Personal tools
You are here: Home Membership CareerNews Archives ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, October 9, 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 19, October 9, 2012




 

The Cities With the Most Computer Science Jobs
Forbes, September 20

Washington, D.C., with its many defense contractors and government jobs, is the nation’s leading city for computer science jobs. Other top metropolitan areas for computer science jobs include New York City, San Jose, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle. At a time when the national unemployment rate is near 8% and hiring is lagging in many fields, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that jobs for computer scientists will increase by 19% between 2010 and 2020. On sites that list computer science jobs, such as Indeed.com, the jobs with the greatest number of listings include software engineer, systems engineer, software developer, Java developer and business analyst.

Across the nation, there is a wide range of computer science jobs available. In Washington, D.C., there is a posting on the federal government’s job listing site for a computer scientist position in the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biomedical Communications, which requires a bachelor’s in computer science plus a year of work experience that includes coming up with new methods for information retrieval. Among New York City’s 8,900 listings are a number of faculty positions, including assistant professor of computer science at Lehman College. In the San Jose area, where there are 7,700 computer science jobs posted, there is a listing at Netflix in Los Gatos for a data science engineer who can do customer analytics. The job requires five years of experience, an MS or BS degree in computer science and several skill sets, including experience with analytical tools supporting data analysis and reporting.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Big Data, Big Jobs
Computerworld, September 20

Companies are looking for IT employees with a complex set of skills to tap the promise of Big Data, which could transform the enterprise by bringing data analytics to bear on almost every area of business. As a result, Big Data-related jobs are rapidly becoming some of the most sought-after job openings by employees. According to a recent McKinsey report, the U.S. could face a shortage by 2018 of 140,000 to 190,000 people with "deep analytical talent" and of 1.5 million people capable of analyzing data in ways that enable business decisions. With this in mind, the article takes a closer look at the most popular Big Data jobs as well as the types of skills, qualifications and experience that they now require.

The general consensus appears to be that Big Data will require a wide range of different types of skills. Big data is all about using analytics to understand customers, develop new products and cut operational costs. Additionally, some big data job titles contain neither the word “big” nor the word “data.” Employers now think of big data jobs in terms of four buckets of skills: data scientist, data architect, data visualizer and data change agent. However, there are no standard titles: what one company calls a data analyst, for example, might be called something different at another firm. The skills most often mentioned in connection with big data jobs include math, statistics, data analysis, business analytics and even natural language processing. And although not consistent, some titles, such as data scientist and data architect, are becoming more common.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


U.S. Tech Workers By the Numbers
CIO.com (via Computerworld), September 20

The percentage of tech workers in the American workforce stayed constant from 2010 to 2011 at 5.2%, according to a new survey on demographics, occupation and earnings. The survey defined “tech worker” as anyone in computer, engineering and science occupations. Washington, D.C. had the highest proportion of techies in its workforce at 10.3%, followed by Maryland (8.6%) and Virginia (7.8%), due in large part to their proximity to the federal government. Massachusetts had the highest percent of tech workers outside the D.C. area at 7.5%, followed by Washington state and Colorado, each at 7.4%.

Median earnings for computer and math jobs rose 2.8% between 2010 and 2011 to $70,594, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data includes salaries for occupations like math teachers and statisticians as well as those working in IT. While that may sound somewhat limited, it's a larger increase than the 1.7% for all computer, engineering and science occupations and 1.2% for U.S. jobs across all sectors.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Women Flock to Startups While Trailing in Computer Science
Bloomberg, October 2

Women are playing an ever more important role in launching Web-based companies and raising venture capital from investors, though there are still too few of them studying computer science and other technology-related fields. According to a group of prominent female tech executives profiled in Bloomberg TV’s “Women to Watch,” women are becoming more active within the startup world. For the first time, male co-founders and male co-founding teams are explicitly looking to bring women into the executive team or the founding team. Partly this is recognition that, for many new startups, a majority of their users are now women. Going forward, women can play an important role in guiding the future direction of their companies and bringing their ideas into the boardroom.

More than ever, venture capitalists are interested in good business ideas – and that means that gender is no longer an obstacle to getting funding. For example, the fashion industry has actually been a launchpad for many women entrepreneurs who understand both e-commerce and fashion. Still, even with more females joining Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial ranks, the computer science field remains dominated by males, and the numbers have been getting worse. Women accounted for 12% of U.S. college graduates in computer science last year, down from 14% five years earlier. The dearth of women in computer science shows in the workforce, where there’s still a pipeline problem of women in computer science and engineering, even from 10 years ago.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


When Job-Creation Engines Stop At Just One
New York Times, October 4

Across America, entrepreneurs are launching new startups with fewer employees than ever before, and that’s leading to questions about the future of the nation’s job creation machine. Entrepreneurs are focused on smaller headcounts and are more dependent than ever on contractors working part-time. For more than a decade, start-ups have been getting leaner and meaner. In 1999, the typical new business had 7.7 employees, compared to 4.7 in 2001. While this lean model bodes well for companies that hope to become power players with much less manpower, it also has implications for America’s workforce, which has been historically dependent on smaller businesses and start-ups for much of the country’s job growth.

