ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, November 15, 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 22, November 15, 2016

10 Hardest-To-Find Tech Skills
IT News, November 9

Advances in computing power, data analytics, the cloud and other areas of the tech sector are leading to changing priorities for recruiters. Most importantly, tech professionals with skills related to organizing, analyzing and securing data are increasingly harder to find, and that is upping the ante for recruiters. With that in mind, Burning Glass, a labor market analytics and research firm, researched more than 40,000 job postings from August 2015 to September 2016, and ranked by the number of days it takes to fill roles requiring that skill, the hardest-to-find tech skills.

A Cloud Security job, which takes 96 days to fill, is one of the hardest jobs for recruiters to find the right talent. Even organizations that balked at cloud technology in the past are finally jumping on board, driven by the efficiency and cost-savings the cloud can provide. Another job that is hard to fill is Metadata Design, which has a time to fill of 73 days. Designing infrastructure around data requires specialized analysis and information about the types of data organizations have as well as compliance and access policies. Integration Architecture jobs have a time to fill of 70 days. Integration architects are often involved with database modeling, working with interface specifications or managing any other process that involves how data is integrated into a specific IT architecture.

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There Is a War On For Cybersecurity Talent
Network World, November 9

Hiring new cybersecurity talent is becoming increasingly difficult for managers, so they will need to become more creative if they hope to fill critical positions. That means redefining jobs, training human resources departments to screen resumes differently, seeking latent talent already inside the organization, and hiring bright, motivated people who can grow into critical roles. Talent is so scarce that it typically takes eight to 12 months to fill cybersecurity jobs, so employers need to be flexible about which candidates they will consider. Organizations need to get their managers to be managers by managing how critical tasks are divvied up and training their staffs so all those tasks are accomplished.

As a result of the war for talent, companies should look for bright, capable people with the aptitude for the skills needed for open positions, and then train them. The best candidate are those with critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and writing and communications talent, not just the technical competencies they tend to list on resumes. And job seekers need to do more to help themselves by describing how their skills and competencies can help the hiring organization. Managers should hire the smart people who meet those qualifications, even if they do not have all the specific skills required so long as they are willing to learn and show enthusiasm for the open position. Once they have jobs and want to move up the management chain, they will likely need to acquire formal credentials.

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11 Careers You Can Land After Attending A Coding Bootcamp
Forbes, October 28

Ever since 2012, when there were only a handful of bootcamps, the career possibilities open to graduates of coding bootcamps have widened significantly. According to Course Report 2016 estimates, there are now 91 full-time coding bootcamps, boasting a total of nearly 18,000 graduates. Coding bootcamps now provide a practical introduction to many of the key concepts and skills involved in programming. These skills translate to assessing code quality in QA, scaling deployments horizontally, and confidently grasping the latest languages and platforms for different fields. Careers one can land after a coding bootcamp are open-ended and are not just confined to software engineers and web developers.

One career option after attending a coding bootcamp is becoming a developer advocate. This role consists of creating technical content and tools for other developers, researching new and evolving technologies, providing customer support, attending conferences and events, and more. Another career option is becoming a web developer. During a coding bootcamp to become a web developer, you might study a full stack curriculum that focuses on Ruby on Rails and Javascript, as well as HTML and CSS. The bootcamp experience can be a total game changer, even if you had some previous coding experience. It can help you learn what actual software development is like. It might allow you to move into the startup scene without a huge amount of adjustment or growing pains.

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7 Future-Proof Jobs in STEM
Asian Scientist, November 11

While technology promises a future in which artificially intelligent machines can get the job done more cheaply, efficiently and accurately than humans, there are still a variety of jobs that are remarkably resistant to future technological change. So, even as some white-collar professions see their functions and positions eroded by machines, there are still some thriving opportunities in the tech sector. These include new openings for cybersecurity specialists, software engineers, data scientists and cloud professionals.

Since cybersecurity threats are very real today, cybersecurity specialists are very much in demand. There is an overwhelming amount of data involved in the arrival of Big Data, cloud computing, Internet of Things and AI technology, and all of these data need to be protected. Cybersecurity specialists protect networks from attacks, security breaches and all manner of malicious programs. Coding and programming classes are in great demand, and with good reason. Arguably, software engineers and developers will always be sought-after for their ability to build websites, applications and platforms, which is valuable to many different industries.

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5 Sites That Help You Showcase Your Professional Talents
CIO.com, November 7

There are a number of websites, including LinkedIn, Squarespace and Weebly, that can help you design an online portfolio or make your personal branding more attractive to recruiters. That is important to keep in mind because, in the past 10 years, professional branding has gained more attention in the job market, especially as social networking has grown. It's not uncommon for people to put their personal lives online, and that attitude has extended to their professional lives, too. Creating an online portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills and talents and you apart from other candidates. Just drop your portfolio link into your resume or cover letter, and recruiters can quickly learn more about you beyond the traditional resume.

Using LinkedIn is probably the simplest and most low-maintenance way to build your online presence. The site is user-friendly, so you can quickly get your resume up on the site. Not only is LinkedIn a great way to showcase your work experience, you can also ask colleagues to leave testimonials or recommendations for your work. It also allows you to share links to published work, connect with others in your field and stay on top of your industry while expanding your network. Having your own website is a great way to get your name out there, especially if you are a consultant or freelancer. If want to start an industry blog or if you need a place to share your creative work. But not everyone has the time, energy or skills to create and maintain a website from scratch. Squarespace does a lot of the work for you, including templates specifically designed to help you build a professional portfolio.

