ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, July 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 careernews@hq.acm.org

Volume 14, Issue 14, July 24, 2018


Want a Career in 2025? Here is What You Need to Know
Silicon Republic, July 9

If you want a successful career in 2025, you need to understand how trends like automation are going to change the future of work. To be able to compete in the future job market, workers will need to upskill and reskill. Within the technology industry, jobs like data scientist, software developer, systems analyst and data analyst are likely to remain important, but will also change and evolve according to new technology trends. Roles will include managing robots, automation and AI, along with diverse teams from around the world. Skills will include the ability to match human solutions with technology solutions, and to seamlessly move between excelling with technology and inspiring people in the workplace.

If you want to ensure a successful career in 2025, you need only look at the trends of human behavior and focus on what people will always want: food, housing, entertainment and anything to do with health and wellbeing. Next, focus on continually upskilling and reskilling to meet the fast changes impacting the future of work. For those who want to upskill and reskill right now, the skills that need to be developed include the ability to link data with critical thinking, as well as the ability to think with real-time creativity in everyday work scenarios. You also need to be able to communicate with increasingly diverse teams of varying cultures, personalities and locations. Finally, you need the ability to bridge diverse opinions into a collective solution, inspire and lead change, and link the right technology solution to the right business challenge.

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The Sooner You Get Your First AI Job, the Better for Your Career
Entrepreneur.com, July 11

Now is the ideal time for young people to build the knowledge, skill sets and connections they need to capitalize on the fast growing market for AI jobs. Gartner predicts that AI may eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020, yet is on track to create 2.3 million new positions. It clearly makes sense to map out an AI career path as new roles emerge that focus on problem solving, collaboration and strategic decision-making. AI offers a truly exciting opportunity to make an impact on our world. AI is an ideal career path for undergraduates and recent graduates with a passion for technology and an entrepreneurial spirit who relish a challenge and a front-line role in innovation.

The initial step in landing your first AI job is to simply narrow down your key interests and strengths. AI offers technological roles in data science, machine learning development and architecting an AI technology stack. And it offers plenty of positions as a user or analyst with AI software, or in sales and marketing, HR, customer support and more. Company type is another important consideration, as B2B and B2C can be distinctly different work environments. Candidates should also target industries they gravitate toward, be it technology, manufacturing, retail, higher education, services or others. To narrow down interests, hands-on research and learning is available through avenues such as AI and data science courses.

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Many Technology Company Job Openings Do Not Require Tech Skills
CBS News, July 20

As tech startups of the past have matured into giant companies, their hiring base has diversified, according to a survey of tech company job openings done by the employment website Glassdoor. Glassdoor looked at tech companies with at least 100 job postings on its website and categorized the openings as either technical or non-technical. While 57% of open jobs at tech companies were for technical positions, about 43% of open jobs in the tech industry did not require a technical background, the survey found. That is good news for non-technical workers as tech companies are often among the most represented on Best Places to Work rankings and can offer unique perks.

When we think of employees at tech companies, what usually comes to mind are software engineers and data scientists, people with technical skills such as coding and machine learning. However, tech companies are not solely hiring for tech roles. In the current job market, you no longer have to be a tech worker to work in tech. While many companies such as Microsoft, Intel, and Amazon are still looking primarily for technical workers, other tech companies such as Verizon, IBM and Facebook are looking for non-technical workers for nearly half of their openings. Account executive and program managers are among the most sought after non-technical jobs as well as sales, management, and marketing positions.

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Moving Beyond LinkedIn: A Better Strategy for Switching Careers
Knowledge @ Wharton, July 19

Finding a new job within your chosen field can be daunting, but changing careers entirely presents an even bigger challenge. How do you get your foot in the door if you do not have experience? In her new book, career coach, former recruiter and psychologist Dawn Graham suggests that the many obstacles along the path to a job change are not insurmountable. As Graham notes, the career switch is getting to be much more of the norm versus staying. If you are in a job for eight to 10 years, companies start to wonder if you are very agile. As a result, the average tenure at a company for workers is now just over four years, and the job market has shifted accordingly.

Obviously, not being happy in a particular job is a big part of the decision to change jobs. But it also could be a personal desire to try something fresh, or to go down a different path. With the gig economy, portfolio careers and side hustles, there are many new opportunities. The world is so much more connected now with everybody on social media and the Internet. There is so much more opportunity today that we no longer have to settle. And that raises the question of whether or not people need to go back to school if they intend to change careers. People who are not happy with what they are doing may go back and get a graduate degree thinking it will lead to this big change. But what you do not realize is that you still have that difficult job search on the end of those two years and that degree. Unless the program you are going to is very applied or has internships or ways for you to get real-life experience, an advanced degree might not open the doors that you think it will.

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8 Things They Do Not Teach You in Project Management School
Information Week, July 9

There are eight different tactics and strategies that make good project managers great, and all of them can be easily learned or applied by up-and-coming project managers in the IT space. One of the most important skills is simply the ability to get star performers to make your project a priority, even when others within your organization are also competing for their services. Another key skill is learning when and how to pull the plug on a failing project. If great project managers see a project start to fail, they immediately inform upper management. They keep management in the communications loop, and they have a Plan B ready to roll out if and when the project fails.

One important skill for any project manager is the ability to make adjustments to a project in order to ensure that it goes really well. Even if you are getting status reports from your staff, which tell you everything in the project is on schedule, you might have an instinctive feeling that tells you something is wrong. Great project managers listen to that sixth sense. As soon as they sense something is wrong, they get out from behind their desks and into the trenches. Great project managers also make sure that their projects maintain enthusiastic levels of user support and participation. If they see that support start to wane, they act. They take action by getting in touch with the initial C-level project sponsors and by asking them if they still want the project or if priorities have changed.

