strategy for recession

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June 6, 2022, 6:04 p.m.
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wellpaidgeek@gmail.com

I don't want be a 'doomer' as many call them, but things aren't looking good.

All across the western world, from the UK to the USA the economic situation is looking worse by the day. Supply chain issues. Inflation. Crypto down. The stock market down. Talk of a recession on the rise.

Tough times may be ahead, but they always end eventually. "This too shall pass" they say. The question is, what is the safest thing to do to make it through the tough times? Which types of jobs are safest, most recession proof?

I've only lived through one recession so far (managed to keep my job in that one), so I'm hardly an expert, but here are my views of what kind of jobs and skills are your best option for weathering the storm.

My ideal recession proof job for a dev would be working on a mature (ie been in production / live a while) software project which generates a large (and profitable) revenue stream which is vital to the company. The tech team that runs this would preferably be small.

Most projects like this will be hard to maintain legacy codebases, which is the very opposite of what most devs dream to work on. But we are talking about job security, not dreams at the moment.

Here is my reasoning:

Existing project: A recession is a period of negative growth. Negative growth comes from people / companies spending slightly less money. This is not a good time to be working on a newly commissioned project as companies are less likely to want to increase budgets to include new projects.

Legacy codebase: Existing devs on legacy codebases are less fungible than devs on newer codebases. There's great value on knowing your way around an old codebase.

Small team: Simple, there's less fat to trim on a small team than a large team.

Large, profitable revenue stream: Existing large revenue streams are the goose that lays the golden eggs for companies. No one wants to make cuts to these, as no one wants to risk an existing revenue stream. Plus, they already pay for themselves. You are a profit not a cost centre working on these.

My current job actually ticks all of these boxes, but the only trouble is I'm a contractor. I was aiming to get a new (permanent) job but the end of the year, but I may need to speed that up.

Given the above, one type of job I'm avoiding like the plague: startups. There are so many exciting web3 startups popping up all over the place that look very tempting, but during a recession it just becomes too likely that the next round of funding just never comes in... like I said recessions are bad for money being spent on new projects which don't make money yet.

If I could sum it up quickly it would be: play it safe and boring.

What about which tech stack to learn? Well anything needed for the types of projects I described, really.

But I'm going to recommend JavaScript (of course!). I do have a good reason though: JavaScript is versatile and it's everywhere. Pretty much any company that hires devs needs JavaScript devs, because most software has a web based front end somewhere along the line, and to make the work you'll need JavaScript. Contrast this to say .net... It's well used, but won't get you a job somewhere where Java is used on the backend.

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