Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, June 8, 2010

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-request@acm.org

Volume 6, Issue 11, June 8, 2010




Silicon Valley Rebound Pressures Tech Hiring
Wall Street Journal, May 24

The rebound in tech hiring is spreading beyond Silicon Valley, forcing companies on other high-tech hubs to rethink their recruiting tactics. Companies in cities such as Austin and Raleigh-Durham had an easier time recruiting talented employees during the slump. But now that Silicon Valley firms have started aggressively hiring, and the general economy is improving, competition is stiffening. In many cases, companies are no longer able to recruit the types of incredible people that they could during the recession. In order to recruit top talent, companies are experimenting with expanded employee referral programs, increased hiring of interns, and more aggressive recruiting on social networking sites like Facebook.

IT job candidates now often have at least one offer in hand, sometimes two, when they show up for interviews. As a result, firms outside of California are emphasizing short commute times, cheap real estate and quality of life to potential employees. As hiring improves in Silicon Valley, firms located in regional hubs might have to start using bonuses, salaries, or options again to attract workers. In North Carolina, tech firms are making their pitch more personal. Hiring managers are trained to talk about their career histories, emphasizing the variety of projects they work on and ideas they have been able to execute in an entrepreneurial environment.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Science, Engineering Job Ads Increase in May
Science Careers Blog, June 3

The number of online job advertisements for science and engineering staff increased in May, while the number of online job ads for sectors such as health care and education declined. According to data from The Conference Board, the ratio of unemployed scientists and engineers competing for jobs posted online stayed about the same as the previous month, continuing trends that began earlier in the year. The article takes a closer look at online job ads by industry and sector, as well as the overall level of job market competitiveness.

In May, online employment ads for scientists and engineers increased, led by computer science and mathematics specialists with more than 567,000 openings. This represents a gain of 18,000 over April. For the first time since the Science Careers index began last summer, the number of ads for computer and math workers jumped ahead of ads for health care practitioners and technicians. It was also the single largest number of ads for any occupational category recorded in May by the Conference Board. Online employment ads for engineers and architects also jumped in May, representing a gain of 8.7% over April.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Work in the Digital Age: A Clouded Future
The Economist, May 13

IT workers with limited success pursuing traditional employment paths are turning to online sites such as Elance, oDesk and LiveOps to find new opportunities. By allowing freelancers to bid for corporate piecework, these sites can allow workers to build up a healthy stream of online projects and, in some cases, earn more than they did in their previous jobs. According to research firm IDC, there were around 12 million full-time, home-based freelancers and independent contractors in America alone at the end of last year and there will be 14 million by 2015. Experts predict this number will keep rising, due to a sluggish jobs market and jobseekers’ growing desire for flexible working arrangements.

Technology is driving the trend towards “jobs in the cloud.” Over the past few years, a host of fast-growing firms such as Elance, oDesk and LiveOps have begun to take advantage of ubiquitous fast internet connections and cheap, plentiful web-based computing power. Although numerous online exchanges still act primarily as brokers between employers in rich countries and workers in poorer ones, the number of rich-world freelancers is growing. At oDesk, the number of freelancers registered with the firm in America has risen from 28,000 at the end of 2008 to 247,000 at the end of April. Moreover, the range of work available on “e-lancing” sites is starting to encompass more complex and better-paid tasks.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Entrepreneur or Unemployed?
New York Times, June 1

Robert B. Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, reconciles the high rates of entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy with the concurrent high rates of unemployment. In 2009, the Kauffman Foundation reported that business startups reached their highest level in 14 years, exceeding the number of startups even during the peak of the 1999-2000 technology boom. As Reich explains, however, the current wave of entrepreneurship is driven more by circumstance rather than choice; many of these entrepreneurs are between the ages of 35 and 44, and a growing number are between 55 and 64. More interestingly, even demographic groups that historically have lower rates of entrepreneurship are now reporting spikes in entrepreneurial activity.

Due to the precarious nature of the economy, millions of Americans have had no choice but to opt for self-employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier. Among those 55 to 64, self-employment rose to nearly two million, 5% higher than in 2008. Among people over 65, the ranks of the self-employed swelled 29%. In the best case scenario, the current recession can liberate the most talented and driven of these workers to fulfill their creative dreams and find their inner entrepreneurs.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Seven Items Employers Want to See on Telecommuters’ Resumes
Web Worker Daily, May 28

When you’re applying for a new telecommuting job, your resume needs to position you as a good candidate for a position. The skills and characteristics that a hiring manager is looking for on a telecommuter’s resume aren’t always the same as when you’re looking for other jobs. Among other things, employers are looking for prior experience as a telecommuter, a strong sense of self-direction, superior technical skills and access to IT hardware. These employers are also examining your professional objectives and your reasons for telecommuting, in order to see if you would make a good match.

