ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, June 7, 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 11, June 7, 2022
In an employee-driven job market, there is no shortage of in-demand IT positions in America. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology companies hired more than 20,000 employees in April and more than 75,000 since the start of the year, a small percentage of the 1.6 million IT job openings that were posted this year. In fact, the 1.6 million jobs posted this year is up 40 percent over the same period in 2021. Hiring for tech jobs in April was up across all major areas including data, cloud infrastructure services, tech manufacturing and telecommunications. About 30 percent of all job postings were for software developer and engineer jobs, followed by IT support specialists, project managers, system engineers and network engineers.
Based on the number of job postings available, the most in-demand IT job is software developer. This role had 45,235 job postings in April, up 5,155 from March. Thanks to this increasing demand, the LinkedIn average salary for this role is $152,493. Software developers are responsible for designing, developing, installing, testing and maintaining software systems through coding, designing, and building applications, websites or mobile apps. Another in-demand role is IT Project Manager, with 10,034 job postings in April, up 2,495 from March. IT project managers oversee the planning, executing and delegating responsibilities around all IT projects. They work closely alongside a variety of IT areas and guide the completion of major large-scale projects. Also ranking highly is the role of web developer, with 4,725 job postings in April, down 1,143 from March. Web developers develop web-based applications and platforms, maintain several web applications and perform regular site audits and regular maintenance.
While a handful of high-profile tech companies have recently announced layoffs or hiring slowdowns, the bigger picture is that employer demand remains quite high for all kinds of tech skills. Combined with a low unemployment rate within the tech sector, there is little question that tech hiring remains strong. For most companies, the cuts and hiring slowdowns are driven by a combination of slowing revenues and fears of a broader economic downturn. Thus, when considering future employment options, look for sectors where revenue growth has not yet slowed and for companies best positioned to withstand a brief downturn.
In some cases, hiring slowdowns are the result of a change in strategic focus at a company and not necessarily a response to changing economic conditions. Companies may be conserving cash for big strategic initiatives, and may not be ready to hire right now. This appears to be the case in the social media sector, where hiring freezes and dwindling perks are a reflection of the desire by some companies to reorient spending toward the metaverse. Keep an eye on this changing situation, and pivot your candidacy away from social media and towards areas such as augmented reality and virtual reality. To be sure, the current market turbulence has led some startups to make significant staff and spending cuts in order to survive, especially in areas such as blockchain and crypto. VC funders are pulling back on their investments, leaving some startups stranded.
Over the past six months, interest in landing a job in the metaverse has increased considerably. While exact definitions of what constitutes the metaverse can vary, your job will likely involve a combination of blockchain, artificial intelligence, 5G, gaming and other Web 3.0 technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality. The first step toward exploring jobs in the metaverse is to gain the required skills and knowledge posted in job descriptions. By learning these skills, you will be in a great position to land a job in the metaverse with firms like Meta, Microsoft, OpenSea and The Sandbox.
How to Become a Data Scientist at a Big Tech Company
Fortune, May 11
Data scientists have been high in demand for the past several years, as some of the biggest technology companies in Silicon Valley seek to maximize the power of data-driven strategies. Salaries for data scientists reflect this demand. The job has a median base salary of $120,000, and there are more than 10,000 job openings nationwide, according to recent estimates. Companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are leading the way when it comes to hiring graduates with degrees in data science and machine learning. While a degree in computer science (or related field such as data science) is still necessary to land a dream job, there are other qualities besides a specific degree that are important for data scientists in Big Tech.
The biggest companies in Silicon Valley prefer applicants who have a graduate degree in data science. In the past decade alone, MIT, New York University, and Yale University have established centers, institutes, departments, and divisions dedicated to data science. This is an indication that higher education institutions see a need for more specialized programs to prepare graduates for the field. Specific technical knowledge is needed to become a data scientist, and a graduate degree in a quantitative field is a good way to upgrade your skills. The majority of data scientists at the biggest tech companies have a graduate degree in a field such as statistics, machine learning, economics or physics. These types of degree programs provide students with the required technical skills in data analytics, machine learning and statistics. Meta, for example, requires all applicants in data science roles to have an undergraduate degree in mathematics, statistics, or a relevant technical field.
Why It Is Never Too Late to Pivot Your Career
Fast Company, June 2
Thanks to the rise in remote work options and the growing popularity of hybrid work arrangements, there is no better time to make a pivot in your tech career. This pivot might include starting a new business, finding a new dream role that fully leverages your passions or interests, or simply changing the number of hours you work in the office. Though change can seem scary, life is too short to pick one career that does not challenge or inspire you. If you are passionate about making a career change for the better, remember to streamline your message, take some downtime, share your situation with everyone you know, and focus on core skills.
You may have a lot of ideas of what you want to do in your new career, but it is essential at first to determine which skills or job experiences you can best leverage. You need to be able to apply these skills to your industry of interest. If you are successful in your current industry, apply the knowledge you have gained from that success to your new industry or role. Even if those businesses are very different from each other, there are always elements that you can utilize in order to maximize your experience and leverage that for life in a new lane. If you do not hone in on your core skill set and streamline your messaging, you run the risk of confusing hiring managers or potential clients, and possibly losing an opportunity. Overwhelming your audience is never a good strategy, since it leaves them distracted and unfocused. Try structuring your professional life into four subject areas where you are the expert, and stick to those topics that pertain to the career opportunity. Even when you have contrasting brands you can still establish four main subjects to focus your efforts. This gives you guardrails to stay within and enables you to communicate brand messages efficiently to your audience.
