Coronavirus has made it mandatory to work from home. Who is surviving this? IT workers.
As of this writing, mandatory lockdown directives are in place in 15 of 26 EU countries, 3 in Southeast Asia, as well as hundreds of other municipalities around the globe. Many companies have made it mandatory for employees to work from home in an effort to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Many people in the industrialized world are familiar with Zoom, Hangouts and Teams. However, the internet is flooded with articles on “How to work from home” topics.
This is not a new concept for many IT professionals. This is a common practice in the tech world. It could as well be the internet teaching people how to tie their shoes and ride a bike. Although remote work may seem like a luxury for some, it is just another day at the office for tech workers. Remote work is not something to be discarded in times of global pandemic; it is a tool that thousands use for their own agility and for attracting new talent.
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Take NexGenT’s backyard, the Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley is home to some of the most expensive real property on earth. It is the primordial soup of innovation and tech companies. It doesn’t make sense for companies like Google and Facebook to store thousands of engineers in Mountain View and Menlo Park. What’s the point in having a bunch of cybersecurity professionals stacked up on top of one another in San Francisco or Cupertino for a company like Uber?
Threats don’t just come from your next door, or down the street, but from all corners of the globe. It’s not easy to attract talent to Siberia and the Gaza Strip, even though it’s beautiful at this time of year. If you want to open a new location, you choose Moscow or Tel Aviv – cities that cost $1000+ per sq. ft. of commercial real property. The question is, “Who can work within that time zone?” While it is convenient to be in the same longitude, that is not always necessary.
Zoom is Rising Now (And Hiring)
Companies can see the benefits of transferring talent to their homes. It can often be even more beneficial for companies in their constant pursuit of new talent. Although hiring freezes will soon be common in many verticals, it is likely that we will see the exact opposite happen in tech.
Zoom Video calling is one example. This is a long-standing feature at NexGenT that connects our team to remote locations such as the Philippines, the UK, Portugal, and Romania. Their stock price has risen by more than 20% over the past month. But, more importantly, they have added more users in the first 70 day of 2019 than they did in the entire of 2019. Zoom now has 74% more load than it did at its beginning of 2019. Zoom is expected to experience a near crisis at a time when video calling services demand is increasing rapidly. This is a problem that is very important from a business perspective.
Zoom is on an absolute hiring spree to keep up with the pace. They aren’t able to hire enough network engineers to expand their infrastructure quickly enough. They are unable to find and onboard enough cybersecurity engineers to protect all 2.2 million users.
This is certainly extreme. Let’s take a look at some other services that you can use if working remotely today.
I am certain Netflix will reach its peak “and chill” in the coming weeks. The impetus to log onto Amazon instead of going to Wal-Mart or Target to avoid crowds and save money will be strong. These online service providers and retailers have steadily increased their capabilities over the past 10 year and have become so common in our lives that we may forget what it takes to not only keep them humming along but also to bring new features for users. Amazon and Google require thousands of Network engineers. A quick glance at their careers pages will show hundreds of open positions at any given moment.
For a while, the tech talent gap has been a constant drumbeat in the distance. However, in times of Covid-19 it will be evident in news sites (also, look at periodicals such as the New York Times that have removed their paywalls to keep everyone up-to-date on virus news). These are the times that test men’s souls – and, if they were around during Thomas Paine’s time, their servers, routers and switches also.
Working from home is a possibility for many IT professionals. Millions of IT workers can work from anywhere, from their home, an airport or from the beach if a company offers flexibility and freedom. These jobs can be done from anywhere with internet access. You can also avoid having to commute every day (and you can look up travel times in the cities mentioned earlier) and save money on transportation costs. This adds up to real dollars and more dollars in the pockets of potential employees.
Although the demand is high right now, we will see an increase in remote work. We can’t predict if we will be self-quarantining in a week or a month. However, many jobs that use this to prove-of-concept for remote workers will see a significant shift in their daily lives. We can’t know the future, and we certainly hope for the best. But there is no way to know what the future holds.