ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Volume 13, Issue 4, February 21, 2017

Big Data, IoT and Security Are Hot IT Careers For 2017
InfoWorld, February 6

A new report from Randstad USA highlights the roles of full-stack developer, big data engineer, security engineer, IoT architect, and VR/AR engineer as in-demand IT careers for 2017. For these career paths, Randstad has tracked rapidly increasing demand (e.g. job listings up more than 50% year-over-year). While some of the jobs and positions are instantly recognizable, some of the other listed skills and specializations are not. In fact, the Randstad list is as notable for what's missing – such as machine learning and AI - as what is present.

Big data engineer appears to be an extremely popular specialty for 2017, and other companies have reached the same conclusion. Staffing and recruiting firm Robert Half saw starting salaries for such positions range from $135,000 to $196,000. Randstad's estimates are more conservative ($121,950 to $159,800) but the number of such jobs tracked by Randstad nearly doubled over the course of 2016. Security engineer, a position for developing systems to prevent data breaches and keep confidential information safe, is also a popular choice. Full-stack developer may not be an emerging tech position, but according to Randstad, it has also made a major jump in growth, with more than twice the number of listings over the past year.

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9 Industries Hiring IT Pros Now
Information Week, February 15

Nine key industries are planning significant IT hiring in the coming year. By keeping a careful eye on these industries, which include healthcare, financial services and business services, it’s possible to get a good idea of which IT skill sets are going to be in greatest demand in 2017. Right now, 41% of U.S. firms report having IT job openings and are actively recruiting candidates. While many of those available positions are the result of expansion, approximately one-third of them involve replacing IT workers who left for other jobs. Moreover, as the economy improves, many technology professionals are looking to making a change. That’s leading to a lot of new hiring opportunities in certain key industries.

When it comes to industries that expect to do a lot of IT hiring in 2017, healthcare is at the top of nearly everyone's list. Many healthcare firms are particularly interested in hiring security professionals. Patient data is highly sensitive, and healthcare organizations must meet strict compliance regulations when it comes to protecting that data. In addition, recent news about data breaches has companies in many different industries, including healthcare, more concerned than ever about IT security. The technology industry is also one of the hottest areas for IT employment. Tech firms are experiencing a boom as trends like cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics induce other organizations to increase their technology budgets. In fact, Gartner predicts that worldwide IT spending will rise 2.9% in 2017 to reach $3.5 trillion. In order to meet this growing demand for software and services, many technology companies are increasing their own hiring of IT professionals.

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The 14 Best Tech Jobs in America, February 8

For the second year in a row, data scientist tops the list of Glassdoor’s Best Jobs in America followed by DevOps engineer and data engineer. Though Glassdoor expanded 2017's list to 50 (up from 25 in 2016), technology jobs continued to dominate the list, with fourteen roles represented on the list from the IT industry. The report highlights the best jobs in all industries based on each job's overall Glassdoor Job Score. The Glassdoor Job Score is determined using three key factors: earning potential based on median annual base salary, job satisfaction rating and number of job openings.

Data scientists are tasked with creating value out of the raw data organizations collect. They use machine-learning based tools and processes as well as perform data and statistical analysis. They can expect a median base salary of $110,000. A DevOps engineer works closely with software engineers to automate and streamline systems, build and maintain deployment tools as well as troubleshoot and resolve issues in development, testing and production. They also can expect a median base salary of $110,000. With the myriad of data sources, companies need data engineers to put it all the pieces together. In their role, data engineers develop, maintain, test and evaluate big data solutions throughout an organization. They can expect a median base salary of $106,000.

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The 10 Hottest Developers of 2017
Tech Republic, February 16

The start of 2017 has seen immense growth in demand for developers, as front end developers, full stack developers, mobile developers, and back end developers are all currently in the top 10 hardest to fill tech jobs, according to data from job search site Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that software developer jobs will grow 17% between 2014 and 2024—much faster than the average rate of other professions. Application developer jobs are projected to grow 19% in that time, and systems developers are forecast to grow 13%. The article provides an overview of the top 10 types of developers and skill sets that will be in demand throughout 2017.

Ruby developers experienced a staggering 656% jump in searches by job seekers on the website between 2015 and 2016—among the fastest growing searches on the site, according to a recent report. Mobile app developers, especially mobile engineers for both iOS and Android, are also in very high demand. The skills needed for these types of positions include understanding the variety of mobile hardware platforms that are available, and how the software ports to these different platforms provide the same quality user experience. Also, knowing how to interface and utilize all the sensors, like cameras and GPS, available on mobile devices, and learning the variety of operating systems these programs execute on, is essential.

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5 Jobs in Big Data You’ve Never Heard Of, February 13

Big data has been a popular buzzword for most of the past few years, and that’s leading to the creation of new job positions, such as database architect and information security analyst, that help companies understand, analyze and manage all that data. With so much data available to organizations, professional opportunities in the big data realm are rapidly growing, and there are more jobs in more industries available to those interested in data-related jobs than ever before.

One big data job that’s on the radar screens of many hiring managers is database architect. Similar to structural architects, database architects are responsible for design. But instead of designing buildings, they design systems that organize and manage large amounts of data. These systems are responsible for effectively storing and managing data, as well as for allowing an organization’s employees to access and use it. Creating these systems is only part of the job. Database architects also look to ensure that the systems are keeping data up-to-date and refreshed in a secure manner. They also manage the day-to-day functionality of these systems to confirm they’re performing at the highest levels. Data architects are often seen as integral parts of an organization that help a business rapidly expand and keep up with ever-changing technology. Most are considered to be highly detailed people who are able to think outside of the box to creatively solve problems.

