ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 21, 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 16, August 21, 2018


The Most Popular Entry-Level Tech Jobs In the U.S.
VentureBeat.com, August 16

According to job site Indeed.com, the five most popular entry-level tech jobs in the U.S. are junior Java developer, computer-aided engineering (CAE) engineer, junior product designer, junior data analyst, and junior software engineer. The class of 2018 is entering the workforce at an interesting and exciting time. Unemployment in the country is at its lowest rate in years, and new technology is disrupting multiple industries. As a result, entry-level job seekers are embarking on careers that in many cases will prove both rewarding and surprising, as new pathways open up and old ones take on different forms.

The top overall jobs from all industries are also in engineering. The top overall jobs include junior mechanical engineer, junior Java developer, CAE engineer, industrial engineer, and junior product designer. And 9 of the 15 most popular entry-level jobs are technical, including a number of both computer jobs and engineering-related jobs. Interestingly, a more traditional technical job occupies the No. 1 spot: junior mechanical engineer. An entry-level mechanical engineer makes on average $57,822.

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Why the Best Places to Find a Job Are Not Where You Think
Inc.com, August 15

Tech companies in California and New York may seem like an obvious choice to find a new IT jobs, as both states are known for their talent pools. However, exploring options outside those hubs could be more strategic and lucrative. States like Texas, Illinois, and Georgia are seeing a boost in hiring. In terms of the fastest-growing private companies in America, Southern and Midwestern states added thousands of jobs to the workforce between 2014 and 2017. These trends are illustrative of what the fastest-moving private companies in the U.S. are doing to fuel their growth.

While states in the South and Midwest are not known as start-up hot spots, they do offer a variety of incentives to prospective employees or companies looking for a home. As a result, the state of Texas saw the second-biggest increase in jobs from Inc. 5000 companies, trailing California. Between 2014 and 2017, the 421 Inc. 5000 companies in the Lone Star State added more than 40,000 jobs. California Inc. 5000 companies added more than 252,000 jobs, but California boasts 743 companies on the list.

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How to Compete With Millennials In the Workplace
U.S. News & World Report, August 7

Millennials are on track to represent nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. This means that they are in the running for and will be widely hired for a large number of the available job openings and promotions by that time. As a result, many organizations are learning how to better cater to their work style and values. So, with millennials on the rise in the workplace, how can you compete with them and increase your overall value as an employee?

Soft skills are things that employers generally cannot teach, and they contribute to your overall success as an employee. Effective communication skills, creative thinking and teamwork are critical to almost any position in any industry. However, many professionals undervalue their soft skills and place more importance on hard skills, such as knowledge of a software program, having a proficiency in math or being able to operate certain machines. No matter what the generation, hiring managers value and look for soft skills in addition to hard skills, and in some cases, they place more value on soft skills because those are skills they cannot teach. Identify your soft skills by thinking about things that come easily to you. You may also find it helpful to ask friends and family how they would describe you. Next, make an effort to improve your soft skills. Many millennials value ongoing learning, so make an effort to do the same.

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5 Hiring Problems AI Could Solve
Forbes, August 12

There are good reasons to be enthusiastic about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) as a recruitment tool. AI can help to address several glaring inefficiencies in labor markets, such as the presence of disengaged and underperforming employees in jobs that are a poor fit for their abilities, interests and personalities; critical roles that remain vacant for a long time despite no lack of investment to attract and find suitable candidates; and people with real talent and potential who struggle to find work.

Employers can predict only what they can measure. Since most organizations have limited data on actual job performance, there is not much AI can do to improve the accuracy of their predictions. The essence of AI is more scalable and efficient prediction. While the data required to answer this question is easy to get, this is how AI can end up emulating or even augmenting human biases. For example, it is far easier to predict the degree to which candidates will be liked during a job interview than how well candidates will actually perform on an interview. The former simply requires interviewer ratings; the latter actually requires connecting behaviors of candidates to their future performance on the job.

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How to Write a CV for Developer Jobs
Tech World, August 14

With the world of technology constantly evolving, being able to craft an effective CV for developer jobs is crucial to your success. When it comes to your CV, your skills, qualifications and experiences are key; moreover, the chosen structure or layout, the use of language and your perceived tone also matter. Bear in mind that you are not just addressing another developer or CTO but a number of HR professionals too. The HR team will be assessing your suitability to the role and company from a different perspective and taking into account factors like your soft skills.

Often the biggest struggle for developers on the job hunt is finding a quality role that aligns with their career ambitions. To overcome this, candidates need to research the companies they are applying to thoroughly. Once you have read up on multiple roles and companies, you will have a clearer idea of the most sought-after skills and attributes and this will help you to structure your CV in a more impactful way, increasing the likelihood of being called for an interview. Candidates who can show an active involvement in the tech community will really stand out from those with similar qualifications and employment experience. It is best for developers to attend events and interact with their peers. Being open to mutual learning is also important.

