The news may worry many job-seekers: the rise of AI, two banks collapsing in Silicon Valley, tech layoffs. Do these shifts signal that the tech industry is in a state of crisis? And should you be worried if you're just starting your career in tech?
Let’s take a closer look at the recent developments in tech. Spoiler alert: there’s no need to worry.
Concern: top tech companies going through significant layoffs
Over the last months, the global tech industry witnessed a wave of job losses affecting tens of thousands of professionals at major players such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta. In addition, startups from various sectors, including cryptocurrency and enterprise SaaS, have also announced significant cuts.
Nearly 20% of the 170,000 layoffs at tech companies this year were software engineers, even though they make up about 14% of the workforce at these companies. You can learn more about the underlying causes of large-scale layoffs in this article.
So is it a bad time to start a career in software engineering?
Absolutely not. Software engineers and other technical professionals are still in high demand. In fact, one of the most recent reports highlights that while employment at tech companies slightly declined in March, technical occupations across industries increased by nearly 200,000 jobs. This suggests that when tech companies lay off workers, other industries are quick to capitalize on their skills.
This trend is encouraging tech professionals to explore diverse opportunities beyond Silicon Valley. Graduates are now considering roles in industrial companies, illustrating a shift in focus away from traditional tech-centric positions. In other words, there's still plenty of opportunity for software engineers to thrive in the job market.
Concern: Artificial intelligence (AI) will take over
The hype surrounding artificial intelligence is, to some extent, justified. This technological breakthrough has the potential to be a game-changer for various industries.
However, there is some skepticism about AI applications, which is justifiable. The main reason for doubt is that AI has been known to falter and provide incorrect or useless feedback. While there are certainly supporters and detractors of AI, its power has become undeniable in tech, where it’s used to co-pilot code writing, check applicant resumes, create content, and even help people land jobs.
Is it worth studying software engineering and AI?
Absolutely, yes. Although there are concerns that more efficient AI tools could lead to fewer workers or part-time employment, it's also possible that AI will create new opportunities and improve the quality of work.
The current research strategy behind the development of ChatGPT is believed to be reaching its limits, leaving future advances uncertain. This means that the world needs lots of new researchers in the field of AI with fresh ideas.
Concern: AI development will pause
Prominent figures in the AI industry are raising concerns about their own innovations, with over 1,100 signers calling for a halt to the development of cutting-edge AI in an open letter. The letter, published by the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to mitigating existential risks, demands that all AI labs suspend training powerful AI systems for at least six months. The letter even urges governments to intervene if necessary.
Signatories include influential figures such as Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and AI pioneers Yoshua Bengio, Stuart Russell, and Victoria Krakovna. They warn that society may not be prepared for these advanced systems.
One response to this criticism to the rapid rise of AI technology has been a fear that coercive measures would be used to limit the development of AI. This would leave many specialists in the industry jobless.
Is it worth studying data science in this light?
Skepticism about the intentions of the signers is understandable, as some are actively involved in creating the very AI models they are warning against. For example, Emad Mostaque, CEO of Stability AI, released the text-to-image model Stable Diffusion last year. Also, Elon Musk is reportedly planning to launch an AI company to compete with OpenAI and is in talks with potential investors and AI researchers.
All of this means that the market is going to get more competitive and undergo growth. And big companies will be ready to pay a lot for specialists who can help them develop top-notch AI. These specialists are, first of all, data scientists. Therefore, yes, it is a good time to study data science.
Concern: banks collapsing
In early March, regulators took over the failed Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), and shortly thereafter, Signature Bank also closed. The government quickly stepped in to protect bank deposits and help other banks access cash. You can find more on this alarming incident here.
The important point here is that the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) served as the primary financial institution for tech startups, accepting deposits and providing loans. That’s why tech took the news so seriously.
Is it worth looking into the fintech sector after the bank disruption?
The overall impact of SVB's collapse should be relatively limited. The banking sector remains generally healthy, the economy is thriving, and the collapse was not due to poor loan quality, but rather suboptimal investment decisions and inadequate risk oversight.
In the wake of bank run crises, risk tech may prove to be a valuable opportunity to prevent future occurrences. Companies that will make innovative fintech decisions will need to hire a lot of software engineers, QA engineers, and BI analysts.
So, in short, don’t worry. Now's a great time to start learning tech and join the industry. While technologies and the economic situation transform, deep knowledge and hard skills will always stay in-demand. In fact, TripleTen can give you that knowledge and those skills.