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ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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 8, Issue 15, August 7, 2012




The Five Hottest IT Jobs Right Now
Network World, July 26

Five different IT jobs are experiencing a significant increase in attention from hiring managers and recruiters this summer, according to a recent report from Dice.com. Mobile and cloud are the leading categories right now, with companies putting a premium on being able to hire Android and iOS developers. Other hot areas for new IT jobs include virtualization and data architecture. While all of these areas are experiencing double-digit growth compared to last year, the number of overall tech jobs in the U.S. is only up 3% from last summer.

According to Dice.com, the number of listings for iPhone developers is up 106% from last summer. On the site, there are 2,254 open jobs for iPhone and iPad developers and engineers at companies ranging from eBay to ESPN. Similarly, the number of Android developers and software engineer listings is up 50% year-over-year. More than 2,100 Android-related jobs are listed on Dice.com. Overall, demand for mobile developers is up 40% from last July. There are more than 1,500 jobs listed on Dice.com that feature the word "mobile."


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Tips on How IT Leaders Can Attract (and Retain) Millennials
CIO.com, July 20

Millennials think about life and work differently than older Baby Boomer and Generation X employees, so hiring and retaining them requires management that understands their needs and a business environment to match. Most millennials believe the workplace should be social and enjoyable, and they want flexible hours and less governance over the projects to which they are assigned. Nearly half of them would rather have no job than a job they hate, and nearly two-thirds believe they should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to technology. Companies should view these millennials as innovative, creative and hungry for job roles that they can grow in an ongoing capacity. As a result, the organizational culture of these companies should reflect the changing needs and aspirations of millennials.

First of all, CIOs and other IT leaders need to understand what motivates millennials. Most millennials consider loving what they do to be more important than a big salary or a big bonus. Millennials will flock to organizations with a reputation for doing fun or interesting work, meaning firms will have to aggressively manage their employer brand if they hope to attract top talent. Nearly 90% of millennials are looking for a workplace that's social and fun, and 71% of them want their coworkers to be like a second family. 89% want to be constantly learning at their job, 75% of millennials want a mentor, and 90% want senior people in the company to listen to their ideas and opinions. 95% say they are motivated to work harder when they understand the role and importance of their work in the context of the overall business.


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Four Ways to Stand Out in a Job Search
U.S. News & World Report, August 1

In order to stand out from hundreds of other job seekers, there are four keys that can help any candidate redefine the job search process. By differentiating yourself from others, you can overcome the frustration of applying for dozens of jobs online and not hearing back from any of them. For example, you can put additional effort into adapting your resume and cover letter for the specific hiring needs of a company. Or, you can find an insider at the company who can help guide you to the appropriate jobs and responsibilities.

Most importantly, take the time to adapt your resume to address the requirements of the job posting. Look at the job posting and carefully analyze what they are looking for. Underline key skills sets, technical terms, and technology mentioned in the posting and then use these specific words in your summary of qualifications. Use the same underlined words and phrases in your cover letter and, most importantly, make sure you explain why you're interested in working for that company. If the jobs you applied for are truly of interest, then it is worth your time and effort to follow up with an email or phone call. When you do make contact or before you leave the interview, always ask what the next steps are and when you can follow up. Be systematic and persistent since companies don't keep applicants waiting purposely. Instead of assuming the company has filled the position or is not interested in you, follow up persistently and regularly.


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Top Ten Colleges for Tech CEOs
InfoWorld, July 31

Two West Coast universities – the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford – have produced the highest number of high-tech CEOs, followed by Harvard and Dartmouth. Surprisingly, neither CalTech nor MIT, considered among the nation’s best technical universities, ranked in the Top 5. The article analyzes the educational backgrounds of the 50 highest-paid and most powerful CEOs in the U.S. tech industry.

Despite its reputation as the must-attend college for aspiring tech CEOs, Stanford accounted for just four of the 81 degrees on the list. Tech industry CEOs who graduated from Stanford includes Google CEO Larry Page,who holds a master's degree in computer science from Stanford, as does Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. Notwithstanding its laid-back, hippie image, the University of California at Berkeley is the No. 1 university for producing U.S. tech industry CEOs. Among the 81 degrees obtained by top tech CEOs, Berkeley represents five of them -- more than any other school on the list. Graduates include Paul Otellini, CEO and president of Intel, who holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, as does Shantanu Narayan, CEO and president of Adobe.


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Do You Need an Executive Coach?
Computerworld, July 26

Just as high-performing athletes have personal performance coaches, senior IT leaders can hire an executive coach to raise their leadership skills to the next level. These executive coaches – unlike a mentor or boss - can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, provide feedback and help you tweak your performance. Typically, IT professionals haven't engaged such services at the same pace as other senior managers, say coaches, CIOs and other corporate leaders. But that is changing as tech executives and their companies see that IT can gain as much from coaching as the CEO or other senior leaders. In fact, IT professionals may even benefit more, particularly those who rise through the ranks on the strength of their technical expertise rather than their management experience.

Like their counterparts in other professions, IT leaders hire executive coaches under a variety of circumstances. Some receive coaches as part of executive compensation packages that come standard to all leaders at certain levels of the company. Others are assigned coaches individually -- either as rising stars who are being groomed for promotion or as struggling managers who need help in specific areas of performance. Finally, some people decide on their own to work with a coach as a way of investing in their career. Though companies most often pay for the service, some professionals do pay out of their own pockets for various reasons. They may work for companies with financial difficulties where such expenses are just not possible. Others may want their coaching arrangement to remain private or may be at a less senior level where the company has decided not to cover the cost.


