ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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Volume 13, Issue 13, July 11, 2017

Five Places U.S. Employers Are Finding New Tech Talent
Urban Land Institute, July 5

It’s no longer the case that Silicon Valley is the only place to find high-end talent in the technology sector. Other large U.S. cities have their own tech and venture capital ecosystems, and the cost of living is often more attractive in these cities. Moreover, smaller tech hubs that are located near research universities are often great sources of new employees. A new report, “Cracking the Hardest Code: Where to Find Tech Talent,” analyzes markets with a high concentration of in-demand, affordable tech talent and finds that there are actually several emerging tech hot spots not yet on the radar screens of recruiters, including Albany, Sacramento, Columbus and Colorado Springs.

The cities that made the list of top talent destinations shared one trait in common: they had a strong tech ecosystem, with a deep concentration of jobs in one or more technology professions, such as computer programmers and software developers. For example, Albany has turned into a hotbed for computer programmers. The capital of New York State put an early focus on creating the “Tech Valley” with support from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and State University of New York Polytechnic Institute. That focus, combined with a handful of Fortune 500 company locations, has helped the Albany metropolitan area achieve the second-highest concentration of computer programmers nationally.

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The World's Newest Tech Jobs: Nine Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago
Tech World, July 3

The rapid pace of technological innovation is not only bringing new ways of working but also is creating new jobs. For all the talk about IT jobs that are threatened by advances in fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence, there are just as many new types of high-end tech jobs that are being created. In just the past decade, for example, jobs such as data analyst, app developer, drone expert, social media consultant and user experience expert have appeared out of seemingly nowhere.

Take the role of data analyst, for example. With the emergence of Big Data and the rapid growth of data being produced globally, we’re yet to see the full extent of how prevalent the data occupation will be. As this is a fairly underrepresented discipline with a high skill requirement, you can expect high earnings and a surplus of job openings across many industries. The same is true for app developers. Smartphones have already become so deeply ingrained within our society, while app development has also created a completely unique business landscape. Launching an app requires an idea and technical skill. We’ve seen so many startups become overnight successes with very little funding, simply due to the mobile app market. As smartphones become more and more part of our lives, we can expect to see more opportunities for this kind of development.

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The World Needs More Cybersecurity Pros, But Millennials Aren't Interested In the Field
Tech Republic, June 26

The cybersecurity workforce shortage has been well documented, with most experts now agreeing that there could as many as 1.8 million open jobs in cybersecurity by 2022. One major reason for the shortage is that Millennials aren't going into the field. Only 7% of cybersecurity workers are under age 29, and only 13% are between ages 30 and 34. The average age of cyber professionals is 42. Over the next 10 years, the industry will have a large population of cyber professionals starting to retire and there is not yet a good plan to backfill those large number of workers starting to leave the industry. One potential solution is to raise awareness about cybersecurity careers among young Millennials.

The reason it's difficult to attract Millennials to the field is largely due to a lack of awareness. Cybersecurity is often not on the radar of young grads as a potential career, or as being different from general IT work. The security field has traditionally self-selected for a certain type of person. People who were curious, analytical, and had a desire to tinker tended to find the security field and explore careers in it. However, that model doesn't scale, and security isn't the only field where people with those traits might find success. Further keeping the industry from drawing in younger employees is the variability of job postings. Descriptions for cybersecurity professionals may vary, with different roles, responsibilities, and lexicon used. Even within organizations, descriptions can be very different. As an outsider, you might see this as disjointed, and it makes it confusing to get into. Many job descriptions for entry level security professionals also include specific developer skills, which are not necessarily needed for the position.

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Globally, Chief Digital Officers Start to Take Hold
Information Week, June 26

For companies around the world, one IT role that is growing in significance is that of Chief Digital Officer (CDO). In fact, 19% of the top 2,500 companies in the world had chief digital officers by the end of 2016, compared to just 6% the year before. And most of these have been hired in just the last two years, according to the global 2016 Chief Digital Officer Study by PwC. On a global basis, 23% of the companies in North America have chief digital officers, compared to 6% the year before, while 38% of companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have CDOs, compared to 8% the year before.

Of those companies reporting a CDO, 40% said they were on a par with other C-level executives; 17.1% said they were "director" level executives; 18.7% said they were a vice president level executive; and 24.2% labeled the post at some other level. The backgrounds of the CDOs varied. According to the report, 40.5% came out of a technology background, not surprisingly, but another 32.6% came out of marketing, sales or customer service. Another 18.4% came out of the consulting, strategy or business development branches of the company. Over half, 52%, were recruited internally; 46% were external hires. For the purposes of the study, PwC defined a CDO as an executive, no matter the title, who had been given the task of "putting into practice the digital mission of his or her company or business unit."

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Why Your Employees May Be Looking For a New Job
CIO Insight, June 29

According to the 2017 Emerging Workforce Study, more than one-quarter of workers plan to look for a new employer sometime during the final six months of the year. The key reason why employees are looking for a new job stems from salary dissatisfaction. But a lack of professional growth opportunities and feelings of being underappreciated are also contributing to the problem. CIOs and other managers can improve matters without dipping into their budgets, as many professionals today seek flextime and telecommuting arrangements as part of a greater work-life balance. This study reinforces the need for employers to reevaluate their retention strategies and consider both financial and non-financial factors.

