ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, May 8, 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 9, May 8, 2018


Top 10 Jobs For the Next Decade Include Robot Mechanic and Blockchain Developer
MarketWatch.com, April 26

Given the rapid pace of technological change, there are 10 futuristic-sounding jobs that could become reality by the 2020s. For example, given the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI), it is highly likely that new positions will be created that focus on this emerging field. As artificial intelligence proliferates and enters many segments of society, it will be recognized for what it really is: a useful tool. Just like any other tool, though, it will need someone to sell it to businesses and individuals. These individuals will need to be knowledgeable about the latest advancements in AI development, and capable of explaining the benefits and effects of using their product.

Cloud computing continues to be an area of job growth, and could lead to new titles such as digital logistics manger. In order to provide effortless access to data and information, data centers need to be optimized and consistently updated and monitored. This is the job for the digital logistics manager. They will make sure that cloud computing systems perform data processing at the edge of the network, nearest the source of the data. Another up and coming role to watch is that of the IT facilitator. This person not only knows the ins and outs of both hardware and software, but also is also capable of connecting them into one system that can provide help to the entire organization via an automated-service platform and a set of specialized virtual assistants. These automated help centers would not only answer questions about the use of software, but they would also help users with updating, upgrading and installing new tools. This would reduce the time and expenses needed for employees to learn how to use software. The IT facilitator would also make sure the entire platform is safe and compliant with other companies’ protocols.

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Career Wisdom For Beginning Cybersecurity Professionals
Tech Republic, April 20

Working in the cybersecurity field is about more than just protecting systems and networks. It requires a strategic perspective, lots of planning and building a comprehensive roadmap of priorities and goals for the future. Technology continues to evolve and so the ways in which it can be put at risk evolve as well, necessitating a constant pace of career development. Book learning and technical training are essential elements for any IT-related profession, but some additional skills are essential to build due to the high level of complexity and ever-changing requirements behind a cybersecurity career.

Tech skills, obviously, play an important role on any LinkedIn profile. While CTOs are not expected to act as coders, companies do want them to have a strong technical background demonstrated on their resume. Agile, JavaScript, and machine learning are the top three skills employers look for in the CTO job title, according to data from Indeed. Other top skills include Amazon Web Services, Java, .NET, big data, project management, and artificial intelligence. To showcase thought leadership, CTOs should share media interviews or speaking engagements on their LinkedIn profile. It is best if these are on the topics of scaling, solving problems, disruption, innovation, building and leading teams. Those seeking speakers for industry conferences and events look to LinkedIn to find them, so having an updated profile with all press or thought leadership is important for building your own brand that way.

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AI Might Take Your Job But It Could Save Your Career
The Globe and Mail, April 26

As AI technology changes the way we work, it has the potential to cause difficult transitions. But society has been through these transitions before and has generally been able to leverage technological advances to transform jobs for the better. This time is no different, with one exception: We will use the same technology that brought the change to help us navigate it. Deploying AI to solve problems created by automation seems counterintuitive, but it is the kind of problem AI was built for. Its first challenge, for example, is helping people identify in-demand skills.

Where AI is truly game changing is in its ability to process massive amounts of data and complex sets of economic variables at a scale we have never before been able to do. The challenge is knowing what to do with the results. In Toronto, for example, Google is helping to develop the Employment Pathway Platform (EPP), an AI-powered tool that will put the power of big data and machine learning to work for job seekers. The platform will use algorithms to analyze skills and experiences, and couple them with expected shifts in technology adoption and predicted growth sectors. With EPP, it will be possible to identify potentially suitable jobs, connecting the dots between the skills job seekers have and those they will need, and identifying pathways between the two.

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These Ten Jobs Are a Taste of the Future
Computer Business Review, April 25

Over the next ten to 15 years, there are 21 completely new jobs that could rise to prominence, everything from augmented reality (AR) journey builder to AI-assisted health technician. While these jobs will build on top of existing technologies, such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, they will also evolve according to the needs of humans, not machines. No matter how technologically advanced the world becomes, people will want the human touch and many of the jobs of the future are the jobs of today, just enhanced. No matter the discipline, market or technology, all jobs will be defined by human elements such as coaching, caring, and connecting.

Augmented reality journey builder is a new type of technology professional. AR journey builders will help design, write, create, calibrate, gamify, build and personalize the next generation of stories for trips in augmented reality. Data detective is another role that may become popular. A data detective will investigate the mysteries of big data generated by a whole host of technologies including the Internet of Things, sensors, biometric monitors and devices. Personal memory curators will remake and architect past experiences to reduce the stress or anxiety that simple memory loss creates in the elderly. They will consult with patients and stakeholders to create virtual reality experiences, built using realistic images, sounds and other sensations, to bring a particular time, place or event to life.

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8 Reasons Career Fairs Are Helpful for Older Job Seekers
U.S. News and World Report, April 6

For older job seekers., one often overlooked way to find a new job is the career fair. While many of these events do focus on the recruitment of entry-level talent, there are some that are especially helpful for older job seekers who know how to use them properly. For example, job fairs offer an excellent opportunity to meet hiring managers and recruiters at scale to assist with networking efforts. By walking the aisles of a good job fair, the job seeker can speak with 40 or 50 companies and find a set of hiring managers worthy of follow-up conversations.

Most importantly, job fairs can provide access to otherwise inaccessible company representatives. These days, voicemail, gatekeepers and applicant tracking systems keep job candidates from gaining access to real-world humans. At a job fair, however, company personnel are open and accessible. You can obtain a business card, maybe a cellphone number and get a few questions answered. A job fair is also a chance to practice and refine your elevator pitch to see what resonates. Emphasize one factor here and another one there and see what works best. By attending a job fair in your area, you will encounter people, both seekers and employers whom you may have forgotten that you know. These people might spark an idea or another relationship that can help move your search forward. With hundreds of people in a room to encounter, the possibilities are endless.

