ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 4, 2022
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Volume 18, Issue 1, January 4, 2022
The past twelve months have seen a dramatic change in expectations around IT jobs, and that trend is likely to persist into 2022. More workers than ever before are looking to trade up in their jobs, and many are finding new opportunities in a job market of expanded opportunities enabled by remote work. For the first time ever, remote work topped the list of geographies in job advertisements, placing above New York and San Francisco for technology jobs. At the same time, organizations shifted their focus to retaining existing talent, such as by training their existing talent on skills needed to compete in the current market.
Remote work continued to be a major theme in 2021 as companies set and then delayed plans for a return to the office. At the same time, tech vendor providers of office collaboration tools for remote work refined their product offerings and sketched out a vision for a long-term future that incorporated remote work as a major component. Thanks to developments such as these, organizations will likely focus on enabling richer remote work experiences in 2021, and virtual offices could be a major part of that picture. Many of the new high-paying job openings are now based around remote work.
From remote work to the Zoom boom, the way we work, communicate with our colleagues and even search for new jobs has completely changed. Of course, the pandemic has also spurred on the so-called Great Resignation, and that means that over the last year, many people have reevaluated their priorities, examined their careers and contemplated making a change. As a result, even if the same types of tech jobs remain in-demand in 2022, the way these jobs are performed and how candidates are hired will likely change considerably. For now, cloud computing and cybersecurity are among the job functions seeing the highest demand.
Now that many job functions are going remote, it is perhaps no surprise that the cloud is more important than ever. Within the cloud computing space, one role growing in prominence is cloud architect. This is an IT professional who is responsible for overseeing the cloud computing strategy of a company. This includes cloud adoption plans, cloud application design, and cloud management and monitoring. Often, cloud architects are also responsible for bridging the gaps between complex business problems and solutions in the cloud. Necessary cloud architect skills will include extensive experience with programming languages, a background in IT engineering and excellent leadership skills.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, IT organizations are discovering that high-priced tech hubs like Silicon Valley and New York are no longer the only place to find top tech talent. Now that people can work from anywhere, organizations can also hire from anywhere, including for incredibly competitive technical roles. So where should you go looking for engineers and developers? Cities like Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C, Portland and Atlanta all rank highly as the best places to go hunting for remote tech talent. In addition, cities like San Diego and Los Angeles are now emerging as nearby geographic competitors to San Francisco.
Outside of major tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh continues to rank as one of the best places to find top remote talent. In terms of overall programming talent, Pittsburgh now compares favorably to New York City, and trails only the Bay Area and Seattle among major metro hubs. The city is now home to several top CS programs and has a comparatively low cost of living, both of which make it easier to attract recent graduates. Washington, D.C. is also growing in prominence on the East Coast. Tech giant Amazon has a rapidly growing presence in the region, and many defense contractors are located nearby. This has helped establish D.C. as a leading tech hub. On the West Coast, Los Angeles offers a lower cost of living than Silicon Valley, and also boasts a more diverse talent pool.
How to Find and Hire the Best Tech Talent in 2022
Fortune, December 28
Talent strategy has emerged as a top priority for many organizations, especially as the ongoing pandemic has made sourcing IT talent even more complex. Successfully recruiting engineers, programmers, data scientists, and other advanced technical workers is more important than ever, but also more challenging, given the tech talent gap. There are some opportunities, however, resulting from all the changes occurring in the world of work. The proliferation of remote work, for example, is enabling organizations to source candidates from a much wider pool. At the same time, new remote-first hiring strategies are opening up new opportunities to streamline the hiring process and leverage untapped skillsets.
Perhaps the biggest recent change in the working world has been the rising acceptance of remote work for a lot of jobs that previously required employees to be present five days a week in the office. Tech jobs were already remote-friendly compared with other types of work before the pandemic, and today the labor market is saying it overwhelmingly prefers to work remotely. That means that a wide range of location considerations need to be top of mind for board and C-suite leaders as they continue to refine and devote more attention to their talent strategies. Since technical jobseekers are more open to remote work, companies should expand efforts to look for talent outside of major hubs like San Francisco and New York. Remote work has opened up a lot of options for employers to find the best talent, including a more diverse set of candidates.
5 Reasons You Are Not Getting Jobs and What to Do About It
Dice Insights, December 29
The current low unemployment rate in the tech sector should give job hunters plenty of opportunities to land interviews, offers, and high starting salaries. However, many tech workers are still having trouble finding a position that fits their skills, experience, and desires. As a result, IT jobseekers need to understand the factors that may be working against them. If you are going to overcome the hurdles of hunting for tech jobs and boost your chances of getting new job interviews, you will need to understand why the current recruiting process often makes it difficult for employers to find the right candidates, even in a red-hot job market.
As best as possible, try to connect the dots for recruiters so that they have an easier time evaluating your candidacy. When recruiters are inexperienced or lack training, they can struggle to look at a resume and decide whether the skills, knowledge and experience of candidates make them a good fit for a role and culture. If an evaluator can not immediately see how you have used your skills to drive results or is left to conjecture about your values and objectives, they are going to gravitate toward candidates who look like a match on paper. In your resume and job interviews, explain in detail how your technical and soft skills, achievements, interests and values are related to the role. Even better, call the recruiter or hiring manager after applying to explain why you are interested in working for the company and what you hope to achieve. If your current job title, level or tenure does not appear to match the job, your resume may fall into the dreaded black hole.
How to Write a Resume That Will Get You a Job in Fintech
eFinancialCareers.com, December 9
Fintech jobs continue to attract top tech workers, and for good reason. Fintech jobs can be more fulfilling, they can involve more exciting programming languages, and most importantly, they are more likely to involve remote working. However, if you are applying for a fintech job, particularly if you come from the traditional financial services sector, there are a few things you need to know first. Despite a total war for talent, fintech companies can be very selective in their hiring, and that places a huge onus on the candidate to create an attention-getting resume that highlights why they would be a good fit for a new startup.