Organizations need to understand the motivations of workers so that they can avoid a staff talent exodus. 25% of the employees surveyed said they plan to look for a new job during the next three months, and 35% intend to look for a new job over the next year. There are several reasons why employees seek new jobs. Dissatisfaction with current salary (20%) was cited as the main reason. In addition, not feeling valued by the employer (12%), and dissatisfaction with growth opportunities (10%) led the list. The most prized benefits for employees include flex time (25%), performance bonuses (21%), and telecommuting (20%).

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This Is Why It’s Not Always Bad to Have the Same Job Title for Two Years
Fast Company, July 5

If you look at your LinkedIn profile and realize that you’ve had the same job title for more than two years, it might be time to reconsider the next step in your career. That being said, it’s perfectly acceptable to have the same title if you’re getting the opportunity to lead new projects and take on interesting new leadership opportunities. Sometimes, it may be the case that you are advancing in your career even if your job title has not changed. However, if your responsibilities have not significantly changed, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.

It’s also acceptable to have the same job title for more than two years if you’re learning new skills. It can be frustrating to be adding skills to your toolbox without a new title or a raise. At the same time, it’s not as if you have to leave those skills behind if you decide to leave. When you’re feeling frustrated, keep this in mind: You are putting yourself in a much better position to score a new (and more senior) role in the near future. However, if you’re bored at work and your responsibilities haven’t changed much over the past few years, you’re only doing yourself a disservice. Are you seeking out opportunities for growth? Are you volunteering for things that are out of your comfort zone? If not, your lack of a title change is probably a reflection of your current effort level.

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Google Employees Weighed In On What Makes a Highly Effective Manager, June 20

In an effort to decode the secret formula to effective management, Google recently analyzed 10,000 manager observations, including performance reviews, surveys, and nominations for top-manager awards and recognition. The company found that there were eight habits of highly effective Google managers, and the most important one was being a good coach. The company has historically hired managers or promoted people who exhibited a higher level of technical expertise than others, but it turns out that many “soft skills” related to coaching and communication may be far more important.

Although technical skills made the list of desired traits for a Google manager, it came in last place. Instead, it was more important to be a good coach, and to have the ability to empower your team. In addition, the best managers express interest in an employee's success and well-being and are good communicators. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who can keep their cool. Although no one is impervious to the occasional stress overload, the truth is even a single occurrence can add layers of unnecessary anxiety to your employees' already overloaded mental bandwidth. With the amount of variability and craziness that already comes with work, employees appreciate managers who are patient, poised, and positive. In environments that already lend themselves to stress, bosses who are regularly intense, high-strung, and impatient intensify challenging professions.

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Life As an IT Contractor
Network World, June 28

There are both upsides and downsides to being an IT contractor. On the upside, you get to be your own boss, accept only the jobs you want, and work flexible hours. Moreover, there is a great opportunity to learn: with each assignment comes the opportunity to learn new skills and gain exposure to different environments. But there are obvious sacrifices – job security and paid vacations, for starters. As an IT contractor, you’re also often responsible for your own benefits, paying taxes, and marketing yourself for the next assignment.

In recent years, companies have increasingly relied on a contingent workforce to augment their full-time staff. According to new survey data, 26% of IT hiring managers expect to increase headcount for contingent workers in the second half of 2017. Another 46% report that headcount will remain the same for temporary workers, and 13% say it will decrease. The current environment for IT workers is one of opportunity, as unemployment remains low and demand continues to rise. On the jobs front, contingent workers make up a significant percentage of open positions. As of mid-2017, there are roughly 30,000 contract positions posted on IT careers site, representing more than one-third of the total available tech jobs.

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Generation CS Drives Growth in Enrollments
Communications of the ACM, July 2017

According to a new Computing Research Association (CRA) report, there has been a significant increase in undergraduate computer science enrollment since 2006, with an especially rapid increase since 2009. In fact, 60% of academic units surveyed as part of the report more than doubled their enrollment in that time. The report describes a new generation of undergraduate students who realize the importance of computing education. The CRA committee that assembled the report carefully analyzed the data in terms of size of the department, type of department, and the difference in growth in terms of majors vs. non-majors.

The bottom line is that the surge of CS majors is pervasive. Large and small academic units, in public and private institutions, have been affected similarly. Doctoral granting and non-doctoral granting units are affected, though doctoral granting units to date have seen larger increases. While academic units are taking a range of actions to handle the increased enrollment, increases in tenure-track faculty are about 10% of the increase in the number of majors. One surprising finding was that non-major enrollment is also increasing, and at all levels. One might expect the number of non-CS majors to increase at the intro level, but there are also huge increases at the mid and upper levels of the undergraduate curriculum.

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AI Will Deliver Positive and Negative Results to the Media and Entertainment Ecosystem
Computers in Entertainment, June 28

If you’re thinking about landing a job in the media and entertainment industry, it’s important to keep in mind how artificial intelligence (AI) will play a role in defining the types of roles that will be available in the future. We’re in a new “Golden Age” of TV entertainment, in which the Internet has fundamentally changed how and where people consume video content. As a result, every major player in the industry is experimenting with different experiences and technology to become more efficient at delivering education, information, entertainment and ad messages. AI has the potential to change each of those areas significantly.

As a result of new uses for AI technology, a new battle for the TV viewer has ensued, creating a path for upstarts to create new programming models. By comprehensively analyzing their subscriber viewer habits, for example, Netflix has been able to project what people will want to view as well as when and how they will view it with considerable accuracy. As a result, they’ve been able to grow their customer base nationally and internationally. This new form of AI studies what you watch, when you watch it and how you watch it. This gives companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu a viewing behavior and content roadmap. The more information you give AI, the more it “learns” who the viewer is, what the viewer likes; and the recommendations become second nature and provide tremendous value.

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