Employers want to see prior experience as a telecommuter on the resume. There’s a learning curve that goes along with becoming a telecommuter, and every employer would prefer to hire someone who’s already figured out the nuts and bolts of telecommuting. If you can show that you’ve taken on projects at your own direction and worked without guidance through your resume, you’ll catch a reader’s attention. When describing previous responsibilities, mention how you’ve handled a lack of guidance. Working offsite requires an employee with above-average communication skills. Make every aspect of your resume as clear as possible to demonstrate that you have great communication skills.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


What Will Be the Hot Jobs of 2018?
Career Journal, May 26

By taking a long-term perspective on the jobs that will be popular a decade from now, young adults can align their career passion with one of the hot jobs of the near future. While it is difficult to predict the exact jobs or skills that will be in demand years from now, informational websites, government forecasts, college career counselors, and neighbors and friends employed in growing fields can all help in the assessment process. The best source of job-growth information is the Labor Department's 10-year forecast for demand, pay and competition for more than 300 jobs in 45 categories. This biannual compilation, known as the "Occupational Outlook Handbook," is great for sizing up the long-term outlook for most fields.

In the coming decade, engineering—already known for paying college graduates some of the highest starting salaries—is expected to offer the fastest-growing area: biomedical engineering. Jobs in this field, which centers on developing and testing health-care innovations such as artificial organs or imaging systems, are expected to grow by 72%, according to the U.S. Labor Department. In addition, jobs for Network Systems Analysts are expected to grow by 53%. The Labor Department's macroeconomic model assumes that the economy will rebound to long-term growth and that there won't be any more shocks like the 2007-2008 recession.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Revitalize Your Career
California Job Journal, May 16

As the economy pulls out of the recession, IT employees need to re-evaluate their jobs to see how they can revitalize their future career prospects. While they may have averted layoffs during a difficult economic time, they have likely been forced to take on more work with fewer resources and fewer rewards. With this as backdrop, the article suggests a four-step process for workers to re-charge their careers and prepare for the return to normalcy in the economy.

It’s important to accept where you are in your career. It’s not always easy to stay positive in a negative environment, especially if you are one of the people left after mass layoffs or multiple layoffs over time. Acceptance is important because it gives you the power to choose your situation versus simply letting your situation happen to you. Then, you should focus on doing the best possible job you can. Once you do, your job will get easier for you. Choose to work on interesting new projects because you want to grow as much as possible. Do it because you want to put something interesting on your resume.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Flexible Working Tops Benefits Wish List
Management Issues, June 1

Flexible working is the most valued benefit for employees, proving far more popular than material perks such as bonuses, according to a new survey carried out in the UK by PricewaterhouseCoopers. In a survey of 1,000 professionals, PwC found that flexible working arrangements were rated the most important benefit by almost half (47%) of those surveyed, with the second most popular benefit, performance-related bonuses, cited by just one in five (19%). Better work-life balance was seen as more achievable in the long term (by 42% of respondents) than vastly increased responsibility and salary (39%).

Two years of recession have changed people's attitude towards work. With companies mindful of taking on new employees, existing staff members have been expected to do more with less. The PwC survey indicates that employees may be feeling the pressure, with large numbers hoping for a better work- life balance in the future, and half saying they would rather work for themselves. Companies that can adapt to the UK's growing flexible working culture will be best placed to sustain morale and retain top talent when the job market becomes more buoyant.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The Requisite Variety of Skills for IT Professionals
CACM, Vol. 53 No. 6, June 2010

For IT workers to thrive in a dynamic global economy, they must have competency in a broad range of skills, including not only technical skills, but also non-technical skills. In fact, a growing number of studies show that the skills most sought in new mid-level employees are non-technical skills such as project management, business domain knowledge and relationship skills. These skills enable IT departments to work effectively with other departments, internal users, and external customers and suppliers. Non-technical skills leverage technical skills to make it easier for organizations to develop innovative solutions. IT workers need a broad enough range of knowledge and skills to meet the demands of their increasingly dynamic and complex profession.

To investigate the premise that IT professionals should possess a varied set of skills, the researchers used data drawn from a multi-year research project sponsored by the Society for Information Management (SIM). They asked respondents to describe skills that are critical both today and in the near future; skills that are critical when hiring entry-level employees and mid-level employees; and the skills that are provided by independent contractors and third-party providers. The patterns revealed in this analysis led to identification of six categories of skills, three technical and three non-technical. For the technical skills, there are three skill categories: Foundational, Operational and Essential. For the non-technical skills, there are three skill categories: Project Management, Problem/Opportunity and Relationship skills.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


New Editorial Scope Provides Resources for Career Success in Growing Technology Field
ACM Press Room, June 1

With the Summer 2010 issue of XRDS, ACM launches a completely revamped edition of Crossroads, its popular magazine for computer science and computer engineering students. Targeted to both graduate and undergraduate students contemplating computing careers, the newly redesigned XRDS offers breaking news and information, practical career advice, and first-hand stories and profiles of people on the front lines of the burgeoning computing field. XRDS has been designed as a resource for students who are focused on their futures, including a new website destination where students can share their ideas and experiences through interactive features as well as submit articles for publication.

The new magazine features recurring columns on benefits available to ACM student members; a calendar that lists both events and deadlines for funding and publishing opportunities; updated news from ACM’s many university chapters around the world; profiles of renowned computing professionals; and advice on how to maximize job search efforts. The content also includes a tutorial that invites readers to tinker with entertaining and interesting code samples; highlights from some of the world’s most exciting research labs for internship and employment opportunities; and comparison of two technologies from yesteryear and the present to track how they have evolved.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top