ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ACM CareerNews is intended as an objective career news digest for busy IT professionals. Views expressed are not necessarily those of ACM. To send comments, please write to careernews@hq.acm.org

Volume 12, Issue 14, July 19, 2016



IT Jobs Market Healthy, Particularly for Software Developers
eWeek, July 11

Two reports focusing on the IT jobs market project a positive hiring outlook for technology professionals, particularly for software developers. In the U.S. IT sector, employment surged in June, adding 32,100 new jobs to more than offset job losses experienced in May, according to CompTIA’s analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment data released at the beginning of July. Overall IT sector employment was estimated at 4,389,600 jobs as of June 30. All categories within the IT sector, with the exception of tech manufacturing, recorded positive job growth in June. That’s leading to renewed optimism for the remaining six months of the year.

CompTIA’s analysis of numbers from the BLS found the number of IT occupation job postings in June was up modestly from the previous month, with software developer positions topping the list by a wide margin. Information services, including search portals, were up 2,500 jobs, while data processing, hosting and related services were up 2,200 jobs and IT software and services and computer systems design were up 1,400 jobs. Overall, IT occupation employment gained 74,000 net jobs in June, reversing two months of decline—although the report noted computer and electronic products manufacturing lost 2,100 jobs in June. Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.

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13 Top Paying Cities For Software Engineers
Computerworld, July 6

According to the latest data from online jobs marketplace Glassdoor, salaries for software engineers are booming in a growing number of cities across the nation. But don’t overestimate what you’re really making – you will also need to factor in the cost of living for that city. As a result, it’s important to look at the ratio of each city’s median software engineer base salary to its official cost of living figures from the federal government. Based on this analysis, the Top 10 highest paying cities for software engineers include popular tech hubs Raleigh, Austin and Boston – as well as some cities that you might not expect, such as Madison, Sacramento and Omaha.

The city with the highest real adjusted salary was Madison, Wisconsin, at $97,236. Madison has a cost of living that’s 2.3% below the national average cost of living and a median base salary of $95,000. Raleigh, North Carolina came in at #2, with a real adjusted salary of $94,142. The #3 spot went to Austin, Texas, which posted a real adjusted salary of $91,185. The city ranked highly because it has an average cost of living that’s 1.3% below the national average cost of living.

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LinkedIn's Top Three Secrets To Getting Hired In 2016
Fast Company, July 13

IT workers need to stay ahead of changes in the tech sector by constantly updating the skills they need to be competitive, as well as staying ahead of new ways people work, search for jobs and get hired. In short, in order to stay ahead of the competition in 2016 and into the next few years, you will need to keep ahead of the big macro trends that are shifting the structure of the overall employment market. Work your connections, keep learning, stay flexible and always keep an eye on the market, because new, never-before-seen opportunities will be waiting around every corner.

The first thing to keep in mind is that companies still prefer hiring people who were referred through someone they trust. Even if you don't know someone directly at a company, chances are you know someone who knows someone. It’s not necessarily your best friend who’s going to help you land that next job. It's more likely to be your best friend’s former coworker, or even that coworker’s neighbor. While you shouldn’t downplay the value of a first-degree connection as a valuable "in," it's important to pay close attention to that second layer if you're in the market for a new opportunity: Who you know who may be linked to a company that interests you—albeit by a matter of several degrees.

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4 Signs It’s Time to Look For A New Job
CIO.com, July 7

Given the tech skills gap and the demand for top talent, there’s no reason to stay with a company that’s struggling to survive, or to settle for an IT role in which you’re not happy. You should be able to recognize the signs that it’s time to look for a new job, whether they are external factors, such as your company having financial difficulties, or internal factors, such as not feeling fulfilled in your current position. Whatever the motivation, there are a number of indicators, both external and internal, that can tell you it’s time to move on.

If your company’s going through some financial difficulty, those signs will be clear. For example, if your company starts receiving complaints about late-paid vendor invoices, or if they institute a hiring freeze, curtail travel budgets, cut expense accounts or reduce spending, that’s a sign that the organization is struggling financially. Particularly in the IT space, if your company isn’t spending a lot on innovation and is narrowing its focus to just keeping the lights on, that’s worrisome. Another major red flag is if your executive leadership, your supervisors or your peers are actively looking for another job, or if your current organization brings in new leadership or a new management hierarchy. Has there been reorganization? Are there new reporting structures and new business direction and strategy? Sometimes in these situations the new leadership isn’t a good personality or culture fit and it can change the dynamic of the entire company.

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Why Open Source is a Draw for Job Candidates
FCW.com, July 12

As employers in the public sector are finding out, in the search for top IT talent, one big attraction for top candidates is the ability to use new open source technologies that they might not be able to use in private sector jobs. The number of top IT candidates is limited, and it has been a challenge for federal agencies to compete with the deeper pockets and flexibility of private sector companies. Traditionally, they have appealed to candidates' sense of challenge and desire to make a difference. But that doesn’t always work, especially if there is a significant gap in compensation levels, so agencies are experimenting with other ways to attract top candidates, such as open source technology.

It’s not just the public sector - even the private sector is having issues competing for IT talent. As a result, organizations often end up recruiting candidates who have multiple job offers from competing companies. If the employer can’t match financial offers from some competitors, however, they could offer a guaranteed opportunity to work in an open-source development environment.