To improve your chances of landing a job in fintech, emphasize how you have been entrepreneurial within your existing roles. If you are trying to move from a major bank to a fintech company, it makes sense to emphasize the entrepreneurial experience you have on your resume. Fintech companies want to know what you have done with what is available, as well as how you worked with a small team to create a vision that was not in existence before you crafted it. They want to see what you have scaled in size or scope. In fintech, it is all about creating new products and showing that you can be innovative with limited resources.
Why Workers Quit and How Companies Can Respond
Computerworld, December 21
With workers quitting their jobs in record numbers, the next 12 months are shaping up to be an important time for IT organizations as they seek to hire and recruit top talent. In October, 4.1 million U.S. workers quit their jobs and that is on top of a record 4.4 million who left the workforce the month before and 4.3 million in August. A recent survey of 26,000 employees showed 22% of all job seekers reported quitting their previous job, and 73% of currently employed workers said they are actively thinking about quitting their jobs. What is clear is that the ongoing global pandemic has enabled workers to rethink their careers, work-life balance, long-term goals, and working conditions. Companies need to take these factors into consideration as they update their traditional hiring models.
Some of the top reasons workers quit this year include unhappiness with how their employer treated them during the pandemic (19%), low pay or lack of benefits (17%), and a lack of work-life balance (13%). Workers in their 20s are more likely to have quit than older workers. In fact, about one-third of workers in their 20s quit their previous jobs, compared to only 20% of workers aged 50 and older. As the high level of resignations is predicted to continue through 2022, creating an inviting and comfortable workplace environment, both remote and in-person, will be key to employee retention. Both executives and managers play a role in limiting employee attrition, which means companies can do a lot to keep employees happy when the job market is filled with choices.
8 New Rules For Winning the IT Talent Battle
The Enterprisers Project, December 27
Across nearly all industries, companies are facing record-high IT talent losses, and the battle for technology professionals hitting the market is bound to grow more intense. Yet only a minority of enterprise IT organizations have the kind of well-defined and proactive strategies needed to ensure some level of predictability in their workforce pipelines in this challenging environment. Only a relatively small percentage of companies are embracing best practices to address current talent gaps and prepare their workforces for the future. The goal for companies should be finding the best talent within the shortest possible period of time in order to create predictability in the talent pipeline.
There are several new rules for winning IT talent today. For example, organizations should approach IT workforce development as a cross-functional undertaking with dedicated governance and leadership. Succeeding in the current hyper-competitive and volatile talent market requires broad collaboration and coordination among IT, HR, legal, finance, business functions, and third-party providers. Top companies typically have a dedicated IT workforce team with clear leadership and shared ownership of IT workforce development among IT, HR, and operations. With that in mind, all enterprises need to have a robust understanding of the skills and roles they require. This requires a clear understanding of future business needs and transformation initiatives. Leaders create rigor around roles and skills taxonomies, create clear definitions that address not only technical requirements but also soft skills, and update these constantly. As a result, they can predict the expected demand and supply profile across skills accurately and time their investments privately and estimate the time required to acquire and onboard talent, particularly in emerging areas of demand.
Finding a Path to CS for All
Blog @ CACM, December 21
According to the 2021 State of Computer Science Education report, just under five percent of U.S. high school students took computer science classes in 2021. That number, however, continues to be far too small if the long-range goal really is CS for all. The percentage of current U.S. high school students who have already taken computer science is important to monitor if we want to create a culture of computer science within schools. It is also important to monitor what percentage of U.S. high school graduates have taken computer science by the time of graduation. In considering these issues, state-level dashboards are important because K-12 education differs significantly between U.S. states.
Going forward, a more detailed view of access to CS education on a state-by-state basis is important because of the wide variation in access. In some states, for example, a given U.S. high school might only have one CS course that counts in any statistic. Thus, it could be the case that, if all 5% are seniors (in their fourth and final year of high school), then only 5% of the high school student population ever takes computer science and only 5% of graduates have ever taken CS. If all 5% are first-year students, then over four years, 20% of the high school population take the computer science class, but still only 5% of graduates each year have taken a CS class. In general, enrollment numbers are growing slowly. Maryland is one state worth considering as a role model. Their current enrollment is 12% of high school students, and 26% of their high school graduates have had at least one computer science course. Maryland can get reach these numbers in part because their high schools typically offer more than one CS class.
Is the Global Computing Community Irrevocably Divided?
Communications of the ACM, January 2022
With powerful forces pulling the global computing community apart, it is perhaps inevitable that the way that computing professionals view the industry and their own career prospects continues to evolve. For example, three years of overt technological, trade, military and geopolitical competition between China and the U.S. have closed many career options that once were available. On top of all that, China is now sending mixed signals over how it views tech entrepreneur heroes who helped to launch top companies in the nation, while the U.S. is taking steps to ban certain Chinese companies from even doing business in the country. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to avoid further division in the global computing community.
Within the academic and research community, this growing divide has implications for widespread, open technical information sharing. Given that open source has driven rapid scientific and technological advance, any efforts to limit this sharing and collaboration could have a chilling impact on innovation. In addition, there are now implications for professors and students (graduate and undergraduate) in both China and the U.S. whose ties and loyalties straddle these worlds. For example, what are the implications for Chinese students who study at universities around the world? Rather than staying in the United States, a growing majority might decide to return to a career in China, or to launch innovative new startups in China rather than the U.S. These international students will be critical in bridging the divide. An increasing schism may produce decreased collaboration and increasingly circumspect technical information and technology sharing.
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