The breakneck pace of growth in the software industry has started to slow down in the past year. The recent market decline in software stocks means that companies are tightening their purse strings and starting to become more targeted about hiring or even laying developers off.
For those of us in the industry, we need to understand that this slowdown is not a death sentence, but a natural part of the financial cycle that is telling us which fields within software are producing value (read: thriving) and which ones are not. Being a software developer in 2022 might seem daunting, but if you know where to look, opportunities are endless.
Industries to Avoid (At Least for Now)
Snapchat, Patreon, and Twilio all cut 10 to 20 percent of their staff this year, and these large players are strong indicators for market patterns as a whole. Looking through the list of companies that have had to make cuts, you can see that companies in the communication industry have stopped producing value at their previous rate, and this is also backed up by market data. Workplace collaboration technology recently had a burst of growth with the explosion of Slack and Microsoft teams, but that growth has started to wane as well.
In addition, a general trend to look out for is that direct-to-consumer brands tend to do worse in recessionary times because they have a lot less capital to work with that will allow them to weather the storm.
So to increase your chance of landing a stable job in 2022, I would recommend staying clear of the communications industry and leaning towards companies with a component of their business that is directly B2B.
Recession-resistant Industries to Start Looking For Programming Jobs
There are many industries that are growing quickly and hiring many software engineers. According to the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) from Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), the four fastest-growing industries globally are blockchain; advanced manufacturing and robotics; artificial intelligence (AI) and big data; and agtech and new food. Additional reports looking more directly at the software industry trends also find that bioinformatics and cybersecurity are sub-industries that show huge growth potential.
6 Industries to Target for Landing a Programming Job in a Recession
- Advanced manufacturing and robotics
- Artificial intelligence and big data
- Agtech and new food
The blockchain industry is expected to grow at a rate of 62 percent per year, from now until 2030. That means nearly 50 percent more job openings with each passing year, and with a predicted market size of $65 billion by 2030, that means a lot of jobs. The blockchain industry focuses on building software that incorporates blockchain technology, a method of ensuring trust between two parties on the internet. Subcategories are cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and decentralized processing. To get started in this field, the first step would be to begin taking courses online to learn the basics of programming blockchain applications, and then look for a software internship or job. There are a few universities that offer blockchain degree programs, but they are few and far between.
Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics
The manufacturing and robotics industry is already worth $100 billion, and is expected to grow by 20 percent per year until 2026. This field is focused on using robots to solve manufacturing challenges like assembling car parts or performing other tasks normally performed by humans. The auto industry is likely to be one of the most critical applications of industrial robots thanks to significant increasing investments in robotic processes. If you want to break into the field there are Master’s programs that will teach you what you need to know from the ground up, or you can pursue a career with a company that will allow you to apply your software development experience to robotics.
Agtech and New Food
The agricultural technology (agtech) and food industry is growing at a very stable rate and the demand for engineers is likely increasing even faster as the industry shifts from manual practices to automated ones. The global agtech market is expected to grow roughly 10 percent per year, and sub industries like vertical farming are likely to increase even faster, at a rate of 26 percent year over year. The substitute meat industry is also expected to grow quickly in the next decade, providing ample opportunities for software developers. You can even view agtech software jobs on Builtin to get an idea of the volume of demand for foodtech professionals.
AI and Data Analytics
This topic needs no introduction. Artificial intelligence and big data are forecast to grow at 13 percent annually and will provide ample jobs for software professionals. To become a candidate for jobs in this field you learn a software language that is proficient at data analytics and machine learning like Python, and then become familiar with intermediate statistics and machine learning concepts.
Bioinformatics is the combination of biology and information technology. It involves storage, distribution, and analysis of biological data to support various applications in science and technology. The bioinformatics market is smaller than some of the others listed, predicted to be worth only $30 billion by 2030, but it is a fast-growing field. Though this field seems difficult to break into, a background in biology is not required.
Cybersecurity revolves around creating software systems designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. The cybersecurity industry is already very large, at $184 billion annually, and is expected to grow at a rate of 12 percent from 2022 to 2030. This is a very stable direction to take your development career, and many universities already have well-established programs for those looking to get into the field.
In the midst of economic contraction, it can be difficult to see beyond the headlines to what is really going on in any specific industry. As with everything, the closer you look the more complicated the picture is. In the software development industry, some businesses are stagnating while others are flourishing, and taking the time to research and understand the emerging trends will set you up for success.