ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, April 10, 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 7, April 10, 2018


DevOps, Machine Learning Dominate Technology Opportunities This Year
ZDNet.com, April 3

If you would like to boost your income and visibility in the software field, there are many new opportunities in DevOps and machine learning. Languages and frameworks associated with these methodologies and technologies are on the rise, and developers working in these areas command the highest salaries. This is a key takeaway from the latest survey of more than 100,000 developers worldwide, conducted by Stack Overflow. The survey finds DevOps specialists and engineering managers have the highest salaries in the field, averaging between $70,000 and $90,000 a year worldwide. The salaries are even higher in the United States, with both IT roles commanding six-figure incomes on average.

The Stack Overflow survey also shows that DevOps specialists and developers who code for desktop and enterprise applications have the most experience, averaging eight years of professional coding experience. In contrast, mobile developers have the fewest years of experience. The survey finds developers are overall optimistic about the possibilities that artificial intelligence offers, but are not in agreement about what the dangers of AI are. When asked about the specific dangers they worry about, 41% are concerned about the increasing automation of jobs due to AI. Another 24% say they worry about algorithms making important decisions, and 23% say artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence is a real threat. Twelve percent say bias in decisions is the main risk with AI.

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Ten AR, VR, and IoT Jobs That Could Net You More Than $100K a Year
Tech Republic, March 27

Emerging fields like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) include many lucrative positions for those with the right skill sets, according to a new report from tech staffing agency Mondo. Professionals in these areas can expect to see salary gains in coming years, as the technologies gain mainstream adoption, the report noted. In fact, many of these positions will offer salaries in excess of $100,000 per year. In addition to AR, VR and IoT, other in-demand roles in tech for 2018 include .NET developers, cloud engineers, data scientists, DevOps engineers, and security engineers.

One of the highest paying jobs is IoT solution architect, which offers a salary range of $125,000 to $185,000. This is primarily due to the growing popularity of the Internet of Things at the enterprise level. Second on the list is AR engineer, with a salary range of $100,000 to $185,000. Third on the list is mixed reality developer, with a salary range of $100,000 to $175,000. Coming in at No. 4 is VR engineer, with a salary range of $90,000 to $185,000. No. 5 on the list is IoT software engineer, with a salary range of $90,000 to $160,000.

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McAfee Finds That Gamers Are Strong Candidates For Cybersecurity Jobs
Venture Beat, April 2

According to new McAfee report, gamers may be the best candidates for cybersecurity jobs. 78% of respondents said that members of the current generation entering the workforce, especially those that grew up playing video games, are stronger candidates for cybersecurity roles. The report suggests that gamers, those engaged and immersed in online competitions, may be the logical next step to plugging the cyber skills gap. An overwhelming majority (92%) of respondents believe that gaming affords players experience and skills critical to cybersecurity threat hunting: logic, perseverance, an understanding of how to approach adversaries and a fresh outlook compared to traditional cybersecurity hires.

Three-quarters of senior managers say they would consider hiring a gamer even if that person had no specific cybersecurity training or experience. 72% of respondents say hiring experienced video gamers into the IT department seems like a good way to plug the cybersecurity skills gap. The survey also said 46% of cybersecurity responders believe they will struggle with or it will be impossible to keep up with increase and complexity of threats they will face in the next 12 month. Information technology (IT) security staff say they need to increase their security staff by 24% to adequately manage cyberthreats facing their organizations. But 84% say it is difficult to attract talent.

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Three Steps To Optimize Your CV For Algorithms
Silicon Republic, April 4

The next time you apply for a job, chances are that an algorithm, not a person, will scan your resume. The reason is logical: one job ad can elicit hundreds of responses, many of which may be inappropriate, yet all must be screened in order to identify the suitable candidates. With the aid of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated machine-learning algorithms, this time-consuming process can instead take seconds, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to provide a more personal service and engage with skilled and experienced professionals. As a result, candidates need to ensure their application makes it past the algorithms and reaches the shortlist of top prospects.

In order to optimize for algorithms, you will need to add keywords to your CV and online professional profiles that are relevant to the jobs you seek. Look at job descriptions for your ideal role so you can determine what these keywords are, and where they can be incorporated. For example, you may include keywords related to project management, financial reporting or budget management under your responsibilities. Since soft skills also matter, do not forget keywords for the required soft skills. You can also use keywords related to the systems you use. Use these soft skills keywords throughout your CV and LinkedIn profile to describe your achievements. Make sure you link keywords with proof that you did your previous jobs well.

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Unconventional Secrets to Hiring a Great Team as a Startup
Entrepreneur.com, April 5

For most startups, the conventional wisdom is that they should only be hiring the very best, the types of job candidates who can raise the bar of the entire organization. Yet, when this conventional wisdom meets the reality of limited budgets, lack of early traction and minimal brand awareness, those ideas can be all but impossible to actualize. Unless you are remarkably well-funded, you likely can not afford the person with the incredible resume who is being hotly recruited by top companies. Unless you are remarkably well-networked, you likely don't have access to the obviously bar-raising candidates who receive mountains of inbound interest. The good news is that, with a little additional work and some willingness to embrace counterintuitive maneuvers, you can find talent every bit as good as the candidates going to the big guys while operating within the constraints that go alongside being an early stage business.

The first secret to hiring great employees at a new startup is to look where others are not looking. As a relatively unknown, cash-strapped startup, it can be hard to compete for recruits with the most famous companies in Silicon Valley, since you can not offer the same brand, compensation or perks that they can. Rather than spend your precious time competing with global leaders as you build your team, look for pools of talent where you can stand out from the crowd, such as by recruiting at coding bootcamps. Do not dismiss talent just because it is not where you expect to find it. Understand signaling but do not become preoccupied with pedigree. In addition to reviewing a candidate's traditional qualifications, go a step further by looking for subtle signals that indicate relevant strengths, such as unique skills or noteworthy personal experiences.

