ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, June 20, 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 12, June 20, 2017


The 7 Hottest Jobs in IT
CIO.com, June 5

According to recruiters and tech pros, the list of the 7 hottest areas in IT includes AI and machine learning, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and cybersecurity. Some of these high-demand roles come with signing bonuses, stock options, and the ability to work remotely. Moreover, these in-demand jobs are not just located in Silicon Valley. According to a new report from the technology association CompTIA, the top five states for job growth last year were actually Utah, North Carolina, Michigan, Washington and Montana.

As AI continues to transform how organizations work with massive amounts of data and convert it into actionable insights, the area is starved for new talent. Corporate and consumer interest are on the rise in areas like automation and autonomous driving, which means engineers with deep learning experience are hard to find. Moreover, the demand for engineers with AI, machine learning, and deep learning skills doesn’t look to be slowing anytime soon. VR and AR are also areas with potential growth. Recruiting firm Randstad recently reported that, despite being one of the most in-demand fields, there were fewer than 5,000 potential candidates for virtual reality jobs as of the end of last year. You can expect that number to increase as more organizations embrace the virtual reality trend.

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Cybersecurity Faces 1.8 Million Worker Shortfall By 2022
Information Week, June 7

Over the next five years, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs will rise to 1.8 million, a 20% increase from 2015 estimates, according to a new survey. Driving this widening shortage is not only the lack of qualified workers but also a greater need to bring in more people to tackle the rapidly evolving ways that cybercriminals and attackers are launching their activities. It's getting easier for low-tech criminals to get into hacking, thanks to malware-as-a-service operations and crimeware kits.

Another report from Cybersecurity Ventures also attributes the immense shortage of cybersecurity workers to the soaring rise in cybercrime, and projected doubling of costs to $6 trillion annually worldwide by 2021. Cybersecurity Ventures is also predicting a much more dire staffing shortfall, with the industry facing a shortage of 3.5 million workers by 2021. While (ISC)2 calculated its data based on a survey of its security professionals, the Cybersecurity Ventures report drew from employment data gleaned from media, analysts, job boards, vendors, governments, and other organizations, on job opening data from the past five years.

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3 Killer Cloud Skills That Will Get You Hired Today
InfoWorld, June 13

According to IT recruiters, having the right cloud skills – such as an Amazon Web Services certification or just about any skill related to the Internet of Things - can get you hired quickly. However, keep in mind that these are emerging areas, so what employers are looking for is constantly shifting. Second, even if companies do hire you for a specific skill, you’ll be asked to retrain and retool as any technology matures.

For recent college graduates, getting an Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification can be a key skill to obtain. It does not matter if you take the developer or architect path for AWS skills because companies are focused on all those AWS certifications. The reality is that companies are not always qualified to vet cloud talent themselves, so they need shortcuts these days to staff up. Certifications are an easy way to validate if an applicant has some degree of talent. So, get real about how hiring works and then seek out appropriate AWS certifications.

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Healthcare Hiring For Cybersecurity Is About to Pick Up
Healthcare IT News, June 8

Healthcare is the hottest hiring hotspot when it comes to cybersecurity. In fact, healthcare hiring managers in North America plan to increase their cybersecurity workforce by 39% this year, more than any other industry. The lack of information security skills in healthcare is so dramatic that nearly three out of four hospitals do not even have a designated security person, according to a recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report. This could become a crisis as healthcare organizations face increasing attacks from cyber criminals looking for access to personal data found in healthcare records.

Healthcare provider organizations that staff up with qualified, experienced cybersecurity professionals will be better equipped to implement the strategies, policies and user education necessary to address many of the security issues they face. Recent studies offer workers with cyber expertise a glimpse into where healthcare and other organizations are looking when it comes to finding staffers to round out their cybersecurity programs. About 48% of hiring managers in North America in all industries are recruiting from social and professional networks, 47% from internal human resources departments, 36% from online job boards, 31% from university graduates, 22% from other departments, 17% from retained search firms, 16% from former and active military, 16% from placement services, 8% from career fairs, and 6% from trade shows and conferences, the study found.

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Is Coding Boot Camp Right For You?
Computerworld, May 25

Nonstop demand for software developers and other IT professionals is leading to boom times for coding schools and boot camps, with career-changers signing up in droves. In 2017, there are more students, more schools, more teaching formats, more efforts to increase diversity and more loans to help students pay tuition. There's also more scrutiny of the programs' graduation and placement rates. In 2016, the number of coding school graduates skyrocketed 80% to an estimated 18,000, according to Course Report, a research firm offering reviews and advice to help people evaluate coding schools. Between 2010 and 2016, job-seeker résumés showing some kind of coding school experience shot from fewer than 1 per million to 1,044 per million, according to job site Indeed.com.

Coding schools are adding locations, classrooms and instructors to accommodate rising numbers of learners who don't mind spending three or more months in full-immersion training if it leads to higher salaries later. But as coding schools gain prominence, they're facing more scrutiny over graduation and placement rates — statistics that would-be students should know before they agree to pay the pricey tuitions. Several groups are working on industry transparency and standards, trying to help coding boot camps avoid the fate of for-profit schools that have been investigated by state and federal regulators for lying about their success rates and pushing students into risky loans, among other things.

