ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, March 20, 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 careernews@hq.acm.org

Volume 14, Issue 6, March 20, 2018


It Could Be Time To Make Your Move Into the AI Job Market
Venture Beat, March 13

According to LinkedIn’s latest Emerging Jobs Report, machine learning engineers and data scientists are the two fastest-growing new jobs in the U.S. And that is not just in the technology industry. LinkedIn’s report tracks the full range of jobs across all sectors, from real estate to health care, retail, manufacturing, and travel. The rapid growth of AI-related careers is yet another reflection of how AI is poised for a breakthrough transformation in our business and personal lives. When it comes to how artificial intelligence is used by businesses, distinctly different AI-related jobs often share similarities when it comes to seeing the potential of using AI to improve an organization.

New hires for development roles such as machine learning engineers, data scientists, and UI developers may not have deep domain expertise in subject areas such as finance and supply chain. However, as AI experts, they immediately see the huge potential for AI to transform data-intensive and dynamic processes. In contrast, organizations tend to hire seasoned professionals with domain expertise for customer-facing roles such as engagement managers, client directors, and customer success team members. They might not have a strong background in AI, but they are intimately familiar with the weaknesses of traditional software solutions. They quickly grasp how and why AI is ideal for business optimization.

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8 Tips For Making a Smooth Transition To a New IT Role
TechRepublic.com, March 15

Switching roles when you work in IT generally involves advancing in your career or at least broadening your horizons and branching out into new territory. However, if you switch roles at your present company, you will quite likely find your progress in your new role hampered by your connections to your previous role. That is why it might be best to sever those connections as thoroughly as possible, since they will limit your mobility in your new realm and perhaps even threaten your chances of success. The article provides eight strategies that can help you ensure a clean transition so you can leave your old career behind and keep moving forward.

First and foremost, you will need to identify who will be covering the tasks you were previously responsible for. Obviously if a vacuum exists you will find it difficult to complete the transition to your new duties. For example, if you are moving from the help desk into more of a senior system administrator role, maybe your colleagues on the help desk will be taking over your duties, or a new hire will be assigned these responsibilities. Notify them that you will be handing over any relevant information they might need to know in order to fill your shoes, then work with them to ensure it is comprehensive and useful. Then perform a thorough review of everything you have been working on, any practices or procedures your replacement should know about, and anything else that will be handy for them to step in for you and for you to leave this stuff behind. Better yet, work hand-in-hand with your replacements and let them document it where possible, since that will help them internalize the material and add their own perspectives or insights where possible.

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How Tech Companies Can Help Upskill the US Workforce
Harvard Business Review, February 20

In order to meet the rapidly growing demand for IT and computer science skills, tech companies need to provide better access to technical learning for those who work in lower-paying industries. It is now time for business, particularly technology companies, to harness the power of technology to help turn the tide. Three key initiatives can help. These include supplementing K-12 education with vocational training programs, increasing access to job retraining for adults, and empowering lower-skilled workers to continuously upskill on the job.

One tip that is proven to land you a new career faster is networking outside your industry. Meeting people who are in different industries and do different types of work from yourself not only provides you with a better understanding of other careers, it also widens your network in new directions. Just because you are in computer science, doesn't mean you should not spend time getting to know people in operations or marketing. Those people have friends, family, and significant others who just might be in the career you aspire to transition to.

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What Skills Does a GDPR Data Protection Officer Need?
Silicon Republic, March 16

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to go into effect in May 2018, many organizations will be preparing to appoint a data protection officer (DPO) in compliance with the new laws. So what types of skills will a GDPR data protection officer need? While in-depth knowledge of the GDPR and expertise in national and European data protection law is required, of course, the regulation does not specify any particular qualifications that a DPO must have. However, the kind of person who is the ideal fit for a DPO role in an organization will certainly need knowledge of key IT functions, so that they can provide guidance on issues such as risk assessments and data protection impact assessments.

Ultimately, the core knowledge of a new data protection officer will have to be gleaned from IT programming know-how, IT infrastructure and IS audits. This knowledge will have to evolve constantly to keep up with how the landscape of threats evolves so that the DPO can protect companies at every turn from potential breaches. The DPO is going to serve companies as a consultant for any issues that may arise with regard to personal data rights, so this obviously necessitates both a lot of interaction and instruction. In companies that handle data, the DPO will be the primary source of knowledge about best practice for compliance. It is not enough for a corporate DPO to have the knowledge; they must be able to convey that knowledge effectively, as well as provide advice and guidance.

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The Little Add-Ons That Add Up To a Standout CV
Science Magazine, March 14

Simply recognizing your technical and analytical skills and highlighting them on your CV is not going to win you a job, no matter how you structure your document. What you really need is some way to differentiate yourself, to stand out from other job seekers. The good news is that it does not require a huge investment. There are a handful of ideas that are not all that difficult to integrate over the course of your training, but which can make all the difference when you need your application to rise to the top of the pile.

Hiring managers, recruiters, and human resources staffers routinely look at dozens, sometimes hundreds, of CVs over the course of a week. After an hour or 90 minutes, every CV starts to look the same. Recruiters go from looking at people and their lives to scanning for keywords or phrases. But you can make sure your application does not get lost in the crowd. Offer recruiters something different to attract their attention. Give them a differentiator. There are things you can add to your CV to help you stand out that are not big investments of time and money. Some of these differentiators will have a meaningful, lifelong impact and require you to put in some serious effort. There are several things that you can do immediately to separate yourself from the crowd: join a club, take courses in a range of topics, get a certificate, volunteer, or do an internship.

