Annalice Ni, a Seattle 10th-grader, wanted to create software for a major tech company such as Google. Annalice Ni went to great lengths for the internship and other requirements that made her attractive to big tech companies.

Ni was an avid student of computer science and interned at Microsoft. In addition, she volunteered to teach coding to younger students. At the University of Washington, she studied computer science. She was awarded highly coveted software engineering internships at and. After graduating college, she moved to Silicon Valley in order to begin her dream job at Meta, Facebook’s parent.

Meta fired more than 11,000 employees, including Ni.

Ni, 22, stated that she was frustrated and dissatisfied with her sudden career setback. “There was nothing I could have done more, especially in college, than I did already, and better than what I did already.”

In the United States, computer science has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade. This is because of the possibility of earning six-figure starting salaries and other perks, such as free food or the opportunity to work on apps used worldwide by billions. According to the Computing Research Association (which tracks computing degrees at more than 200 universities), the number of undergraduates who majored in the subject increased by nearly three times between 2011 and 2021. This brings the total to close to 136,000.

Microsoft, Google and Facebook were tech giants and encouraged the computing education revolution. This promoted software jobs for students as a pathway to lucrative careers, and the potential to transform the world.

However, the shockwaves caused by layoffs, recruitment freezes and planned slowdowns at Meta and DoorDash at Meta and Alphabet, Amazon and DoorDash are affecting a generation data science and computer science students who worked hard to get jobs at the biggest tech companies. Technology executives blame a weakening global economy for the slowdown in job growth.

These cuts have made it difficult for recent graduates to find work, but they also create uncertainty for college students who are looking for high-paying summer internships with large tech companies.

In the past, tech companies used internship programs to find promising candidates. Many students were offered full-time employment after graduation. However, these opportunities are diminishing this year.

Amazon, for example, employed approximately 18,000 interns in 2018. Some computer science students were paid nearly $30,000 per year for their summer internships, and that includes housing stipends. A person familiar with the matter said that the company is currently considering reducing the number interns by more then half in 2023.

Amazon spokeswoman Brad Glasser said that Amazon was committed to its internship program, and the real-world experiences it provides. A Meta spokeswoman pointed to a letter sent to employees by Mark Zuckerberg (the company’s chief executive) announcing last month’s layoffs.

Even smaller tech companies are changing their hiring plans. Roblox, the popular online game platform, announced that it will hire 300 interns next year. This is almost double the amount of last year and there are more than 50,000 applications to fill those spots. Redfin had 38 interns this year and has canceled the program next summer.

Computing students have many opportunities and there are good job prospects. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Bolster of Labor Statistics), software developers and testers will have a 25% growth in employment from 2021 to 2031. That would amount to more than 411,000 jobs. However, many of these jobs are located in areas such as finance or the automotive industry.

Brent Winkelman (chief of staff, computer science department at University of Texas at Austin), stated that students still receive multiple job opportunities. They might not come from Meta or Twitter or Amazon. They’re likely to come from places such as GM, Toyota, and Lockheed.

Students on the verge of entering the technology job market are now able to turn to college career centers for guidance. The search for a Plan B has become more common in career counselor’s offices.

Students are applying for jobs at lesser-known tech firms. Others seek tech jobs with non-tech companies, such as Walmart or government agencies. It is possible to go to graduate school.

Hazel Raja is the senior director of Pomona College’s Career Development Office in Claremont. She said, “This particular class is a lot more savvy that previous classes.” “Even though they have been offered jobs, they are still networking and participating in campus recruiting opportunities.

Helen Dong (21), a senior majoring Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, interned twice at Meta in 2021/2022. According to her, she was surprised when she didn’t receive a job offer by Meta at the end this summer. Meta’s recent layoffs led her to apply outside of tech for jobs in financial and automotive firms. Last month, she shared videos on TikTok in which she advised her peers to adjust their expectations for job opportunities.

Dong joked, “I chose to major computer science so I could get a lot more offers after college and make banks,” as she sang along with “Reduce Your Expectations, to 0” on TikTok.

Ten recent graduates and college students said that they were not ready for a slowdown at the largest tech companies. These companies competed fiercely to hire computer science students at top schools. Some students received multiple job offers, some with six-figure starting salary and five-digit signing bonuses. A whole genre of TikTok videos was created for young techies. They extolled their annual compensation and the perks they received, including a $198,000 package that included stock options and relocation expenses.

Many people who have been laid off recently or had their tech job offers withdrawn have posted details on Twitter. Some have also added #opentowork as a hashtag to their LinkedIn profile photos in an effort to alert recruiters.

Tony Shi (23), a computer science and business major from Western University in London, Ontario is one of them. In August, Shi began his Lyft career as a product manger after graduating in this year. About 650 employees were laid off by the ride-hailing firm in November, including Shi.

Shi is currently on a tight deadline to search for a new job. Shi is a Canadian from Waterloo (Ontario) and has applied for a visa in order to be able to move to San Francisco as he works at Lyft. The visa gives him 60 days to find a job. He claimed that he has become more sensitive about the balance sheets and business of potential employers.

“I need a little less risk-averse. He stated that he doesn’t want another job. Instead of taking a company at its word, he said, “Now, the product has to make a lot more sense.”

Recent graduates didn’t get the opportunity to start their new jobs in tech.

Rachel Castellino, who is a statistics major from California Polytechnic State University worked to secure a job at major tech companies. She worked as a project manger at PayPal during college and received a National Science Foundation data science fellowship. Also, she founded a data-science club at her school.

Castellino was 22 years old and knew she would have a lot of work to get through technical interviews. This involves solving programming problems. She spent most of last year job hunting and preparing to take coding tests. She was able to study programming languages and probability concepts four days a semaine, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. She said that even though she was a hard worker, the interview process was very difficult.

Meta offered her a job at the data science department starting in December 2022. Meta ended the offer last month, she claimed.

“I worked so hard to get those interviews. It was a great feeling to be able to get something of this caliber,” she stated. “I had so much to be excited about.”

The setback was frustrating. Castellino admitted that he was upset. “It was awful to hear.”

Ni now sees the opportunity to grow her career as a way to lose her dream job. In the last month, Ni has applied to startup and midsize tech companies she finds innovative. These are potential employers she never considered.

Ni stated that she is now exploring possibilities that were not available to her before. “I feel like a learner.”

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