ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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Volume 18, Issue 2, January 18, 2022

How Developers Face a Changing Job Market in 2022
Tech Republic, January 10

The job market in 2022 offers great potential for programmers and developers, primarily because many recruiters plan to hire more developers than in 2021. At the same time, though, organizations are re-evaluating the methods they use to interview and hire good candidates. In order to take advantage of this favorable hiring market, developers need to be skilled and qualified. A new report from technical interview platform CoderPad looks at the challenges and priorities of a changing job market in 2022, based on a poll of nearly 14,000 developers and recruiters across 131 different countries.

Based on the CoderPad survey, the U.S. was the highest-paying country for developer jobs. In the U.S., the average salary was $95,879, with 44% of the developers surveyed earning $100,000 or more and 5% earning more than $200,000. Switzerland was next with an average salary of $90,462, followed by Canada with a salary of $71,193. Other countries offering top-tier salaries were the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. Asked about the specialties they would most like to learn, developers cited artificial intelligence, machine learning, web development and game development. Asked to identify the specialties most in demand for hiring, recruiters pointed to web development, DevOps, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Though web development and AI would then seem to be the most promising areas to pursue, recruiters said they also need candidates with skills in cloud computing and database software.

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New Get-Rich-Faster Job: Crypto Startups
Finance & Commerce (via New York Times), December 21

Crypto technology startups are gaining new attention from IT jobseekers in search of bigger paychecks and potentially lucrative investment opportunities. Within days of posting, a job opening at one of these startups might attract hundreds of resumes from employees at some of the biggest and most influential companies in the tech space. In fact, a wave of executives and engineers are leaving high-paying jobs at Google, Amazon, Apple and other large tech companies to chase what they see as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Silicon Valley is now filled with stories of people riding speculative crypto investments to life-changing wealth.

Beyond the speculative mania surrounding crypto, a growing contingent of the best and brightest in the tech industry sees a transformational moment that comes along once every few decades and rewards those who spot the seismic shift before the rest of the world. With crypto, they see historical parallels to how the personal computer and the internet upended the status quo and minted a new generation of billionaires. Investors, too, have flooded in. They poured more than $28 billion into global crypto and blockchain startups in 2021, four times the total in 2020. In many ways, it feels like the 1990s and the birth of the internet all over again. The growing ranks of true believers now say crypto can change the world by creating a more decentralized internet that is not controlled by a handful of companies. While such possibilities have existed since Bitcoin emerged in 2009, crypto products such as NFTs only broke through to the mainstream in 2021.

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Tech Skills to Master If You Want the Big Fat Paycheck in 2022, December 20

If you are looking to advance your tech career in 2022, then you will need to stay ahead of the latest IT trends and upgrade your skillset. There are eight in-demand technologies that IT workers should master to stay ahead of the competition and land the best jobs. In some cases, the most in-demand tech skills come with a potential annual compensation of over $150,000. Some of the highest-paying tech skills include artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, cybersecurity and data science.

With companies adopting more AI applications every day, the demand for AI skills will continue to grow throughout the coming year and beyond. According to Indeed, IT professionals with AI skills earn an average salary ranging from $110,000 to over $150,000. To qualify for these AI positions, you will need to be proficient in skills such as Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Python, R, C++, Java, Linux, Unix, SQL, Hadoop, NLP, and Machine Learning. Blockchain is another fast-growing area for career growth. Blockchain applications for blockchain technologies are no longer confined to digital currency. Blockchain applications now include crowdfunding, identity management, file storage, person-to-person payment systems, and digital voting, to name a few. As a result, there now exists a high demand for blockchain engineers.

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Tips for Handling the Latest Tricky Job Interview Questions
Dice Insights, January 11

Given that some recruiters and hiring managers enjoy asking interview questions that put job candidates on the spot, you need to be prepared for any scenario during your next job interview. The current pandemic, if anything, has made these types of questions more frequent, as organizations try to figure out the expectations, beliefs and needs of candidates in a constantly-changing world of remote work. As you hunt for a new job in 2022, it is time to prepare for potentially awkward interview questions about COVID-19, diversity in the workplace, and in-person work.

