ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 2, 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 15, August 02, 2016



U.S. IT Employment Grows, With IT Services Jobs Leading the Way
ITNews.com, July 29

The U.S. IT sector added a total of 32,100 new jobs in June, according to an analysis of official government data by technology industry association CompTIA. Moreover, tech sector employment continues to grow at a faster rate than overall national employment. Indeed, every category except technology manufacturing, experienced positive job growth and the domestic IT services market appears to be one of the hottest areas. Going forward, digital transformation will continue to be a major driver of new employment opportunities. In addition, IT outsourcing job growth will significantly outpace corporate IT roles.

The IT services sector added 1,900 jobs in June. To understand the significance of that figure, you have to know that there are two components to the IT services figures: custom software development services (such as website or application design) and traditional IT services (which could include things such as value-added-reselling, managed services, implement/integration services, facilities management, or break/fix). Custom software development services accounts for approximately 44% of employment in this category, while traditional IT services accounts for the remaining 56%. Growth of software development services has slightly outpaced growth of traditional IT services. Both are driven by strong customer demand for digital transformation technologies. This may take the form of modernizing legacy infrastructure — such as migrations to the cloud—or improving customer experiences — such as through new mobile commerce capabilities. Software and the IT services supporting implementation, integration, and ongoing management are front and center in digital transformation initiatives.

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10 Hiring Challenges Confronting CIOs
Information Week, July 28

CIOs are experiencing the worst technology-related skills shortage since 2008-09, and that’s making it increasingly challenging to meet their everyday hiring needs. Large enterprises are struggling to hire data analytics experts, project managers, and enterprise architecture experts. Small companies are in dire need of workers in big data analytics and development. According to the recently released 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, top CIOs are being forced to deal with these hiring issues at a time when their own role as a top technology executive is fundamentally changing to expand beyond the role of technology strategist.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of CIOs surveyed said they believe the talent shortage will prevent them from keeping pace with technology changes. That is up by 10 percentage points from a year ago. Unlike 10 years ago, many CEOs are asking how they can lead the digital transformation of their companies. Therefore, even if we enter uncertain times in the future, we expect tech investment at a minimum to remain stable, if not increase. The Asia-Pacific region faces the largest shortage of workers with technology skills, according to the survey results. The bigger driver for seeing greater demand for skills in Asia-Pacific is that these economies are still growing much faster than in the U.S. or Europe. A slowing China economy will still grow at 6% to 7%, which correlates to a growing demand for technical jobs. U.S. growth will be approximately 2% higher this year, while Europe will be even lower. Slower economic growth still means that the total volume of technical jobs being created is relatively lower than in Asia-Pacific.

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The Most Critical Skills Gap: Cybersecurity
Fast Company, July 27

A new study recently released by Intel Security with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) takes a closer look at the cybersecurity workforce shortage across eight countries including Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. Overall, it confirmed that the cybersecurity talent shortage was very real and widespread. The CSIS study revealed that 82% of participants report a shortage of cybersecurity skills in their organizations. One in four confirmed that their organizations were victims of cyber thefts of proprietary data due to this lack of qualified workers.

Among the key takeaways, the respondents in all eight countries agreed that highly technical skills are most in demand. The top three most cited include: intrusion detection; secure software development and attack mitigation. These skills were in greater demand than softer skills, such as the ability to collaborate, manage a team, or communicate effectively. This goes counter to which skills most hiring managers thought were lacking in college graduates in 2016. 53% of respondents also remark that the cybersecurity talent shortage is somewhat or far worse than in other IT professions, including data scientist.

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Why Every Tech Pro Should Learn How To Code
Computerworld, July 26

Coding is one of the hottest skills on the tech market. According to a recent survey from Burning Glass, programming jobs are growing 12 percent faster than other tech jobs. According to the survey, in 2015 there were seven million job openings that required coding skills. The survey also found that the positions that required coding skills paid, on average, $22,000 more per year than those that didn't. But coding wasn't confined to programming jobs - it emerged as a necessary skill in data analysis, arts and design, engineering, information technology and science.

Coding skills will always be viewed as a value-add on your resume, whether you're in IT or not. In the past, it might have seemed odd for a project manager or marketing manager to list coding as a skill, but now it could actually give you an advantage in the job market. You never know when coding knowledge will come in handy, but it's guaranteed to help you get ahead in some way. The point is that the future belongs to those who can create just what is needed -- and quickly -- rather than waiting months or years for some outside entity to deliver a packaged solution for them.

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How to Manage the 7 Biggest Workplace Fears
Network World, July 28

There are seven different types of fears in the workplace – such as the fear of failure - that can stand in the way of professional development and hamper your creativity and innovation as well. Workplace stress is common, and at some point in your life, it's likely you'll feel the pressure that can come from maintaining a career. The problem is that consistent anxious feelings in the workplace can actually lead to underperformance and affect the relationship between employees and their co-workers and managers. In order to avoid falling flat due to fear of failure at work, you need to be able to come up with ways to tackle those common workplace fears.

