ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 10, 2023
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Volume 19, Issue 1, January 10, 2023
A strong market for IT talent softened the impact of tech sector layoffs in 2022. Nearly three-quarters of laid-off tech workers found jobs within three months, according to a new report. As a result, major career setbacks have not been widespread. Just over half of laid off workers (52%) got a pay bump in their new position, as compared to 65% of those who switched jobs voluntarily. As these numbers suggest, the majority of laid off workers are enjoying the benefits of a red-hot job market, receiving raises as they transition to new jobs.
Job posting volume for tech workers grew 25% during the first ten months of 2022 as compared to the same period last year, according to a recent Dice report. Engineering talent and Agile methodology, as well as SQL, Python and Java programming, were some of the most sought-after skills, the report said. Workforce volatility has been rampant in the tech sector, where a number of big tech names have all announced recent hiring freezes, slowdowns, or layoffs. By some estimates nearly 1,000 technology companies have laid off more than 150,000 tech workers total since the start of 2022.
After failing to keep up with inflation over the past two years, salaries for IT pros are beginning to catch up. In 2021, the mean compensation for all IT pros rose just 2.05%. In 2021, the median salary for IT pros at large enterprises was $100,022, and $95,681 for those at mid-sized firms. In 2022, however, pay increases for IT pros increased to 5.61%, with the median salary for all IT professionals rising from $95,845 to $101,323. The median salary for an IT executive rose to $180,000. In the year ahead, salaries could rise by another 8%.
Recent salary increases were mostly due to a shortage of qualified IT professionals at a time when organizations were embarking on large-scale digitization projects. In addition, macroeconomic factors, such as inflationary pressures, have played a role, according to industry analysts. Even as inflation soared in 2022, the pool of IT talent shrank as employees quit to re-evaluate their career and personal lives. Employers were also rolling out more technology projects in response to the global effect of the pandemic on remote work, sales and services. Over the past year, more companies have been investing in IT with an emphasis on e-commerce and mobile computing. At the same time, with the ever-increasing cyberattacks and data breaches, CIOs are looking to harden their sites and lock down data access so that they can protect all of their electronic assets. All of these factors increase demand for experienced IT pros and salaries they are paid.
At a time when the news cycle is filled with stories of layoffs at leading Silicon Valley technology companies, the bigger picture still points to significant technology skills shortages for many organizations in 2023. Industries seeing significant jumps in employment include travel, hospitality, and health care, largely the result of pent-up demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. The big takeaway for technology professionals is that there will be no letup in skills shortages in specialized areas in the months ahead.
Even if companies opt to cut back or compensate for their skills shortages with artificial intelligence, robots, and digital business flows, this means even more work for the people needed to design, build, program, and maintain such systems. In the past year, there has been a return to a pre-pandemic model. But this return to normalcy has also been accompanied by a global slowdown, which is what has led to layoffs. The skilled labor shortage will only get worse in the near future, as the need for tech talent continues to grow and the gaps between the available supply and demand for these individuals are exacerbated. Leaders need to come up with new solutions for how to manage this shortage now.
4 Career Paths For Software Developers on the Move
InfoWorld, January 3
With software playing such a critical role in how organizations run, it is not surprising that the demand for software developers is huge and growing. Companies in virtually every industry are looking for talented people who know how to build and maintain software. As a result, programmers have a variety of options as they look to rise in their mid-level corporate careers. Software developers can go into DevOps or project management roles, or look for business analyst, product management, and project coordinator positions. Recruiters say this is becoming increasingly common as software developers explore new positions that go beyond strictly coding roles.
There are four common paths to career advancement for software developers. One of the paths is software architecture. These roles are highly technical and are focused on designing, building, and integrating the foundational components of applications or systems. This career path includes roles like application architect, solution architect, and enterprise architect. The move into DevOps is another common path for software developers. These positions are also highly technical, and are focused on optimizing the tools, processes, and systems to build, test, release, and manage high-quality software in complex or high-availability environments. DevOps roles include release manager, engineer, and architect.
Tech Roles in Demand With Rise of Metaverse
Financial Express, January 4
The continued development of the metaverse will be a boon for tech talent in countries around the world. For example, demand for networking engineers, user experience designers and testers, cloud computing experts, data scientists and cyber security specialists is expected to hit a new record within India, with a 25-30% rise expected in 2023. These sought-after roles are also commanding better pay packages compared to traditional tech roles. The article takes a closer look at which IT skills are most in demand for the metaverse.
While the metaverse still has a long way to go before it is fully ready for mass consumption, early adopters with technology giants, global retail and consumer goods companies, gaming companies, and tech startups are predominantly hiring designers, backend developers, augmented reality engineers, virtual reality engineers, marketers, and programmers. In the longer-term, new metaverse roles that do not currently exist will open up, like metaverse construct architects and ecosystem developers. Many under-the-radar metaverse jobs will become viable career paths. Salaries for metaverse experts are expected to increase by as much as 40% over the next few years, bringing even more attention to potential metaverse job opportunities.
