ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 22, 2022

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Volume 18, Issue 4, February 22, 2022

10 Fastest Growing US Tech Hubs For IT Talent, February 8

Even if you do not live in Silicon Valley, there are several other cities that are considered growing tech hubs where technologists can earn higher than average salaries, often with a lower cost of living. These growing tech hubs typically have an ecosystem of universities and colleges to recruit from, venture capital funding opportunities, a strong social scene for networking, and high-profile companies looking to hire talent. Best of all, many of these growing tech hubs now offer opportunities for six-figure incomes within the IT sector. Among the fastest-growing of these tech hubs are Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Miami and Chicago.

Of the fastest growing U.S. tech hubs, Pittsburgh ranks No. 1 by salary, according to Dice. The average tech salary in Pittsburgh is $98,304 per year, which represents a 14% increase from 2020. When adjusted for cost of living expenses, this salary figure is competitive with any of the top tech hubs in the nation. Pittsburgh has historically been known for its production of steel, iron, and glass, but the city is quickly growing into a tech hub. In 2006, Google opened an office at Carnegie Mellon University that eventually grew into the company opening a larger office space by 2011. Not long after Google put down roots in Pittsburgh, Facebook, Uber, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft all followed suit, opening offices in the area. There is also a strong focus on clean technology and autonomous driving startups, adding even more vibrancy to the tech scene of the city.

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Tech Jobs Are Booming: Here Is What Employers Are Looking For
ZDNet, February 9

Tech companies in the U.S. added 24,300 workers in January, with more than half of these job gains within the IT services and custom software development category, where 14,800 roles were added. Tech firms also added 7,500 employees in data processing, hosting and related services; 3,100 employees in information services (such as search engines); and 2,000 new hires in computer and electronic products manufacturing. All in all, these robust hiring numbers have added up to an exceptionally strong start to the year for tech employment. In total, employer job postings for tech positions reached nearly 340,000 last month, spanning all industry sectors, locations and skillsets.

The tech employment boom is nationwide. For example, tech job postings surpassed 10,000 in eight metropolitan areas: New York, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, and Seattle. The data also indicated that employment opportunities in tech were not limited to major cities. Lansing, Michigan, for example, ranked third nationally among all metro markets in the month-over-month increase in tech job postings. In addition, remote opportunities continue to grow in tech as organizations look beyond major cities to identify and hire tech talent. The occupation with the highest number of remote and work-from-home role opportunities was software developer, with 37,000 posts. Demand was also high for IT support specialists (10,465), web developers (9,832), systems engineers and architects (7,185), and IT project managers (6.939).

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These Are the New Jobs That Need Filling in the Metaverse
Euronews, February 14

As buzz continues to build around the concept of the metaverse, it is leading to the formation of entirely new job opportunities based around the creation and management of these online virtual worlds. However, the future growth of the metaverse is about more than just additional jobs for software developers, architects or designers. According to some metaverse proponents, the entire concept of a job will change: how a person finds a job, where a person lives, what a person does, how long a person works on a project, and how a person interacts with their peers.

Besides the obvious requirement for software developers, the metaverse presents ample opportunities for jobs that help online avatars utilize their new virtual spaces. All kinds of designers, from 3D modeling to graphics and interior design, are needed in the virtual world. In fact, the metaverse itself does not exist without designers. Different metaverses will offer a unique range of design tools, but the commonality among all of them is their requirement for design skills. Once you have mastered a range of techniques, it is easier to transition from one world to the next, learning about the various design tools.

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Artificial Intelligence Job Market Small But Growing in Many States
Dice Insights, February 14

While the future growth prospects of artificial intelligence remain high, the number of actual job postings related to A.I. is still relatively small, especially in comparison to well-established tech skills such as programming. As part of its monthly jobs report, CompTIA recently compiled a breakdown of the states with the most A.I.-related job postings, and the overall number is small even in the most high-profile tech hubs. The top states for A.I.-related job postings include California (2,348), Texas (1,112), Massachusetts (691), New York (690) and Virginia (640).

While the number of A.I.-related jobs is small, they are mission critical to organizations that see A.I. apps and services as a vital part of their long-term roadmap. That is one big reason why jobs that utilize A.I. skills pay so much. O’Reilly estimates the average salary of data and A.I. professionals at $146,000 per year. Average compensation was highest in California ($176,000), home to big tech companies that are rapidly hiring the best and the brightest A.I. talent out there.

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The 5 Best Tech Jobs in America, February 15

Given all the debate around technology skill shortages, it is perhaps no surprise that IT jobs accounted for all but one of the top five positions in the most recent Glassdoor 50 Best Jobs in America report. The top tech jobs include enterprise architect, full stack engineer, data scientist and DevOps engineer. These top tech jobs not only offer attractive compensation packages: they also offer opportunities to work in some of the most dynamic, fastest-growing segments of the tech sector.

The best job overall, according to Glassdoor, is the enterprise architect. The job of an enterprise architect is to discover, map out, and build all the technology solutions and systems a particular business needs to stay competitive. Enterprises typically need large numbers of these employees so they can utilize them with individual technology stacks. However, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) will often have just one of these employees. Thus, depending on the size of the employer, the roles and responsibilities of the enterprise architect can differ considerably. On the upside, the job pays an average of just over $144,000 and has about 14,000 open positions right now across the U.S.

