ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, December 21, 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 24, December 21, 2021
In 2022, the most in-demand tech jobs will require candidates to demonstrate the types of skills that enable organizations to complete their digital transformation initiatives. After all, the events of the last two years have completely changed how businesses interact with their customers and each other. While in previous years, the most sought-after candidates tended to be in roles that required greater technical knowledge, recruiters are now seeing a return to the desire for people who can deliver change to a business. According to Hays, the most in-demand tech jobs for 2022 include project managers, business analysts, DevOps engineers and data analysts.
At the top of the list are project managers, who are responsible for the delivery of transformational change, as well as scoping out what it might look like. It is easy to see why they will be in demand by IT organizations in 2022. It is critical that these people are able to work within agile frameworks, since this is where the demand is. Of course, organizations will still rely on the developers who can build the applications that the customers and employees are utilizing. They will then require individuals who can use the data that is being gathered from those applications and offer any insights to help the business. As a result, there continues to be demand for data engineers and analysts in this space.
IT Skills Gap Is Forcing Leaders to Prioritize Cloud and Security Hires
VentureBeat.com, November 17
According to the Skillsoft Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills and Salary Report, 50% of IT departments say cybersecurity is their most important area of investment, followed by cloud computing, governance, and compliance. In 2022, then, IT organizations will prioritize cloud computing and cybersecurity as they go about addressing the ongoing IT skills gap. The Skillsoft report examines the growing global IT skills gap by region, with additional insights into the most in-demand IT skills, current salaries and compensation, as well as organizational plans for training, leadership development, and certifications. One big takeaway is that 76% of IT decision-makers worldwide now face critical skills gaps in their departments, a percentage that has increased significantly over the past five years.
Salary gains remain strong for IT professionals with cloud computing and cybersecurity skills. IT professionals with cloud computing, cybersecurity, analytics and big data, and AI and machine learning skills are the most in-demand today and regularly receive invitations to interview for new jobs. According to IT directors and CIOs currently hiring, it is common for experienced IT professionals in these fields to be offered 25%-30% or more over their base salary, a signing bonus, and stock options. According to one recent study, IT professionals in North America with cloud computing expertise earn an average salary of $144,533 today, and cybersecurity experts are paid $132,163. North American IT professionals are earning an average base salary of $121,544 this year. IT decision-makers in North America, on average, earn $28,770 more than IT staff. North America is the highest paying geographic region by a wide margin for IT professionals today.
Since the tech skills gap continues to be a major issue in the workplace, IT organizations must figure out creative ways to secure the talent they need to accelerate growth and complete new initiatives. Most importantly, there is now an expanding skills gap for in-demand jobs in emerging technology specialties such as as AI, data science and cybersecurity. The good news is that some companies are tackling the problem head-on through various innovative programs and initiatives to attract, grow and retain skilled talent.
Acquiring new talent may seem like the most efficient way to address the skills gap, but this approach has a limited impact. A more sustainable and possibly cost-effective alternative is to upskill and reskill your workforce. Not only will this help your people remain relevant in a rapidly evolving digital economy, your organization will also benefit from a more prepared and engaged workforce. These programs are both popular and will play a vital role in keeping talent competitive well into the future. A recent Monster poll found that tech (46%), computer (39%), and occupation specific-training such as credentialing and licenses (35%) topped the list of most-needed hard skills training at workplaces across the country. It also found that nearly half of workers would be more likely to stay with their employer if they were offered skills training. To capitalize on these benefits, several of the largest employers in the U.S. have already introduced reskilling programs to their workforce.
What Do Software Developers Want Out of Their Next Job?
Dice Insights, December 13
Across the United States, millions of workers are quitting their jobs, often because they are interested in exploring new opportunities or higher salaries, and the story is no different for software developers. According to the latest Stack Overflow survey, about 75 percent of developers are either actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities. More than half of developers said they are not actively looking for a new position, but they are open if the right opportunity comes along. Another 25 percent said they are actively looking for a new role, while 20 percent claimed they were not interested in a new job.
When asked why they are considering moving to new employers, about 65 percent of software developers named salary as the primary reason, with 39 percent wanting to work with new technologies, 36 percent wanting better work-life balance, and 35 percent seeking growth or leadership opportunities. Moreover, 53 percent said they wanted a company that prioritized the developer experience, while another 41 percent wanted transparency in salary calculations. Slightly fewer (40 percent) wanted a company that allowed them to learn from colleagues on other teams, while 35 percent wanted a structured onboarding process and 33 percent wanted the ability to consult with experts within the company.
5 Soft Skills For Computer Science Careers
ZDNet.com, December 3
While technical skills are vital to computer science careers, soft skills also play a significant role in the tech industry. Software developers need strong teamwork abilities. Computer systems analysts must communicate complex ideas in simple terms. And information security analysts need creative approaches to stopping cybersecurity threats. Thus, while resumes might list multiple programming languages, tools, and technologies, hiring managers and recruiters are also looking to see if you have the right people skills to complete projects and reach organizational goals. When evaluating job applicants for computer science jobs, hiring managers look for people skills related to collaboration, communication and creativity.
Tech professionals must communicate clearly with their coworkers, including those in non-technical roles, and that is why soft skills are so valued by hiring managers. For example, information security analysts and computer systems analysts often work closely with non-technical professionals to recommend improvements. Describing complex ideas in simple terms or advocating for a particular strategy requires communication expertise. Professionals also rely on communication to reach or modify goals during projects. Teamwork and communication work hand-in-hand. Building strong communication skills requires time and effort. Professionals and those earning computer science degrees can improve their listening skills, practice public speaking and presentations, and pay attention to verbal and written communication.
