ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, November 20, 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

Volume 14, Issue 22, November 20, 2018

Cybersecurity and AI Are Most Sought-After IT Careers In 2019
CXO Today, November 8

According to a new report examining IT career and business hiring trends, 29% of organizations plan to hire more IT staff in 2019, and cybersecurity skills are the most in demand. The findings from the Spiceworks career report indicate large enterprises are more likely to increase their IT staff than smaller organizations, but they are often seeking specialty IT skills, such as expertise in AI technologies and cloud architectures. Across all company sizes, the top five skills organizations are seeking include expertise in cybersecurity, infrastructure hardware, end-user hardware, networking solutions, and software deployment.

When comparing the hiring trend data by company size, large enterprises with more than 5,000 employees are more likely to seek AI expertise than their smaller counterparts. In fact, it is the second most important skill they are seeking after security expertise. Conversely, midsize companies with 500 to 999 employees are more likely to seek candidates with DevOps skills, and smaller companies are more likely to prioritize hiring IT professionals with end user hardware and infrastructure expertise. This finding comes as small businesses plan to significantly boost hardware budgets in 2019. Overall, the job outlook looks promising for IT professionals over the next 12 months. As a result, many tech professionals are polishing up their resumes in hopes of landing a position that offers a more competitive salary or an opportunity to advance their skills.

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Tech Jobs That Did Not Exist 10 Years Ago
Tech World, November 14

The rapid pace of technological change is not only bringing new ways of working but is also creating brand new jobs, in fields ranging from app development to artificial intelligence. It is common to hear about jobs that are threatened by technology development, but the fact remains that those same technologies are also creating jobs. Just a decade ago, some mainstream jobs in the tech industry, such as developing apps for smartphones, could never have been imagined. And now the same job creation phenomenon appears to be happening within the world of AI.

Although AI has yet to become mainstream, it is proving very popular among early adopters and certain sectors such as finance and the legal sector. So while the threat of AI stealing your job is still very much a worry for some, it also creates some relatively high-earning roles within AI, machine learning and neural networks. Industries where there is a race to create the first or most advanced connected product, like AI and driverless cars, comes with a massive need for skilled employees, so getting a job in an emerging industry is one way to earn a high salary.

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How Generation Z Will Reshape the Workforce
Tech Republic, November 9

According to a new report by Dell Technologies, members of Generation Z joining the workforce are bringing a new understanding of technology and its potential role in shaping the world of work. The report surveyed more than 12,000 high school and college students in 17 countries to gain insight into how younger generations look at tech and future jobs. Among those surveyed, 98% reported using technology as a part of their formal education. Some 80% of respondents want to work with cutting-edge technology, and the same percentage believe tech and automation will lead to the development of a more equitable work environment.

As the Dell Technologies report points out, the majority of Gen Z members are confident in their knowledge of tech, as 73% rated their technology literacy as good or excellent. However, they are concerned with having the right soft skills and experience, with 52% of respondents lacking confidence in their non-tech skills. Senior professionals have their own concerns, too. As members of Gen Z enter the workforce, older generations worry about being outpaced, concerned that digital natives will take most of the leadership roles. However, 77% of members of Gen Z did say they are willing to mentor older coworkers that might be more unfamiliar with technology.

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Facebook Takes on LinkedIn As a Career Portal With New Features
Tech Crunch, November 13

Facebook has launched a new education portal for jobseekers called Learn with Facebook. Moreover, the social network is also expanding features for two related services, Mentorships and Jobs. Mentorships will now be opened for users to make their own matches, and those posting Jobs will now be able to post them in Groups where they are members. With the launch of a new way for people to connect with each other in mentoring relationships, and to look for jobs, Facebook continues to gain on LinkedIn as the go-to platform for people who want to leverage their networks of contacts to expand their career prospects. According to Facebook, people have now landed over one million jobs through the social network.

Facebook is continuing to diversify its platform, in the hopes of making it the first place jobseekers go when thinking about a new job or career. The education portal Learn with Facebook will kick off with 13 modules it has made in partnership with others, each lasting less than 10 minutes and largely geared toward the kind of professional development that would be useful for someone who uses Facebook for work, or might start using Facebook to find a job. They are introductory sessions around topics like discovering social media marketing, digital storytelling and how to boost your resume and ace your interview. In addition, Facebook is creating partnerships with third parties for those who might want to continue learning more skills. All of this is part of the bigger mission at Facebook to train 1 million people and small businesses in the U.S. in digital skills by 2020.

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Employee Retention: 6 Strategies For Keeping Top Talent, November 14

Employee retention is a critical issue as companies compete for talent in a tight economy. The costs of employee turnover are increasingly high, and can be as high as two or three times the salary of an employee, depending on the role. If you wait until an exit interview to find out why a valuable employee has decided to move on, you have missed a golden opportunity to identify and fix issues within your organization before you lose others. And there are other soft costs to consider, such as lowered productivity, decreased engagement, training costs and cultural impact. In order to increase retention rates, you should start at the very beginning of the recruitment process.

At most organizations, retention starts with recruiting. Starting with the application process, and moving on to the method of screening applicants and choosing which candidates to interview, all of these steps can be considered part of the overall retention strategy of an organization. It starts with identifying what aspects of culture and strategy you want to emphasize, and then seeking those out in your candidates. One important point to keep in mind is that, the longer someone is with your company, the more productive they become over time. You have to look at this as a long game, and take steps to ensure you are doing it right by making sure each employee is completely engaged with and part of the ongoing success of an organization. With that in mind, you should attempt to choose candidates that are more likely to stay. For example, look for candidates with longevity at their previous jobs. That speaks to loyalty, perseverance and engagement.

