ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 2, 2021
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 17, Issue 3, February 2, 2021
A recent analysis of top jobs by Glassdoor, which gathers employee ratings of workplaces along with job openings, finds Java developer is currently the top-ranked job in the country. Data scientists and product managers rank second and third, respectively. Also rounding out the top 10 are enterprise architects, DevOps engineers, information security engineers, mobile engineers, and software engineers. The Glassdoor job score is determined by weighing three factors equally: earning potential, overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings. Results represent job titles that rate highly among all three categories.
Based on the Glassdoor analysis, IT professionals engaged with delivering digital capabilities for enterprises are seeing the greatest levels of job satisfaction as well as the highest median annual base salaries. It is notable that enterprise architects and DevOps engineers appear in the top five in the list, since these are cutting-edge roles that are directly involved in helping technology effortlessly map to the business requirements of the moment. Data scientists also rank highly, given that AI and data analytics already sit on top of business priorities. It is possible that corporate leadership has been acknowledging the vital roles these professionals played over the past year in not only keeping their businesses going, but also opening up new channels of growth.
With more and more professionals taking on remote work, people are deciding they do not have to necessarily stay in bigger tech hubs like Silicon Valley and New York City to find interesting new IT opportunities. The spotlight is shining brightly on regional tech hubs in places like Idaho, Nevada and Oregon that offer remote workers a better quality of life and potential access to more career opportunities. As a result, talent is on the move. If you run an established business or startup, you may want to start looking for remote team members in U.S. tech hubs like Boise, Idaho or Reno, Nevada.
Boise, Idaho is fast becoming one of the hottest tech towns in the U.S. Homegrown startups are popping up, many focused on robotics, engineering and online software. These startups are growing thanks to a good source of tech talent already available in the city and surrounding area. Numerous founders have packed up and left the San Francisco Bay Area with an eye on Boise. Many other Idaho cities and towns, such as Coeur d'Alene, Missoula and Twin Falls, are also gaining new tech talent. Reno, Nevada, and the nearby city of Sparks has been gaining interest in recent years and attracting talent from all over the country, especially after Elon Musk chose the area for the first Tesla Gigafactory. New and relocating companies have drawn talent to fill thousands of jobs. Just north of Lake Tahoe and Carson City, Reno has a business-friendly tax structure, government assistance and collaboration for startups, natural beauty and numerous outdoor activities, and affordable housing.
Across the technology field, career growth will be promising for those who can apply a deep, working knowledge of AI with business skills. It is not just technical employees who can benefit from building up their artificial intelligence skills. The opportunities abound across the employment spectrum. For example, product managers and business analysts who have a vision of what their product or products should do, how it should behave, and how to monetize it using AI will rise to the top. This will be part of the demand for non-tech professionals who understand the power of AI.
Regardless of industry, job roles are making use of AI technology either to enhance labor through decision support or to replace labor entirely. The disruption of non-technical job areas like marketing or sales is well underway. The advancement of robotics, AI, and machine learning has permeated every corner of the workforce and in many cases the concept of non-technical versus technical careers is simply a matter of degree. For example, financial industry firms will likely shift toward more advanced augmented intelligence, with tools that learn from interactions with humans and help humans make decisions. In HR, agencies and in-house HR departments will entrust more and more to digital applicant screening through capabilities assessments, re-skilling opportunities, experience reapplication and statistical modeling of educational, emotional, and psychological makeup aligned with job profiles and models of successful applicants.
Software Developer: Still One of the Best Jobs in America?
Dice Insights, January 25
According to the latest survey from U.S. News and World Report, software developer ranks second among the best jobs in America. Software developer also ranked second among best STEM jobs, and number one among technology jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 21.5 percent employment growth for software developers between 2019 and 2029. In that period, an estimated 316,000 jobs should open up. U.S. News and World Report used a number of data points to determine its rankings, including median salary, unemployment rate, future job prospects, and stress level.
After software developer, the next tech-centric job on the overall U.S. News and World Report list was data scientist, which came in eighth place. The rankings are notably dominated by medical roles, including physician assistant (in first place), nurse practitioner (in third), and physician (in fifth), so any tech roles in the medical industry are worth exploring in 2021. In addition to software developer and data scientist, the Top 10 tech jobs included IT manager, information security analyst and computer systems analyst. It is no secret that software developers and engineers with the right combination of skills and experience can expect to pull down hefty compensation, especially when you factor in bonuses, stock options, and other benefits.
Rethinking IT Recruitment
ComputerWeekly.com, January 28
In the UK, the coronavirus pandemic could lead many organizations and companies to reconsider their entire IT recruitment process in order to focus more on older career changers who are looking for new pathways into tech. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, more than 828,000 jobs have been lost since the pandemic began, with almost half of those workers aged over 45. Meanwhile, research from Microsoft shows a wave of career switching among workers aged over 45 in the UK. Together, this data suggests that organizations have more opportunities than ever before to tap into this new talent pool of older workers.
Last year, Microsoft and LinkedIn started offering free learning paths mapped to jobs that are in demand, including best practices for job searching and interview prepping, as well as more technical courses in Excel and PowerPoint. Those new offerings follow logically from what has been happening in the workplace. Microsoft reported that more than four in 10 (44%) over-45s are considering switching careers. Nearly one-third (32%) are driven to switch by fears around financial stability and more than a quarter (26%) are concerned about the rising state pension age. Nearly three-quarters (73%) are willing to invest significant time in learning new skills. This suggests that anyone looking for a new job opportunity would be receptive to online courses as a way to update their skills.
