Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, March 20, 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 6, March 20, 2012




Big Data Creating Big Career Opportunities for IT Pros
CIO.com (via Network World), March 6

New job opportunities are emerging for IT professionals in the field of "big data," as corporations continue to gather vast amounts of real-time data about their customers. As a result, data scientists find themselves in sudden demand. A data scientist typically has a background in computer science or mathematics as well as the analytical skills necessary to deliver the right insights. As an example of the job title’s popularity, the number of Google searches of "data scientist" hit peaks 20 times higher than normal in the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.

Data scientist is a popular search term in high-tech hotspots such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York. Among the U.S. companies looking to hire data scientists are PayPal, Amazon and HP. Indeed, the term "data scientist" is mentioned in 195 job listings on Dice.com. IT departments also are adding data-centric developers and system administrators who specialize in tools such as the open source Apache Hadoop software. Hadoop is an emerging skill, since companies need to manage large-scale data operations, and the whole idea of Hadoop is that you can do it inexpensively. There are opportunities related to Hadoop for both entry-level and experienced IT staff, as well as for hardware and software specialists.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Cloud to Generate 14 Million Jobs by 2015
Datamation, March 5

According to a study conducted by IDC, cloud computing will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide by 2015. This jobs momentum is being driven by the estimated $1.1 trillion dollars in revenues that the cloud stands to generate within this time period. A common misperception is that cloud computing is a job eliminator, but in truth it will be a major job creator. Job growth will be widespread and will occur across continents and throughout organizations of all sizes because emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have the same access to cloud benefits as large enterprises or developed nations.

Most of that job growth from cloud computing will hail from emerging markets -- China and India in particular. It is estimated that these countries will generate 6.75 million cloud-related jobs versus an estimated 2.8 million jobs in the Asia Pacific region, 2.07 million in Europe, Middle East and Africa and 1.17 million in North America. China and India will take the lead in cloud job creation primarily because of the immense workforce in the region. There is also less "legacy drag" -- supporting older IT systems and software -- and infrastructure challenges that lend themselves to cloud adoption as drivers. In 2011, the U.S. accounted for 62% of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services last year.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


IT Hiring Continues to Show Gains
Computerworld, March 7

CIOs plan to increase hiring in the second quarter, though not at the same pace as the first quarter, according to the results of a new survey. Robert Half Technology reported that 8% of CIOs said that they plan to expand their IT departments in the second quarter, while 5% said that they expect cutbacks. This leaves a net hiring gain of 3%, is in the normal hiring range, though a decrease from the first quarter's net gain in hiring of 10%. Typically, the first quarter sees an uptick in hiring due to new budgets and projects.

IT hiring overall has been gaining, according to two different reports based on U.S. Department of Labor hiring data. TechServe Alliance, an industry group that analyzes government data, reported that IT employment reached 4.08 million last month, passing the previous all-time high in 2008. IT employers had shed some 250,000 jobs during the recession. TechServe put the number of IT jobs added in January at 13,300. Overall, IT employment grew 3.4% in 2011 and 1.5% in 2010, the group reported.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Solving the Pipeline Problem: How to Get More Women in Tech
Forbes, March 15

To increase the representation rates of women in the tech industry, it is necessary to come up with new ways to encourage them to study computer science in school. In 2008, only 18% of computer science grads were women—down from 37% in 1985. More and more, women simply aren’t choosing computer science. It’s actually leading to a unique problem: there’s a boom of women in the technology industry but a scarcity of women who are actually technical. Based on a study of the barriers preventing girls from pursuing careers in computer science, the article proposes a number of possible solutions to get more women in tech.

The primary problem is that many girls don’t really know what computer science is. Many young girls don’t even know that computer science is a potential career path. In a national survey conducted by the WGBH Educational Foundation in 2008, college-bound teens were asked to describe how good a choice a career in computer science would be for “someone like you.” The results found that 67% of boys described a career in computer science as very good or good, whereas only 26% of girls felt the same. Pursuing a career in computer science never crosses the minds of young girls because nobody ever tells them that they are good at math or computers. New organizations, such as Code Ed, a national program to teach web design to middle school girls in underserved communities, are trying to change this so that girls view computer science as an option.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


IT Skills Gap Widening
IT Business Edge, March 13

According to a new CompTIA survey, the IT skills gap between the skills employers need and the skills employees offer is widening. Tech skills are changing rapidly and with companies less likely to offer training, IT pros have to take it upon themselves to keep up. In the poll of more than 500 U.S. IT and business managers, 93% of respondents reported a gap between their staff's skills and what they need to be. 56% of respondents said their employees' skills were “moderately close” or "not even close" to where they need to be. The most competitive companies both in the U.S. and abroad are taking steps to improve their ability to contribute to an employer's success. At the same time, employers now expect higher performance and harder work from both their current employees and those applying for their open positions.

Rapidly changing technology was the most-cited factor contributing to the skills gap, followed by lack of resources for IT skill development (43%) and ineffective training for IT staff (39%). Only 15% of respondents said they have a formal process in place to identify IT skill gaps. 56% said they had no process at all. At least eight in 10 companies reported this gap hurt business in areas such as staff productivity, customer service, time to market and security. 64% of respondents with business functions said HR and management gave enough attention to the IT skill gap problem, yet 42% of respondents with IT functions said HR and execs are not paying enough attention to the problem.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Three Ways to Recruit Talent For Your Startup
OPEN Forum, February 28

Personal branding guru Dan Schawbel weighs in on the best ways for startup business owners to hire their first employees. As Schawbel points out, they are looking for a select group of people who can help them grow fast and manage that growth. While large companies hire specialists to get certain jobs done, startups hire more generalists that can be more adaptive and solve problems across the company. Hiring a candidate who is not a good fit for your culture can be a disaster, influencing everything from morale to business growth. In order to select the best people to hire and maximize time spent on searching for candidates, Schawbel highlights three ways to recruit talent for your startup.

