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ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, September 3, 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 17, September 3, 2013




Top 10 States for Tech Jobs Growth
CIO.com, August 20

According to a recent Dice study on the IT job market, the ten states showing the highest growth in new technology jobs include New Jersey, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas and New York. Across the nation, the tech job market has seen steady growth since 2009 and experts expect this trend to continue as more companies turn to technology for a competitive edge or to save money. For now, areas such as mobile, cloud computing and IT security are driving much of the technology hiring growth for companies. The article includes a brief overview of which industries and sectors are responsible for the uptick in IT hiring activity within each of the Top 10 states.

New Jersey tops the list of fastest-growing U.S. states with an impressive 5% growth rate in tech jobs through the first half of the year. New Jersey has made it very attractive to companies, thanks to an economic assistance program to help small businesses. New Jersey is also able to attract talent from the New York market to New Jersey where the cost of living is less. Coming in at #2 is Massachusetts, which has posted a 4% increase from December 2012. Especially in Boston, overall tech demand remains strong. According to a recent Robert Half Technology report, 13% of Boston-area technology executives surveyed expect to expand their IT teams in the third quarter of 2013, while 56% plan to hire to fill open IT roles in the upcoming quarter.


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10 Hottest IT Jobs: Developers, Developers, Developers
Network World, August 16

Software developers in general -- and mobile developers in particular -- are among the most sought-after hires within the IT world, according to a new survey from Modis. Developers who have experience with iOS and Android platforms are highly coveted. Companies are also looking for IT pros with knowledge of PHP, HTML5 and Ruby on Rails. Demand varies geographically, but some of the hottest hiring markets include the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Houston. Some of the current hiring demand has to do with timing, since Q3 is traditionally one of the busiest months for IT hiring.

Modis doesn’t expect hiring to slow down anytime soon, particularly in regions such as Silicon Valley, where tech firms are waging a war for talent. At the height of the recession, the unemployment rate for the information sector was 11.2%, Modis says, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Four years later, it’s at 5.8%, and in many markets, the demand for IT talent outweighs the supply. In addition to developers, there’s a growing need for network professionals as companies migrate to cloud environments. Companies are trying to save money on infrastructure costs by moving to cloud-based offerings. Understanding what to outsource and what’s critical to keep in house is very important.


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IT Jobs: The Hiring Winners and Losers
Tech Republic, August 14

IT vacancies in the UK are on the rise, led by particularly big jumps in openings for software engineers and project managers, both of which have posted double-digit growth. The good news is that the IT Monitor survey from Computer People is registering 8% higher demand for technologists than at this time last year; the bad news is that IT hiring is still lagging behind the overall trend for permanent jobs in the UK. With that as context, the article analyzes the sectors and functional areas within the UK that are reporting the highest and lowest gains in both employment and salary.

Along with software engineering, the skills areas most in demand are management and project management, which both recorded double-digit growth. Director-level jobs have also risen significantly but the 78.7% year-over-year jump is more than impressive than it seems, because there is only a small base of openings available. Rises in permanent openings in business intelligence, database administration and application analysis are a sign that businesses are looking to reform their back-end processes and starting to consider growth options. However, some types of jobs are experiencing marginal year-on-year declines, with openings for permanent security specialists down 2.6%, and technical architects down 1.6%. ERP skills are also pretty flat, only up half a percentage point from last year.


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Why IT Has to Change How It Recruits Talent
Computerworld, August 26

For any IT executive, not just C-level executives at a global company, it’s important to foster a diverse workforce where everyone can reach his or her full potential. This means, first and foremost, creating a very level playing field in the area of recruiting from a diversity perspective and also from a female perspective. In turn, this will lead to a more diverse leadership organization and a competitive advantage for the organization in a fast-moving marketplace. It’s no longer just enough to have IT workers with strong tech and business skills, it’s important that they understand the business and can partner with the business in different ways.

The biggest challenge to creating a diverse IT workforce today is finding the right talent. That means an organization has to reconsider how it approaches recruiting and not rely just on what's worked in the past. Historically, IT organizations have hired to fill a specific need. Now, they also need people who have the talent and potential to grow versus just a specific technical skill. It also means that organizations need to provide the tools, resources and training to grow and make talent development a priority. Organizations also have to find ways to attract a diverse slate of candidates through the recruiting process. They still end up hiring the right person for the job, but by looking at more than that technical need, they can see a significant increase in more diverse hiring and people with higher potential.


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IT Gender Salary Gap Not As Dramatic As You Think
CIO.com, August 27

The conventional wisdom is that women are paid less than their male counterparts in the technology industry, but that wage gap may be smaller than we think. A new Payscale report, “Women at Work,” delves into the gender wage gap issue as it applies to the technology field in an effort to identify the factors that contribute to the wage gap. The findings are surprising: in technology, the gender wage gap all but disappears once you control for factors like education, experience and job responsibilities. When comparing exactly equal titles, experience and education, men and women in technology are paid equally. It turns out that more men are gravitating to technical roles such as software engineering, programming and architecture, while more women are in project management and administration.

