ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, December 20, 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 24, December 20, 2016


10 Hottest Tech Skills for 2017
Computerworld, December 7

Heading into 2017, competition for tech talent remains fierce. The unemployment rate for tech workers is about 2%, according to reports on recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computerworld's Forecast 2017 survey of 196 IT professionals found that both project management and technical support were among the top 10 most sought-after skills among survey respondents who said they plan on adding head count in the new year. Right now, there's a classic supply-and-demand scenario working here, with demand for talent far exceeding supply. The takeaway is there aren't enough workers in areas like programming, application development, security and compliance.

One of the hottest areas for hiring is programming and application development, where 35% of respondents in the Computerworld survey say they are hiring within the next 12 months. Developers and programmers continue to be leading players in the IT world, with hiring managers citing programming and application development as the top skills they will be seeking in the upcoming year. Companies need tech pros who can customize off-the-shelf applications, work on APIs and integration points, and even develop proprietary software. Another popular area is help desk and technical support. 35% of respondents with hiring plans said they would be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months. Help desk staff remains in high demand because technology is so pervasive. That's also why it's critical to find the right people for these jobs. Even though support technician is sometimes seen as an entry-level position, companies often require candidates to have broad knowledge about different hardware and software systems so they can handle requests from all over the organization.

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4 Tips for Job Searching This Holiday Season
CIO.com, December 12

There are a number of ways to make the holiday season work for your job search. Many job seekers don't realize how important it is to keep their search fully active during these holiday months. There is little to no competition. Companies are completing their budget planning for the next fiscal year, so it's a great time to get in front of hiring managers. And, many executives have to fill openings early in the year or they may lose the budget for that position. Moreover, the holidays are a time of year when more employees are receiving year-end bonuses and then transitioning into new positions or promotions, leaving vacancies in their wake.

The holidays are all about getting together with family and friends, and while you don't want to turn every social interaction into a networking opportunity, it's still a great time to keep an eye out for any potential leads. For example, charity fundraisers or holiday gatherings can turn into networking opportunities. A high-quality business card will not only help make you look more professional, but it gives you an easy, low-pressure way to share your contact information during any networking scenario. You don't want to scare someone off, though, by furnishing a full resume, cover letter and professional recommendations.

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New Tech Jobs in Top Demand in 2017
Network World, November 15

Thanks to the development of new technologies like cognitive computing, virtual and augmented reality and the Internet of Things, the technology industry is experiencing massive job demand and growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of tech and computer occupations is expected to grow 12% by 2024, greater than the average for all other occupations. Not only that, but also the newest and most in-demand tech careers are netting some of the highest salaries. Three of the newest tech jobs in demand for 2017 include VR Engineer, AR Engineer and Cognitive Computing Engineer.

Virtual reality (VR) is no longer a few years off. It’s here, and it’s not just for gaming. Tech-centered businesses hoping to capitalize on an industry that’s expected to generate $30 billion in revenue by 2020 will need to hire VR Engineers to do so. No longer solely relegated to the gaming sector, Virtual Reality Engineers are being sought out by everyone from Google and the New York Times to startups that are developing new products specifically for virtual reality. Professionals with experience developing VR platforms will continue to experience a drastic increase in demand for their skills as VR hardware costs go down and the technology reaches widespread marketplace adoption.

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2017 Predictions For AI, Big Data, IoT, Cybersecurity, and Other Tech Jobs
Forbes, December 12

Experts are already giving their prognostications for which technologies will be hot next year, and what that might mean for the overall technology job market. Artificial intelligence (and machine/deep learning) is the hottest trend, eclipsing, but building on, the accumulated hype for the previous “new big thing,” big data. The new catalyst for the data explosion is the Internet of Things, which brings with it new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The rapid fluctuations in the relative popularity of these trends also create new dislocations and opportunities in the tech job market.

In terms of artificial intelligence (AI), the hottest segment at the moment is the market for chatbots. In 2017, the movement towards conversational interfaces will accelerate. The recent combined efforts of a number of innovative tech giants point to a coming year when interacting with technology through conversation becomes the norm. From this perspective, conversational interfaces could be game-changing. Since the advent of computers, we have been forced to speak the language of computers in order to communicate with them and now we’re teaching them to communicate in our language. Search engines like Google and Bing have already made big moves enabling search queries via spoken word while Facebook launched an AI-effort, DeepText, to understand individual users’ conversational patterns and interests.

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Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools
Bloomberg, December 6

Coding bootcamps, once the darling of computer science hiring managers, are coming under increased scrutiny. Applicants who may have paid thousands of dollars for a bootcamp say they are not always landing a promised high-paying job, and employers say applicants are sometimes woefully prepared for even the basics of a programming career. The article focuses on the problems swirling around Coding House, a Silicon Valley school that advertises an average starting salary of $91,000 for its graduates. The school is now accused of making false statements -both about how many people actually land jobs later, and about the types of companies that are actually hiring them.

