ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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 [email protected]

Volume 12, Issue 21, November 1, 2016

These Are the 10 Hottest Data Jobs
Silicon Republic, October 27

Big data continues to be one of the hottest areas for IT hiring, with a majority of organizations now investing in significant big data projects. That’s leading to increased demand for data skills, from the most junior level to the highest executive ranks. One of the jobs most in demand, for example, is Chief Data Officer (CDO). It all starts at the top, and for companies that are serious about unleashing the potential of their data, appointing a CDO is an essential first step. Other hot data jobs include: data scientist, data engineer, data architect; data engineer; and business intelligence developer. In addition, software developers who are able to build web-based applications on top of big data platforms are also in high demand.

Glassdoor recently called data scientist the “number one job in America.” As the new celebrities of the data world, the role comes with a healthy amount of discussion around what and who really classifies as a data scientist. The fundamentals include a strong academic background (Ph.D. or masters) within statistics, mathematics, physics or economics, and deep expertise in statistics, data mining or machine learning. A quality data scientist will identify and solve highly complex business problems, utilizing advanced analytics principles and tools including statistical programming in Python, R or Spark. This analysis will play a central role in decision-making, providing the required intelligence to ensure that companies can successfully navigate through an increasingly complex business environment.

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Want a Sure-Fire Well-Paid Job? Train to Fight Computer Hackers
Chicago Tribune, October 21

The booming field of cybersecurity is now one of the fastest-growing areas of the IT hiring landscape. Companies can’t hire fast enough. In the United States, companies report 209,000 cybersecurity jobs that are in need of filling. By 2019, according to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, the workforce shortfall may reach 1.5 million. Globally, the shortage could hit 6 million. Some 46% of working cybersecurity professionals said they received solicitations for other jobs at least once per week, according to the State of Cyber Security Professional Careers, a survey released jointly by the Enterprise Strategy Group and Information Systems Security Association.

A dramatic rise in cybercrime has put government in competition with private companies for hiring cybersecurity experts. The shortage in job candidates is not an easy or quick problem to address, experts say. It takes a long time to develop the instincts to be an effective cybersecurity engineer. You can’t just come out of college and know what to do. The threat landscape changes all the time, and that’s hard to train for. Both government and private industry face shortages and there are so many employers who are way behind in staffing. That could lead to efforts to poach cybersecurity experts.

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5 Ways to Reboot Your IT Career
InfoWorld, October 24

Even though technology changes quickly, resulting in new paradigms and new business models, it’s still possible to reinvent yourself and reboot your IT career at any time. It will mean investing a lot of time and possibly some money, taking risks, and hacking code. But it can turn into a much greater reward, both financially and psychically. The easiest way is to apply your legacy skills to new tech. Age and experience can actually work to your advantage, especially if you already have a certificate or advanced degree in business, management or technology.

The good news for people looking to reboot their IT careers is that demand for developers has never been greater. Today, the hottest tech jobs are software engineers, software architects and UX/UI designers. Moreover, the ability to combine good communications skills with a basic foundation in coding can make you highly marketable as a developer advocate. Developer advocates are in especially high demand, particularly at technology companies that encourage third-party use of their back end, like Facebook or Pinterest. Working knowledge of APIs, solid communication skills, and a passion for product and customer service are the perfect recipe for success in this role.

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7 Data And Analytics Job Titles To Know
Information Week, October 25

IT professionals with a background in data analytics and who can help organizations leverage all their data are in peak demand. This is true not only at tech companies, but across many industries, as financial companies, insurance companies, media companies, shipping companies, healthcare providers, entertainment companies, and others, all become data and software development companies. Moreover, you don't have to live in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York, or Boston to land a job in one of these fields. There has never been a better time to be a data scientist, data analyst, or data engineer. While some of these jobs may have overlapping skills and responsibilities, they also have distinctions that make them mission-critical roles within an organization.

Data scientist is the job title that's been getting lots of attention over the last few years. But what does it mean to actually be a data scientist? Data scientists as those who apply sophisticated quantitative and computer science skills to both structure and analyze massive unstructured data sets or continuously streaming data, with the intent to derive insights and prescribe action. The depth and breadth of these professionals' coding skills distinguishes them from other predictive analytics pros, and allows them to exploit data regardless of the source, size, or format. These data pros often have a master's or a Ph.D. in a quantitative discipline, such as applied mathematics or statistics, and have expert knowledge of statistical and machine learning methods.

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Growing Interest in Cyber Security Careers Among Millennials
Campus Technology, October 12

An increasing number of millennials are considering careers in cyber security, primarily because of increased awareness of cyber security issues, according to a new report from Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance. But even this increased level of interest is not enough to close the cyber security gap, and the industry must make a sustained effort to attract new talent, especially women, who are underrepresented in the field. The report surveyed 3,779 adults aged 18 to 26, from 12 countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The report on cyber jobs attributes increased interest in cyber security careers to numerous factors, including initiatives designed to increase awareness of the profession, school cyber competitions, an increase in cyber security education, and news about cyberattacks and related political issues in the media. According to the report, a high-paying career as a cyber security professional requires skills millennials value, such as problem solving, analytical thinking and communication. Employment opportunities are available across a wide variety of sectors, including start-ups, government and hospitals. These factors are also helping to increase the career's appeal to millennials.

