ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 18, Issue 10, May 24, 2022
Working in tech used to mean being based in a traditional hub like Silicon Valley, but the pandemic and the shift to remote work have made the industry more geographically diverse than ever before. Thanks to a new emphasis on hybrid work models, tech jobs are booming everywhere. Many tech workers have left expensive coastal cities for more affordable metro areas. And the new cities and states that have received the massive population influx have become mini tech hubs in their own right. Remote tech jobs, which have been in particularly high demand, saw a 421% increase compared to other occupations during the pandemic.
While established tech hubs such as California and New York continue to lead the way in terms of IT hiring, new states have emerged over the past few years to make the job market even bigger. The states with the highest rate of growth in tech industry jobs over the past two years include Tennessee, Idaho, Washington, Utah, North Carolina, Mississippi, Arizona, Texas, and Kentucky. The top five cities by percent growth in the number of tech workers were Houston, Orlando, New York, Charlotte and Los Angeles. Many tech workers decided to move during the pandemic, but continued to work for large companies in Silicon Valley that allowed remote work.
Interest in Metaverse jobs Surges More Than Ten-Fold as Companies Jostle For Position
The National, May 7
Interest in jobs related to the metaverse has surged more than ten-fold in the past six months, showing that this emerging field is now very much on the radar of tech workers. Add in the fact that Facebook recently re-branded as Meta, and it is obvious that the metaverse is exploding into the mainstream. In fact, there has been a 938 per cent spike in searches for metaverse-related job opportunities, according to Google Trends. Recognizing this fact, some companies are now attempting to position themselves as leaders in the development of the next iteration of the web, and that means creating new job opportunities directly tied to the metaverse.
The first noticeable surge occurred in October 2021 when Facebook announced it was rebranding itself into Meta Platforms, triggering metaverse job searches to rise dramatically. Across Google, people began to search for other metaverse-related terms as well. Then, in January 2022, Microsoft announced it was acquiring video game studio Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, triggering even greater interest in the metaverse. There is already an entire industry developing around the idea of the metaverse, with everyone from big brands to indie gaming studios trying to secure their spot or building their own. As a result, we will see the creation of new jobs we have not even envisioned yet. The metaverse is the emerging digital space in which people, represented by avatars or three-dimensional likenesses, can interact in virtual worlds. It is part of Web3, the next evolution of the web, with blockchain, decentralization, openness and greater user utility among its core components. The global metaverse industry is now growing at a compound annual rate of 43.3 percent, according to some estimates.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) remains a highly specialized field with relatively few job openings, despite the fact that interest in these jobs has grown steadily over the past few years. Many of the new A.I. jobs are densely concentrated in just a small handful of states: California, Texas, Washington, Massachusetts and New York. This makes sense, given that many of the companies known for hiring data scientists and machine learning experts are based in places like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston and New York City. However, that will almost certainly change in coming years. Already, there are signs that Florida, Virginia and Illinois are beginning to emerge as leaders when it comes to new A.I. job opportunities.
There are several factors why the growth in A.I. jobs has not occurred as quickly as some had originally predicted. First of all, companies do not need nearly as many machine learning experts as, say, software developers or data scientists. Smaller organizations might not even have the budget to fill out an A.I. division. But industry job numbers keep growing month after month, indicating a sustained appetite for A.I. talent, especially among larger companies with the money to actually afford researchers and specialists. According to some estimates, the number of job postings requesting A.I. skills will increase 297 percent over the next two years. Over the past 12 months, more than 142,000 job postings requested artificial intelligence skills of some kind.
4 Tips To Nail a Remote Interview
The Enterprisers Project, May 6
HR and recruiting teams are revamping their hiring processes, with interviewing and onboarding remotely via Zoom and other virtual collaboration tools becoming the norm. That is making it essential that anyone looking for a new position understand how to ace the remote interview. If you are someone who relies on reading body language and more nuanced expressions and cues for optimal communication, an interview on a computer screen can be challenging. Before you even start your interview, it is critical you make time for proper research and preparation to set yourself up for success.
In order to prepare for a remote job interview, go beyond the job description and read up on the company and the role. Explore their website and read blogs, recent company news, and any articles written about the organization. Research what customers as well as past employees have to say. Referencing these things with confidence during the interview shows you are serious and have done your homework. In addition, understand how your specific skill set provides value to the company and will further help them achieve their business goals. Also, be ready to discuss how you are productive and successful in a remote setting, and mention any past remote work experience and achievements as proof points. As you are setting up for your interview, remember the remote work basics, such as setting up the right video background to make a good impression.
The 5 Best Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview
Fast Company, April 19
According to career experts, there are five key questions to ask your interviewer before the interview ends. These questions will help guide you on the right path to personal and professional success. First and most importantly, you need to ask whether you are a good fit for the company. This question is key in helping you decide if your personality, skills, and goals properly align with the culture and requirements of the company. The better the match, the greater the chance of mutual success. Overall, the goal is to ask the right questions upfront in order to help launch your career on the right course.
Before you leave the interview, you should have a good grasp of the expected deliverables for the role over the next year. This is an important question to ask of each person in the interview process, as most positions have different stakeholders with different expectations. So if you are interviewing with, say, the head of marketing, their individual perspectives on the role will impact exactly what those deliverables are. You should also ask a question that will help you to define success in your role going forward. It is sometimes difficult to define success by a single metric or activity, so look for other proof points in the interview. In some areas, they will be subjective, and in other areas, they will be objective. It is important to hear a clear definition of job expectations upfront.
