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Ask HN: How do you look for jobs in 2023?
241 points by charxyz 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 309 comments
I’m steadily looking for new opportunities, but am increasingly annoyed by the LinkedIn / Indeed grind. I feel like half the jobs are recruiting firms or very bloated positions with >500 applicants.

I love the monthly “Who is hiring?” thread — these positions almost always yield more responses and suffer less from false advertising.

Are there other sites I’m not considering? Methods I’m not using? How do you find good (defined as not bloated and optimized for LI) job opportunities in the current market?

Bit of a tangent, but what has been everyone's experience so far in 2023 trying to find a new job? I got really interested in this and have been passively researching it (HN, reddit posts).

My conclusion, so far, is unless you've got strong connections it's hard right now to find a job. Most job posting, as OP mentions get hundreds if not thousands of applications. Other times, I've personally also notice, candidates with perfect skill/experience matches get the same generic rejection ("we respect your experience but we're going to go with another candidate") or worse getting no response at all. There have been mentions of pseudo job posts (ie companies are just falsely advertising positions they are not actually look to fill). Ultimately, a really crappy situation for those looking for a job. Even experienced people, think 7,8,10+ years of experience, are seeing similar things unless they have a strong connection that get them to the final stage(s) of the internet process.

Happy to provide a links to relevant online discussions and articles about this situation if anyone is interested. Let me know.

Been looking since about February. I've probably sent out at least a hundred apps for positions I was interested in and met qualifications for.

I think I've made it to a recruiter screen around ~10 times, and I've had less than 5 actual interviews follow.

I have 6+ years in industry, 4 and some change of which were FAANG (which everyone believes is a golden ticket into any company). And I can't even get an interview.

I'm with OP. The grind is straight up depressing, demoralizing, soul crushing. I'm close to moving in with family just to preserve my money at this point.

>which were FAANG (which everyone believes is a golden ticket into any company).

In a past job, I saw a LOT of former FAANG candidates as a hiring manager (SRE @ hedge fund) at a past job.

In my experience, FAANG folks have a somewhat barbell distribution where it's either:

A. "This person is incredibly talented, well spoken and will probably find a job anywhere"

B. "This person spent 5 years at a FAANG and worked on basically two projects that would have taken <6 months at a hedge fund"

There doesn't really seem to be an in between.

I also distinctly remember learning that Google had 100K+ employees. To me, that is moving into "big bank" size territory and it's clearly impossible for EVERYONE who is former Google to be amazing.

My experience with FAANG candidates, especially those with only FAANG experience, while at a startup is they often have isolated skills and experience with bespoke, idiosyncratic ecosystems.

> Isolated skills and experience with bespoke, idiosyncratic ecosystems.

Sounds like a good tagline for my Resume.

“I have a very specific set of skills”

That was hilarious!

At conferences and the like I've always been super-impressed by the Google folks I've spoke with and listened to. But it's also my understanding that Google doesn't let just anyone "out in the wild" so I assume I'm pretty much seeing one end of the barbell (or probably a smallish slice of it).

Yeah all the FAANGs do this. They won't sponsor their bottom half to go to conferences, much less speak at them.

I can’t speak for Google. But Amazon has an internal speaker certification and you have to be approved before they let you go out in the wild.

Let’s be clear here: the certification steps are required to give a talk as an Amazon staff member. You can go to conferences as an attendee, you can mention where you work. You just can’t get up on stage and give a talk about what you work on without going through some steps to make sure you’re not inadvertently giving away secret sauce or putting the share price into a tailspin.

> I also distinctly remember learning that Google had 100K+ employees. To me, that is moving into "big bank" size territory and it's clearly impossible for EVERYONE who is former Google to be amazing.

Ive worked at 3 places, sizes: <10, ~10k, and ~20k.

I cant even imagine 100k. 100k for Toyota or Walmart, sure, that makes sense. But at tens of thousands of engineers you must have a lot of people not doing anything. Even at 20k, so maybe 5k engineers you only have so many people pushing on new stuff. Most are doing maintenance on crud and batch apps and keeping up with whatever "initiatives" are being pushed while attending meetings.

Most impressive to me imo are the instagram type companies that have 20 employees when they are sold/ipo or whatever.

When I was an industry analyst and had more exposure to large companies at fairly high levels, the thing that impressed me was that they were able to function at all. So many layers of management, so many moving parts, so much coordination needed.

It also wan't unusual for me to be consulting with some group and some topic would come up and we'd be--you do know that so and so at your company is working on this, right? And they usually wouldn't.

I worked for a company with over 200,000 employees and honestly it feels like working at a small company that is at war with 1000 other small companies and four times a year we get together to re-sign cease fire agreements. Except for the endless amount of corporate bullshit it feels like a much smaller company than you'd think.

I did places with 300k, 8k, 1k and 150 (industrial companies).

Believe it or not, but the places I slacked the least was (obviously) the 150 employee company and the 300k! It was really well organised, you had no time to spare.

I'm now in the 8k place, and it's crazy the amount of people doing nothing.

100K+ employees doesn't necessarily mean they're all engineers, even at Google. Many of them are probably either engineer-adjacent (meaning they work with engineers but don't code themselves) or are scientists of another sort (not coders).

> at tens of thousands of engineers you must have a lot of people not doing anything

Although the org sizes may be large, the smaller subgroups within run like smaller semi-independent companies. They have their own business targets, roadmaps and backlogs just like any start up or mid-sized company. Some of the most productive times I have had have been at >100k companies.

Walmart has like 2 million+ employees, which is insane to think about. I have worked at a few ultra huge corps, one which had about 140k people, and like 240k devices in their org.

When I changed jobs there in 2007, I had just come from a hosting provider where we had engineers that managed 500-1000 servers per person, depending on their role or the amount of automation. It was like I stepped back in time to 1999 and everything was manually managed/maintained.

ROFL (we had well over 100K other engineers at DEC when I worked there and connected via a pre-Internet system called EasyNet and were managed in a matrix)

We plumped up to over 350,000 after the Compaq, HP, EDS mergers. When the HP and the DEC engineers got together it was like a 1960's love in and then...Czarly.

At this point I’m more hesitant to hire FAANG employees who are used to really strict guardrails both culturally and technically to keep them “on track”. Most startups don’t have the guardrails and need people who make good choices without the bumpers. Hiring a bunch of FB and Google people did not improve Airbnb’s average engineering skill, rather it sank because a substantial part of our population only cared about promo and promo projects.

Interesting from a couple perspectives (taking the above as honest about AirBNB). Confirms a bit about what's been weird with the economy and hiring.

From the man on the street's perspective (and apparently teirc's view above), FAANG work is where you want to go, and what you want to have on your resume. Per the quote, "a golden ticket". Pretty much all the news talks about.

However, if you talk to the rest of the tech community, they're like: "We tried poaching a few of them. We didn't really like the results. You work at one of those places and you get infected with something that's 'not startup'".

This seems a lot like Stanley and Neck's recent work [1]. The people you've historically been most likely to get as hires are the people most likely to ditch FAANG's for anything shinier. The people who don't "only care about promo", don't actually leave.

Other note, also similar to other recent posts [2] and comments about the change in Google. Like people finally realized: "wait...they're just like MS. All that 'Don't be evil' stuff was just corp-speak. Two decades later, and its strategy deja-vu with Android / Search / Ads. With MS now being the caring innovator who values your freedom of choice."

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S00221...

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37111317

I've heard of people who had terrible experiences with ex Amazon engineers. I've met a few of them, and not the greatest group of people to work with. Of course I'm stereotyping a very large company so take it with a grain of salt.

Any commonality?

> With MS now being the caring innovator who values your freedom of choice

they most certainly do not, but might be a slightly lesser evil in some ways

Most certainly agree.

Yet, its not whether they 'actually' care. Just the noises they're making.

Google looks inept and malicious. MS wants health care money, cause its the next big market as everybody dies. "We care, cloud health innovation. All MS innovation is powered with empathy.[1] Nano, cyber, quantum, big data ... technobabble Tourette's, How the F** do we get defense contracts?"

[1] https://news.microsoft.com/source/features/innovation/empath...

I agree with that assessment, but with the caveat that I think this mostly applies to new-grad hires. In my experience, people who brought outside experience into FAANG weren't nearly as affected by these guard-rails outside of things I think most firms would approve of (mandatory code reviews, unit/integration tests, don't write inscrutable wizard code golf changes, don't be an ass).

I've spoken with recruiting firms before that literally told me companies asked them to stop sending people who were hired as a newgrad to FAANG.

That's a great explanation for why Airbnb was pushing out open source torture software like their eslint preset (I still have nightmares about it) while having the slowest and clunkiest frontend ever.

I started using booking.com first because of how bad that website was working and I had the latest MacBook.

Are you filtering before the interview?

How did you structure your hiring, your teams and project lifecycle ?

We hired a former Googler recently, great hire. Your resume couldn’t be more different from his: yours is so generic that my only takeaway is “oh he worked at Google”. I fear you’ve taken resume advice along the lines of “…explain the value of what you did…” (which is great advice) but should be used to augment technology experience, not replace it. I have no idea what you’re good at.

Find some former Google colleagues who have managed to get new jobs and ask to review their resumes. Google is noteworthy on a resume: it won’t guarantee you a job but it’ll mean someone reviews your resume. If you’re struggling so much with a 4 year Google stint under your belt, there’s something wrong with your resume.

> but should be used to augment technology experience, not replace it.

Do you have some specific feedback or bullets that stand out to you? Most of Google tech is all in-house stuff that nobody would recognize, outside of a few open-source counterparts (Blaze -> Bazel). I'm confused how my resume could better convey what I'm good at. I can say I worked with Java, Angular, Typescript, etc. But that's all exceedingly generic.

If I say something like "automated X thing in WombatLand using BlogSplort tool, saving 20% of engineering time" I don't see how that is more useful than saying "Automated the creation of full stack internal web-apps to launch in a production environment [...] saved hundreds of ENG-hours for teams launching internal applications"

You’re describing work that has no relevance outside of a megacorp like Google which even amongst megacorps is quite unique because it invents technology and can afford to do so.

If you look at the type of work being done at “normal” companies you’re applying for, you’ll likely see work that is much more at the coal face and so experience at the coal face is worth much more than work that most people can’t even conceptualise — even if it happened at Google.

