Experts, where do you see the software engineering job market heading into 2024?

It has been a very challenging year with bloated job listing and picky employers. There are a mob of hungry applicants for any low to mid level position it seems.
Will the outlook get any better next year?

I’m considering going back into electronics at this point.

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Nice to see you back in the community @Kenmtb !

Nobody can say what the job market will be like in the future. Even daily, it changes.

Have you thought of, or are you doing, freelance work?
It is possible to list on some sites, for instance upwork.com has listings for freelance work.

Maybe, if need be, returning to electronics for a solid income, until your software engineering takes off to the next level, might work for you.

I wish you much success in your career, and future.

Don’t give up because it may be that next step away.

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Software industry is here to stay and with loads of jobs in coming decade for sure.

But you need to know latest technologies to be job relevant.

I suggest one simple task

  1. Goto all top VC firms in US e.g. Sequoia Capital and checkout jobs page on their website

Here you will find all the startups ( they have invested ) jobs and jobs description.

  1. Do this exercise for all the top 10 VC and you know how much demand is there for jobs.

atm AI / ML jobs are in pretty high demand and highest paid as well. This is just like Java developer in huge demand during 1990, I heard stories ( from India ) that anyone who could spell “J A V A” ( over telephonic interview ) could able to get H1B. LOL good old days sigh

Do checkout AI & Robotics | Tesla, if you wish get back into electronics.

All the very best.

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Hello!

Only get into software development for working in software development, not for the money or just because you want to “build things”. I hope the recent job market will weed out guys like the chap that recently showed his portfolio on LinkedIn:

  • Current bootcamp graduate
  • Calling himself “Fullstack software engineer” and “UX/UI designer”
  • Portfolio UI looked ugly and didn’t even follow basic accessibitly rules
  • All portfolio pieces are classic bootcamp apps (sic)

I know because I wasn’t far away from the guy above when I changed careers, until I realized that cobbling together some React apps doesn’t make me a developer. Until I know what happens between a user clicking a button and the database storing the information. Until I have at least a basic understanding of how to scale an app and what can go wrong when thousand users click the button.

If you really want to be a software developer, get a solid grip on the language you are using, study CS basics, invest in a clean, professional portfolio and build commercial-grade portfolio pieces worth a recruiters time.

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It’s ok to get into a career for the money - we all need money to buy the stuff we need to live

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How did you go from the bootcamp knowledge of a button click to the real-world button click code?

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There are a ton of job listings for SW. The problem is they are mobbed by applicants. Especially remote work. Local listings in upstate NY are far less numerous but still have heavy competition. The conclusion is, your best chance at an interview is to have super senior level experience with a ton of skills including “specialized” languages/software. Will the current employers market shift back to center soon or is the current market here to stay?

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Even though there is an increased number of applicants for roles especially junior ones, it still doesn’t mean everyone applying is qualified for the role.

If you see a post on linkedin that has 1500 applicants for a junior role, a good chunk of those applicants are not qualified. Since it is so easy to click apply, there will always be a high number of people that will click apply to everything even though they don’t have the skills for the job.

Yeah, I would suggest that if you are looking for your first job to look for as many local opportunities as possible.
That will increase your chances for getting a job especially at small companies

I don’t think you need to have senior level experience and knowledge to get a job in the market because there are still lots of them struggling to get a job right now too.

With this market, people are going to have to rely on other things like networking, going to meetups and online events, contributing to open source, building strong portfolio projects, having a strong linkedin, and reaching out to hiring managers and recruiters.

I think the days of getting a job really quickly.
There might be some outliers who are able to do but it will be very rare.
Expect for most to take 1-2 years of learning and applying before they land a job to be the norm.
It will probably be closer to the 1 1/2 - 2 years mark IMO.

Will the market become red hot again?
Maybe, but who knows.

If you talk to people who have been in the industry for 20+ years, they all talk about how cyclic the market is.
Even though they all agree that this is one of the worst times they have seen it, they also believe it will get better.

All you can do is focus on growing your skills, building awesome projects so you can be ready for when opportunity comes

Hope that helps!

