ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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Volume 16, Issue 11, June 9, 2020

IT Careers: 10 Industries With Job Openings Right Now
Information Week, May 27

Even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy, many U.S. companies are still hiring IT professionals. According to CompTIA, for example, there were 270,000 job postings for core IT professionals in April. Overall, there are 10 different industries that are at the forefront in terms of open positions for tech workers. If you are looking for a new job opportunity, keep an eye on IT roles in industries like financial services, logistics and consulting.

Currently, the financial services industry needs more people who can help with the uptick in digital business. The financial services industry has seen an increase in people doing their banking online, and that has led to new demand for IT professionals with financial services expertise. In addition, because people are making so many purchases online and using their credit cards when they visit physical stores, credit card issuers and processers are also seeing an increase in digital transactions. In addition, U.S. businesses have never really faced a crisis like this one before. In response, they are looking for help managing their risk, reducing expenses, and preparing a new strategy that will allow them the to survive during and after the pandemic. Some companies are also looking to outsource some of their work as a way to deal with the current situation. It should not be surprising that consulting and professional services firms like Accenture and Deloitte are among those posting new tech job openings.

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The Work From Home Era Is the Perfect Time to Start Your Cloud Computing Career, May 28

During this period of uncertainty, many companies have been recognizing the benefits of remote work and moving their business to the cloud. Those companies will have to start relying on the cloud to replace most of their physical infrastructure and create a seamless remote working experience from home. This, in turn, will create many opportunities for technology professionals to propel themselves into a new cloud career. With that in mind, Broadus Palmer, founder and cloud career coach at Level Up With Broadus, offers three important pieces of advice for embarking on a cloud computing career.

A first step in launching a cloud computing career is simply learning the fundamentals. Give yourself an opportunity to understand what the cloud is and how it works. There are plenty of cloud service providers out there, but in the U.S., the big three are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Palmer encourages people to check out some of the best cloud training providers, such as Linux Academy and A Cloud Guru. This period of time should be spent understanding the major core services within a cloud service provider that you choose to learn about. Having this expertise will put you ahead for the next step.

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What Do Software Developers Want? A Chance to Learn, and a Decent Corporate Culture
ZDNet, May 30

According to a new Stack Overflow survey of 65,000 software developers from 186 countries around the world, opportunities to work with the latest technologies within a supportive corporate culture rank as a top priority for job seekers. That is especially true, given the rapid rate of innovation in the software industry. Developers also show a commitment to continuous learning. Three in four, or 75 percent, noted that they learn a new technology at least every few months or once a year and 37 percent learn something new every few months.

Given the rapid rate of innovation in the tech industry, the chance to experiment with new technologies tops the list of job candidate priorities. The typical developer has an interest first and foremost with languages and frameworks. Next in line is office environment or company culture, followed by flextime or a flexible schedule, opportunities for professional development, and remote work options. Overall, developers tend to be satisfied with their jobs, with almost 65 percent reporting that they are either slightly or very satisfied with their job. On the other end of the spectrum, around 25 percent are slightly to very dissatisfied.

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Product Manager Salary: What to Expect with Experience, Education
Dice Insights, June 4

Product managers play an important role in the rollout of new tech products, which is why the median product manager salary in the United States is now in the six-figure range. In exchange for that solid compensation, employees in this role must juggle a variety of responsibilities, from keeping production on-track to ensuring that team members are communicating effectively. In a technology context, product managers often supervise the launch and maintenance of apps and services. They must also act as a communication channel of sorts between the teams creating the product and upper management. Mastery of the product manager role requires not only the ability to see the product and project in a holistic way, but also focus on the small details.

According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, product managers with zero to two years of experience make a median salary of $83,000, although those in the upper quartiles can make over $100,000 at the beginning of their careers. Of course, simply sticking around in the role for a few years is not enough to ensure the highest salaries. In order to unlock the top tier of compensation, product managers must develop a strong track record of accomplishment. They need to sit down during the product manager interview and show that their products have not only been released on time and on budget, but also proven a marketplace success.

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How to Get Into Cybersecurity
Tech Radar, May 21

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries globally. Predictions place spending on endpoint security tools at $128 billion by the end of 2020 and spending on cloud security tools at $12.6 billion and infrastructure protection at $24.6 billion by 2023, all of which represent tremendous growth from previous years. With all this demand, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to get into cybersecurity. Job candidates should explore the different kinds of cybersecurity roles available and the skills and qualifications they demand, understand how they can become more attractive to employers, and decide whether a career in cybersecurity is right for them.

Cybersecurity can be divided into a few main categories, each of which requires different skills and qualifications. Network security experts make sure that all the components of a corporate network are protected against threats and leaks by preventing unauthorized access. It is often a first line of defense for a company, and requires an understanding of routing and switching, network security protocols, and common threats. Information and data security ensures that data is protected against theft, alteration, or destruction. A good information security expert will understand risk assessment and management, have knowledge of ISO policies and security architecture, and be able to implement appropriate defenses and guide the response of an organization to breaches. Cloud security, which combines aspects of network and data security, ensures the safe use of web applications and the secure transmission of user data. Cloud computing comes with its own set of challenges, and experts in this field should be familiar with popular languages for typical cloud architectures.