In a competitive hiring environment, you need your resume to tell the person reviewing it why you’re a safe bet. Your resume tells me that if I need someone to build internal full stack web-app automation then you’ve got experience of doing that at Google… which is great except Google is pretty much the only place where that work is required.

Don’t think of your experience as a list of things you’ve done, think of it as evidence for why you’re the right candidate to fill a role. If you’re applying for a company that has an internal customer support system then absolutely shout about how you did exactly that at Google, it’ll get you an interview… if you’re applying for a company that builds AR furniture previewing for e-commerce, it’s probably not worth even mentioning.

The perfect resume is a copy-and-paste of the job spec, you need to get as close to that as is possible. If you did a random weekend project at Google that can be framed as relevant to the job you’re applying for, that will do more for you than the hundreds of engineering hours you saved by automating the deployment of full stack apps.

Google is valuable to have on your resume because it lends credibility to the work you did, but that work has to be relevant to the job you’re applying for.

> I can say I worked with Java, Angular, Typescript, etc. But that's all exceedingly generic

For example, if you’re applying for a company that uses Angular, the focus of your experience section should be having used Angular at Google. A single paragraph that says “Google created Angular, I worked every day with Angular at Google. I built web apps that help support millions of Google customers via a customer service team processing thousands of calls per day. I used angular features x y and z and contributed code to Angular itself.” would be an order of magnitude more effective than what you have now.

> In a competitive hiring environment, you need your resume to tell the person reviewing it why you’re a safe bet. Your resume tells me that if I need someone to build internal full stack web-app automation then you’ve got experience of doing that at Google… which is great except Google is pretty much the only place where that work is required

This is so incredibly dismissive and naive about the work being done. I can't believe you actually think this way. Its almost insulting

These kinds of projects require everything any other project needs. He learned a new tech, was able to identify a real problem then solve the issue with real measureable results. All of this within an organziation where you need to design and plan correctly

all of this is generalizable to almost any software work being done. and important skills for experienced engineers

I absolutely do not mean to suggest his work was not valuable or that he is a bad software engineer. I am sure he is very talented. My point is that his resume is the problem, not his skill. A resume is a sales tool, and sales is about knowing your audience. His resume would be great if he was applying for a job at Google… but he isn’t and so he needs a resume that sells his skills to companies that aren’t Google.

I am sorry that my comments came across as anything other than encouraging and positive: I think he has great potential and that his time at Google will be a differentiator for him and will help him get interviews… as long as the resume is good.

I'd also note that just like a cover letter, a resume can be customized to the job you're applying for. I keep a base resume with all my experience, and then selectively delete irrelevant portions for each job application.

Thank you for taking the time to write out this detailed feedback. I will have to think hard about how my resume may change, and in what ways.

I may end up starting from scratch and seeing what I can come up with and get further feedback from there.

I didn't even notice you worked at Google until i spent like a minute reading your resume. You really need to remove that gigantic wall of text and briefly summarize things better and add some visual hierarchy.

When i look at this resume i get the impression you wouldn't be able to communicate very well.

Thank you for the fresh set of eyes and the feedback. I think I have spent so much time staring at, reading, and revising this thing that I’ve become blind to issues like these.

I did exactly this. Moved back in with my folks and I'm almost middle aged. There has been zero job security for the past year and a half at least. Also periodically over the years put especially the past year and a half. Otherwise, I'm burning through money for rent, paying bay area prices and health insurance and everything else. People in tech usually scoff at the idea of unionizing, but I feel like we will have to at some point. At least for some amount of sanity and security.

There's definitely a bias in the interviewing process when someone is ex fang, everybody wants to have a FANG in team to brag about it. At the same time we try to keep the interview objective: we want someone who is nice to work with.

A quick tip:

When interviewing engineers I noticed that ex FANGs tend to fail the soft sides of the interview.

The type of interviews we do are relatively easy coding exercise (implement a frontend in react to do X, implement an API, fix an existing codebase). It's way easier than any fang exercise.

The core is not really getting the exercise 100% right (bugs may creep in, especially in a stressful situation), as long as you can prove you know how to work with some (=any) frontend or backend technology and reason about your code.

Something else we evaluate is how well they work with the interviewer to solve the problem.

From my experience FANGs people tend to be great problem solvers, but poor coworkers. Try to fine-tune that in your next interview!

Best of luck!

You could always try leaving the FAANG name off or adapting it to the project name, and see how things go, given the associations people have with FAANG outside of SV/HN nowadays. Helped my friend a lot.

How is this possible? Surely at this point you would have a network to lean on that wouldn’t leave you applying for jobs online? I’m hesitant to believe you don’t have a network and more willing to believe you don’t realize you have that network and maybe even not sure how to use it. I truly don’t mean this to be critical and instead curious: Why would you spend that much time applying for jobs with that type of success rate?

> How is this possible? Surely at this point you would have a network to lean on that wouldn’t leave you applying for jobs online? I’m hesitant to believe you don’t have a network and more willing to believe you don’t realize you have that network and maybe even not sure how to use it.

It's possible because of a couple reasons. The market is cold right now, and most of my network is _still at google_. There are a few folks I've worked with that have left for other places - but those places are either in hiring freezes or actively laying people off for the last few months.

You're partially right, though. Maybe I don't know how to utilize this network efficiently. Friend of friend etc, is probably something I need to work on more.

> Why would you spend that much time applying for jobs with that type of success rate?

Because I need a job?

I'm sorry but this comment shows an immense amount of social privilege. Most of us don't have networks that can get us jobs. Those are exclusive cliques and it's foolish to assume everyone can lean on nepotism. Also, isn't it a bit scummy to keep someone in your life just in case you need a job?

It's normal to leverage your connections to find a job. Arguably it's the preferred way for both employees and employers.

"It's not what you know, it's who you know"

You too can acquire this "privilege" by building relationships with people.

This is true. The better you're at networking and building relationships the easier it gets in almost every domain of life. There's a point at which when you have enough connections and relationships you'll likely never need to write another motivation letter. You can just leverage your network.

In what way is it moral to hire someone based on network instead of merit? That practice is itself the problem.

It is a privilege because the bar you're meant to reach is lower if you know someone.

What relationships would you build? You're coworkers. Friendships require outside-work time and effort, which is already in scant supply. I truly don't know how anyone manages these relationships.

You're assuming a hire based on networking is somehow unqualified. In reality people hire based at least partly on networking because there is an assumption (whether true or not) that you can trust that person to some degree: I know them, they seem to have their act together, they can communicate reasonably well. In other words, they are more of a known quantity than a stranger with nothing more than a decent looking resume. One's network may not be perfect, but it tends to provide more qualified candidates than the Internet at large, so people tend to look to their network first.

If you live near even one person, you can get together with them and talk. That's how networking starts. If you don't live near anyone, there is no shortage of online forums where you can network.

That assumption may not be correct, though maybe it is statistically better than a random Internet resume.

Where would you begin? Just talking doesn't do anything for me. I'm not into small talk or chit-chat. I think part of it for me is suspected neurodivergence, since I have great difficulty following what other people are coasting on instinctively. I'm drained within an hour or two and get incredibly irritable.

I went to a networking event once, on frontend dev and responsive design. This was back in 2012. I attended the talks and had some brief chatting, but the vibe there seemed like it was meant for people already well-networked or in the industry. I don't feel like I belong in these places, despite sharing an interest in computing.

You don't have to engage in small talk or chit-chat: just have a genuine conversation with the other person, and end it when it starts to get tedious. I don't see these conversations having to last more than 10 or 15 minutes; an hour would be a really long time, unless you're enjoying it.

Agreed, this is not always fun or easy, but it may help to approach it like a hacker would: given a seemingly impenetrable system (a stranger's personality), how do you find something in common to talk about?

How to begin the convo and guide it will depend largely on who you're talking to (complete stranger, acquaintance, etc.) but a good starting topic would be something simple like websites and/or something related to your area of expertise or interest. Pro tip: ask them what things they're interested in and see if you can find common ground.

you're not going to go to a networking event once and magically make new contacts and change your life. it may take time, esp. in a setting where there are a lot of presentations and less interactions.

in a room full of aspie nerds, all of whom are kinda awkward, you may need to be the one who breaks the ice.

think of small talk like the wheels on a plane -- it's there to get you up into the sky, or to land you after a long chat, so deploy it just enough to get you in and out of more meaningful convos, onto new topics, etc.

I appreciate the reframing here and will attempt to employ it next time, but more and more I'm discovering that I just don't gel with people, even within my own interests. There's something 'missing' in me that others interpret as permission to mistreat or attack.

I got my last job by kicking ass at the job before that. When someone left the previous company, she made sure to let me know she was hiring. I wouldn’t say we were friends; we never hung out outside of work. But she knew my capabilities and she knew what my interests were.

some people are born with social privilage, but a lot of folks work at it.

meetup.com groups, linux user groups, powershell scripters forums, python guilds, SCADA code conferences, etc.

doesn't even have to be tech stuff per se, my ISP account executives (sales guys) used to pull leads from Cars and Coffee meetups, painball, beer tasting events, etc.

you may not be born with blue-blood connections, but you can certainly build lots and lots of connections, and tech, esp. startup tech, is a place that lends itself well to that. go get em, killer.

> Also, isn't it a bit scummy to keep someone in your life just in case you need a job?

if you only see this as transactional, esp. in a one-way transactional sense, you're never going to network successfully; it's quid pro quo, and you need to be willing (and able) to give as well as receive. and not always just job stuff.

What are these connections, really? Are they actually relationships, or just a list of people you can call for favors?

I've struggled to digest the feedback in the whole subthread. Quid pro quo makes sense, but then, you need something to give. I don't have anything people would want. I don't know anyone hiring, nor could I put a good word in about it.

You mentioned it's not just job stuff; what sort of stuff is it? I'm legitimately confused about how these relationships are any different than a half-baked, not-really-a-friendship, or acquaintance. The whole "why" for me would be to find better opportunities. This seems incompatible with what you and others are saying about networking, like it needs to be more than jobs. I'm struggling to grok what that "more than jobs" would be in networking compared to a friendship.

It's weird to express in light of what others have posted here. It really highlights the difference in how we process or understand socializing.

You're right. It's not friendship. It's reputation.