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When Competitors Recruit
Computerworld, February 9

In today’s hyper-competitive Silicon Valley job market, sometimes the best way to find talent is to recruit it away from your competitors. In fact, according to a new report from recruiting company Talentful, tech’s top companies sometimes find their best talent by recruiting from their closest competitors. Of course, there’s an art to recruiting these employees without making it seem like poaching. With that in mind, the article provides some tips and advice on how to leave your current job gracefully if you’ve been recruited away by a competitor.

In general, there’s a lot of trading back and forth between the biggest companies of Silicon Valley when it comes to talent. Every time one company hires a staff member from another, they’re not just bringing in that person -- they’re bringing in their whole network. People like to work with familiar teams who know the way they work, and they end up bringing their colleagues with them. But company politics, counteroffers and high emotions can complicate leaving an employer for a competitor.

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How To Become an IoT Developer
Tech Republic, February 13

The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is booming, and that’s leading to a surge in demand for IoT developers. As connected homes, cars, and offices become more mainstream, more developers are needed to ensure that devices operate properly and securely. There are a lot of discipline areas that are in play, including security, networking, systems engineering, cloud programming, and hardware device programming. All of these may be used to some degree in developing an IoT device. The article provides six tips from IoT experts on how to break into a career developing connected devices.

Unlike other developers, those who work in the IoT space must have a deep understanding of sensors and wireless communication. It's recommended that IoT developers have a background in computer science or electrical engineering. However, some professional organizations offer online courses on sensors and development in which you can make a project to show employers. And a number of inexpensive sensors and maker kits are available to practice skills on your own. You will also need to focus on user interface. When developing a commercial IoT product, it's important to hold yourself to high quality standards for user experiences. Quality and reliability are paramount to this experience and need to be part of any developer's mentality. Experts also advise learning JavaScript or Python.

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Defining Successful Career Engagement
CIO Insight, February 10

In order to have a successful career in tech, it’s important to feel energized and engaged. According to career coaches, there are three main types of people who are typically in search of greater career engagement. The first group consists of people in transition, such as talented individuals who have found themselves on the wrong end of a merger or acquisition. The second group includes people who are underemployed. They have demonstrated the ability to contribute on a broader scale than they are currently being allowed to do, but their organizations may have a very specific and limited idea of what these individuals can contribute. The third group consists of the unhappily employed. They are making a good living and have all the outward attributes of what we were taught to believe is success, but find themselves merely going through the motions at work.

Getting re-energized at work is a multi-step process. Each person has to go through a number of emotional phases and the first phase has to do with knowing who you are and what you want. Most people think of themselves as their business card. If their business card says their title is CIO, then they naturally look at other CIO opportunities. They don’t think outside of this career box and look at themselves as more than just a title. Instead, these executives should think of themselves as individuals with a comprehensive set of competencies and experiences that can help organizations solve challenging problems and leverage exciting opportunities.

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The Work and Inspiration of the Commission on the History and Philosophy of Computing
Blog @ CACM, January 28

The philosophy of computer science, like any other philosophy devoted to a particular subject, enjoys a mutually enlightening relationship with the history of that particular subject. In computer science, to read early accounts and interpretations of Babbage's Analytical Engine is to glimpse an early articulation of computational thinking, and to marvel that similar terms are still used today. With respect to computing, the international organization founded to bring together history and philosophy is HaPoC, the Commission on the History and Philosophy of Computing. Designated a Commission by both divisions of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, it aims to enhance our understanding of computing by means of historical and philosophical explorations.

Despite the universal relevance of computing, its fundamentals are still considered specialist knowledge and remain hidden behind layers of interfaces, keeping the user afar. Even from within the discipline, a full understanding of computing is becoming more difficult, as it is harder to move across research areas and learn techniques without losing sight of a bigger picture. Consider the gap between formal methods and software engineering, as an example. While the large spectrum of disciplines relevant to technical systems and their full social deployment grows, fundamental issues of computing remain unresolved. Indeed, today there is not even a consensus on what computer science really is, let alone agreement on the right model of computation.

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The Web As a Creative Thinking Partner
eLearn Magazine, December 2016

A new paradigm for information consumption and knowledge production is emerging. The competitive learning advantage of web usage is not about finding static information, but producing flexible knowledge from what the web has to contribute. When users provide a "value-add" to online information, it transcends and is transformed into contextually specific knowledge that emerges from a generative process. One such framework for generative web-based learning is called Web-Mediated Knowledge Synthesis.

It’s clear that the impact of the web on creative thinking is rapidly changing. Yet, right now, the web is still primarily used for information finding and not as a creative partner. The key term to keep in mind here is “synthesis,” which refers to organizing, combining, rearranging, rewriting, compiling, or structuring web-based information in a way that facilitates understanding. When organizing or combining information, users demonstrate a "synthesis of meaning." A more sophisticated, higher-order way to generate knowledge from the text encountered would be to practice a form of creative synthesis. In the base case, web users develop an understanding of the explicit and implicit informational meanings in online texts. In the more advanced case, web users generate knowledge that is neither explicitly stated nor implied in the texts.

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