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ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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-request@acm.org

Volume 6, Issue 24, December 21, 2010




U.S. IT Hiring Set to Rise in 2011
Network World, December 14

According to the latest Dice.com report on IT hiring plans, six in 10 hiring managers and technology recruiters expect to do more hiring in the first half of 2011 than in the previous six months. The numbers suggest a slow gradual recovery in the labor market. Nearly half of the almost 850 respondents in the survey say they expect to increase hiring by at least 10% in the first half of 2011, with another third expecting increases of 11% to 20%, and 15% forecasting hiring 21% to 30% more technology workers.

Developers are in high demand, especially those who do Java and mobile applications. In addition, there are shortages of skilled workers identified in mobile application development, cloud computing, virtualization, and network security. Companies and recruiters are finding it challenging to recruit prospective employees who have the skill sets they need: 38% of respondents in the most recent Dice survey said that it is taking them longer to fill positions now than compared to this time last year, and 52% of those said that is because they cannot find qualified professionals. Job postings also are up 38% year over year as of the beginning of December at Dice.com, and the increases in listings are occurring nationally across the U.S.


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What Was Hot in Online Hiring in 2010 and What's Ahead?
Datamation, December 8

In its annual review of the IT workplace, Elance highlights the IT skills employers were looking for in 2010 and predicts which skills will be in demand in 2011. While the company's analysis primarily focuses on online contract employment, it provides an interesting snapshot of this fast-growing segment of the marketplace. At this point, as much as 30% of the U.S. job market (about 42 million workers) is made up of independent contractors, part-time or temporary staffers and the self-employed. As more businesses integrate online workers into their staffing models and more professionals opt to work online instead of onsite, there will continue to be a fundamental shift in which IT skills employers need.

Elance's list of top five jobs skills for the year is headed by Search Engine Marketing which saw a 53% jump in demand, followed by iPhone, Google App Engine and HTML5 developers, which saw an uptick of 35%, 32% and 31% respectively. Affiliate marketing positions saw the biggest jump, 69%, from 2009. On the mobile side, demand for BlackBerry developers dropped 19%, with demand for DHTML and Amazon Web Services falling 13% and 6%, respectively. On the marketing side, Elance said there was a significant shift in 2010 as businesses moved away from traditional marketing techniques like direct mail and telemarketing to Web-based forms of promotion and customer acquisition like Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.


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What the Influx of the Millennial Generation Will Mean for IT
Computerworld, December 3

As the Millennial Generation that began entering the workforce in 2000 starts to assume leadership roles within organizations, now is the time to better understand what makes that generation tick and what their presence and influence means for organizations now and in the future. The Millennial Generation is the first generation in human history which regards behaviors like tweeting and texting, along with websites like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia, as everyday parts of their social lives. According to a recent Pew survey of Internet habits, the members of this generation work best in flexible environments, and in workplaces where they can express their opinions and know that they are valued and that their voices are heard.

Information businesses are becoming highly sought-after by Millennials. They tend to be more creative, more agile and more able to move quickly. That sort of development environment is good for younger workers, who are not afraid of failing and throwing stuff away. They actually like change and so they want to work on new projects. Millennials are not as interested in running data centers or systems and application management as they are in development and building apps and websites. They much prefer to be in these much more creative development roles. Since they’ve grown up with technology, they instinctively know what a good site looks like, what good design is, and which features would be most relevant for users.


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War for Tech Talent Hits White Hot New York Startup Scene
WIRED Epicenter blog, December 13

While the unemployment rate in New York City remains over 9%, the demand for programmers and engineers to work in the city’s fast-growing Internet startup scene is stronger than it’s been in a decade. New York-based startups like Gilt Group, Etsy, Foursquare, Tumblr, Intent Media and Rent-the-Runway, among others, are all competing for the best talent. Meanwhile, West Coast tech giants like Google are increasing their footprint in the city and some New York startups are actually opening Silicon Valley offices to gain access to the wealth of talent there. As a result, experienced programmers and engineers based in New York City have many employment options with companies seeking their talents.

Since the middle of 2009, there have been two key trends that have led to the current hiring frenzy in New York. First, the barrier to entrepreneurship began decreasing, meaning it was becoming easier to start a company and secure funding. Second, more investors were willing to make smaller investments in nascent startups. In other words, venture capital was opening up to new entrepreneurs who previously might not have been able to secure funding. This meant more startups, and thus more competition for talent. And then, of course, there was the recession. When the economy tightens, it forces people to be a lot more creative and innovative. In addition, major Silicon Valley companies like Facebook are now actively recruiting New York’s top talent, meaning that workers now have a choice between starting their own companies or landing a prestigious engineering job elsewhere.


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It’s All About You: Best Steps to Creating Your Brand
Forbes, December 8

Personal branding expert Dan Schawbel explains the most important steps in creating a personal brand in the workplace. As Schawbel points out, you must sell yourself and your message and keep on leveraging it at every point in your career. Your brand is your best asset if you’re changing careers, back on the job market, starting your own business, or angling for a promotion. With that in mind, Schawbel discusses how to develop a personality and brand for a unique niche; highlights the key brand characteristics of an entrepreneur; and explains how people just starting in their career can build a brand.

Schawbel suggests that it is better to aim for a niche when building a personal brand. By doing this, you can stand out in the marketplace and become known. By narrowing down your audience, you can gain more visibility online and be able to grow your business more quickly. You should also focus on creating authenticity. It’s so easy to copy what other people are doing, but it won’t get you very far. By staying true to who you are, your values, and by using your own unique personality, you can connect with other people and build relationships. The best way to become successful is to make others successful first. By giving value, both online and offline, to your audience, they will reciprocate. Share your industry insights, promote valuable sources, and teach your audience, so that they know, like, and trust you.


