ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, April 24, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 14, Issue 8, April 24, 2018
IT leaders, recruiters and industry researchers say most of the skills that IT workers have today will still be needed in the future, but some specific skills will be in higher demand than others. Along the way, IT roles and positions will have to adjust to an emerging technology and business landscape. Growth is projected for nearly every IT occupation through 2024, but the roles are changing and evolving. One thing is certain: software development skills will continue to be among the hottest skills in the coming decade, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 24% growth in software developer jobs from 2016 to 2026.
Silicon Valley will drive much of the demand for new IT skills, but companies across all industries are looking for talent as they push forward with digital transformations. As a result, enterprise IT departments will have a growing need for specific languages. Both scripting and object-oriented coding languages will likely top the list in the years ahead. Moreover, new technologies will drive new roles and skill combinations. In its 2018 IT Industry Outlook report, CompTIA lists 14 emerging jobs, many of which are needed to leverage technologies that are in their early stages of enterprise deployment. Those positions include machine learning scientist, AI developer, industrial IoT engineer, blockchain developer and robotics engineer.
LinkedIn is a key way for CTOs to find new jobs and opportunities in their field, as well as for others to find them for speaking events and interviews. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool, but not everyone takes full advantage and uses it to tell a story of who they are and what they have achieved. There are five things that CTOs should make sure they include in their LinkedIn profiles to best showcase their skills. For example, CTOs should be clear to highlight the role they play in digital transformation efforts at their organizations.
LinkedIn has created a list of the hard and soft skills that companies need the most in 2018. LinkedIn used data from their more than 500 million members to identify the skills companies are currently working the hardest to fill. They grouped the skills members add to their profiles into several dozen categories. Then, the company looked at all of the hiring and recruiting activity that happened on LinkedIn between January 1 and September 1 and extrapolated the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies. LinkedIn then coupled those specific skills with related jobs and their average salaries.
Given the emergence of new technological disciplines, many IT workers are turning their attention to online course offerings that can be completed within a short period of time. Online learning options, such as Lynda, Udemy, Coursera, and edX, are among the most popular and inexpensive. Coursera and edX allow you to take classes from the top universities in the world, nearly all of which are free to audit. Udemy houses over 65,000 courses and 15 million students in areas such as programming, marketing, and data science most prominently and frequently discounts courses by up to 90% off. Lynda (owned by LinkedIn) specializes in software and business skills, and comes with a free one-month trial. All in all, each online course is a much cheaper option than a university degree.
Computer Vision, Machine Learning Skills Help Fuel Surge in AI Jobs
Tech Target, April 19
A recent report by job site Indeed.com that examined job-posting data from 2015 to the present found employer demand for AI jobs has more than doubled over the past three years, with the number of AI-related job postings as a share of all job postings up about 119%. The report classified AI-related jobs as job titles in which a substantial share of job-posting descriptions include the terms artificial intelligence and machine learning skills. After increasing throughout 2015 and 2016, jobseeker interest in AI jobs showed a year-over-year gain of just 1.4% in 2017.
Within the IT industry, there has been significant debate about a potential AI talent shortage. Since AI is such a fast-growing field, there is not a high volume of workers out there with the required education and skills. As a result, the data shows a clear gap between the supply and demand for AI-related skills. Data scientists have long been referred to as unicorns, but specialists in deep learning, natural language processing and other capabilities necessary for AI are even harder to find. The need for AI-related talent is only going to increase and become more specialized. While there will continue to be a need for data science generalists, there will be a significant jump in the need for programmers and developers who are proficient in Google, AWS, Microsoft and IBM APIs for computer vision, language and speech.
Pump Up the Volume With Your Tech Career If You Want to Succeed
ZDNet.com, April 20
Sometimes in order to get ahead in your tech career, you need to be willing to tell others about your successes. In the offline world, this might be construed as bragging or boasting. However, in the world of social media, this is simply par for the course. If you are unwilling to mention your big projects and your stellar achievements, you will be invisible to recruiters and potential hiring managers. If broadcasting your achievements is not quite your style, you can also consider finding creative ways to stand out on social networks like LinkedIn, such as by becoming an influencer, evangelist or thought leader.
While CIOs are the traditional guardians of enterprise technology, they are less likely than other top executives to market their knowledge, skills and experience to others within an organization. That is somewhat surprising, since IT leaders have significant experience when it comes to leadership, strategy, governance, innovation and digital initiatives. At a time when transformation is the goal of businesses, CIOs should be the most influential of all executives. Yet, other senior leaders are fighting to hold sway over digital initiatives. This shift in the balance of power is a big issue for CIOs. While the days of operationally-focused IT directors might be numbered, there is still a preponderance of IT professionals who are not used to working across other lines of business.
You Will Need 6 Important Skills to Succeed as a Leader in the Age of Machines
Inc.com, April 19
According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2018 report, the biggest challenge facing industry leaders worldwide is developing, attracting, and retaining leaders who can help them remain competitive as digital disruption continues to transform the workplace. With technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence projected to affect two billion jobs over the next decade, organizations that have identified and developed digitally-savvy leaders are in a great place to significantly outperform their less digitally capable counterparts. According to the report, developing digitally savvy leaders should focus on six primary competency areas.