Top Technologists Have Job Options
InfoWorld, May 16
At a time when developers and programmers have more employment options than ever before, organizations should be dedicating more resources to retaining top talent. According to one recent study, 58% of knowledge workers who work with data, analyze information, or think creatively are likely to look for a new job during the year. This number increases to 72% for workers who are dissatisfied with their current level of flexibility. As a result, anyone in executive leadership, a managerial job function, or team leadership must acknowledge the risks of losing key personnel. The good news is that there are several practical steps that any company can take to retain their best workers and win the talent war.
Most importantly, recruiters and hiring managers should learn how people prefer to participate in the evolving world of hybrid and remote work. At a minimum, workplaces should be taking steps to build trust, improve communications, support diversity, and promote work-life balance. In order to retain top talent, IT leaders should also support policies that provide work flexibility. Some businesses plan to support hybrid work permanently, others want people back in the office, and some are slowly transitioning from remote to in-person models. IT leaders may have a voice in these policies, but regardless, they still have to personalize their management approaches with people on their teams.
How to Jump Back Into Networking
Harvard Business Review, May 17
Even for active networkers, the pandemic has dramatically impacted the types of real-world opportunities for making professional connections. Canceled conferences, a shift to virtual and remote work, and far fewer opportunities for in-person networking events have all had an impact. As a result, many have doubled down on existing relationships, radically reducing the number of new people they have met over the past two years. And it is these loose connections that are often pivotal in finding new work opportunities. In one study, weak ties dropped 21% at companies that shifted to remote work arrangements. Over time, this can lead to a decrease in opportunities because we are not being exposed to new perspectives.
Relationship building, when done right, is the cornerstone for long-term opportunity in the workplace. As a first step, find ways to re-introduce one-on-one connections. Attending large scale networking events may feel overwhelming if you have not done it in a while due to the pandemic. If that is the case, a good starting place to rebuild your networking skills may be seeking out one-on-one connections. You can begin with colleagues or clients you may have connected with virtually during the pandemic. You can also create a list of dormant ties, which are people you have not seen or interacted with much during the past two years. If you have exhausted those opportunities, or can not think of people you would like to meet up with, ask a friend for suggestions about people you ought to meet.
Finding It Hard to Get a New Job? Robot Recruiters Might Be to Blame
The Guardian (U.S.), May 11
While there are record-level job openings in the U.S. right now, it is sometimes the case that people have to apply to hundreds of jobs before finding the right opportunity. This is true even in sought-after fields like software development. At the same time, many companies complain they can not find the right talent. Some experts argue that algorithms and artificial intelligence now used extensively in hiring are playing a role. Yet, recent findings have shown that some of these new tools may actually use criteria unrelated to work in order to predict job success. Even worse, they might be biased against certain types of job candidates.
While companies and vendors are not required to disclose if they use artificial intelligence or algorithms to select and hire job applicants, it is actually a widespread practice. All the leading job platforms deploy some of these technologies to a certain degree. Other recruiters are open about the fact that artificial intelligence and algorithms already play a dominant role in key job decisions. By some estimates, at least three-quarters of all resumes submitted for jobs in the U.S. are read by algorithms. A 2021 survey of recruiting executives by the research and consulting firm Gartner found that almost all reported using A.I. for at least one part of the recruiting and hiring process. Yet it is not foolproof. The rationale for using algorithmic tools is efficiency and saving costs. Yet 88% of executives said that they know A.I. tools can reject qualified candidates.
5 Often Overlooked Coding Mistakes New Web Developers Need to Avoid
Blog@CACM, May 17
If you are just starting your career as a web developer, the time is now to understand the types of coding mistakes most often made by other developers, so as to avoid them in the future. Whether you were hired by the web design firm of your dreams or you launched a side job to help companies build websites, you are probably ready to go full speed ahead and start building the code for all kinds of cutting-edge websites. However, take a step back and consider the various ways that crucial coding mistakes, if undiscovered, might set back your career. For example, these blunders might cause you to miss important coding deadlines, or force you to completely start over on a Web design project. With that in mind, the article reviews five of the most often-overlooked mistakes.
To ensure future career success, it is important to avoid the most common coding mistakes made by new web developers. These include not commenting code, not backing up all coding work, getting too attached to one coding language, and working in a silo. Also, many new web developers make the mistake of assuming the average user of the software or website they are building is as technical as they are. All experienced web developers know how important it is to comment code; that is, leaving small text notes next to code segments to describe what they will do for the website as a whole. These comments are paramount for when a programmer has to edit the code. If comments are not included, the programmer will not know the reasoning for particular code segments, which can create a lot of back-and-forth discussions between the web developer and the programmer. This, in turn, can stifle overall workflow and create major project delays.
How a Shopping Mall Trip Inspired Me to Work in AI
Communications of the ACM, May 2022
Even though the futuristic world of super-smart humanoid robots has not materialized as expected, there is certainly a clear path to lead us there with current A.I. technologies. For anyone currently working in the computer science field, there are already plenty of examples of how A.I. is changing the way we work and live. The choice is up to you of how to blend the related disciplines of computer science and artificial intelligence to come up with new innovations. For example, if you are fascinated by how the human brain works, you might be inspired to work in a sub-discipline of A.I. focused on evolutionary algorithms. This, in turn, might help you develop a new class of genetic algorithms that adaptively change over time in order to become more efficient.
Nearly a decade ago, a boom of deep learning start to take off and excite scientists as well as the public. Since then, deep learning has produced state-of-the-art results in many areas including image processing, speech recognition, natural language processing, and more. However, deep learning alone is not a solution to reach a more human-like intelligent system. Humans are extremely good at understanding concepts without looking at actual examples of every possible combination. Humans also have common sense, can understand abstractions, and can reason their way through challenges. However, for an ML system, such common sense is not easy to obtain. Thus, anyone considering a future career in ML could potentially make a name for themselves by adding value in this area.
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