ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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 15, Issue 2, January 22, 2019


Why Data Scientist Is the Most Promising Job of 2019
Tech Republic, January 10

Data scientist is the No. 1 most promising job in America for 2019, according to a report from LinkedIn. This comes as no surprise, as other surveys have routinely ranked data scientist among the best jobs in America. LinkedIn examined data from millions of member profiles, job openings, and salaries, ranking roles based on the following weighted five factors: salary, career advancement, number of job openings in the U.S., year-over-year growth in job openings, and widespread regional availability. The list of promising jobs features the positions that had the highest combined score across these five factors.

The position of data scientist, which has a median base salary of $130,000, saw 56 percent more job openings this year than last, according to the report. There are now more than 4,000 data science job openings nationwide. The role jumped to No. 1 from No. 9 on the list from last year. The skills employers most frequently mention in data science job postings are Python, R, and SQL, according to Glassdoor. Nine out of 10 job postings examined require at least one of these skills. Other important skills for the role are data mining, data analysis, and machine learning, LinkedIn found. Top careers in data science include data scientist, researcher, and big data specialist.

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Tech Skills in Most Demand This Year: Data, Cloud and Cybersecurity
ZDNet.com, January 7

By all indications, 2019 will be a dynamic year for IT managers and professionals, especially for those with skills related to data, the cloud and cyber security. The latest data from Hays finds 68 percent of IT employers will increase full-time IT hiring during 2019, and 53 percent will increase their use of consultants, especially in the areas of cyber security and cloud computing. In addition, there is a notable tilt toward opportunities involving data management and data analysis. For example, skills related to data science have experienced a more than 15 percent increase in market value over the last six months.

The report, based on data from 2,000 companies, finds that 70 percent of IT employers say they face a moderate-to-extreme skills shortage of IT professionals. One problem is that companies are not investing enough in training and development. The current practice for acquiring new skilled employees is to provide a more competitive salary. But it is a short-term solution at the expense of upskilling existing employees into needed roles. About 32 percent of employers identify a lack of training and professional development in their organizations as responsible for the skills shortage they are experiencing, but only 34 percent see offering training and development as key to attracting and retaining top talent.

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There are several different technology trends that have the potential to make or break careers and businesses in 2019. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are likely to remain hot topics and sources of potential disruption for any company or industry. In addition, excitement is growing about new technological innovations for the healthcare industry. For job seekers, it is important to get ahead of these technologies and understand how they are transforming the modern enterprise.

The year 2018 will be remembered as the year that artificial intelligence hit the mainstream. In 2019, expect the AI trend to accelerate. This is because hardware and software developers have passed the trial period of experimenting to see where AI fits, and where it can deliver the biggest improvements in customer experience and enhancements in productivity. In many cases we will not even know it is there, as machine learning services work quietly in their clouds, managing everything from power networks to distribution logistics and financial transactions. In other cases, it will be highly visible, as our smartphones, home assistants, kitchen gadgets and cars put increasingly sophisticated tools at our fingertips.

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Growth Drives Data Science Job Postings Up 14% In 2018
CIO Dive, January 19

Postings for data science jobs grew 29 percent year-over-year in December as more employers look for data scientists, according to a new Indeed report. Overall, postings for data science jobs increased 14 percent last year, with peaks in the spring likely corresponding to college students and graduates searching for jobs. However, an increase in the number of computer science majors is still not enough to meet the demand for data science talent.

Adjusted for cost of living expenses, Houston is the best city for data scientists in terms of salary, with data scientists bringing in an average salary of $123,010. San Francisco and Seattle also ranked highly, with average salaries of $121,193 and $119,941, respectively. As the 2018 report from Indeed makes clear, data science interest is increasing for job seekers and employers, and data scientists are routinely pulling in six-figure salaries across the nation. Last year, Phoenix and Portland were the top cities for salaries, adjusted for cost of living.

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Want To Improve Your Career This Year? Try These 5 Things
Fast Company, January 19

By looking for new ways to engage more deeply with your work life this year, the chances are high that your boss will eventually recognize the investment and find ways to reward you. Start the New Year by scheduling a monthly meeting with yourself to review your progress. If you are not getting to tasks that are critical to your career, sit down with your supervisor. You might need to adjust some goals, or your boss may have to curtail outside requests that are taking you away from the strategic goals you built together. The key is to keep your career growth on track.

One way to improve your career in 2019 is by helping to create a culture of mentorship in your workplace. Take a poll around your office to see what talents and skills people have and would be willing to share with others. You may find that people who are experts in certain technical areas would welcome the chance to pass that knowledge on to others. A mentorship can make them feel good and improve productivity and confidence among those learning new skills. Do not limit people to skills directly tied to work, either.