Often, companies are looking for a willingness on the part of the candidate to return to in-person work, but can not ask directly. If the job posting specified fully remote, but the interviewer starts talking about in-person work, this is definitely a red flag. One study found that job postings are more than twice as likely to mention remote work now as before the pandemic, in part because it expands the candidate pool. It is probably best to provide a non-committal answer, then clarify whether the company has a reopening plan in the works. Depending on their answer and whether you will actually need to head into an office, you can opt to withdraw your application. The interviewer may also be testing the waters to see if you would be willing to accept a lower salary to work from home. Before you participate in an interview, take the time to research salaries so you are prepared to outline and justify your expectations and requirements.

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5 Flourishing and 4 Fading IT Skills For 2022
The Enterprisers Project, January 11

With an IT talent war going on all around them, it is perhaps no surprise that organizations continue to prioritize specific skills and experiences as they attempt to bring new IT initiatives to market. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of global technology leaders say recruiting technologists and filling open tech positions in the year ahead will be challenging. However, that does not mean that all skills are valued equally. There are red-hot and lukewarm skills and a variety of enterprise technology requirements. There are also some IT skills that appear to be fading in importance. Understanding what capabilities are likely to be increasing in value and which are likely to decrease is important, for both hiring managers and job candidates.

Product management skills are now very much in demand. As more CIOs move to agile development, they need people with a blend of technology, business, and leadership skills to bring high impact technology products to market, whether internal or external to the company. Another skillset that will be in high demand going into 2022 is cloud computing, specifically configuration, deployment, security, and troubleshooting for cloud services. Organizations dramatically accelerated and expanded their adoption of cloud infrastructure in reaction to the challenges of the pandemic and will continue to do so in pursuit of digital transformation initiatives which often go hand-in-hand with the cloud. The 2021 Open Source Jobs Report from the Linux Foundation found that cloud-native skills are now more in demand than any other technical discipline. Nearly half (46 percent) of hiring managers are seeking cloud and container technology skills, making this the skill set most in-demand by hiring managers for the second year in a row.

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Why Workers Will Drive a Harder Bargain With Employers in 2022, January 5

Over the past 12 months, the nationwide hiring shortage brought on by the Great Resignation gave many employees the upper hand when negotiating over salaries and benefits. With more than 4.5 million workers quitting their jobs in the U.S. in November alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many workers are in a strong position to demand higher compensation and better working conditions. The changing relationship between employees and employers could be one of the big ideas that could change the world in 2022, according to LinkedIn. For employees, a shift in the relationship with employers could mean new signing bonuses, better scheduling and higher overall compensation in 2022.

A strong 2022 economy will bolster employee bargaining power, according to LinkedIn, especially if the U.S. unemployment rate shrinks to 3.5 percent, down from the current 4.8 percent. The power dynamic will shift from employers and leave them pining for talent like never before. This is a trend rolling over from 2021, when companies offered signing bonuses of thousands of dollars per hire. Successful employers will also invest in higher compensation and improved scheduling for customer-facing employees.

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Telltale Signs It Is Time to Find a New Job
Forbes, January 11

By some estimates, one in four workers plan on quitting their jobs in 2022, and that is even after the Great Resignation of the past 12 months. It is not just Generation Z and Millennials that are driving this trend. Research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that employees between 30 and 45 have had the greatest increase in resignation rates. While turnover is typically highest among younger workers, the study found that over the last year, resignations actually decreased for workers aged 20 to 25. So how do you know when it is finally time to find a new job? If you are a mid-career professional who has been thinking about making a career shift, there are ten telltale signs that it could be time to seek out new employment opportunities.

