ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 25, 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 [email protected]

Volume 16, Issue 16, August 25, 2020

The Ten Best Cities For Tech Jobs
MSN Money, August 22

While Silicon Valley remains an important tech hub, there are ten developing tech hubs that are experiencing a recent boom in jobs growth. The Bay Area may have held the tech spotlight for a while, but now the jobs are expanding to other areas of the country, including Texas and Florida, with College Station and Coral Springs ranking at the top of the list. In coming up with the 10 best cities for tech jobs, MSN Money ranked over 300 cities on factors such as the increase in tech jobs and the overall percentage of tech jobs.

College Station, Texas ranks No. 1 on the list of best tech cities, with the largest share of workers in tech in the top 10, a strong growth rate, and 7,763 total tech jobs. Over the most recent five-year period, tech job growth has been a sizzling 82.66%. Nearly 1 in 7 of all workers in College Station now work in the tech industry. Coral Springs, Florida ranks No. 2 on the list. The city has experienced the third-highest tech growth in the country recently, with 163.25% growth over the past five years. The city now has 6,247 jobs in the tech field, or approximately 9.20% of all jobs.

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DevOps Engineer: The Most In-Demand IT Title For the Future
The Enterprisers Project, August 20

Within the past few years, the DevOps Engineer title has grown rapidly in popularity, with LinkedIn declaring it one of the most-recruited roles in 2018. Moreover, 51 percent of respondents to the 2020 Enterprise DevOps Skills Report said they had recently hired or plan to hire someone for that title. As a result, there is a high likelihood that DevOps Engineer could become a must-have title within IT for years to come. Technology organizations will be planning to add this role in 2021, which means that IT workers should be familiarizing themselves with the unique skills and experiences required of a DevOps Engineer.

The main focus area for a DevOps Engineer is understanding the software development lifecycle and its associated dependencies and topics. Combining DevOps and Engineer into one title reflects the fact that DevOps is not just a methodology. The role also requires an engineering background and a variety of skills to balance a number of different responsibilities. Those responsibilities include designing, building, coding, integrating, testing, and maintaining, all with the goal of enhancing the collaboration between two very broad silos of development and operations. DevOps talent is still hard to find, especially given how popular it has become within the enterprise.

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Your Newest Cybersecurity Professional Is Already in Your Company
Security Intelligence, August 2020

The cybersecurity talent gap is real, with some reports estimating that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs left unfilled globally by 2021. Instead of looking for the perfect candidate that does not exist, organizations should broaden their search parameters of what it takes to become a successful cybersecurity professional. Decision-makers need to be creative about developing a security team. Looking internally should be the first option, and that means looking beyond IT to find someone with the right mix of technical and soft skills.

Traditionally, the standard for entry-level cybersecurity professionals was five years of experience and several certifications, most specifically the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certificate. However, those who put in five years in the field and gained the certification typically are not looking for entry-level jobs. Moreover, job descriptions do not match the actual duties. They typically follow a basic template, both overestimating and underestimating the actual needs of the position. Finally, there is a tendency to overlook talent that does not check off all the right boxes. Most climb the same ladder to get to the job. But, defining what that ladder is means a lot of potential great hires are ignored.

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Virtual Internships: Pathways to Success For Companies
Dice Insights, August 18

COVID-19 has accelerated workforce trends many companies were already beginning to embrace, such as more flexible work schedules and home office options. That shift has now extended to the position that is, for many, an important first rung in the career ladder: an internship. The big challenge for organizations, however, is translating the hands-on learning experience an internship provides into the digital realm. Solutions might include digital conferencing tools, Q&A sessions with top managers, and chat functionality for interns where they can message each other back and forth, or even the creation of a new intern liaison role.

The struggle many companies face at the outset is figuring out how to replicate the in-person experience, as well as the team building and learning, all with digital communications tools. For some organizations, it means turning to a provider of cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions with a built-in Zoom-like function to make that happen. In addition to virtual stand-ups every day, companies can also organize a regular speaker series, where managers or executives can share their experiences and then leave time open for the interns to ask questions. Top managers can also make themselves available once a week for Q&A sessions online so they can help connect the dots for interns across various areas of business, find out what they are learning, and inform hem how their work affects clients or consumers.

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How to Re-Imagine the Second Half of Your Career
Harvard Business Review, August 18

Being able to reinvent yourself in your job is particularly important in the technology industry, where technological disruptions automate IT workers out of jobs annually. Remaining viable in the job marketplace means you have to be intentional about where you are going, and you have to be prepared to act when the right opportunity presents itself. With a foundation in your expertise, a thorough and current understanding of your domain and an ever-growing network to lean on, you can guarantee the next job will find you. With that in mind, there are five core concepts to keep in mind as you think about the second half of your career.

At some point in your career, you will need to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset in order to proactively put yourself and your ideas out in the open in an effort to attract opportunities, land them, and turn them into successful ventures. You have to think about this challenge like an entrepreneur, especially when it comes to defining your target audience and thinking about what problems you can help them solve. These questions start you down the path of building a startup mentality. Sharing your expertise with others can be daunting. However, you need to tell your story. Your unique life experiences, diverse paths to your current position and obstacles overcome are the core of your newfound expertise platform. No one else has that. Remember to tap into the deep vein of skills and expertise that is unique to you.

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6 Hot Emerging Tech Hubs For IT Job Seekers, August 14

According to data from the Dice Technology 2020 Tech Salary Report, many emerging tech hubs are doing well, even against the backdrop of the current pandemic. The good news is that these emerging hubs typically have lower costs of living than places like Silicon Valley or New York. These smaller cities and metro areas typically offer a blend of tech and non-tech companies seeking to hire IT workers for software development, computer engineering, cloud computing, IT support, customer service and more. The following six emerging tech hubs are delivering significant tech salary gains and are attracting new tech talent and companies thanks to access to venture capital, local universities and colleges and often a lower cost of living: St. Louis, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, San Diego and Columbus, Ohio.

