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ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, July 24, 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 14, July 24, 2012




Java Developer Most Difficult Tech Job to Fill
Network World, July 17

According to a new survey from Dice.com, Java Developers remain the most difficult tech professionals to land, followed by mobile developers, .NET developers and software developers. Hiring managers and recruiters cite these positions two- or three-times more frequently than other skill sets in the employment marketplace. Rounding out the top 10 list are candidates with skills related to security, SAP, SharePoint, Web development, active federal security clearance, and network engineering.

Asked for their preference on candidate experience, corporate hiring managers most frequently say IT pros with two to five years in the workforce, followed by those with six to 10 years of experience. Competition is fierce when companies are all chasing the same talent, making positions hard to fill. Another reason for tight competition on the hiring front is that companies are less focused on internal talent development than they have been in the past, and formal corporate IT training opportunities aren't widespread. Hiring managers say they expect tech professionals to stay with their firm about three years, which makes it tough to cross-train, retrain, or train at all.


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Universities Invited to Train Cyber Security Professionals
Computerweekly.com, July 20

The British government is hoping to shore up its defenses against cybercrime through post-graduate training, and has asked universities to apply for funding to run training courses for post-graduates. Through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), universities have been invited to apply for grants to run two new Centers for Doctoral Training. This is in response to the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Program, an initiative to create a stable, secure and open cyber environment within the UK.

If the UK is to achieve its growth ambitions and maintain its reputation for world-class capability in cyber security, it is vital that it attempt to discover, develop and nurture the UK’s next generation of doctoral-level cyber security experts. As a result, the Centers for Doctoral Training are a key component of achieving the skills blend the UK needs. The invitations to train cyber security professionals went out jointly via several different UK governmental bodies, including the EPSRC.


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Here Comes Corporate Brain Drain
Information Week, July 10

If large enterprises that rely on innovators - like many of the biggest technology companies - don't get their act together, there's going to be a massive brain drain, as the best and brightest leave to start their own ventures. Talented innovators may be working for large corporations now, but many of them are maintaining a "side hustle" - something that they’re doing on the side that they'd much rather be doing. In other cases, they are leaving well-paid jobs to go solo, or opening successful businesses for themselves. The power of social media and other innovations enable future micro-entrepreneurs to simply leave and strike out on their own.

The key differentiator between an IT organization that can be easily outsourced and one that is has a key role in the organization boils down to one word: innovation. And that requires creative, innovative, and smart people. It's hard to find these people now, and it's about to get a lot harder. If the micro-entrepreneur movement keeps growing like it has, that means that eventually your employees are going to be a part of it, whether they tell you or not. Your best and your brightest are starting to realize that there are options out there. There are two kinds of people, someone who is fundamentally wired to be an entrepreneur, and those who actually enjoy the corporate environment.


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Are Social Media Making the Resume Obsolete?
CNN, July 11

As social networking sites such as Facebook continue to explode in popularity, they are starting to replace the paper resume as the primary way to attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. We may already be living in a post-resume era, with hiring managers browsing LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, or using Google to find out more about candidates. Between all the information available on desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones, some hiring experts say there's little reason to peruse a one-page summary of someone's career anymore. The article explores what it means for candidates when the entire recruiting process is heading online.

As the traditional resume disappears, job candidates are coming up with original ways to stand out from the crowd. One candidate, for example, submitted a resume in the form of a “pin” on a Pinterest board, next to other pins for news articles, blog posts and relevant articles. Some companies, especially those in the tech world, are going even further, saying they're no longer interested at all in an applicant's tried-and-true list of jobs, education, awards and activities. Hiring managers often can gain a better sense of a person's judgment, personality and communication skills by perusing their Twitter feeds or Tumblr posts. Applicants might also be asked to create Web videos, stating why they want the job or what most interests them in their current career path.


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To Recruit Techies, Companies Offer Unlimited Vacation
Businessweek.com, July 19

A growing number of tech companies are switching over to unlimited vacation to motivate employees, lower employee turnover rates and edge out rivals for talent. Unlimited vacation is first and foremost a trust-based system that treats people as if they can run their own schedule. It may sound counter-intuitive, but unlimited vacation can actually help improve productivity, especially if it becomes part of a new workplace environment in which workers are evaluated on the basis of their output instead of how many hours they are spending at the office.

Currently, just 3% of U.S. companies have formally adopted the results-oriented work environment, according to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Still, unlimited vacation has been catching on in Silicon Valley, where employers dangle the policy as they compete for top engineers. The idea is still so new, however, that employees may greet the newfound freedom with suspicion. People may actually take less vacation than if the new policy were not in place, fearful of not looking important. Companies say that their employees are better after they have traveled, becoming more productive and more useful.


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Women: To Get Ahead, Get a Sponsor
Management Issues, June 21

According to a new report from the UK’s Center for Talent Innovation, the real reason women are not breaking through into leadership positions is a lack of sponsors within the workplace. If women want to make it to the top, they need to get themselves a sponsor - someone with credibility who is willing to take a bet on a young talent and advocate her for the next promotion. The problem is that highly qualified British women are not breaking through to leadership positions in numbers commensurate with their presence in the talent pool. Moreover, without a ready supply of qualified women moving up the corporate ladder, the progress of women in the boardroom will remain slow.

