What now? A software developer’s guide to surviving the recession

This is a scary time for everyone, but also a moment that could define your career if you prepare for change

Not to be the doomsayer, but unemployment filings are way up and those are just the official numbers, which are weeks old when they’re new. Estimates put actual unemployment around 13 percent, the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. In short, we’re in a recession.

This time the recession wasn’t caused by deregulation of the financial sector allowing consumer deposits to be invested in high-risk, shady investments like the crashes in 2008 and 1987. Instead, it was caused by a virus. To be clear a recession is a significant contraction of economic activity. Well, you’re sitting at home. You’re not going out. You’re not buying as much. Same with everyone else—that is a recession. We’re in one. We don’t have to wait for the data.

If you’re young, then you might not have ever really lived through a recession as an adult. If you’re under 40, you might think the 2008 recession was “the big one”—and it was—just not so big for tech. If you’ve got a few more grays, then you remember the 2000 recession and maybe the early 1990s. Those were bad for tech.

What is a recession like?

The 2008 slump was bad if you were starting your career or running a business, but if you had a job you just stuck with it. If you were looking for a job and you had experience, the search took longer and you might have had to take something that was less than ideal.

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