Welcome Back Boomerangs: 6 Tips For a Smooth Transition
The Enterprisers Project, June 2
Just a few years ago, deciding to leave an employer for a new role elsewhere was considered a final decision. Once you decided to leave, you could never come back. Not anymore. Given the current tight labor market, companies are now welcoming back former employees with open arms. It can be unclear how to integrate these employees (also known as boomerangs) into your organization. They usually know more about the inner workings than new hires, but they will still need direction to assimilate seamlessly back into the company. With that in mind, the article provides six tips to make the boomerang return as smooth as possible.
One way to prepare for the return of workers is by sending out a welcome notice in order to inform everyone ahead of time that a former employee is returning. Take care to ensure they receive the same level of care as new hires. Keep in mind that your organization may have changed significantly since the employee has left. If that is the case, you will need to re-onboard them to ensure they are up to speed on how things are done now. Go over your onboarding checklist and note areas that might need clarification. You may think you know this employee well. However, there is a good chance they have experienced some growth since you last worked together. Suggest coffee or lunch to better appreciate your newly rehired team member.
These Are the Most In-Demand Skills For Web 3.0 Jobs
Silicon Republic, June 1
The next development of the internet, known as Web 3.0, is quickly creating new job opportunities with an entirely new set of skills now in demand by tech employers. The concept of Web 3.0, which has become a catch-all term to describe the decentralized web, has come to the fore in the technology industry in recent years with the explosive growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Job opportunities in this emerging area will continue to grow, so the time is now to learn about technologies related to Web 3.0 and the metaverse.
How to Reinvent Your IT Leadership Career
CIO.com, May 31
For IT leaders who find themselves stuck in jobs with limited flexibility and potential, there are six different ways they can get back to building careers rich with satisfaction and growth. The important point to keep in mind is that the CIO role is undergoing fundamental changes as enterprises alter their expectations for how IT capabilities are deployed. As a result, it is possible to reinvent your IT leadership career without leaving your current post. By adjusting your leadership focus, widening your scope so that you do not get stuck within a specific niche, and building overall business expertise, you will be well-positioned to change your career.
The best way to make a career change as an IT leader is by adjusting your leadership focus. For example, CIOs should gradually transition their focus from IT planning, investment, and delivery to influencing and collaborating with enterprise leaders. This reinvention enables CIOs to achieve IT goals with maximum business impact. Instead of focusing on cost and budget reductions, then, try to develop a narrative around business outcomes and enterprise value creation. Digital transformation initiatives are effective platforms for developing new business models, customer experiences, business innovation, and data-centric experiences. Such platforms can transform IT from a cost-center into a partnership in which the CIO collaborates with management to build revenue and other tangible positive business outcomes,
The COVID Pandemic Through the Lens of Four Tech Workers
ACM Queue, May 25
When the COVID pandemic first emerged, tech workers were at an advantage working from home since much of their job happens on computers, and collaboration can often be done over the internet. That said, this was still a major change for software development companies, and it took time for individuals to adjust. Now, two years later, while it is clear that COVID has changed how people work in many ways, the outcomes have been contradictory and difficult to decipher. What works for one person may not work for the next, and we have yet to figure out how to predict exactly what will work for everyone. The article profiles four different tech workers, and how their lives have changed in response to the COVID pandemic.
Based on a comprehensive study of 400 individuals in the tech industry (including software engineers and IT program managers), it is now possible to look back and see how COVID interrupted their careers and required them to make unprecedented choices in their daily lives. As these tech workers navigated the new work-from-home reality and the challenges of the hybrid workplace, there were undoubtedly some mixed outcomes and results. Some people struggled with isolation and loneliness, or had a hard time connecting socially with their teams. Some found the time pressures of hybrid work with remote teams to be overwhelming. Others, though, relished this newfound way of working, enjoying more time with family, greater flexibility to exercise during the day, and a better work-life balance. The pressures of the COVID pandemic, in fact, gave them a stronger desire to contribute to the world around them.
The Role of Math in IT Education
Communications of the ACM, June 2022
If you are launching a new career in tech, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of having a strong grounding in mathematics as part of your IT education. However, undergraduate IT students often doubt the need to study mathematical disciplines. Their main argument is that the study of mathematics takes a lot of time and effort, but gives very little for the practical application of the acquired knowledge. What this overlooks, however, is that training in mathematics teaches you how to grasp new concepts quickly, and how to develop a logical, rational problem-solving approach. Most importantly, mathematics helps to develop algorithmic thinking, as mathematical theories are based on abstract concepts. Mastering any section of fundamental mathematics allows you to operate with abstract concepts to find new patterns.
The main thing mathematics courses should teach is the ability to progress through all the stages of problem-solving, from abstract fundamental knowledge to a full-fledged application. After all, many applications in the tech industry, particularly the best ones, are based on fundamental knowledge. However, many students who graduate and then move on to tech industry jobs often have no idea how to get through this path from start to finish. They also do not understand what knowledge is required. At best, they are taught applied mathematics and its application to solve some specific problems.
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