ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, November 21, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 13, Issue 22, November 21, 2017
For IT workers, making salary comparisons between cities can be tricky. Some large technology hubs offer very high salaries, but housing and transportation costs in those areas also tend to be very high. In some cases, the cost of living might be so exorbitant, that it completely negates the effect of earning a larger salary. To better understand these trade-offs, employment website Indeed.com recently conducted an analysis of where tech salaries go furthest. Using data from actual job postings on Indeed.com, the report identified the metropolitan areas that offer the highest average tech salaries, and then it adjusted those salaries based on the cost of living in each city.
The city where tech salaries go the furthest is Charlotte, a southern city not generally known for fast IT job growth. While it isn't home to many tech companies, Indeed.com says it's the highest-paying place in the country for network engineers (average salary $117,647). And the median home price there is just $188,800, contributing to a very low cost of living that helps stretch tech salary dollars. Second on the list is Atlanta. CompTIA says it had 155,566 technology jobs and 18,259 positions available at the end of 2016. The low cost of living (the median home price is a reasonable $200,900) pushed this southern city near the top of this list. Indeed.com says it is the best city in America for database administrator salaries, with an adjusted average of $109,261.
Within the United States, cities such as San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle are now leading the way in creating new jobs within the artificial intelligence (AI) industry. According to a new report from Glassdoor, there are 512 open AI and deep learning jobs in the U.S. as of October 2017. While most companies hiring for AI talent today are seeking software engineers and data scientists, there are also many technical sales, business development, product management, UX design and other roles being created by today's rising tide of AI in the workplace.
San Jose is the top city when it comes to hiring for AI jobs. On Glassdoor, there are 152 different jobs requiring a background in AI in San Jose. That figure accounts for nearly one-third of all AI jobs available. Coming in at No. 2 is San Francisco, with 91 open AI jobs on Glassdoor. Seattle ranks number three on the list, with 43 open AI jobs on Glassdoor. Rounding out the top five are Los Angeles and New York City, both of which account for at least 5% of all open AI jobs on Glassdoor. Overall, just two states (California and Washington) accounted for nearly two-thirds of all open AI jobs.
How proficient you are with a computer affects your salary in jobs far outside computer science fields, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. The study found that in the last decade, an increasingly broad range of jobs requires employees to work with computers on a daily basis, whether that's point-of-sale software used by cashiers or digital tools doctors employ to monitor a patient's health. Highly digital jobs have seen higher productivity growth. In turn, jobs requiring more tech proficiency also pay more.
The mean annual wage for workers in highly digital occupations reached $72,896 in 2016. Workers in mid-level digital jobs earned $48,274 and low-level digital jobs were paid $30,393. Importantly, these earnings can't be explained away by education: No matter your level of education, computer skills still brought in a wage premium. Moreover, this wage premium has nearly doubled since 2002.
Companies Turn to War Games to Spot Scarce Cybersecurity Talent
Bloomberg, November 15
Events such as the annual UK Cyber Security Challenge competition in London represent a new way to recruit top computer security talent. With demand for cybersecurity expertise exploding and qualified people still in short supply, war-gaming competitions like this have become key recruiting grounds for companies and government security agencies. Major corporations in security-sensitive fields are now sponsoring these competitions in the hopes of finding untapped talent. In the UK, for example, sponsors include aerospace firms, tech firms and financial services firms. The hope among industry insiders is that these competitions will help raise the profile of cybersecurity as a profession, encouraging more students to pursue a career in the field.
There are about 1 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally, according to an estimate from Cisco. And computer security firm Symantec forecasts that the number of positions will grow to 1.5 million by 2019. In the UK, advertised cybersecurity roles exceed interested candidates by about 3 to 1. It's this gap that Cyber Security Challenge UK, a non-profit organization set up by the British government with support from corporations and universities, is supposed to help fill. The group runs a series of online games that allow amateur cyber-sleuths and white-hat hackers to test their skills. Those who score well online are invited to a series of regional, in-person competitions. The top performers at these events are then invited to the annual three-day master class and team-based competition where they face a realistic scenario created by experts from the sponsoring companies. About 70% of the finalists wind up being hired into cybersecurity jobs within 12 months.
Make Yourself Irreplaceable Before AI Learns to Do Your Job
Entrepreneur.com, November 17
Within the next two decades, it is almost a certainty that some combination of AI and robotics is going to replace many white-collar jobs previously thought impossible to automate. For example, one recent PwC study found that by the early 2030s, approximately 38% of all United States jobs could be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. That's higher than the U.K. (30%), Germany (35%) or Japan (21%), and for many Americans, much too high for comfort. As a result, today's IT workers need to be thinking of ways to make themselves irreplaceable before AI learns to their job.
