ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 19, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 15, Issue 4, February 19, 2019
London Is Still Top For Software Developers, But European Rivals Are Catching Up Fast
ZDNet.com, February 7
London remains the top destination in Europe for software developers, but rival tech hubs across the continent are seeing rapid expansion. The UK capital currently has more software developers than other major European cities such as Paris and Amsterdam, and over three times the numbers found in Berlin, according to data compiled from Stack Overflow. Moreover, according to information from LinkedIn, London was the top destination for more migrating European and non-EU tech professionals than any other major European city in 2018. London is now home to 357,900 software developers, an increase of nearly 17 percent from the year earlier period, when the number stood at 304,000.
Despite all of the political uncertainty around Brexit in the UK, many experts believe that London will retain its title as the best city to build and grow a startup within Europe. Many tech companies have warned that the British exit from the European Union would cause them to put a brake on expansion, but the data suggests that this has not stopped growth in UK tech staffing. London is in a battle with other European cities to attract high-skilled workers, and the data also suggests that European rivals are growing their tech workforces at a faster rate, albeit from a lower base. The number of developers in Paris has increased by almost 50 percent in the same time, from 181,000 to 286,000. The number of software engineers in Amsterdam has more than doubled from 90,000 to 216,000, while the number in Frankfurt has also doubled.
According to technologists in the UK, a number of new tech jobs that do not yet exist today will become prominent by the year 2040 in industries ranging from artificial intelligence to synthetic biology. Looking to the future, technologists at BAE have predicted which jobs will be in demand over the next two decades, extrapolating from current trends already in place today, such as the trend toward wearable technology. Given all of the rapid change about to take place, it will be an exciting period for emerging technologies in computer science and all of the various STEM fields.
Many of the future jobs predicted for the year 2040 sound like they are out of a science fiction movie. For example, a systems farmer is a scientist capable of growing mechanical parts from chemical processes. Chemputing (i.e. chemical computing) will be used to create component parts that can sense, process, and harvest energy while also being super strong. These components would also have the ability to self-repair. There will also likely be jobs created in human e-sources management, which will be responsible for measuring employee wellbeing and cognitive states using tools such as wearable technologies.
For anyone looking to break into the world of fintech, it is important to understand how the fintech landscape has changed in recent years and why new fintech companies are starting to appear in non-traditional tech hubs far from London or New York. The war for tech talent has reached a fever pitch of late, and that applies to the fintech sector as well. This war for talent has forced companies to widen the net for the types of candidates they are recruiting, as they look for new ways to overcome vital skill shortages and find the very best talent within the industry. As a result, the ideal candidate for a fintech job has changed in recent years.
In order to find the best fintech talent, companies often go down some of the more typical routes, such as partnering with educational institutions and tech organizations to help create a stable talent pipeline. However, viewing recruitment as something isolated to a few nights a month at events is too narrow a perspective, and broadening recruitment efforts is what will help secure talent. Recruitment is about building relationships, staying connected and then, when the time is right, bringing candidates back in.
Software Developer Jobs Will Increase Through 2026
Dice Insights, January 3
Over the next eight years, the United States will add more than 250,000 new software developer roles, according to The Knowledge Academy and Glassdoor. That job increase through 2026 should come as good news to anyone considering a career in software development. Over the past few years, as machine learning algorithms have become more sophisticated, some tech pros have harbored a growing worry that software will take over the bulk of coding work, putting a sizable percentage of developers out of business. But that anxiety now seems to be dissipating, as new software developer roles emerge.
Since the number of software developer roles is expected to increase in coming years, that is proof that developers are at least somewhat immune from automation. However, software will almost certainly evolve to the point where it can take over many aspects of coding, meaning that developers in coming years will need to focus more on creativity, project management, and other things that machines cannot do. In fact, automation is already taking over the software industry in not-so-subtle ways. Microsoft, Google, and other companies have built and marketed low-code building environments for custom business apps. This has unleashed a new generation of citizen coders with relatively little programming skills who can nonetheless assemble single-function apps within a short period of time.
Why the Title Machine Learning Engineer Will Start to Disappear
Information Week, February 7
Within the rapidly growing artificial intelligence field, you do not necessarily need an undergraduate degree in computer science or formal machine learning credentials in order to have a successful career. Many tools that once were considered very advanced are now part of the standard developer toolbox. Today even a novice can use tools to automate nearly every aspect of creating AI models and produce impactful results. Modern developers may not be able to speak to the mathematics of why their AI models work, but the results speak for themselves. With that in mind, the article take a closer look at the evolving job roles involving machine learning.
As the machine learning field continues to evolve at a very rapid pace, it will have very real implications for the way organizations hire new employees. Traditionally, hiring organizations look for a college degree in computer science (or a related field such as mathematics), perhaps some research projects, and certainly several years of experience. However, if we define great engineering simply as the ability to build solutions that solve problems for customers, then the best ML engineers might actually be self-taught. Moreover, they often have less than five years of experience in the domain.