In the Midwest, St. Louis is rapidly turning into one of the most dynamic tech hubs in the region. Tech salaries in St. Louis have risen nearly 14 percent over the past year, despite job postings for tech dropping 6 percent. The average tech salary in St. Louis falls just under $98,000, according to data from Dice. St. Louis is poised as a fast growing tech hub, with salaries edging closer to major tech hubs such as San Francisco, where the cost of living is also 56 percent higher, according to data from NerdWallet. In the South, Atlanta is a standout tech hub. The city is home to the Atlanta Tech Village, a new business incubator. Atlanta is now the fourth largest tech hub in the U.S., with 300 companies as of 2018 and as of 2019, it was responsible for raising nearly $900 million in venture capital financing and had the fourth most tech job postings of any U.S. city. The average salary for tech workers in Atlanta is $94,084 per year, which is up nearly 10 percent from the previous year, according to Dice. While Atlanta has been championing startups for years, it has also attracted the attention of major tech companies.

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Tech Leaders Must Make Post-COVID Upskilling a Priority, August 22

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were troubling signs that Black Americans were not participating in the overall growth of the tech industry over the past decade at the same rate as other demographic groups. For example, a 2019 McKinsey report showed that Black Americans, employees and small business owners alike, are those most likely to be replaced by automation. Tech companies shaping the future of our society have a unique opportunity to advance socioeconomic development by upskilling minorities to bridge skill gaps, increase social and economic mobility, and lighten the burden of life post-COVID on one of the most vulnerable communities in the country.

With the demand for tech talent increasing and nearly one million unfilled tech jobs in the market, there is an ample and undisputed opportunity to upskill minority workforces to prepare them for vital careers. And there is no group better suited to address this challenge than top companies in the technology industry. With a combined market value of $6.4 trillion, technology giants like Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are fundamental and indispensable parts of our daily lives, and they are continuing to define our future faster than any other institutions. And, if anything, COVID-19 has enlarged the role of the tech industry in everyday life. Fortunately, these tech giants and many Fortune 500 companies have already begun providing resources to support actualizing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future of work.

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Tips For Virtual Job Interviews: Here Is What You Need to Know
USA Today, August 20

In this work-at-home era when most job interviews have turned to the webcam in place of in-person meetings, the networking website LinkedIn has introduced new video practice tools for online interviews. Since more companies are embracing video interviews as a great tool to meet and get to know job candidates, it is important to prepare in advance. LinkedIn now supplies a list of 26 potential questions asked by interviewers and asks you to record your answers on video. Before you get started, LinkedIn also offers video tutorials on each question, with tips from LinkedIn experts on how to answer each question.

In responding to questions about why a particular organization should hire you, LinkedIn recommends matching your strengths to the position, talking about your accomplishments to show why you would be a great hire. Then you answer the question yourself, by clicking on the record tab and speaking directly into your webcam. From there, LinkedIn uses artificial intelligence to grade the video, taking into account how fast or slow you spoke, and whether or not you used any sensitive words. The tools are useful for practice sessions. Listen to how you answered the questions. Did you look directly into the camera to make eye contact? Did your clothing blend into the background, or was it too busy? If the background of your video is filled with clutter and distraction, that could be a turnoff to potential employers. A background with no distractions works best, to keep the focus on you. After you have recorded the video and studied the LinkedIn responses, you can share the video privately with your network for feedback.

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On the Internet of Medical Things
Communications of the ACM, August 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internet of Medical Things could become a new high-growth area within the tech industry. Even with the improved availability of personal protection equipment and masks, there is an increased need for new Internet of Medical Things solutions, especially remote sensing devices that can pick up vital signs and other medical information. Wearable sensors have become popular items for people who want to track their daily exercise or challenge themselves to exceed past performance with new records, so they will likely take on much greater significance for patients unable or unwilling to make a traditional visit to the doctor.

Many companies make devices that can sense steps taken, pulse rate, heart beats, blood-oxygen levels, rate of motion, temperature, blood glucose levels, and weight among other metrics. Some devices are already in regular use to record continuous health conditions such as wearable heart monitors. Until now, these have made local recordings for later analysis. In the future, one can easily foresee real-time monitoring and diagnosis through the Internet. Many mobile phones support applications that gather, analyze, and present this information. There seems little doubt that many more devices will be developed for non-invasive measurement. It is entirely feasible for more invasive devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, and arrhythmia detectors to be linked to watches or mobile phones. Taken together, this is the Internet of Medical Things.

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Towards Equity in K-12 Computer Science Education
Blog@CACM, July 31

Now, more than ever, there is a pressing challenge to transform computer science education to invite, support and enable success among Black, Latinx, rural, and low-income populations. However, deep structural barriers can only be addressed with deep structural changes. Access to high school courses is not enough. Although many high schools now have AP Computer Science, Exploring Computer Science and other high school offerings, the students who take these courses are not representative of overall school demographics. Students who take these high school electives are disproportionately white and male. With that in mind, the article takes a closer look at typical structural issues discussed by educators and examines how to build new computer science pathways to address them.

According to educators, there are three basic principles that are a starting point for tackling equity within the structure of a school district. The first principle is consistency of access to CS learning opportunities: Consistency matters. School leaders, teachers, and the wider community need to know that what is offered in computing at one school is likewise offered at another school, regardless of differences in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. This is not to say one size fits all, but it is to say that districts have the responsibility to ensuring high quality computing curricula and instruction occurs across all of its schools and that the community supports their students to learn it.

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