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This Is the Tech Industry Job You Probably Do Not Hear About
Silicon Republic, November 15

Although data scientists and software engineers get all the attention, an important role is played by the talent acquisition specialists who are on the front lines of the war for IT talent. In short, talent acquisition specialists are also essential to the growth of a company, especially a company that is attempting to leverage new cutting-edge technologies. With that in mind, the article takes a closer look at the talent acquisition job function. In some cases, these individuals are making offers and hiring candidates from all over the world. While these talent acquisition specialists might focus on a certain IT niche, they are usually recruiting for a broad range of talent. As a result, they require an extensive understanding of the entire technology sector and the ability to see how those technical skills can impact the business strategy of an organization.

In general, talent acquisition specialists work on many different projects, everything from recruitment campaigns that are designed to build talent pools to project managing careers fairs. They tend to work very closely with workforce management teams regarding succession planning and making sure there are career paths available for internal employees. They also work on building the overall employer value proposition and developing video content to use on social media to engage and attract talent. In addition, they may be responsible for arranging internal career fairs for employees.

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You Are Thinking About LinkedIn Connections All Wrong, November 15

For too many people looking to make the next move in their careers, LinkedIn remains an under-utilized resource. Part of the reason for this is because people are thinking about LinkedIn connections all wrong. LinkedIn is not about how many connections you have. Instead, it is all about how well you know your network and how well you tend to it, so that your career or business flourishes. In short, LinkedIn is not about having the right number of connections, or even the right connections. It is all about forming meaningful relationships and creating a resource that you can count on when you need it most.

LinkedIn is not about collecting connections or attempting to rank these connections in terms of importance. It is not about abundance or scarcity. You cannot go about it out of fear, such as fear of not having enough connections or having the wrong connections or connections who will steal your clients away. That is not how LinkedIn works. Instead, LinkedIn is about relationships. Like any relationship, you get out of LinkedIn what you put in, and this starts with knowing your connections. That means having some rules regarding which LinkedIn invitations you send out, and which ones you accept. If you do not know your connections, how can they refer work your way, write a recommendation, or introduce you to a recruiter or potential business partner? Likewise, you cannot help connections you know by name only.

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3 Reasons Successful Entrepreneurs Should Become Online Thought Leaders, November 15

For top technology leaders and successful serial entrepreneurs, now is the time to start thinking about their thought leadership legacy. Business and life lessons learned from years of growing companies and developing industry-leading products need to find a place online, where they can be absorbed by the next generation of dreamers, makers and entrepreneurs worldwide. The generations to come are going to be filled with creators with the potential to positively impact humanity, and those creators need your help. As a result, online thought leadership could potentially have a worldwide impact, resulting in the formation of new companies, new start-ups and new ways of thinking about the world.

An important reason to become an online thought leader is because it moves you from being a commodity to an expert. Becoming a thought leader in your industry will bring a lot of attention to your business. The more human you can make your company or brand, the better. The more customers and partners look at you as a thought leader, the easier it will be for you to grow your company or practice. In addition, being a thought leader helps to build bonds with your team. The best leaders lead with empathy. They connect with their team. When your team members see you as a trusted expert, they buy into what you are saying in a bigger way. You clearly show them your vision. This inspires them and creates a more cohesive environment. Team members who fully buy into their leader are more engaged and more focused, and have a clearer understanding of why they are doing what they do.

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The Rise of Learning Engineering
eLearn Magazine, August 2018

50 years ago, Nobel laureate Herb Simon, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and expert in artificial intelligence, called for a new field of technical competence in the learning domain that he called learning engineering. Over the next 50 years, a number of new disciplines have emerged as a result, including educational technology and instructional design and development. Nevertheless, despite exponential growth in the development of learning technologies, there has been relatively little support specific to the professional development of the engineers who have been increasingly called upon to participate in designing, building, and deploying new learning technologies. These professionals require a unique skill set that merges engineering and systems thinking with learning science and theories of human development.

Educators and practitioners now have a very unique opportunity to engage with learning engineering stakeholders and map out the future of the field. Topics that require additional thinking include data standards and regulations around learning data and privacy, as well as best practices in technical project management and in the design of learning technologies and learning ecosystems. Moreover, it is important to understand the factors contributing to success and failure in the design, development, deployment, and outcomes of learning technologies. There are new opportunities to create frameworks for learning engineering competencies and related academic curricula. This can include sharing the progress that certain professions (including librarianship, digital pedagogy, architecture, medicine, art and humanities), have developed to integrate learning and technology in pursuit of excellence.

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Direct Instruction is Better than Discovery For Teaching Future Programmers
Blog @ CACM, November 7

In terms of teaching future programmers, research evidence is growing that students learn better through direct instruction rather than through a discovery-based method, where students are expected to figure things out for themselves. In general, it is possible to define direct instruction as explanation followed by a lot of focused practice. This approach appears to work well with pupils of any educational background. In fact, direct instruction works especially well for weaker pupils. As a result, it might be the case that CS instructors should reduce the amount that they tell students to figure out in CS classes. In short, they should teach students directly and reduce the amount of design and problem solving that they ask students to do.

In the process of teaching programming languages, there is growing consensus that direct instruction needs to take priority. The problem, however, is that there is a good bit of evidence that students do not learn the syntax and semantics of programming directly. One key takeaway from previous studies on the topic is that it is difficult to measure learning purely in terms of the syntax and semantics of programming. Instead, students are often learning plans or useful chunks of code. Within those chunks are programming statements, but students are learning that set of statements, not the individual statements. As a result, teaching those sets of statements might become one way to use direct instruction effectively.

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