We have all seen the headlines. Companies are laying off workers, and some are even rescinding offers. Numerous reports of organizations "tightening their belts" via hiring freezes and smaller teams. If you are trying to break into the tech industry it can be disheartening and downright scary. It has given me uncomfortable flashbacks to the economic crisis of 2008 when I was a fresh-faced law graduate seeking work. People were taking MASSIVE hits to their investment portfolios and retirement accounts. Positions dried up. The competition got even stiffer as laid-off experienced workers were more in demand. Sound familiar?
I was doing my best to stay positive and keep working hard, but I won't pretend I am immune to some of the doom and gloom reporting. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the Codeland 22 Conference and Kelsey Hightower was speaking. He used a phrase I've often heard when it came to music, the arts, and even sports; "perfect your craft." I never thought of being a software engineer as a craft, but it made perfect sense. You must constantly improve if you want to be good, much less great at anything. You have to go deeper, learn more, and practice BEING great. I don't know if it was Kelsey's purpose, but it definitely lifted the clouds of doubt that had begun to settle over my tech journey. It renewed my commitment. So what if things looked dour? Why should I let a changing landscape keep me from being the best engineer I could be? Did I want to be a software engineer or not?
So I decided on a different approach. Sports fans know about the offseason. It's the time athletes use to rest their bodies from a busy and often physically brutal season. They also use it as a time to get better. They get stronger, smarter, and faster. They shoot in the gym constantly, they run route after route, watch countless hours of game film, and hit pitch after pitch so that when the new season arrives, they are even greater.
So I challenge myself and all of you who may be feeling a bit down about the tech industry to use this time as the offseason. Get better, stronger, faster. Code every day. Buy that whiteboard. Do those data and algorithm questions. Take proper breaks to rest, but don't quit. Start on Leetcode. Build, break and refine projects again and again.
My father passed away a couple of years ago, and he had a saying that has stuck with me whenever I feel low. "You can't have a valley without a peak on each side." So if you feel like you are in a valley? Take a moment to reflect on just how much you have already learned and push yourself to be even greater; so that when the peak season arrives? You will be ready to fly. You will be unstoppable and undeniable. Never forget YOU GOT THIS!!!