Main image of article Laid Off? With the Right Skills, You May Have Your Pick of Jobs

Earlier this month, Snap announced plans to lay off 20 percent of its staff. Numerous divisions suffered cuts, including the jobs responsible for drone hardware and social mapping.

However, it seems that laid-off Snap employees are in high demand. According to Business Insider, recruiters and hiring managers from Google, Netflix, and other tech giants have flooded the inboxes of former Snappers; one anonymous employee reported contacts with 30 recruiting firms about potential jobs.

“I had over 70 companies reach out in the first week, and it's definitely trailed off a little bit since the first week, but not that much honestly,” another reported. “I mean, we could go through the LinkedIn messages here, and it's still pretty ridiculous. I still have God knows how many invitations that I haven't processed.”

As other tech giants have slowed or frozen hiring, rivals have likewise attempted to snatch up top talent. According to the Financial Times, Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs are offering outsized compensation to draw technologists away from their jobs at Google and other tech companies. “The market [remains] competitive, particularly for engineers with the most sought-after skills,” executives told the paper.

Even if you don’t work for a tech giant, there’s something heartening in all of this hiring and poaching activity: no matter how turbulent the economy (or intense the fears of a potential recession), companies need technologists with the right mix of skills and experience, especially in cutting-edge arenas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.). But what should you consider before learning an in-demand skill?

Know the Path Before You Walk It

If you’ve spent any time in tech, you know which skills are “hot.” You hear lots of chatter about data science, machine learning, augmented reality (AR), and other technologies that—at least in theory—will only grow more important in coming years. Before you decide which of these to pursue, though, it always pays to do a little research: look into the related skills you’d need to learn, certifications you’d need to earn, and job opportunities.

Once you have a more tactical idea of the effort and time needed to learn a particular skill, you’ll have a better idea of whether to pursue it. But don’t plunge in before doing a full analysis.

Get Feedback

When it comes to learning new skills, you can always take classes (either online or in-person) or even study on your own. But what can really help is finding a mentor in the field who can give you advice on how and what to learn, as well as potential pitfalls to avoid. With the right advice, you can save yourself a lot of effort and heartbreak.   

Get Your Company to Pay for It

If you’re still employed at a particular company (and not in-between roles), you can ask if your manager’s willing to pay for your training, education, and certification in a new skill. Studies have shown that companies are aware of the importance of upskilling their workforces; chances are good they have budget allocated to pay for classes and other educational activities.

Do Some Independent Work

Want to show a future recruiter that you’re passionate about cutting-edge technology? Spin up some independent projects; put the results on GitHub or a personal website. That’ll potentially help you stand out in a crowded field of applicants for your next position.