ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, March 07, 2017

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 13, Issue 5, March 7, 2017


13 Tech Jobs That Pay $200K Salaries
Network World, February 8

Thirteen tech jobs now boast average salaries of $200,000 or more, according to new data from tech staffing firm Mondo. Most jobs in the $200,000 range are high-level IT leadership or technical positions related to hot areas such as security and big data. Two of the highest-paying jobs are developer roles tied to specific vendor platforms. As might be expected, the No. 1 position in the report was CIO/CTO. These top executives typically earn between $170,000 at the low end and $285,000 at the high end.

At No. 2 on Mondo's salary ranking is Demandware developer, a position that earns between $150,000 and 250,000 a year. Demandware is a cloud-based ecommerce platform that combines digital commerce, predictive analytics, point-of-sale and order management capabilities. The growing demand for Demandware development comes as no surprise, since the platform is known for being highly customizable and for its seamless integration of third-party plug-ins. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) ranks third on Mondo’s salary list, with a salary range of $145,000 at the low end and $250,000 at the high end. It’s one of two security jobs with a salary range that tops $200,000. The other is application security engineer, which commands between $125,000 and $210,000.

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How To Boost Your Career in Big Data and Analytics
Dataconomy.com, March 3

The importance of big data and data analytics is only going to continue increasing in the coming years. Professionals who are working in this field can expect an impressive salary, with the median salary for data scientists being $116,000. Even those who are at the entry level will find high salaries, with average earnings of $92,000. As more and more companies realize the need for specialists in big data and analytics, the number of these jobs will continue to grow. Close to 80% of the data scientists say there is currently a shortage of professionals working in the field.

In terms of education, nearly all data scientists (92%) have an advanced degree. Only eight percent solely have a bachelor’s degree; 44% have a master’s degree and 48% have a Ph.D. Therefore, it stands to reason that those who want to boost their career and have the best chance for a long and fruitful career with great compensation will work toward getting higher education. Now is a good time to enter the field, as many of the scientists working have only been doing so for less than four years. This is simply because the field is so new. Getting into big data and analytics now is getting in on the ground floor of a vibrant and growing area of technology.

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Companies Must Get Ready for Gen Z Workers
CIO Insight, February 22

As Generation Z enters the workforce, its work priorities will differ substantially from those of the earlier Millennial generation. For example, a new study finds Gen Z less dependent on technology than the previous generation. They favor face-to-face interactions and want a physical, rather than a remote, workspace. They also value tools for their effectiveness rather than time savings, convenience and efficiency. In many ways, then, Gen Z resembles the prior Gen X more than the Millennial generation.

In a recent survey, 57% of Gen Z respondents, 51% of Millennials and 42% of Gen X respondents said physical offices will be necessary to complete a day's work. For Gen Z, the hybrid workspace is a key concern. Gen Z wants a physical workspace (57%) combined with the ability to work remotely (48%) and have flexible hours (73%). They want tools that let them work effectively in both environments. In terms of personal communications, 25% of Gen Z workers prefer communicating in person, whereas 40% of Millennials said personal interaction will become less important in the workplace.

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Coding Boot Camps Commit to Transparency in Reporting Around Job Placement
Tech Crunch, March 1

A group of coding boot camps and computer science training programs from around the country are banding together to create a single standard for reporting graduation and job placement data. The move comes as these accelerated learning programs across the country push for greater validation among educational institutions and a share of the massive state and federal dollars that come with accreditation. Called the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), the organization will create truth in advertising standards, and common definitions, documentation and validation requirements for all participating organizations.

Boot camps that join the CIRR will release graduation and placement data semi-annually. Boot camps will have to break out data on students who take the programs at their own pace from students who are enrolled in discrete cohorts and proceed through an established curriculum over a set amount of time. Bi-annually, companies will report graduation rates and time to graduate; placement rates; job types and titles (in tech or non-tech roles) and salary information for graduates. Ad requirements will include a requirement that salary reporting includes the percentage of graduates who are hired at a certain salary. Outcomes (graduation and employment data) will be validated annually by an independent third party.

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The Next Big Blue-Collar Job is Coding
Wired, February 8

The Silicon Valley stereotype of a programmer wearing a hoodie and working 70-80 hours a week isn’t even geographically accurate. After all, Silicon Valley employs only 8% of the nation’s coders. In most cases, a coding job anywhere in the nation is stable and rewarding: it’s 40 hours a week, well paid, and intellectually challenging. While the type of work performed has nothing to do with traditional blue-collar jobs of a previous era, the sense of stability and pride in one’s work is similar. In fact, coding jobs – just like blue-collar jobs – are now seen as a pillar of civil middle-class society. In short, coding is not just about creating the next big startup or changing the world, it’s also about giving millions of the Americans the equivalent of skilled work at a manufacturing plant.

Among other things, a change toward viewing coding jobs as blue-collar jobs would change training for programming jobs—and who gets encouraged to pursue them. For example, businesses would spend less time urging kids to do expensive four-year computer science degrees and instead introduce more code at the vocational level in high school. You could learn how to do it at a community college; midcareer folks would attend intense months-long programs like boot camps. There’d be less focus on the whiz kids founding companies and more on everyday workers who may not have the deep knowledge to craft wild new algorithms for flash trading or neural networks. In short, coding would become a solidly middle-class job, at a time when IT jobs are growing.