If you don't know someone's reputation, knowing whether or not they are good is very hard. That's what networking is for. When people know who you are and know your reputation, they feel safer hiring you.

Privilege? Because I interact with coworkers and keep up with them? Get out of here.

Yes, that's mostly been my experience (6 years + masters, Bay Area/remote positions.)

A few other things I've noticed:

1. Yes, I've had the "candidates with perfect skill/experience matches get the same generic rejection" but I've also had times when I'd apply for something that I had only a little bit of a match for, and still get pretty far through the interview process.

2. Related to #1, I can't get a good feeling of how qualified I am for these listings. Sometimes I'll apply to something that is in the low 100ks with a customized resume that echos all of their reqs and get rejected, but other times I'll just blind fire out my standard resume to something with a base in the mid 200s and get selected for a full interview loop.

3. It feels like some places still have the same "standards" for each part of the interview process, leading to a lot of candidates getting to the end, which then leads to some weird "you did well but we chose someone else" responses.

4. Sometimes I'd have an interview lined up, but then right before it I get a "due to shifting requirements, we have to postpone this by a bit" email. This has happened several times now (and they never have actually un-postponed it.) Same thing with spending a day or two interviewing at a place, not hearing back, and then reading of a large layoff at that company a few days later.

> but what has been everyone's experience so far in 2023 trying to find a new job?

I’m done. Not even trying anymore. After a year of bullshit I’m convinced the only reason I ever made it into this field is because that stupid guilder age in the 2010s driven by cheap money, cargo culting, and naive idiocy. Even the non tech companies aren’t hiring much anymore.

Seriously I had an easier time finding a job when I was 18, had no formal education, and no real work experience.

I used to console myself with that fact that if I didn’t have anything else, I at least had a decent career and now I don’t even have that.

Recruiters disappeared over night. I occasionally get a few every once in a blue moon, but they always end up with nothing. I did my last interview a couple weeks ago, only for the recruiter to call me back as confused as I was whether the answer was yes or no. Cold applications are worse. I did managed a couple interviews out of those, but was rejected within a few days. Not sure why, those were some of the best interviews I’ve had recently. And the worst are the companies who send me an email months after I’ve applied just to say “we cancelled this position, lol”. I’ve also had family friends and others reach out and ask me if I’d like to consult for them, only for them to ghost me as well.

Now to be fair, some of this was my fault as well. I didn’t recognize how fucked the market was quick enough. I was desperately focusing on remote jobs, primarily because I really didn’t want to incur that costs and work that come with a move. I did a few interviews that were for in site positions, mostly for practice, and usually progressed further in those than for the remote roles, but ultimately didn’t seriously pursue them for the reason I just stated.

Meanwhile I’m in one of the worst real estate markets in the country, with my savings having been battered by all sorts of unexpected emergency expenses. I’m honestly half convinced that 2023 is trying to kill me. At the very least, I suppose I won’t have much left to lose sooner rather than later.

Your experiences are too similar to what I've seen. I don't think the public preconception has yet to realize this is what reality if looking like for many people rather than the headlines about no-recession, jobs everywhere, low unemployment.

I was going to link my other comment, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37112093, but you already read and commented on that. Just try to hold out, it's just absolutely terrible right now, perhaps dotcom/2008 bad, but those were both before my mind so I can't necessarily give a good account for the experience during those two periods.

> Your experiences are too similar to what I've seen. I don't think the public preconception has yet to realize this is what reality if looking like for many people rather than the headlines about no-recession, jobs everywhere, low unemployment.

Both can be true. Many people can have a reality of not being able to find buyers for remote work performed on computers. And the data indicating non remote work, possibly not performed on computers is widely available (albeit at an undesirable pay to quality of life ratio for those in the former category).

> And the data indicating non remote work, possibly not performed on computers is widely available

The initially reported jobs numbers each month always claim that, and then those numbers are consistently revised down over time so that jobs have been lost the whole time, and our perceptions were more accurate than the initially reported data.

Presumably, this chart is using revised data, and it does not show any material upward movement in even the most expansive definition of unemployed for almost a year:


After 6 months people fall off the list, and also many people with high salaries don’t bother applying for the meager benefits.

It also isn’t specific to tech so a slight decrease in unemployment outside of tech would mask tech unemployment.

As someone that skated through 2008 employed, this seems worse to me. I've seen people that are good take a year to get a job. Some even left willingly last year only to faceplant into the current situation.

" Some even left willingly last year only to faceplant into the current situation."

lol, love the turn of phrase. My situation exactly, actually I left at the beginning of covid to take care of family (homeschool etc), and 'work on a side project' that of course hasn't progressed far (enough). So you can imagine my response rate - basically unemployable currently.

i'd gotten out of the military and was finishing college in 2008-9 and it took that long to find a real job. lot of part-time bartending then.

likewise, plenty of folks skating through this employed -- a function of perspective.

I'm done as well. This entire field is toxic garbage.

I’m 53, and I doubt I’ll ever find a job in tech again. I only started getting responses when I removed the earliest 15 year’s experience from my CV, and as soon as I hit the screening stage and my age is known they lose interest.

Ageism can get fucked.

Don't lose hope, it's just a downturn. At previous company (a year or so ago) we hired 61yo who had gotten in to tech a few years before. He turned out great.

That's the kind of positive sentiment I need to hear!

Out of curiosity - if this is actually true (I doubt it - that is you will never have another tech job; not ageism.) What is your plan?

My plan? I’ll go out on my own terms. I fought my entire life to escape a bad childhood of poverty and homelessness. Not going back.

I don't know how you meant this to read but it sounds to me like you're saying you plan to commit suicide.

Maybe. It could mean a number of things. It could be some creative squatting, moving to a low cost of living nation, or outright stealing. Having nothing to lose opens a lot of possibilities. I just read the story this morning of Nigerian stowaways that survived two weeks clinging to a ship's rudder.

Heh, I got a tech job at 56.

But ... there is a lot of ageism out there. Which I've never understood.

I was senior level but unable to shave yet when the movie War Games came out. That movie changed things socially and eventually at work. Young Bill Gates rise in celebrity also changed things. Quite a bit later, the dot-com boom started and we were hiring anything with a warm pulse to script HTML and Cold Fusion. Some of those kids were pulling $150K/yr in 1996 money! When the Crash happened, the kids moved home and laughed it off, eventually to reemerge as $7-$17/hr contractors while almost everyone over 40 was permanently retired (exceptions abound, but not enough). It happened because the older workers had more serious bills to pay and that involved changing careers and/or cracking open retirement nest eggs. The kids lacked any tenure with the grey beards and snow caps to guide them, but they had Google Search and the remotely connected Europeans (who were not as badly affected by the Crash due to socialism). Those kids of that era are fundamentally screwed because of lack of formal training and learning from those with decades of experience (and, of course, CS majors started graduating again ..about 17 years ago now.. and while initially outnumbered by the idiot kid masses, did manage to replicate to the point where things like PHP and Node are being slowly killed off and the applied science is coming back —along with renewed efforts to put training wheels on everything like was tried a generation ago with Pascal/Modula/Ada). However, one thing all those workers ALL shared was peer age group camaraderie! The older people were not seen as credible because the kids came to believe the entire industry had suddenly appeared out of thin are along with the advent of the WWW. Jeff Bezos took care of their heavy lifting for them (as long as they worked somewhere with a credit card lol) and is now the richest man in the world. Of course, I’m speaking very general here, but, for example, I doubt FB could have ever taken on Google because of this issue. I realized I was in trouble one day when I interviewed at Qualcomm wearing a suit and the kid who showed up late in casual attire accused me of being a fraud —not to my face, but to the recruiter. I notified their Legal and the response was like “Do we have a problem here?” Things are a bit better now, some of those kids look older than they are. Still, it’s not wise to let the young know what decade you were born in now, just as it once was with the old, before the War Games movie and Billy Gates.

I can't imagine War Games had any impact on the industry, except maybe if you were in security. Are you serious?

Well done. I really don’t understand it either. I have close to 30 years experience, and have always stayed relevant in terms of approach, skills, and knowledge.

According to the folks I’ve worked with in the past, I’ve done great work, and I’m still in regular contact with many of them.

This is a lot of people's experiences right now, young or old. As a manager who hires a lot, I could not care less about your age, would not even cross my mind as a criteria. Not saying agism does not exist, but not everywhere. It is an absolute buyer's market right now.

I think we all have biases that we sometimes aren't aware of. For example, no one thinks they prefer taller employees.

And yet taller people tend to make more money and have more positive qualities associated with them by others.

I think age is a weird one, because there are both positive and negative biases at play.

Maybe you don't think about age consciously, but subconsciously maybe you're more inclined to trust someone's opinion or experience if they're older.

Conversely, you (and many other hiring managers) may feel a bit weird giving basic tasks or ordering around someone who is older than you. Maybe you don't realize it, but you might have more of a sense of "this candidate is less likely to take instruction"

I'm not saying you're ageist (any more so than the baseline since I think we've all internalized ageism to some degree). But the fact that it "doesn't cross your mind as a criteria" doesn't necessarily mean that it hasn't affected your hiring decisions anyway.

I believe it's illegal to talk about age or even consider it in the US. You need to make it to the technicals. Say webcam is broken for the screen.

I want you to download Unity, crack open a Safari book and go heads down until you can download and integrate 3D objects and write scripts. Make some tribute to something you like and then market it along side your grey beard. Remember me when you are making $250K next year :)

Whilst i genuinely appreciate your suggestion, you are essentially saying “yes, the career and experience you have built up over the years are gone, beet find something else to do”

How do you take that off your resume? What if they ask?

I didn’t realize you could do that.

The only thing on my CV that indicates my age are my early jobs. Just take those away. When they do ask, I say that work I did at that time wasn’t relevant to today.

Either way, as soon as they figure out my ago, the screening call is typically over.

Huh? You could just say that you got a first job in tech when you were 35 or something.

Don’t have to say anything. Sadly no one is interested in experience with Netware in the nineties.

Rocking that IPX/SPX!

Cried a little inside when I deleted that. sniff

My experience was an absolute TON of jobs that had no idea what I do as a Staff+ engineer, or what it costs to get someone with my experience and skills. I'm talking many many recruiters fishing with 75% off my total comp.

My take is there are lots of open roles, but companies are being slow to hire because they know they have the upper hand and want to wait out the market and get a great hire at a lower price. And right now with interest rates companies have lower opportunity cost (ie they're not incentivized to deploy capital as fast as possible) .

