Tech layoffs and hiring freeze hit the Rice community

Ndidi Nwosu / Drummer

Brandon Chen

11/15/22 11:46 p.m.

As layoffs and hiring freezes increase in the tech industry, computer science students and alumni are among those at Rice expressing concern about their current and future job prospects.

In recent weeks, Elon Musk cut Twitter staff in halfMeta said it was laying off 11,000 employeesAmazon announced plans to cut around 10,000 jobs and other tech companies such as Lyft and Stripe also announced layoffs.

Charles Lussier, a senior at Wiess College, said he noticed a change in the recruiting process this year.

“[Internships were] pretty much prepare yourself and invest in yourself and plan to make yourself an offer back. This [was] sort of pre-culture,” Lussier said. “This year is completely different. Internships are no longer a guarantee that you actually get a return offer.

Many companies have also laid off recent hires from the Class of 2022, cutting salaries for mid-level positions and instituting hiring freezes at all levels. Abdelrahman Abouzeid (22), a recent graduate from Rice, was one of 11,000 employees recently laid off from Meta.

“Working at Meta/Facebook has been my goal since the first year, and I only spent a few weeks [in the Engineering Bootcamp] in the company before being fired,” Abouzeid said in a post on LinkedIn. “Honestly, I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks. I’ve learned a lot, met some really smart people, and pushed the code for production.

For recent international graduates like Abouzeid, the loss of a job also impacts their ability to stay in the United States. With the F-1 visa, individuals have a grace period of 90 days of unemployment before having to leave the country.

Recent corporate hiring freezes and slowdowns are also being seen by students in the recruitment process.

“It’s very obvious,” Lussier said. “All the spots were on the [hiring] portal when we apply for things and then they keep closing. I don’t know if it’s because they fill them up faster or if they just close them, but I guess they close them in light of the economy.

Michael Wong, a sophomore at Sid Richardson College, said there had been a general increase in student concern about finding internships in the tech industry, particularly working for one. major US technology companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (FAANG).

“You definitely see a bit of panic,” Wong said. “We’re just trying to cast a wider net right now and trying to apply everywhere. I think a lot of people who get into IT specifically want to work in the industry. The mentality is, ‘FAANG, FAANG, FAANG. I have to work for one of these companies. I think at this point it might be a good idea not to aim for “Oh, I’m only going to be happy” or “I’m only going to feel fulfilled if I’m working at home. one of these companies. »

Ann McAdam Griffin, director of employer relations at the Center for Career Development, said while there has been a downturn in the technology and software industries, the overall job outlook for the Class of 2023 is still bright. very optimistic.

“The skills and competencies that a student with a computer science major develops are sought after by a wide variety of industries, not just technology,” Griffin said. “Rice students, in computer science and all majors, have options for meaningful and challenging career opportunities.”

CCD wait times for counseling appointments are currently two weeks, down from a usual week for this time of year, according to Griffin.

Griffin said CCD has seen students worry about former friends who have been affected by these layoffs and how the hiring freeze could impact their post-graduation plans. Lussier said he empathizes with those who have graduated or are graduating at the wrong time.

“I mean it’s really unfortunate because when I think of those upper class men, it’s like they did nothing wrong,” Lussier said. “They break their ass. They were very good students, and they were literally only fired because they were right at the bottom of the ladder, and they were recently added as the economy collapsed.

For some students like Wong, the current outlook raises concerns about the future.

“I think in one or two years it’s going to be a bit difficult because I think my comrades [and I] are going to be in a situation where we are competing for an increasingly scarce number of opportunities,” Wong said. “It’s kind of a sobering moment. Obviously, I like IT. But I would also like to make a living.

Tyra Cole, a senior at Will Rice College, expressed her frustration at the idea of ​​pursuing her studies in computer science.

“Eventually, when I recently graduate, I will be the last to be hired and the first to be fired,” Cole said. “It’s a bit upsetting because I decided to study computer science because of job security, but now it’s not a safe job.”

Some foresee a change in the number of students majoring in computer science.

“I think it’s going to be pretty obvious in the next few years that COMP isn’t going to be as in demand, and I think the major is going to drop significantly,” Lussier said. “More people are going to move into government roles with software engineering, as well as research simply because it’s generally more stable.”

Griffin said CCD is still available to students alongside a myriad of resources on Handshake.

“We advise students not to be alarmed by ebbs and flows in certain industries because the market for early-career talent is strong,” Griffin said. “Keep building your network and come see CCD. It’s a demanding time of the semester, but we’re open and seeing students for in-person and virtual appointments throughout the winter break.

Although recent shifts in the job market are out of control, Lussier said he believes Rice students are capable of pulling through.

“I would warn all younger generations, as well as the senior class, to be ready to get fired,” Lussier said. “I think it will happen to most of us, but we shouldn’t worry because at the end of the day we can get up… It will be more difficult than before, but not impossible.”

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