ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 7, 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 15, August 7, 2018
Companies are in a war for IT talent and are looking to find educated people who are eager to work and ready to bring new energy. Job openings are at a two-decade high, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that is good news for new graduates in 2018. Anecdotally, companies continue to lament about how difficult it is to fill positions for highly skilled workers. All of the current conditions bode well for new graduates, and the options for jobs are at an all-time high. The demand is global, which means you could have the opportunity to live and work in a new country as well as gain valuable experience and knowledge to set you up for a long-term successful future.
For new graduates, the key is to think beyond the degree and look into the future. The job you take as soon as you graduate is only the beginning of your future trajectory. New grads also need to look at education as a lifelong journey that does not end with graduating with a degree. Now is a very promising time to graduate into a great job market and you want to prepare for potential shifts in the market. Think of the skills you gather now as paving the way for possibilities that you cannot even know about yet. By the year 2025, there will be jobs that have not even been created yet and, as a lifelong learner, you have the opportunity to be ready to maximize your skills now so that you can be ready for those new jobs as they are created.
Bootcamps have emerged as a popular way to quickly gain marketable skills that IT organizations are looking for during the hiring process. The ongoing IT talent shortage in certain disciplines has seen a rise in bootcamps aimed at skills such as coding and data science. According to data from Indeed, 72% of employers think bootcamp grads are just as prepared to be high performers as degree holders, while 12% think they are more prepared and more likely to be high performers. The same survey found that 80% of respondents went on to hire a bootcamp graduate and 99.8% said they would hire someone with bootcamp experience again. Indeed has also found that since 2010 the number of job seekers with bootcamp experience has doubled year-over-year on the site.
Bootcamps are typically short, lasting anywhere from a week to a few months, depending on the structure of the course. This makes bootcamps not only affordable when compared with degree programs, but also easier to fit into busy schedules for working professionals. The cost can feel hefty up front, but for many, it is much more reasonable than going back to a university for an advanced degree. Plus, you will only be away from a paying job for several months rather than several years. Not everyone has the budget or time to go back for a four-year degree and some companies do not have four years to wait for a candidate to graduate with the right skills. Bootcamps offer an alternative for workers and businesses in which an employee can shift their career through a bootcamp and organizations can send employees to bootcamps to get qualified workers up to speed on new skills.
Developers are among the most highly sought-after tech professionals in the workforce, with increased demand and talent shortages leading to large salaries for many of those in the field. That said, software development is a dynamic field, in which new programming languages, frameworks, and technologies may emerge and fade away within a few years, and job needs are constantly shifting. With that in mind, it is important to consider the various factors that impact the ability to launch a career within the software developer field.
Demand has increased for developers because every company has become a tech company to some degree, with digital transformation projects underway in most industries to stave off disruption. This means that demand for developer talent has skyrocketed in recent years, as companies seek people who can bring digital projects and applications to life. Front-end developers, full stack developers, mobile developers, and back-end developers are among the top 10 hardest to fill tech jobs, according to data from Indeed. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that software developer jobs will grow 24% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average rate of other professions. Application developer jobs are projected to grow 31% in that time, and systems developers are forecast to grow 11%.
Become More Resilient for Greater Career Security
U.S. News & World Report, July 27
There are several trends that are forcing companies, employees and educational institutions to re-evaluate the status quo and reconsider what employees need to be prepared for this new economy. A college degree is a great foundation, but no longer a strict requirement. A degree provides a foundation of knowledge you will use to springboard to new challenges and opportunities, often in very different fields. In fact, according to a recent study, almost one-third of Americans age 25 to 44 have completely changed fields since their first job after college. The good news is that new solutions such as on-demand learning, micro learning and certificate programs are all designed to deliver knowledge in ways that are more appealing and take less time to complete.
According to economists and career experts, workers should expect to change jobs more frequently. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workplace stability is difficult to achieve. The median tenure for U.S. workers in 2016 was 4.2 years. which is lower less than in previous years. Part of what is happening is a change in how employees view their relationship with their employer. There is no longer a guaranteed lifetime employment contract. Rather than waiting for their employers to take care of them, employees are leaving. The economy has helped make that easier. Recent departures have been spurred on by an uptick in the number of jobs available and the desire for greater salaries. Other departures are the result of workers looking to make lifestyle changes, and they can only find that balance with a new employer.
How You Can Bridge the IT Training Gap
Information Week, August 1
More companies are seeking qualified IT professionals, but the supply of applicants and effective training options for both new hires and existing staff members are limited. The 2018 State of IT Training Report, recently released by New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, finds that few IT decision-makers believe that sufficient training exists in their organization, exposing a gap between the need for IT training and the quality of training that is available. According to the report, just 11% of respondents believe that their requirements and the training available are very aligned. Additionally, only 12% believe that their current IT training strategy is effective.
Many organizations approach IT training without thinking about what it means to unlock new skills that drive a company and its IT strategy forward. Training comes in many flavors and it is important to be open to untraditional ways to move your IT organization along the maturity curve. The best way for an organization to improve and increase learning adoption is through gamification (the use of game design techniques in training) and rewarding people who demonstrate the ability to learn. Once people get a taste of the benefits and recognition that learning provides, it becomes much easier. Organizations must ensure they are creating opportunities for staff to get to know the business beyond just their department. During the onboarding process, for example, new hires can spend two weeks shadowing every department, regardless of their level and years of experience.