Digitally savvy leaders sense what is and is not possible and, more important, sense what will be possible. They look to standardize and automate processes to generate new insights they can leverage for differentiated capabilities. Digitally savvy leaders embrace digital disruption by anticipating and adapting to constant change because if they do not, they know they will fall behind. They actively manage their own growth and development and are more likely to take on stretch assignments to build new skills. They are also more likely to provide input to grow the business and seek it from others to grow themselves. Digitally savvy leaders not only anticipate change, but they possess the ability to successfully execute by turning new ideas into reality.
How To Get a Career in Tech Without a Technical Degree
Forbes, April 13
Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to have a degree in computer science, math or other STEM fields to get a job at a tech company. Skills such as research, study design and clear writing, which are cultivated while pursuing degrees such as philosophy, communication and English are invaluable to tech jobs, especially in user experience. There are four steps that stand out as essential to landing a career in tech. The most important step is to demonstrate both the unique skills and experiences that come with a non-tech degree using language that speaks to the business needs of the tech company. Job candidates should become familiar with the phrases used in job postings of their desired jobs and then express their skills and accomplishments using that language on their resume.
In order to attract the attention of recruiters, you will want to continue to hone skills in valuable non-tech fields. Many jobs in UX at tech companies do not require knowledge of coding or statistics. For example, qualitative UX researchers typically have a strong mastery of interview abilities, ethnographic experience and presentation ability, while visual designers are typically creative and strong communicators who are knowledgeable in typography and color theory. These careers lend themselves to individuals with degrees in anthropology, psychology, sociology, communication, English, art and other related fields. Job candidates should narrow down the job function they are most interested in and then research the capabilities most sought after in that field. The first step of the process is usually scanning job postings to identify commonly mentioned responsibilities and proficiencies.
Cybersecurity Engineering: A New Academic Discipline
VentureBeat.com, April 15
With 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs expected to open by 2021, employers will continue to seek out prospective job candidates from technical schools and undergraduate programs. This may satisfy the immediate need well enough, but it does not address the demand for cybersecurity professionals with advanced degrees, which is becoming even more acute. To encourage students to pursue the next level of education, academic institutions must demonstrate that there is a clear path to better opportunities in terms of professional career advancement, including compensation, when entering the workforce with an advanced degree. Because of this challenge, universities must take a step back and listen to what industry needs before developing their cybersecurity programs. By focusing on the skills and experience cybersecurity departments are lacking, universities can develop curricula that prepare graduates to meet the needs of employers.
In order to create a new foundation for cybersecurity engineering programs, administrators and faculty must provide the educational environment to foster interest from undergraduate students earlier in their course of study. They must also find creative ways to recruit faculty with expertise in cybersecurity, improve cybersecurity laboratory capabilities, and establish talent pipelines to corporate and government organizations that offer positions for high-quality cybersecurity talent. To hire and foster new faculty, institutions need to offer meaningful cybersecurity research opportunities that enable them to test new theories and solve real-world problems. Another draw for faculty is a student body truly interested in their field of study. To drive this interest, cybersecurity engineering must be integrated at the undergraduate engineering level, particularly in programs that deal directly with coursework like computer science.
Integrating CS to Improve Scores in Math, Science, and English Language Arts
Blog @ CACM, April 17
Integrating computer science into the K-12 curriculum can have significant positive effects for overall student learning in math, science and English language arts. Most recently, Code.org conducted research with young students in Florida and found that students who did extra Code.org CS Fundamentals activities had significantly higher scores on the Achieve3000 reading comprehension exam. They also scored significantly higher on Florida State Math, Science, and English Language Arts Exams.
The study involved the development of new Code.org curricula that makes explicit ties to other disciplines. The strategy embraced in this case was to embed Code.org lessons into every aspect of the curriculum, especially basic literacy. Code.org lessons were also connected with problem-based themes in disciplines such as science. The results are so impressive that it is worth pursuing additional analysis. Clearly one group did better than the other, but what were the mechanisms? The teachers in the treatment and control groups were randomly selected, but that does not mean that their students were comparable. Researchers need to understand if the results were just about refreshing a tired old curriculum, or whether it was about deep CS integration. Obviously, the results are more profound if they are the result of deep CS integration into the curriculum.
Implementing Blended Learning the Right Way
eLearn Magazine, March 2018
The Blended Course Design Workbook fills a gap in the current literature on blended learning that has been a high need area for many years. Author Kathryn E. Linder has written a book that very clearly provides the path to proper implementation and design of blended learning. This practical guide was written for higher education implementation. However, its step-by-step approach can serve equally well at any grade level. The workbook provides explicit directions on creating a blended program with both justification and examples. The checklists can serve as a step-by-step guide to building a highly-effective blended program.
The Blended Course Design Workbook starts off with an introduction to course development within the paradigm of backward design, where the curriculum designer begins with standards then creates the assessment followed by the supporting educational material and learning activities. This is in contrast to typical attempts at justifying the value and need for blended learning before jumping straight to the technology and tools for blending. Particularly important here is an explanation of how blended learning opens the doors to student ownership of their own learning. The author goes on to lay out the fundamentals of course development with both descriptions and exemplars of writing course goals.
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