ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Volume 18, Issue 15, August 9, 2022

Can't Stop, Won't Stop Hiring
Protocol, August 4

While the pace of hiring has slowed down in some industries and sectors, many companies are still staffing up. In late July, Gartner asked more than 270 HR executives about their recent hiring practices and outlook. And although 1 in 3 said their organizations had slowed hiring in response to a volatile economy, 47% said they had seen higher hiring volume in the last month than in the previous three. In short, the labor market is not contracting as much as many had expected. The pace of hiring was so fast over the past few years that any pullback is going to seem more significant than it really is.

Despite all the layoffs and hiring freezes in the news, many HR execs expect hiring to continue to be challenging. Half of respondents told Gartner that they expect the market for talent to get more competitive in the next six months, up from 41% who said the same in June. Even though hiring is slowing down at many companies, most do not think it is going to get any easier to attract candidates. Fewer than 1 in 4 execs said they are expecting the labor market to get less competitive in the next six months.

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The Tech Jobs You Need To Know About in Manufacturing
Silicon Republic, August 3

While the future of manufacturing would seem to imply a world of robots performing tasks once done by humans, the reality is that automation can only do so much. While it is true that more quantifiable processes are being managed by robotic process automation (RPA), this comes with an increase in roles that require empathetic and creative skills. Despite the widespread and growing use of automation, companies in the field of manufacturing are adding to their human workforce. These companies include automobile manufacturers, mechanical engineering companies, logistics companies, and industrial companies.

Some job titles are becoming increasingly popular in the manufacturing sector, such as automation technician. Automation does not start by itself, and so these specialists are required to set up and maintain it. This can relate to anything from creating software to managing programmable logic controllers. Software engineer is another job title gaining in popularity. For automated processes to be set up and to run smoothly, organizations will need people with programming skills. Data scientists are also in demand. Rather than superseding data scientists, automation and artificial intelligence is actually enabling them to do more. In this instance, automation has become a tool, allowing the humans to focus on exceptions and intellectual solutions. Other manufacturing-related job titles to watch include robot programmer and production technologist.

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Who Gets To Work in the Digital Economy?
Harvard Business Review, August 4

The shift in work patterns as a result of COVID-19 raises the possibility that remote work may become commonplace or even the the norm for many digital economy jobs. The focus on daily work arrangements may, however, miss an even larger opportunity that the pandemic has created: the possibility of a substantially increased labor pool for digital economy work. People all around the U.S. are suddenly realizing that they can participate in digital economy work. The societal impact may be profound as the dissolution of geographic barriers unlocks digital economy work opportunities for more people from more places.

For the rise of remote work to have such a broad impact, a shift on both sides of the labor market must take place. Firms must embrace remote work, and the potential labor pool for digital economy work must grow and spread geographically. It is well known that companies are getting more comfortable with remote work as a result of the pandemic, with some high-profile companies offering full-time remote work. In February 2020, only 2.3% of U.S. paid job postings on LinkedIn offered remote work. However, by February 2022, 19.5% of U.S. paid job postings offered remote work and attracted 49.7% of applications. The lesser-known supply side of the digital economy labor market is expanding into not only big cities but into midsize cities and rural areas as well.

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Coming Out of Tech Career Retirement? Consider These Factors First
Dice Insights, August 4

Many senior technologists, especially those who were forced into early retirement during the early stages of the pandemic, are now considering a return to the labor pool. With organizations everywhere on the hunt for the best tech talent, technologists in this age range can slot into a role and make a real impact. Whether they are looking to boost their retirement savings or regain a sense of purpose, there are a few things older workers need to consider before coming out of tech career retirement.

Without the purpose and self-esteem that work brings, retirees often lose their professional identity. However, they can create a new one before they re-enter the market. Many technical and non-technical skills are transferable to other career paths or positions. As a result, retirees have the complete freedom to choose any role or industry they want. There are companies and industries that would love to have their maturity and expertise. So, find a gap and offer to fill it. Take the time to figure out who you are, what you love and what you want to do, even if that means going back to school or taking some online courses to update your skills.

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5 Forces Shaping the Future IT Workforce, August 1

Concerns about a looming recession have not derailed the IT job market, which continues to show signs of growth. In the first half of this year, 115,000 new IT jobs were added. At the same time, IT salaries for existing IT staff and middle managers increased by just under 3%, while new hires were paid 5% to 6% more than existing staff, raising the appeal for some to switch jobs. Overall, there are five forces influencing the IT work landscape right now, including new momentum around the four-day workweek and the shift to remote work.