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The Data Scientist Drought
Computerworld Australia, March 9

The growth in artificial intelligence, data science, and big data analytics has created a jobs boom for data scientists, with 2.7 million new jobs forecasted globally by 2020. Right now, there is a shortage of data scientists, which could soon be costing billions in lost opportunities across a range of industries. While the role of the data scientist can vary from company to company, the role generally calls for someone who is more than just a mathematician, statistician, or writer of algorithms. They must be hybrid experts in analysis and software programming who possess strong business acumen, coupled with the ability to communicate findings. The job requires far more than theory, since data scientists need to have a thorough understanding of the domains in which their insights will be applied.

Within the data science field, fresh graduates can expect starting salaries in the $100K+ range, with the figure significantly higher for more experienced experts. While data science might once have been a luxury in terms of hiring, that is no longer true. The core business benefits, such as accelerated time-to-market, make the discipline compulsory for organizations in practically every industry. But finding the right talent is becoming increasingly difficult. Skills are still in short supply, especially in fields like financial services and healthcare. The low number of data science graduates is only part of the problem. No matter how many technical skills they have, graduates still need several years of hands-on experience, where they can learn to apply theory to the specific business challenges that they have been tasked to solve.

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What Does the Future of Work Look Like?
Boston Business Journal, April 5

Automation, artificial intelligence, and the cloud are all changing the nature of work dramatically. Predictions about the impact of digital transformations on the job market are so disparate that only two certain conclusions can be made: We do not yet know how many jobs will be lost or created due to technological progress, and dramatic change in the nature of work will continue to unfold. To find solutions to future issues facing the IT workforce, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a new initiative called MIT Solve, which is a marketplace for social impact innovation that focuses on four issue areas: sustainability, health, learning, and economic prosperity.

Tech advancements will create new jobs and industries we have yet to imagine. They will liberate us from rote tasks, increase our productivity and leave us time to explore our creativity. However, it is critical that we use technology to mitigate this transition for those left behind, and ensure it expands the possibilities for everyone to attain their full potential. Some jobs are threatened by redundancy, others are growing rapidly; all will require different skill sets. Re-skilling those in the global labor force to ensure they have access to new opportunities afforded by automation, and up-skilling everyone to gain adaptable skills, will be crucial to ensure we remain not just employable, but also achieve fulfilling careers.

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How To Stop Sabotaging Your Career
Knowledge @ Wharton, April 3

There are certain high-performing workers who may be unknowingly sabotaging their careers, according to a new book by Northwestern University professor Carter Cast. The book, "The Right and Wrong Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade," explains how smart, talented people sometimes derail their own careers. These events are particularly common during transition periods at a new job or company, when workers fail to remain flexible, open minded and adaptable.

There are several common reasons why people derail their careers. The most common reason is letting personality traits like arrogance, ego and defensiveness get in the way. People just do not want to work with these types of people, even if they are smart and capable. Currently, more companies are organizing their employees into teams to promote innovation, so being able to get along with others is paramount. The set of interdependencies now is so great with globalization and with so many products having such a technical foundation that you need to have an attitude of teamwork. Another common type of problem is getting stuck in your ways and not adapting to changing circumstances. With the rate of change in technology lifecycles, none of us can get complacent with our knowledge. We have to stay active reading from the thought leaders, reading white papers, and going to conferences.

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How To Come Up With Great Startup Ideas
ACM Queue, March 29

The key to coming up with new ideas and opportunities is learning to think like an entrepreneur. Even if you do not see yourself launching a startup with one of those ideas, being able to come up with new ideas will make you even better at your current job. As a programmer, most of your time is probably spent understanding the technical nuances of what you are creating. As you grow in your career and experience, however, you are expected to contribute more than just code. In short, being creative and innovative and generating good ideas can help you contribute more to your company, profession, or community.

Simply paying attention to the world around you can unlock many new ideas. Whenever something does not work the way you think it should, pay attention and think about why. What could be changed that would make it better? By focusing on the points of friction, you can start thinking about how you would design one that addresses those problems. Paying attention to how you compensate for missing functionality, or where you get frustrated using an item, will teach you to start focusing on problems that can be solved. As you hone in on these problems over time, you will start to see opportunities that could be turned into new products or even companies. Also, when you use products that you love, think about the features that delight you. By articulating what you like about a product, you can pick up patterns and gain a better understanding of motivation, which can then be applied to users of future products. When you understand what motivates users, you can help them reach their goals. It can also help you discover methods and patterns that can be applied to your next big idea and help you deliver more value to customers.

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The Sound of Programming
Communications of the ACM, April 2018

Vinton G. Cerf, President of ACM from 2012-2014, weighs in on the recent successes of Bootstrap World, which has made a strong commitment to computer science education for everyone. Bootstrap World has developed online courses in programming, among other subjects, but what makes Bootstrap World so significant is that the team has focused heavily on accessibility. The programming environment is extremely friendly to screen readers so that, for example, a blind programmer can navigate easily through complex programs using keyboard navigation coupled with audible descriptions and renderings of the program text and structure.

What seems most important about the work at Bootstrap World is the potential to provide students closer to STEM learning with tools that move at the same pace at which the students can move. The notion of self-paced learning has a great deal of attraction. People learn at different speeds and use different methods to reinforce what they are learning. The Bootstrap World program is designed for this kind of adaptability and flexibility. At a time when science and technology need an increasing population of STEM-educated workers, the traditional methods of four-year college and perhaps graduate study may not be optimal. With longer lives and longer careers, it is likely we will all need to return to school or at least to enter a learning phase more than once in our careers.

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