ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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 16, Issue 15, August 11, 2020
According to the latest Dice Tech Job Report, there are growing signs of optimism for the tech industry, especially in states that are proving resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although nationwide tech postings in the second quarter of 2020 were down when compared to the same quarter in 2019, there was much positivity within the data nonetheless. For example, many tech hubs showed continued growth, along with technologist occupations that build, maintain, and expand tech infrastructure. Most encouragingly, when comparing June job postings to those in May, there are large increases across the U.S., and, in some cases, a return to levels that are consistent with pre-COVID-19 numbers. Companies initially responded to the pandemic by scaling back their immediate hiring, but there are many signs that confidence is returning to the market.
The good news is that many states are proving resilient in the face of the pandemic. In Virginia, for example, job postings rose 11 percent year-over-year, with much of that growth driven by a 28 percent increase in the city of Arlington, which is home to many defense and federal government contractors. Even in states that showed a decline, there was still some good news. For instance, California’s job postings declined 28 percent in the second quarter, but its gross job postings (140,000) were almost twice as many as any other state. Across the country, companies are moving forward with their plans and need for talent. Despite the impact of the pandemic, established and emerging tech hubs alike showed year-over-year growth in the second quarter. Richmond saw 33 percent growth year-over-year, trailed by Arlington (28 percent), Austin (16 percent) and Raleigh (9 percent). Almost all tech hubs saw job postings increase between May and June.
Whether you are just starting out or you are looking to make a lateral career move, there are 20 computer science jobs with strong long-term job prospects, including Big Data Engineer, Blockchain Developer and Information Systems Manager. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow by 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, creating approximately 546,200 new jobs. Many of these will be in emerging new tech fields. No matter what type of computer science job you are looking for, it is a good idea to optimize your resume and polish your interviewing skills to get the position you are after.
One computer science role very much in demand is big data engineer, with an average annual salary of $157,486, according to ZipRecruiter. This computer science role leans hard on analytical skills, requiring professionals who are responsible for building algorithms that will provide insight into raw data in order to create system enhancements or fix technical issues. A big data engineer will also typically access huge pools of information and analyze the content in order to create manageable solutions and processes. In addition, as industries continue to develop their blockchain technology, skilled blockchain developers are in high demand and can land one of the higher salaries offered in the computer science world today. Experience with various programming languages, system architecture, and best practices for blockchain technology is a necessity, but proper industry research and problem-solving skills are also a must.
Hiring Managers Should Look Outside Traditional Tech Hubs To Fill Cybersecurity Jobs
Tech Republic, July 23
Cybersecurity professionals are in greater demand than ever before and jobs in this sector are expanding beyond traditional tech hubs like San Francisco and New York. According to a new report on the state of cybersecurity jobs, hiring demand from employers in cities such as Denver, Phoenix and Austin during Q2 helped to boost the cybersecurity sector during a time of layoffs and pay cuts due to the pandemic. The report found that after a dip in May, cybersecurity job listings on LinkedIn bounced back in June with 348,082 open positions. The report found the greatest demand for cybersecurity professionals in healthcare and financial services, with much of this demand coming from outside traditional tech hubs.
As demand continues to be high for cybersecurity skills, the job market has expanded to cities other than San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. The following cities have seen both new workers move in and a healthy level of security jobs: Denver (6,337 open positions), Phoenix (4,089 open positions) and Austin (3,686 open positions). Smaller cities that are generally even more affordable have a strong showing of security jobs, according to the report. Tucson, for example, has 2,210 open positions and Colorado Springs has 1,883 open positions. The report recommends that hiring managers take advantage of the remote work trend to broaden the scope of candidate searches.
Skills That Matter for Software Developers Looking to Get Hired
Software Development Times, August 5
The world may seem like it is on pause as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but technology is still advancing and the skills gap between talent and job requirements is widening. Microsoft estimates that there will be 149 million new technology jobs by 2025, including 20 million for data analysis, machine learning and AI, 23 million for cloud and data roles and 98 million software development jobs. During the pandemic, then, it is more important than ever for tech professionals to boost their skills in order to prepare for this next new wave of hiring for software development roles.