Software Developers: Here Is What Tech Employers Are Looking For In 2018
Technical.ly, July 31
In terms of what employers are looking for in software developers, Java reigns supreme among specific programming-language skills, with Python closing in on the No. 2 spot. However, when it comes to hiring developers, CEOs and tech executives are expecting an expanded range of skills and experiences beyond just programming. The skill set of the ideal candidate, for example, will include communication skills and a commitment to ongoing learning opportunities.
Aside from specific programming language experience, many tech employers now look for developers who are also good communicators. Communication and organization skills are essential as is a strong sense of learning and sharing. Moreover, developers must demonstrate that they know more than just the syntax of a language. For example, knowing Java is great but becoming an Android developer takes learning a platform and a lot of nuances. These nuances are learned through experience and passion. Sometimes it is this soft skill, passion, which can outweigh the experience. The best job candidates should also have a desire for learning. What employers are looking for is the ability to learn and get up to speed quickly.
Why Companies Will Need To Create An AI Culture To Achieve Success
Forbes.com, August 3
Amidst the great debate over whether artificial intelligence (AI) will replace human jobs, there has been little discussion of how it will transform corporate cultures in new and unprecedented ways. In the era of automation, the most successful businesses will be those that redesign their working environment and workforce around harnessing the cognitive capabilities of machines in the same way that industry was once redesigned around harnessing the physical capabilities of steam and mechanization. AI will demand a radical culture shift because it alters the relationship between machines and humans, changing machines from passive receivers of commands into informed, sentient collaborators. In doing so, it will also transform the skills that organizations seek to find and foster in human workers.
Fundamentally, AI will require human workspaces to be built around powering processes, products and services with data in the same way the Machine Age saw society reconfigured around powering machines with electricity. Even technology giants will lose out in the modern data economy if they do not understand the need to build an AI culture. As data becomes the oil of the 21st century, every future company will either be an AI company or be overtaken by AI companies. The resulting imperative to create AI-friendly business practices will transform human roles and corporate cultures in myriad ways.
The 5-Hour Rule Used by Successful Tech Leaders
Entrepreneur.com, July 31
If you would like to become more successful in your career, try looking for ways to spend your free time learning rather than just relaxing. During his five-year study of more than 200 self-made millionaires, Thomas Corley found that an impressive 86% claimed they read in order to learn more about the world around them. Moreover, 63% indicated they listened to audio books during their morning commute. The average millionaire is said to read two or more books per month. As a result, everyone should read blogs, news sites, fiction and non-fiction during downtime in order to soak in more knowledge. If you are frequently on the go, listen to audio books or podcasts. It is a tactic used by successful leaders within the tech sector.
The five-hour rule is a simple concept: no matter how busy successful people are, they always set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that can be classified as deliberate practice or learning. This is a practice that can be traced all the way back to Ben Franklin, who pioneered the idea of deliberate learning. The successful leaders of today have embraced this five-hour rule by breaking the rule into three buckets: reading, reflecting and thinking, and experimenting. When you make learning a habit, you will be more successful and productive in life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure you are growing yourself and your company every day.
The Secret Formula For Choosing the Right Next Role
ACM Queue, July 23
Changing jobs, especially the higher up you get in your career, is a complex process. There are so many factors to consider, and often the factors that stand out most are the ones that matter the least: great titles, exciting projects, tempting promises of future success. But those factors that seem so valuable in the moment are just momentary. Your career is not just about this one next step you are taking. Your career is a journey that will last a long time. It is smarter to invest in your long-term success. Focus on factors that will increase your career capital and make you a more valuable hire in your next role.
A title looks good on a resume, and might pump up your ego a little bit, but making your job title a serious factor in your job search is a big mistake. Your title is so much less important than the work you do and the skills you develop while in a role. Those hiring you for your next role will know that. They might see that you were a VP in your last job, but if you do not have any results or skills to show for it, you will not stand out among the many other candidates who were also VPs in their last jobs. If you want to be truly successful, then your career path should be about acquiring skills and accomplishments, not just upgrading to shinier and fancier titles.
Moving Computing Education Past Argument from Authority
Blog @ CACM, July 30
The debate continues to grow over why there are not more women in computer science careers. According to one point of view, women are simply never going to enter computing in significant numbers, and a 20% participation rate is about all that we are ever going to get. Making further progress in attracting women to computer science beyond that point will be difficult. In short, having 20% women in tech is probably the best we are likely to achieve, rather than full gender parity. The article takes a closer look at this argument, putting it into the context of some universities and some countries where CS is more than 50% female.
The appeal to authority has sway in CS education, and that sometimes comes at the expense of data or evidence. And, unfortunately, that also impacts why some students succeed and some fail at CS. Based on experience, the educators with authority might claim that there is a mode of thinking that is particular to computer science (CS) and that some students have a greater aptitude than others. But is that necessarily the case? It is time to move beyond an appeal to authority. Science is how we learned to respond to appeals to authority. We use evidence rather than our gut or the experience of people who have been around for a long time.
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