To prepare for the future of AI, you need to understand your industry and how AI could affect it. Some will be more heavily impacted than others and each will be affected in a different way. There are five industries that are going to be most heavily impacted by automation: medicine and healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, customer service and finance. If a process can be documented and modeled, it can be automated. That used to apply to highly repetitive tasks only, but today's advanced AI can tackle unbelievably sophisticated tasks , as long as they're bound by a set of rules. Where AI fails is in generating novel ideas, thinking in abstract concepts and providing overall direction.
Your Resume Is Obsolete, Says This Hiring Expert
Inc.com, November 16
The business world is evolving in a direction where the resume isn't always necessary, and certainly not the best method a company has for evaluating a potential hire. The core problem, of course, is that resumes are static. The resume is often outdated the moment it hits the paper (or screen). Experience is continual and people gain new skills and enhance current abilities quickly. Resumes also lack context. They offer a snippet of historic information but do not provide the reader ways to learn more about the candidate, specific experience they've gained, or the companies they've worked for in the past.
When used to apply for a job online, traditional search technology that focuses on titles and keywords is flawed. It insists that the titles and keywords on the resume match those in the job posting to result in a connection. In other words, it requires millions of diverse candidates and employers to describe skills in the exact same way. This creates a fictional skill gap leaving an increased number of candidates unanswered and companies falsely believing there is a lack of talent.
8 Reasons Why You Should Become a Web Developer
Tech World, November 14
There are many reasons why you should pursue a career in web development, both professional and personal. Most importantly, with demand still going strong, the average web developer can earn a very competitive annual salary, together with other compensation perks that are becoming increasingly common. Moreover, when you become a web developer, you will be part of a community. The online community for developers is huge, and if used to the full extent, can be a source of technical support and a place to meet like-minded people.
A growing number of IT professionals out there don't have any formal qualifications to become a web developer. In fact, the amount of self-taught developers is growing, and with companies like Udemy and Coursera providing online development courses, it's easy to get started. Compensation also plays an important role. With the demand for web developers eclipsing availability, companies are upping salaries to ensure they get the best talent out there. Moreover, the career path doesn't stop with web development, as you can expand into other areas where the money is higher.
Why Artificial Intelligence is Vital For Winning the War For Talent
Business Today, November 14
As corporations across the globe transform into digital entities, tasks are getting automated with artificial intelligence (AI), which is taking away repetitive jobs and changing the types of candidates that are being recruited at those organizations. For the individual IT worker, it boils down to how many of their individual tasks are automated; at the corporate level, it is a question of human capital management (HCM). Going forward, companies must address the need for building new skills and up-skilling all kinds of workers within the organization.
As part of the war for talent, organizations today are fighting two types of battles. The first relates to attracting and recruiting people, while the other takes place within the organization, in terms of retaining and engaging existing employees. The goal is to create the types of positions that can support the careers of professionals as well as attract candidates who can work towards fulfilling an organization's needs. When it comes to AI and jobs, not everything is negative. Starting in 2020, AI will actually become a positive job creator, to the tune of 2.3 million new jobs. To build an internal pipeline of talent, corporations are redeploying people and doing everything they can to retain the best talent.
The Changing Culture of Computer Science
Ubiquity, November 2017
In a wide-ranging interview, computer science researcher Marianne Winslett explains the various aspects of the culture of computer science research and development within academia, labs, and startups. In the process, she explores recent trends that are fundamentally changing the CS profession. Computer science research in general has become much more competitive, primarily because the number of computer science researchers has been growing exponentially. While the number of people in the field is growing very quickly, publication venues and funding have not been growing at the same rate. They've grown very slowly, and that means that the competition to get funding and slots in those top venues is also increasing exponentially.
The rapid growth of the computer science sector has had both positive and negative implications for researchers within the field. One positive result is that researchers have been able to keep up with the expansion of topics in the field. For example, data mining is an extremely important area that didn't exist 30 years ago. Another good thing is that the average quality of accepted papers has gone way up over the past 40 years. On the other hand, there are too many safe, incremental papers, and not enough systems papers proposing big new ideas. It is easy for authors to get stuck in a cycle of resubmission, in a culture where reviewers are just looking for the first reason they can reject a paper because they know the overwhelming odds against acceptance.
Gamification, Education and E-learning
eLearn Magazine, September 2017
In this interview, gamification expert Andrzej Marczewski discusses why using games and game-based concepts to solve problems is becoming such an integral part of e-learning strategies. As he points out, gamification is simply the process of improving systems and people's experiences using lessons, techniques, and elements taken from games. Gamification is part of a suite of game based solutions that can be referred to as "game thinking." This includes games, serious games, simulation, gamification, and playful design.
Gamification can have a very measurable impact on e-learning. Games are about learning, whether is new learning new skills, new patterns, or new information. They challenge you to learn and recognize patterns and the most appropriate ways to respond to them. That is what education is all about: learning to recognize patterns and understand how best to respond to them. Thus, gamification is a natural fit for any learning, but especially e-learning where you can really innovate with regard to the game aspects in a digital environment. Be it full 3-D experiences or simple text based adventures, they can really enhance the experience and lower the barriers for students.
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