High-Profile Tech Opportunities For Those Job Hunting
DigitalTrends.com, December 29
Whether you are seeking to enter the tech industry for the first time or advance in your career, it is important to know which IT job positions are generating the most interest from hiring organizations. Within just about any field, there are many opportunities to work with up-and-coming as well as market-leading technology companies. Software developer is still one of the highest-profile opportunities for tech job seekers, regardless of industry.
As a software developer, you will be designing, developing, and maintaining applications for computer and mobile platforms. This can involve writing code in various programming languages, such as C++, Java, or Python, and using frameworks and libraries to build efficient and scalable software systems. You may also work with databases, version control systems, and collaboration tools to manage and track code changes. Some responsibilities of a software developer include collaborating with a team to design and ship new features, identifying and fixing bugs in existing software, maintaining and improving applications, designing and implementing software tests and debugging processes, and participating in code reviews to ensure quality and compliance with standards.
7 Best Paying Jobs in Technology
Money.com, December 30
From web development and project management to data and cybersecurity, there are many highly-paid IT roles for creative, managerial, and technical talent across multiple different industries. The best-paying jobs in technology include full-stack developer, data security analyst, computer systems analyst, database administrator, and network architect. For each of these job titles, the article provides a brief job description, average salary details, and a list of skills needed to get hired.
Whatever Happened to the Workforce of Tomorrow?
Information Week, January 3
Despite comprehensive efforts to develop a tech-savvy workforce, including new STEM programs and coding boot camps, the tech industry still faces an ongoing IT skills gap. With so much attention focused on widening the employment pool and developing skills for the digital age, how can there be a tech hiring crisis? There should be a vast tech workforce by now, ready to push industry and commerce to new heights. One possible explanation is that the needs of many employers can shift dramatically, which naturally can create gaps between classroom-based career expectations and real-world demand.
Of course, some debate whether there is a tech hiring crisis at all. A decade ago, tech skills were synonymous with software development and programming. Today, there is no shortage of developers and programmers, but tech skills in such areas as cybersecurity, data science, machine learning, virtual reality, and blockchain are often thought of when discussing a limited supply of talent. What companies want is a combination of technical understanding in the context of industry, business, and production. Companies should embrace the idea that they will build such talent internally. That could lead to data scientists in the finance department of an organization, for example, or an understanding of how to incorporate AI and machine learning across other business units of a company.
The End of Programming
Communications of the ACM, January 2023
The next 30 years could bring significant changes in how educators teach computer science, thanks in large part to massive new changes taking place in fields such as artificial intelligence. Concepts such as deep learning and neural networks are no longer in their infancy, and are increasingly being considered mainstream. This will likely have a major impact on how we think about the classic building blocks of computer science: programming, algorithms, data structures, systems, and programming languages. After all, classical computer science is all about reducing any idea to a program written by a human in a language like Java or Python. Each program is human-readable and human-comprehensible, but that might not be the case once AI becomes more powerful.
Most likely, our conventional understanding of computer science will change sooner than we think, and even the concept of writing a program could be headed for extinction. For all but very specialized applications, most software will be replaced by AI systems that are trained rather than programmed. In situations where one needs a simple program, those programs will, themselves, be generated by an AI rather than coded by hand. The computer scientists of the future will be so far removed from the classic definitions of software that they will be hard-pressed to write any code that might be considered commonplace today. All programs in the future will ultimately be written by AIs, with humans relegated to, at best, a supervisory role.
Is Computing Innovation Getting Harder?
Blog@CACM, January 4
While it might seem like the pace of innovation within the computer science industry is slowing, nothing could be further from the truth. As the level of technological sophistication increases across society, it is simply becoming more difficult to showcase the types of grand leaps and bounds that were possible a century ago. Moreover, there has been a fundamental change in the type of innovation that is being prioritized. Innovation is still taking place, it is just not as tangible as it once was. In fact, it is possible to make the argument that our innovation engine is working on overdrive, and that the significant sums of money being spent on research are paying huge dividends.
In terms of quantitative measures, the pace of innovation has sped up. First, consider the quantitative metrics that we use to measure innovation: the number of patents, number of publications, and number of journals in a field of study. These have all been climbing up in the last 50 years. And today we are still capable of putting together the technical might of hundreds of scientists and technologists from across the globe to accomplish large projects, like the Large Hadron Collider or the massive AI engines that are figuring out how to go from any place to any other place on the globe. And it is worthwhile to remember that some of the innovations from the recent past enabled us to coordinate the efforts of so many. On a less grand scale, research has become much more of a team enterprise now. And that is both a sensible maturation of our technology landscape and a desirable progression.
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