The Coronavirus outbreak is causing a huge impact too many people around the globe, not least the people who have sadly lost their lives because of this new virus. I wanted to write a little bit about the effect this is having or will have on the technology industry.

I want to start by thanking everyone who is working to fight this virus worldwide, no matter what role you do, the world will reflect back on this situation and realise how lucky we are to have such dedicated people on the front line, risking their lives every day for us.

Especially in Europe and the US the effect of the pandemic has caused chaos with the majority of industries around the world and large numbers of employees have been put on furloughed leave. However, what is the effect on the technology sector as a whole in this pandemic and what about the people behind the scenes who are supporting these technology companies.

Visible impacts

The clearest impact is the rocketing use of video conferencing solutions to keep people connected, any many organisations have made their services free for a period of time or introduced plans to enable individuals to keep in touch.

Technology impact

When you look at what technology companies have done so far in this pandemic, from top to bottom of offerings of free software and services, donations to funds aimed at developing vaccinations and the cloud vendors donating compute time to organisations to help them deal with increased capacity. I think when you look back even at this point, as an industry, technology can be very proud of it’s response so far.

Human impact

Of course, behind all of these fantastic companies are firstly great leaders and fantastic employees who are working really hard to ensure these now critical communication services are up and running as we expect.

In this scenario a DevOps strategy can really help, focused on automation of processes, quality and speedy release of software. Getting the value delivered to your end users.

Mental health impact

COVID-19 is a scenario like no other, very few people on the planet can recall the last pandemic and in technology that number is almost certainly zero. People around the world are affected in so many ways, from furloughed full time employees at businesses which have seen their demand crash like aviation and the self-employed who no longer have work coming in. Thinking about developers specifically though, demand will never be higher as the use of technology like Teams and the use of software to aid research into the virus rockets. Developers on one hand will be busier than ever and their demands higher than ever, on the other hand themselves still worried about their own roles, the safety of their family, friends and loved ones. I think this fundamentally puts more focus on the basics of DevOps to produce quality releases in a timely manner. For managers in organisations, it’s the time to become a leader. Leaders should be instilling confidence in their employees and using this as an opportunity to drive innovation and transformation. Feelings are emotions which leaders should help deal with, come up with ways to stay connected, while meeting the increased demand on developers.

Summary

This is a really tough time for everyone, my key message here is if you are in a critical role helping in this situation then don’t forget to look after yourself, it’s really important. Also look out for the people around you, follow the rules but engage with people as much as possible given the circumstances.

Like everyone else, I hope this ends soon and things go back to normal as much as possible. Take care and stay safe.