ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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@hq.acm.org

Volume 13, Issue 15, August 8, 2017


The 10 Best Cities For Getting a Job in Tech Beyond Silicon Valley
CNBC, July 27

While Silicon Valley is still home to many of the country’s best-known tech companies, it is no longer the top city for getting a job in technology. That’s because tech jobs have been steadily moving to other metro areas across that nation. Cities like Seattle and Washington, D.C. are now giving Silicon Valley real competition in attracting the nation’s best software professionals. The article profiles the 10 best cities for getting a job in tech beyond Silicon Valley based on the share of software job postings for each respective metro area.

Seattle ranked No. 1 on the list of cities for new software jobs. From 2012 to 2017, Seattle experienced a 6.7% increase in software jobs. Seattle, home to tech giant Microsoft, saw the biggest gains in software hiring. The overall pace of growth, though, was mostly driven by retail giants Amazon and Walmart. As e-commerce has boomed, so have the amount of software jobs in the retail sector. Washington, D.C. ranked No. 2 on the list. From 2012 to 2017, Washington, D.C. saw a 1.3% increase in software jobs. While tech icons including IBM, HP and Oracle are hiring in Washington, D.C., there are an array of education-based companies such as Lexis Nexis, Cengage and Kaplan to pick from as well. Detroit came in No. 3 on the list. From 2012 to 2017, Detroit saw a 0.8% increase in software jobs. The big auto manufacturers still left there, like Ford and General Motors, are relying more and more heavily on software engineers for automation rather than the old style line production worker manufacturing jobs.

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Flush Times For Hackers in Booming Cyber Security Job Market
Reuters, July 27

The surge in cyber attacks may not be good for national security, but for an increasing number of hackers and researchers, it is great for job security. At major conferences dedicated to cyber issues, such as the annual Black Hat and Def Con security conferences, there is now a booming side business in recruiting. A decade ago, career options for cyber professionals were mostly limited to security firms, handfuls of jobs inside mainstream companies, and in government agencies. But as tech has taken over the world, the opportunities in the security field have exploded.

Whole industries that used to have little to do with technology now need cyber security protection, including automobiles, medical devices and the ever-expanding Internet of Things. More insurance companies now cover breaches, with premiums reduced for strong security practices. And lawyers are making sure that cloud providers are held responsible if a customer’s data is stolen from them and otherwise pushing to hold tech companies liable for problems, meaning they need security experts too. The non-profit Center for Cyber Safety and Education recently predicted a global shortage of 1.8 million skilled security workers in 2022. The group, which credentials security professionals, said that a third of hiring managers plan to boost their security teams by at least 15%.

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Coolest Careers in Innovation To Get Into Right Now
Forbes, August 4

As science and technology continue to transform the world around us, these fields are also opening up new career opportunities in innovative areas such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). In addition to being a truly inspiring and innovative field, STEM careers offer plenty of intellectual challenges, such as discovering how to use these new technologies to solve everyday customer problems. In the automotive and healthcare industries, for example, innovative IT jobs now offer incredible prospects for growth, impact and compensation.

Within the automotive sector, self-driving cars present an enticing and innovative future. The opportunity to work in this rapidly expanding field holds tremendous potential both in terms of scientific innovation and the ability to impact our world. Companies such as Google, Uber and Tesla are embarking on their own self-driving car projects. Interestingly, in some cases, these projects can provide lucrative financial compensation schemes — the salaries and bonuses are sometimes multiplied based on the performance of the project.

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The Hottest Industries For Software Jobs
Baseline, August 3

The tech sector is no longer the fastest-growing sector for software jobs. The leading industry for hiring software professionals is now retail, which is placing a greater and greater emphasis on customer experience (CX) technologies. Other industries, such as healthcare, are also actively seeking out software professionals. As a result, you don’t have to work for an IT company to stake out a great career in software. Plenty of other companies in other industries are now seeking out top software developers.

In terms of industries with the largest gains in software openings, retail was the clear leader, accounting for 13.9% of all software job posting. This was a significant increase from 2012, when its share of all software job postings was just 6.4%. Banking/Financial Services also ranked very highly. In 2017, its share of all software job postings was 4.4%, compared to just 2.4% in 2012. Manufacturing also scored highly, accounting for 6.1% of all software job postings. In 2012, that figure was 4.5%.

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Top 7 Job Skills You’ll Need In 10 Years
USA Today, August 2

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Future of Jobs Report, over 5 million jobs will be lost to automation by the year 2020. So what can be done today to prevent your job from being lost to automation? Experts recommend learning new skills to prepare for the future. As automation takes over, there will be new and different skills to master — skills that will be most valuable in a new economy and in a changing world. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you’ll want to make sure that you embrace trends like constant learning.

Tech skills will, of course, be in high demand, as will anything to do with computational thinking. In short, if the world is being taken over by computers, you’ll need to think like one. Workers will need to learn to manage and synthesize the massive amounts of data we already process daily and make sense of patterns. Jobs that will be fairly secure include: software developer, computer systems analyst, market research analyst and marketing specialist. In addition to boosting your analytical skills, it’s also important to embrace emerging fields like virtual reality and the ability to create virtual worlds. This technology is appearing more and more in everyday use. If you have skills that can lead to creating, managing, and manipulating virtual worlds, you will likely be in high demand. Also, storytelling skills will prove to be invaluable.