Instead of paying large sums of money to post on the major job boards, it makes more sense for startup owners to invest in free or cheap startup job boards. A couple of examples include Startuply and CoNotes. With Startuply, you can even create a company profile to tell people about your mission, your products and the team behind them. It’s a great way to market yourself, while listing your jobs. There are also startup job boards on popular sites like Mashable. By posting on these niche sites, it’s a more targeted way to source talent for your startup. Be as specific and as honest as you can when you post your jobs so you attract the best possible candidates.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The Conversion to Coworking 2.0 Continues
GigaOm, March 13

Coworking may have started among idealists and the community-minded as a way to band together to improve the world of work, but it has become a movement in the midst of a major transition. Coworking is shifting toward greater professionalization and is increasingly run by the more traditionally business- and profit-minded. Evidence from the Global Coworking Unconference Conference in Austin suggests that this momentum is only building. Among those in attendance, everyone agreed that the movement is undergoing intense growth and change, which is leading to an influx of even more businesses and increased attention paid to metrics like profitability and productivity.

Coworking veterans who have been around the scene for two or more years have been surprised by the professionalization of the movement and the influx of new businesses. It has become, indeed, a movement that has attracted a wide range of organizations. The increasing interest of corporate America in coworking reinforces the notion that it is moving from an outsiders’ movement to a recognized phenomenon even slow-moving organizations are hoping to exploit. Bigger firms were exploring developing “internal collaboration spaces” in the coworking mold to spark creativity and collaboration.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


How to Shape Your Facebook Profile to Help You Land a Job
TIME, March 1

More employers than ever before are reviewing Facebook profiles when screening potential new hires. By some estimates, nearly one-half of employers now review the Facebook profiles of job applicants. A brief review of a Facebook profile can give a hiring manager clues about your personality type and insights as to how you’ll fit into the company’s work and succeed on the job. Already, more than 18 million Americans credit Facebook as the source that led to their current job. To make Facebook work for you, you need to be careful about your profile: too much sharing of the wrong kind of information can hurt your chances of landing a job. Think of your Facebook profile as an extension of your resume to ensure that you are presenting your best, most employable self on Facebook.

First of all, sign up and maintain an active Facebook account. If you don’t have an account, then you won’t appear relevant to employers in many industries. Especially in fields such as PR and marketing, it’s essential to become proficient in using social media because this is how people are communicating, networking and doing business these days. Also, think about ways that you can shape your profile according to the specific personality traits most desired by employers, such as conscientiousness, emotional stability, agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


What is the Next Step for Female Scientists?
MentorNet News, March 12

At the White House, the NSF announced a 10-year plan to help men and women balance research careers with their personal lives. This plan takes into account that workers shouldn't lose a chance to advance in their career because they are taking care of a new child or sick parent. The new plan from the National Science Foundation includes a "stop the clock" provision on its grants, allowing scientists to defer or suspend their grants for up to year to accommodate childbirth or adoption. The plan also includes a salary supplement to help pay for a research technician to step in when a grant's principal investigator is on parental leave. Those policies apply to both mothers and fathers, with an emphasis on clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

While the NSF plan is a good first step, a mass of bureaucratic and regulatory blockages must be pushed through in order to achieve a flexible workplace in which having both a family and a career is possible. One big challenge is that, while federal agencies largely finance the graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members who create new scientific breakthroughs, it is universities that determine personnel issues. Another challenge is that there are big discrepancies in providing any kind of family support across the more than a dozen federal agencies that award grants to scientists. There is also a tangle of rules and policies at different universities. There appears to be little collaboration across academic institutions or with federal agencies to make active efforts to improve the process. Finally, there are yet different rules dealing with international students, who comprise approximately 55% of all postdoctoral researchers in the United States. Their status and access to parental and family benefits are generally handled differently from those of U.S. citizens, and with an alternate cast of officials and regulations.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Stanford Schooling – Gratis
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 55 No. 3, March 2012

Stanford University's experiment with online classes could help transform computer science education and the way online education is delivered. Last October, for the very first time, Stanford University made available online three of its most popular computer science courses. More than 300,000 students registered for Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Introduction to Databases, and Machine Learning. Never before has a premier institution offered a real class experience to the general public, one with meaningful interaction and real assessments. The article takes a look at the evolution of the online course from static to dynamic, as well as the efforts made to provide value to course graduates.

Based on the initial appeal of the courses, experts are already trying to determine how well the courses succeeded. Critics point out that these courses could have more depth, more time commitment, more material, and harder programming assignments. Most, though, agree that the courses were a great start for many and very well done. Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, taught the AI class with Sebastian Thrun, a Google Fellow and a Stanford CS professor, having taught only traditional classes in the past. These instructors noted that they learned a new set of idioms for interacting with students in a way that is simultaneously impersonal, because the student can't ask questions that will alter what will be presented, and highly personal, because instructors present the material in the same way they would in sitting down and doing one-on-one tutoring.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top