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Stack Overflow Surveyed 56,000 Developers
Tech Republic, July 12

Stack Overflow recently released the results of its 2016 Developer Survey, which provides a broad overview of the job titles, career tracks and technologies that are most popular with software developers around the world. More than 56,000 developers from 173 countries participated in the research, answering 45 questions about topics such as their job function and their preferred programming languages. The top job titles represented in the results included Full-Stack Web Developer (28.0%), Back-End Web Developer (12.2%), Mobile Developer (8.4%) and Desktop Developer (6.9%).

Of the Stack Overflow survey respondents, the overwhelming majority (71.6%) identified as a “developer.” For hiring managers, it’s important to note what languages and technologies these developers are using. For full-stack, front-end, and back-end developers, JavaScript takes the lead by a long shot. Android leads the mobile developer ecosystem, while Python holds the lead in math and data. On average, full-stack developers are comfortable coding with 5 to 6 major languages or frameworks (compared to 4 for everyone else). Executives are comfortable using more languages and frameworks than any other developer occupation, which is most likely a result of having more experience.

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4 Tips To Help You Rethink How To Attract Talent
Entrepreneur.com, July 12

If your organization wants to be known as a premier destination for top talent, it will regularly need to rethink and update the way it attracts and retains that talent. It’s best to do this before top talent starts to slip away in search of better opportunities elsewhere. The important point to keep in mind is that most employees are at least passively looking for a new job on a continual basis, and they are always interested in new opportunities. That means you continually need to make sure that your organization can match or beat opportunities elsewhere. With that in mind, the article provides several strategies that employees can use both to attract more qualified candidates and win back the ones who got away.

First and most importantly, your organization needs to stay connected with A-list talent. Don’t lose contact with the talented managers and workers that slipped away. The worst thing employers can do is to take it personally when a candidate selects a different opportunity. Instead, make it a priority to stay connected and supportive of this person's endeavors. Be proactive and stay connected through social media channels. Given that the majority of workers want to know about other opportunities, perhaps these people you are in contact with will still be interested in future postings. Keep the connection casual and consistent. Remind them that they have a place in the organization whenever they feel ready to reapply. This will make them feel comfortable with reaching out on their own terms, at their own convenience.

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Success Is Not a Matter of Luck - It’s an Algorithm
CNBC (via Medium), July 12

The secret to a successful career is the ability to understand what motivates you, and then use that knowledge to help you make the best possible career choices. You can think of it as a six-step algorithm, in which you start by exploring your meaning. The ability to follow this algorithm is what accounts for the success of some of the top minds in the tech sector. The important point is that this algorithm can be personalized and adapted for your own career. The key is engaging your potential, your purpose, and the people around you. It's about spending more time on the things that really matter to you so that you get what you want out of both your personal and professional life.

The career success algorithm, known as ENGAGE, is a six-step process for discovering what drives you and using it to succeed in your career. Many people's careers stall because they see strategic, high-level thinking, like knowing what their purpose is or what values drive them, as a "soft skill." They don't prioritize it. But that kind of thinking is exactly what enables entrepreneurs to launch successful startups, executives to get promoted and politicians to be elected. You can progress in your career without following this model, but you'll eventually plateau.

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Booming Computer Science Enrollments
Communications of the ACM, July 2016

Over the past few years, computing departments across the country have faced huge increases in course enrollments. To understand the extent and nature of these higher enrollments, the Computing Research Association (CRA) has undertaken a new study. In addition to attempting to identify the extent of the boom in CS enrollments, the CRA is trying to understand which students are making up this boom. The study also aims to determine how academic departments are coping with higher enrollments, such as by increasing class size or the number of faculty members. The hope is that answers to these questions will enable university administrators and computing departments to develop better strategies for managing booming enrollments.

There have already been some preliminary results from the institutions surveyed. About two-thirds of 123 doctoral departments and one-third of 70 non-doctoral departments surveyed reported increasing undergraduate enrollments were having a big impact on them, resulting in significant challenges. About 80% of doctoral programs reported significant increases in demand for introductory courses in a CS or CE major; less than half of participating non-doctoral programs reported similarly significant increases. Increases in undergraduate enrollments were seen as creating problems in at least 40% of the departments surveyed. Most (78%) doctoral departments had issues with classroom space, followed by the availability of sufficient faculty (69%), sufficient teaching assistants (61%), and faculty workloads (61%). In non-doctoral programs, the most frequently reported concerns were sufficient faculty (44%) and faculty workload (42%). In response to those concerns, more than 80% of doctoral departments increased the size of classes and the number of sections offered during the academic year. More than 40% of non-doctoral departments reported increasing class size, and more than 60% reported increasing the number of sections offered in a school year.

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A Very Local Snapshot of K-12 CS Education
Blog @ CACM, June 30

To understand the role that computers will play in the tech careers of the future, it’s important to find out how the upcoming generation of young students is thinking about computer science and the types of problems they think that computers can solve. The good news is that many students have already done a lot of thinking about computers and user interfaces. They have a wide range of both formal and informal training in computer science, and some have experience with different programming languages and adjacent fields such as robotics. However, they have not done as much thinking about the types of problems that computers will solve in the future.

Despite their familiarity with computers, most K-12 students have not thought deeply about the problem of data representation inside the computer, and how to convert non-numeric information into data that a computer can understand. Furthermore, although many students are gamers, that experience does not appear to be helping students think and represent problems in a way that computers can solve.

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