When they first became prevalent a few years ago, coding schools were heralded as the answer to the technology industry’s prayers. Companies complained they couldn’t hire programmers fast enough, and meanwhile, many jobseekers said they couldn’t find employment. Just give those people an engineering crash course, the reasoning went, and the problem would be solved. Coding bootcamps, 12- or 14-week programs that teach software engineering, sprang up. Many are for-profit, though exceptions exist. But the great promise of these schools training a new generation of skilled engineers has largely fallen flat. Coding House’s spectacular fall is an extreme case, but interviews with more than a dozen coding school graduates reveal that when they do land a job, often their engineering education doesn’t cut it. Many admit they lack the big-picture skills that employers say they want. Training them often requires hours of hand-holding by more experienced staff, employers say. The same holds true for graduates holding computer science degrees, but those employees generally have a better grasp of broader concepts and algorithms, recruiters said.

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5 Components of an Attention-Getting Resume
Entrepreneur.com, December 15

A resume is one of the most important documents you have for landing a new job. The content on these few pages can drastically change your life, presenting you with new opportunities or taking you down a new career path altogether. If you are seeking new opportunities or testing the job market, make sure your resume isn’t missing any of these components: a good story, a strong top third, and flawless formatting.

Your resume tells your story, so make sure it is easily understood and has a great flow to it. Hiring managers have hundreds and sometimes several thousand resumes to scan, so if they are confused at any point while reading yours, it will quickly end up in the trash. Your story should be very clear. The person reading your resume should be able to quickly understand who you are, what you currently do, what you have done in the past, when and where you have done it and how good you were at doing it. Moreover, the top third of your resume needs to quickly grab the attention of its reader enough that you get placed in the “review for consideration” pile. It’s important that you sell yourself strongly in the beginning, as nobody is going to read every word of your resume on the first round.

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Every Single Person You Hire Should Have These 3 Characteristics
Inc.com, December 15

It doesn't matter if you're hiring for sales, engineering, or a summer intern, it’s often a mix of attitude and exceptional communication skills that will stand out the most, not just technical skills. While a stellar resume and relevant experience might have won you the gig in the past, candidates increasingly have to demonstrate the right attitude as well as the right skills. There are several personality traits that absolutely every employee should display, no matter their role or the company's niche.

Experts agree that exceptional communication skills are at the top of any list of skills that employees should have. While public speaking skills are a great asset to have, the ability to clearly communicate with others (both verbally and in writing) goes much deeper. The heart of exceptional communication skills is the ability to be proactive (and assumedly clear) about sharing needs, updates and changes, and to keep on top of what others on the team are working on.

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How Bad Hires Hurt Your Organization
CIO Insight, December 15

If you're like many CIOs and other executives and managers, you've been saddled with a bad hire at least once in your career. In fact, most companies have to deal with this issue, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. In some cases, candidates lie about their qualifications. In others, they develop negative attitudes while failing to meet quality-of-work expectations. As a result, department productivity and morale typically take a plunge. That's why it's essential to conduct a thorough review, if simply to distinguish candidate fact from fiction during the hiring process.

If an employee isn't well-suited for the job or has a bad attitude, the time they spend not working could significantly impact your bottom line. That's why it's so important to make sure qualifications are substantiated. It's a hard cost to quantify, but it adds up when you consider the loss of employee morale, the additional supervision that employee needs, productivity loss for the organization, revenue that's not being generated and client relationships that could be turning sour as a result of bad impressions. By some estimates, the average cost of a single bad hire is $17,000.

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Resolving Conflict at Work
ACM Queue, November 15

In a perfect world, we would all get along with our coworkers and bosses all the time. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. While most of us make our best efforts to avoid conflict at work, occasionally it is unavoidable. With that in mind, the article includes some of the best tips on how to make all of your conflicts in the workplace healthy and productive, so you can move on and get back to what really matters. Keep in mind: the longer your track record of successfully managing and negotiating conflict, the better it will serve you in the long run than winning one argument or dispute.

The best way to win an argument is to let go of the idea that you actually have something to "win." Winning, in this case, doesn't mean getting your way or showing the opposition how they are wrong. Instead, it means being the person who helps everyone get on the same page so everyone can move forward. With most technical decisions there aren't any "right answers" -- there are only different approaches that all have pros and cons. Getting aligned in the decision-making process and determining which tradeoffs are acceptable is better than trying to demonstrate who is right. Start by looking for common ground. At the heart of many workplace conflicts is often a common goal. Two people disagreeing over strategy might have the shared goal of wanting to execute a project at the highest quality possible. Their conflict isn't as deep as it might look from the outside; really, they already agree on the important parts and are just fighting about details.

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The Work and Inspiration of the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers
Blog @ CACM, November 29

The APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, which is published by the Committee on Philosophy and Computers, is broadening its appeal to cover issues that are of interest to both philosophers and computer science experts. The articles and short pieces that it offers are eclectic, yet firmly rooted in contemporary philosophical issues related to computing. According to the current editor, Piotr Boltuc, the established arenas of discourse in philosophy of computing share many issues with philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and also with moral and political philosophy as applied to computers and their rapid deployment.

Dr. Piotr Boltuc explains that the name of the Committee on Philosophy and Computers comes with a long history. The Committee was first devoted to persuading philosophers to use computers at all, as well as to exploration of web resources. It was very closely related to the Computing and Philosophy society (CAP), sharing active members. The APA Newsletter, which started in 2002, inherited the name and focus. Under its first editor Jon Dorbolo, the APA Newsletter had its own editorial board, with sections on web-based resources, computer ethics, and teaching in cyberspace. Initially the focus was on book reviews, but later included important interviews and articles, including an early piece by Tim van Gelder on argument mapping.

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