ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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 [email protected]
Volume 14, Issue 2, January 23, 2018
Tech jobs dominate the list of most promising jobs for 2018, with high salaries, strong openings, and plenty of room for growth and advancement. New surveys indicate that tech jobs continue to grow in number, with hard skills in demand and at a premium. Those interested in breaking into the field might consider learning cybersecurity skills, programming, and data science. The rise of technology across every industry has created a flurry of new jobs and associated skills, and these are not necessarily all tech roles. Despite the prominence of technical skills, soft skills like management, leadership and strategy are equally as important.
A previous LinkedIn survey of 2,000 business leaders found that soft skills such as leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management were most in demand. More than half (57%) in that survey said those soft skills were more important than hard skills. Thus, many of the jobs with the highest median salaries and most attractive openings in the tech world are those that combine a mix of tech skills and soft skills. In some cases, the most popular new job openings are posting year-over-year growth rates of higher than 100%.
Despite fears of artificial intelligence (AI) taking away jobs, the need for skilled humans to operate, utilize and advance AI-powered technologies will remain very important in the future. If anything, the merging of AI with fields such as robotics will lead to greater value being attached to human workers, who will be valued for their uniquely human skills, such as creativity and innovative thinking. Moreover, while it is true that AI will displace certain jobs, it will also create a number of new jobs as well. In fact, according to Forrester Research, over the next 10 years, nearly 15 million new jobs will be created in the United States because of the evolution of artificial intelligence.
In fact, say experts, AI will create a whole new set of in-demand jobs that will pay well. Most likely, they will be software and IT jobs, like robotics architects and AR/VR engineers, who will help design and develop systems that control robots. Other jobs such as cyber security roles, business analysts and financial analysts will also expand as a result of AI. Indeed, the advancements in technology and machine learning have already catapulted roles such as data scientist into the most in-demand jobs in the tech world right now. It could be the case that AR/VR engineers and AI architects will be next in terms of the hottest jobs in tech.
In 2018, the jobs that IT professionals are searching for might not necessarily be the ones that companies are hiring for, according to recent studies of tech job searches and job listings by hiring experts. In fact, some of the terms that job seekers are searching for most often on sites like Indeed.com are actually decreasing in employer searches. In addition, because the fastest-growing job skills generally are not the same as the most in-demand job skills, there may be a disconnect with the technology job skills that show up most often in employer job postings.
How to Write a CV For Developer Jobs
Tech World, January 10
Being a talented and capable developer is just the start to landing a new job, since you will also need a strong CV that fully conveys your strengths, skills and experiences to attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. As a result, do not undervalue the importance of a well-structured CV and always bear in mind that you are not just addressing another developer or CTO but also a number of HR professionals too. The HR team will be assessing your suitability to the role and company from a different perspective and taking into account things like your soft skills and whether you will be a cultural fit.
To craft an effective CV and secure a first interview, think beyond the paper resume. Applying for a tech job with a paper CV is the equivalent of trying to find the contact information of someone in a phonebook: outdated, inefficient and frustrating. An online profile or portfolio with links to your recent projects is the most efficient means of showcasing your experience and potential. The layout should be clean and engaging but do not get too caught up in making your CV look artistic. The content should be the priority, not the aesthetics. Your CV should be a live document of all relevant skills and experiences, so be sure you are updating it consistently. If a hiring manager spots old or redundant details they are likely to disregard your application altogether. Developers need to be on top of industry trends and have good attention to detail, so these attributes should be reflected in all correspondence with the company.
Demand For Cybersecurity Talent Rises Sharply
CSO Online, January 11
Given the growing workforce shortage in the cybersecurity field, it is clear that organizations are waking up to the critical importance of security. However, the workforce shortage will continue to grow unless organizations also wake up to how they approach finding and retaining talent. Hiring managers should keep in mind that there is a wealth of talent around the world that wants to engage in the global fight for better security. However, these workers may not be classically trained, have a certain degree, or fit into any mold organizations have seen before.
To succeed in the war for cyber security talent, organizations must challenge the norms of what is expected from candidates and embrace a culture that celebrates diversity in backgrounds. For example, there are numerous untapped pockets of prospective candidates for employers to consider, including women and minorities, IT workers with an interest in crossing over to security, young people with criminal justice degrees and law enforcement personnel. Having a diverse staff and hiring people from different backgrounds helps create the most dynamic and productive team. Diversity initiatives are key, since they can help to attract a broad spectrum of candidates, such as university grads, minorities, women, ex-military and people from all walks of life.
How To Make Online Networking Work For You
Entrepreneur, January 17
Getting the most out of online networking is based on your interactive and time management preferences. There is no right or wrong about it, just degrees of preference, as well as plenty of new tools for making the right connections. The more you like browsing the internet, communicating via email and otherwise working digitally, the more likely you are to find online networking a good fit. A little time online can be leveraged to great effect when you use that time for connecting briefly with new contacts you would like to meet in person or for following up after face-to-face encounters.
