ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, October 3, 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

Volume 13, Issue 19, October 3, 2017

The Demand for Open Source Professionals Soars
Baseline Magazine, September 18

While the majority of organizations anticipate hiring more open source professionals over the next six months, an even greater number are struggling to recruit qualified candidates for their open positions. According to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice, employers are scrambling to fill open positions to enhance the DevOps and app development capabilities in their company. They're especially eager to hire a candidate who has certifications, and, if not, they're often willing to help pay for the cost of getting certifications. Meanwhile, open source pros are constantly getting recruiting calls, leading most of them to believe that it would be easy to find another job.

Successful employers recognize that open source professionals will look at things beyond just financial compensation, and will, for instance, mention the opportunity to work on challenging open source projects during the recruiting process. There’s good reason for that: 89% of the global hiring managers surveyed said they find it difficult to find open source talent. 58% said they will hire more open source professionals over the next six months, with 67% of them saying that the hiring of these pros will increase more than in other areas of the business. The most sought-after open source skills included cloud and virtualization (60%), app development (59%) and DevOps (57%).

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Haven't Found Your Perfect Job? Maybe It Doesn't Exist Yet
Entrepreneur, September 22

Given the fast-moving nature of the technology industry, many roles that are popular today didn't even exist a few years ago. From information architect to mobile app developer, there are thousands of jobs today that didn't exist when the experts in those fields began their training. So, where will the job market go next? Though fundamental skills remain the same, the ever-changing world of technology means that new specializations are developing all the time, and are being driven by the people and businesses that spot the opportunity and take it. With such an unpredictable future, there are some key things to keep in mind that can help you be ready, even for a job title you've never heard of yet.

At the beginning of their career, people frequently concentrate on a sector specialization since they want to find a route into a particular industry. However, once you've got a few years of experience under your belt, career development is often more about making smarter use of your transferable skills. New roles come from having the ability to analyze data, understand customer needs, motivate teams or to keep projects on schedule, rather than simply having an expert understanding of a particular sector. It’s important to always look ahead. An understanding of emerging technology and how it impacts your area of expertise is extremely important for people of all levels. Keeping a close eye on what the latest is in your field is a crucial habit for anyone looking to seize an opportunity and to stand out among the competition. Especially in the tech world, it's important to keep your eyes open to understand where the industry is going and seize the right opportunity.

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Rebuild Your Professional Network From Scratch
Information Week, September 22

A Silicon Valley venture capitalist shares advice on how even mid-career IT professionals can make a move to another profession or industry. It all starts, he says, with rebuilding your professional network. Backed by this network of supporters, it’s possible to carry out a number of professional shifts. More than anything else, success in switching careers is based on finding the right mentors who can help you find and evaluate the best possible opportunities.

As you plan your career switch, search for not one, but two mentors who can offer advice. Ideally, they are seasoned professionals in the field you want to join. Your mentor-mentee relationship should bring about productive discussions on a wide variety of topics, lead to new ways to problem-solve, and hone in on your best strategizing techniques. You can't be your best self in a silo; you must surround yourself with people you respect and admire. When you get a response, start slowly. You won’t be hanging around your mentors 24/7, but perhaps they’ll agree to have a biweekly call or a coffee date once a month. It might not seem like much time, but it adds up. Try to offer potential mentors something in return. This can be anything from providing professional help in an area you’re strong in but they’re not, offering to help with something personal (planning for a trip to a destination you’ve been to), or even just giving them a credibility boost through endorsements.

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AI Poses No Threat to IT Careers, September 18

Despite all the media hype about AI resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs over the coming years, IT professionals seem to be taking a much more practical view of the matter. In fact, according to a recent survey, just 18% of respondents were concerned about the impact of AI on job security. This figure was far lower than the growing concern over cyber security that was cited by 91% of respondents. Currently, the risk of IT professionals losing their jobs to machines or computers remains low. However, the march of automation into the lives of IT professionals continues apace. For IT employees, it’s important to understand how this automation is changing their day-to-day responsibilities.

New jobs are emerging, according to companies already implementing AI projects. In a CapGemini survey of almost 1,000 organizations that are implementing AI, either as a pilot or at scale, 83% of respondents said AI had generated new roles in their organizations. Among those that had deployed AI at scale, 63% said that no job had been terminated. That suggests that many of the fears about AI leading to loss of jobs may be overblown.

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In 2017, new trends in compensation and retention are emerging that reflect the changing ways that companies are trying to win the war for talent. For example, workplace flexibility is more important than ever as a way to attract top candidates. Moreover, as new technologies emerge, companies are working to cut costs by blending full-time IT staff with contract work. Recruiting top talent is still difficult for most firms, and demand greatly outstrips supply. That’s forcing organizations to become more creative about how they find and hire new candidates.

In terms of hot IT hiring trends, workplace flexibility is on the rise, according to a number of experts and studies that weigh in on what job candidates want. Being able to work from home — from a coffee shop, or carving out a day or two as part of a longer vacation — is increasing. Technology mobility is here to stay, and companies need a combination of in-office workplaces and flexible remote work options to attract candidates. In the tech industry, remote work is essentially an expectation in 2017. Offering a greater work-life balance can help with retention and reduce the risk of burnout.

