Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, May 21 , 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 10, May 21, 2013




How to Nab a Data Scientist Job
Computerworld, May 6

As companies increase their efforts to find and hire Big Data talent, it is opening up new opportunities for IT workers with the ability to analyze the ever-increasing volume of complex data flooding the enterprise. For now, it’s largely a scramble in the Big Data field, as most employers are mixed on the appropriate training, certifications or degrees required for this career path. Depending on what industry you're in or what company you talk to, it's a different reality when you talk about Big Data. While a single definition might be elusive, career experts agree that there are certain fundamental tasks that all data scientists need to perform and certain skills that are required to perform them well.

The skills required to be a data scientist cut across traditional academic disciplines, including statistics, mathematics and computer science. This is why several schools, including New York University and NC State, offer specialized data scientist certification and degree programs that create graduates who are good at handling large volumes of data and have knowledge of math and statistics to analyze the data. In 2005, for example, NC State created the Institute for Advanced Analytics, which pulls together faculty members from various disciplines and teaches data science in a very integrated way. At NYU, the newly launched, two-year master of data science degree is also multidisciplinary, intersecting mathematics, computer science and statistics.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


How Your Smartphone Could Get You a Job
Wall Street Journal, April 24

By 2015, mobile devices will overtake desktop and laptop computers as Americans' preferred method for accessing the Internet – and that could lead to a radical transformation in the way IT workers look for jobs. As a result, employers are rushing to develop mobile versions of their career websites, apps with interactive career content, and simplified versions of job applications that can more easily be completed on a hand-held device. Companies and recruiting experts believe mobile recruiting will help them engage candidates who may otherwise fall through the cracks, such as younger workers and passive candidates who might casually explore their options while out of the workplace.

According to most career experts, mobile is the next big area for recruiting. That is good news for employers: recent research shows that online job search is now starting to make the labor market more efficient as candidates are more quickly matched to jobs. The development has likely increased because of the popularity of social networking. That means, too, that any company that hasn't started to address mobile recruiting is at least a year behind. This is the connectivity that job seekers expect now. Currently, 33% of Fortune 500 companies have career portals that are optimized in even the most basic way, such as being sized to fit a smartphone screen.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


STEM Graduate Shortage? Computer Science is Where the Future Jobs Are
The Seattle Times, May 11

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all new jobs across all STEM fields during this decade, across engineering, the physical sciences, the life sciences, and the social sciences, will be in computer science. On a nationwide basis, that extrapolates to 750,000 new jobs for computer science grads. That is proof enough, says Edward D. Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates chair in the Computer Science & Engineering program at the University of Washington, that computer science is where the jobs are in the future.

In Washington state, for example, there is a well-documented shortage in the health professions, engineering and in computer science. A 2011 study by the Higher Education Coordinating Board carefully examined the gap between supply and demand for all fields, identifying the fields with significant gaps at the two-year, four-year and graduate education levels. Computer science has by far the widest gap, with the health professions and engineering next. At the bachelor’s degree level, the gap between supply and demand in computer science is nearly twice as large as the gap in engineering, and three times as large as the gap in the health professions. While students educated in one field do sometimes take jobs in other fields, and while many employers require a diverse range of employee skills, preparation and skills vary significantly from field to field. This means that STEM graduates are not interchangeable, putting an even greater premium on computer science.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Molding the Next Generation of Computer Scientists
CNN, May 14

IT professionals, tech companies and educators are partnering to create new initiatives to train the next generation of computer scientists. Of these, TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), which places high-tech professionals as part-time teachers in high schools, is getting the most attention. In tech hubs across the nation, these new educational partnerships could help to address America’s industry-wide need for more engineers and computer scientists. The article analyzes the type of high-profile support (from the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg) that is making these partnerships possible, as well as specific evidence of how they are making an impact in New York City.

Despite the financial appeal of high-paying jobs after graduation, there aren't enough computer programmers entering the U.S. workforce to fill the estimated 150,000 new computing jobs that will be produced every year for the next decade. This adds to anxiety among industry professionals and policy leaders that the U.S. could fall behind other countries in innovation if it doesn't foster education in STEM. Part of the problem is that the U.S. lacks enough computer science teachers. Recent graduates with a computer science degree are far more likely to go into the tech industry, where offers are more lucrative. This means that, even as technology becomes an integral part of most people's lives, fewer computer science courses are being offered in high schools.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Universities Closing Big Data Talent Gap But Need Real Data
CIO.com, April 30

With the demand for IT workers with Big Data skills expected to dramatically outpace supply over the next several years, universities are moving to address the talent gap. However, they will need businesses to work with them and share data if their efforts are to bear fruit. What faculty are looking for today is access to real Big Data sets: they want to show students the impact of the data explosion, demonstrate the linkage between data and business outcomes and teach exactly how to achieve those outcomes. The article takes a closer look at the types of new analytics degrees currently available, as well as the top challenges facing instructors when teaching students about Big Data.