Women enter the white-collar workforce in the UK in far greater numbers than men: 57 females for every 43 males. Yet as employees in large corporations move from entry-level to middle management, and from mid- to senior-level positions, men advance disproportionately. According to the new study, the key reason for this has nothing to do with a lack of accomplishment, ambition, a paucity of childcare or flextime. Rather, British women tend not to have sponsors to propel and protect them through the treacherous areas of upper management. The study found that UK men with sponsors (as opposed to those without) are 40% more likely to move up the ladder at a satisfactory clip, while this "sponsor effect" for UK women is even more marked at 52%. According to the report, senior British men are 50% more likely than senior British women to have a sponsor.


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Working From Home Without Slacking Off
Wall Street Journal, July 11

With more employees than ever before working from home, employers are looking for new ways to keep tabs on the working habits of their telecommuting employees. Some bosses track projects and schedule meetings on shared calendars, while others require virtual face time via email, instant messaging or calls. Some even monitor computer use of employees, both at home and in the office, in order to see what websites they’re using and for how long. Over time, this use of computer security-monitoring programs will rise to 60% of employers by 2015, from fewer than 10% now. The systems are used mainly to secure sensitive data and comply with government rules, but they also generate lots of personal information on employees' online behavior. To avoid violating employees' privacy, employers should tell employees they're being monitored and track only business-related activities.

The distinctions between working from home and from the office are blurred because more people are splitting their weeks, and even their days, between home and office. The number of corporate employees who work from home at least one day a month has been rising 23% a year since 2007, on average, to 22.8 million last year. Those who work from home only one or two days a month are leading the trend, rising by an average 69.5% every year since 2007, to 3.3 million people last year. In response, employers are checking whether all of their employees are using their computer time in productive ways. Employers say the idea isn't to “snoop” on workers - it’s to help them manage the long hours their jobs can require.


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Ten Online Reputation Management Tips for Job Seekers
CIO.com, July 17

Don't let questionable Facebook photos or Tweets, a spare LinkedIn profile or unimpressive Google search results derail an otherwise smooth job interview process. While the resume and cover letter are still important during the job search, employers are placing just as much weight on Facebook updates, tweets and LinkedIn profiles. The most important factor, by far, is how your online presence is reflected in the top ten Google search results for your name. With that in mind, the article provides ten online reputation management tips to help you put your best foot forward online.

First and foremost, be careful what you share online. The search engines are digging deeper into networks such as Facebook and Twitter to index as much relevant content as possible about people, places and things. Personal information can easily bubble up to the surface of search results when you least expect it. It's important to Google yourself well in advance before applying for a new job. If you do it in advance, you've got time to take down or create new content that might push down anything negative. When Googling yourself, always turn off personalized search results, since Google doesn't present the same search results to everyone. Instead, the search engine will serve up what it thinks you'll find most relevant, taking into account such things as your location, social network and sites you've visited.


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Online Higher Education
Blog @ CACM, July 17

The higher education community is abuzz with debates regarding massive open online courses and distance education, especially as more of the nation’s elite universities announce their own initiatives. Is this truly a revolutionary new educational movement – or just a replay of earlier efforts to bringing e-learning technologies into higher education that never quite lived up to their promise? Earlier technologies never fundamentally reshaped the active lecturer, passive listener model that is the hallmark of most university courses. Today and tomorrow may be different, especially with the growing public backlash against rising college tuition and persistent questions about the economic value of college degrees. The article analyzes the current debate over educational innovation from a broader, historical perspective.

When it comes to thinking about higher education, there are parallels with the music industry, which also started out as “local and live.” To experience a performance, one traditionally had little choice but to buy tickets to see the musician perform live, much as today’s students pay tuition to hear an instructor live. However, records and distribution systems changed this music production and consumption model profoundly. Truly successful musicians, defined by popularity and revenues, now have international reach and global distribution networks. They are megabrands with millions of followers. Via the web, even performers in esoteric musical genres have geographically distributed, albeit much smaller, audiences. Online education has the same potential to transform a small number of instructors and institutions into megabrands, with hundreds of thousands of globally distributed students. It could also allow teachers of more esoteric material to reach global audiences.


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Technology Giants Celebrate Alan Turing - the Man, the Scientist, and the Visionary
ACM Press Room, June 18

More than 30 ACM Turing Award winners joined with other world-renowned computer scientists and technology pioneers at the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration in June, to honor and evaluate the life and legacy of Alan Turing. An audience of over 1,000 attendees gathered to hear the leading innovators of the digital age as they celebrated Turing's wide-ranging contributions to computing, and projected how the future of today's always-on, interconnected world will unfold. Turing, known as the father of modern computing, envisioned the power of the thinking machine and opened the way for innovations that continue to change the world.

Vint Cerf, General Chair of the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration, cited the importance of Turing’s innovations in setting high bars and challenging targets for his colleagues and successors in computing. The leading figures within computer science today are exploring more deeply the paths that Turing’s early work opened to view. With that in mind, the event commemorated Turing’s legacy 100 years after his birth. Turing’s work on computability, decidability, cryptography, and artificial intelligence, among other areas, has had a profound impact on computer science.


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