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The 5 Biggest Networking Mistakes People Make
Inc.com, March 15

In the tech sector, becoming an effective networker takes time and effort. It requires you do your homework and step out of your comfort zone, something that many of us have a hard time doing. While few would disregard the importance of networking, many people are still not doing it right. But what if you are out there doing your best and it is still not working well for you? You could be making one of these five common networking mistakes.

At its best, networking is done face to face. In an age when technology allows us to do nearly everything online, we need to remember there is no substitute for getting out there and introducing yourself to someone in person. When you meet people, you get a better read on who they really are. Even if you feel you will not be good at networking events, challenge yourself to get out there. Even if you talk to only one or two people, try to find common ground. It is also important to treat networking as a two-way street: People may be connecting with you because they are genuinely interested in your ideas, but they are also there because they want you to listen to what they have to say. So do not try to dominate the conversation. Networking is about building mutual relationships, and there is no room for one-sided conversations.

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UK Is a Nation of IoT Marketers Not Engineers Warns Critical Report
Internet of Business, March 16

The UK has hundreds of thousands of IoT professionals, but too many of these are IoT marketers and not engineers, according to a new employment report from i-AMdigital. There are 28 qualified professionals for every Industry 4.0 post advertised in the UK, according to a new report. The document finds that there are an average of 14,368 Industry 4.0 jobs advertised every year in the UK, and nearly 400,000 qualified professionals in total. Over 150,000 of those professionals are either actively or passively searching for new work, it says, meaning that there is an average of 11 experienced people for every new job opportunity in the IoT and related areas.

Despite the prevalence of skilled and talented professionals in analytics, engineering, and IT systems with degrees from universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, and London’s Imperial College and University College, the UK is overwhelmingly sales and marketing focused, the report says. Nearly one-third (31%) of the entire Industry 4.0 workforce is in business development and sales positions. They are in roles such as IIoT or big data sales managers, compared to just 5% in research and development, across areas such as AI and robotics. Over one-quarter of those sales professionals want to change jobs, the study finds, while 31% of UK researchers are actively looking for new opportunities too.

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Formal Learning or Learning On the Job?
The Globe and Mail, March 1

According to a study from the Brookfield Institute, whose mission is to strengthen Canada's innovation and entrepreneurship systems, an estimated 42% of the Canadian labor force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next decade or two. The looming threat of automation is forcing a re-thinking of how much emphasis universities should be placing on formal learning, and how much they should be trying to develop practical skills that are sought by potential employers. There is a growing recognition that the job market is changing, and that traditional career paths are changing as a response. The pressure is particularly great for students who are soon about to enter the job market for the first time.

Maneuvering through early career changes is made easier with a university degree. Knowing how to think critically, solve problems and communicate complex subjects are skills that, even if technology or the job market change, you have those transferable skills. It is not just about the job experience of the day. It is part of building resiliency as an employable person over decades. The only thing better is combining a degree with beneficial elements typically found in college or university programs such as internships and other experiential learning opportunities. It is the ultimate combination, career-wise. Universities are beginning to offer more co-op and alternative options in programs other than just engineering and tech.

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The Computing Profession
Communications of the ACM, March 2018

Over the past 17 years, both practitioners and academics have been re-thinking the status of computer science as a standalone profession. Around the world, users look to computing professionals to help them with their needs for designing, locating, retrieving, using, configuring, programming, maintaining and understanding computers, networks, applications, and digital objects. The need has intensified over the years because there are now billions of users and the technologies they rely on are much more complex. ACM has traditionally emphasized the science-math side of computing, including matters related to curriculum recommendations and accreditation. When viewed in this context, it is important to consider what specialties professionals can organize to deal with specific kinds of concerns, including specialties in programming languages, operating systems, networks, or graphics.

The list of ACM specialty organizations does not come close to covering all the organized specialties in computing. There are two other categories: computing-intensive fields in science and engineering where computing is a tool but is not the focus of concern, and computing-infrastructure occupations, where specialists operate and maintain the infrastructures on which everyone depends. Overall, that leads to 52 specialties. This is not the only way to categorize computing professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics maintains a list of computer and information technology occupations that spells out the kinds of jobs employers recruit for. No matter how you look at it, there is a huge market for computing professionals. Between them, the ACM and a large network of education institutions provide an extensive support structure for computing professionals, including curricula that grant entry into profession and standards for professional practice.

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Online Learning: Bridging the Culture Gaps
eLearn Magazine, March 2018

The increased demand for online education has created many opportunities for learners and educators who seek academic and professional development opportunities. However, this new trend still faces numerous challenges due to cultural differences among learners and educators. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, it is hard to bring all cultures to the same table and communicate the same message that might be interpreted in several ways. In short, there are challenges, difficulties, and emerging opportunities when providing online education to people who reside in diverse cultures across the world. In fact, even agreeing on what culture means and what it entails can also be a point of discussion.

The first part of the new book on online learning focuses on theories to explain several perspectives regarding the online environment and the challenges learners could encounter based on their cultural background. The succeeding chapters discuss the practical issues that may arise when teaching in a multicultural, online setting. For example, in chapter 6, the authors investigate how cultural differences might impact the way educators facilitate and design online learning models of instruction. The various chapters of the book demonstrate an in-depth analysis of several important subjects such as online identity and interaction, accounting for cultural instructional design, e-mentoring development, developing global digital citizens, transformative learning in online foreign language teaching, and the use of icons and images.

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