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The Evolving Cybersecurity Career Pathway
Security Intelligence, July 3

The IT sector is facing a growing talent gap when it comes to cybersecurity professionals. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to widen the funnel and encourage security education. To address the growing cybersecurity skills gap, companies are changing the way they assess and recruit potential hires. The biggest shift here involves organizations that are recruiting candidates that may lack traditional college degrees but possess the necessary skills to work in cybersecurity. If prospective candidates are driven to explore, adept at solving problems, ready to learn and willing to work with others, they have already laid the groundwork to leap into cybersecurity.

Given the emergence of new cybersecurity training programs, there is more opportunity than ever for motivated employees to launch careers in the field. In some cases, candidates can largely design their own careers, as long as they are focused on ways to reduce security vulnerabilities and improve overall network security. That being said, the cybersecurity career pathway can be lonely at times. Unlike other professions that have well-defined certification processes, job descriptions and skills requirements, IT security is constantly changing. This forces experts to cope with minimal C-suite support and without comprehensive training.

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How to Get a Job When You Are Overqualified
Fast Company, July 13

If you have years of experience under your belt and the skill set and experience to get many jobs, many hiring managers may think that you are overqualified. Hiring managers tend to overlook candidates with too much experience. Often they are worried that applicants will jump ship as soon as something comes along that they are better suited for, or that they will expect a salary that is greater than their budget. When reviewing resumes of individuals who seem to have already put in their dues, employers may be skeptical of why they want to take a step back. While there are many good arguments around not hiring someone too qualified for the position, that does not mean you cannot still land that job.

In order to get past the perception that you are overqualified, you need to clarify why you want the job. Are you looking for greater work-life balance or a less stressful and less time-consuming job than your existing role? Are you entering a new industry and feel the need to start in an entry-level position? Or are you simply looking to move away from your current company, regardless of whether it’s an upward, lateral, or downward move? Understanding your own motives is the first step to landing the gig. Then, focus on what the job is bringing you. Hiring managers want to know that the job is a good fit for you. The last thing you want them thinking is that it does not make sense why you are applying. Tell the hiring manager what aspects of the job are appealing to you and show how the position fits into your career goals.

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Three Things To Consider When Making A Late Career Transition
Forbes, July 16

If you are considering a late career transition, it is important to seek advice from others. Everyone can use career advice, and it is not a weakness to ask for it. No matter how intelligent, seasoned and experienced you are, you are better off if you can bounce ideas off someone else, even if it is just your family members. You have many people in your life who could help you make a smart decision about your career. And chances are, the people you talk to will understand how you feel. And you are not alone in thinking about a career switch: many mid-career professionals struggle with whether to stay in a position.

Many people change careers, including middle-aged and older employees on the brink of retirement. You can do whatever you want with your career, no matter how old you think you are. In the last several years, media outlets have reported a trend in older Americans switching careers later in life. In fact, in a recent report on retirement, the RAND Corporation found that many Americans retire then either go back into a new career or start up a new business. The report called retirement a fluid concept, noting that significant numbers of older people move in and out of the workforce. Retirement is not necessarily permanent. So you should not feel as if you are unable to leave a position late in life. In fact, many older Americans end up consulting in their industry, sometimes for the company that they were previously employed with.

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Better Assessment
eLearn Magazine, July 2018

Assessment is all about tracking performance. While assessment might seem rather established, there are actually several contentious issues surrounding it. How is it possible, for example, to evaluate two different students fairly? In general, both students and faculty want less assessment, or at least, assessment that is easier to track and monitor. Yet, learning requires tracking how well people are doing at any point in time. The best answer appears to be a new concept called meaningful assessment, which could be the key to restoring rigor, motivating students, and saving faculty time.

There are several problems regarding assessment that still need to be solved. For example, teachers want more auto-marked assessments, as well as access to publisher-produced question banks, primarily so that assessment becomes easier for them. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, standards have fallen and pressure is on to give high marks to students (who are now treated like customers). Starting from the point of having rigorous outcomes, it is important to talk about creating specifications of what learners should be able to do as a consequence of a class. Then, it is necessary to create assessments that demonstrate those outcomes. This is very much a competency-based approach, and that can be very effective.

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Algorithms Have Been Around for 4,000 Years
Blog @ CACM, July 13

A basic concept of computer science is the algorithm, and these algorithms have been around for thousands of years. For example, the first known written algorithms were created around 2000 BC in Mesopotamia. Of course, algorithms from ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt are very different from the ones used to power modern computers, but the basic principles are the same. Taking a big picture view, an algorithm can be described as instructions for solving a task; a method for solving a problem; a calculation rule, or, more precisely, a finite sequence of unique, executable instructions.

As a result of taking this big picture view of algorithms, it is possible to argue that digitization and artificial intelligence are nothing fundamentally new. Artificial intelligence is over 100 years old. For a long time, chess programs were an embodiment of machine intelligence. Even the ancient abacus was digital. Throughout history, several stages of digitization can be distinguished. In the 17th century, leading scientists invented mechanical calculating machines. At the end of the 19th century, the first punched card machines appeared. In the 1940s and 1950s, relay and tube machines were introduced to the market. And, later, transistor computers appeared. For a long time, there was competition between electronic analog and digital computers.

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