Personal tools
You are here: Home Membership CareerNews Archives ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 19, 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 2, January 19, 2010




IT Hiring Increases Last Month Despite Broader Jobs Decline
Computerworld, January 8

According to separate indexes released by two research firms that analyze monthly U.S. employment reports to determine job gains and losses in technical occupations, the U.S. IT labor market is showing signs of stability. The TechServe Alliance reported that IT employment in December grew by 6,400 jobs, a slight 0.2% month-over-month increase. Similarly, Foote Partners LLC said its analysis of five key job segments showed a net gain of 7,600 jobs last month. Jobs in U.S. occupational categories of management and technology consulting services and computer systems design and related services accounted for 6,900 of those new jobs. The recent growth in IT services-related jobs is an indication that many firms are turning first to contractors before adding internal staff.

According to TechServe, at the end of 2009, total IT employment was just over 3.8 million, roughly equivalent with the four million jobs reported at the end of 2008. In 2009, jobs were lost regularly until about June when the data began to flatten and alternate, roughly, between small declines and increases. The Alliance, which represents IT services firms and their clients, consultants and suppliers, believes that overall IT employment over the second half of 2009 started to shows signs of growing as businesses begin to put delayed projects back on-line.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Where Will the IT Jobs Be in 2010?
Datamation, January 11

The U.S. government is now projecting that the computer and mathematical occupations will add 785,700 new jobs by 2018. Moreover, these IT-related jobs will grow more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations. Against this backdrop, Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, reviews the types of IT skills that will be in highest demand in 2010. Qualities in demand include strong communication and leadership skills, as well as a proven ability to collaborate with other departments. IT professionals who can showcase multiple skill sets will fare even better, as companies continue to place a premium on IT professionals who can wear many hats and take on new responsibilities as priorities change.

In 2009, IT professionals with experience and skills in networking and security were in demand, and this should remain the case throughout 2010. Developers and support personnel will also prove valuable to employers in the coming year. According to CIOs, it’s most challenging to find IT professionals with networking skills, such as cloud computing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Software as a Service (SaaS). They are also looking for IT professionals who can protect them from internal and external breaches, as well as developers who can maximize the effectiveness of key applications. Developers who can write and improve the applications that help a company obtain new customers or allow employees to interact more effectively are in demand. Those with strong web functionality and social media skills are particularly valued. As companies begin to put new technologies into practice, systems engineers will be needed to develop and maintain technical infrastructure, as well as hardware and software components, for various IT projects. Organizations are looking to save money through better database management, and some will be seeking developers who can create and maintain cost-efficient databases.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The CIO Job Market in 2010: More Opportunity and More Competition
CIO.com, January 5

The CIO job market gained momentum during the fourth quarter of 2009, and executive recruiters expect that momentum to build in 2010 as the economy recovers. Overall, executive recruiters polled by ExecuNet in December anticipate a 19% increase in search assignments in 2010. IT recruitment site Dice.com observed a similar uptick in employment activity heading into 2010. By the end of December, the number of jobs advertised on Dice exceeded over 50,000, up from a low of about 45,000 job ads in the middle of the year.

There are several trends setting the stage for the CIO job market to continue its rebound in 2010. Stimulus money that the U.S. government allocated to industries such as health care, green energy and green technology spurred hiring in those areas. Pent-up demand for talent has also played a role in the hiring rebound, as companies realized they needed to make some key hires to prepare for 2010. Within industries such as media and entertainment, employers are looking for CIOs with a different skill set, and that's driving new hiring. Media and entertainment companies want visionary IT leaders who embrace emerging social media and Web 2.0 technologies and who can explain to other executives how these technologies will impact their businesses.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Predictions for 2010: Five Changes in the Way We Work
Harvard Business Review, January 6

Five employment trends will lead to a rethinking of the relationship between employer and employee in 2010. Most of these trends have been percolating for some time, dating back to the 1980s; the recession of 2008-2009 simply accelerated and intensified these trends. As companies responded to a more difficult business environment over the past two years, they increasingly relied on pay cuts and furloughs to reduce costs. Combined, these two approaches have further reduced individuals' trust in an employer to care for them or even to reward their hard work with the agreed-upon pay. In short, the experiences of the past two years imprinted the workforce with a new understanding that even a "full-time job" does not necessarily equate to the equivalent full-time pay.

In 2010, it is likely that more people will maintain two sources of income than ever before. Instead of relying on a salaried job with full benefits, workers will create a series of backup options. For many, especially those in creative or knowledge-based work, this is likely to include becoming entrepreneurs. Secondly, employees who had been working 24/7 before the recession are now reconsidering how many hours they should be working for their employers each week. Many companies have come to rely on very long workweeks as staffing cuts lead to more work for the remaining individuals and technology facilitated round-the-clock work. There will be more push back this year, in part because many individuals will be spending time advancing their second work option.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


U.S. Tech Worker Shortage is National Security Risk
Wired.com, January 15

Emphasizing that the pipeline for future computer science talent has a direct impact on natural security, the Pentagon’s research arm DARPA is now soliciting proposals for initiatives to attract teens to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). DARPA is concerned that America’s ability to compete globally will be hindered without college graduates with the ability to understand and develop cutting-edge technologies in the decades to come. For the Department of Defense, finding the right people with increasingly specialized talent is becoming more difficult. Without a full pipeline of talent, it will be increasingly difficult and risky to develop a wide range of systems that depend upon software development.

