The current economic downturn has certainly not been easy for many, especially students who’ve recently graduated and are just beginning to explore their career paths. These turbulent times can surely pose as challenging for employment, however not deemed impossible to overcome.
In a recent virtual talk at Asia Pacific University (APU) held on Thursday 2nd July 2020, Naaman Lee, COO of JurisTech, was invited to address the job outlook for software engineers in the current economy. The talk was moderated by Mark Darren Savuriar – Career Services Lead APU, along with an audience of more than 60 software engineering students in their final year.
Naaman begins by sharing an overview of the current economy status for both companies and employment in Malaysia based on findings from the Department of Statistics Malaysia between the period of 10th April and 1st May 2020. He mentions how 67.8% of businesses have not been generating any sales/revenue during the Movement Control Order (MCO). 68.9% of businesses resort to using their savings as the main source to accommodate their operating cost and working capital.
Projections also have estimated that 42.5% of businesses require over 6 months to recover, whereas 1.9% will be unable to recover and are expected to close.
With regards to the employment status, Naaman shows how the unemployment rate in Malaysia has spiked up to 5.0% as of April 2020, the highest growth rate since the economic crisis back in 1986, according to Labour Force Statistics in Malaysia.
Despite many businesses phasing into frugality, Naaman reassures the students how JurisTech is still on the constant hunt on recruiting new talents. Unlike most businesses out there, JurisTech hasn’t been heavily impacted by the surrounding effects of COVID-19. Reaching out to and dealing with clients overseas has turned more to convenience as it reduces the need for physical engagements, ultimately saving time and cost to conduct business. Although financial institutions have become more hesitant in approaching business deals, JurisTech has still maintained a consistent and flowing revenue stream from existing clients, allowing us to continue doing business as usual.
So what does it mean for software engineers who are soon to jumpstart their careers? Well, Naaman shares an abundance of advice and insights on building attributes and growing certain skills to stay relevant in today’s tech industry. Just like many businesses today, JurisTech has opted to new and stringent filtering criteria when hiring employees. Among many things, hiring managers would always focus on looking at a candidate’s CGPA. It’s just the reality. The reason is not to define a person as being smart, but rather towards assessing their diligence and discipline in pursuing their goals.
However, at JurisTech, we emphasise our focus on aspects other than just a candidate’s CGPA during interviews such as their interests, passions, their knowledge capacity, their logic and reasoning in making decisions, and their experience in using certain programming languages. These all come together to derive and better understand a candidate’s potential to grow and progress in his or her career. After all, we at JurisTech prioritise the growth of our people to the absolute maximum!
It’s important for software engineers to excel in their technical skills, but it accounts for nothing if they are unable to understand business needs. Naaman mentions how it can still be somewhat of a barrier to many software engineers to fully comprehend what the client is asking for. When a business need is presented in terms of a documented requirement or a verbal explanation by a client, software engineers can adopt the tendency to shortcut through and begin coding before they fully grasp what the client actually requested for. This would amount to creating several problems with clients, despite how well one might code.
Naaman suggests ways to overcome such a business challenge by advising students to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and always seek to understand something to its most focal point. By practising this, software engineers will be able to understand the behavioural function of the system they’re developing to its full scope with minimum discrepancies.
Our newly appointed Chief Innovation Officer (CINO), Kiarash Razaghiaval, enters into the discussion by sharing his experience in JurisTech as a software engineer. At times, software engineers will be asked to do a task out of their scope of work or unrelated to software development. So how can one work on the task while still staying relevant to the discipline? For Kiarash, every time manual work is requested, he would find ways to automate it.
“Ask yourself, can you write a code or procedure in a way that can take this manual job and automate it to still be relevant to what was requested.” – Kiarash Razaghiaval
In many instances, software engineers will be tested in their abilities to deliver certain tasks that may be irrelevant. However, Kiarash encourages students to test their limits and always go beyond what they’re capable of, never having to put something of what was asked to waste. It’s a skillset software engineers can acquire over time and would be made to good use for them in the long run.
The virtual talk was then followed by Peter Yee and Amardil Singh Deo, both software engineers at JurisTech and alumni from APU, who shared their insights on what working after studying is really like. They highlighted that it is common how everything one learns in their course is not directly applicable to their work. However, software engineering is quite the opposite. A lot of what is learnt is very much applicable at work, especially the basics of programming. One thing is for sure, the learning experience for a software engineer never stops in their professional career. The fast-moving development of new technologies in the market presents for new knowledge and opportunities to learn, giving the responsibility for software engineers to always keep up to date with the latest trends in order to be ahead of the game.
The talk then ended in a fruitful Q&A session with Naaman as he also encouraged students to always seek to become the best version of themselves.
“No matter how tough anything may be, strive to be great!” – Naaman Lee
For software engineers working at JurisTech, the experience is nothing short of extraordinary. We cater to a working environment that is grounded by our four core values otherwise known as our GECO values (Growing Heroes, Making Excellence Happen, Customer First, Opening Up). These values are embraced and grow inherent in every person as a result of continuous mentorship and guidance by all Jurisians. As a matter of fact, JurisTech could just be described as a second home for many, even for you.
If you’re interested to learn more about what a software engineer at JurisTech does, click here. If you’ve already read that, click here to learn the kind of skills you should acquire to be a software engineer at JurisTech.