ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, April 4, 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 7, April 4, 2023

Pursuing Nontraditional IT Candidates
Information Week, March 28

Despite recent high-profile layoffs from major corporations, businesses still struggle in many cases to fill critical roles across their IT departments. To close this gap between available talent and organizational needs, businesses should consider changing the criteria they use to assess candidates. Organizations could consider numerous tactics to meet these goals, including a re-think of previously required experiences or education, as well as direct outreach to candidates from nontraditional backgrounds. According to recruiters, it is more urgent than ever to rethink outdated assumptions about qualifications.

Due to the current IT skills gap, organizations can no longer meet their talent needs through traditional candidate pools. At the same time, candidates are learning skills in a variety of ways today. They are taking online courses or even teaching themselves new skills. As a result, work experience and educational background are no longer the only indicators of technical ability. To support talent pool diversity, organizations are beginning to include candidates with a wide variety of skills and experiences. This includes individuals with military experience, as well as those who are self-taught, or who have followed non-traditional work backgrounds.

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Exploring Crypto and Blockchain Jobs, March 31

The crypto industry continues to create high-paying job opportunities that leverage emerging innovations in blockchain technology. This comes after a challenging 2022, when the crypto market sulfated a significant downturn. With new job opportunities appearing, it can be confusing to figure out which ones serve as the best career move, or even where to look. Some of the most popular positions in this field include software developers, blockchain coders, and system engineers. These roles are growing increasingly in demand, as the popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology continues to expand.

Individuals looking for crypto and blockchain jobs should be familiar with programming languages such as SQL, Python and Java, as well as other technologies related to distributed ledgers, digital finance and cryptography. With the proper education and experience, individuals can take on a range of roles in this field. The salaries of crypto and blockchain jobs can vary widely, depending on the position, experience and location. According to Glassdoor, entry-level blockchain positions can range anywhere from $60,000 to $90,000 per year. Currently, the prospects for crypto and blockchain jobs are positive. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, approximately 10 percent of global GDP will be stored on the blockchain by 2025.

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10 Jobs That Only Exist in the Metaverse
Make Use Of, March 25

While the metaverse may not be growing quite as fast as many predicted just two years ago, it is increasingly being adopted by many industries. That is leading to new metaverse-related job opportunities, across an expanding number of technological platforms. Right now, two of the most important metaverse-only job opportunities include metaverse event managers and metaverse architects. In addition, there is growing demand for metaverse tour guides and metaverse real estate agents.

The role of metaverse event manager has exploded in popularity, thanks to all the events taking place within virtual worlds. These include auctions, concerts, stand-up shows, and other entertainment events. With events being such a key part of many metaverse platforms, someone is needed to schedule and organize them. A metaverse events manager will be responsible for securing metaverse locations for events and researching the locations beforehand. Event managers would also need to arrange attendee numbers, entertainment, admission fees, and other elements to ensure that virtual events go as smoothly as possible. An event manager may even recruit other virtual parties to help with security, technical aspects, and more. Metaverse events managers already exist, though this profession may become more widely known if the metaverse increases in popularity.

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4 Ways Upskilling Helps to Retain and Attract IT Talent
The Enterprisers Project, March 31

In the current hiring environment for tech talent, reskilling and upskilling opportunities are increasingly important in retaining valuable IT employees. Business leaders must ensure that every member of an IT team has the necessary skills and expertise to drive organizational success. By providing time for employees to gain new skills, organizations improve not only their employee retention and satisfaction metrics but also their bottom line. In order to attract and retain the best IT talent, reskilling and upskilling IT should be a top priority.

The technology industry is constantly evolving, so IT teams must stay current with the latest trends and tools to meet ever-changing demands. With AI advancing rapidly and security threats becoming more innovative, organizations have a responsibility to stay ahead of the curve in order to maintain and protect proprietary and customer information. Additionally, new technology allows for greater opportunities for efficiency. Even the most skilled developers benefit from learning new skills as technology advances. Reskilling and upskilling will help IT teams develop new skills, stay current with the latest technologies, and create a culture of innovation, ensuring an organization remains competitive and secure.

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5 Hottest Tech Jobs To Go For in 2023
Spiceworks, March 20

While 2023 has been a challenging year for many job seekers in tech, the silver lining is that the overall job market in the U.S. is proving resilient. This, despite high inflation and signs of economic weakness at top tech companies. Many organizations remain committed to their plans for digital transformation. Based on a review of current job openings, the most in-demand roles available today include software developer and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system-related roles, such as ICT architect.

According to a variety of different metrics, software developer is the most in-demand tech role in 2023. There are 171,913 jobs nationwide, with an average salary of $131,398. While there have been software developer-related layoffs in the latest round of job cuts at big tech companies, the long-term outlook remains strong. Organizations are still committed to investing in software developers. They need new talent and ideas to steer through the uncertain times and future-proof their business. Software developer hiring is poised to dominate not only in 2023 but throughout this decade.

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Legislation to Rein in Use of AI in Hiring Grows
Computerworld, March 30

Organizations are rapidly adopting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for the discovery, screening, interviewing, and hiring of candidates. It can reduce the time and work needed to find job candidates and it can more accurately match applicant skills to a job opening. But legislators and other lawmakers are concerned that using AI-based tools to discover and vet talent could intrude on the privacy of job seekers or introduce unintended biases into the selection process.