A startup with a tech team of 50 doesn't really need a staff+ engineer. They don't know what you do because these aren't things they even think about.

A lot of startup folks just think a higher "level" just means "Faster". While I agree, I think it's measured more abstractly and across time, than just like "1..2...3.. Go" kind of race on a feature/issue.

That's dumb then the great hires have no loyalty they will quit.

my job search is miserable. I want to post a well thought out rant about my experience but idk how to do it anonymously without ruining my chances to get a job looking like a dick online.

Every part is horrible:

recruiters that don't know the industry beyond buzzwords. this is frustrating, they cant think outside their box "oh you havent done exactly this for 10 years, so i guess youll never do it." I dont think people know how bad of a filter these hr people are. I wrote code that handled tens of millions of requests a second, then you get "oh but were really looking for a sr backend api engineer, this doesnt seem like a good match" like what do you think I was doing?

random interviews with no clear goals. "system design" wtf is this, i have no idea what anyone is looking in these within an hour. you want me to design facebook in 45min on a clunky ui? it takes 20 minutes just to talk about some of this stuff. you have to hope to hit their random keywords, but you have no idea what it is. leetcode has been beat to death, that to is horrible. we need you to optimize this exponential algorithm on the fly. basically if you haven't seen the exact problem before, you are not passing these interviews. or you run into the sr engineer, been with the company for years, that seems stuck in their local maximum that's interviewing you, your subjected their random questioning and expectations.

the slow pace of everything. schedule an intro call a week ahead with a useless recruiter, schedule your tech screen another week out, now 2 weeks to get 3 engineers to screen you, talk with a hiring manager another week out.

> worse getting no response at all.

yeah, some company sent me an offline question, one question was write a k8s yaml file, right now, along with 2 other algorithm questions. like wtf was that looking for. no, i havent heard anything back. cant believe i wasted 1.5 hours on that. i dont think ill do any take home assements anymore, there is no guarantee anyone will look or respond.

the low balls, "were looking for a staff/team lead, pay is 140k" you are out of your mind with these.

I can keep going, the whole thing is horrible. thanks for reading my mini rant

Maybe the salaries are down and there is higher competitiveness between candidates because people are able to work remotely from low cost of living countries? I'd be happy to take fully remote staff eng/tech lead for 140k USD, because in my country I can make half of it for the same position

Maybe on a small scale but I dont think this is the case. A lot of roles are US only even if they are remote. Hiring out side the US when your exec team and related are all US based isn't as easy as just doing it. Language is hard to deal with. There are also issues with taxes following employment for where the hiring is being done that I dont think a lot of companies are going to put with. Companies can also be conservative about security, not everyone is going to want to have their data in a third world country. Also it seems like europe is cracking down on things you can get away with in the US

> Hiring out side the US when your exec team and related are all US based isn't as easy as just doing it. Language is hard to deal with

People talk about this, but really, U.S. companies can very easily hire from Canada, either through an employer of record (like Remote or Deel) or a PEO if they have several Canadian employees. They can also hire contractors and due to trade agreements don't have to deal with taxes at all (U.S. clients are even exempt from paying GST/HST that a Canadian contractor would typically have to charge otherwise). There are no more time zone issues than hiring remote U.S. and there's only a slightly higher chance of a language barrier (since Canada has a higher proportion of immigrants)

I wouldn't be surprised if this is affecting the U.S. market (and might be the only saving grace of the Canadian market which nonetheless is in dire straits right now).

Other than companies dealing with national security though, I don't see why US remote only would be a thing

Not just taxes, but that's a big one

* states have different payroll and VAT taxes, and internationally it could get very different and messy

* NDAs, non-competes, and things like single-party consent for recording will vary by state and country. California, for example, basically banned non-competes, or else has to offer a lot of considerations to make them effective, but that ain't the case if you're in NYC, London, or Samarkand.

* data storage, data-in-transit, data-at-rest and logging rules may be different

* compliance rules like GDPR, CCPA, SOX, and PCI-DSS may have restrictions or not fly for one-off remote workers

* then there are the very real security challenges, like geofencing IPs, getting 2FA to work with international numbers, making sure you're not MITM'd, or that US / Chinese / European / etc. border security won't scan your laptop as you enter or exit. My last job at a F500 had very strict protocols for travel to China, Russia, and the Middle East -- and for credible reasons.

Meanwhile "remote in N. Carolina", even if 100% remote 45 min away, sidesteps a lot of those challenges.

"recruiters that don't know the industry beyond buzzwords. this is frustrating"

I am not even in the Tech Industry (Plastics Manufacturing Engineering), and this is the case. There are maybe... MAYBE... a handful of recruiters that have been in the business, working with my industry long enough to actually know what the heck they are talking about. They are ones that have actually gone to plants, gone on tours, asked questions, and tried to understand the difference between a dryer, a hopper, and a barrel on an injection molding machine. Modern recruiting is as much a numbers game as modern job hunting (for the most part) and it is completely idiotic.

I don't have really any advice, just wanted people to know that it's not just Tech that is seeing what you're seeing. The rest of us career professionals (16 years here) feel your pain and empathize.

It seems to be a culmination of all the worst the hiring process throws at you right now. Your frustrations aren't unique right now unfortunately, as far as I can tell. But at the same time, either to keep up appearances or for whatever other reason, others don't seem to be freely describing the same frustrations.

The public perceptions don't seem to reflect this side of reality either -- the job reports and unemployment rates at all time lows, yet the frustrations you're expressing seems more common that you'd think just looking at the headlines and reports of the job market.

For what it's worth, I think it's best to try and ride it out, until the tides turn for the better. I don't know the root cause, but the economic situation (high interest rates) would seem to be the likely root cause, but that's just a guess.

> the job reports and unemployment rates at all time lows

I think this is because the issues described are particularly to software right now. Unemployment is pretty low, but I see a lot more people complaining about barely scraping by or hurting financially. My guess is that it’s mostly crappy jobs. Particularly in my locality there’s a massive divide between rent/property costs and average pay.

I was trying to do some basic analysis on my local job market. Sadly, that data is not easily available, but I hand compiled the jobs posted in my area for a few days. There were plenty, but they tended to be low wage, low skill work, or work requiring expensive credentials or extensive experience.

/r/antiwork and /r/recruitinghell both have accounts of people being rejected from non-software jobs as well. Additionally, crappy wages and unrealistic job descriptions. Of course I read those posts knowing there's a certain amount of echo-chamber effect in those subreddits and a small number of posts may not give a clear indication of the overall job market. But certainly provides some perspective.

> Additionally, crappy wages and unrealistic job descriptions.

What’s interesting, is from what I’ve seen, a lot of stuff is paying a lot better than I remember seeing a decade ago. However, the costs, notably the cost of things you need to survive (especially housing) has managed to far outpace those wage gains in a much shorter period of time. Although that might be specific to my location.

> However, the costs, notably the cost of things you need to survive (especially housing) has managed to far outpace those wage gains in a much shorter period of time. Although that might be specific to my location.

It's not. That's everywhere. The difference is in the degree in awfulness.

That makes sense. In any major city, where most of the jobs are, houses, rents, food, all the typical things, are well above what minimum wage pays so you're likely living pay check to pay check even if you do find something, even if it's above minimum wage.

I don't believe the unemployment rate is as low as they claim. A low unemployment rate would mean employees would be less picky but they aren't. It is almost impossible to find a job right now.

It is definitely tough to do research. A lot of the jobs posted are fake.

I see lots of employers who are not picky. Hotels, grocery stores, hospitals, warehouses, construction crews, transportation businesses, etc.

Employers in one sector being picky is not evidence of all employers being picky.

> I see lots of employers who are not picky. Hotels, grocery stores, hospitals, warehouses, construction crews, transportation businesses, etc.

Jobs aren't getting filled because they're in places people can't afford to live. Right now that's most places - including places that had been affordable for generations but aren't any more.

This all should be easily understood but it often isn't.

Insufficient pay can surely be a cause for some employers not being able to be picky, but that does not mean the official unemployment rate is false.

I think what people are dancing around is percent of people employed with minimum “acceptable” pay to quality of life at work ratio, which includes the location of the work. This figure may very well be trending down, but is not an official figure, and it seems like a difficult metric to calculate anyway.

The 'official' unemployment rate doesn't include people who aren't actively looking within X time. I would not trust the government to accurately report on a statistic that makes it look bad.

There is an official unemployment rate that includes people who are not actively looking within X time. See U-6 unemployment rate:



>U-6 is the broadest measure of labor underutilization. In addition to the total number of unemployed and all people marginally attached to the labor force, U-6 includes people at work part time for economic reasons (also called involuntary part-time workers) and is expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force plus the marginally attached.

>U-6 is calculated as: ( (Total Unemployed + Marginally Attached to the Labor Force + People at Work Part Time for Economic Reasons) ÷ (Labor Force + Marginally Attached to the Labor Force) ) x 100

I've never run across that before.

I think a lot about the 20 percentage points who aren't reflected in the official BOLS' rate. Specifically about the ones who would absolutely work but are daunted by their significant barriers to job entry.

I'm hopeful these charts will reflect at least some of them.

There is always labor force participation rate if you want all encompassing:


And most, if not all of those jobs, are bad for your health and don't pay anywhere close to what's necessary to make up for the stress on your body. Most jobs are crap, and so are most employers. They want warm bodies to wear out and make money.

Generally, unpicky employers point to a high-turnover, high-stress, low paying environment.

You couldn't pay me enough to work those shit jobs.

Something to consider is that unemployment rates only account for people who are actively in the job market/applying for jobs, and the workforce participation rate dropped significantly with Covid. If you get so discouraged that you stop looking for work, you are no longer counted as "unemployed"

> Your frustrations aren't unique right now unfortunately, as far as I can tell. But at the same time, either to keep up appearances or for whatever other reason, others don't seem to be freely describing the same frustrations.

The only thing that keeps me going pretty much is knowing it isn't just me

I wish more people felt ok to speak out. publicly or online. it doesnt look good to be the person who says I cant find a job. It makes everyone else look at you like there is something wrong

I'm still employed, but just started looking for new jobs as of a few weeks ago. I've similarly had the generic rejection with every position I've applied for so far.