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Is Your IT Career Stalled?
The Enterprisers Project, August 13

Employees are happiest at work when they feel inspired, have a sense of purpose, and experience chances for career advancement. A survey by Robert Half Technology found that advancement opportunities and the ability to grow and learn were among the top benefits tech employees want in a job. Some warning signs that your career has lost momentum is if you do not see any clear or varied career paths in your department or if your skills are not being used to their full potential. Feeling stalled can be especially challenging for IT leaders, who are expected to drive innovation for their companies.

To get your career out of a rut, it is important to have a clear sense of your strengths and not being afraid to reach out to those people and organizations you respect. If there is a company you really want to work at because you admire it or you like what they do, meet with people there and figure out what way you can help them. Is there a job that you can create or is there a job that suits you there? Try and think about what it is that you want to do, and then find the right environment to do it in.

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How AI Is Changing Talent Management
Fast Company, August 16

AI startups are now pioneering new ways of assessing talent for companies, based on decades of neuroscience research that can predict behaviors common among high performers. This combination of data and machine learning can be very powerful, bringing recruiting into the future. In cities such as New York and San Francisco, there are new startups leveraging artificial intelligence, big data, and other tech tools to disrupt the hiring space. In fact, VC investment in HR tech startups could hit $2.9 billion in 2018, up 138% year over year.

A January 2018 survey of 1,000-plus C-suite executives found that attracting and retaining talent is their number-one concern, outranking anxiety over the threat of a global recession, trade war, and even competitive disruption. Yet, HR is still an archaic system that relies on biased evaluations of irrelevant staples such as resumes and cover letters. Recruiters review each resume on average for a mere six seconds; three-fourths of candidates are cut at this phase, often arbitrarily; and surviving new hires ultimately fail in their positions 30% to 50% of the time. With the unemployment rate at an 18-year low and a historic scarcity of mission-critical skills plaguing every industry, talent acquisition has reached a breaking point.

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Use These Strategies to Carve a Path to Your Dream Job
Entrepreneur.com, August 17

If you ever feel at a loss for what to do next in your career, write out a description for your dream job. You never know who might be in a position to help you make it happen. Mentors and other individuals can set you on a new path and allow you to write your own ticket. Moreover, they can advise about companies that can offer you the right career opportunities.

As a starting strategy, look for a mentor, such as a seasoned CIO from outside your company or a business leader within your company. Have a frank conversation with your boss about your interests in taking on more responsibility, and listen carefully to the feedback you receive. Expand and refresh your network. The best way to get out of a rut is to start taking coffee meetings with other people in your industry. It is important to get other thoughts on your career path and get an external point of view on what you can do next. If you dread going to work, you will not be motivated to do good work. You need to determine what it will take to get you excited about doing your job, then adapt or find a better fit. A career coach can help you analyze what motivates and drives you, and then help you decide what your next steps should be.

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Broadening the Path for Women in STEM
Communications of the ACM, August 2018

In 2018, girls and women are getting the message they belong in computer science as much as boys and men, thanks to a greater push for STEM curricula in schools and a vast number of programs available to them outside of school. Yet the numbers remain discouraging. Although computer science jobs are projected to grow 15% to 20% through 2020, the majority of these positions will be pursued and filled by men, according to Women in Computer Science. In 2016, 26% of professional computing jobs in the U.S. workforce were held by women; 20% of the Fortune 100 chief information officer (CIO) positions were held by women, and 23% of Advanced Placement (AP) computer science test takers were female, based on data from the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

As STEM-related industries on a whole add over 1.7 million jobs in the coming years, there continues to be a notable absence of women in the field. While some research indicates girls should be exposed to computer science in middle school in order to best pique their interest, other research says the best thing that could happen is that rigorous computer science be offered in high school so all students are exposed to it. Exposure is a huge influencer and predictor of who will go on to major or minor in computer science in college. Yet, there are still high schools that do not offer a single course in the discipline. Even when it is offered, only certain students will take it, so it does not do anything to broaden participation in computing. Students will get steered away from computer science unless they show a predilection or fit a stereotype.

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Quality Control Versus Academic Freedom
eLearn Magazine, July 2018

Colleges and universities incorporate online education using a variety of approaches. For some, there is little oversight applied to course design: faculty members enjoy freedom to engineer course structure as they wish within a specific learning management system. At other institutions, instructors manage pre-written courses and serve only to grade assignments and answer student questions. While pre-written courses may be designed to promote a student-centered environment in which navigational approaches are familiar, they do so while restricting the editorial academic freedoms of faculty members. Administrators are therefore faced with a formidable challenge: finding a sustainable balance between student-centered standardization and academic freedom.

Across the board, accreditation of colleges and universities is predicated upon the preservation of academic freedom. However, in an age wherein online education opportunities are expanding rapidly, accreditors have begun to search for consistency and predictability in online college classrooms. Accreditors have adopted a pronounced emphasis on a student-centered approach to course design, rather than on a faculty-centered approach. For example, The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions, a partnership that comprises the major accreditors for more than 3,000 colleges in the United States, has published an interregional list of guidelines for online education. The guidelines suggest that consistency of student experience is valued as a measure of program quality.

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