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Laid Off? 5 Reasons Now is the Perfect Time to Learn to Code

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    Ben Goldstein

Getting laid off can be an ego crusher. Learning to code can help you feel more confident in yourself during a challenging time.


Learning to Code can help you take back some control after a lay off.

If you’re one of the unlucky 137,000+ people who have been laid off this year, you’re probably asking yourself a bunch of questions. Things like:

  • What next?
  • Who is even hiring?
  • Should I change careers?
  • How can I stand out in a more competitive hiring market?
  • How do I fill my day without a full time job?

All of these are totally normal questions following a layoff, which is a major life event and can be quite scary and difficult to navigate. However, I’d like to suggest you consider adding another question to your post-layoff list: Should I Learn to Code?

And I’d also like to answer my own rhetorical question with an emphatic Yes You Should!

Here are five reasons why now is a great time to learn to code.

1. Increase your Employability and Future Job Prospects (duh)

If you’re considering learning to code, this is probably already top of mind for you. Learning technical skills is an excellent way to improve your odds of getting a new job in a tough market. But that doesn’t just mean transitioning into a software engineering role. Learning to code is a skill that can make you more employable in nearly any role or industry. Let’s take a look:

Sales? Knowing just a bit of code can greatly help you better connect with prospects if you’re selling any kind of technology prospect. As a Head of Product/Engineering, I’d get tons of inbound from Sales Reps looking to sell me products they clearly didn’t understand. You’d be surprised how far a little bit of technical knowledge goes in terms of building trust with technical prospects.

Recruiting? There’s an old joke about technical recruiters always mixing up Java and Javascript (two very, very different programming languages with misleadingly similar names). I think the best technical recruiters have a deeper understanding of how software gets made. If you’re going into interviews for a recruiting role, being able to speak a bit to the actual technology you’ll be hiring people to use and build can be a killer differentiator in interviews.

Of course, if you’re looking to transition into Software Engineering, learning to code isn’t just helpful, it’s mandatory!

2. Looking for work, especially right now, sucks. Learning to code gives you back some agency.

Let’s face it, the job search is often a long, daunting, and somewhat boring process that is nearly completely out of your control. You lob out 100s of applications, never knowing if you’ll hear back. You crush your final round interview only to hear that the position’s already been filled. There are just so many things outside of your control while you’re applying.

This is where learning to code can help you with the mental game of job applications. By learning something new, you’re giving yourself back some agency and control in a world that feels increasingly off the rails. Seize your own destiny!

3. It’s a little messed up, but maybe you miss the daily schedule (and stress) of work and problem-solving.

Maybe you’re not quite ready to hop back into the job market, but you notice that the apartment is getting WAY TOO clean, and your significant other is sick of hearing you talk about Twitter and FTX. You need something to do! Learning to code is a great way to occupy your mind and scratch your problem-solving itch.

4. Getting Laid off can be an ego crusher. Learning to code can help you feel more confident in yourself during a challenging time.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as fixing a bug in code. After minutes, hours, or days of searching and bashing your head against the keyboard, the solution comes to you — maybe in a dream, maybe in a lucky Stack Overflow post. You hit enter, and voila!, you have solved the problem. You are the greatest coder in the history of the world. You’re probably the smartest person that’s ever lived. Elon Musk will be calling you for advice on how to fix Twitter any moment.

I kid, but only sort of. If you’re feeling a bit down after a layoff, learning to code is filled with many AHA! moments that will make you feel great.

5. Sometimes, it just feels good to make something.

Learning to code gives you the opportunity to do something constructive — building websites, apps, scripts, whatever. You don’t have to build the next Google to be able to take pride in what you’ve both learnt and built.

If you’re considering learning to code, I encourage you to take the plunge and start learning! We’re here to help however we can. But don’t forget — learning to code allows you to help yourself, which is priceless in these turbulent times.

Not sure you're up for learning to code? Check out our free aptitude quiz here. And if you've already started learning, be sure to read our post on the value of Blackboxes.