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How Your Company Can Win the War for Tech Talent By Hiring Nontraditional Employees
Tech Republic, June 14

With half a million unfilled tech jobs in American workplaces, some tech companies are training workers from outside the traditional talent pipeline to fill gaps and enhance diversity. For example, when the talent shortage began to hit, some companies began to create emerging roles in new tech fields including cloud, cognitive computing, and digital design that don't require a computer science or other tech degree. The reality is that companies have to come up with ways to find new talent—looking at skills people are bringing, and not just credentials, and looking at people who learned skills through nontraditional paths such as vocational schools and boot camps.

For nontraditional IT workers, the transition into the tech world does not always come easily. They are often starting with no experience and limited technical skills, so it can be a lot of work (including 12-hour days) to catch up. To those who are in non-tech fields and interested in breaking into a tech career, it is important to understand that there are skills from working in other careers that are very valuable and applicable. In programming there is always so much to learn and things are constantly changing so it can be intimidating. It really helps to build a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts, and be OK with not knowing everything.

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How to Prepare the Next Generation For Jobs in the AI Economy
Harvard Business Review, June 5

If the next generation is to use AI and big data effectively – if they’re to understand their inherent limitations, and build even better platforms and intelligent systems, then we need to prepare them now. That will mean some adjustments in elementary education and some major, long-overdue upgrades in computer science instruction at the secondary level. Young kids are already interacting with AI and automated technologies, and it’s important to prepare them as early as possible for future jobs in the AI economy.

People who create AI-powered technology must be able to build teams, work in teams, and integrate solutions created by other teams. These are the skills that schools need to be teaching the next generation. Also, with AI taking over routine information and manual tasks in the workplace, we need additional emphasis on qualities that differentiate human workers from AI, such as creativity, adaptability, and interpersonal skills. At the elementary level, that means that we need to emphasize exercises that encourage problem solving and teach children how to work cooperatively in teams. Fortunately, there is a lot of interest in inquiry-based or project-based learning at the K-8 level, though it’s hard to know how many districts are pursuing this approach. Ethics also deserves more attention at every educational level since AI technologies face ethical dilemmas all the time.

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Here’s What New Hires Should Not Say In Their First Month on the Job
Fast Company, June 15

In the first 30 days, you should aim to exceed expectations. Your goal should be to add value to the team and contribute as much as you can. At that time, all eyes are on you, the new hire, and it’s your time to shine. To dazzle your boss, align with colleagues, and be primed for success, there are not only some quick wins to achieve in the first 30 days, but there are also some definite things to avoid. Listen, learn, and lean in are the must-dos. Alienating, assuming, and acting aloof are behaviors that will tarnish your reputation before you’ve even had a chance to make it to your first performance review.

During your first month, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Steer clear of statements like “I just assumed,” and replace it with questions like, “What are your thoughts about?” and “How does your team approach?” or “What do you think about when trying to tackle?” While it may be correct to include an important stakeholder in a meeting, saying “Isn’t that someone else’ job?” is a bit off-putting. It can make you sound uncooperative and may be a red flag to colleagues that perhaps you’re not a team player. In addition, showing distaste for the company’s flexible work policies or how coworkers schedule their work will not win you any friends at the office. Sure, there have been recent discussions about the perception of unfair workloads between single, childless workers and married colleagues or those with families. However, this is not a debate that new employees need to engage in–at least not publicly. If you want a flexible work schedule, discuss that with your boss, and leave the parents on the team out of it.

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CS Education on Tablets for CS for All
Blog @ CACM, June 15

The computer science for all movement continues to gain momentum, and that’s leading to new thinking about how to teach students with special needs, with developmental disabilities, with below-average intelligence, and with fewer opportunities. To really reach everyone with computing education, we are going to need to teach with more diverse methods and at lower cost. Learning to teach computer science on tablets gives us a chance to do both. As a result, computing education researchers, developers, and teachers should learn to teach CS with tablets.

Some CS instructors have been promoting the use of tablets and other low-cost computing devices in classrooms, particularly for STEM learning. For the cost of one high-end laptop, we can give ten or more kids a tablet. The important point, though, is that we have to teach CS differently with tablets. Without a physical keyboard, it doesn't make sense to ask students to write hundreds or even dozens of lines of code. Some programming (e.g., adding features to existing code, finding and fixing code) works, but the real strength of teaching CS on tablets is going beyond just programming. A diverse range of methods for teaching computing work well on low-end computing devices. A variety of Web-based learning activities all could become part of this tablet-centric view of education.

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Technology for Underserved Communities
ACM Queue, June 6

There are important design and technology considerations to keep in mind for underserved and impoverished communities. For example, designing for the more than 1.6 billion impoverished individuals worldwide requires special consideration of community needs, constraints, and context. However, designing and building technology to support people in underserved communities has several complexities. Overcoming these complexities requires, first and foremost, understanding the needs of a specific underserved population and empowering or enabling individuals from that population to produce information and develop their own solutions.

To solve the needs of underserved communities, it is also important to understand the context and constraints that underserved individuals often face, such as limited or nonexistent reading skills, low rates of digital literacy, limited Internet and technology access, and, in many cases, lack of adequate infrastructure (e.g., no electricity or water). Individuals from underserved populations often face social barriers such as limited social networks, social isolation, and systemic issues that exist beyond our control such as social or income inequality. In addition, these issues and limitations vary from region to region, and platforms that might appear successful in one situation may not apply in another situation.

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