ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, October 9, 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 19, October 9, 2018
Data science is one of the most in-demand skills in the IT workplace, as well as one of the most highly compensated. IBM estimates that demand for data scientists will skyrocket 28% by 2020, so big data experts can depend on having job security in the near future. However, compensation and demand for data science varies widely across the world, even between the most prominent cities like London, New York, San Francisco, and Paris. With that in mind, the article provides a snapshot of the demand for data scientists in ten different countries worldwide.
As the world technology leader, the U.S. also leads demand for data scientists. Data scientists in the U.S. make an average of $120,000 or more per year, and have significant freedom over their choice of field. In the U.S., the demand for data scientists comes primarily from the financial services, professional services, and IT industries, which comprise 59% of total demand. Data science jobs in the U.S. are expected to exceed two million openings by 2020, which explains why data scientists in the U.S. are the most highly compensated in the world. In Europe, demand for data scientists is growing, but salaries have not yet increased to reflect this. For example, British data scientists make just over half of what a data scientist in the U.S. makes: $66,000 per year.
Cybersecurity jobs remain in high demand in the UK and the cyber skills gap is still very much a reality for employers. For example, one study on information security shows there could be around 100,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the UK by 2022. The good news is that increased demand for these skills is also leading to more competitive employment offers. This is demonstrated by an increase in salaries, in which information security specialists are seeing the highest salary increases (7%) among IT professionals, according to the Robert Walters 2018 salary survey. Over 58,000 people now work in cybersecurity-related roles in the UK, a 160% rise since 2011.
One of the cybersecurity jobs most in demand is Data Protection Officer. This is a relatively new job role that is gaining in popularity following the implementation of the GDPR, the Europe-wide regulation that threatens businesses with tough fines if they fail to meet data compliance and reporting standards. Data Protection Officers are most likely to be responsible for overseeing data protection strategies and ensuring on an ongoing basis that an organization complies with all GDPR requirements. Many CIOs know now that they cannot go at it alone when it comes to security, and so the demand for chief security officer (CSO) and chief information security officer (CISO) is also increasing, especially with the explosion in data with IoT and ever-more sophisticated threats from attackers. A CSO can be responsible for information security, corporate security or both. This may include the physical security of the organization and its technologies, as well as its IT systems, people and processes.
Experienced security professionals are hard for IT leaders to find, and it is much harder if your organization is not a particularly attractive place for security talent to work. If you are struggling to fill open security jobs on your team, it may be time to revisit what you are offering. In short, if organizations are going to close the IT security talent gap, they need to make their workplaces appealing to security talent, beyond a competitive paycheck or benefits package. Security is the most in-demand profession in IT right now, so companies need to be prepared to offer top dollar or, if they cannot sweeten the compensation offer, loosen up job requirements and be willing to look at more junior candidates.
Those who enter the IT security field typically have a real passion for it, and as such, want to contribute tangible value to their organizations. The best way to appeal to this passion for the field is to show how your company will value their work and put it into practice. If you are hiring for a team that is not central to the mission of your organization, your task will be harder. Security pros want to know their work will matter, and that the company actually fosters a culture of security, rather than paying it lip service and then doing the five-alarm fire routine when breaches occur in production. In short, the best way to fuel passion is actually to give your employees a chance to make a difference.
Top 7 Skills To Build a Successful Cloud Computing Career
TechGenix, September 13
Cloud computing is one of the hottest technologies with a high demand for qualified professionals. The median salary for IT pros currently in a cloud computing career in the U.S. is $124,300. However, in order to secure a job in this field, a candidate must have a number of specific skills. The most important of these are coding skills, which enable programmers to create, host, and execute applications for the cloud. Some recent additions to the cloud ecosystem are programming languages like Python, Perl, and Ruby. They are open source and becoming more prevalent with each passing year. Other conventional favorites are PHP, Java, and .NET.
Database management is a vital skill to have for a future cloud computing career. Corporations are in a race to understand and maximize use of the growing wealth of data. Therefore, persons who can set up, access, and manage databases are in high demand. Due to its scalability, the cloud platform is the most common space to host databases. Knowledge of a database query language and related database platforms are therefore essential for any professional in this field. The ever-growing amount of data also means that opportunities in this field are relatively easy to find.
DevOps Hiring: Look for the Right Mindset
Information Week, October 3
Managers hiring DevOps talent are shifting their focus from demanding specific technical skills or knowledge of specific tools to how a candidate thinks and works. In short, tools come and go, but it is the mindset of a candidate that is most important when hiring for DevOps positions. Companies want people who can work in high-performing organizations, and who know how to break things on purpose to fix them and make them better. It is also about collaboration and respect for all colleagues on the DevOps team. As a result, employers should stop focusing on the word DevOps, and instead focus on what people do in their daily role and how they solve problems.
While hiring candidates with the right mindset is important, experience with key tools is also important. Employers often try to find DevOps skills by determining whether candidates have experience automating deployment pipelines and process management by using two or more different platforms, or experience using at least two types of automated testing frameworks. Another strategy is to find junior-level people straight out of college, or already working at your company, who want to make the leap into this new field. Then, you can train them using your own staff, or outsource this training to an outside vendor.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner Says This Is Why Most Employees Quit
Inc.com, September 26
According to Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, many employees quit their jobs not because they do not like the work or because they found a better position, but because they do not like their boss. In other words, your manager influences the way you perceive your work situation, and simply getting a new manager can fundamentally change your perspective on your career. Moreover, Weiner notes that most employees who do not like their boss also do not have the support of their coworkers. For many people who leave a job, then, it comes down to one simple thing: they have not created a sense of community at the office.