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Can Remote Workers Excel On-Site?
Web Worker Daily, December 14

Remote workers tend to focus more on optimizing their personal productivity than on-site workers. Between commuting, lunch breaks, and a requirement to be on-site all day, every day, the lines between work and downtime blur for the in-office worker. In contrast, for remote workers, every hour is an hour spent working. A half-hour out of a day spent chatting has a big impact on productivity, especially for workers only in the office for a limited time. By keeping an eye on how they spend small units of time, remote workers are typically able to focus on outcomes and process requests very quickly.

When you work remotely, you really come to take responsibility for your own productivity. After all, you can’t blame an unproductive day on the people around you talking, someone’s farewell lunch taking two hours, or anything but yourself. Working remotely lets you own your own productivity by putting you in a position to set your own boundaries. In an office, the boundaries are blurred: people can interrupt us about work or other topics. You might feel you have no time to take a lunch break, perhaps because of the interruptions, or because your office culture may not encourage it. It may be easy to justify starting or staying later at work to miss the peak-hour traffic.


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Overqualified, Under-Rated
Management Issues, December 13

According to conventional recruitment wisdom, overqualified job candidates are best avoided because they quickly become bored and will head to the exit at the first sign of a better opportunity elsewhere. However, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the idea that overqualified workers are easily bored and prone to quit is a myth. If anything, the research suggests that such a candidate could be expected to stay longer and perform better than an applicant whose scores make him supposedly a better fit. The article takes a closer look at why and how organizations can benefit from overqualified workers.

The findings about over-qualified workers are based on the analysis of more than 5,000 adults' labor-force behavior over a 25-year period in a nationwide U.S. sample. The data were taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. In positions with low cognitive demands, employees with higher cognitive ability were less likely than others to voluntarily leave. Moreover, in predicting job departure, the most mentally demanding jobs produced job dissatisfaction at three times the rate of the simplest jobs.


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Ten Essential Career Success Strategies
Personal Branding Blog, December 11

By enhancing your career with lessons from personal branding, you can become more engaged and successful at work. Most importantly, career success occurs when your career direction aligns with who you are and what is important to you. To build a successful career, determine what success looks like for you. After you define what success means for you, create your personal brand and then set and meet your career and life goals. When you master this success strategy, your efforts are channeled in the right direction to ensure your career brings personal and professional satisfaction.

When you take care of yourself, manage stress, and demonstrate a positive attitude and confidence, others enjoy interacting with you and value your contribution. It is tempting to blame others or the situation when things are not going the way you want. When you put yourself in charge of your career, you take ownership for your mistakes and accomplishments. By taking ownership of your words and actions, you link your efforts to success and learn from mistakes. To be successful, you need to pay attention to what others have to say. You benefit when you listen carefully, clarify expectations, and act on feedback from others. The benefits of learning from everyone include an increased ability to see multiple perspectives, exposure to helpful corrective feedback, and an opportunity to develop rapport. Career success depends on expressing yourself clearly, directly, and diplomatically. When you express your perspectives and provide information and feedback effectively there is little room for miscommunication or misunderstanding.


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MentorNet Launches New Career-Focused Interactive Website
MentorNet, December 6

MentorNet, a leader in providing mentoring to science and engineering students, unveiled a new customer-focused website in December. The new site is designed to give college students in these fields a place to grow their online identities as future professionals and expand their career network, in addition to MentorNet's traditional individual matching of protégés to one of their thousands of mentors in the field. To date, the site has made 28,000 one-on-one matches, with a special focus on women and underrepresented minorities. The new website not only provides an enhanced experience for thousands of aspiring protégés, it also improves the experience for mentors and creates value for sponsors.

MentorNet provides sponsoring corporations with instant access to a large diverse pool of talented protégés. Industry leaders, such as AT&T, IBM, 3M, Tyco, and Texas Instruments recruit mentors to be matched with students on MentorNet's site. MentorNet's email-based mentoring helps guide protégés to their real world careers while building mentors' professional skills. MentorNet guides mentors with training to serve as a sounding board for protégés and help them understand the realities of a professional career.


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ACM Names 41 Fellows from World's Leading Institutions
ACM Press Room, December 7

ACM recognized 41 of its members for their contributions to computing and computer science that have provided fundamental knowledge to the field and generated multiple innovations in industry, commerce, entertainment, and education. The 2010 ACM Fellows, from the world’s leading universities, corporations, and research labs, achieved accomplishments that are driving the innovations necessary to sustain competitiveness in the digital age. Their ability to think critically and solve problems creatively is enabling great advances on an international scale. ACM will formally recognize the 2010 Fellows at its annual Awards Banquet next June in San Jose, California.

Within the corporate sector, the 2010 ACM Fellows named from Google were cited for contributions ranging from multi-core computing to machine learning, algorithms for Internet ad auctions, and the invention of the optical mouse. Microsoft Research’s ACM Fellows were recognized for achievements in microprocessor architecture and the mathematical foundations of dynamic random networks. AT&T’s ACM Fellow was cited for contributions to programming language design, theory, and practice. IBM’s research groups had ACM Fellows who were honored for object-oriented programming language design and implementation and human-computer interface research and innovation. Other companies with 2010 Fellows were Xilinx Research Labs and Galois.


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