I suspect that my biggest hurdle is that my resume isn't tailored enough to get through whatever criteria their applicant tracking system is using. Really annoying that I have to try and game the system just to get my foot in the door.

I keep track of where I apply and if I get a no-response or a rejection or an interview.

Right now, 70 applications over 2 months, I had a ~4% interview rate. Slightly lower than normal. July and August were absolutely dead. June I had some interviews. Fall it may pick up from what I've read.

I don't know how well tailoring works. If it's a special job, maybe it's worth it, otherwise, it may me more efficient to submit a comprehensive but otherwise non-tailored application. Maybe run an A/B test to see what gives you better results. You could also have a few pre-tailored resumes you can use for the typical positions you apply for (for eg Frontend, Backend, Fullstack, DevOps) instead of recreating one each time.

I think the market is ice cold right now. I know many highly qualified people - great engineers, who get things done, who are looking for work.

IF people have a problem with 1000+ people applying for every job the answer is pretty simple, get rid of WFH. Five years ago you had to live within and hour or so of the job site but now those barriers are gone and people went from competing with everyone within a 60 mile radius to competing with everyone in the country. Don't gt me wrong WFH is great but the crazy amount of people applying for every job is one of the consequences. So what do people want more WFH or an easier time getting a job. It's a lot like online dating, instead of only dating people in your neighborhood you get a massive dating pool of everyone in the area, as a side result few good looking guys are going to get a lot of interest and the rest will become incels.

I very reliably get callbacks and many unceremonious rejections after the technical round

and yet the very first job I interviewed at in person hired me, matching my experience pre-pandemic. No compromise on my compensation bands, as I was really questioning my world by then

But turns out the humans didnt change, the mode of interaction did and it has less inputs with different biases

I have applied to 90 jobs in the last 3 weeks as a senior software engineer looking for a remote position. These have been from LinkedIn, and the HackerNews who's hiring thread.

I'd say I've had ~10-15% recruiter screen response rate. I think a lot of my rejections have been companies filling the position before I get a chance to interview.

Most of my unemployed friends have taken 10 months or longer to find employment. Some are even local in California where it seems like there should be more opportunities than seeking remote only.

my experience in 2023 is that I applied to a single job at fastly, got a referral through blind.

the only reason I applied was because it was uncanny how much the position matched my skillset.

this position was 1:1 what I've been doing in my career, pretty much an open req tailored to my experience.

dude on blind told me that it got fast tracked to the mgmt team from hr screening. I waited two weeks, and got a boilerplate rejection email. there were probably thousands of people who applied to that position.

Been looking seriously for ~4 months now, no luck yet.

My degree is in political science and I worked at a DC think tank as a research fellow focused on technology policy before leaving to co-found a VC-backed tech startup. After five years it failed.

Now it seems difficult to find a place which needs my mix of skills, a combination of communication and technical. I don't know if it's my unusual career path or something I'm doing wrong, but it's been tough so far.

This is the time to try your hand at entrepreneurship again. Most private investors I know are investing purposefully right now. Forget VCs and bootstrap - build the future you want - show you have grit. I work with a lot of exited bootstrapped founders and many of us are excited for the future.

Most are not willing to struggle, sacrifice, survive, and grind for a decade or more. Be the exception and build sustainable value. Money follows; perhaps trite but true. Sadly, this is excellent advice that many ignore (this may not actually apply to your specific circumstances, of course).

Your career path makes you top talent in the eyes of many. Honestly, your journey sounds like a leader’s narrative in the making. No excuses, get in there and get it done. I look in the mirror every morning and say nearly that exact thing to myself: “get in there and fight, today like all the other days before and all the days to come”. This is not figurative, I do this literally every single day as part of my daily routine and I don’t let up, even in my darkest hours of which there have been many over the years. I attribute my success to this mentality, perhaps it can work for you.

Be well!

Thank you for the encouragement. I don't have an idea I'm sufficiently excited about, but the longer I'm unemployed the more I begin considering them.

I'm in a similar position. Been 3 months. Good luck!

Thanks, you too!

I put out my resume on Indeed, Monster, maybe AngelList (I forget). Also, over the years, I have kept a list of headhunters that seemed to have both integrity and intelligence (it wasn't a long list). I reached out to them. Half of them weren't valid any more (it's been a while since I was in the market for a new job).

I didn't do any direct applications to companies, as far as I recall - not until they had already reached out to me, either directly or through the recruiter.

Oh, and I was looking for a job where I wanted to move to - over a thousand miles away from where I had contacts. Also, I have nearly four decades of experience (you can look at that as a plus or a minus, depending on how much age discrimination you think is out there).

Result: Found a position where I wanted. It took a few months. I forget which way paid off. It was either Indeed or one of my headhunters.

Sorry that my memory is kind of vague. Between switching jobs and moving cross-country, selling a house and buying another, I had kind of a lot going on, and I've dropped some of the details.

It's been more than 3 months since I've started looking for a job.

Back in May and June, things were really bad. Layoffs everywhere, basically no open engineering positions. Late July and early August were / are much better, some recruiters even reaching me, instead of me reaching them.

Still pretty hard; about a hundred companies rejected me, of them a couple dozen after several rounds of interviews, and several after apparently successful final rounds.

The ones I looked into didn't get past intros due to compensation. My last new job was before all the interest rate increases and all that stuff, so I think I pinned my salary solidly above my current market. I'd have trouble getting a lateral compensation move, let alone a bump. Between that and my house, interest rates have been kind but also I'm kinda bound by it.

I'd been looking for months before layoffs finally hit my team. At this point I've been looking for 14 months, plus or minus. I've made it to the final round once and barely get anything from applications. It's enough to make me want to apply for roadkill as I'm pretty sure I'd land that job and you can't beat the pay.

1. Make friends with people at work

2. Eventually, some of those people will get new jobs, and they can refer you to their new employer (and vice versa).

3. Repeat for a few cycles and you have a network full of potential job opportunities without ever going through a job board.

I'd modify #1

1. Make friends with _everybody_ at work.

That includes the guy who brags about himself all the time. That includes the person who you only give the easiest tasks because you don't trust them with anything complicated. That includes the person who doesn't suffer fools gladly.

You never know. I had a constant braggart coworker who everyone else avoided. I smiled and listened politely. He was the one who got me my next job.

Exceptions, obviously, for coworkers that are actively corrosive or abusive. I'm not cozying up to the guy that the female interns refuse to share an elevator with.

4. Never burn any bridges. That boss or coworker you refuse to work with can and will actively block you in future employment possibilities. Also know that if that person is making your entire life hell, you might just need other things happening in your life to make your life more varied. Smile to the end (if you can).

Disagree; stay true to yourself. Try to be nice to everyone regardless, but also don't hold back on honest criticism for fear of reprisals. Doesn't matter how high the other person gets in the chain, you can't hide what you are (neither them, nor you).

It's a difficult balance, isn't it? When you're applying to a future opportunity, leaders there will *often* reach out to people in their network who worked with you previously, whether you declared them on a resume or to a recruiter as an official reference or not. That either happens through looking at common connections on LinkedIn, or you came from SomeCo and they know someone in engineering leadership over at SomeCo.

If SomeCo is a huge company then LinkedIn might find a connection who actually knew you, but just "know someone in leadership at Amazon" wouldn't usually get you a hit. Whenever SomeCo is a smaller outfit, the likelihood someone knows of you increases

If whoever you hit up starts the conversation with, "Yeah, that ghusto, er, they weren't the best engineer we had" or even just "I don't think I can give you reference for that person, sorry", your chances of getting the job plummet.

If one person at SomeCo (a larger company) is not going to say you're amazing then the probability of that person being asked might be quite low. If many people at SomeCo (a smaller company) are going to remember that "honest criticism" more loudly than all your other contributions then that is trickier.

For sure, but it's a great sieving mechanism. If the recruiter / company went with either C-level only, or didn't check beyond with a few people who actually worked with you day to day, then meh, no loss on my end.

Also; I deleted my LinkedIn account and only saw benefits.

Corollary: Don't burn bridges, but if somebody else sets the bridge on fire don't hurt yourself trying to rebuild it. Less snappy but hopefully it gets the point across.

There's an ex coworker that comes to mind. He was the typical wishy washy dude talking a lot and doing nothing all day and then crying to management of how much he was working. I was managing a nightmare team and teaching tech workshops inside the company. We never worked together.

I never liked the dude much but I was trying to get his jokes though his thick British accent and trying to be polite.

Turns out he hated me for some reason and actively stopped a referral I tried to bring into the company. Years later I even offered him a referral out of courtesy which he didn't pick up on. Even more years later I found out he vetoed me from some company I applied years ago with no specific reason.

Sometimes you have to chose which bridge to burn.

Hopefully not, hopefully you're leaving for greener pastures, or because of something systemic that you can critique on exit without throwing anyone under the bus.

But sometimes not. Sometimes you have a responsibility to your peers to honestly describe the problem that prompted you to leave, even if it means burning a bridge.

The alternative is to squander the organizational growth opportunity that your resignation represents, and subsequently burn all bridges except the one with the problematic person.

This can also be extended to:

1. Go on LinkedIn and find past co-workers and friends. Make a list of those people.

2. Prioritize based on companies you want to work for and people who had a good experience with you

3. Reach out to them with a generic opening like "How are things going?"

4. After some back and forth, you can ask "Hey, are you guys hiring by any chance?"

I also wrote a recap of mistakes and lessons learned from trying to find work at a hedge fund here: https://twitter.com/alexpotato/status/1663668616233885699

It has some more general recommendations as well.

This is going to bite a lot of the hardcore WFH people in the next decade. They just won't have even watercooler-level connections with former colleagues.

Rationalist Ivy-league haters community thinks their resume is all that matters.

According to PG, this is the exact time for them to be hitting it out of the ballpark doing a startup.

Swing harder, people!

While it’s true that it’s harder to form close connections while working from home, it’s actually managed to broaden my network considerably. I now have friends and former colleagues stationed all around the world, instead of just the US.

Make friends with Talent Acquisition. Nothing like having a TA that moves to another company.

Hah, I went this route a few jobs ago. The TA loved the place, but unfortunately their engineering culture turned out to be complete trash.

Cool as a long term strategy, but hardly helpful if you want a job this year.


