ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 21, 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 protected]

Volume 19, Issue 4, February 21, 2023

Where the Tech Jobs Are
InfoWorld, February 6

While the tech industry may be laying off workers, there are other industries where the hiring is actually accelerating. In short, tech may seem like it is downsizing right now, but there are plenty of tech jobs still available. In fact, the United States just reported the lowest unemployment since 1969, with the job market expanding for tech jobs. Although tech companies may be trimming now due to irrationally exuberant hiring over the past few years, tech jobs remain in hot demand as enterprises look for ways to transform themselves digitally.

Just because large tech companies in Silicon Valley over-hired does not mean your local bank, retailer, manufacturer, or entertainment company is not desperately trying to fill key tech-oriented roles to help them modernize. The best tech jobs available now are in all the industries that need technology to thrive but do not necessarily sell technology products or services. In this new paradigm, Walmart, a global retailer, is hiring for cybersecurity jobs, among many other tech positions. Morgan Stanley, a financial services company, is looking for Linux support, full-stack developers, and has a wishlist of 20 premium tech skills. Even John Deere, which manufactures farm equipment, leads with technology on its jobs page, touting positions linked to advanced computer vision, sensor fusion, edge computing, AI, and machine learning.

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Building a Career in the Metaverse: Skills and Opportunities, February 11

Building a career in the metaverse requires a combination of technical, creative, and business skills. The most popular jobs in the metaverse involve developing and designing virtual environments and experiences within a virtual world. Creating virtual characters, objects and interactive experiences is one example of this. There are job prospects in software development, content creation and project management in this expanding profession, which includes disciplines such as game design, 3D modeling, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence.

When building a career in the metaverse, having the right technical skills is paramount. In addition to having knowledge of and expertise using gaming engines, 3D modeling and animation tools, and VR and augmented reality technologies, this also entails having an understanding of computer programming languages. Since blockchain technology and decentralized systems offer a secure means to manage digital assets and transactions within virtual settings, knowledge of these topics is also becoming more and more crucial in the metaverse.

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IT Careers: How to Figure Out What Is Next
The Enterprisers Project, February 10

Based on your own research and advice from others, a new job offer might seem like an excellent opportunity and a chance to move up the career ladder. However, there are many factors to consider when deciding to make a career move. For example, your interests, skills, values, experience, and family could play a role in your final decision. Research on its own might not address what your gut feels is the right decision. On the other hand, basing a decision on a gut feeling alone is unlikely to address all possible constraints. Combining research and self-reflection into the decision-making process is the best way to determine your next career move.

Separating your next career move from your current circumstances and emotions is an essential first step. This will help you acknowledge any potential limitations in your next opportunity and help you make an impartial assessment against your current occupation and career objectives. Sometimes your next step can mean maintaining your current career or occupation but doing it differently. But you must isolate your next step from current circumstances that might influence your decision and evaluate each separately. It is helpful to reflect objectively on your daily experience, and why you might be feeling disconnected from your career.

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IT Jobs and Recruiting on the Dark Web
Tech Republic, February 9

Given the wave of IT layoffs within the tech industry, it is only natural that panicked job seekers might search out employment opportunities that are not listed on popular job search platforms. The reality is that IT professionals are being actively recruited on the dark web with job ads that are often similar to legitimate ones from regular recruitment websites. Ads offered on the dark web peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, but still number close to 200,000. According to new research, though, this tech job recruiting environment is only an illusion. Jobs offered on the dark web are risky and sometimes not even legal, if they are being posted by cybercriminal organizations.

Developers are in the most demand, followed by cyber attack specialists. Malware developers are in particular demand since most attacks use malware to compromise companies or exfiltrate data. Penetration testers, who help malware developers by means of debugging malware and helping improve anti-security measures, are also in demand. Attack specialists who are able to perform the initial intrusion on the target and extend it inside the network are especially prized, as are reverse engineers for reversing tools, creating derived ones or analyzing code that needs to be targeted. IT administrators are needed to configure and maintain the IT infrastructure of an organization and make sure it is anonymized and running. Also in demand are designers who create fake websites and phishing emails, as well as analysts who gather information on the targeted companies and provide useful information to help launch the attack.

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Common Resume Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Job Application
Fast Company, January 25

In order to optimize your chances of landing the perfect IT job opening, take extra time to review your resume for common mistakes. After all, these mistakes could get you rejected after just a quick look, leaving you wondering why you never received an interview. For recruiters, the initial review of a resume can act as a fast, final evaluation of the potential of an applicant. Most decision-makers prefer not to divulge their knockout criteria, but there are easy steps you can take to avoid common application-sabotaging mistakes.

