ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 23, 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 [email protected]
Volume 18, Issue 16, August 23, 2022
Software engineers and developers continue to be in high demand, according to the latest industry job report. IT support specialists, project managers, systems engineers and network architects also continue to attract significant hiring attention. Meanwhile, the overall tech unemployment rate hit 1.7 percent in July, down from 1.8 percent in June. Tech industry employment has increased by 143,700 jobs in 2022, which represents a year-over-year increase of 55 percent.
In terms of hiring, many of the new job postings appear to be for entry-level and junior positions. For example, the report found that one in five tech job postings were for positions requiring two years or less of experience, while approximately half requested three to five years of experience. Although there has been a lot of chatter about hiring freezes and even layoffs at tech giants and startups, organizations everywhere continue to hire tech talent. They need software developers and engineers to build front- and back-end systems; project managers to handle work flows; network engineers and sysadmins to ensure the tech stack stays running; and IT support professionals to solve any problems encountered by end users.
Reports that some major tech companies are slowing hiring plans, along with the growing concern that a recession could be right around the corner, are complicating the overall outlook for the IT jobs market. Meanwhile, other factors could play a role in IT hiring plans, including a slowdown in venture capital funding for startups and the collapse of the cryptocurrency market. However, say recruiters, the overall picture for IT professionals remains solid. The job market is still very strong in terms of the number of openings and the amount of competition for tech talent.
Overall, demand remains strong for IT talent. For example, it is still not uncommon for 2,000 new technology positions to be listed in a one-week period in the Bay Area. That kind of volume pre-dates COVID and 2019 hiring. Despite the economic headwinds, about 60 percent of companies surveyed said they were planning to increase headcount, which marks the largest percentage since the 2008 recession. This is a sign of more IT headcount growth in the next few years. The caveat, of course, is that the economic headwinds have gotten a little stronger over the last couple of months than they were at the beginning of the year. However, IT has become so strategically important to every business that, particularly when it comes to IT staffing, companies are going to be as positive about their staffing and IT spending as they can be.
In the UK, approximately 750 new job listings for software developers are going live every day. According to a new survey of current tech job postings on Indeed, there are more than 30,000 software developer jobs available across the UK, and this number continues to grow. Tech companies might be feeling economic pressure as rising inflation and interest rates stalls growth, but demand for software developers remains very high.The challenge remains the same for tech recruiters: to find and attract the most talented tech candidates in a highly competitive marketplace.
Data Science Jobs Are a Top Pick For Gen Z
Fortune, August 17
Since interest in data science took off a decade ago, data scientist job satisfaction has also climbed. Glassdoor has listed data scientists as among the top three of the 50 Best Jobs in America for the past seven years in a row. So it is perhaps not surprising that Generation Z considers the role of data scientist to be one of the most satisfying tech occupations. According to young tech workers, this role offers competitive salaries, flexibility, and opportunities to use their creativity when working with data.
One result of the demand for data science talent is the high compensation level for those who are hired. The mean salary for a data scientist in the U.S. is $108,660, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in the San Jose metro area, which also has the highest concentration of data scientist jobs in the U.S., the mean salary for data scientists is $157,110. Previous Glassdoor research has shown that data scientists often earn high salaries, have plenty of job openings and high job satisfaction. So there is no doubt that these factors are appealing to younger workers starting their careers. A career that promises employment prospects and high compensation may be especially appealing to a generation that has already experienced a lot of economic turbulence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Best Tech Jobs for Introverts
ZDNet, August 15
There are ten tech jobs that are especially well-suited for introverts. These jobs feature independent work environments, creative opportunities, and limited direct interaction with team members. In addition, these jobs play to the strengths of introverts, which include the abilities to focus, collaborate, communicate, think creatively, and self-motivate. The top jobs for introverts include mobile app developer and cloud engineer.
Mobile app developer is a popular job option for introverts. Mobile app developers create and implement applications for mobile devices, using coding languages. Other duties include troubleshooting and fixing bugs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this role has a projected job growth rate of 22% for the period 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than average. App developers need an undergraduate degree or bootcamp diploma and skills in programming languages such as Java. While mobile app developers collaborate with programmers, designers, and engineers, they work much of the time on their own, making this a great job option for introverts. They generally do not have management responsibilities. Many companies allow app developers to work remotely.
Can LinkedIn Nudge You to Hire a More Diverse Workforce?
Protocol, August 11
While organizations have openly voiced their preference for more diversity among new hires, they have also acknowledged that this talent can often be hard to find. Thus, in an effort to help employees hire for a more diverse workplace, LinkedIn has released a new feature called Diversity Nudges. The feature is solely for gender diversity at the moment. If recruiter search results skew either too male or female, the nudge feature will recommend ways to broaden the pool of results, such as by adding new skills or broadening the search to other geographic areas.