I haven't bothered with non-word-of-mouth jobs for over ten years. If the job's not recommended to me by someone I already know, I'm not interested. It saves sooo much time.

Indeed. Last year I more than doubled my income by applying with the “click to apply” feature on indeed with a 4 sentence long cover letter.

Later I had a couple short zoom culture interviews and a take-home project which I sunk 10 hours into and outshined 30 other applicants. Offer in my inbox in less than 7 days. Mind you, this was after a grand total of like 20+ hours of interviews at other companies, with on the spot algo tests and all.

Here’s what I’ve learned: I will not subject myself to algo interviews. I just don’t think that’s what I want the companies I work for to value most in their devs. I want take-home projects with clear instructions. I want culture interviews where they are truly trying to see if I’d be a good fit.

Since I got hired I’ve actually helped hire a couple devs. Even as someone who went the traditional route of majoring in CS at a university I’ll say this: I don’t care how you got your knowledge. I just want to see real projects you’ve worked on. The sheer amount of people who apply even from prestigious schools like Stanford who have a mostly empty GitHub is staggering to me. I don’t care how much money you spent on education, show me the code!

I am programming since 1995. I got my first job in 2007. Pretty sure that not single line of my code is online. Maybe except couple forum/reddit snippets.

I have two kids, couple family friends, one hobby and I like to watch basketball and old movies. Outside of work I spend some time here and couple subreddits. I do not have time for the side projects on GitHub or to prepare for silly LC tests. I do not have time to create LinkedIn account and keep it updated.

I have CV with average EU Uni and uninterrupted 16 years across many different domains and with different tech stacks.

I refuse to do following:

- LC tests

- take home.

On another hand we can have interview for 6 hours about your business domain or system design.

I think that’s a fair take. People feel comfortable with different things. Even in school I always surpassed others on take home assignments and struggled during tests.

There’s another aspect in your comment too, and that’s seniority. I was born a year after you started programming, so GitHub and online portfolios were just a natural thing for me to take on. If you have people that will vouch for you and you have decades under your belt, you can more easily get away with no leetcode and no take home.

Actually I am only 12 years older than you. :) I had a lot luck to get my first computer early and was exposed to QBasic in dad's company.

>you can more easily get away with no leetcode and no take home.

Current rate in the last three months is around 75%. (which demands LC or take home)

Survivor bias. It worked for you.

People apply for dozens of jobs, if they had to spend 10 hours on a take home project each, it would add up to hundreds of total hours working on pointless toy projects just for the chance to get a job. That's like working full time for a month or two. Not counting the time spent to get up to that point (finding open job listings, editing resume, submitting application, doing screening interviews, etc.)

Absolutely. This just ended up being a company with a mission I actually cared about, using a tech stack that had my mouth watering, and a project prompt that allowed for creativity and showing my full-stack chops in a way I hadn't experienced in take-home projects before. I should clarify, I was done with the prompt in 1 hour. But the frontend aspect of the prompt was very much like "show us what you can do", and that's the type of thing that gets me going.

But I totally agree with your point. I think that if a take-home project goes over a couple hours it should be paid. Some companies do this, but not enough.

In a sense the take home assignment without enforced time limit selects for candidates that are most committed (or, alternatively, desperate, if you will).

That may or may not be a good thing, depending on the situation. But the downside is that the company would lose out on the potential applicants who can demonstrate skill in interviews, are in high demand, and can't be bothered to spend time on take homes.

Definitely true. The only issue with the idea of enforcing strict time limits on take-home projects is you pretty quickly get back to the same issues people including myself have with Leetcode and the like.

Like actual day-to-day work, just give me a prompt and a recommended time limit and I'll try to fit it to that and I might go above and beyond depending on a number of factors.

It's a situation where you have to pick your poison as an interviewee. Either subject yourself to the stress and lack of meaning that is leetcode (just my perspective), or be prepared to waste a few hours of your life on a project that doesn't wow your potential employer. I'd rather take the latter and hope I can learn something valuable along the way.

> I just want to see real projects you’ve worked on.

This gave me a business idea (AI business perhaps): anonymize your employer's codebase, enough so you can post it on GitHub without violating your terms of employment.

Ah yes, getting sued as a service

Here’s a slightly different take: uniquely ai-generated project idea that you can do, get graded on, and use when applying to multiple companies. No issue with anonymity at that point, and it would be much less work on the programmer than multiple take home projects

> a take-home project which I sunk 10 hours into

10 (ten) hours? youre gonna outshine other applicants cuz most of them (and a lot of HN) isn't going to do that.

don't put more time into the app then they'll put into you.

Its rough out here. I've got 8+ years of experience and I've worked a breadth of experience as well. I'm scouring the posts here on "Who's Hiring", I work applications on LinkedIn, Speak with some recruiters, and I utilize Remote Rocketship. My network of connections is a bit smaller than could be useful (this is my own fault.) but I have also reached out to people I personally know who could vouch for me. A number of those are still working at my last job.

Sent out upwards of 500 applications, 10, 20, maybe 30 interviews even fewer that have gone to the 'final rounds' and even some very close calls. No offers yet.

I'm also spending this time learning new tech that interests me and working on a portfolio site that is true to those interests. This is slow going but I don't let it get me down (if I can help it) because I help my partner garden, raise our dog, and work on my other hobbies as well.

I'm in a similar boat.

I'm a marketing guy, and have started to regret my career path. I've made it to several final rounds in the past year, but only wound up with rejection at the end—at the final stages, it can be real subtle things that lead them to make that final choice of one candidate vs. another.

On top of that, I'm taking care of a toddler full time, since we can't afford a nanny since I got laid off, so I have even less time to dedicate to the job hunt / skill advancement, and honestly I'm so exhausted by the end of the day that I'm too drained to work on projects that require real brainpower. It's been a slog, but I'm hanging in there and not giving up.

Otta.com has been a great, easy resource for job hunting.

I just checked out otta.com, and started their "quiz". Third question: "where would you like to work?" and only lists major cities, nothing in my state. As if to say "if you want a job, move or go remote". I've gotten this same message from many channels.

Thanks for the arrow, I'll definitely add Otta.com to my rounds. If you're not familiar you could also try Remote Rocketship

Remote Rocketship is paid :(

This is true and its only a recent change. When I compare it to similar sites that do the same, remote rocketship is the best IMO.

I personally think its worth 10 dollars for what it is. A barebones and clean aggregate job site. The other free sites have too much engagement or don't get the amount of listings RR does.

What feedback or retrospect have you gathered about why you're not making the final rounds?

Lmao do people get that? The only thing I’ve ever gotten after final round lately have been ghosted or a useless generic rejection email. Even when a recruiter is involved, they don’t seem to get that sort of information.

I usually don’t get direct feedback. But if you’re even slightly socially conscious you can usually pick up clues by not having great answers to interview questions. Seeing their face or hearing their voice express some involuntary emotion that says, “ah he doesn’t know this.”

I usually pick up the hints, read between the lines, and study up on those things, whatever they may be.

As a hiring manager, it's risky to give detailed information because it could be used for a lawsuit, and there's no direct benefit to the company. My company still does give feedback because it's the right thing to do, but there is a reason why most companies shy away.

i ask everytime I get rejected, you do sometimes get some info. But i think its almost always useless because the next interview you do will be graded some other random arbitrary standard. sometimes it is helpful though, or if there is a trend.

I always ask for it directly. I usually get some clues, but nothing deep. I've never been ghosted after an in person interview (except by Tawkify matchmakers, but that's another story lol)

Well its a mix of things. I struggle with "live coding", y'know fight,flight, or freeze? I freeze up. So on that front I think I need to do two things:

1. Slow down and ask for a few minutes to collect myself. "I'm not in this context, do you mind if I have a minute to organize my thoughts". And then do a little "whiteboard" in my notebook or something. Some people might say to verbalize your thinking process and I agree but there shouldn't be anything wrong with taking a few minutes. (I mean, this doesn't even necessarily test for how I'd do on the job because I'm at least competent at coding)

2. Practice more situations. Any time I struggle with a problem after the interview I make sure I understand that tech. Right now I'm studying up on class components and websockets. (Two technologies I either don't really see anymore: we use functional components on my latest projects or stuff you set and forget)

I think #2 is part of what people mean when they say that interviewing prepares you for the next one.

- Some places that I get far with I've literally reached out afterward and asked for pointers. One piece of feedback I've gotten is, "We didn't get a good sense of what drives you." which, that's fair. I think of software engineering as more of a technician => "I have the skills to solve your problems" and not so much, "My passion is building the front-end for X,Y,Z business" I mean, I'd obviously like to find work with meaning but I'm not driven by that meaning. I don't think we'd ask our plumber to show their passion for the work (Not that they can't have that) but instead we're more concerned with, "Are you competent?" - That's something I need to work on for sure.

- Lastly, I've learned that an interview is for both parties. The person interviewing me is also representative of the company. The last two interviews I had a bad feeling about the fit post interview and I think I should have reached out and rescinded my interest because our values didn't align.

Most of the time though, I check all the boxes and don't even make it to interview stage so its hard to really glean anything useful most of the time. Could it be a bad market? Is it because the only box I don't check is having a CS degree? (I have a bachelors but not in CS) Is it my experience is too varied? Who knows. Best I can do is to keep at it.

Do not be put off by the number of applicants of jobs on LinkedIn.

I hired two developers in the last few weeks via LinkedIn job ads and I can tell you out of 200 applicants there were less than 10 who fits the requirements.

I would also say make sure your resume fits the job, add your phone number and email address. Start with what's important, your experience and things that you're really good at.

Changing the resume to fit each JD would hard, but apply for jobs that your experience fit well.

The truth is, most jobs these days are rather bloated themselves. I do wish you luck in finding a job, but I would also give you this following piece of advice: at the same time while trying to find a job, think about strategies where you can work less and contribute more to society in your local community.

I truly believe that the real opportunities out there are those which are mostly divorced away from the typical LinkedIn posting where it's just some company trying to push more consumerism on the world.

I was offered a job coaching under-12 soccer for the top local club where parents pay thousands a year. The offer was $700 a month to run (by myself) 3 practices a week plus a game on the weekend. So less than $20 an hour, which doesn't even cover transportation costs.

Similar story applying to work at a bakery down the street, and same for working for animal control.

I agree doing work in your local community is rewarding, but it amounts to full time volunteerism. Our economy is truly horrific for the middle class and below.