Want to Work in Data? Here Are 6 Skills You Will Need
Silicon Republic, January 27
Coding and data visualization skills are among the most important skills you will need to demonstrate to employers if you would like to work in the rapidly growing data science field. Just keep in mind that there is huge variety in the field, with roles spanning more than just analytics and data science. For example, if you are looking to help a company with its compliance efforts using data, you will also need a background in more traditional business areas. And, for some cutting-edge roles, you will also expected to develop solutions that showcase your creative flair for data. The good news is that annual median salaries for data analysts continue to rise, while salaries and total compensation for senior data scientists are among some of the highest in the industry.
In the post-COVID world, data science skills will continue to play a large role. This includes data visualization skills, which have gained momentum during the pandemic as a way to help coordinate responses. Visualizing data involves taking the numbers, extracting trends from them (such as potential opportunities and risks) and presenting this information in an easily digestible way to stakeholders. Organizations will need to embrace interactive data-visualization tools in the future. Being able to interact with the data in new and visually appealing ways will add another level to what is possible with data insights tools.
How to Get an IT Job in 2021: 7 Essential Tips
The Enterprisers Project, January 25
The future looks bright for IT professionals who are considering a job switch in 2021, given that technology projects and digital initiatives will continue to be a priority for organizations over the next 12 months. The talent who are able to help them and their leaders push these projects forward will have plenty of opportunities. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, IT job seekers will continue to contend with unique circumstances in 2021. For example, they should be willing to expand their IT job search radius beyond their immediate location and they will need to consider contract positions.
While prior to the pandemic many companies preferred local candidates, the past twelve months proved that remote work could be successful. Not only does this increase access to top talent for companies, but it also provides job seekers with more options. The job search used to be a proximity game based on how long your commute would be. That is not the case anymore. If you like the flexibility of working remotely, consider opportunities outside your direct area. Also, consider contract positions since more organizations are choosing to hire contract workers over full-time positions, according to a report from McKinsey. About 70 percent of the executives surveyed expect the demand for temporary and contract workers to rise over the next two years compared to levels prior to the pandemic. Reasons for the increase include uncertainty about when economies will regain momentum and cost pressures as companies work to weather the downturn.
Hiring Developers Is Going to Be Your Next Big Problem
Tech Republic, January 18
Hiring managers worry that they will struggle to recruit programmers in 2021 as companies across the board emphasize new efforts to boost tech talent. According to the latest developer survey, a majority (61%) of HR professionals reported than finding qualified developers would present their biggest recruitment challenge of 2021.The survey also found that businesses will feel the squeeze of a more competitive tech talent market this year as more companies scramble to fill new tech roles. This has been largely driven by the events of 2020, during which businesses adapted to working remotely in the cloud and hiring virtually.
The CodinGame survey, based on the responses of 15,000 developers and HR managers, found that 64% of companies were looking to hire up to 50 developers this year. Others had more ambitious recruitment targets: 14.4% said they planned to hire 50 to 100 developers, while 13.5% hope to recruit over 100 new developers in 2021 alone. The survey also revealed an urgency to fill these positions, with 24% of HR professionals reporting that recruiting within tight time frames would present a major challenge. A quarter (25%) of respondents listed standing out from other companies as their main difficulties when tempting developers to apply for advertised roles.
A Practical Guide to Managing an Open Source Project
ACM Queue, January 18
Managing an open source project and helping it grow over the long term requires a unique toolbox of skills and competencies, not to mention a change in your overall mindset as a manager. Most importantly, you will also likely have to unlearn some of the coping techniques and practices you might have acquired from previous managers or bosses. And, since you will be working with a mix of volunteers and paid staff, you will also need to re-think how to motivate and inspire others to work at their peak potential. In short, transitioning from the technical ranks to being a manager is truly a difficult transition, and that is especially true in the open source world.
When it comes to managing open source projects, lesson number one is that people are not machines. And that means we need to treat people differently from computers. Managers need to understand what motivates and inspires others. Lesson number two is that managers need to re-think standard operating practices in the open source world, especially when it comes to organizing work. Given what we know of typical management in technical circles, it might be difficult to find good examples, but they do exist. It might require you, however, to look at successful volunteer projects outside of technology.
Taking Small Steps to Mitigate the Universal Problem of Information Overload
Ubiquity, January 2021
For any IT professional, the ability to deal with information overload is an important skill to help you boost your overall productivity and efficiency. If you can find information that you need quickly, you will be better at your job. In this wide-ranging interview, an experienced developer advocate working for King.com (a leading mobile game developer in Europe) discusses the increasing challenges of information overload for computing professionals and students. He also shares some of the strategies that can be employed to make information easier to find and ensure the right audience receives the right information at the right time.
The biggest challenge for the future of computing is information overload. The amount of information that humans must process is continuously growing and getting harder to manage. Two problems arise with this growing mountain of information. The first problem is how to find and store the required information when it is needed. The second problem is how to ensure that the found information is accurate and helpful for the intended audience. Computing practitioners mostly deal with the first problem, which is the need to find, absorb, comprehend, and sort vast amounts of information every day. For example, as a developer, the choice of frameworks to develop is staggering. Even when working on an existing project, the history of design choices, architecture, and design constraints must be understood alongside the used language, libraries, and frameworks before any new contribution is made. As a result, it takes a newly hired software developer three to nine months to become a productive member of a development team. As the demand for computing professionals keeps rising worldwide, the field should not become harder to enter but easier. This presents a real challenge for anyone concerned about information overload.
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