According to some studies, employees who are struggling or suffering in their lives are about twice as likely to change jobs than those who are thriving. Managers, in particular, are suffering from high levels of burnout. So, if you find that your role is negatively affecting your physical or mental health, it may be time to find a new job. Lacking opportunity for advancement is another telltale sign. Do you constantly wonder whether you have stayed at your job for too long? One reason you may be feeling stuck is that there is no opportunity to advance professionally. Do not spend a lot of time in a position that does not offer growth opportunities. If you are continually passed over for a promotion despite being a top performer, it is probably time to look elsewhere.

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8 Essential Skills of Elite Project Managers, January 7

The IT project manager role continues to evolve, and that is forcing organizations to emphasize new skills and experiences to bring new products to market. While you will always need a good mix of technical, leadership, and communication skills, they are not necessarily what will make you stand out from other project managers. Over the past few years, a lot has changed about how projects are managed and led, requiring many project managers to retool and re-think what previously brought them success. Today, for example, most teams are working either remotely or as part of a hybrid workforce strategy that relies heavily on technology. As such, being considered an elite project manager these days means supplementing your technical, leadership, and communication skills with essential skills such as adaptability, resilience, and change management.

Both adaptability and resilience have become highly essential since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only for project managers to keep projects within scope but also to help team members get through changing times. While most project managers have long proved adaptive in dealing with changes in shepherding projects toward completion, the pandemic has pushed this to the limit, challenging the resolve of project managers and teams in the face of lengthy or ongoing crisis, as well as fatigue and burnout. Without both adaptability and resilience, leaders risk allowing productivity and morale to wane. It takes great strength and determination to maintain both simultaneously throughout projects plagued with setbacks.

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How Do You Define a Computer Scientist?
Computer Science Teacher (via Communications of the ACM), January 11

Many people might have a general idea of what the requirements for a computer scientist should be, but we should be very careful about drawing too narrow a definition of a computer scientist. The reality is that there are many kinds of computer scientists and each kind has its own requirements. At one point, one might have assumed that a rigorous mathematical background and some knowledge of assembly language would be among the basic requirements for the role. But that is no longer the case, especially as the role of the computer scientist continues to evolve, and that has implications for how we teach computer science at all educational levels. We have to avoid the blind assumption that what we learned and the way we learned decades ago is the way things have to be today.

The debate continues over which skills should be taught to aspiring computer scientists. Someone exploring the science of compiler design and code optimization probably does need a solid understanding of machine language. However, someone whose focus is on machine learning probably does not, as their tools will be at a higher level than the machine. Computer cryptographers could probably use a good dose of calculus. However, someone studying user interfaces probably does not. Just about the same argument could be made for any discipline one traditionally associates with computer scientists.

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Will AI Destroy Education?
Communications of the ACM, January 2022

Companies view AI as the key to economic competitiveness, while governments view AI as the key to national security. Along the way, AI has emerged as a hot new topic for educators, with one goal being AI-augmented learning. However, one should keep in mind that concerns about a purely technological approach to education has been a persistent theme for quite some time. Artificial intelligence might not destroy education, but a single-focused approach on AI augmentation of the learning process might have unintended consequences for the way people learn, how course curricula are put together, and what organizations expect from graduates.

The previous wave of technological innovation aimed at education surged nearly a decade ago when approximately 450,000 students signed up for three computer science courses offered by Stanford University, launching the MOOC (massive open online course) revolution in 2011. At that time, some argued that MOOCs might destroy academia. The enormous buzz about MOOCs, they said, was not due to the intrinsic educational value of the technology, but rather, due to the possibilities of lower costs. Nearly a decade later, MOOCs did not destroy academia, probably because of their low educational value. But more than a decade after the 2008-2009 recession, state spending on public higher education remains well below historical levels in the U.S. Yet MOOCs have become a fixture in U.S. higher education. While the availability of free or almost-free academic courses is, of course, beneficial to students, such MOOC-based programs make only nominal profits.

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