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ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, April 2 , 2013

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 9, Issue 7, April 2, 2013




 

Five Ways to Job Hunt Using Social Media
Computerworld, March 12

While job seekers often focus on LinkedIn, other popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also play an important role during the job hunt. To attract recruiters and be the first to know about open positions, you need to think beyond just LinkedIn, say career experts. The article summarizes five ways you can job hunt on both popular and lesser-known social networks, such as by following companies on Facebook, searching hashtags on Twitter, and being active on Quora.

If there's a company you want to work for, be sure you "like" them on Facebook. When new job positions open, many companies will post it on their Facebook page or have a tab dedicated entirely to open positions. Next, think about how easily your Facebook profile can be found by recruiters, especially now that the company has introduced its new search tool, Facebook Graph Search. As more recruiters turn to Facebook to find talent, it's important that you update your profile with relevant information. Be sure to update your education section, previous job experience, skill sets and languages you speak. The more relevant information you add to your profile, the better off you'll be.


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Sandberg's Book Prompts Discussion on Dearth of Women in IT
CIO.com, March 25

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's controversial new book, Lean In, has reinvigorated the conversation about the role of women in the IT industry. According to Sandberg, the women’s revolution has stalled and men still play a dominant role within the IT industry. For example, in the early 1980s, women accounted for just over 37% of all U.S. college students earning bachelor's degrees in computer science. By 2010, that percentage had fallen to a little more than 17%. As a result, Sandberg is calling on women to be more assertive, or to "lean in," as she describes in her book.

While Sandberg's book has been criticized for its focus on changing women rather than changing the system, it has opened up debate about what companies can do to empower women in the workplace. Companies that have seen success in attracting women in the workforce point to initiatives such as mentoring programs and opportunities for network-building for women -- activities that Sandberg champions. Yet, despite these best efforts, the overall number of female IT professionals has declined steadily since 2000, when women's share of the computer-related jobs pool hit a peak of nearly 30%.


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40% of America’s Workforce Will Be Freelancers by 2020
Quartz, March 20

By 2020, more than 40% of the US workforce will be comprised of freelancers and other contingent workers, and that will lead to a fundamental re-thinking of the nature of work. In 2006, the last time the federal government counted, the number of independent and contingent workers—contractors, temps, and the self-employed—stood at 42.6 million, or about 30% of the workforce. Following the recent economic downturn that percentage continued to increase. Between 2009 and 2011, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of temporary employees rose by 29%. In addition, a survey of the 200 largest companies found that temporary workers represented, on average, 22% of their workforce, and that percentage is growing.

The forces behind this shift to a contingent workforce are many: the rapid adoption of mobile technology, ubiquitous Internet access, and a general sense of malaise powered by the nagging notion that we’re just not meant to work all day sitting in a cubicle. Add to that the waste of time, energy and brainpower that commuting engenders, and it becomes apparent that our definition of “workplace” will never be the same. It may seem like a tug of war between companies and workers, but in fact they share common goals: using technology and mobility to maximize productivity, innovation, and overall performance.


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Computer Science Enrollments Soared Last Year, Rising 30%
Computerworld, March 8

The number of new undergraduate computer science majors at Ph.D.-granting U.S. universities rose by more than 29% last year, marking the fifth straight year in which the number of students enrolled in computer-related degree programs increased. According to the CRA report, the 2011-12 academic year also marked the third straight year in which the percentage increase in bachelor's degrees awarded hit double digits. In U.S. computer science departments, the year-over-year increases were 19.8% overall and 16.6% among those departments that participated in the survey this year and last year. The enrollment upswing is due to the fact that students are much more aware of the importance of computational thinking in every other field of science and technology.

Women remain underrepresented in computer science, but the latest survey did show an uptick in new female graduates. During the 2011-12 academic year, women accounted for 12.9% of the students graduating with bachelor's degrees in computer science, up from 11.7% in the 2010-11 academic year. But in computer engineering, the percentage of female recipients of bachelor's degrees decreased from 11.8% to 10.6% during the same time period. The survey also found that more students are completing Ph.D. programs. The number of doctoral degrees granted in all computer-related disciplines rose 8.2% year over year, from 1,782 in the 2010-11 academic year to 1,929 in the 2011-12 academic year.


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Take Your Search for a Job Offline
Wall Street Journal, March 24

According to career experts, it’s not enough just to respond to online job postings and then wait – job seekers need to get more face-to-face with their job search. That includes expanding your professional network and coming up with creative ways to get in front of the right people. While the Internet has made it easy to apply for work, career experts say that offline networking efforts to meet people and get introductions are a far more effective way to land jobs—especially since 80% of jobs aren't publicly advertised. As they point out, online searches and research are better used to support offline networking.

As a first step to taking your job search offline, expand your network beyond industry peers. Anybody can offer potential leads, even in the most unlikely of scenarios. Attend professional trade association chapter meetings, conferences and trade shows. Follow up by volunteering at association events or being on a committee. All of these things take a lot of time and effort -- so don't expect to just walk out with a job referral. You want to get to know people, become part of the organization and contribute.


