ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Volume 19, Issue 3, February 7, 2023

Tech Jobs Dominate the Top 25 Best Jobs in the US
Computerworld, January 26

According to online jobs site Indeed, which recently released its list of the 25 best jobs in the U.S., the top job in the country right now is full stack developer. This position offers a median annual salary of $130,000 and allows for a mostly remote or hybrid workplace. Eight tech jobs were among the top 10 positions this year, compared to just two tech jobs in the top 10 last year. This year, 11 of the top 25 jobs, or 44%, were tech positions. By comparison, in 2022, just 25% of the top 25 jobs were tech-related.

The list of the 25 best jobs on Indeed is based on three main factors: job opportunities, salary, and workplace flexibility. As has been the case in years past, tech jobs continue to lead others in terms of pay. Last year, three of the top five highest-paying jobs were tech positions. This year, the four highest-paying jobs are tech-related: director of data science ($174,820); machine learning engineer ($153,252); site reliability engineer ($153,134); and back-end developer ($148,827). Even with instability in the market, the demand for tech workers does not appear to be going anywhere and neither is the traditionally high compensation found in the tech sector. Not only do tech roles offer higher pay than other industry jobs, but they also tend to offer the most workplace flexibility, which is an increasingly important trait for job seekers.

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Market for Cybersecurity Specialists Remains Strong
Dice Insights, January 30

Despite concerns about a slowing economy, demand for cybersecurity workers remains historically high. According to some estimates, the U.S. needs 530,000 more cybersecurity specialists to close existing supply gaps. As organizations look to protect themselves from cyber attacks, employers can not afford to pause their cybersecurity hiring. As a result, demand for cybersecurity professionals hit record levels for the first nine months of 2022, before cooling in November and December.

Throughout the past year, the total number of employed cybersecurity workers hit 1.1 million. Public- and private-sector need for cybersecurity specialists expanded at comparable rates between 2021 and 2022; during that period, public-sector demand grew 25 percent, outpacing the private sector at 21 percent. On the public-sector front, the recent $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill will increase cybersecurity spending throughout the federal government, potentially opening up new opportunities for cybersecurity specialists. Whether you are interested in public- or private-sector work, cybersecurity specialists everywhere need to remain aware of new trends in cybercrime and which skills are most in demand by employers.

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IT Careers: 3 Tips For Working With a Recruiter
The Enterprisers Project, January 27

Reaching out to a tech recruiter can be daunting, but it can also be a crucial step in landing your dream job. If you can effectively communicate with recruiters, you can increase your chances of landing your next job opportunity. As a rule of thumb, you should first research the company and the recruiter before reaching out. In short, before sending that email or LinkedIn message, do your homework. This will help you tailor your message to their needs and show that you are genuinely interested in the company and the role.

The starting point for working with a recruiter is looking up the company and reading through its website and social media profiles to get a sense of its culture and values. Research the recruiter and learn more about their background and experience. Use this knowledge to formulate intelligent questions about the company so the recruiter knows you are willing to do the work. When reaching out to a recruiter, it is essential to tailor your message to their specific needs. Start by introducing yourself and explaining why you are interested in the company and the role. Be sure to highlight relevant skills and experience that make you a strong candidate for the job. It is also a good idea to include a link to your LinkedIn profile or resume, as this will give the recruiter a more comprehensive understanding of your background and qualifications.

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Cautious But Confident, Tech Talent Will Not Stop Job Hopping
CIO Dive, January 25

In December, businesses hired 7,000 fewer tech workers compared to November, declining from 137,000 to 130,000, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the big picture for tech workers is not all doom and gloom, even amidst layoffs from high-profile tech companies in Silicon Valley. Businesses need skilled tech talent, and they are still willing to pay a premium to attract that talent. While the war for talent is not as strong as it once was, the job market is still favorable for job seekers.

For skilled tech talent, work opportunities are still abundant. Out of the workers who moved around during the Great Resignation, nearly 9 in 10 workers now in the tech field are happy in their current position.The Great Resignation shifted power from employer to employee, as workers searched for better opportunities, culture and pay. However, recent workforce reductions could leave tech workers questioning whether to job hop or stay put. Job cuts could have an impact on the amount of shuffling this year, but workers who are not happy at their current company will continue to look for better opportunities. Movement will continue, particularly for the most sought after skills, such as cybersecurity, data science and software engineering.

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Burned By Layoffs, Tech Workers Are Rethinking Risk
Tech Crunch, January 4

Over the past few months, thousands of employees from top tech companies are back on the job market as a result of layoffs. So where does tech talent go from here? Venture capitalists still want to fund the newest tech startups, so a job with a startup could be one answer. Top MBA programs want tech workers to join so badly that they are waiving standardized test score requirements, so an advanced degree is another option. Meanwhile, tech companies that are still in a position to hire are ramping up their hiring efforts, making it easier to jump back into the sector after getting laid off.

In response to being laid off, some tech workers are choosing to work multiple jobs at one time before committing to one full-time tech job. For example, one tech worker interviewed for the article recounts how she decided to take her time before jumping back into an active job search. For now, she works two remote jobs, and also runs a consultancy business on the side. While many people work multiple jobs to make ends meet, the opportunity to work multiple full-time jobs in tech has been amplified by remote work and layoffs. In fact, there is a fast-growing community of professionals looking to work two remote jobs, earn extra income, and achieve financial freedom. They are unwilling to become dependent on one stream of income from one company that might not have their best interests in mind.