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The Secrets To Beating an Applicant Tracking System
CIO.com, April 17

Job hunters should know that nearly 40 percent of employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to screen candidates for their job openings. Applicant tracking systems are aimed at saving employers time by dividing strong candidates from the weak. But the problem is that the way in which your resume is written, not the information it conveys, is what the technology actually uses to make decisions. As a result, most companies have thousands of resumes sitting in a database that they have never looked at. In fact, a real person never sees up to 75 percent of all resumes.

If a job offer is posted via a job board, bots will likely scan your resume before it reaches an actual human being. Hit apply, and an applicant tracking system scans your resume for terms that match those used in the job description. If your resume mentions the name of the specific job title under review, the system will pass your application on to a real person. Of course, not all systems are so rigid. Some ATS programs are better equipped to take synonyms into account. But the problem is that older, exact-match systems are still in use. Moreover, applicant tracking systems are by no means fail-safe. In fact, 62% of companies using applicant tracking systems admit some qualified candidates are likely being automatically filtered out of the vetting process by mistake.

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Coding Bootcamps Cross the Chasm
EdSurge.com, March 30

One way to understand the current popularity of coding bootcamps is by understanding them in terms of the famous Gartner Hype Cycle. This Hype Cycle predicts that after a rocky period of disillusionment, an industry and its customer base reach a new equilibrium of expectations where both sides better understand what a product can and cannot do. After a peak period that touted coding bootcamps as the savior of the American economy, expectations have come into better focus: coding bootcamps can deliver improved outcomes for students, but they must grapple with realities.

Coding bootcamps are not a one-size-fits-all solution to education, and their intense learning environments can be challenging for students used to a more traditionally paced curriculum. Moreover, the ability to get a future job placement is the dominant priority of students during school selection. The Gartner Hype Cycle predicts that before an innovation hits the Plateau of Productivity, supplier consolidation and failure occurs because there is too little adoption growth to sustain so many similar products. That is what we saw towards the end of 2017, as many of the first-wave bootcamps that started between 2011 and 2013 have been acquired or are in the process of being acquired. There are smaller high-quality contenders in many markets, but it is unlikely they will see the growth and funding opportunities that attended early entrants.

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Compensation Planning and a Clear Guide to Retaining Talent
IT News, April 26

The best way to ensure your company is paying competitive rates to your IT employees is to build a compensation plan that reflects the true value of your employees. Savvy companies know a well-structured compensation plan can help attract and retain elite talent, especially in fast-paced industries such as technology. In a lot of cities that are technology hubs, top employees are constantly getting offers to move to other companies at a higher salary. Thus, a good compensation plan can help you evaluate the market, see the value of jobs, and continue to pay those fairly so you can keep your talent.

The IT demand landscape can change drastically, making it hard for companies to keep up with market wages. For example, a firm might bring someone in at a competitive rate, such as hiring a software engineer for $100,000. This person receives a 3% increase each year for three years. But over that time, the market has moved more quickly, and the skills and experience that are hot have changed. So, the market now is able to support software engineers that command $130,000 for the same role. Once this is known, resentment and disengagement can fester, sending talent in search of a larger paycheck. That can be very bad news in a tight IT talent market. As a result, you need to be keeping up with market rates so you can proactively deliver something that will keep them happy, engaged and productive. That does not have to mean shelling out salary increases every year, since it may be enough to initiate transparent conversations with valued employees about what they currently make, what the company can afford, and how you can meet in the middle.

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The Era of Hackers Is Over
Blog @ CACM, April 23

During the 1970s, when Microsoft and Apple were founded, programming was an art only a limited group of dedicated enthusiasts actually knew how to perform properly. As a result, being able to hack both software and the hardware was a virtue for a long time. However, the world of computer programming has changed dramatically in the last decade. First of all, the cost of computing power gets cheaper every year. The same is true for hard drives, monitors, CPUs, and all other hardware resources. In addition, the majority of software is available for free now along with its source code, including operating systems, graphic processors, compilers, editors, frameworks and cryptography tools. Programmers do not need to write much code anymore; all they need to do in most cases is combine together already available components.

Despite an increasing population of programmers in the world, the field is still facing an overall talent deficit. In some European countries, the demand for highly-skilled IT personnel is twice as high as their market supply of talent. Moreover, programmers now work remotely instead of in offices or cubicles. Thanks to the growth of high-speed Internet, conferencing software like Zoom and Skype, messaging tools like Slack and Telegram, and distributed repository managers like GitHub and Bitbucket, along with many other innovations, remote work has become more comfortable than the alternative of working in the traditional office setting.

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12 Steps Toward Immersive Learning
eLearn Magazine, April 2018

Immersive learning holds enormous promise, primarily due to its ability to enhance the acquisition of new knowledge and improve its transfer. The good news is that this promise is also backed up by research, which suggests that immersive learning facilitates exploration and experimental problem-solving. Immersion promises learners new access to experience. Learners can visit worlds that were once forbidden: worlds too remote, too costly, too dangerous, or too consequential. They can step right into a hypothetical situation, perhaps one that would only encounter a few times in the course of an entire career.

The potential of new technologies to create immersive learning experiences is not new. However, VR introduces an entirely new form of immersion. The important thing to keep in mind is that different technologies offer different levels of VR. We can consider a spectrum that ranges from the classic stereoscopic viewer to a stadium-scale multiplayer VR experience. At each level, immersion is deeper, as more senses are more deeply engaged and the learner becomes more of a participant. Each level demands its own immersive learning strategy. We can best study this spectrum by deconstructing the individual features that each contribute to the sense of immersion.

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