Layoffs are in the news again – Career Weekly vol. 18

It seemed that after a nervous autumn and a slightly calmer end to the year, the situation in the IT industry was under control. Unfortunately, redundancies continue to shake the market.

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1. Salesforce scramble and the largest layoffs in Amazon’s history

The list of companies that have decided to significantly reduce their teams begins with Salesforce. Black clouds have gathered over the authors of popular CRM systems and tools automatising various of business areas. Firstly, the decision to lay off 10 per cent of the workforce, when there are more than 70,000 employees on board, marks a real exodus. Secondly, the farewells are taking place in a really poor atmosphere. 

According to US media reports, the mood at Salesforce dropped dramatically after an all-hands meeting attended by the company’s CEO. It took place the day after the layoffs were announced. Everyone expected Marc Benioff to address the recent decisions, but instead… he successfully dodged questions on the subject for two hours. I can only imagine the irritation of the participants. That’s not all. After the meeting, Marc wrote an email to his entire company, referring to his beloved, Hawaiian ‘Ohana’ philosophy. Once again, he compared the company to a family, where bonds are strengthened through mutual responsibility. He also admitted that too many people had been hired during the pandemic so he feels responsible for that. OMG. 

Fortunately, there are still managers at Salesforce who have distance from such statements. Reportedly, even one executive apologised for the all-hands meeting and suggested not to watch the recording. It could have been a public relations man…

From San Francisco we move to Seattle, because things are also hot at Amazon. As you already know from Career Weekly, the plan there was to say goodbye to 10,000 employees. However, the count did not stop after the first announcements, and in December the accountants kept counting the company’s expenses. It now appears that a total of around 18,000 people will be laid off. These are the largest redundancies in the history of Amazon, after which the corporate workforce will shrink by 6%. From a software perspective – the job cuts will not extend to AWS, but primarily to retail and HR teams.

A slightly smaller wave of redundancies can also be seen at Cisco (around 4,000 people) and HP (4,000-6,000 people over the next three years). “Rest assured, you will always be able to go to work at McDonald’s” – write the internet sages. But we here read the CEO announcements in depth and know that even there we can expect redundancies in April. Gosh!


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2. What is the difference between clever developers and wise developers?

When I found a text with the above question in the title, I was very intrigued! The content absolutely did not disappoint me. Ben “The Hosk” Hosking did an excellent job of explaining the differences between a junior and a senior, and he didn’t focus on knowledge of programming languages at all… but just the specific mindset that comes with programmers depending on their level of experience.

Credits: Taranasus

What is it about? First and foremost, it is better to avoid problems, than to seek them out. This would seem to be obvious in every industry despite ours. Meanwhile, precise priorities and assertiveness are the things that we admire in senior colleagues. A junior, like a junior, will look for any opportunity to code. A senior is a little more reserved, which leads to a very clear distinction:

  • Junior developers take simple requirements and create complex code 
  • Senior developers take complex requirements and create simple code

Besides, Ben Hosking points out that clever programmers have to make a lot of mistakes to wise smart. Programming is one of the most experiential disciplines. Perhaps even more so than learning to walk or ride a bike. However, the same rule applies here – bruising your colleagues will not teach you to keep your balance.

Seniors respect their time. They know that when you are doing someone else’s work, you are not doing your own. They are able to adapt to the situation instead of fighting with everyone around them. The difference between a clever person and a wise person is really not worth worrying about – with these words Ben’s column ends, and I once again recommend the text to you. It made me realise a great deal and, although I am not a programmer, I took a lot of inspiration from it.


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3. Don’t forget to train your memory

In the No Fluff Jobs report on programmers in Central and Eastern Europe, I read that as many as 57% of respondents do sport after work. Most often this time is spent at the gym (50% of responses), cycling (45%) or running (35%). This is great information, especially as sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time is not good for our health. Going further – excessive Googling or paging through StackOverflow is not good for our memory. So how do we train our grey cells?

I found one of the more interesting ideas on a blog hosted by Rich Steinmetz, Software Engineer. According to him, memory techniques are a great support for everyday work. He himself started his training in 2011. Today, he says, he has no problem remembering 100+ things at once, memorising a deck of cards in a matter of minutes or boosting his own IQ test results.

Credits: DaMusicGamer

You’ll ask, how the heck is this going to be useful to you at work? Rich cites several situations in which he uses his trained memory. This one mainly comes in handy when reading long texts or books about programming, watching conferences or webinars, and building automation. 

Apparently, it only takes a few weeks to master a chosen technique, such as the mnemonic peg system or the mnemonic major system – both are based on visualisation and even if you don’t use them later at work, at least you won’t be creating a shopping list before every trip to the supermarket. And you won’t forget a loved one’s birthday. And to use the Vived app more often.