At most organizations, employee satisfaction comes down to creating a sense of belonging. All workers seek connection and collaboration with others. Whether it is a remote coworker interaction, or someone who is physically close enough to confide in directly, we all need friends at work. While this can be difficult to facilitate as a company, leaders have to try harder. Company culture should be inclusive and embrace people who are struggling. If you see someone who is struggling, or someone you think may be experiencing signs of stress, depression, or high levels of anxiety, make the extra effort to do something about it. Most importantly, encourage your office to embrace a workplace acceptance policy that is more inclusive, and can provide help and support for those who need it beyond just traditional team-building activities.
4 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Female Talent in Tech
Entrepreneur, October 4
Although technology is quickly changing the way we live and work, the tech industry continues to lag when it comes to attracting and retaining top female talent. Currently only 26% of the tech workforce is female and the majority work in junior or middle management positions. In addition, there is still a significant discrepancy when it comes to women working in senior positions. Women 35 and older are 3.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to hold a junior position in the tech industry. In fact, over 20% of women over the age of 35 are in junior positions. This makes it all the more important to recruit and maintain a diverse workforce, especially when it comes to technical and engineering roles.
One key strategy to attract and retain top female talent is to make mentors a priority. It is important to have access to positive mentors who support and challenge you. According to one recent survey, women in tech face barriers that include lack of mentors (48%) and lack of female role models (42%). Thus, it is important to assign new employees a mentor who can answer questions and provide guidance. In addition to on-boarding, mentors offer valuable advice on how to develop necessary skills and shape a fulfilling career path. Managers should ensure that the voices of women are heard. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are not being heard or acknowledged. It is important for managers to create an inclusive and receptive environment where all voices carry equal weight.
Graduates Are Taking Courses to Help Beat AI Interviews For Top Jobs
Evening Standard, October 2
In the UK, a growing number of companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) software to weed out potential job candidates, especially for entry-level jobs that can attract thousands of applicants. As a result, some university graduates are paying for training courses that can help them beat AI interviews that can accompany the most prestigious jobs. This significantly raises the stakes for job candidates, who must also contend with HR departments checking their social media activity before making a hiring decision.
With the new training courses, candidates get a better idea of which facial expressions, mannerisms or eye movements are likely to attract the attention of the AI software. Using a webcam, AI software remotely asks preliminary-round candidates 20 minutes of questions and brainteasers, and records eye movements, breathing patterns and any nervous tics. Popular software also scans for emotion and expressions, such as blinks, smiles and frowns, by monitoring the face through the front-facing smartphone camera or computer webcam of the candidate.
How to Get Things Done at Work When You Do Not Feel Like It
ACM Queue, September 18
There are so many factors that influence your ability to show up to work with enthusiasm and then work hard all day long, so it is important to come up with a strategy for getting work done even when you do not feel like it. For example, external events can take priority in your mind and make it hard to focus. And, of course, there are the struggles at work that can make it hard to feel motivated. For example, if you work really hard on a project and your manager does not seem to value it at all, you might wonder why you are working so hard. Other times you have to work on tasks you do not enjoy or projects that are not challenging. Many people turn to procrastination or ignoring the task, but that only postpones the inevitable. If you want to be successful, then it means learning how to push through challenges and deliver valuable results.
In order to avoid the procrastination problem at work, look for ways to gamify your process so that it is easier to get started and establish early momentum. Approach a project, for example, by turning it into as many tiny steps as possible. That way, you can get a few really easy wins under your belt. Crossing things off your to-do list keeps your motivation up and your excuses down. Try breaking your next project into the smallest increments you possibly can. Each step should be really small and really easy to accomplish, so that you can get a quick win and overcome inertia. Little wins add up and make it easier to do that. Also, reserve calendar time for every project. Set aside time on your calendar specifically for working on a task you are having trouble starting. Treat it as seriously as you would any other appointment. You must show up and you must work on that project. Reserve an amount of time that is realistic for making progress (at least 30 minutes to an hour). This strategy is key for busy people or managers. If you do not schedule the time to do meaningful strategic work, your time will fill up with tactical tasks.
Tech User Responsibility
Blog @ CACM, September 30
For many companies, IT user support continues to be a contentious area defined by repeated problems that never seem to get resolved, trivial issues that negatively impact productivity and deep misunderstandings about the use of applications and devices. On one hand, people requesting IT user support are often frustrated by poor explanations, incorrect explanations, and impatience on the part of the person providing the support. On the other hand, those providing IT user support are frustrated by overly demanding clients, as well as those who simply do not listen to what is being told them. Users resist reading manuals, or even short instructions, let alone working through a checklist. Learning how to resolve this unfortunate situation with IT user support might tell us a lot about the current state of computer science training and education.
By looking closely at naive users, technically competent users, and experts when they are faced with new technology, a clear trend emerges: there is a reluctance to learn definitions, commands, good practices, and workflow. The user has not built the cognitive scaffolding necessary to organize the concepts, so does not grasp which feature is relevant to what. That context is then even farther out of reach for the consultant. Subsequently we see attenuation of commitment, where the follow-up tasks are put aside until a better time, the initial momentum fades away, and the skills necessary for effective participation decay. This leads ultimately to an adversarial stance, where frustration morphs into resentment.
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