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Google and Coursera Have a Plan to Help Fill Tech Job Gaps
Fortune, March 3

Google and Coursera, an online education provider, have announced they've teamed up with a new project aimed at filling some of the nation’s IT talent gap. Coursera already offers more than 2,000 online courses in nearly a dozen languages on topics ranging from business models and investment management to introduction to philosophy and the fundamentals of music theory. Coursera is now adding a new class dedicated specifically about data engineering on Google Cloud. It’s all part of a way of addressing the shortage of trained professionals within Silicon Valley and the technology industry.

Soon, there will be five Google Cloud-centric courses that will cover machine learning, analytics, and app development. Course level range will run the gamut from introductory to intermediate to advanced learners. The first class—a fundamentals course currently only available in English but accessible worldwide—is free to audit. To continue on, participants will need to pay a fee to access premium features, such as assessment grading, and to receive a completion certificate. Financial aid is available as well.

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How to Answer Tough Interview Questions
TechRepublic.com, February 27

Many technology companies continue to use brainteaser-style questions as part of the interview process, mostly to see how well candidates think on their feet. Unfortunately, sometimes, they're just ego-driven, and are attempts by a precocious young questioner to demonstrate how smart they are, as opposed to finding out about what a candidate knows. As a result, if you’re interviewing at a top tech company or startup, you need to be prepared for just about anything, including questions that get people to explain how they have tackled particular problems in the past.

Interviewers should try to get to the heart of questions like: Can the candidate deliver what needs to be done in the job? Are they motivated to do it in this particular company? Do they fit the company culture and management style? Not every candidate is enough of a match in all three areas to warrant getting an offer, nor should a candidate accept a job offer if they think there is not enough of a match in all three areas. In terms of handling brain teaser interview questions, you need to do your research. Oftentimes, tech companies use the same types of brainteaser questions, so candidates can prepare for them ahead of time. You can also prepare to connect your response to any question to what the company is looking for in an employee.

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Ask About the Candidate, Don't Talk About the Position
Entrepreneur.com, March 4

The types of questions that companies ask during the interview should all focus on the prospect, not the opening, and hopefully dig into their work ethic, work preferences and goals. After all, knowing more about each candidate makes it more likely you'll pick the right one. Before your next interview, create a list of five questions you think will reveal the right and wrong candidate based on how a prospective hire will respond. These will be tweaked based on the position you’re hiring for and as you start seeing the results. So, listen carefully and ask good questions before you worry about the message you’re sending by speaking. What you learn and what you say afterwards will be more than worth the wait.

When it comes to receiving important information for any area of your business, you need to embrace the mindset of a reporter or detective. The smallest clue can give your business an advantage, and the best way to do this is through listening. Listen to what your employees are telling you, whether it’s ideas, concerns or their thoughts. Understanding your employees and knowing who they are as people will allow you to run your company more efficiently. For example, ask them: What’s your dream job? Asking someone about their dream job helps test the potential fit right at the start and lets you know what they want out of a job.

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New Principles for E-Learning
eLearn Magazine, December 2016

In e-learning, teaching is often constrained by many factors such as economic limitations, time availability, access to students, student's preferences, student readiness, market needs and demands, and students' access to technology. There is a growing body of literature and research describing the constraints under which much of e-learning operates. Unfortunately, some of these constraints create situations in which teaching in e-learning courses becomes highly rote and disengaged. How can we make our students' experiences more engaging and empowering? One positive step toward better student engagement is gaining a deeper understanding of Paulo Freire's theories of learning with specific steps for applying those theories directly to e-learning settings.

In certain education circles, Paulo Freire is very well known, carrying extraordinary influence. His esteem is well deserved: His early text, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” is considered required reading by many education scholars, teachers, and trainers. It not only elaborates and illustrates the importance of becoming a reflective practitioner, constantly working to integrate theory and practice, but, even more, it clarifies the ethical burden that is assumed when someone takes on the title "teacher." Freire's work is seminal to the fields of critical pedagogy, literacy studies, adult education, and transformative learning. At the time of his death in 1997, Freire was celebrated as beacon of humanity and a genuine luminary, but he was not without his critics. To his credit, much of his writing after “Pedagogy” worked diligently to incorporate and respond to many of his critics. An excellent example of this revisionary process is his later text, “Pedagogy of Hope.”

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Fact Versus Frivolity in Facebook
Blog @ CACM, February 26

Whereas the philosophy of computer science has been directed largely toward the study of formal systems by means of other formal systems—semantics and denotations, computability and set theory, it also needs to be flexible enough to respond to current trends in computing. For example, the philosophy and ethics of computing should have something to say about the viral spread of egregiously false and misleading stories posing as news, such as we saw in the recent presidential election. This especially concerns the types of algorithms and methodologies used by social networks to inform people about news events.

The big question, of course, is whether Facebook and other social networks should be forced to provide vetting of stories. Imposing some control at the point of distribution is tempting, but such a mandate would be misguided. There are two objections for this: it's not Facebook's job, and no one should be only getting their news from Facebook in the first place. Rational decision-making depends on reliable sources of information, people who perform steady and thorough gathering of facts that are woven into complete stories. There is already a cadre of professionals who do that—journalists. This means the news outlets that adhere conscientiously to professional principles, such as the big city newspapers (print or online), are better positioned to take on this role.

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