The job market is as much an intangible as anything else in the technology industry in 2023.
To get insights on this, we recently visited with Ian Stendera, VP of Product at Ardoq, who shared his thoughts.
Question: Despite the headlines, does the balance still favor tech professionals overall? Does demand for skills remain strong?
Answer: While the headlines are daunting for tech professionals, there are still plenty of great opportunities out there. I think we will see a consolidation of talent, but companies that have a value proposition that meets the new dynamics of the market will still see growth and the best talent (who are often the first to voluntarily leave other companies), and from there will find a path forward. I think there may be some new norms on the perks they can expect, but overall still competitive compensation.
Q: What types of technology skills are now the most critical to employers, especially in a rocky economy?
A: There will be a major shift towards operational excellence and cost savings. We often associate that in our industry (enterprise architecture) with reduction of IT spend, and while this may sound like “do less,” I believe we will actually see many looking to do more, especially in the form of automation and digital transformation. This will range from the truly progressive, like implementing AI, or simple digital optimization by automating low-value repetitive workflows. In both cases, tech professionals have much to offer.
Q: What types of companies have and will continue to have the strongest demand?
A: In SaaS and technology we will see a shift in messaging in the direction of time savings and automation, and those that produce a convincing story around those points will win, and those who don’t will struggle. Otherwise, agnostic to industry, those that have control of their business, the right culture, and a true understanding of their key people will be those that can pivot to meet their new market needs.
Q: What initiatives or actions should technology professionals take to demonstrate their value to their businesses and keep advancing in their careers?
A: We work often with professionals that are asking this question regardless of the market dynamics and our advice is very clear: understand the needs of your business, your strategy, and never stop working on the soft skills. These skills will help technology professionals communicate how they add value to the business and increase the likelihood of successfully realizing that strategy. Be outcome driven and you will transform IT from back-office support to a business driver.
Q: Should professionals consider entrepreneurial opportunities?
A: Absolutely, but in this market, capital will be challenging to capture. Make sure that if you are to start an adventure, you clearly understand how to position your value prop in this market, how to control your metrics, and ideally, how to monetize early to help fund your product market fit phase.
Q: Please provide any advice for launching or joining a startup.
A: Personally, I would look to join over starting simply due to the challenges in raising capital. If a company is in the startup phase, or scaleup and they have the war chest and strategy to hire, they are in a unique position and one which will attract the best talent and actually de-risk the endeavor. With challenging markets, only the strong prevail, meaning your likelihood of joining a flop is lower, still high risk, but lower compared to even just a year ago.