Building a career moat can up your value.

7 || February || 2024

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Issue #57

Building a career moat

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Greetings ET people 🖖🏾

Faith here. It’s my first time writing to you this year. I have read 5 articles, watched one YouTube video, and listened to one podcast to put this together for you. 

In today’s world of continued layoffs and AI job-taking, I present to you a way out of the dread—career moats.

Faith Omoniyi & Timi Odueso

Tech trivia

Today’s question is a bit dreary. You’ll find the answer at the end of this newsletter.

  • How many people have been laid off this year?

What are career moats?

In medieval times, moats were wet walls that kept attackers out, fire at bay, and fish on the menu. Similarly, career moats can keep you fed, and protect your value in the job market. 

Cedric Chin defines it as an “individual’s ability to maintain competitive advantages over your competition (say, in the job market) to protect your long-term prospects, your employability, and your ability to generate sufficient financial returns to support the life you want to live.”

Career moats are nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a way to build competitive advantage through an extremely rare set of skills that set you apart from the crowd such that you can find jobs easily and if you are ever laid off, you may easily find another job. See career moats as having the skills that make you a “hot cake” in the job market.

Image source: Zikoko Memes

Putting this into perspective allows you to carefully plan your career moves ahead of time and think more strategically about your career. Cedric Chin says, “Job security is tied to your ability to get your next job, not keep your current one.” 

If you possess unique and extremely rare strengths and interests that are in high demand, you’ll never have to worry about layoffs because everyone will need you.

How do you build career moats?

While we have established that career moats requires having rare and valuable skills, you might be wondering “What does having rare and valuable skills look like?” Cedric thinks about it in three ways, but I would emphasise two:

1. A skillset can also be rare and valuable if the skillset is unattractive but valuable. Not many people want to become data scientists, for example, because it requires problem-solving, analytical and mathematical skills. However, there exists a shortage of data talents globally—data scientists, data engineers, data analysts, etc, because data powers all AI and AI-enabled systems, and we don’t need to say that AI is here to stay. Building data skills is one example of building a career moat. It’s not an attractive skill and it’s one of those jobs that can have slow days, but it’s a valuable skillset. 

2. Next, a skillset can be rare and valuable if you specialise in it before it becomes clear that it is valuable. An example that comes to mind is Web3. When Web3 became popular in 2021, many people flocked to it like it was the best thing since sliced bread plantain. If only people those people had positioned themselves to offer specialised services in the space before the boom.

I recently met with a Web3 influencer and marketer, Precious Josiah, who set up a digital agency to help Web3 startups tell their stories better and connect with their target audiences. That’s another example of what a career moat looks like. Precious, who had previously worked with other global Web3 agencies saw an untapped African market and decided to build her own agency. She figured that if Web3 startups are littered the place, somebody would need to tell their story and break down the jargon into easy-to-understand language to the audience they are trying to sell to.

Another friend, Demilade Akin-Adeniyi, a UI/UX designer started positioning himself as a Web3 UI/UX designer. He chalked up his decision to the lucrativeness of the Web3 and crypto space. You too can find promising tech careers and determine what your career moat will look like. 

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It’s all about the mix

To bring this home, I’ll share thoughts from two brilliant people. 

In a short call with me, Fu’ad Lawal

, team lead of Archivi.ng, contends that staying ahead of the curve through continuous learning—a process motivated by curiosity and unrelenting dissatisfaction—is the greatest approach to building a career moat. 

Furthermore, in his podcast, “How to Build a Personal Moat to Further Your Career”, Morning Brew CEO Alex Lieberman says that building a career moat isn’t just about accumulating knowledge or building skills. It’s all about finding a mixture that creates a massive unlock in your career. In practice, there might be a lot of critical thinkers or high EQ folks out there, but there exists such a slim group of people who excel at the three skills. What do these skills look like in your current profession? You should aim to be among the top 1% of those who excel at all these skills.

I would like to know your thoughts on how you’re thinking about building career moats. Shoot me an email at faith.omoniyi@bigcabal.com.

Ask a techie

Q. What’s the difference between Data Entry and Data Analytics. I’ve done my research but I still can’t fathom the discrepancy between the two?

Data Entry and Data Analytics are two distinct fields within the broader realm of data management and analysis:

  1. Data Entry involves the process of inputting, updating, and maintaining data into a database or information system. It typically requires attention to detail, accuracy, and the ability to work with various data entry tools and software. Data entry tasks can include transcribing information from physical forms into digital formats, updating databases, and verifying data accuracy.
  2. Data Analytics, on the other hand, revolves around analyzing data to derive insights, patterns, and trends that can inform decision-making and strategy. Data analysts use statistical and analytical techniques to interpret large datasets, identify correlations, and make data-driven recommendations. They often work with tools like Python, R, SQL, and data visualization platforms to extract meaning from data.

The preference between Data Entry and Data Analytics largely depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. However, in terms of demand and career prospects, Data Analytics tends to be more sought after due to the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making across industries. Data analysts are instrumental in extracting actionable insights from data to drive business growth, optimize processes, and enhance performance.

That’s all we can take this week. Have any questions about working in tech? Ask away and we’ll find answers for you.👇🏾

Ask a question

Tech trivia answers

This year alone, 28,790 employees have been laid off across 104 tech companies globally. There’s no better time for a career moat than now. 

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Disclaimer: TechCabal is not affiliated with or associated with jobs and opportunities listed on all its job boards and newsletters. All applicants bear the responsibility of researching about the roles and companies they apply to.

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Faith Omoniyi Intern Reporter

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