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Facebook Partners With ZipRecruiter and More Aggregators As It Ramps Up in Jobs
Tech Crunch, September 28

Facebook is stepping up its efforts in the online recruitment market, mostly by signing new deals with job aggregator sites such as ZipRecruiter in order to make more job ads available to the social network’s 2 billion monthly active users. As Facebook takes on a greater role in helping people find new jobs, it could put the company into even closer competition with LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job hunting. The move follows Facebook launching its first job ads earlier this year, and later appearing to be interested in augmenting that with more career-focused features, such as a platform to connect people looking for mentors with those looking to offer mentorship.

The partnership with ZipRecruiter fits in with earlier moves by Facebook to expand into the job recruitment market. Before now, companies that wanted to use Facebook for recruiting, such as adding job ads to their Pages, would have had to do this directly through Facebook itself. By partnering with ZipRecruiter and others like it, organizations will now be able to tick a box to broadcast the job add to Facebook among a wider mix of job boards that can be accessed through a one-stop shop. ZipRecruiter, as one example, covers hundreds of these boards.

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This AI Job Platform Promises It Can Land You an Interview in 60 Days
Fast Company, September 28

Artificial intelligence could be used in new and unique ways to help jobseekers find the right job within a much shorter period of time. For example, TalentWorks is an AI platform for job seekers that seeks to reduce both the time required to hire and the number of job applications required to land a final position. Right now, the application process stretches well past a couple of weeks and sometimes even months. The bulk of the time is spent on the interviewing process. Using its proprietary AI technology, TalentWorks hopes to reduce that time significantly, even promising to land anyone an interview in just 60 days.

TalentWorks developed as a hybrid AI and human solution to solve the problem of underemployment faced by recent college graduates. It also seeks to help members of the workforce who have been laid off recently. Launched in beta in 2015, TalentWorks amassed tens of thousands of active users, and emerged from stealth at the end of June 2017. The way it works is straightforward. Go to the site and click “automate my job search.” Then enter your chosen field and your location. It will show you a fair market salary and the number of openings in the area, drawn from an index of job boards serving up about 3 million open positions each month. TalentWorks’ free plan promises to deliver five new job listings that you can confirm or deny.

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4 Keys to a Fulfilling Career by 40, September 27

There are several keys to finding a fulfilling career. First and most importantly, you need to find a profession that ties into your own personal interests. What gets you excited to start the day? By listing your own personal interests – and they don’t necessarily have to be related to startups or technology – you can often find interesting career options that blend one or more of your passions. Secondly, of course, you have to find a career that offers future earning potential. You don’t have to target only lucrative career options. In fact, it’s better to think in terms of what careers might be particularly valuable a few years from now.

To land a rewarding career, you need to follow your skills. This often means reassessing previous experiences, both work-related and academic, to see how they might dovetail together as part of a new career path. You need to be able to ask yourself the following questions: What sets you apart? What are you complimented on? What comes most naturally? These are your greatest strengths, as well as the types of skills that you need to deploy in your career. You also need to follow your values. Too often, we default to what our culture, media, school, or friends value. So, as a thought experiment, list out some activities, disciplines, or pursuits that you believe make the world a better place. Those can become your core values.

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Computing is a Profession
Communications of the ACM, October 2017

Computing exhibits all of the attributes of a profession, including the need for deep technical expertise and the need to adhere to high ethical and technical standards. In addition, the computing profession plays an essential and valued role within society. In many ways, then, computing is similar to professions such as medicine and law, both of which also require deep technical expertise and are recognized by society for the important role that they play in everyday life.

Computer science’s rapid technical advance is forcing us to re-think the role of computing professionals. The compounding of this continued and accelerating advance creates the need for deep technical expertise. Algorithms and systems behavioral and internal complexity are peers to the greatest complexities humanity has known in biology, society, and the universe. Moreover, computing's evident importance to society is deep and growing—sophisticated collection and information processing underpins decision-making, logistics, and optimization industry and commerce. Web, email, and messaging platforms are the information backbone of government and commerce. Social application platforms expand these roles from official to social, integrating computing into the core of social fabric. A world without cheap, pervasive computing of extraordinary capability is, if not inconceivable, at least so distant as to be unrecognizable.

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How Much Computer Science Education Will $1.3 Billion Buy You?
Blog @ CACM, September 27

The White House has earmarked $1.3 billion to promote computer science education over the next five years. As part of this huge new initiative, the Department of Education will provide $200 million per year (most likely in the form of competitive grants), while the tech industry has promised another $300 million over five years. The grand total is $1.3 billion over five years. This is an enormous win for CS education in the United States, and so the next logical question becomes: What exactly can you get for $1.3 billion?

There is one recent historical antecedent for the new White House CS spending initiative. In 2015, New York Mayor de Blasio promised to put CS in all New York City schools over 10 years for $81 million. CSNYC was charged with realizing that vision, building on three years of previous work in NYC schools. They decided that "putting CS in all NYC schools" operationally means, "Have a teacher able to run a significant CS learning activity for every student in every grade in every school." Preparing a teacher to run a significant CS learning activity, though, is not the same as preparing a teacher to run a year-long computer science course. They figure that achieving this goal will take a full 10 years and cost $81 million. The biggest costs are paying existing teachers while they are learning CS, and possibly also paying for substitute teachers.

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