Several U.S. states, including California, Maryland, and Washington, have enacted or are considering legislation to put rules around using AI for talent acquisition. Within Europe, the new EU AI Act is also aimed at addressing issues surrounding automated hiring software. Congress is considering the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which, if passed, would require employers to perform an impact assessment of any automated decision-making system that has a significant effect on access to, terms, or availability of employment. In addition, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it intends to increase oversight and scrutiny of AI tools used to screen and hire workers. The number of laws and regulations related to AI in HR is gaining momentum, say hiring managers. The new laws are necessary and welcomed as technology has outpaced existing regulations for protecting underrepresented groups.

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Do Recruiters Prefer Tech Candidates With College Degrees?, March 30

Whether you need a formal degree to land a job in tech can be a complicated question. On one hand, many organizations list an undergraduate degree (or higher) as a requirement on job postings. But on the other hand, many executives say they are more than happy to hire tech talent without any kind of higher education, so long as that talent has the right skills for the job. Based on the latest survey data, tech recruiters still see college degrees as the most important factor, edging out factors such as years of experience, location and open-source contributions.

While non-traditional educational and work backgrounds are growing in popularity, the consensus among tech professionals is that a college degree and tech-related job experience are vital parts of any resume. Developers continue to highlight these markers on their resumes to catch the attention of recruiters, even though they do not necessarily agree that academic pedigree is the only marker of skill. For those tech professionals who opt to not pursue a degree, it is important to build up your portfolio (including a GitHub repository of code, if you are a developer) and experience in order to overcome any hiring manager hesitations about your abilities. That could mean participating in lots of open-source projects and launching self-made apps. Some tech pros might also choose to build up their freelancing experience before leveraging that into a full-time position.

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Beware Job Scams Powered by ChatGPT
ZDNet, March 30

The tech industry has been hit hard with recent layoffs. At the same time, recent advancements in AI platforms such as ChatGPT have allowed scammers to target desperate workers looking for a job. You can find job scams on career sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. But sometimes, scammers will directly contact people searching for jobs to lure them into clicking malicious links and sharing sensitive personal information. These scammers, posing as employers or recruiters, can be proficient at making their profiles look legitimate. But there are a few preventative actions you can take to ensure your identity does not get stolen in your job search.

As a general rule of thumb, if a job listing is too good to be true, it probably is. If someone promises that you can make thousands of dollars a month working a suspiciously easy job with very few hours, it is probably a scam. Unrealistic job descriptions will usually be vague and general, while an actual job posting will have a detailed, succinct description of job responsibilities and expectations. Fake recruiters will also ask you very early on to provide them with a payment method. They will usually say you are paying for a laptop or other tech gear, so you will need to provide your bank information for them to deposit your reimbursement funds. Sometimes, these scammers will ask for other personal information like your social security number, bank verification number, or credit card information. In past years, it could be pretty easy to spot a job scam, as a telltale sign would be that a job post was written with poor grammar. But as generative AI becomes more advanced, chatbots like ChatGPT can be leveraged to write impressively sophisticated job descriptions.

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More Than Just Algorithms
ACM Queue, March 27

Over the past few years, dramatic advances in the ability to gather, store, and process data have led to the rapid growth of data science. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on nearly all aspects of the economy and society. Data science has also had a huge effect on academic disciplines with new research agendas, new degrees, and organizational entities. To understand where data science is headed next, as well as what steps job seekers should take to prepare for data careers, the article includes an in-depth interview with four prominent tech leaders who collaborated on a new textbook on data science.

Data science has enormous, unprecedented power for positive impact. However, at the same time, there are downsides to consider. Even with the best of intentions, data can be manipulated in ways that were not originally intended. While there are already many excellent texts and courses on the subject, there is also a need for something that examines these factors in-depth. In short, there is something that needs to be done about click fraud, data leaks, abusive manipulation of applications, and amplification of misinformation. Some problems are more serious than others, but better education on this topic will help to lessen their frequency and severity, while simultaneously allowing practitioners to understand their significance.

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Hoping For the Best as AI Evolves
Communications of the ACM, April 2023

New AI systems such as ChatGPT are able to generate text and images that look remarkably human-like, with astonishingly little effort. These systems can be incredibly fun to play with, but they also raise important questions about the future direction of AI. In what seems like a relatively short period of time, machines have been trained to produce a wide range of content, all with little effort on the part of the user. It is no exaggeration to say that systems like these could pose a real and imminent threat to the fabric of society.

As some researchers point out, AI-powered systems such as ChatGPT are inherently unreliable, frequently making errors of both reasoning and fact. They are also prone to hallucination. In short, their responses might seem convincing and impressive, but the responses may be based on logical and factual errors. Moreover, these systems can easily be automated to generate misinformation at unprecedented scale. They cost almost nothing to operate, and so they are on a path to reducing the cost of generating disinformation to zero. Nowadays, you can get your own custom-trained large language model for less than $500,000. Soon the price will drop further. The hope is that, as AI researchers raise concerns about their reliability and trustworthiness, there will likely be much greater oversight over how and when they are used.

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