DARPA did not offer specifics on what kinds of activities might boost the appeal of computing for teens. However, proposals should include career days, mentoring, lab tours and counseling. Based on the success of previous initiatives, DARPA is now hoping someone can come up with ways to encourage young students to consider a future in computer science. DARPA insists that programs be targeted to middle and high school students, and include methods to maintain a positive, long-term presence in a student’s education. In addition, DARPA is encouraging a long-term presence that includes evenings and weekends. Rather than integrate computer-based activities into academics, DARPA wants the programs to be extracurricular, perhaps as an after-school activity, weekend, or summer event. DARPA also stated that it would place a greater weight on proposals that specifically increase the number of teenage girls or minorities in their activities.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Workforce Balance Boomerangs Toward Insourcing
Federal Computer Week, January 8

With public support from the Obama Administration, the Office of Management and Budget has a new mandate to reduce the amount of government procurement work that is outsourced to private contractors. While the new Obama directives undo some Bush-era outsourcing efforts, OMB wants government agencies to proceed with caution. As the OMB explains, there are other management tools as well for reducing an organization’s reliance on private contractors. The article explores how professionals who deal with procurement policy and acquisition practices, both inside and outside government, are reacting to recent guidance from the White House and OMB.

In July 2009, the OMB issued a memo on managing the multi-sector, or blended, workforce. The multi-sector workforce is composed of private contractors and federal employees working in the same office to do an agency’s work. The memo suggested agencies find the appropriate balance between federal employees and contractors. As a result, OMB isn’t in favor of simply insourcing work or reclaiming it from outside contractors. Agencies should take back only the work that is central to accomplishing an agency’s mission. Before they do that, officials should first undertake a careful examination of what that mission is and which federal employees are essential to it.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The Disposable Worker
Bloomberg Business Week, January 7

Independent workers - often without health insurance, retirement benefits or severance packages - are becoming an increasingly integral part of the U.S. workforce. As a result of long-term trends at work in the global economy, some economists predict it will be years, not months, before these independent workers regain any semblance of bargaining power. From entry-level positions right on up to C-level positions, more jobs will be freelance and temporary, and even seemingly permanent positions will be at greater risk. The article takes a closer look at the impact of a slimmed-down, just-in-time labor force on the changing composition of employment opportunities.

The rise of the “disposable worker” has important implications both for employees and employers. For workers, research shows that chronic unemployment and underemployment cause lasting damage. Older people who lose jobs are often forced into premature retirement, while the careers of younger people are stunted by their early detachment from the working world. Even 15 years out of school, people who graduated from college in a recession earn 2.5% less than if they had graduated in more prosperous times. Diminishing job security is also widening the gap between the highest- and lowest-paid workers and impacting worker morale. At the top, people with sought-after skills can earn more by jumping from assignment to assignment than they can by sticking with one company. For the least educated, who have no special skills to sell, the new deal for labor offers nothing but downside and alienation.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Women at Work: We Did It!
The Economist, December 30

Within the next few months, women will cross the 50% threshold and become the majority of the American workforce. Women already make up the majority of university graduates in developed countries and the majority of professional workers in several countries, including the United States. Women’s continuing economic empowerment is arguably the biggest social change of our times. However, there are still two areas where women face an uphill battle. Women are still under-represented at the top of companies and are paid significantly less than men on average. Moreover, they still encounter difficulties in juggling work and childcare.

Despite broader evidence of workplace progress, many women feel they have to choose between their children and their careers. Women who prosper in high-pressure companies during their 20s drop out in dramatic numbers in their 30s and then find it almost impossible to regain their earlier momentum. Less-skilled women are trapped in poorly paid jobs with hand-to-mouth child-care arrangements. As a result, in America, childless women earn almost as much as men, but mothers earn significantly less. In response, some companies are rethinking their “up or out” promotion systems because they are losing so many able women. In addition, greater numbers of companies allow flexible working arrangements. They are also using technology to redesign work in all sorts of family-friendly ways.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


What Should We Teach New Software Developers?
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 53 No. 1, January 2010

Bjarne Stroustrup, a computer science professor at Texas A&M University, argues that industry and academia must re-think the undergraduate computer science curriculum so that it focuses more on software systems development. This educational change will allow for improvements to industrial practice. His suggestion is to define a structure of computer science education based on a core plus specializations and application areas. This might go hand-in-hand with an emphasis on lifelong industry/academia involvement for technical experts. If not, the mismatch between what universities produce and what industry needs will become a threat to both the viability of computer science and to the computing industry.

The primary problem is that there is a disconnect between what computer science education offers and what industry needs. It is not the job of academia just to teach run-of-the-mill programmers and the needs of industry are not just for well-rounded high-level thinkers. Industry wants computer science graduates to build software, at least initially in their careers. However, many graduates have essentially no education or training in software development outside their hobbyist activities. In particular, most see programming as a minimal effort to complete homework and rarely take a broader view that includes systematic testing, maintenance, documentation, and the use of their code by others. Also, many students fail to connect what they learn in one class to what they learn in another. Thus, even for students with high grades in algorithms, data structures, and software engineering, programming has become a strange combination of unprincipled hacking and invoking other people's libraries, with little regard to maintenance and code quality.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


2010 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Opens Call for Participation
ACM Press Room, January 11

The 10th Annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the world’s largest gathering of women in computing, has opened its call for participation. The Grace Hopper Celebration, presented by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, will take place in late September at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia. This year's theme, "Collaborating Across Boundaries," recognizes the significant role women play in using technology to work together across various borders including gender, scientific, social, geographical, racial and political.

The Grace Hopper Celebration is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today's technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering. The technical conference features well known keynote speakers and invited technical speakers, panels, workshops, new investigator technical papers, PhD forums, technical posters, birds of a feather sessions, technical research papers, the ACM Student Research Competition and an Awards Celebration.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top