ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 24, 2023
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@example.com
Volume 19, Issue 2, January 24, 2023
In 2023, tech workers may start looking beyond Silicon Valley for the highest-paying and most exciting new job opportunities. Increasingly, they realize that the best opportunities might exist in more traditional industries that are upgrading their legacy technology stacks or embracing new technologies for the first time. New opportunities will also likely come from startups, especially fledgling companies founded by former employees laid off from Silicon Valley firms. Some of the hot innovations of 2022, such as ChatGPT, are likely to inspire their own ecosystems full of related tools, and the companies that make them.
While the scale of recent layoffs within the tech industry has been a rude surprise for IT workers, some analysts still see this as a glass half full situation. After all, many of the companies that made these cuts still have net staff gains over the past few years. It is more about what it symbolizes for the seemingly invincible tech giants of Silicon Valley. There is a set of tech firms where many people thought staff cutbacks and layoffs would never happen. So it will be interesting to see what happens when tech talent is no longer so concentrated at these tech firms. This could be an opportunity for more traditional companies that have always had to compete against these former giants. From manufacturing to consumer goods, there could be many industries looking to hire top tech talent.
The cybersecurity talent gap will remain an ongoing challenge in 2023, with organizations struggling to fill open cybersecurity jobs. The global cybersecurity workforce grew to 4.7 million people in 2022, reaching its highest-ever levels, according to a new study. However, the same study found that there is still a need for more than 3.4 million security professionals, an increase of over 26% from 2021. The demand for cybersecurity is greater than ever due to an evolving threat landscape. However, the available potential workforce is not keeping pace with that demand, largely because of a lack of interest from young people entering the job market.
The tech industry often blames the lack of interest in cybersecurity among current college students and recent graduates on an insufficient STEM curriculum. Too many current and former students lack adequate skills in math and science, which prevents them from qualifying for advanced programs in technology that could steer them towards cybersecurity careers. As a result, many managers report that the main problem with closing the talent gap has more to do with skills rather than with the recruiting of cyber professionals. Too many organizations hiring cybersecurity talent are looking for candidates who are able to check off every single box on the application form.
Despite the layoffs and ongoing uncertainty in the cryptocurrency industry, there are still opportunities available for IT jobseekers pursuing a career in blockchain and crypto. Since the cryptocurrency industry is still dealing with the fallout from the collapse of prominent crypto exchange FTX, the best opportunities are with the companies and startups that managed to avoid the worst of the FTX contagion. High-paying jobs available in the cryptocurrency industry include software engineering managers, product designers, and software engineers.
Given how quickly the crypto market collapsed in 2022, the big question is whether those jobs will ever return. For now, some analysts are optimistic. For example, one recent survey suggests that the number of jobs asking for blockchain skills will increase by 24.6% over the next two years. Meanwhile, the median salary for blockchain-related jobs is $99,593. Top industries with blockchain-related positions include finance and insurance, retail, and manufacturing. As the blockchain sector continues to innovate, it could open up even more opportunities for crypto-related jobs.
Developers Feel Secure in Their Jobs But They Are Still Thinking About Quitting
ZDNet, January 16
Despite high-profile layoffs at some of the top companies in Silicon Valley, developers appear to be confident that they will find work elsewhere if they decide to quit their jobs. Currently, 51% of developers are thinking about quitting or looking for something new in the next 12 months. Moreover, 33% report feeling more secure now in their jobs compared to last year, while 41% said they feel no change. Only 17% report feeling less secure.
The confidence of software developers is supported by the latest U.S. unemployment data for the IT sector. In December, the employment rate was 2.4%, down from 4.9% a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Similarly, historically low levels of unemployment are seen in finance and professional services. The figures also show that the number of workers who quit in the information sector is still as high as it was a year ago. Most signs point to developers being able to find jobs elsewhere, so employers may need to re-think their retention strategies. If developers are already planning to leave them, companies should not get overconfident that a more uncertain hiring environment will change those plans.
5 Unconventional Tips to Grow Your Career in 2023
The Enterprisers Project, January 12
Traditional advice on progressing your career typically falls into one of two categories. You can either do a fantastic job while managing up, or you can make the right connections and convince them of your value. While both of these approaches are solid, it might be time to consider outside-the-box career boosters if you want to fast-track your career or get out of a career rut.
One unconventional strategy is to work closely with people near the end of their career. People who are later in their careers can help you see the bigger picture and help you focus on what matters. People with experience understand that if you waste too much time focusing on things that do not matter, you could fail to achieve your full potential. Mature professionals can also teach you to solve problems better. They may not have seen everything, but their experience has likely taught them to spot patterns and identify solutions. You could also choose to work closely with people who are new to your organization. Recent hires bring a special energy and perspective. They can help give you fresh eyes for what matters outside of your organization and what is unique about it.