Yes, it is true, sometimes it is hard to find alternatives right away. It is not easy because the price of everything is so high. Our high-growth economy has given us two things: a high paycheck, but in exchange for selling our soul and becoming drones. I left full-time work a while ago, but I admit, it can be VERY scary, especially after being exposed to so much capitalistic propaganda.

Ideally, this. Realistically, not sure about this. It might be a bit of a crapshoot. It might yield very rewarding "jobs" but it's difficult to put your mind into it, when you just want to make a living. It just feels like you have to cross certain wealth threshold to do this. It might not reflect reality but this feeling of "I need a 9 to 5 to just keep myself afloat" is real.

You're right about that. And this is something I've been thinking about for quite some time. My rejoinder is that most people have a set of compromises they can make that might make them a lot wealthier than they think.

For example, a friend of mine was complaining that he had to work hard to afford a house. However, he was dead-set on a set of ideals and a location he wanted to settle at. Maybe part of that was preference, but it was clear that part of that was some sort of preconceived notion hammered into him by society and peer examples.

Instead, he could have aimed to buy a cheaper house in a smaller town while working/renting in the current town and just moved out. In my home town, even smaller houses cost at least 400K but there are plenty of nice places where the houses are 60K. So, buy one of those instead and move away once you've saved up enough...

By taking a month and seriously going through what's important to have a happy, "basic" life, most people will find things that they can give up, but that will make them happier in the long run. Like living in a certain neighbourhood, buying this or that, taking a certain number of vacations, having an extra child, a dog, etc.

Most people end up saving TOO much for retirement...and while caution is good, our society hammers this idea of an extremely consumptive lifestyle that these endless 9-5 jobs support.

> there are plenty of nice places where the houses are 60K.

Citation super needed. Where in the US can I buy a house for $60,000? Does it have a roof?

Spoiler alert: be prepared to spend a ton of money of gas, and hours for driving to any kind of doctor's office beyond a GP. A friend of a friend commuted for 4 hours each day to go to school as a kid because her family lived so far out.

I still agree with the general sentiment though. I'm happy with living in a 1br condo and taking public transport, but I had coworkers that "needed" a detached house with a back yard and a moderately expensive car.

> I'm happy with living in a 1br condo and taking public transport, but I had coworkers that "needed" a detached house with a back yard and a moderately expensive car.

Where it takes 4+ typical incomes to make basic bills(kind of everywhere), most apartments are a tough option.

Yes, you are very right and point out some valid criticisms. Because the typical 9-5 style has been so effective (it out-competes other life-styles because it is the most useful for our capitalistic, consumerist society), our entire infrastructure is designed around it, which further eliminates alternative options or at least makes them more scary.

I always though the 9-5 style was because a lot of work is easier when it's light outside and people are awake.

Well, I was thinking of Canada. I found quite a few nice, basic houses (by this, I mean a place you can actually live in, not reno projects) for around $60K USD. I'm talking about sparse provinces like Saskatchewan. I also found some now with a quick search in Alabama (US) for around $70K. Check out sparsely populated, small places in the US, and search for small houses. Hey, I never said it would be a mansion.

Houses under 100k CAD are either

- So far away from a major (by Canadian standards) city you're basically living in the middle of nowhere

- Run down and you're looking at 100k in renovations and upgrades

- Unless you're working remotely or are already well off, there are no well paying jobs out in the middle of nowhere

- Education is an issue: far away from schools for kids and only southern BC, southern Ontario, southern Quebec have high ranking universities/colleges

Any house in a desirable location is out of reach for many people. More and more people are now looking further out, thus driving prices higher in those locations as well. I don't think these people are looking to necessarily move out into the middle of Saskatchewan or other middle-Canada provinces where they can get those 100k homes for the reasons listed above.

100k house in Canada is a mobile home.

honestly id rather have the mobile home, easier to fix, probably closer to stuff i want [insert meth joke here], and i don't have to worry about the foundation flooding.

Most single child-free people perhaps. "Move somewhere cheaper" is about as helpful as "stop buying Starbucks" for an out of work breadwinner. Moving my kids away from their friends and school is an absolute last resort.

I do appreciate what you are saying. And, I never meant my post to be a quick-fix. It may be that it would only work a little later when your kids are older. But it can still work as a general life plan.

I think you're making the mistake of thinking that you know what people want better than they do.

The attitude of "keeping up with the Joneses" is almost an urban legend. People are not moving to the suburbs and having kids and dogs because they aren't strong enough to stand up to societal pressures. They move to the suburbs and have kids and dogs because that's what they've done throughout human evolution. The person who thinks they can leave and live independently is the oddball.

>Most people end up saving TOO much for retirement

I have a bridge to sell to you.

Besides all the already mentioned, solid responses about looking for new opportunities (personal network, consistent daily applications, etc), it's worth noting this one too:

Become a regular contributor to specific open-source projects (esp if it's a growing and/or funded startup).

This approach might work better for those that are already comfortable w/ OSS and don't yet have connections. When applying to that company a bit later, obviously mention all the merged PRs.

For example, here's Posthog [0] showing you what you could help with thru a job post. You can find more companies like this one at Fossfox [1], shameless plug: I maintain that index rn.

[0] https://posthog.com/careers/full-stack-engineer-growth#typic...

[1] https://fossfox.com/

Thank you for this suggestion. I think it's infinitely more interesting than the meme-y, parroted 'grind leetcode' response to improve job prospects. And it can give you more direction than trying to think of hobby projects to put on github.

I know people who have joined AWS because their OSS contributions opened doors for them.

It is a great suggestion imho.

...and then left < 2 years later because AWS is Amazon and will grind you out

Maybe, but at least you are free to find out yourself.

Reading about all you engineers with years of experience struggling to get a job is incredibly painful, but in some ways it's relieving to hear that even experience engineers are finding this market difficult. I managed to land my first job during the pandemic on a combination of self-education and a bootcamp. That job is over due to lack of funding and I have been applying non-stop for 6 months, 300-400 applications and just one interview. In the meantime, I'm pursuing a BSc part time, building personal projects, and working in the service industry. Finding that next role seems like it will an epic journey and I certainly don't count on finding a role, or giving up, any time soon...

I'm also pursuing a BSc. My original degree is a BA and employers/recruiters see me as an "alternative" self-taught engineer, despite a decade of experience. I think a lack of STEM degree can really hurt a resume.

My data suggests that wages are down about 15% from their peak 2 years ago.

When I see people with 10+ years of experience struggle to get jobs right now it's almost always because they're filtering out good opportunities with their comp expectations.

For more junior folks the market is tough right now. It's going to be a grind but I'd highly encourage you to consider working with a third-party recruiter. You may need to try a few different ones before you find one that can get you placed but a good one will be worth it. All the normal advice applies: leverage your network and debug the problem. Consider where in the process you're dropping off. Are you not hearing back at all? Are you getting interviews but not offers? Work from there.

I must be incredibly lucky, because every job I've gotten the past years have been through the "normal" channels, meaning that I found the job listing on some rather huge classifieds website. I then just typed up a honest job application, updated my resume, and applied for the jobs. Always got a reply, and eventually a job interview.

Should be mentioned that I live rather rural, and have experience (analysis and engineering) which makes me stand out from most other applicants.

Since 2004, I've sent out under 20 job applications. The past 5 years I've switched work twice (better jobs and higher salary) - so I don't know if I'm a good representation of the job market.

But most of my ex-colleagues that work as devs seem to get their interviews through their network. Usually goes something like this:

1) Company needs something fixed, or increase their headcount to meet goals

2) Dev: "I know this one guy/gal, I've seen his work and we worked briefly on a project"

3) Manager: "Great! Reach out to them and see if they're interested!"

Have you gotten a job in the last year?

> The past 5 years I've switched work twice

The last 12 months is very different to early 2022.

Honestly just look for companies that have bounties on tickets in their open source software and make a name for yourself that way. They'll know your name when you apply. You'll start to make money right away too. [1]

[1] https://github.com/djadmin/awesome-bug-bounty

Also worth discussing: once you start interviewing, what can you do to get an offer?

Personal anecdote: I was laid off ~4 months ago. It wasn't that hard to get interviews. But then I bombed the coding interviews for several appealing positions.

I'm a very experienced developer, but I didn't realize just how much my programming-during-an-interview skills had atrophied. IMHO those coding tests were properly weeding me out, because it really looked like I couldn't program.

I'm now making time to work on practice problems, and I think they're really helping. I expect future coding interviews to go much better.

Once you've moved beyond a junior-level of experience, I'm not sure if there's a better way than working your network for opportunities. In my experience there is never, and will never be, a shortage of business people looking for technical problems solvers.

Joel Spolksy has an interesting quote about this:

"Third, and trust me on this, there’s still an incredible shortage of the really good programmers, here and in India. Yes, there are a bunch of out of work IT people making a lot of noise about how long they’ve been out of work, but you know what? At the risk of pissing them off, really good programmers do have jobs"

From: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2005/01/02/advice-for-compute...

Joel is wrong. The 2001-2003 timeframe was very hard to find a job, even if you were a really good engineer.

There is a good reason Open Source development exploded during those years, as there were a lot of unemployed or 'underemployed' good engineers that had time to do some open source work while looking for a job.

By 2005 (when that article was written), the market had already recovered, and what he said is true (good engineers had already found a job), but that doesn't negate the fact that 2001-2002 was bad even for good engineers.

One big confound was the gap between national averages and the Bay Area. I knew a ton of people who ended up finding jobs at large businesses, higher education, government, etc. which they weren’t looking at during the height of the dotcom bubble. None of those places had had an easy time hiring then, but also that almost always meant relocating.

> really good programmers do have jobs

Maybe when he says "reall good programmers" he means the super productive people he's friends with. I know everyone on HN thinks they're in the top 10% of programmers, but realistically most of us are average or worse.

Wow... did you take that out of context IMHO.

It is a whole paper about how becoming a programmer is a good choice, and that good programmers can find a place in the world.

To my eyes: There are two things needed for a "great programmer" to happen.

1. A programmer with good to great skills.

2. A company that they fit into.

You may work out in company A, it works well for you. You can hit max productivity there.

For me, A may be one of the worst ideas EVER, for various reasons. I'd do better at B, where you might fail.