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Tech Layoffs Are Not Hitting This Digital Job Market Where Over 700,000 Workers Are Needed
CNBC, January 26

Strong demand for cybersecurity workers is continuing even as big technology companies lay off thousands of employees. That is not a big surprise, as cybersecurity is seen as one of the more resilient areas for tech investment in a more cautious economic environment, though even it is not immune from the tech sector slowdown. But it is an area for young professionals, college students, and workers looking to make career transitions to focus on. There is currently a supply-demand ratio of 68 workers per 100 job openings, making it increasingly difficult for employers to fill all of those open positions.

Some of the most common entry-level positions include cybersecurity analysts, cybersecurity technician specialists, and cybercrime analysts. These positions focus more on what is defined as reactive work, for example, learning about the types of threats that organizations are facing, and identifying when threats need to be investigated and remediated. As professionals progress in a cybersecurity career, the goal is to gradually take on more proactive work helping organizations design secure digital infrastructure. There are many opportunities for existing tech professionals to make the move into this field, with common launch pads including other IT roles such as network administration, software development, systems engineering and even IT support; and by targeting the lower-level cyber positions. The approach of first entering through the broader IT job market can work for new labor force entrants as well.

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What Do You Like About Your Job?
Harvard Business Review, January 27

Leaving your job because you are dissatisfied with the work you are doing seems reasonable, but if you have not given thought to what would actually make you happy, you might end up in the same dissatisfying situation with a different company. It is worth spending some time figuring out what you actually like about your job before making any moves. Start by distinguishing between happiness and satisfaction and exploring which aspects of your job relate to each of these emotions. From there, figure out which parts of your job are the ones that bring you the most joy.

Tech workers often use the words happiness and satisfaction without reflecting on the differences between them. Happiness is a momentary experience that reflects the positive feelings that result from pursuing some desirable outcome. Satisfaction is a positive feeling that reflects a longer time horizon in which you are pleased with what you have achieved over a period of time. These emotions are related to two components of your work. There is the day-to-day work that you do, and then there is the set of things you achieve as a result of your efforts. The process of your work affects your daily happiness with what you do, while the outcome is typically associated with your sense of satisfaction. When you work toward a significant outcome and make progress on it, you feel a sense of satisfaction with the work you are doing. Research suggests that taking pride in the outcome of your work provides long-term satisfaction with it. Even on the days when you know you have to engage in some unpleasant tasks, the knowledge that you are doing them in service of an important outcome is a valuable motivator.

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Layoffs Broke Big Tech's Elite College Hiring Pipeline
WIRED, February 1

The connection between top-rated computer science programs and the largest tech companies has been well documented. Tech companies promoted themselves as dream workplaces with unbelievable salaries, while top universities provided the brightest minds for those jobs. That provided a regular injection of young and eager workers, but also created a system criticized for ignoring talent with nontraditional resumes or backgrounds. Though the largest tech companies are no longer disruptive upstarts, the combination of six-figure starting salaries with a top tech brand has remained compelling for recent graduates.

The fact that tech layoffs have not excluded the graduates of the top schools cleanly illustrates an argument that labor experts, computer science professors, and unions have been trying to make for years. The skills required for most of the jobs that power these larger institutions do not actually require degrees from premier computer science programs. If they did, top employers in Silicon Valley would not be closing down internship programs or dramatically scaling back on hiring plans at top universities. In response, one option might be to consider the benefits of smaller companies. Because they can not pay top-notch salaries or trade on a highly-recognizable name, they have more incentive to hire engineers and interns with skills they actually need. And they also must make more of an effort to retain them by giving them substantive work and building inclusive workplaces cultures.

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ChatGPT in Computer Science Education
Blog@CACM, January 23

ChatGPT and similar AI-powered applications will dramatically influence the future of computer science education. When considering how ChatGPT will influence computer science education, most teachers are not focusing on the potential threat it poses. Rather, they are focusing on the opportunities that ChatGPT opens up for computer science education. It is not a question of whether ChatGPT should be integrated into computer science education, but rather, how it should be integrated into the curriculum so as to promote computer science education.

In a relatively short period of time, teachers have addressed the various features of ChatGPT. As soon as it was agreed upon that ChatGPT cannot be ignored and should be addressed in computer science classes in some way or another, it was suggested that more attention be given to philosophical aspects of AI and AI ethics. In addition, teachers focused on social issues, such as the future of programming and the computer science profession, and pedagogical questions such as whether or not students should be allowed to submit programs generated by ChatGPT. In addition, ChatGPT was discussed as a tool for enhancing skills by expanding the knowledge of students through the answers of ChatGPT, fostering their ability to ask questions and to formulate them precisely, and imparting skills to determine the correctness, quality and reliability of answers from ChatGPT, as well as to filter the relevant information received from these answers.

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Early Insights and Opportunities of AI-Powered Pair Programming Tools
ACM Queue, January 26

Proponents of pair programming say it improves code quality and readability, and can speed up the reviewing process. Effective pair programming to date, however, has required the complex coordination of getting two programmers to work together synchronously. This has made it challenging for teams to adopt this approach at scale. The emergence of new AI-powered tools to support programmers has shifted what it means to pair program. Copilot from GitHub is an AI-powered developer tool leading this shift. The article highlights the opportunities of AI-powered pair programming tools.

GitHub released Copilot in a complimentary technical preview in June 2021, letting hundreds of thousands of developers try coding with an AI pair programmer. Copilot became generally available as a paid product in June 2022. With developers taking on the role of the navigator, they can direct the detailed development work and review the code as it is written. In addition, the AI assistant can write code (directed by the developer navigator) much faster than a peer, potentially speeding up the process. Copilot received public attention quickly, generating conversation in forums, press, and social media. These impressions ranged from excitement about potentially boosting the productivity of developers to apprehension about AI replacing programmers in their jobs.

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