How to Demonstrate Your Most In-Demand Skills to Your Employer
Silicon Republic, January 16
Some of the most in-demand tech role for 2023 include software developer, data analyst, and project manager. However, organizations are looking for more than just technical skills when they are hiring for these positions. These roles often require one to have soft skills such as communication and flexibility. But how do you demonstrate these skills? In an attempt to answer this question, the article provides a few tips on how to prove to colleagues and bosses that you have the skills they are looking for.
Communication is a vital skill and employers want to know that you have it. Even for roles that are not customer facing, communication skills are essential. Writing emails, negotiating deals, collaborating with colleagues: all of these require you to be a good communicator. The best time to prove to an employer that you are a good communicator is during the first job interview and application process. In all likelihood, you will not even get an interview if your CV is not well written, and you will not get the job if you can not effectively convince the person interviewing you why you are the right candidate. Quite simply, in order to show your communication skills, you have to use them.
The AI Revolution Is Upon Us: These Are the Jobs at Risk and in Demand
SBS News (Australia), January 16
Artificial intelligence has the potential to make some jobs obsolete while simultaneously creating new opportunities. In fact, the world is on the brink of being completely transformed by AI, given how fast the technology is evolving. We are now at that leap in functionality where these tools are becoming incredibly useful both for generating new content, and conversing in a human style. So we are really starting to see these tools act in a way that is comparable to human-level capability. As a result, workers need to consider how they can future-proof their careers against AI.
New AI tools pose an immediate and growing threat to a wide range of jobs, especially those that are repetitive and relatively low-skilled in nature. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of knowledge and office-based jobs are likely to change in the next few years due to the rise of AI. Based on the recent success of ChatGPT, the threat that AI poses to the workforce is more visible than ever. For large numbers of workers, that means they will need to adjust to using these tools today. Even highly-skilled jobs may be in peril. For example, lawyers may also be vulnerable to the AI revolution, with an AI-powered legal assistant set to defend a client in court next month in what would be a world-first.
Even Your Loyal Gen Z Workers May Still Be Looking For Another Job
Fast Company, January 17
Employers have cause for concern when it comes to retaining Gen Z workers, suggests a new report by the Oliver Wyman Forum. Among other things surrounding Gen Z, the report delves into the views of the youngest working generation on employment and what they seek to get out of it. While Gen Z respondents view themselves as loyal to their employer, those loyal Gen Z employees are nonetheless still actively or passively seeking new jobs.
More than the Millennial and Gen X generations before them, Gen Z views employment as transactional in nature. They see work very pragmatically, as a means to an end. In other words, Gen Z finds meaning not in their careers but in their everyday passions. This way of thinking is largely driven by the effects of the pandemic and the amount of debt that many workers took on for their education. As the report notes, the resistance to the status quo by Gen Z has been a decade or more in the making and was accelerated by the pandemic. But what does that mean for employers who need to retain Gen Z workers, especially as they become the largest working-age population in the years ahead? The report notes that in-office perks are no longer highly valued. Instead, the perks Gen Z is looking for include flexibility and autonomy with a good amount of work-life balance.
Computing Divided: How Wide the Chasm?
Communications of the ACM, January 2023
Just a few years ago, many technology workers assumed that they could work anywhere in the world, due in large part to the broader process of globalization. However, the past four years have seen accelerating division and fragmentation in the global tech industry, driven by international geopolitics, as well as increasing technology and trade restrictions. This has implications for just about anyone pondering a career in computing, from the foreign student seeking a visa to study or work in the United States, to the mid-career professional who once dreamed of working remotely in far-flung regions of the globe, to the tech executive looking to sign international trade deals or land investment funding from foreign investors.
The world is at an inflection point. There are three major possibilities, one of which is a total breakdown of the current system brought on by rising geopolitical tensions. In short, the world might start to look a lot more like the previous Cold War era, filled with open hostility and fully separate trade blocs and economic systems. However, a more likely scenario is the continued devolution of the current system with export bans and creative work-arounds resulting in growing friction in trade; regionalization of supply chains for critical technologies; and the rise of digital sovereignty for services and data. This future world of computing would be one of increasing balkanization. But at least this system will avoid a more dystopian scenario.
Profound Learning Through Universal Design
eLearn Magazine, December 2022
Distance educators can initiate, facilitate, and maintain profound learning by encouraging deep learning through the practices of universal design for learning (UDL). Through the application of profound learning principles and processes, the practices of UDL can develop more substance, depth, and durable utility. The profound learner is not limited to searching for the quick fact but has a predilection for greater and more meaningful insight. The inclusive nature of UDL provides multiple mechanisms to find deeper meaning. There are specific distance learning practices that can lead online learners to become deeper learners.
There are several ways that educators can integrate profound learning principles and practices into online instruction that applies UDL. This would increase the opportunity for deep learning in distance education while recognizing that educators and practitioners may not be adept at implementing approaches and techniques that engage learners in deep and meaningful learning. Educators can use guidelines or instructional strategies to apply UDL lessons to distance education that deepen learning. To date, the opportunities for applying Profound Learning concepts and practices to UDL to promote profound learners have scarcely been explored. A discussion connecting profound learning and UDL is timely and overdue.
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