On work and layoffs

I took a risk last year and pivoted from Development to DevOps work. I’ve always been fascinated by automation so when I saw an opening for a DevOps role at a startup last year, I jumped on it and applied. I did well in the interview and got the job, to my surprise because I didn’t have any Ops experience.

Over the year, I learned a lot about software architecture, Operating Systems, cybersecurity, networking and virtualisation. The kind of skills I need to be successful in DevOps. Everything was going well until a couple of months ago when I got laid off.

This was my first lay-off and I felt a lot of emotions. I was upset and disappointed and for a while, I felt small because I thought I wasn’t good enough. I felt anxious. I worried about how I would take care of my family. I worried about how this would look on my CV and it made me anxious about how I would get back to work. I felt a lot of things. I allowed myself to feel these things so that I could move on. I had to remind myself every day for some days that this wasn’t a reflection on me, the layoff happened because of reasons beyond my control.

I knew that joining a startup, especially in this climate was a risk but it was the best way I could get hands-on Ops experience. I’m obviously not happy about being out of work but I don’t regret taking that risk because of what I took away from my time at the Migus Group.

Now that I’m looking for work again, I have to make a decision on what sort of roles I apply for. I have more development experience than I do with Operations so I have to decide whether I go after development roles or DevOps positions. I’m still new to DevOps and I’d like to continue down this path but it might not be possible considering my experience, the current job market and my location. I’ll take another risk this year and focus primarily on improving my DevOps skills.

It’s no secret that the job market cooled off post-COVID. Some companies have started implementing return-to-office policies and when it comes to hiring, many companies either have hiring freezes or are actively laying off. The companies that are actively hiring are looking mostly for senior-level engineers with 5-7+ years of experience and there are a lot of those on the market so the competition is tight. I don’t have as much experience as most job openings require and my location puts me at a disadvantage because I’m limited to remote work. It is clear that getting a job won’t be easy.

I’m not saying this for sympathy or to rant. I’m merely pointing out the reality of my situation. I know what I need to do. I need to buckle down, put my nose to the grindstone, and improve my skills and the value I’ll bring to the next company I join. This will involve building projects, taking courses, covering gaps in my knowledge, attending more industry events and networking harder than I’ve done before. In the end, I’ll come out better because of it.