The first major workplace fear is the fear of failure. We don't live in an ideal world, and that means sales fall through, initiatives go ignored and metrics aren't always met. However, you can learn a lot from failure. If anything, it's how organizations respond to, deal with and eventually move on from failure that can be the most telling about their overall success. And, it's not always on the employee to manage a fear of failure at work. Part of that responsibility lies with managers as well. Managers need to ask themselves a few questions before assigning a new task or project to an employee. For example, are they ready or not? And they need to ask if their skill set is a good match and whether or not the employee is already overwhelmed with their current workload. Managers need to ensure employees always feel they have an open line of communication to ask for help or guidance and make sure failure is seen as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow.

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How To Sell Yourself At Your Next Job Interview
TheLadders.com, July 19

Many talented IT workers who can effortlessly sell any object or idea struggle to promote themselves, and that impacts their ability to advance along their desired career trajectory. A lack of self-promotion skills can be a matter of humility, or an inability to objectively see the skills and value you bring to the table. By identifying your strengths and knowing your value, you can promote yourself confidently and professionally without coming across as arrogant.

The first piece of advice for interview success is to remove your emotions from the process. If you struggle to self-promote, you must depersonalize the process and capitalize on your product and idea marketing skills. Think of it this way: this time, you are the product or investment. Present yourself as such by making it about what you can do and how you can benefit the company. Secondly, know your proof points and base your pitch on facts. Give examples of when you saved time or money for a company. Have you created successful marketing strategies? What are ways that past companies have benefited from your expertise? These facts alone should speak strongly about your performance.

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Stuck In a Soul-Crushing Job? Here’s What Millennials Can Do
Forbes, July 28

Since long hours are an inescapable part of being in the modern workforce, you might as well make it the best experience you possibly can. That starts with making sure you’re actually happy at your job. If you use the phrase “soul-crushing” to describe the activity that consumes anywhere from 40 to 50 hours of your week, it might be time to explore your other options. The article provides some practical advice on how to increase overall job satisfaction.

First and most importantly, discover what excites you. If you dread heading into the office every Monday morning, a likely culprit is a lack of engagement. That’s corporate jargon for a pretty simple concept: To excel at work, you need to do something that excites you. And you need to start small. You’re probably not going to transition away from your office job overnight. Instead, simply spend some time investigating the things you truly love to do. Is there something you could talk about for hours on end? If so, it might just be your calling. Even if it proves difficult to parlay these skills into gainful employment, you may be able to pick up work on the side in a field you love.

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Don’t Bid For Prima Donnas When You Can Develop In-House Talent
Entrepreneur, July 29

In a time of an especially tight labor market, startups and large companies alike are realizing that the development of in-house talent may provide a source of competitive advantage. Instead of dangling large salaries in front of impressively qualified employees who may decide to leave at any time, they are instead doubling down on the development of their own staff. Companies are realizing that many of their own employees have practical experience and education that can be leveraged in unique ways. If they fail to develop their own in-house talent, companies may give up their leadership position in an industry or sector.

The problem with top employees is that they are sometimes unpredictable, especially if they are prima donnas. This might mean countless ultimatums over raises and bonuses, polarizing tantrums and narcissist outbursts. That means that the concept of fighting with other companies over a few key people is ludicrous. If these people become available, you should not automatically make a job offer. Choosing not to reach out to them should not be confused as saying you could not hire that person. Rather, they are simply not worth the effort and the potential disruption to a company culture that prides itself on humility and inclusiveness.

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Success Requires Team Leaders
Computers in Entertainment, July 20

Within the tech industry, it takes more than just having a vision for the future and a great sales pitch in order for a new company to be successful. Leaders need to understand where the entire industry is going, what is being developed in their specific industry and what products or services are going to be wanted and needed in specific market segments. That’s why marketing experts are so vital for companies – they get inputs and ideas from everywhere, and especially from customers. And that helps them shape the future direction of the company and understand where an industry is headed.

In today’s product and service arena, marketing is, in reality, the hub activity for the company. Marketing people really have the responsibility of managing the outward and inward flow of information for the firm. With the right people in place, staff groups – engineering, finance, R&D and production -- should look to marketing for input, guidance, direction and assistance. The reason is that these people should be results-oriented. They’re supposed to have the resources and smarts to determine what the next generation of products/services should be. They should be monitoring where the market is going so they can have solutions available before the demand (and the competition) is there. They should be focused not just on having new, additional products/services to sell, but how to fit them into market segments and how to package/present them so they are appealing to consumers.

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Meeting the Need for Computer Science Principles at Georgia Tech
Blog @ CACM, July 19

There is growing debate over whether higher education institutions should create CS courses to match the new Advanced Placement (AP) CS Principles course. While AP CSP is a good idea for many higher education institutions, it’s not always the case that creating a CSP-aligned course on campus makes sense. In some states, for example, AP courses may not be that common. And larger universities may already have a version of “computing for everyone” already in place. As a result, Advanced Placement CSP may not be the way to get computing to students who do not already have access. With that in mind, the article works through the various issues involved in offering AP CSP equivalent classes, using the example of Georgia and Georgia Tech.

It’s important to consider the reach of AP within the university system of a state. In this case, the state was Georgia. For now, AP is not on the radar of most University System of Georgia campuses. Some schools only get one or two students with AP, which is not enough to be worth a course. The gap in student access to AP between the research universities and the rest of the USG is bigger than most people realize. While the number of AP classes for students who took AP is large, less than 40% of Georgia Tech students come in with AP credit. The other 60% demonstrated their ability in academics through options like Dual Enrollment classes, where students take higher-education classes while still in high school.

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