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The Ten Workplace Perks That Tech Professionals Want the Most
Tech Republic, July 27

In order to win the battle for IT talent, companies continue to turn to workplace perks to attract and retain employees. Google and other tech giants started this trend in the 1990s, offering perks that differentiated the office experience from past enterprises. Now, free snack bars, yoga classes, and nap rooms are the norm at many tech companies. If job candidates are choosing between two comparable positions, these perks matter. So you have to build an environment with a transparent, supportive culture where people want to stay. The best perk you can offer is an atmosphere where talents are put to use, career growth is top of mind, employees are free to be their true self and have ownership over something specific that matters to the company.

Flexible schedules are a top priority for many employees, ranking just behind competitive pay and benefits. Workplace flexibility was also the No. 1 factor tech professionals described as being a part of their dream job, according to a June survey from CompTIA. Employers must offer flex schedules and the ability to work remotely in order to remain competitive. If these options don't exist, candidates will immediately chose another company as their preferred workplace. Another big consideration is remote work. When Stack Overflow asked developers what they valued most when considering a new job, 53% said remote work options were a top priority. While working from home requires a certain amount of trust in employees, it demonstrates that companies value the work/life balance of employees. This is extremely important to employees in this industry because tech companies and startups are known to work around the clock due to product deadlines, fixing unforeseen bugs in the product, and the pressure to launch products from backers and advisors.

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Three Biggest Job Interview Mistakes
Inc.com, August 3

While companies complain that it’s becoming harder and harder to fill open IT positions, the problem is not a lack of qualified candidates. More likely, the notion that there are only “subpar” candidates available is the result of IT job candidates not understanding how to interview. Most people simply haven't developed their interviewing skills. If you think about it, how to interview well isn't taught in school. And interviewing isn't done on a regular basis. It's no wonder so many people struggle with it. As a result of this lack of awareness, many job seekers make major mistakes when interviewing, many of which could be avoided with a little preparation.

The biggest interview mistake is failing to study what a company looks for in a candidate. A better way to look at interviewing is by imagining you're a business-of-one trying to sell your services to an employer. The more you know about what the company wants in a business partner, the easier it will be for you to showcase your skills and abilities that meet its needs. Sites like Glassdoor offer extensive information about companies that includes anonymous reviews from past and current employees. Reading through this information can help you identify the employee traits and skills the company prefers. The research will also reveal patterns that can give you a sense of the person who fits best with the company's culture.

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The Skills and Traits of a Next-Generation CIO
CIO.com, July 24

As digital transformation promises to alter everything we thought we knew about business, it has led to the rise of tech-savvy executives with titles like chief digital officer, experience officer, marketing technology officer and chief analytics officer. As their influence wanes, CIOs are being forced to consider the skills and traits needed for future success. They need to become involved in key decisions that drive the business forward rather than just maintaining their company’s IT operations. For forward-thinking CIOs, opportunities abound to reclaim some of their former power and influence.

Just a decade ago, there was only a handful of customer experience officers on LinkedIn. Now there are literally tens of thousands. Over the past ten years the number of digital customer touch points (and the data associated with them) has exploded. CIOs who see their primary function as managing internal IT systems are not in a position to deliver the information businesses need to improve the customer experience. If you're a CIO who hasn't made the realization that we are multiple years into the age of the customer, then it's time to look for a new job. You have to understand the customer's wants and needs. A potential stumbling block, however, is that some organizations have developed a mythology about their customers that doesn't reflect reality. Many organizations take for granted a level of knowledge about customers that simply doesn't exist.

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How Adults Ages 60+ Are Learning to Code
Communications of the ACM, August 2017

There is now tremendous momentum behind initiatives to teach computer programming to a broad audience, yet many of these efforts only target the youngest members of society, such as K–12 and college students. However, it’s also important to study the other end of the age spectrum: older adults aged 60 and over who are now learning to code. There has been extensive research on how older adults consume technology, and some studies of how they curate and produce digital content such as blogs and personal photo collections. But, until recently, nobody has yet studied how older adults learn to produce new technologies via computer programming.

To discover older adults' motivations and frustrations when learning to code, it’s important to ask questions regarding their employment status (such as working, semi-retired, retired), occupation, why they are learning, what resources they use to learn, and what has been the most frustrating part of their learning experience thus far. The first challenge in learning about adult learners is simply finding a large-enough group to complete a survey. In this case, respondents were, on average, 66.5 years old, and came from 52 different countries. Unsurprisingly, most were highly educated professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, since they are amongst the most tech-savvy of their generation. Specifically, 18% of respondents were (either current or retired) scientists and engineers, 18% were K–12 and college teachers, 12% were software developers hoping to learn new technologies, and 8% were business executives and managers.

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Four Ways to Make CS & IT Curricula More Immersive
ACM Queue, August 1

In order to ensure that students are learning best practices in the classroom, it’s important to make CS and IT curricula more immersive. That’s particularly important today because students are more likely to learn the best-of-breed practices through extracurricular involvement in open-source projects than from their university professors. With that in mind, the article explores what can be done to make sure students are exposed to the best of the best practices from the very start. Both IT and CS curricula could be structured to be more immersive, as immersive education more reliably reflects the real world. It prepares students for industry and better informs the research of those who choose that path.

There are a few things that universities could do to make their curricula more immersive. For example, they could ask students to use DevOps tools from the start. Moreover, these processes should be established as the normal way to work. It’s also important to re-think the way homework is assigned and submitted. The reason is simple: many computer science majors never learn HTML and focus too much on learning algorithms. There is certainly a middle ground between serious computer science theory and accidentally turning into a web application boot camp. It isn't a radical statement to say that most software engineers write code that is somehow part of a web-based application, so it’s important to provide a web-based context.

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