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6 Tips to Create Your Online Career Identity, October 18

Just like companies need to maintain their public image and protect their brand, so does anyone with a career in technology. Your online identity is a form of capital, much like your intellectual capital and financial capital. Technology has changed the way people find jobs; it's become easier than ever for hiring managers and recruiters to search for top talent, rather than wait for them to submit a resume. That means your dream job could easily come knocking at your inbox, but that is only true if recruiters and hiring managers can actually find you. By taking time to carefully craft your online identity and brand, you will stand out as a tech-savvy, smart self-marketer.

A great first step in creating your online career brand is to register a domain with your name. This is a great way to build your portfolio and to identify yourself as an expert in your field. Also having a personal website makes you far easier to find via a quick Google search. You might have to get creative if you have a common name, but you'll find a personal website will help set apart your cover letter or resume from other candidates. And if the thought of creating a website seems daunting, don't worry, it's actually easier than ever. There are plenty of platforms out there that will guide you through the process to create a visually impressive and easy-to-navigate website for your career portfolio.

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Remote Work Can Work For Tech
Women Who Code, October 14

Distributed teams and remote work options are one method being used to expand the talent search and attract a wider and more diverse population of engineers to the workforce. According to a recent study by Global Workplace Analytics, 80% of the U.S. workforce says that they would like to work remotely at least part of the time. In the competitive realm of tech recruitment, then, offering remote work options can be a way to stand out and attract more talented candidates to your company.

The desire to work from home is one that extends across the board from first-time job seekers to industry veterans. A study by AfterCollege showed that 68% of seniors and recent grads viewed remote work options as a positive benefit in a potential position. Another 2015 PGi Global Telework Survey showed that 60% of surveyed workers worldwide would leave their existing job for a similar position, at the same pay rate, if they could work from home. Telecommuting options can have an effect on worker happiness as well, which directly relates to retention. A more recent 2016 study by PWC showed that people who worked from home were 48% more likely to rate their job a 10 on a happiness scale. This shows a definite trend: people who work from home are more satisfied, and thus will remain more loyal over time.

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That Moment You Realize Running a Company Wasn't the Job You Signed Up For, November 2016

For workers at tech startups, the need to focus on sales and partnerships can often require more time and commitment than leveraging IT skills. That may take some adjustment and a recalibration of your career expectations. In short, working at a startup can make it painfully clear rather quickly that the technical skills you possess are great, but they're not necessarily the ones you'll actually need to make meaningful progress. You may end up being doing things you aren’t good at and delegating the tasks and roles that you actually enjoy. Sales and partnerships is often the most difficult area to learn, even if you already have a broad network and are used to contacting potential partners or customers.

There are still opportunities, of course, for IT workers at startups to participate in building products. In fact, understanding what potential customers will actually pay for turns out to be a smart way to plot a product road map. But one of the unexpected pleasures of startup life could be learning things you never knew you needed to learn. You might find out that you have a knack for them, after all.

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Tech Industry Ph.D.s: Academia Can Be Nicer Than You Think
Blog @ CACM, October 21

Teaching at a liberal arts college has more in common with working in the tech industry than you might think, and that should encourage more Ph.D.’s to consider a career in teaching. It’s possible to find many of the same features as Silicon Valley – such as the ability to work with smart colleagues and conduct research on world-changing products – on a liberal arts campus. While you will still have to write grant proposals, manage grad students and take care of some administrative tasks, you will also have a lot of opportunities to pursue your career passions and make a difference in people’s lives. To earn tenure, liberal arts faculty members are typically expected to demonstrate excellence in teaching, an active program of scholarship, and contributions to their institution and profession.

Working at a liberal arts college means nearly all of your colleagues are not computer scientists, which means you can learn a lot just by talking with them. And the constant meetings that take place between professors on a liberal arts campus are a great opportunity to learn from your diverse and thoughtful colleagues. You will also get a chance to get down in the trenches and learn how things really work since undergrad researchers need a lot of supervision. Chances are good you will find yourself working right beside them, whether it’s to teach them how to do it right or figure out what they did wrong. You’ll get to investigate bugs you never even dreamed were possible. You will also get to participate in the excitement of a rapidly changing field. And the body of foundational knowledge in CS is still expanding. CS is also expanding into interdisciplinary applications. Liberal arts colleges value learning across disciplines, with relatively flat organizational structures that facilitate collaboration.

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Globalization, Computing and Their Political Impact
Communications of the ACM, November 2016

Moshe Vardi, editor-in-chief of Communications of the ACM, weighs in on the impact of globalization and computing on the political landscape. Globalization and automation provide huge benefits to society, but their adverse effects cannot and should not be ignored. Technology is not destiny and public policy has a key role to play. As actors in and beneficiaries of this societal transformation, computer scientists have a social responsibility that goes beyond their technical roles. That’s important to keep in mind, given that we are currently at the peak of a technology and computing-enrollment boom.

Nearly a decade ago, there were concerns that IT jobs would be migrating away from developed countries. That no longer seems to be the case. However, it’s also clear that globalization has exerted tremendous competitive pressure on manufacturing in developed countries. It is instructive to examine the response to this competitive pressure, taking U.S. manufacturing as an example. To survive in the intensely competitive global economy, U.S. manufacturing had to increase its productivity dramatically, substituting technology for labor. U.S. manufacturing productivity roughly doubled between 1995 and 2015. As a result, while U.S. manufacturing output today is essentially at an all-time high, employment peaked around 1980, and has been declining precipitously since 1995.

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