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LinkedIn: 6 Things to Keep in Mind When Connecting With Someone You Do Not Know
Entrepreneur, February 16

When connecting on LinkedIn, it is important to keep in mind a few key important factors if you would like to make the most of your online social networking experience. First, be specific and transparent about your intent. Time is valuable for the business-minded users of LinkedIn, and getting right to the point will be appreciated by your busy audience. A vague request for 15 minutes of their time is a warning flag and will most likely be ignored. Let the contact know who you are and what you are looking for right out the gate, such as advice in your field.

On LinkedIn, you should make contacting you easy and accessible. Providing multiple avenues of contact on your LinkedIn profile is a top priority. Every point of contact increases the chance your requests are accepted. In addition, it adds legitimacy that you are a real person who is open to business opportunities. These act as anchors to the real world. They also offer options when establishing a new business relationship with an unknown person. By not forcing contacts to dig around for the information, you are far more likely to receive responses to your requests for connections.

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Diversity in IT: To Hire Black Tech Pros, Partnerships Are Key, February 17

Many companies have made diversity a strategic priority, and for good reason: companies with diverse hiring practices often outperform their less diverse competitors. However, diversity needs to be more than just a buzzword. Companies need to work hard to create a diverse workplace culture where employees from various backgrounds feel they belong and know they can succeed. In some cases, companies are reshaping workforce programs and addressing systemic issues, in part through partnerships with outside organizations, in order to diversify their own tech teams and build a more diverse pipeline of tech talent.

The reason why diversity programs are growing in popularity within the tech world, quite simply, is that the technology profession remains predominately white with an underrepresentation of Black workers. For example, 69.4% of all computer programmers in the U.S. are white, 15.2% are Asian, 8.1% are Hispanic or Latino, and 4.6% are Black or African-American. Looking more broadly at technology careers, a recent Pew Research Center report stated that Black workers make up 11% of the U.S. workforce but hold only 7% of computing jobs and only 5% of engineering jobs. This information is not news; neither is the presence of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in the corporate world. Yet, after years of discussion about the low representation of Black workers in the profession, as well as the underrepresentation of women and other minorities, the numbers have not moved to any significant degree.

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Interview Questions You Should Be Asking If the Job is Remote
Fast Company, February 19

Even with the right skills and experiences, not every candidate is cut out for the remote work life. With that in mind, companies should develop specific interview questions to ask potential remote workers during the hiring process. One of the most common questions to ask remote workers during interviews is simply whether or not they have ever worked remotely. But that is really just a starting point for employers to learn more about the challenges applicants have faced while working remotely, as well as their unique skillsets and experiences that make them best adapted to the world of virtual work and distributed teams.

For employers, it is important to understand the motivation of a candidate seeking remote work. Thus, it is well within the boundary of an interview to ask candidates why they are pursuing remote work. If they want to be home to care for aging parents or children, it may affect the hours they can keep or the distractions they face.That will not necessarily disqualify them, but it is something to explore during the interview. Asking this question directly also gives you insight into who they are as an employee. For example, if someone talks about how they are more productive working from home, or they like the idea of working without geographical limitations, they are framing their answer in a way that talks about the professional advantages of remote work. This helps demonstrate that they are career-oriented as well as a loyal and productive employee.

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The Power of Micro-Credentials
eLearn Magazine, February 2022

Micro-credentials are rising in prominence as a way for employees to demonstrate their acquisition of new skills and competencies, especially given the rapid evolution of the technological sector. The more micro-credentials that employees can acquire, the stronger the signal it can send employers that they have truly mastered a new technological discipline. Yet, there is still some debate about what micro-credentials are, as well as different perspectives about their benefits and how to implement them effectively.

Currently, there are two main definitions of micro-credentials. The conventional definition focuses on micro-credential awards. In this sense, micro-credential means the record of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning. These learning outcomes have been assessed against transparent and clearly defined standards. Courses leading to micro-credentials are designed to provide the learner with specific knowledge, skills, and competencies that respond to societal, personal, cultural, or labor market needs. Micro-credentials are owned by the learner, can be shared and are portable. They may be standalone or combined into larger credentials. They are underpinned by quality assurance following agreed standards in the relevant sector or area of activity. The other definition focuses on a micro-credential as a course or program in higher education.

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R&D or r&d: What Is the Difference?
Blog@CACM, February 3

If you are thinking of starting a career in R&D, just be aware that even companies within the same industry or vertical can take a very different view of what exactly research and development really means. This term is open to different interpretations because some people may view R&D primarily in terms of activities (such as analyzing data), while others may view R&D primarily in terms of output (such as building a new tool or product). Depending on the importance they place on the research or development component, companies may arrive at very different interpretations of what R&D means for their workforce. In turn, this can impact their overall hiring needs, as well as how they integrate R&D into their job descriptions.

Although research uses specific skills (like collecting data and analyzing it), so do other empirical activities. Not every activity that collects and uses data is a research activity. Research is different because it seeks to produce generalized knowledge. Likewise Development (in an R&D sense) uses specific skills (like building prototypes, collecting feedback, agile cycles of improvement), and so do other activities. Development often aims to produce generalized functionality. R&d often occurs when you build something just enough so you can use it to gather data to answer a research question and produce knowledge. The end result is often a prototype or tool that may not be ready for prime time, but it exercises the key functionality so researchers can study some question of broad interest and produce insights that can be applied beyond the tested tool. r&D often occurs when a development project (which wants to produce generalized functionality) wants to gather and use evidence for improvement. There may be user experience testing, for example.

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