Opinions Wanted: AI Impact on Junior Web Engineers & Layoffs in Big Tech Companies

Hi everyone! I’m new to this community and hoping to complete the backend engineer path and land tech jobs this year.

However, I’ve come across some articles discussing two things: one is about how the development of AI decreases the need for junior web engineers (which might affect people like us who are trying to enter the field as juniors), and the other is about the layoff news in big tech companies in the USA.

I wonder if anyone has thoughts about these two circumstances. Are you worried? Or do you think neither (or both) of these should worry us at all? And why?

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The naive optimistic person in me will say, if you’re passionate about something, you should pursue it, and job security will always be a myth.
Programming skills are sought after in every industry, and they build on so many skills used outside of tech.

So I feel you and I’m with you in feeling like everything is up in the air!

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I guess what we can do is focus on improving ourselves. Give people no reasons not to hire us. :relieved:

I worry about this, too and it is on my mind a lot. I think it is natural given the hype of the media going both directions:

  1. suggesting AI will replaced lots of Jr Dev position (and many other roles of other industries, too)
  2. suggesting that AI will just be a tool to allow us to be:
    • more creative
    • work more efficiently

That said, you’ll find a lot of #1 and #2 examples throughout the chatter strewn about the Internet and media in general.

I suggest listening to CodeNewbie podcast, as the host (Saron) tends to ask very good questions to her guests. The guests tend to be diverse, have typically made the switch to programming (either recently, or many years ago), providing a diverse point of view for the current day trending subjects, such as AI. In fact, the recent episodes talk about this.

I am one person, with a singular point of view who comes from 32 years of experience in electronics (technician for nearly 3 decades, and hardware engineer for a few years). My background is one of the only reasons that I feel confident in continuing to push forward.

However, I’m not saying don’t do it if you don’t already have an existing background or skillset that is transferable in some way or another… rather, I would make sure that you are continuing to engage with other back end engineers to see what their current experiences are. Getting advice directly from them, and some Sr Dev Engineer / SWE Managers, etc., might provide a more realistic view on what you should expect.

In my case, I am making two major paths forward: one is assuming I can’t make the lateral switch into software (entirely), and the other is to remain in hardware, but move into embedded / firmware (where programming skills are a must).
That said, I carved out both pathways with as much common course work / curriculum. So in my case Computer Science is key. lower level languages like C / C++ (imperative) for the chip-programming endeavors, plus Python (compiled, declarative) for the scripting and data processing.

So think about trying to diversify your path forward, such that you will provide a more robust education or skillset. It is more work up front, but in my case, I don’t have a degree whatsoever, and I’m entering SW at age 52+. Thankfully I have a ton of debug and problem solving skills that might help my situation going forward.

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