First, consider in advance how much of your time you are truly willing to devote to online networking, as well as how you prefer to use that time. For example, this time might be spent reviewing discussions in online forums, keeping your profiles updated, posting to your blog, reading and responding to comments, reading other blogs or tweeting. Then, consider which online networking platform is best for you. Pick the one where your target audience hangs out most. For many, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the places to go. No matter how many sites you are active on, be very clear with yourself and with others about your motives and goals. Stay positive, informative and value oriented.
How to Land a Cybersecurity Job Without Being a Data Scientist
Fast Company, January 5
The cybersecurity skills gap is large, well-documented, and quite possibly getting wider in 2018. Not only has the information security industry grown an estimated 62% since 2011, but there has also been an increasing surge of major data breaches over that same period. The upside for job seekers, though, is a growing wealth of opportunities in an expanding field. For those who are data scientists already, the key to landing one of those jobs is to expand your knowledge base beyond data science itself. You need to relate to the human element. For those with backgrounds outside data science, the job search challenges differ, but it is still possible to land a cybersecurity job, no matter what your skills and experience might be.
Industry experience is not always required to land a cyber security job. When companies hire for their data security teams, they typically expect data science applicants will be coming from different fields. These fields could be as unique as particle physics or quantitative marketing. In general, a diversity of experience helps a data security team take novel approaches to challenges, build smarter systems to analyze huge data sets, and solve multifaceted problems quickly. So if you have worked as a data scientist in other roles and applications, your experience is probably more transferrable than you think. The key is being able to articulate how you tackled previous data challenges. You will also need to showcase your problem-solving skills because hiring managers will want to know you can see all sides of a data problem.
The Real Reason Workers Quit
Harvard Business Review, January 11
The conventional wisdom is that employees leave their jobs because of bad bosses, but employee engagement survey results tell a different story: employees leave when their job is no longer enjoyable, their strengths are no longer being used, and they are not growing in their careers. Thus, if you want to keep your people, and especially your stars, it is time to pay more attention to how you design their work. Most companies design jobs and then slot people into them. However, the best managers sometimes do the opposite: when they find talented people, they are open to creating jobs around them. It is important for managers to enable employees to do work they enjoy, help them play to their strengths, and carve a path for career development that accommodates personal priorities.
Managers can play a major role in designing motivating, meaningful jobs. The best managers go out of their way to help people do work they enjoy, even if it means rotating them out of roles where they are excelling. Too often, though, managers do not know enough about what work people enjoy. It spills out in exit interviews, which is a standard practice in every HR department to find out why talented people are leaving and what would have convinced them to stick around. But why wait until they are on their way out the door? For example, why not design entry interviews? In the first week on the job, managers could sit down with their new hires and ask them about their favorite projects they have done, the moments when they have felt most energized at work, the times when they have found themselves totally immersed in a state of flow, and the passions they have outside their jobs. With that knowledge, managers can build engaging roles from the start.
The End of Software Engineering and the Last Methodologist
Blog @ CACM, January 17
The field of software engineering has enormously expanded in both depth and width, but it appears to be losing ground to newer disciplines such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Conferences like ICSE and ESEC still attract a good crowd and journals still attract plenty of submissions, but it is not clear that anyone outside of the community is paying attention unless something goes wrong with software. Software engineering seems to be taken as something that everyone in IT knows because we all develop software or manage someone who does. For example, in the 2017 survey of CS faculty hiring in the U.S., software engineering accounted for just 3% of hires.
Despite the fact that issues such as data privacy and data security seem to get all the headlines, software engineering is more important than ever. More specifically, programming methodology is also still very important, especially when one takes into account the potential for incidents, accidents and mishaps resulting from improperly designed software. What counts, though, is not what the world needs; it is what the world believes it needs. The world does not seem to think it needs much software engineering. Even when software causes a catastrophe, we see headlines for a day or two, and then nothing. Thus, something needs to be done to change this mindset around software engineering in order to elevate its perceived importance.
Learning Computer Science is Different Than Learning Other STEM Disciplines
Blog @ CACM, January 5
There are several different reasons why learning computer science is different from learning other STEM disciplines. For one, the infrastructure for teaching CS is younger, smaller, and weaker than the infrastructure for other STEM disciplines. Secondly, we do not realize how hard learning to program is, and that makes designing an effective CS curriculum even more challenging. Thirdly, computer science is much more relevant to the entire educational experience than the traditional STEM fields.
In terms of infrastructure, computer science does not yet have the infrastructure that other STEM disciplines have. We know less about how people learn programming than what we know about how people come to understand algebra, chemistry, biology, or the laws of physics. For example, consider that the major U.S. teaching organization for mathematics, the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), was established in 1920. The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) was established in 1950. By contrast, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) was established in 2005. The other STEM disciplines have decades more experience in defining learning progressions, establishing programs for preparing teachers, defining frameworks and standards, and creating and testing curriculum.
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