COVID-19’s Opportunity to Redefine Your Career

By Leroy Ware-- co-founder and CEO of is a job-finding app for engineers and highly specialized candidates.

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A recent “LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index” found 55 percent of respondents believe their industry can function effectively with remote workforces. Within digital-based fields like software, media, and finance, the optimism is higher, with around 75 percent noting remote work situations could result in smooth and efficient operations. For engineers and developers, working from home provides opportunity and challenges.

Working from home is here to stay. It provides workers with greater flexibility to manage their personal and work lives, and results in considerable cost savings for employers. In the engineering and developer space, there’s considerable opportunity, however COVID-19 makes it harder for recruiters and hiring managers to fill jobs. It’s a specialized pool of candidates and recruiting this group is not well served with traditional recruiting approaches like messaging within LinkedIn or posting on Indeed. It also presents challenges for tech workers, who are worrying about working from home’s implications on their career advancements.

Opportunities for Change

Engineers and developers can use COVID-19 as a time to reflect on their career paths. It’s a transformative time, with the nature of work changing, companies shifting their business models, and societal shifts happening all at the same time. It’s an ideal opportunity to reevaluate what types of projects a developer is working on, the teams they collaborate with, and where they see themselves in the future.

The early stages of the pandemic saw a significant jump in cybersecurity positions, along with the need for systems engineers. However, as companies cut back on new projects due to COVID-19’s impacts, this slowed the demand for front-end developers. Firms put resources towards their current infrastructure and offerings instead of launching new initiatives as a cost-savings tactic. As the pandemic fades and the economy roars back, demand for specific skills will again shift forward towards new research and development as firms focus to new ways of connecting to customers and growth. 

As technical folks begin to search for new opportunities they’re consistently stymied by the dreadful job search process. Engineers and developers currently struggle with several questions and roadblocks:

  • How do they game applicant tracking systems to put their resume at the top? Should they alter their resumes to a skill focus or chronological order?
  • Do they really need to reconnect with old coworkers? What’s the best way to put feelers out for new opportunities? Are recruiters reaching out through cold calling really looking for specialized candidates or are they fishing for maximum reach?
  • If they have practical knowledge in multiple languages but really specialize in one or two, how can they streamline their job search process to receive more relevant postings and recruiter outreach that makes sense for their specific skills?

Recruiting the Right People and Right Skills

A persistent challenge for developer and engineer recruiting is the complexity of the candidates’ skill sets. Recruiters might not understand the intricacies of each different programming language, and with good reason. They aren’t developers, their job function is simply to find a good candidate who is within the salary range and will become a sound cultural fit for the hiring firm. But their lack of knowledge about the various languages creates a disconnect and annoyance between their efforts and potential employee candidates. Looking at this list of the current top 10 programming languages underscores the confusion about how a developer’s skills can or cannot translate from one language/expertise to another.

Recruiters turn to “resume engine optimization” (REO) tools to spot keywords and narrow down applicant pools, but this is an imperfect exercise. They struggle finding the right skill sets – or simply don’t know enough about the languages and their purposes – and instead often end up with candidates from big-name companies that seem like they have the right experience, but may not be the best fit.

When an engineer that specializes in .NET receives recruiting emails that are searching for PHP, Java, or full-stack Javascript development engineers, there’s wasted time on both sides of the equation. The recruiter spends time emailing and calling an engineer about a role they cannot or do not want to pursue, and the engineer’s hopes of finding a perfect new role diminishes.

Improving the job search process means using more accurate job search and recruitment tools instead using big job boards and wasting time with recruiters who are selling positions you’re not interested in. New platforms like use AI functions as recruiting assistants that intelligently match a candidate’s skills with the ideal job opportunities. Jobseekers simply provide their resume and some professional details, and the platform builds a personalized and dynamic job feed, allowing them to quickly apply and setup interviews.

Technology improvements cut out the inefficiencies of the traditional recruiter model and outdated applicant tracking systems by offering instant candidate recommendations and automation for multiple parts of the hiring process. All the stakeholders in post-COVID-19 tech hiring need improved methods for job searching and candidate recruitment, especially as more candidates will choose jobs based on personal preferences like working from home. Modern ATS platforms need to integrate features like machine learning, search indexing, and text mining to greatly improve the accuracy of searches and bring automation and greater satisfaction to a labor-intensive outdated process.

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