ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, December 19, 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 24, December 19, 2017
While most IT professionals say they are satisfied with their jobs, nearly two-thirds feel they are underpaid and do not have adequate training opportunities. This could mean that many will be looking for new positions in 2018, according to an annual survey by IT community Spiceworks. The 2018 IT Career Outlook survey found that 32% of IT workers plan to search for a new job in 2018. Three-quarters of probable job seekers are seeking higher salaries, while 70% want to improve their skill sets. Companies that cannot afford to offer higher salaries for their IT workers may want to consider dedicating more resources to training their IT professionals.
For the second year in a row, cybersecurity led the list of the most important areas of expertise for IT professionals, with 81% of the survey’s respondents indicating that cybersecurity is a critical skill. Knowledge of networking and infrastructure hardware came in second and third place in the list. As a group, millennial IT professionals showed more desire to switch companies to gain better pay and training opportunities, with 36% of millennials expecting to leave their job in 2018. While salary and training topped the list for every age group, the middle generation (GenX-ers born between 1965 and 1980) were more likely than other generations to specify work-life balance as a reason for considering a move.
In 2018 and beyond, there will be a premium placed on jobs related to AI, machine learning, cybersecurity, mobile development and data analytics, and that will force employers to become more creative about how they find the best IT talent. Thus, companies should consider partnering up with others to gain needed expertise in AI and other fields, such as the Internet of Things. This recognizes that a company might not be a one-stop destination for all technological skills, but it can always engage with other enterprises that support what it is trying to achieve.
Partnering with other companies to gain digital expertise will involve a comprehensive strategy, and not only by the CIO and hiring managers. This approach requires also involving the CEO and board members, and certainly division chiefs in areas that depend heavily on digital initiatives. In some cases, a startup may help fill a critical mass of needed talent. For example, Ford partnered with Argo, an AI company, to help build self-driving cars. In short, if you are not already building an AI team or hiring AI experts, there might not be enough talent available.
Hottest Emerging IT Careers: Machine Learning, Data Science and Big Data
Healthcare IT News, December 11
Job growth in the healthcare sector outpaced all other industries in the new LinkedIn 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report. Moreover, the report highlighted that technology skills, such as machine learning and data science, are increasingly critical to many careers in the future. In addition to healthcare, other key industries showing growth over the next five years include retail, consumer products, oil and energy, and professional services. The shift to digital skills also means that some legacy technology know-how is becoming less relevant as general skill sets are being replaced with more specific ones.
Across all industries, technology jobs have exploded in the last five years. In its earlier November 2017 Workforce Report, LinkedIn found that hiring rose 10% in hardware and 15% in software since the same time in 2016. LinkedIn identified the top emerging jobs and some of them are particularly relevant to healthcare organizations. For example, the social network is seeing more specialized machine learning and data-specific roles top the list of emerging jobs widely available outside the technology industry. Specifically, the top five emerging jobs are machine learning engineer, data scientist, sales development representative, customer success manager and big data developer.
New IT Jobs Created By Bitcoin and Blockchain
Tech Republic, December 12
Given that bitcoin and the blockchain are poised to disrupt many industries, IT job candidates are already investigating new cryptocurrency-related positions. Searches for jobs mentioning blockchain, bitcoin, or cryptocurrency jumped more than 1,000% since November 2015, according to new data from job search site Indeed. Job postings on Indeed specifically mentioning blockchain, bitcoin, or cryptocurrency in their search also increased by 621% in that time.
While the number of job opportunities and searches for bitcoin and blockchain are still quite small, Indeed data shows that companies are increasingly seeking experts to focus on this new technology and job seekers have been quick to react. It remains to be seen whether the rapid growth in this field will continue and it is worth noting that these are specialized roles that can be hard to fill. However, it is certainly a field worth watching in the near future as both job seekers and employers explore the opportunity.
The 7 Personality Types Needed For the Internet of Things
Forbes, December 13
As the Internet of Things continues to grow in size and scope, it only makes sense that we are going to need a new generation of project managers, software developers and electronics engineers to invent it and build it. This will require new thinking about the characteristics, skill sets and personality traits that IoT builders and developers should exhibit. For example, working with the IoT will require a mobile-first mentality, because many of the objects being hooked up to the Internet could be loosely classified as mobile devices.
Having a mobile-first mentality means that IoT developers have an appreciation for the smaller contained hardware environment that the software they create will reside upon. Restricted battery life, less powerful processors and smaller scale chipsets, limited data storage capabilities and a potential lack of any kind of user interface (for management and maintenance needs rather than user functionality) mean that the IoT developer has to, at the core, be a mobile developer with mobile centricity. Due to the multiplicity of devices and data types in the IoT, mobile centricity must also be mixed with an appreciation for change management.
This AI Marketplace Matches You With a Job, Even If You Are Rejected
Fast Company, December 14
Tech startups continue to find new ways to tackle the pain points of the job search process, everything from writing resumes to landing interviews to assessments that surface the right opportunity at exactly the right time. The latest entrant is Stella.ai, which aims to bring several of those solutions together in one place as an AI-driven marketplace serving both candidates and companies. Already, more than 100 major organizations have been actively using it, including Citigroup, Deloitte, eBay, UPS, HBO and Gap.