Getting a Startup Job as a Late-Career Candidate
Harvard Business Review, December 7
After decades of climbing the corporate ladder, many seasoned IT professionals are now looking for a new workplace environment as well as the excitement of a fast-growing company. As a result, they are beginning to think more seriously about leaving their safe corporate jobs and taking a role in a startup. However, there are unique challenges for senior executives who want to get a job at a startup, including the need to counteract age bias. In addition, startups often have an intense pace, a lack of structure and process, constant change, and a high degree of risk. Therefore, it is important to do some honest reflection to make sure that getting a job at a startup is really the right next move for you.
An important first step is increasing your overall startup exposure. One of the benefits of being an older worker is that you can sell yourself as a board member, advisor, or informal mentor to startups, particularly smaller ones. You may not get paid, but you will build your startup resume, learn about the environment, and add to the repertoire of stories you can tell about your exposure to startups. This is also a great opportunity to make sure you are up to speed on tech platforms commonly used in startups. You can find new opportunities by networking. Ask your friends and colleagues to see who is plugged into the startup world. The benefit to this kind of networking is that, since you are looking for advisory and mentoring opportunities instead of a job, you have nothing to hide. You can be very open about asking everyone, including people at your current company. When you go into interviews, be aware of ways to make your age a feature or benefit rather than a liability.
Learning From Rejection to Land Your Dream Job
Fast Company, December 17
Even if you have a stellar academic background or extensive experience within an industry, you might find yourself struggling to land your dream job. Even if you do everything possible to prepare for a career move, you might find it difficult to to find a company that will move you through through the first or second round of the interview process. While the length of the application process varies by field, Linkedin suggests that it takes, on average, 49 days to land an engineering role, with the slowest 10% of hires taking about 82 days. Despite the potential for constant rejection, you must not let your failures and bad experiences define you. With that in mind, the article provides some tips that can help you survive the job search process.
To boost your odds of landing a job, try making personal connections instead of just using easy-apply methods to send in your resume quickly and to a lot of different places. While this might save you a lot of time in the short run, you could be rejected or ghosted by the companies you apply to because you did not stand out. You will have much more success once you begin reaching out directly to hiring managers via email or LinkedIn, as opposed to blindly applying to jobs and hoping something will stick. Not only will this help you showcase your personality and get noticed by recruiters more, but also will allow there to be more transparency in the overall application process. While getting rejected by any job can be upsetting and confidence-crushing, the best thing you can do for yourself is to ask why. Whether it was a lack of experience or your background was simply not the right fit, receiving valuable feedback from hiring managers can help you improve your chances of getting hired in the future.
IT Careers: Secrets to Making a Successful Change
The Enterprisers Project, December 10
The start of a new year is a good time to make a career change, but you will need to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses before you transition into the career of your dreams. Whether you are jumping into a brand-new career path or leaving the industry you have been in for years, you need to prepare a one-year success plan. At the outset, you will need to get over your fear of being rejected. Failure is always possible when you take risks, so you can not let that hold you back. Instead, focus on your strengths, such as specific industry expertise, your education, your network, or a supportive mentor.
As a first step, create a one-year success plan. A year is a helpful yardstick for most career change jumps, as it provides enough leeway to prepare and act. Good planning should begin at the endpoint or goal and build backward, because if you do not know where you are going, how can you expect to get there? Write a clear vision that includes where you want to go in one year, what you would like to accomplish in one year, and who would like to become in one year. This should be like a personal mission statement that you can share with others.
Framing the Description of the Shrinking Pipeline
Blog@CACM, December 15
The shrinking pipeline is a known phenomenon in the context of computer science. It refers to the low percentages of women earning computer science academic degrees and holding faculty positions. Low percentages of women in computer science academic programs naturally lead to the underrepresentation of women in the labor market in computer science-related domains. One outcome of this phenomenon is expressed, among other things, in difficulties overcoming the critical, worldwide labor shortage in computer science and related professions. The shrinking pipeline was described nearly 20 years ago, and has since continued to be discussed in many contexts and forums with almost no success in widening the pipeline.
In most cases, solutions that widen the shrinking pipeline are described in terms of increasing the percentages of women studying computer science by a variety of ways. This might include mentoring programs, separate classes for female students, special curricula for female students, and a call to start closing the participation gaps in computer science in high schools. However, a different approach might be more effective. For example, it is possible to change the discourse used to describe the shrinking pipeline by replacing the percentages of women with the percentages of men. This change is simple. Instead of talking of increasing the percentages of women, industry practitioners should perhaps start talking about decreasing the percentages of men in computer science academic programs, in the computer science labor market and in leading tech companies. Clearly, the two descriptions are equivalent since the sum of the percentages of women and the percentages of men is constant.
How Computing Empowered Me to Solve Big Problems in Medicine
Communications of the ACM, January 2022
Having a strong background in computer science can prepare you for a wide range of careers, including those in medicine, healthcare and biotech. No matter where you end up, or what accomplishments you have throughout your career, the world of computing will likely play a prominent role in many aspects of your work and life. As computers continue to become more powerful, new opportunities will open up. For example, analyzing the DNA fingerprints of thousands of strains of bacteria is now possible due to computerized image analysis. And the expanding field of AI and machine learning is now advancing various aspects of the practice of medicine. By focusing on timely and significant issues, you will be best positioned to deploy innovative technological solutions in order to make a significant impact on society.
Exploit every opportunity to pursue excellence. This starts at the university, and continues through graduate school and then to the workplace. Look for the opportunity to be connected to incredibly talented people, many of whom can become great sources of inspiration. Find new technologies that are fundamentally changing scientific paradigms. We live in a world where technologies are changing at an exponential pace and opening novel opportunities for scientific advancement. By getting ahead of the curve of these new technologies, you can establish your credibility and build your reputation within the industry.
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