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Best and Worst Qualities for Remote Employees, June 2

As a result of the new remote working environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are re-thinking the types of qualities they are looking for in employees. The top quality most experts say to look for in a remote employee is self-motivation. After all, remote employees will not have managers there to deliver a pep talk to them and they cannot easily drop by to talk to a co-worker if they are feeling frustrated or anxious. Stuck home alone, they need to arrive at work every morning with the conviction that what they will do that day matters and that they can do it successfully. That takes optimism, which is why this is one of the most important traits to look for in remote employees.

If you are evaluating someone who works for you, or someone you know, you might already know if that person is an optimist or not. But what if you are just meeting a prospective employee via phone or videoconference for the first time? HR experts recommend asking directly if a job candidate is an optimist. In many cases, you may get a truthful or at least a useful answer. And when you discuss past work experiences, a tendency to either look on the bright side or the dark side may become clear. A true optimist will realize that certain resource factors or timing issues were responsible for failed or misguided projects, and conclude that future iterations will be more successful.

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How Your Career May Be Affected By The Future Of Work
Forbes, June 4

It is not too early for tech professionals to start preparing for the future of work, especially when it comes to understanding the potential impact of new technologies like artificial intelligence. A new book, The Future Of Work And Employment, edited by Australian scholars Adrian Wilkinson and Michael Barry, provides a wide range of perspectives on the impact of new technologies, as well as a variety of insights into how your career might soon be affected by factors such as globalization and the formation of new economic incentives for knowledge workers.

According to the editors of The Future of Work And Employment, two grand narratives underlie competing views of contemporary employment. One stems from World War II era economist John Maynard Keynes, who envisioned knowledge workers where 15 hours of work per week would be enough for a good living by 2030. The other sees a darker future of disempowered workers from the globalization of work, and especially the shift of skills and knowledge development to low-cost labor countries. As a result, the modern workforce is one in which you must participate to manage your own career. Specifically, the editors point to a sharp contrast between old and new models of employment. The old model included long-tenure jobs with steadily rising pay, extensive workplace and retirement benefits, and a psychological contract based on a quid pro quo of employee loyalty for job security. The new model involves a market-mediated relationship, the shift of employment risk to employees and a new psychological contract where the job only lasts as long as it is a beneficial proposition for both parties.

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8 IT Jobs in Flux
The Enterprisers Project, May 26

In the ever-evolving IT industry, it is up to individuals to stay adaptable and understand how roles, functions and titles can change over time. Many popular IT roles today are misunderstood, seeing rapid change, or in some cases, on a path to becoming obsolete. Simply put, even IT jobs that are popular today may no longer be around in a few years from now. With that in mind, the article takes a closer look at eight IT jobs that are currently in flux today.

In order to identify individual IT roles in flux in your organization, do not focus on titles alone. Instead, look at the value specific roles are bringing to the organization, including those at the very top. High-ranking employees may be so high in the stratosphere that they are unable to provide solutions that impact or are relevant to the business. If their value to the business does not result in something tangible, then its cause for concern, especially if these individuals cannot actually engineer and execute on the work on their own. In the IT industry, the disruption of some roles is less about positions becoming obsolete, and more so about positions continuously changing. Leaders must prepare their teams for these changes. With the current industry-wide pull towards automation and private and public clouds, for example, the traditional ITOps roles (and even newer DevOps roles) are transforming, from that of an IT professional with a deep understanding of software, to that of a software engineer with a deep understanding of operations and hardware.

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Is A Zero-Cost Model Plausible for Science and Engineering Programs?
Blog@CACM, May 27

As universities look for new ways to provide their graduates with the right mix of professional core knowledge and practical skills required by employers, they face many challenges. Many of these challenges are financial in nature. It is, therefore, time to consider a suitable economic model that not only provides students with such additional skills, but whose budget load is almost zero. Such a model is theoretically plausible and, furthermore, could enable the university to exploit its strengths and resources more inclusively, express agility, increase its impact, and create a network of stakeholders from the ecosystem of science and engineering that will ensure the future sustainability of the program.

The zero-cost model may guide academic institutions when considering the establishment of new educational programs. It suggests that programs can sometimes be launched and operated successfully without additional investments, based on the utilization of existing resources, while at the same time better fulfilling their targets. Programs that apply this model address both social and individual needs, focus on imparting professional skills, in addition to excellent professional knowledge, and utilize existing university resources that represent its strengths, all without any other internal or external resources. They also create multi-level win-win situations for many stakeholders, both within and outside of the university: individual students, faculty members, the university, the industry, and the state.

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Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic For the Computer Science Industry
Communications of the ACM, June 2020

The computing profession has much to contribute in response to the worldwide pandemic, both in terms of finding potential medical solutions and in helping the economy restructure. With sufficient computing power and the use of new tools such as machine learning for deep, multilayer neural networks, computer scientists are able to analyze data effectively in ways not feasible earlier. There are many organizations around the world that are making use of supercomputing capacity, neural networks, specialized processing and text analysis using machine learning to uncover possible responses to the novel coronavirus.

The computer science community is only just beginning to take advantage of new algorithms and large-scale data analytics to shed light on difficult and complex problems, not the least of which are the mysteries and complexities of bio-ecosystem interactions. COVID-19 appears to have originated in bats (as have several other coronaviruses) but reached humans through other intermediary hosts. Advanced computer algorithms can look at virus mutations, understand how the virus is replicating, and help to develop new cures or vaccines based on this data.

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