More universities are starting to offer degree programs in analytics and business intelligence. In 2007, there were only a dozen universities that offered any programs around analytics. Now, there are 131 offering actual degrees in analytics or business analytics. The biggest take rates in analytics are in the business disciplines like marketing and finance. However, simply having the degrees is not enough. The next step is engaging organizations so that students emerge with real-world experience and a business context for their learning. Through the supporting materials made available by corporations and by faculty colleagues, such as real case studies, software, data sets, videos and other tools, we now have a large pool of students around the world who are learning why analytics should be used, how it is used, and how the strategy and technology mix together.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The Re-Definition Of Entrepreneurship And Rise Of Freedom-Seeking Freelancers
Forbes, May 14

A major shift is taking place in the way we define “entrepreneur”: the typical definition of an entrepreneur (“someone who starts a company”) is being replaced with a newer definition, one based on the innate mindset of a person who sees opportunities and pursues them. In a recent survey of Millennials, a majority (58%) classified themselves as entrepreneurs, despite the fact that most of them haven’t started a company. These Millennials see themselves as having an entrepreneurial mindset and the willingness to pursue new career opportunities. In fact, the survey found that many start pursuing career opportunities while still in school — 21% of those surveyed were working online while still currently enrolled at a university.

By embracing the entrepreneurial mindset, young students are getting a jumpstart on building a career in a way that allows them to progress faster than traditional hierarchical organizations would. They are finding creative ways to get involved in the “sharing economy” in order to earn money, for example, which can then be used to hire employees or developers. Frustrated by the amount of red tape in traditional career paths, they are switching gears and focusing on being entrepreneurs, launching start-ups, and adapting new technology that makes breaking traditional work barriers possible. As a result, younger generations will increasingly start their careers as entrepreneurial and independent professionals from the very beginning.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


How to Know When to Hire Internally and When to Look Outside
Network World, May 14

While companies have traditionally preferred to hire externally in order to infuse their organizations with new talent, perspectives and ideas, companies are now looking for ways to control costs by hiring internally. According to recruiters, hiring internally costs less and is faster than hiring externally. With that in mind, the article surveys the key arguments in favor of hiring both internally and externally, as well as the key success factors for hiring internally, such as a well-planned recruitment and retention program.

There are several reasons to hire internally. Most importantly, hiring internally is cheaper. According to data from the Saratoga Institute, it costs on average 1.7 times more to hire externally than internally. In addition, having an internal pipeline of talent makes hiring more fluid and reduces losses in productivity from time lags. With an internal hire it can take a few weeks but with an external hire it can take months, because if you hire internally, you already have a reputation and performance record. Hiring internally can also build staff morale, if they see that there is room for advancement within the company. Finally, internal hires have a better success rate. The Saratoga Institute study also revealed that 40-60% of external hires aren't successful in their new role as opposed to 25% hired internally.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Meet the Millennial Women Who Could Shake Up Computer Science Forever
PolicyMic, May 13

In order to increase the visibility of women in the tech sector, a number of organizations are looking to provide mentorship and advice to women and girls seeking a career in computer science. That’s welcome news at a time when only 15% of computer science grads are females, and women represent only 35% of start-up business owners. The lack of women in technology and computer science has created a self-perpetuating cycle. With so few women visible in technology, it is harder for girls to conceptualize themselves as engineers or computer scientists when pursuing interests at a young age. With that in mind, the article highlights several female leaders who are starting to shake up the tech sector with new ideas of how to attract women and girls to computer science.

Sarah Allen, founder of a design and development software firm called Blazing Cloud, is one woman striving to create a community that encourages women in technology. Allen was one of the first female leaders in computer science. Graduating from Brown University in 1990 with a degree in computer science, Allen often reminds women of how far they need to go by recounting the challenges faced by the early female pioneers in computer science. Both Allen and her female colleagues note that women today are often frustrated by gender quality in certain professions. Even at cutting-edge tech and design firms, for example, there may only be one woman on the team – and that woman is in a non-tech role (such as sales) rather in a computer science role.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


ACM Names International Computing Visionaries for Advances in Research and Education
ACM News Room, April 18

The ACM Awards Banquet in San Francisco will honor the achievements of computer scientists who have elevated the vital role of computing in driving technological innovation around the world. Leaders such as Mateo Valero (Barcelona Supercomputing Center), Zvi Kedem (NYU), Fabrizio Gagliardi (Microsoft Research), Yunhao Liu (Tsinghua University) and PJ Narayanan (IIIT Hyderabad) are at the forefront of advances in computing that have influenced the practitioners, researchers, educators and policymakers across international boundaries. The article explains how their achievements have helped to create and implement technology for the digital age.

The Distinguished Service Award will go to Mateo Valero for spearheading initiatives in Europe that advanced high-performance computing research and education. Valero is a founder of HiPEAC, a European Network of Excellence that directs high-performance and embedded computing systems for its members and partners, and expands science research and academic-industry cooperation. The Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award will go to Zvi Kedem for his leadership in rebuilding the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS) as a modern cognitive map of the computing field for the worldwide computing community. Kedem managed the effort to revise and automate the key component that underlies the ACM Digital Library’s search index infrastructure.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The Rock Stars of eLearning: An interview with Clark Quinn
eLearn Magazine, April 2013

As part of an ongoing interview series about the future of eLearning, Clark Quinn discusses the key things to keep in mind when developing new eLearning solutions. According to Quinn, any eLearning program is really just about helping people leverage technology to achieve their goals to work smarter. For organizations, this means using technology more strategically to improve performance and making performance support an effective component of the solution. As Quinn points out, we need to step away from the flaws in current models of learning, and start looking at what really works and how technology can help.

For Quinn, eLearning is not about “learning” or “instruction” – it is about “performance” and “technology.” Quinn is excited about how technology complements our cognitive capabilities. He recognizes that people need help cutting through the hype and seeing how technology can specifically help to improve performance. He is passionate about learning and helping people, hence the focus on learning and performance. He also enjoys experimenting with new technology. As he points out, it’s easy to be enthusiastic about the huge opportunities to make improvements, and there are continuing new developments to keep it fresh and interesting.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top