The technology was taken a big hit in 2022. According to Layoffs.fyi, 424 tech companies laid off 120,253 employees in the first two months of 2023. But it may not be as bad as it seems. “This kind of realignment happens regularly, and often companies take advantage of the opportunity to do it under the cover of an economic downturn,” explains Rachel Below, co-founder of Bonfire, a talent accelerator for the rising generation of women in the workplace.
“If we look at the number of hires and layoffs over the past 24 months, we see that companies like Meta, Salesforce, Microsoft and others have hired far more employees than they’ve fired, sometimes by a factor of 10.” But according to LinkedIn’s February workforce report, the industries with the biggest declines since last spring are technology, information and media (down 41 percent). To remain competitive in these fields, applicants must maintain their technical skills.
Whether you want to stay relevant in your current role, survive a company reorganization, or take on a new role, continuing to grow intellectually and emotionally will benefit your career. We asked professional experts and tech veterans to weigh in on the skills needed to succeed in tech in 2023; as it turns out, some of them are not very technological at all.
“As the world—and the way we work—has changed forever, the way we define terms like management, communication and leadership must keep up with the times, because many of the ways we used to apply before COVID-19 have become obsolete ,” says workplace happiness expert Jen Lim, CEO of Delivering Happiness and best-selling author Beyond happiness. “It’s time to remind ourselves that we can be wise how we choose to grow, develop and retrain, and if we become better at something that automation will never replace – being human – then chances are we’ll stay are relevant and evaluated will always be there.”
LinkedIn’s 2023 Most In-Demand Skills Report is a good starting point to assess your experience and where you may need to improve your skills, but it goes beyond that. “Companies aren’t just looking for software developers; they’re also looking for developers who can combine their expertise in finance, sales, operations and cloud computing,” says Lim. “Companies are looking for people with a variety of skills.
Twenty years ago people were told to be specialists, but these days it is risky when skills can become redundant or automated. “To succeed in tech in 2023, talent will need to have a T-shaped skill set,” says Daniel Boris, CEO and founder of Sandbox, an HR technology company dedicated to attracting and motivating talent. “People need to have a breadth of knowledge in their disciplines and a depth of knowledge in one area, which makes them more valuable to organizations, especially those that are constantly adapting their workforce,” Boris explains.
Today’s job market is constantly evolving, and many employers have shifted to a skills-first mindset when hiring. “Weighing a candidate’s skills as much as a degree or previous experience levels the playing field for millions of people,” explains Andrew McCaskill, LinkedIn career expert and creator of The Black Guy in Marketing newsletter. McCaskill suggests thinking of your skill set as your “car ‘era toolkit’, highlighting the skills you already have and making a list to build the ones you don’t. “A skills-first strategy can give you the confidence to navigate the job market, especially during turbulent times.” , he says.
Like LinkedIn, Upwork released its list of the most in-demand skills for 2023 and data showing that 60 million Americans (39 percent of the US workforce) did at least some freelance work in the past 12 months. Success for freelancers also means having a complete set of tools. “I’ve developed most of my technical skills through self-learning, through sites like the Microsoft 365 YouTube channel, and through trial and error,” says Ryan Clark, Upwork freelancer and founder of Mr. SharePoint. “The more high-quality skills I have, the more marketable I become, so I constantly stay motivated to learn and be on the cutting edge of technology.”