It’s hard to overstate the level of the global crisis we are currently in the midst of. With a quarter of the world's 7.8 billion people under lockdown at the time of writing, it’s true to say that we haven’t faced a situation this universal or problematic in a very long time.
When the dust finally settles on the COVID-19 pandemic, the business landscape will be very different indeed. With all non-essential shops on the high street being forced to close their doors for the foreseeable future, many traditional businesses stand to take a heavy hit, resulting in job losses.
It’s not all bad news for the jobs world though. One domain that could be on the rise with the crisis is so-called ‘Big Tech’, with a huge strain already being put upon companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix that is resulting in required expansion.
The juxtaposition is that tech companies are reporting skyrocketing service usage as more and more people are forced to stay at home - but at the same time, some of their stocks are actually falling with the uncertainty of the consumer market.
There are success stories in all of this though, which paints a good picture for tech jobs in the future. Here are some reasons why:
Amazon just hired 100,000 extra people
In the middle of March, it was announced that e-commerce giant Amazon was to take on 100,000 new warehouse and delivery employees in the United States to deal with the huge increase in orders. The expansion of its service must be good for the business long term, with more and more people using its service even after the coronavirus crisis calms.
Streaming is surging
With so much of the world essentially forced to stay in front of the TV for weeks at a time, it’s no surprise that streaming services have come under huge demand. For several days, eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed a slight dip in video quality from their streams as the Netflix infrastructure struggled to cope with the added demand. While they might have remained tight-lipped on the actual number of additional subscribers they might have earned through the COVID-19 pandemic, one would have to think that this additional revenue (many will remain subscribers) will be used in the future to create more tech jobs and grow an already huge company.
Reputations are being made
When we look back on the COVID-19 pandemic months and years into the future, we will be able to reflect on how all companies reacted, and whether or not they used their size and influence to help.
Amazon, Microsoft and Palantir have offered free resources towards a massive data collection effort for the NHS, with the goal of using the data to model where ventilators, hospital beds and medical professionals will most be needed in the coming months.
Likewise, many other companies have answered the call of the UK government for help. Uber offered to provide free taxi rides to medical staff, while food delivery service Deliveroo offered to keep hospital workers fed.
We wouldn’t claim that they are doing any of this purely for their own gain, but philanthropy in a time of great need can’t do them any harm.
It’s not just the really big boys who are benefitting
With the way we work completely changing, at least for the near future, a lot of smaller tech companies and app developers are seeing a huge surge in usage. Slack is one such company and featured in our best technology for working from home.
In 2015, Slack hit 1 million simultaneous users. On Tuesday March 10th 2020, Slack saw concurrent users pass 10 million, which then jumped to 10.5 million six days later before later reaching 12.5 million. This is the record of concurrent users - the actual number of additional daily users is through to be much higher. The increase in user base has led to Slack having to release updates to improve and alter their platform, driving innovation.
The next innovators?
While the big tech companies will certainly be wrestling with the pros and cons that the pandemic has on their businesses, there is certainly an opportunity for the next great app idea to be developed.
With great change comes great opportunity, and with this marking the greatest shift in global routine in over 70 years, it’s the perfect opportunity for a radical new technology to grow, creating the next generation of tech jobs.