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Why Do Employers Still See Job-Hopping As a Bad Thing?
Silicon Republic, January 17

According to a new research study by Indeed, job-hopping is still viewed negatively by employers. In fact, 65 percent of employers surveyed said they have opted not to interview someone who has had short-tenure jobs at other companies. 44 percent of employers feel having three short-tenure jobs on their CV is considered job-hopping. With a robust job market and the ability to travel and move around in the industry becoming easier all the time, why are employers still viewing job-hopping negatively? These factors would seem to suggest that job-hopping is now a feature of the modern digital economy.

One problem continues to be the limited amount of time that hiring managers actually spend reviewing resumes. With so many resumes to review so quickly, hiring managers are looking for reasons to exclude people from getting interviewed, even if those people have a wealth of valuable experience. In fact, in an HR study last year, IBM found that the average hiring manager spends just six seconds looking at a CV. Thus, if that hiring manager is inclined to view job-hopping as a negative, someone with a few short stints might be rejected faster than the time it takes to send another application. This new research is incredibly worrying as it solidifies the idea in both employer and employee minds that job-hopping should be viewed as a negative trait when hiring the ideal candidate. Employers might look at job-hopping as a red flag.

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10 Career Moves You Can Make in 2019
Information Week, January 16

Many organizations are looking to recruit new employees in areas like cyber security, DevOps, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing, and blockchain. Some say they cannot find enough qualified applicants, even though they are offering salaries much higher than in years past. However, experts caution that IT professionals should not ignore their careers just because the job market seems great right now. Technology is constantly changing, and those who do not keep their skills up-to-date could soon find the process of landing a new job more difficult, even in the current market. And if the economic situation changes, those who have planned ahead will find it easiest to maintain employment and possibly advance their careers when jobs become less available.

In order to become easier to find for HR recruiters looking for passive job candidates, think about updating your various online and social media profiles. This is important because, in order to find passive job candidates, HR professionals are turning to social media and online job boards. A survey conducted by Jobvite found that 77 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, 64 percent rely on Facebook, and 25 percent turn to Instagram. If you are one of those passive job seekers who might be interested in a new job, the beginning of a new year is a great time to revisit your social media accounts or any resumes you have posted with online job boards. You will want to make sure your employment information is up-to-date, of course, and also make sure you have mentioned your involvement with professional organizations and open source projects.

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Why the Best Employees Have Side Hustles
Entrepreneur.com, January 18

For many people, the decision to abandon traditional corporate life and become an entrepreneur starts when their current company or organization disapproves of their side hustle. This might be a side project, a hobby, or a specialized interest. And for that reason, if companies are really serious about retaining their best employees, they should be encouraging them in their side hustles. After all, it is quite possible that a side hustle might lead to a new product idea, a new set of customers, or a more attractive workplace environment for other employees. In short, organizational flexibility is really a retention strategy, and a valuable way to attract the best and brightest employees.

For employers, the reality is that the most talented people in a company are naturally going to want to do more, to create things for themselves, and to leave no good idea unexplored. If a company will not give them that room to thrive, they will leave. If the company supports them, then they will stick around for longer, solve problems more creatively, and provide value for everyone. These employees are the types of people who will always give you 100 percent effort, as long as they are given the chance to explore what they are most passionate about.

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Four Challenging Work Situations and How To Handle Them
ACM Queue, January 16

When employees face challenging work situations, it can be very helpful to have specific methodologies for handling them. By practicing them in advance, it will reduce the likelihood of any chance of miscommunication when you are interacting with your manager. In short, by thinking in terms of systems and patterns, you will have a very useful model for dealing with just about any difficult situation in the workplace. This way you can feel confident and capable as a leader because you will know how to solve the problem and what steps to follow next.

One common situation that everyone faces in the workplace is being asked a question about something they do not know. For example, you might be in a meeting when someone asks a question of you, and you just are not certain of the answer. The obvious response is to admit that you do not know the answer. However, you also do not want to look uninformed or unprofessional. All of a sudden, there is social pressure to be the person with the right answer. In the moment, the desire to say anything is so overwhelming that you may end up making up something on the spot, trying to be as vague as possible so you cannot be wrong. The best approach is usually to admit you are not certain and then give a timeline for when you will follow up with the correct response.

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The Ethical Responsibilities of the Student or End-User Programmer
Blog @ CACM, January 6

As coding becomes more popular with a much wider subset of the entire population, it is also raising questions about the ethical responsibilities of coders and programmers. For example, to what extent is a student or an end-user programmer (such as a computational scientist) responsible for code that they share? It is obvious that, if any programmer writes a program that has intent of doing harm, the programmer is clearly responsible. But there are lots of edge cases that are interesting and challenging. For now, the consensus is that professionals have an ethical responsibility to consider wider impacts of the use the power of computing and to support the public good whenever possible.

Companies have a greater responsibility than do individual student or end-user programmers. We can expect that many computationally literate people will write some software, and we cannot reasonably make expectations of quality and security. However, users can reasonably expect greater quality and security from software developed by a commercial entity. You can also think about the problem from the perspective of biology: code processes are much like biological organisms in the ecosystems of the world. We cannot achieve absolute security, but we might think about protecting ourselves from rogue processes, much as we think about protecting society from disease.

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