The decrease in average start-up size is probably driven by some combination of technology, changes in management philosophy and tighter financing. As anecdotal evidence suggests, these leaner start-ups are mostly based in tiny offices with only the barest of amenities, such as a few desks or whiteboards: gone are all the amenities of the dot-com boom. Thanks to new off-the-shelf technologies, they can rent server space on the cheap and rely on new Web-based resources for everything from travel arrangements to human resources. Instead of spending on office managers to handle all the administrative work, they are spending more money on programming talent, who are typically independent contractors who do not come with all the benefits of full-time employees. Developers communicate via Skype or instant message.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


High Schools Not Meeting STEM Demand
U.S. News & World Report, October 1

Computer scientists are in high demand, but only a fraction of U.S. high schools offer advanced training on the subject and that fraction is shrinking. Of the more than 42,000 public and private high schools in the United States, only 2,100 high schools offered the AP test in computer science last year, down 25% over the past five years. In schools where computer science is offered, it often does not count toward graduation: only 9 states allow computer science courses to satisfy core math or science requirements. With an estimated 120,000 new jobs requiring a bachelor's degree in computer science expected in 2013, and nearly 3.7 million jobs in STEM fields currently sitting unfilled, high schools need to recognize that computer science represents the future.

As educators point out, preparing students to fill those jobs in computer science has to start before college. America’s most famous entrepreneurs all learned computer science before they graduated from high school. Before students can gain access to these courses, schools need teachers qualified to teach them. And districts with dwindling budgets and restrictive pay structures are competing with Silicon Valley’s biggest companies for talent. Businesses can increase pay and incentives for STEM graduates based on demand, but school districts are required to pay teachers the same whether they have a degree in English or engineering, even if there is a greater demand for the latter.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Why Remote Workers Are More (Yes, More) Engaged
Harvard Business Review, August 24

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, IT workers who work remotely are actually more engaged and more committed to their work than their counterparts who work in the office. Not only that, but these remote workers also tended to rate their managers higher than team members who have daily contact with them. The article consider why this might be happening, pointing out that proximity within the office often breeds complacency and that leaders of virtual teams tend to make better use of technology tools to manage their far-flung team members. While this does not necessarily mean that virtual teams are better than traditional teams, it does mean that managers might need to re-think their potential biases against telecommuting.

Leaders who sit in the same office with those they manage can go for weeks without having any substantive face-time with them. In fact they may use e-mail as their primary source of communication when they sit less than 50 feet away. It's even worse if they sit in different parts of a building. Because the possibility of communicating is so easy, it is so often taken for granted. Absence makes people try harder to connect: they make a point of deliberately reaching out to each team member by phone at least once a week, and frequently more often. Most leaders make an extra effort to stay connected to those they don't ordinarily run into. They can see that taking even a few minutes to talk about what's happening in their respective worlds before addressing the tasks at hand makes a difference in maintaining the connection with a colleague. What's more, because they have to make an effort to make contact, these leaders can be much more concentrated in their attention to each person and tend to be more conscious of the way they express their authority.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Eight Tips to Increase IT Worker Retention
CIO.com, September 27

There are eight different ways that companies can build a great company culture that will retain current employees as well as help attract new ones. For many companies, building this culture starts with the interviewing process, with the candidates coming to the office, learning about the company, and meeting as many people as possible. At the same time, employers can see how and if the candidate fits into the company’s culture. Having a clear mission statement is a great start but in a competitive hiring environment, companies need to be taking even more proactive steps to attract and retain employees – such as providing merit pay increases, offering a clearer path to advancement for superstars and taking steps to understand why employees leave or stay.

The most important step in increasing worker retention is to express clear expectations, since all employees want a boss who is clear about doling out tasks, responsibilities and projects. Along the same lines, companies need to foster open lines of communication. Teams need to have meetings in which all topics of discussion are open. From the newest to the most senior person, everyone is encouraged to share his or her ideas with the group. Companies also need to help their employees grow. Quite simply, companies can lose their superstars if there isn’t a clear path to advancement, including options such as on-the-job training or tuition reimbursement. When people see how someone takes on more and more responsibility and credibility, and moves quickly through that progression, it sends strong signals to other employees how to do it. Conversely, if an employee feels like he is in a dead-end job and there is no room for advancement, he is far more likely to seek new employment.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Is the U.S. Going to Direct Immigration to International STEM Talent?
MentorNet News, September 19

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider a bill that will ease immigration quotas for students and workers in science and technology, while also dismantling the so-called “Diversity Lottery” that, since 1990, has assigned green cards to qualified immigration candidates from any country by chance. Rep. Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has written a bill that appears to have broad bipartisan support: it would direct tens of thousands of green cards only to those foreigners who graduated from American universities with degrees in STEM-related disciplines.

As Rep. Lamar Smith has pointed out, while we need more Americans to obtain STEM master's degrees and doctorates in the future, we could boost job creation and improve our economy in the interim by allowing foreign graduates of American universities to remain. By allowing employers to fill their talent needs with foreign graduates of US universities, they will be able to do what they do best: create jobs and expand our economy. By some reports, foreign students receive half of all graduate degrees in STEM fields in the U.S.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Where is the Science in Computer Science?
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 55 No. 10, October 2012

Vinton G. Cerf, president of ACM and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, takes a big picture view of how our conceptions of computer science have changed over the past 65 years. Cerf argues that more thought needs to go into the “science” and less into the “computer” aspect of “computer science.” As Cerf points out, professionals devoted to the evolution, understanding, and application of software and hardware to the myriad problems, opportunities, and activities of modern society have a responsibility to pursue the “science” in computer science. We must develop better tools and much deeper understanding of the systems we invent and a far greater ability to make predictions about the behavior of these complex, connected, and interacting systems.

While we have a fairly good capability to measure and predict the physical performance of our computing devices (e.g. clock speeds, memory sizes), we are much less able to make models and predictions about the behavior and performance of the artifact we label "software." An analogy is the difference between measuring, modeling, and predicting neural brain functions and trying to do the same for "thought." Yet, the term "computer science" raises expectations of an ability to define models and to make predictions about the behavior of computers and computing systems. In the physical world, science is largely about models, measurement, predictions, and validation and our ability to predict likely outcomes based on models is fundamental to the most central notions of the scientific method.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top