The idea behind the new LinkedIn feature is not to add an extra step for recruiters. Rather, it is meant to be built into the day-to-day activities of a recruiter. The goal is to help recruiters expand their pre-conceived ideas of what makes a candidate qualified. For example, women tend to emphasize soft skills and men tend to emphasize technical skills. A nudge might tell recruiters that including soft skills in their search criteria will result in more female candidates. Ideally, that knowledge will improve hiring results. The feature is limited to gender for now because data from LinkedIn can ascertain only whether a profile is female or male. The company does not have enough data yet to identify race, age or sexuality.
Hybrid Work: What Has Changed and What Has Not
The Enterprisers Project, August 12
Organizations continue to commit to hybrid work as the new norm in a post-pandemic world. Pre-pandemic, only six percent of employees worked primarily from home. In 2022, however, approximately 42 percent of remote-capable employees are working on a hybrid schedule. With an overwhelming number of employees saying they want hybrid work to become the new normal, flexible work arrangements are becoming integral to the hiring and retention strategies of many organizations. Pre-pandemic, industries that offered work flexibility were often considered somewhat progressive and it was more the exception than the norm. Today, hybrid work is standard in a growing number of fields.
Of course, there are challenges with the popular acceptance of hybrid work. For example, hybrid work increases security concerns and organizations must implement best practices to protect themselves and their clients from cyber threats. With employees potentially using personal devices and home Wi-Fi connections, IT security teams must constantly consider new vulnerabilities and strategies to remain safe. Clear policies and practices, along with training programs that reflect these new procedures are essential for any successful hybrid work model. On the positive side, hybrid work reduces the impact on our environment. Working remotely means less paper consumption and energy used to maintain office buildings and less waste from consumable products in the workplace. It also provides team members an opportunity to practice sustainability when working at home. More importantly, remote and hybrid work eliminates or limits commute time, which reduces our carbon footprint by lowering gas emissions.
Gen Z Is Ditching Hustle Culture To Avoid Burnout
Yahoo Finance, August 14
In an effort to avoid burnout in the workplace, members of Generation Z are embracing a growing trend called quiet quitting. It refers to a new approach to work that tells people to stop taking on added job responsibilities or too many extra hours. Often, managers hire you for one role, but then keep adding responsibilities well beyond the description of the job. Of course, burnout is not new, and approaches to dealing with burnout are not new. However, just as the pandemic started people thinking about the value of remote work, it apparently has also sparked a backlash to the concept that work has to be the focal point of your life.
Quiet quitting is the latest expression of a broader trend that includes burnout, widespread disaffection among young workers, and pandemic-related exhaustion. Fueled by the pandemic, the Great Resignation became the name for the substantially higher rate of Americans quitting their jobs in search of something new, including a shift in priorities. There are now viral trends across social media all over the world to describe feeling a lack of motivation and a sense of disenchantment with a work culture that focuses so much on worker harder and longer. According to the latest State of the Global Workplace report for 2022 from Gallup, only 21% of employees are engaged at work, and only 33% are actually thriving in their overall well-being. Additionally, 44% of employees reported they felt stress throughout their workday.
The Making of an IT Strategy Consultant
Communications of the ACM, September 2022
For computer science professionals thinking about a career in consulting, the best advice is to re-think what you want out of the the work-life balance. Your enjoyment and satisfaction in life should have the highest priority when choosing a new consulting role. When you focus on delivering value and positive outcomes instead of racking up billable hours, you will experience a mindset transformation, and you will become inspiring to work with. Developing yourself will give you more return on investment than anything else. While university teaches you academic skills, you have a lot to learn about yourself. Be curious and devote time to explore your strengths and weaknesses.
There are a number of ways to boost your enjoyment in the workplace. Improving your communication skills is one way to do so. For example, you should be able to concisely communicate a plan with balanced insights into options and risks. Of course, there are other ways to get more enjoyment out of work. Find a seasoned mentor and get feedback from peers. Collaborate and embrace conflicts. Surround yourself with the best people you can find, not the most agreeable. Learn to manage conflict and accept that conflict is part of life and need not be intrinsically destructive. Finally, realize that your education is a life-long journey. Even if you have twenty years of experience in the industry, you can still be learning new things.
Computational Complexity (via ACM Blogroll), August 18
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the summer conference season for computer science seemed to return to normal. However, there is still tremendous debate about whether future conferences should be in-person, virtual or hybrid. One suggestion might be to run the conference virtually in some years, and other years in hybrid mode. After all, we already have too many conferences, a byproduct of the computer science field using conferences as the primary publication venue. If the main conference of a field is held every four years, researchers, particularly senior researchers, will make a bigger effort to be there. You can have the virtual meetings the other years so researchers, particularly students, can continue to present their work.
There are no easy solutions for planning the perfect computer science conference. Any event in the future will likely include a mix of in-person and virtual elements. For now, the in-person conference remains the traditional conference format. People travel from near and far to a hotel, conference center or campus location. Talks are given in large rooms, often in parallel. There are some social activities and some participants gather in small groups to meet and discuss issues. The big positive here is that in-person maximizes interaction between participants. Being physically away from your home means you can focus your time on the conference and your fellow participants. This was much more the case in the analog era, of course. Still, most participants will spend more time on-site than online at an in-person event.
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