CIOs spent the past two years accommodating hybrid-work arrangements with employees to keep them onboard. Today, the conversation has turned to when they work and the number of hours required. This question comes as companies embrace the mental well-being of their employees and ask whether the 45-hour workweek is the most productive and healthiest way to work. Organizations are also considering relaxing the 40-hour workweek. There is a lot of talk about a 32-hour workweek, but that still involves only a relatively small number of companies. The movement could pick up steam, though, when companies run out of ways to incentivize people to join their labor force. Most companies are mulling more flexible options, such as offering 10 more days of paid time off, or designating the first Friday of the month as a company-wide day off.

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Interviewing For Your Next Job? Avoid This Common Mistake
CNBC, August 4

The job market is still red-hot despite fears of a recession, and job seekers continue to display confidence in their ability to land better jobs. But as candidates find themselves juggling multiple offers, the most likely mistake they can make is allowing their decision-making to be influenced by one interaction. In short, there is the clear tendency for a positive overall impression of someone at a company to positively influence opinions in other areas. For example, if the first interaction with a company representative or recruiter is a positive one, the questions you are most likely to ask during the job interview will support that initial judgment.

To avoid picking the wrong job and having regrets later, you should ask every company the same set of questions. Whether you actually ask those questions in the interview or get the information from another reliable source is a separate issue. It might be much better to get the answers to your questions from Glassdoor or from people who work in the company rather than ask the interviewer. Always do your research before choosing an offer to accept. It is a good idea for everyone to have a checklist of questions or criteria they would like their job to fulfill. Quite often, when people are mismatched to a job, it is because they did not do their homework properly. As a result, they did not ask the right questions.

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7 Stay Interview Questions to Gauge Employee Satisfaction
The Enterprisers Project, August 2

Stay interviews can be an excellent tool for understanding why employees are choosing to remain at the company, just as exit interviews help organizations discover why people are leaving. Stay interviews help organizations determine where people find value in the workplace and why they may be thinking of pursuing new opportunities. They are an invaluable tool to implement continuous improvement and show people that their voice matters. Just keep in mind that honest feedback is critical for stay interviews to be successful, so create a safe space where people feel comfortable speaking their minds and sharing perspectives.

There are seven powerful questions to get the most out of your stay interviews. For example, you should ask workers what talents they have that are not being used in their current role. Even your best software developer likely has interests that go beyond their core competency. Many like to nudge the boundaries of their comfort zone to develop new skills. This is how we grow. When people are underutilized, they may feel the itch to explore outside options that allow them to maximize their career development. Another question to ask is how employees would like to be recognized for success in the workplace. Some may not want to be called out for it at a company meeting or other public setting. Explicitly ask people how they prefer to be recognized and adhere to that. And then ask them if they feel that their company regularly shows appreciation for all the great things they do.

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Communing on Computing
Blog@CACM, July 30

Attending industry conferences can be a great way to regain perspective on your career, learn about new ideas in your profession, and meet new people who can help you advance in your current role. In addition, they can help you see how your current work fits into what is currently top-of-mind within the broader industry. They can also help you discover new ways that your work can be used to help address contemporary societal issues. With that in mind, the article takes a deeper look at three different conferences related to the philosophy of computing, showing how each conference helped to open up new ideas and perspectives.

Attendees at computer science conferences are often diverse, as are their views. While an academic conference embraces many frames of reference and accommodates many approaches, newcomers are sometimes nervous about how to fit in. In part, this is because conferences do impose lightweight but tacit expectations, to which neophytes are especially sensitive. Just keep in mind that polite adult behavior usually is the norm. For instance, use language suitable for all generations, and avoid assumptions about culture, humor, and ideology. And whatever you do, do not inflict sales pitches or advertising campaigns on the group. Feel free to ask a question even if you think the answer is obvious. However, do not hijack the question period by taking up all its allotted time.

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How Software Engineering Research Became Empirical
ACM Ubiquity, July 2022

It took until the late 1990s for researchers in the area of software engineering to embrace empirical methods. In the preceding period, the tools and guidelines developed for it were mostly based on common sense, intuition, and personal experience, but not empirical evidence. Over several decades, though, software engineering eventually matured into an evidence-based science. With that in mind, the article takes a closer look at how this process happened, starting in the early 1970s, when computer science was a young and exciting new area.

It took about 25 years for research in software engineering to become evidence based. Obviously, it took time to learn and adapt experimental methods to software engineering. There are lots of variables to control, such as knowledge and experience of subjects, familiarity with different software types, size of the software, students versus practitioners, and many others. But with time, researchers found ways to handle these difficulties and tackle more and more complex questions. Today, we have a new generation of computer scientists for which empirical studies are the norm. Research has reached an equilibrium between rationalism and empiricism called pragmatism. This is not to say that everything is perfect. New problems include the file drawer effect, which happens when negative results go unpublished. The good news, though, is that the need for empirical studies is no longer questioned.

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