With more people working from home or open to the prospect of a remote position, this represents a new opportunity for people to utilize online resources and make the switch to a digital role. Just a few years ago, online resources such as coding boot camps and massively open online courses had an uncertain future. Now, however, they represent a rapid and stable path forward to a new, high-paying career. The latest HackerRank developer skills report found Gen Z is more likely to utilize boot camps than any other previous generation, and less likely to learn coding skills from books and on-the-job training. The company also found 1 in 3 hiring managers have hired a boot camp grad and have found they are well suited for work, with 72 percent of managers finding they were equal to or better than other hires because of their ability to learn new technologies and languages quickly, and eagerness to take on new responsibilities.
How to Get a Job as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Developer
The Enterprisers Project, July 24
In order to land a role as an artificial intelligence (AI) developer, it is first necessary to understand what this role entails and what types of skills and experiences are most in demand by hiring managers and recruiters. Simply stated, artificial intelligence developers build AI functionality into software applications. The role is generally focused on integrating and implementing AI algorithms and logic into the deliverables of an IT project. Typically a full-stack developer position, this role requires creating, testing, and deploying code. These developers also assist in converting machine learning APIs so that other applications can use them.
Successful AI developers tend to be natural programmers, and job seekers should be prepared to showcase their knowledge of Java, Python, and R. However, applicants often mistake complex programming logic as AI, which it is not. Developers need to be able to teach the machine to solve problems the way a human would through the use of programming. This position requires soft skills too. Problem solving (both autonomously and as part of a team), logic, and the ability to successfully collaborate are a few qualities that are critical to success in this role.
How to Excel as a Female Data Scientist
Information Week, July 24
While Glassdoor has ranked data science as one of the Top 10 best jobs in America every year since 2015, the field, unfortunately, remains dominated by men and often fails to attract female talent. In fact, women represent only 16 percent of the data science workforce. It can be hard for women who are just starting out to know what their career paths should look like, especially during challenging times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it is important to learn what it takes to stand out in a male-dominated field and understand which skills are important to hone as well as which projects to showcase to potential employers.
Female data scientists need to be able to focus on what is really important for their career growth. For example, this means focusing on real-world data science projects instead of trying to become a social media data science influencer. They should look for opportunities to take on data science projects and tasks in any role. This might mean volunteering to take on tasks to build dashboards and toolkits for predictive modeling. Also, do not be afraid to make moves or shift your career in a horizontal direction. If you are not challenged or respected in the workplace, there is no growth trajectory for your role, or your workload is too intense, look elsewhere for opportunities. You have in-demand skills, and there are plenty of places looking to hire, so do not waste your time if a company or position is not the right fit for what you want to pursue.
An Inside Look at Tech Hiring Ahead of the Latest Jobs Report
CNBC, August 6
Uncertainty within the broader economy as a result of COVID-19 continues to have a negative impact on tech hiring efforts. As of late July, tech job postings were down 36 percent compared to the same time last year, according to recent data from Indeed. The sector has lagged the broader U.S. economy, too. Tech postings started to fall behind in mid-May and, since then, the gap has grown steadily. Initially, tech was holding up better than other sectors due to the quick adaptation to remote work, but as the long-term effects of the pandemic have started to sink in, tech hiring has been muted at best. Once expectations change, however, hiring could see a rebound.
The one-two punch of layoffs and a hiring slowdown has hit the most prominent tech hubs, like the Bay Area and Seattle, the hardest. But the drop-off is even more pronounced outside of these areas. In eight tech hubs identified by Indeed, data scientist job postings are trending 37 percent below the level set last year, as of late July. In all other metro areas, data science jobs are off by 51 percent. That could signal tech companies are pushing for centralization, as opposed to dispersing their workforce. Before the coronavirus, some of these smaller tech centers were starting to make headway. However, the pandemic has eliminated those gains. This comes even as many Bay Area-based companies have announced plans to shift to remote work through next year. Facebook and Uber, for example, joined Google in allowing their employees to work from home until at least July 2021.