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Great ideas, I looked into freelance and even tutoring sites. The common factors are, competition, lack of customers, fees, rating systems that favor senior members. Unfortunately mobs of people have already gone there.

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It’s been like this for years, can’t imagine why it would change now

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I don’t have the sort of expertise that makes me qualified to talk about the economy and market trends. I have, however, been in this industry for most of my adult life.

On the whole, technology-focused companies have switched from a rapid-growth model to a sustainment model. The headcount at large companies that have already had their layoff cycle will probably stay steady for a while. Startups are growing their teams slower than they were 3 years ago. This more conservative approach also means that companies are being more cautious about whom they hire. Hiring the wrong developer is extremely expensive and harms productivity more than being understaffed does.

What I am not saying is that only late-career (Senior) developers are being hired. A healthy engineering team is diverse in experience (although not evenly distributed). What it means is that there is more pressure to hire people who all members of the hiring committee have high confidence in. Their skills have to be solidly proven to be appropriate for the role and they have to demonstrate a communication and collaboration style that strengthens the existing team. When I’m on these interview comittees and it comes down to a final decision, usually we say “If it’s not a ‘hell yes’, then it’s a ‘no’.” And sometimes it’s a ‘no’ because an applicant is over qulified. Under-employed engineers don’t stick around and aren’t worth hiring.

Now let’s talk about application rates. Firstly, it doesn’t matter how many people apply - it matters how many people who are better qualified than you apply. Recruiting and interviewing is expensive, and people hate doing it. They aren’t going to interview 100 candidates just because they can. Usually we will be interviewing in batches of 2-5 at a time per open position and our hope is always to find a good fit in the first batch. If you’re new to the industry, you’ll be considered for entry-level positions. That means that you aren’t expected to have years of industry experience, but you are expected to have all of the foundational skills so that coworkers are mentoring you but not required to teach you anything.

I see this advice float around on the internet pretty often, and I hate it. There’s a weird mythos that all good developers are only good because they just love it so much. I’m in it for the money, and the fact that I get to “build things” makes it a much more satisfying way to earn money than my available alternatives.

“Senior” roles are going to people who are late in their career. Those jobs are harder to get right now than they were three years ago, but a competent and cooperative senior developer will find work.
“Mid level” roles are going to people with professional experience, but who aren’t ready for leadership responsibilities. This is the widest range of skillsets and are the largest part of an engineering team. Competent and cooperative developers in this category aren’t being promised as rapid of career growth as they were 3 years ago, but they can find work and progress their careers.
“Junior” roles are for people who are early on in their career. They have technical knowledge and usually a few years of experience as students or hobbyists. They don’t have the professional experience to be totally independent, but they don’t need baby-sitting or extensive teaching. Junior and entry-level developers are under increased pressure to show strong core competencies, appear capable of rapid growth, and demonstrate strong communication and collaboration skills.

I agree with this, and I honestly don’t think it has changed all that much in the last few years. I have seen amazing candidates who come out of a 6 month bootcamp and absolutely blow me away - but usually it takes a few years of learning for your skills to mature under real-world pressures.

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In upstate NY where I live I have seen a big reduction in “reasonable” job listings. Even considering how listings have grown lately. The jobs have become very specialized. Almost like they are trying to rehire someone. No contact from local recruiters for almost a year. Rare contact even from headhunters outside the garbage canned job matches. I have never seen things so dead.

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If you’re not into Software Development to “make money” and “build things” why exactly would you be into it? This field is not a charity, financial resources is a massive motivator for people joining this field. Every aspect of the Software Development business cycle is spurred by capitalism from consumer demand for the products, to founder equity and employee stock packages, salaries and office perks. People love to build but make no mistake we engineers love the money.

Sure there are some individuals who like to code just to code whether there is money in it or not, that’s not most of us. Now, I do agree that some noobs have seen it as a sort of ‘Get Rich’ quick scheme and actually have no interest or passion for software or computers and it will be quite obvious who those individuals are as it won’t take long to expose them.