CIO and IT Roles Poised for a Revolution
Information Week, January 30
According to a new report from Forrester Research, only one in five CIOs will be prepared for the transformational IT changes coming in the years ahead. Businesses need to be able to use technology as a competitive advantage, and they need to do it faster than they ever have implemented major change in the past. How IT leaders respond to this new series of challenges will determine not just the future of the IT department, but also the future of the business as a whole. A new style of immersive IT will demand familiarity with an environment in which the boundaries between IT and the overall business fade, with much more powerful and fluid IT capabilities becoming immersed in the very core of the business.
Different industries and businesses will proceed along a different time line for transformational IT changes to take place. For example, advanced technology companies in Silicon Valley are already working with immersive IT concepts, but other companies may take five years or more. As organizations face the new future of IT, boards and CEOs will look beyond financials to value IT. To make this happen, there likely will be some turnover in the membership of corporate boards, making room for new members. There will be a bias toward digitally savvy change leaders who understand how to use technology for strategic advantage and value.
Ask These Two Simple Questions to Grow As a Leader
Inc.com, February 12
There can be many challenges when growing into a more senior leadership role, including the fact that your organization may think that you still need more coaching in order to be an effective leader. This might happen even after you have accomplished a specific management or leadership goal that had previously been established by your organization. In order to keep the proper perspective on your career development, focusing on two simple questions about your work and its overall impact on your organization can help you with your career goals and accelerate your growth as a leader.
The process of moving into a senior leadership position can be frustrating if you feel that you have met all of the expectations and surpassed them as well, but still are not being promoted. You make it far more likely that your contributions will be noticed if you start talking about them in a way that highlights their value to the company. At the end of the day, there is a business to run and your work and leadership must follow the same path as that of the company. This is the specific lens through which you need to focus all of the conversations about your work. For example, you can quantify how your management style is helping to result in a boost to productivity, efficiency, revenue or overall profitability.
Six Steps to Take When Your Boss Says No To a Raise
The Enterprisers Project, February 12
When negotiating a higher salary, it is important to understand which steps to take if your boss turns you down for a raise. All is not necessarily lost if you do not get a raise. Sometimes the refusal is simply a result of bad timing, poor presentation, or lack of data, all of which can be fixed. As an IT leader, you can take a number of actions to set yourself up for success the next time around. And, if you decide that the refusal to give you a raise is more than just temporary, you might need to decide to move on to the next role.
First and foremost, you should pinpoint why the request for a raise failed. If you have been told you are not eligible for a raise, then sit back and assess what might have gone wrong with the way in which you presented the request. Understanding why the request was not granted is important to other decisions you will make after the request was rejected. The reasons may not always be overt. But consider what feedback and clues your boss provided about why the raise was not going to happen.
Is CS for All, or Just Those Who Get Past the Caps on Enrollment?
Blog @ CACM, February 3
As a result of the dramatic increase in undergraduate enrollment in CS across the United States, many computer science departments have been unable to keep pace with the demand. From 2006 to 2015, some undergraduate CS departments have seen a doubling, and even tripling, of enrollment. As a result, everyone is trying to figure out how to increase capacity in undergraduate computer science education. Some CS departments are responding to the lack of supply in CS classes by putting caps on enrollment, enacting GPA requirements, or holding lotteries to allocate the scarce resource of a seat in a CS class. As a result, we may be approaching an inflection point in computing education.
This inflection point for computer science enrollment is similar to one that occurred nearly 30 years ago. For example, there was a downturn in enrollment in the late 1980s. This may have been the result of CS departments being unable to manage rising CS enrollments in the early 1980s. Then, as now, caps and limits were put into place, which sent the message that computer science was not for everyone, and that only elite students could succeed in computer science. The imposition of GPA thresholds and other strategies to reduce enrollment led naturally to a change in how students perceived computer science. In the 1970s, students were welcomed eagerly into this new and exciting field. Around 1984, everything changed. Instead of welcoming students, departments began trying to push them away. Students got that message and concluded that they were not wanted. Over the next few years, the idea that computer science was competitive and unwelcoming became widespread and started to have an impact even at institutions that had not imposed limitations on the major.
Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Course
eLearn Magazine, February 2019
Online courses offer a great opportunity for students to experience a collaborative learning environment. Collaborative learning is an important way to help students gain experience in interaction and develop important skills in critical thinking, self-reflection, and co-construction of knowledge. With that in mind, there are four key strategies needed to create effective collaborative learning groups in an online setting and improve the group learning experience. Educators need to provide scaffolding to build skills for group work, establish a balance between structure and learner autonomy, monitor group activities actively and closely, and make the group task relevant for the learner.
Scaffolding is an important first step to prepare learners for group projects. This can be accomplished through the course design and by starting the group activity later in the course to give students enough time to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the project. Students first need to be taught the necessary skills for effective online collaboration, including planning and negotiation skills that will help them succeed in a group environment. Students should be given enough time to get to know each other through introduction and discussion activities. Once groups are formed, group members can be asked to write a group contract to decide team goals, roles, and responsibilities; to address possible issues including potential barriers and conflicts; and to come up with the solutions to these issues.
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