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Seven Things a Headhunter Won’t Tell You
Forbes, July 26

At some point you may find yourself working with a headhunter, so it’s helpful to understand how they operate and how their thinking can influence your job search. An experienced headhunter has inside information from the job market and knowledge about openings that will never be advertised, meaning that he or she can search more efficiently for jobs than you can. While they can be a catalyst for your career growth and help match you with a job, they don’t necessarily have the same rigor and dedication as you do to propel your career growth. Their focus is to fill a job, satisfy a client and collect a fee. The article provides some general recommendations on how to make headhunting a win-win for both the candidate and the recruiter.

Typically, headhunters are generalists in a world of specialists, so they might not understand what you do for a living, what a particular job entails or how a specific job might advance your career. Do your research and do not expect them to give you well-informed answers to your questions about the company or job responsibilities. Moreover, their decision about whether to call you for an opening is based on a 5 to 10-second glance at your résumé. Make sure they can quickly spot the essential information by boiling your bio down to a maximum of two or three pages. Since the decision of whether or not to tell you about a job opening is based on your presentation, a headhunter might decide not to put you in front of a customer for reasons that are completely unrelated to your skills or experience.


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The Nine Most Endangered Species in the IT Workforce
InfoWorld, July 30

Given the rapid pace of innovation within the technology industry, there are nine IT jobs that are most at-risk of disappearing within the next several years. The cloud computing revolution, combined with the infusion of consumer devices into the workplace, has created the conditions for massive change in IT titles and responsibilities. Job titles that were once considered secure are suddenly on the verge of extinction, thanks in part to a world where business users no longer have to go through IT to get the technology they need to do their jobs. Based on insights from a number of leading experts, though, it’s possible to avoid becoming one of these endangered species of IT professional.

For decades, individuals with control over the IT budget held sway over all tech decisions, wielding the word "no" to slash all spending requests, citing security or budget concerns. But the BYOD revolution and the growing popularity of public cloud services for users have taken power away from these individuals. IT professionals with a deep knowledge of a particular type of hardware or coding language are another group of workers facing an uncertain future. Instead of wearing their expertise like a protective shell, they are being replaced in the evolutionary chain by flexible generalists with a broader skill set. Repair techs were once a common sight in offices, called upon to fix anything from hard drives to motherboards, while keeping expensive desktops up and running. But the plummeting cost of hardware and popularity of cheap mobile devices have reduced their value to the organization.


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Three Reasons to Recruit Via Talent Communities
Mashable, July 22

To maximize the chances of attracting and connecting with the best candidates, recruiters and hiring managers should consider using talent communities. True talent communities facilitate two-way communication between employers and candidates, something that is unmatched in standard recruiting practices. However, these talent communities can’t be built in a day: they require consistent management and upkeep to produce results. The article outlines several reasons why talent communities can work for your social recruiting strategy, most notably because it’s where the talent is in today’s digital world.

Nine out of ten job seekers spend all of their time looking for a job online, and that’s changing the way companies need to interact with them. While job seekers head online for access to vast networking opportunities, and the ability to be seen by thousands of employers, online candidate searching is not a utopia for recruiters. Anxious job seekers blast out hundreds of generic cover letters and resumes flooding employers with hundreds to thousands of subpar candidate applications. With a talent community, companies are able to identify candidates who are already “fit” to apply. They have the opportunity to interact and demonstrate a company’s brand, values and mission. Within a talent community, recruiters will be able to distill their candidate pipeline down to those that follow the company and display the passion and for the field they have chosen.


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The Coming Tsunami in Educational Technology
CACM Blog, July 23

At the CRA’s 40th Anniversary Conference, Stanford president John L. Hennessy discussed the far-reaching changes that are occurring in the world of higher education. Just as technology disrupted and transformed the newspaper and music industries, it is now poised to wreak havoc upon higher education. Students are increasingly bored with lecture hall-type classes and are ready for online education. At the same time, we are witnessing the emergence of massive open online courses at universities such as MIT and Stanford. The fact that educational technology will disrupt higher education is undeniable. How quickly it will transform higher education is unclear, but educational technology could drive down college's operating costs and improve students' education.

Stanford’s Hennessy noted there are two big problems in terms of cost and performance in higher education. One problem is the poor performance of many students, with nearly half of all college students in the U.S. never graduating. Also, companies commonly complain that too many graduates lack the necessary job skills. Another problem is that the cost of a college education has become a burden to many students and their families. Hennessy believes that colleges should embrace online education to overcome these problems. By offering online classes, colleges will be able to produce more revenue. They can enlarge or enhance their mission with online classes and overcome the restrictions imposed by their physical location. Finally, they will be able to increase the availability of a high-quality education to students, especially international ones.


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In the Google Age, Information Literacy is Crucial
eLearn Magazine, June 2012

While today’s powerful Web-based search engines present students with access to more information than ever before, they are also making it more difficult for students to conduct rigorous academic research. Students go about their research the same way they might track down answers to routine questions, too often relying on Web pages at the top of Google search results. For serious academic inquiry, however, it's important that the information retrieved is the most accurate, highest quality, and as relatively up-to-date as possible. In order for students to develop good habits before they enter the workforce, it's vital to educate students early in their academic careers on how to determine what information is reliable and what is misleading when using search engines. Universities should take the additional step and educate students about alternative Web-based resources that are freely available to them on campus.

The first and greatest hurdle librarians often face when educating students about information literacy is securing the time to do so. In some cases, librarians have as little as one 45-minute class to show students the resources available to them. With many colleges paying for tens if not hundreds of digital content resources, librarians need time with students to help guide them through the available options. As students use alternative resources, they will better understand the difference in the quality of information found through a research database versus a Google search. Also, students need to learn that the best answer or information may not be available on a public website, but the answer exists if they dig deeper using other sources. Librarians need to teach students how to evaluate the quality of information and sources, as well as introduce them to new sources of information and research techniques.


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