Researchers have found that resumes often receive only a seven-second scan. In that short time, recruiters and hiring managers want to know if applicants have the experience they need and how long they are likely to stay on the job. Details such as your former employers, job titles, and employment dates drive initial short lists. If you know your resume does not include a specific detail that a hiring manager is looking for, take heart: Even during a rapid scan, decision-makers read resume headlines. Therefore, be sure to use your resume headline to demonstrate your ability to solve specific problems. Make sure your headline catches the attention of hiring managers and demonstrates why you would make a good fit for the role. You want to motivate the decision-maker to go beyond a quick scan and read your whole resume.

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Coaching IT Pros For Leadership Roles, February 9

Preparing others on your team for their next career step is one of the more challenging steps in any IT career. It requires you to hesitate when you know the answer, let others make mistakes, and convince someone who has spent decades getting to the apex of a technical skillset to let it go and embrace soft skills that may not come easily. If you do not do the upfront work to prepare your team to take the helm, you will not have anyone to fill those seats when you want to move up or step down. With that in mind, the article provides tips on how to develop the up-and-coming leaders on your team.

You can teach someone to code, craft new strategies, and complete the tasks of being a manager. But teaching is limited. To develop a leader, you have to coach them to become someone who can make decisions on their own, communicate well, and plan strategically. But the transition from teacher to coach can be challenging. This task goes beyond most onboarding or mentoring roles you might have already had. You need to be able to challenge people by asking questions, not giving them answers. Even when you know the answer, you need to be able to guide your team to find it themselves.

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Will ChatGPT Put Jobs of Tech Professionals at Risk?
Dice Insights, February 10

AI-powered chatbot platforms such as ChatGPT are making headlines, especially for their ability to write computer code in response to a query. This is leading to a huge concern among tech professionals: Is AI finally coming for their jobs? In a worst-case scenario, the thinking goes, companies will no longer need more than a handful of human developers and engineers for coding work. However, that scenario seems unlikely to happen, at least anytime soon. After all, current no- and low-code tools are incapable of assisting in complex efforts, such as diagnosing a network issue, managing a database, or creating a sophisticated piece of enterprise software.

The good news is that even an improved generation of chatbots will not fatally impact tech employment. Even building a relatively straightforward piece of software requires a mix of technical and soft skills. Depending on the requirements and scope of a project, a software developer or engineer might need to use two or more programming languages along with a variety of tools. They must also understand how their project will integrate into the larger tech stack of an organization, and whether the ultimate result will align with end user goals and needs. While ChatGPT (and similar AI chatbot) can write code and even debug, it does not understand the broader context of a project.

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Preparing African Youth for the Future of Work in the IT Ecosystem
ACM Ubiquity, January 2023

The rapid development of the IT industry across Africa is bringing new opportunities for young workers looking to land new IT jobs. While new technologies are creating entirely new job openings, there are some challenges ahead. For example, Africa currently does not have the curriculum or resources to prepare young workers for a career in artificial intelligence (AI). In a wide-ranging discussion, a certified data science and artificial intelligence professional from Nigeria outlines different approaches to building tech communities in Africa, promoting interest in STEM among kids and teens, and mentoring early career professionals in the field of computing.

In terms of AI, there will be a skill gap for the successful integration of young graduates into the world of work, and if this is not addressed, it could lead to a broader economic problem. After all, any society that can not employ its young people faces problems. The good news is that young people have very creative minds when exposed to the right things. They can understand computing concepts in artificial intelligence like computer vision, reinforcement learning and machine learning if they are introduced to them at a young age. If that is the case, they will begin to reason like problem solvers and think about how to apply these concepts to problems inherent within society. These would also provide jobs for the expanding youth populace and produce many young entrepreneurs.

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Evaluating Research Results for Practical Applications
Blog@CACM, January 17

One discussion taking place within the academic computing community is the extent to which practical results should be factored into the analysis and grading of new research papers. Recently, more and more articles not only do not show the possible applications of the results, but they also lack evidence of any real experiments having been carried out. This situation has led to the fact that only a small part of the research has from the beginning been carried out in order to obtain results intended for advancing the development of technologies. The problem could be that the current citation system is outdated and needs to be modernized.

The primary task for the computing community is one of creating cutting-edge products based on the results of research. In terms of the practical value of the results obtained, then it would be rational to implement an updated classification system of achievements in the field of computer science. The highest achievement for researchers is the development of a standard applied as a reference for a whole class of scientific and technical products. The next step down would be the implementation of a prototype of a new device or service. The obtaining of a patent is even one step lower, since patent protection requires additional time and financial costs, and selling a license is quite complicated. Finished products based on original technologies are preferable to patents. The main aspect to consider when evaluating a patent is the degree of readiness of the device or process. The last place on a practice-oriented scale should be held by new algorithms or methods that improve the performance of existing products as a whole or with regard to its component parts. A new system for evaluating the results of scientific research should take into account practical value, as well as follow tradition and not suddenly break the existing system.

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