Some of the larger companies in the Stella marketplace receive as many as 4.5 million resumes per year on a global basis. Others have received 10 million applications for open jobs over the course of a year. Obviously, only a tiny fraction of these applicants can get hired. By making this tremendous sourcing funnel available in one place and letting AI do the matching, Stella can redirect people where they are best suited. Instead of keeping candidates in their own closed files, companies in the marketplace invite candidates who have applied for positions with them to join the Stella shared talent network. If they do not land the job they applied for (and many will not because they are unqualified or do not meet other requirements), Stella.ai can find a better fit and reroutes them to other recruiters. This also saves the candidate the enormous amount of time it takes to find openings and tailor a resume and application to each one.
20 Ways To Kill Your IT Career
CIO.com, December 4
In planning your IT career, it is important to watch out for potential hazards or pitfalls that might deal your career a temporary setback. For example, how you deal with a difficult workplace situation that forces you to exit your current job could have a long-term impact on how other employers view you. As recruiters point out, how you deal with factors like unfairness and lack of appreciation will shape how future employers view your tenacity and ability to keep moving forward. When your job is at its worse, step back, evaluate what happened and then plan out what to do next time. You do not want to be viewed as someone who jumps ship at the first sign of distress.
According to recruiters, showing mental toughness is a key trait to demonstrate. Hitting the panic button too quickly can be an IT career red flag. As soon as you show a hint of emotional instability, people will question whether you are trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts. Also, since building lasting relationships with the people around you is key to developing a successful IT career, it is important to avoid the short-term satisfaction of telling your coworkers off. Breaking off any professional relationship is a major mistake that can end up hurting your relationship with colleagues and potentially ruin future career opportunities.
Soon AI Could Be Doing Your Performance Appraisals
Economic Times, December 14
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in power, it is no longer inconceivable that a machine or an application could one day complete your annual performance appraisal. According to a recent study by PwC in India, around 83% of corporate decision makers in fields ranging from technology to manufacturing believe that having an artificial intelligence (AI) advisor at work to monitor performance would be more, or at least equally, rational and impartial in giving promotions and salary hikes compared to a human advisor. For decision on promotions, in fact, three out of four respondents would rather trust an AI advisor or a combination of human and AI advisors.
In terms of overall response, more than 50% of decision-makers said they would receive benefits from AI. Contrary to a lot of popular beliefs, people are overwhelmingly positive on the impact of AI on day-to-day life. According to the report, AI could soon be the go-to tool for mundane tasks, as most respondents said they want to outsource jobs that are repetitive and time consuming in their respective sectors and functions to AI. For example, nearly 88% of respondents engaged specifically in information technology and IT-enabled services feel that entering timesheet hours can be outsourced to digital assistants.
Computing is the Secret Ingredient
Communications of the ACM, December 2017
Computer science is both a powerful enabler of rapid advances in all intellectual fields and a disruptor driving revolutions in commerce and society worldwide. Computer science is more important and potent than ever, especially as fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the blockchain begin to become integral parts of different industries. While revolutions in AI or the blockchain may have been enabled by generations of large-scale distributed systems, it is notable that the essence of each is algorithmic advances and breakthroughs in computing technology.
One area of tech-driven change involves artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Every day brings evidence of the rapidly growing capabilities in AI, driven by a host of algorithmic advances, but notably machine learning, to perform tasks heretofore exclusively the province of humankind. With high-profile applications such as speech, question and answer systems, image and face recognition, robotics with growing autonomy and flexibility (including self-driving cars, deep ocean exploration, and space exploration) society is broadly aware of the growing capabilities of AI. Further, as AI capabilities push computing into new domains, there is growing concern in economic, policy, and computing communities about the potential impact on employment, types of work, and global competition.
Human Acts and Computer Apps
Blog @ CACM, November 28
When it comes to defining the relationship between human cognition and machine computation, the conventional wisdom holds that cognition should be described in computational terms. For example, the way a person comes to a conclusion could be viewed as an algorithm with a series of logical steps. However, another view is that computation creates artifacts that the philosophy of computer science can view in terms of human affairs, offering new perspectives on the way we think and how we act. Thus, it is possible to talk about the ontology of algorithms and whether or not nature uses data in the act of computation.
Computation could yield suggestions for more efficient human workflow, especially when it comes to multi-tasking. One way to think about this is with the concept of thrashing. In computer science, thrashing can be defined as too many tasks in progress at the same time, such that that the effort of recalling to mind the state of a task when it was suspended exceeds the amount of progress that you make on the task before the next suspension. This has clear applications for the world of human work. Another example involves how explicit metaphors are used within the world of programming. Programmers, for example, can select appropriate metaphors for clear explanation and understanding. Examples include paths through a graph as options for directions on a map, and distribution of data across a hierarchy of processors as gossip.
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