Covid19 and the junior job market

Apologies if this is a repost, It’s my first time posting on here.

I wanted to open up a discussion about the junior/entry level job market and Covid19.

Has anyone had much luck recently in getting their first position in the industry?
I have noticed a real shift in the past few months since lockdowns began in the seniority levels of roles advertised as well as the requirements needed for roles, it seems almost at the point where junior roles have all but vanished and mid level roles have become more scarce. The few that remain seem to have really upped the requirements, or are senior roles and any junior roles that do pop up are receiving insane amounts of applications. I spoke to a recruiter that received over 2000 applications for one position. I’m pretty proactive in looking for work, applying positions that don’t even mention junior, contacting companies directly, or talking to recruiters rather than just firing out applications but even that recently seems to be leading to dead ends with no replies.

It would be great to hear any experiences others have had recently, I’m a pretty positive person so keep going, but damn it’s tough out there at the moment. I won’t go into my background/skills much as I don’t want this to be about me personally but any advice or personal experiences would be great.

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My guess is that there are several things contributing to this.

  1. The normal ebb and flow of job listings. Many companies fill their “junior”/“entry level” jobs in late spring with recent college graduates. It takes a while for more positions to open up.
  2. The economy sucks. Hiring new developers is a big investment of time and money. Some companies may be on a hiring freeze or even laying people off.
  3. Increase in experienced applicants. As many people have lost their jobs at companies that weren’t prepared to shift to WFH or have experienced loss in profit, there are more people competing for jobs and they have more experience on average.
  4. Safety. Many employers are reducing the number of people that they have on-site and trying to reduce activities that involve physical proximity. Job interviews and hiring processes often involve physical proximity. New (especially junior) employees usually have to work in the office even if the company has a flexible WFH policy. New hires (especially junior) require a lot of mentoring, training, physical interaction, etc.
  5. Jobs like HR and recruiting are often some of the first to get the axe when a company is struggling and starts laying people off.

Great info there. A few thing that I suspected but a fair few that I didn’t think of.

I think what might be a better use of time in the current situation is to spend less time spending hours preparing applications, finding a position and investing more time in improving skills and personal experience. While not a waste of time applying It seems like it’s going to take a hell of a lot of luck, or an extremely impressive application to get much traction going.

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From a manager’s point of view, it is more difficult to hire a junior candidate when everything is remote because there is a significant amount of mentoring and face-to-face time that happens under normal circumstances.

When I’ve hired junior devs in the past, I assume they’ll need some direct guidance for at least a month before they can run on their own, then they’ll need another month or two in addition before they are productive.

Teams that have been working remotely even before covid arrived probably are less impacted by this since they have procedures in place to onboard new people. However, most teams/companies are not set up this way (yet?).

In addition to the above, this is another big factor in why managers/teams/companies are less likely to hire a less experienced developer.


I’d like to piggyback onto this question. I’ve recently been laid off and thankfully have the resources and time to go all in on coding. My objective is to eventually land a role much like the individual that started this topic.
Opinions welcome: Should I maintain course and continue to learn as much a possible. While all hiring has slowed down during Covid, tech is still the area with the largest increases in hiring/employment in general. Wondering if I should supplement my coding with some Cloud certification and or cybersecurity which are areas that continue to see job growth.

There are probably other similar questions (and answers) posted on the forum. Search around for them and see if that doesn’t help.

If not, I recommend asking a separate question :slight_smile:

My short answer: Figure out what job (or job types) you’re aiming for first, then decide if that certification is worth it. I’ve worked at Amazon, Groupon, and two smaller companies, and have zero certifications. I have also never cared much about certifications when hiring someone. Tech changes too much for it to be useful outside of contract work, in my opinion. Especially at bigger companies, you hire for long term, not project/technology specific work.