Technology has always been one of the more pure meritocratic fields, in which your performance and therefore your eligibility for pay raises, promotions and bonuses is evaluated solely on the effectiveness of your work. It's a very skills-based, project-dependent field -- you either got a project done or you didn't. It was either on time or it wasn't. Your code either works or it doesn't. These factors make tech an alluring career option for those with the education and skills to thrive. The field, too, offers flexibility and an emphasis on work-life balance that aren’t as available in other industries. Women appear to migrate to project management and administration because those positions have a more predictable, 9-to-5, five-days-a-week schedule that's easier to plan around.


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QA Engineers Are Just About the Happiest Workers of All
Computerworld, August 26

Three IT jobs – Senior QA Engineer, Senior Application Developer and Network Engineer – appear to have some of the happiest workers in the U.S., according to a new survey from online jobs site CareerBliss. In fact, Senior QA Engineer ranked not only as the happiest job in IT, but also ranked as the second happiest job in America. The rankings of the happiest jobs in America are based on approximately 65,000 job reviews CareerBliss received over the course of 2012. The article includes a brief summary of why some tech jobs appear to have the happiest workers.

So what can explain the happiness of QA professionals? They're well paid, with the average QA worker who submitted a review to CareerBliss making $82,000. But pay is only one factor and not enough to explain the relative happiness of those workers. The site considers other key factors that affect work happiness, including work/life balance, relationships with bosses and co-workers, work environment, growth opportunities, and company culture and reputation. While the QA job involves long hours and intense demands, senior QA engineers are gratified to feel that they are typically the last stop before software goes live and correctly feel that they are an integral part of the job being done at the company.


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Why Millennials Are Ending the 9 to 5
Forbes, August 23

With freelancing and self-employment on the rise, Millennial workers are now looking for new workplace options that emphasize flexibility, purpose and economic security. That means that the 9-to-5 job may soon be a relic of the past. Already, 60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years. With 87% of companies reporting a cost of between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost Millennial employee, the lesson is clear: companies need to start paying attention to structural changes to the modern workplace.

A recent Millennial Branding report found 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. After all, Millennials helped create a new type of work, with increasing reliance on the gig economy and freelancing. The category of “flexible labor” includes stay-at-home mothers, retirees and Millennials, who make up 53% of crowd workers. A generational change is occurring, as crowdsourcing becomes an option for Millennials seeking employment on their own terms. The second feature Millennials are seeking is work with a greater purpose. Millennials have been pegged as a generation committed to change. 72% of students, as opposed to 53% of workers, consider having “a job where I can make an impact” to be very important or essential to their happiness. Social entrepreneurship has exploded in the last ten years, going from an undefined phrase to a program offered at more than 30 business schools. Outside of making meaningful change in their community, Millennials are seeking meaningful connections at work.


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How Power Poses Can Help Your Career
Wall Street Journal, August 20

The key to future career success might have less to do with technical skills, and more with the ability to strike a “power pose.” Researchers have found that a powerful, expansive pose actually changes a person's hormones and behavior, just as if he or she had real power. Merely practicing a "power pose" for a few minutes in private -- such as standing tall and leaning slightly forward with hands at one's side, or leaning forward over a desk with hands planted firmly on its surface -- led to physiological changes in study participants. These physiological changes, in turn, are linked to better performance and more confident, assertive behavior, recent studies show.

Striking a powerful pose can reduce symptoms of stress, according to a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Those who practice a power pose before a speech, for example, show fewer outward signs of stress, such as anxious smiles or biting a lip. Assuming an expansive body position can also increase testosterone, which tends to boost confidence and aggressive behavior. Subjects who struck power poses for two minutes had higher testosterone levels later and were more likely to take a gamble when given the chance. Power posing is also linked to improved performance. In another study published last year, led by an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, participants who struck power poses for several minutes before beginning a mock job interview received better reviews and were more likely to be chosen for hire.


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Code.org Partners With ACM on Computer Education Push
The Seattle Times, July 31

Seattle nonprofit Code.org has partnered with the Association for Computing Machinery to lead ACM’s educational outreach. Code.org, which is now six months old, is merging with an educational coalition that ACM formed in 2010 with the backing of Microsoft, Google, the Computer Science Teachers Association and the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Together they’ll organize the national Computer Science Education Week taking place this year from December 8 to 14.

As ACM President Vinton Cerf pointed out, reforming K-12 education to incorporate serious computer science seems vital to producing an informed public that has a deeper appreciation for the power of computing than video games and social networking. ACM is contributing funding and staff to Code.org, including its public policy director, Cameron Wilson, who is joining Code.org as interim chief operating officer.


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A Stable Future for Computing Education Requires Collaboration Beyond CS
Blog @ CACM, August 22

In order for computing education to have a stable future in the U.S., it’s important to focus on finding new, more effective ways to teach computer science to future teachers. This will require a change from the current practice, which focuses on converting existing teachers into computer science teachers. We will have to have computer science in pre-service education for a reliable stream of new teachers. In turn, that requires collaboration beyond just computer science, to include school superintendent and departments of education, for everything from endorsements to certifications.

Currently, the U.S. develops new high school computer science teachers via in-service professional development. We work with teachers who were originally certified in science, mathematics, or business and teach them both computer science and how to teach computer science. We're "converting" them to computer science. The in-service professional development being offered today in the U.S. is mostly coming from university CS departments. In these early days of establishing computing education in schools, the computer scientists have to be involved. They need to define the relationship of computer science with society and be able to explain what is so valuable about computer science that it's important to have in every high school.


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