Use These Strategies To Find a Better Job After COVID-19
Fast Company, July 28
While some businesses have risen to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is that many have fallen short, and that will likely have a huge impact on employee retention rates as soon as the crisis subsides. According to one survey, a majority of employees acknowledged they would consider leaving their job because of the treatment they received during this uncertain time. From poor communication about major issues such as working hours, layoffs, and pay, to an unwillingness to provide the necessary flexibility to handle family responsibilities, companies have failed to meet worker expectations during this crisis. If you are thinking of quitting, it is important that you carefully vet your next job opportunity and reflect on what matters most to ensure your future employer will be a better fit.
While a company website, particularly the About Us and Careers sections, together with any social media accounts, will provide some useful information, do not rely on these alone to assess a potential employer. Remember, employers create the content for those pages and platforms to entice potential candidates to join their team, so naturally they will portray the company in the best possible light. To help you gauge the corporate culture and decide if the work environment of a company and its values are right for you, it is best to seek feedback from those who have worked at the organization. Check out sites like Glassdoor, CareerBliss, and Vault to read employer reviews from current and former employees to get a better sense of the values of the company. Better yet, delve into your network to find someone who was working at the company during the COVID-19 pandemic to get a firsthand account of how things were handled, what was communicated, and how employees were treated during this uncertain time.
Restoring Industry Participation in Computer Science Conferences
Blog@CACM, July 17
At a time when industry participation in computer science conferences appears to be on the decline, it is more important than ever to find new ways to attract conference papers on real industrial products. Back in the 1970s, 40 percent of the papers at a typical conference were on real products from industry. However, at most computer science conferences today, that figure is likely to be closer to 10 percent, and even that 10 percent includes papers based more on industrial research rather than on industrial products. If these trends continue, the historically strong bond between computer architecture research and practice could fade, making it harder to understand the problems facing industry.
One way to attract conference papers on real industrial products is a separate submission process with a separate program committee (PC). The members of this PC should believe that papers on industrial products are valuable complements to academic research papers. The PC members also must understand that company concerns about patent issues or trade secrets may mean some details are not revealed. This might necessitate the introduction of new guidelines specifically for industry papers, even if a conference already has dedicated industry tracks. One important guideline is that the first and virtually all authors must work in industry. Moreover, papers should be based on real products, not prototypes developed in industry research labs.
Internationalizing Teacher Education through Virtual Connections and Blended Learning
eLearn Magazine, July 2020
There is a need for globally competent citizens in an increasingly complex and connected world and one way to meet this need is to integrate global perspectives into U.S. K-12 education. However, teachers often feel unprepared to tie global topics to the existing curriculum and have not been trained on how to integrate global issues in their classrooms. There is thus a need to integrate innovative teaching strategies in teacher education, to ensure teachers enter future classrooms with a high level of intercultural competence, an understanding of global issues from diverse viewpoints, and the ability to use technologies to develop critical thinking and digital literacy in their students. One approach to integrating global perspectives and inquiry-based learning in teacher education curricula is via the use of digital resources and virtual connections.
The importance of internationalizing teacher education, preparing globally competent educators, and ensuring that teachers are able to integrate 21st-century skills, technologies, and global content in their teaching has been acknowledged for over a decade. Several institutions of higher education have attempted to integrate global citizenship in curriculum goals and internationalize their programs. The ubiquity of the internet and easy access to free technologies has made it possible to access and share resources about global topics, and to communicate with people all over the world. While such technologies provide access to resources and people around the world, it is crucial to integrate them in a purposeful way in teaching curricula and learning processes to provide valuable learning experiences.
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