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The Top 6 Reasons Why Employees Leave, and How You Can Stop Them
Tech Republic, November 1

Approximately 55% of CIOs say they are worried about employee retention over the next 12 months, according to research from staffing firm Robert Half. And nearly one-quarter of tech executives said losing a highly-skilled employee without notice would have a significant adverse impact on their business, because that person would be difficult to replace. These workers are also difficult to retain, since many opportunities are available to them. Among top executives, the top causes of employee turnover include: limited opportunities for career growth (30%), job boredom (21%), inadequate compensation and benefits (20%), excessive workload (12%), unhappiness with management (7%), and lack of recognition (7%).

To retain IT employees, managers need to become more proactive when it comes to retention. If some employees are your best people, make sure they know it. Acknowledge your employee's contributions, and recognize them for their individual work as well as for their value to the company. It's important to determine how each individual employee on your team prefers this recognition, such as with a private note or a public announcement. Also, set up a plan with your best tech talent for long-term career growth and job satisfaction. Ensure that top performers understand paths for growth in your organization, so they know they can advance and feel challenged with the company. Creating a career development plan or offering extra training in areas of interest can help.

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Soft Skills: An IT Career Must-Have
Datamation, November 3

Based on the new 2017 Tech Career Outlook survey from Spiceworks, it appears that soft skills, like good communication skills, are among the most sought after by firms looking to hire new IT professionals. IT professionals recognize soft skills are important to have, especially because they can help with the common challenge of getting management to understand the importance of IT priorities. However, in the face of ever-increasing corporate data breaches and cyber threats, the number one skill IT professionals plan to improve in 2017 is their cybersecurity expertise.

Cybersecurity barely edged out soft skills and computer networking in Spiceworks' survey, with all three of them cited by at least 95% of respondents. Virtualization (92%), project management (89%) and cloud architecture skills (72%) also ranked high. Recent events have made it clear that security expertise is needed in every industry, putting IT professionals with security skills in high demand. And because money talks, often underpaid IT pros are more eager to advance their cybersecurity skills to find higher salaries and more fulfilling work.

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How Gender-Neutral Job Postings Can Decrease Time to Hire
Computerworld, November 7

There's a simple way to boost the volume in your talent pipeline and get qualified candidates hired and delivering business value faster: remove gender-biased language from your job descriptions. That could solve a huge problem for companies looking to fill critical IT roles and focus on bringing more women and underrepresented groups into technology. One of the most common reasons companies give for their lack of diversity is a lack of qualified candidates from underrepresented groups. The use of certain terms that may skew towards a certain gender has been gaining recognition ever since the American Psychological Association found that some seemingly innocuous words could actually signal a gender bias in job ads.

It stands to reason that if you reach a wider pool of applicants (including women and candidates from underrepresented groups), you're much more likely to have a greater supply of applicants which, in turn, improves diversity and speeds up the recruiting and hiring process. When you're not excluding half of your potential applicant pool, not limiting it to one demographic, then the roles fill much more quickly. And recent data from ZipRecruiter backs up the assertion that gender-neutral language can help companies attract a more diverse talent pool and fill vacancies faster. When gendered language is removed from the equation, companies are left with a higher chance of scoring the best candidate for the job. The company found that neutral wording in job listings resulted in 42% more applicants than listings that contained gendered words.

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Is Academia Guilty of Intellectual Colonization of Practice?
Blog @ CACM, November 1

Many of the issues related to the research-practice gap in computer science are not unique to this field. Other fields, such as medical or social sciences, have been facing similar problems, which are related to the proper amount of coordination and collaboration between researchers and practitioners. Often in software engineering research, for example, the questions are asked and answered by people outside the software engineering practice but using software engineering practitioners as respondents or data gatherers. There is usually no involvement of the software engineering practitioners in the analysis or discussion of the project, although their time is acknowledged.

In many research projects, practitioners could be credited more or could be given an opportunity to contribute as co-authors. It is all too common for practitioners to be approached to participate in research projects where their role is limited to anonymously filling in questionnaires and interview forms. They are not invited or given an opportunity to actively participate in analysis or discussions. Sometimes the researchers are amateurs, usually students with little or no practical experience in domains they were studying. Doing research in practice is rare and difficult, but doing it naively creates more harm than good. At best, it does not help bridging the research-practice gap. At worst, it makes the gap wider, as practitioners may be reluctant to collaborate in any further activities.

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Heidelberg Anew
Communications of the ACM, November 2016

Returned back from the fourth annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum, former ACM President Vinton Cerf discusses some of the fascinating ways that mathematics and computer science are interacting. Two big developments that are having an impact on this coordination are neural networks and quantum computers. Each year 200 math and computer science undergraduates participate in the Heidelberg program, approximately 100 each. Speeches by laureates are mixed with undergraduate workshops and plenary open sessions. There is ample opportunity for interaction among students and laureates and between students.

Fundamental questions about what can be computed are getting attention in light of these new computing engines that are very different from the ones from a generation ago. With that in mind, the value of thinking mathematically while considering the process of programming is increasing. As always, the mathematics and computer science students at the event were full of energy, ideas, and eagerness to interact with each other and with the laureates present. The organizers worked hard to maximize student opportunities to meet with laureates including a number of workshops where some in-depth discussion could be supported. Some of the laureates voiced a strong recommendation that every effort should be made to allow rich interaction between students of the two disciplines.

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