A and B might even just be a large company and a small company, there is a big difference.

... So while I agree with Joel in context. I disagree with YOU.

Dan Luu has an interesting post about it as well.


From about half-way down the post:

" At the last conference I attended, I asked most people I met two questions:

Do you know of any companies that aren't highly dysfunctional?

Do you know of any particular teams that are great and are hiring?

Not one single person told me that their company meets the criteria in (1). A few people suggested that, maybe, Dropbox is ok, or that, maybe, Jane Street is ok, but the answers were of the form 'I know a few people there and I haven't heard any terrible horror stories yet, plus I sometimes hear good stories', not 'that company is great and you should definitely work there'. Most people said that they didn't know of any companies that weren't a total mess. "

I struggle with that. I loathe looking for work again because I know I’ll end up somewhere fucked up selling my soul and wearing myself out y til I have to quit again to recharge and reset the cycle. Sometimes I wish I had a totally different profession.

> At the risk of pissing them off, really good programmers do have jobs

Which doesn't at-all reflect the reality implied by abysmal hiring practices - recited on this page again and again and again.

"this" is different.

Your quote's from a general article addressing CS undergrads still in school and further, from a subsection dismissing fears about an outright collapse in CS jobs outside of India.

Meanwhile, the parent's saying use your network, and there's plenty of demand for good developers.

That’s from 2005.

I think there's some truth to this. Made a throwaway to comment but I am (~15 yrs exp) making around 500k total comp and have a $400k base salary job waiting for me if I were to lose this job (but way more hours). If you have a strong network, use it. Cold hires are what's really hard right now.

A strong network isn't the silver bullet most people think it is. It'll get you bumped to the front of the line, but that's it. You still have to ace whatever crazy 10-round interview process that company has set up.

The jobs I've had since the one out of grad school have all been through people I knew. Not sure how typical that is but it's certainly one path.

Dev wages have to come down. The last 10 years have been crazy. Lots of devs are paid like doctors, without the limited supply or years of expensive training. It wasn't going to last.

As someone genuinely passionate about technology who sees the 90% in it for just the easy money at college, I'm very happy. Less superficial monetary incentive means people who are truly passionate about the craft will have more of an opportunity to shine.

Agreed. Once the wages got noticed, a lot of ppl got into programming for the money not the passion. Now don't get me wrong, I'll retire the second I can and am not programming for fun all the time, but I did get into out of legitimate passion and truly enjoy solving problems in tech. I do agree part of the situation now is a lot of ppl who only went into it for the money.

if you're passionate about technology then hows about you do it for less, and let the rest of us who need to feed a family get that $$$

The wages went up precisely because of the limited supply and years of training needed for devs.

You get a really biased view when working in a tech company, but the vast majority of people can't code, and when they try to learn don't get beyond hello world.

> but the vast majority of people can't code,

The vast majority of people can't fix their car engine, teach a classroom of kids or cook in a restaurant. Doesn't stop those professions from being 5 figure jobs.

The vast majority of people can't fix their car engine, teach a classroom of kids or cook in a restaurant. Doesn't stop those professions from being 5 figure jobs.

I never found teaching to be an exceptionally difficult task. The vast majority of people don't want to teach young children, because it entails a great deal of stamina, patience, and passion. These are far easier to cultivate than the logical and analytic mind which engineering typically requires.

And your cooking example is so far off base I don't even know how to respond to it. Cooking at an average TGI Fridays requires you to follow a set of prescriptive steps, follow the recipe... and that's it. Unless you're talking about working at a Michelin star restaurant, it's a rote job.

> > but the vast majority of people can't code,

The original quote was: "the vast majority of people can't code, and when they try to learn don't get beyond hello world."

That you chose to cut short the original sentence is quite interesting. Are you sure you can say that it's hard to learn in the fields you mentioned?

Doctors/Health vs Tech isn't a fair comparison. Look at the revenue per employee for large tech companies (2023):

Apple: 2.4m

Google: 1.5m

Meta: 1.5m

Amazon: 300k

Microsoft: 900k

Source: https://fourweekmba.com/revenue-per-employee-in-big-tech/

I was laid off 2 months ago as a fallout from pandemic and war (fullstack dev with 17y experience). i sent my resume to about 30 job posts on linkedin (nearly none with cover letter, as i just cannot possibly write 30 unique cover letters even with chatGPT) and wrote a “looking for job” post in 3 tech discord servers i was an active member on. The 30 linkedin applications totaled in one job offer and the three discord posts lead to one interesting job offer each. it took 1,5 months from start to first offer and 2 months to competing offers, decision and signing a contract. Pre pandemic it would take about 2 weeks for a first offer and i would mostly get them by recruiters contacting me on linkedin which is completely absent now. Bottom line is be active in tech communities you are excited about and reach out in the dedicated job channels on discord.

I don't. I gave up. It became an impossible task for me due to the lack of feedback in any possible action I take. I feel like I'm playing tennis alone in the court.

Conferences are a great place to network and find companies or people working on projects you’re interested in. These past two years, I’ve purchased my own ticket to the AWS re:Invent conference. I’ve made new connections and gained new insights by attending. I’ve also learned of some companies I’d be interested in working for in the future. Even though it’s expensive to attend, I view it as a good investment in my own career for networking and continued learning.

My own search has been on LinkedIn, as well as sites like Otta. The key for me to get more callbacks has been to personalize my resume for each job description (I even made a tool to do it for me [0]) and then to follow up with the hiring managers for the job.

Out of the stacks of resumes that get submitted to the black hole, it really does feel like a grind, but the little bit extra by reaching out to the recruiters/hiring managers seems to make the boost to at least get to the first round screen.

[0] https://resgen.app

LinkedIn is still the main source I use. But sometimes I search on ATS boards to explore opportunity. For example, use operators like "site:greenhouse.io" and "site:lever.co" to search if there is any interesting opening.

No one else has mentioned it but my last role was applying on the website of a company I wanted to work for. I chose 20 big companies, applied for 1-2 jobs each. This relies on internal recruiters that in many companies do nothing but some companies actually works.

Usually the form was one of those oraclecloud forms that take a while to complete. Half the companies I never heard anything but a few I got phonecalls and ended up with something I really wanted I was lucky. This was still early 2023 though.

I'm a new grad and I was extremely scared because of all the doom and gloom on HN and reddit. I also felt like new grads would be hit the hardest.

Come application time... it was totally normal. Had some interviews and some rejections. Ended up getting multiple offers with very competitive compensation.

While I may be the exception rather the norm, there are definitely companies that are still hiring and some that are just getting head count for the upcoming quarter. I would not give up hope.

Where did you go to school? In my experience, there is never a slowdown in demand for elite schools, but outside of that track it's a lot tougher.

Of course, a lot of it is your own skills/resume and luck

Every market is a good one for some job seekers and a terrible one for others.

It's very hard to have a good sense of it unless you're really close to the industry cycles(financing, hiring, etc.) - anecdotes always have an aspect of normalizing your own situation, because that's just what humans do.

new hires can be brought on for less than the mid-to-high end. plenty of demand for fresh blood that doesn't know how the industry works and can be worked hard for 5 years.

run a couple cycles of firing the seniors and hiring noobs and you can get the wages down.

what did someone in that role make 2 years before?

A lot to unpack in the comments here and I'm ready for the downvotes!

First of all the credit market is in a crunch now and has been for some time. This makes investment rounds for small to medium sized startups both more difficult yield less. That means that hiring is slowing down if not straight up stopping for these startups.

Second, there's a lot of pessimism here but I think the future is still bright. We definitely have more developers looking for work than ever before which is part of why there's such a crunch. The good news is that most of these develops are boot-campers who only got into coding because they heard somewhere they could live in a van and make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their lack of talent, is your ticket in.

Why do I throw them under the bus? Well, I think the industry has found that the truly 'talented' are actually passionate about software and didn't go into it just because Obama told them everyone needed to learn to code. We're seeing that although the market is flush with developers most of them can't code their way out of a paper bag. If it's not a basic CRUD system they're lost.

So invest in yourself and you should do well. Diversify and show your potential employer that you can wear MULTIPLE hats. Someone who can spin up a basic react app, debug a firmware project over JTAG, and train their own model with Pytorch is going to catch my eye in this market where everyone and their mother knows how to make a website and code up some JS.

Long story short - the market is tight right now. Low investor cash meets huge pool of wanting developers. Solution? Invest in yourself, diversify, stand out.

> stand out

Given what everyone in this thread has said, this is harder said than done, especially right now, when recruiters ghost, HR is drowning in applications, people are getting rejected even after good skill matches on paper, good interviews and 5+/10+ years of experience.

> this is harder said than done

Definitely. I don't mean to mislead anyone here, its not an easy path forward right now.

The combination of a reduced capital market and a swell of engineers is going to make the coming years more challenging, but the only path forward is investing in yourself and your skills.

I've just got rejected by a company despite having experience in their rather obscure niche and doing well in the interviews and got hired by another company as a generic web dev.

> stand out

I don't know, may be it's more random than we usually imagine?

Couple thoughts -

> rather obscure niche

Maybe not as obscure as you think? Also possible if it really is that obscure then they have to pay a lot for the position, which means extra scrutiny in the hiring process. I know if I'm having to pay 2x or 3x just because someone has domain expertise, they damn well better knock my socks off and demonstrate that they're not a one trick pony.

> got hired by another company as a generic web dev

Happy for you that you got hired!

Probably this was a numbers game, there's still way more web dev jobs out there than niche programming jobs, even if the market has tightened up a bit. You're still way more likely to find web dev postings than you are firmware positions, for example. That has been true for a long time and will almost certainly remain true for a long time.

1. The numbers LinkedIn show apparently track clicks, not applications.


2. My take on applying for jobs is that it's become so easy now to apply, that recruiters and companies are utterly, utterly swamped with applications. I suspect normally at most only the first 20 or 30 are examined.

3. I work as a contractor, and I'm on good terms with a number of agents. Speaking to one last week, he said his application email inbox has like 700 unread emails. It's impossible to process. Most of those emails will never be read.

4. The approach I'm now taking is to contact the good agencies I know, have a chat, explain what I do, and leave my CV with them. I think the majority (75% perhaps) of roles are filled before they are advertised.

5. A key necessity I've found is being prepared to relocate; it's often unlikely work will be where you happen to be living.

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