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Avoid an Emergency Career Crisis: 14 Tips for Planning Ahead for Your Next Job
Marketing Profs, March 28

Anticipation and planning ahead can improve your ability to effectively cope with emergencies such as a career crisis, even when the timing of a job change is uncertain. Those who are always prepared for an unexpected job change are likely to suffer less than those who are caught by surprise. Job seekers should start early to lean on their networks to help them get through their job search and land a job swiftly. The article includes 14 tips if you want to prepare immediately for a career crisis that might well sneak up on you in today's job market.

If things seem uncertain at work, start your job search as early as possible. Don't deny the signs of impending waves of reductions in force, an announced or recent merger or acquisition, appointment of new management, a new owner or controlling interest, the logical consequences of a poor performance review or Board meeting decision, or being passed over for a promotion. Secondly, start to organize resources for conducting a successful job search while you still have a job. Review your LinkedIn profile, scrutinize its meaning for alignment with your future career goals, add recent accomplishments and keep revising achievements, experience, and skills. Ask for endorsements and recommendations. Update your status regularly if you have not been doing so consistently. Join appropriate groups and monitor discussions.


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Top Eight Sites for Researching Your Next Employer
Network World, March 28

Whether you are at the beginning of your job search or preparing for an interview, being armed with as much knowledge as possible about the prospective company is in your best interest. Not only will it help you formulate more insightful questions, it will boost your confidence as well. Going into an interview armed with information can be a decided advantage, even if the information is available for public consumption. The article summarizes three ways that knowledge about a prospective employer will help you in the job search and make you a more confident applicant.

Glassdoor bills itself as a “free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies.” Unlike LinkedIn and Monster, Glassdoor is all about user-submitted feedback. Glassdoor also offers information about salaries (provided anonymously) as well as likely interview questions and more. At this point, it has more than three million salaries and reviews posted, providing you with a multitude of valuable resources. Another top site -- Indeed.com -- bills itself as “the #1 job site worldwide,” with over 100 million unique visitors per month. Job data on the site comes from more than 50 countries and is available in 26 languages. Indeed.com has job listings for prospective employees as well as resume listings from prospective employees.


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Over Half of IT Workforce Unhappy With Salary
Computerweekly.com, March 28

Over half of the IT workforce in the UK feels they are underpaid, according to a new survey that found that only 47% of employees in the IT sector are happy with their current salary. Regardless of feeling that pay is too low, 60% of respondents said they are happy with their job. Overall, the survey results suggest that the tough job market in recent years has impacted worker priorities: when times are difficult, salary packages aren’t as important to potential employees as the security of their position. As the economy improves, so does worker confidence, and that results in higher salary demands.

In 2012, 27% of survey respondents claimed long-term job security was the most important factor when choosing a job; however, this has fallen to 16% for 2013. This year 18% of respondents said competitive salary and employee benefits are the most important factors when picking an employer. By comparison, this figure was only 11% in 2012 and 12% in 2011. Last year, tech employees felt they were working the equivalent of one-and-a-half jobs, and it is clear that teams are still as lean as possible. While cost is still a concern, the best employers make sure employees don’t feel stretched to breaking point. Workload management, alongside professional development, should be high on an employer’s agenda for maintaining morale.


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ACM Council on Women Honors World Leader in High Performance Computing
ACM Press Room, March 21

The ACM Council on Women in Computing named Katherine Yelick of UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as the winner of the 2013-2014 Athena Lecturer Award for her work in improving the fundamental understanding and practice of parallel programming. The Athena Lecturer Award celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science and includes a $10,000 honorarium provided by Google. The article takes a closer look at the career accomplishments of Yelick and the impact of her work within the computer science field.

The ACM-W Awards committee enumerated several reasons for the selection of this year’s Athena Lecturer Award. Yelick's innovative software is used in both the research community and in production environments, and she has taken on the challenges of software developers in the age of exascale computing and helped them become more efficient in this environment. An effective teacher and mentor, she has been a role model for the computing community. Yelick co-invented two different programming languages, both of which support high-performance scientific computing. Later, she demonstrated the applicability of these languages across architectures through the use of novel runtime and compilation methods. She is also the author of two books and more than 100 refereed technical papers on parallel languages, compilers, algorithms, libraries, architecture and storage.


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Innovation for Jobs
Blog @ CACM, March 25

The first-ever International Summit on Innovation for Jobs gathered together leaders from government, academia and business to discuss how innovation in technology, public policy and education will be needed to help the workers of today and tomorrow to find meaningful work. A basic tenet of the conference was that innovation, while it drives the majority of global GDP growth, both destroys jobs and creates the need for new ones. Technology often will end more jobs than it begins, eliminating low-paying minimum-knowledge positions and replacing them with jobs that are higher on the economic ladder. This, in turn, puts more emphasis than ever before on workers to increase their knowledge and skills.

As IT workers get displaced from low-end jobs by technology, they will need all the help they can get, in addition to a great deal of dedication, determination and education, if they are to find new roles in the evolving global economy. As an example, look at what happens when a manufacturing plant implements robots to replace workers who perform simple repetitive tasks on the manufacturing line. The value proposition for the company is that robots have a high up-front cost and require programming and maintenance, but over the long run, the company will save money in comparison to employing a large pool of relatively low-cost humans who need to be paid salaries and benefits. Combine those simple economics with the idea that technology has continued to improve over the past several decades, and it becomes clear that, unless there is a radical change of some sort, we can expect that trend of improving technology to continue into the future, even to the extreme point where there is the eventual elimination of all manual workers from the work force.


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