out that a previous employer - not the most recent one - has an opening right now. I left that company on very good terms so I can easily get the job, but I'm not interested at all in that role for the long term as I'd like to work at a US company (preferably big tech, but even startups / midsize would be fine to start). All my experience has been at small companies.

I am extremely confident of my interviewing ability especially with the ability to prep full time. But will I have any difficulty in getting interviews if I don't have a job currently? Should I take the job at the old employer, wait it out 6 months, then start applying to better companies then? Or should I ignore the old employer, take a month to prep, and then start applying to the roles I want now?

Some other potentially relevant info:

  • Currently based in Canada. Visa won't be an issue
  • 6 YOE, have been Senior for the last 2 years
  • Will be applying to L5 roles at the bigtechs, with the expectation of getting downleveled
  • Money isn't a huge issue, I have savings to last me through the summer and can borrow more from family if needed (although I would like to have things wrapped up by May 1st)
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How is the market right now for junior engineers?

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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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Bouncing Back After Termination. What can I do to move forward?

Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed

Hello, I just wanted to get some advice last month I was terminated from my job after being placed on PIP/probation. When I first joined the company I had successfully completed training in React but was put on the team that didn’t use it. When the first review cycle came one of my teammates described my learning as flat and my technical skills as inadequate. There was even a time when I was ignored and tasks were passed over and one where I couldn’t come up with a plan. The junior who they assigned it afterward had the same issue couldn’t find and also didn’t need to come up with a plan but was allowed to work on it. Also, I was given noncoding tasks for a time or generic unit test tickets for functions that didn’t need it.

Eventually, I and the other junior got a task that was basic and miscommunication led to a delay and they complained about us both because of how it took. Then the assignment that sealed my fate was I had to implement a microservice and node API with a unit test in 2 weeks. There was a reference code but we couldn’t ask for help from senior developers. When my manager saw my progress he PIP'ed me and then when saw the demo he was underwhelmed and said I couldn't justify the code had a poor understanding of restful API concepts and my test didn’t meet functional requirements he wrote up the paper to basically have me fired.

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