ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, May 23, 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 careernews@hq.acm.org

Volume 19, Issue 10, May 23, 2023


10 Highest-Paying IT Skills For 2023
CIO.com, May 11

IT professionals already earn some of the highest salaries in the job market, but there are 10 in-demand skills that can help boost your salary even more. According to recruiters, there is growing demand for IT professionals who have mastered skills for analyzing big data, developing cloud-native applications, processing data streams, architecting software systems, leveraging DevOps, and orchestrating cloud workloads. Whether you already have these skills on your resume, or you want to learn a new skill to help improve your chances of a higher salary during a job hunt, these skills can help secure your future IT career.

At the top of the list of high-paying IT skills is MapReduce, with an average salary of $146,672. The salary for this skill has increased 9% since 2021. MapReduce is a programming model utilized in the Hadoop framework to access data stored in the Hadoop File System (HDFS). It was originally developed to be used by the Google search engine but has since grown to be adopted widely within the tech industry. MapReduce helps users analyze large datasets that span across different servers and networks, dividing it into smaller modules of data that can be distributed to computer clusters for parallel processing. The name references the Map and Reduce phases of this process.

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How Generative AI and ChatGPT Will Influence Jobs at All Professional Levels
CNBC, May 16

A recent report by Goldman Sachs estimates that approximately 300 million global jobs could be exposed to automation, and one-fourth of all work could be replaced by generative artificial intelligence. With chatbots now able to write content and create visuals, AI threatens to disrupt jobs like software engineers, and take over a wide range of repetitive work tasks now handled by humans. But at a broader level, AI is emerging as a job influencer, with still-unknown implications from the highest executive ranks down to entry-level positions.

Most likely, a new AI officer for the C-suite is coming soon, given the very rapid adoption of artificial intelligence technology by many organizations. Every C-suite already has executives who oversee privacy and data, so AI could prompt the creation of a chief AI officer and entire departments overseeing AI security. As AI takes off, a chief AI officer will be a key decision maker over tech priorities that filter down through the organization. Companies need to take precaution and set up guardrails to oversee AI use, and that starts with training employees on how to use chatbots and generative AI. A future chief AI officer would not only be tasked with training employees and providing safety measures, but they would also likely focus on transparency of AI use, including how companies disclose environmental, social, and governance issues that may exist in algorithms.

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The Jobs Of 2030: Predictions For the Future of the Labor Market
Yahoo Finance, April 20

As 2030 approaches, the job market is about to undergo a major transformation, largely as a result of new technologies being introduced that once seemed futuristic. While many of these new jobs have not been invented yet, it is possible to make a few projections based on current trends. Many of the roles set to emerge in the future are likely to stem from technologies that are already beginning to make inroads today, including drones, autonomous self-driving cars, alternative energy, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

By the year 2030, the job title of robot resource manager could be commonplace. As technology continues to advance, robots are increasingly used in various industries, including construction. With robots being used in 3D printing, assembly line production and labor-intensive tasks, the role of a robot resource manager becomes crucial. This position involves sourcing and managing these robots while ensuring they are performing efficiently and effectively. AI business development manager is another job title that could emerge by the end of the decade. This job entails leveraging AI to assist companies in thriving and adapting to the fast-paced market. The role involves identifying areas where AI can be incorporated into the operations of a company to enhance productivity and profitability.

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Are the Big Tech Layoffs Finally Over?
Dice Insights, May 18

Although executives at companies across the economy still fear the prospect of an economic recession, the biggest tech giants seem to have slowed the mass layoffs that marked the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. Tens of thousands of tech professionals lost their jobs at large Silicon Valley companies over the past six months. But what is happening now appears to be more of a recalibration rather than the start of a permanent new trend. Many of these huge companies went on hiring sprees during the pandemic and now are simply scaling back.

Widespread concerns of an economic downturn have had a significant impact on business spending decisions over the past few quarters, forcing many tech giants to retrench. The big question now is whether layoffs will continue. According to currently available data, tech layoffs have declined steadily since reaching a high in January 2023, although some prominent companies continued to cut employees into April of this year. The tech unemployment rate climbed slightly last month, hitting 2.3 percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nonetheless, this figure is notably lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.4 percent.

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5 Red Flags That Make Recruiters Scroll Past Your LinkedIn Profile
Fast Company, May 7

While LinkedIn remains a valuable tool in the IT job search, the way that recruiters use it to find new candidates continues to change. So if you have not updated your profile to current standards, it is possible that your profile may raise some red flags with recruiters. Those concerns can add up, and soon recruiters will scroll past your profile in their searches. In order to keep your career on track, job seekers should periodically check their LinkedIn profiles for red flags, such as indicating that you are only open to remote work opportunities.

LinkedIn has slowly become the public version of your resume. Therefore, it is critical to use the same style standards for your LinkedIn profile that you would use for your resume. This starts with your headline. It is one of the most visible elements of your profile, and it needs to show that you have strong communication skills. Expect recruiters to scroll past a headline that includes spelling errors, or that seems to have been hastily constructed. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make your LinkedIn headline stand out.

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These 3 Computer Science Jobs Pay At Least $120,000
Fortune, April 28

Computer science jobs are among the most in-demand and fastest-growing in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Jobs that require just an undergraduate degree bring in median salaries of more than $97,000, but students who complete a graduate degree in computer science can earn even more. Earning an advanced degree in computer science can result in higher income potential as a result of your ability to specialize your industry knowledge. The numbers show that even an extra one to two years of study can pave the way to a job which pays, on average, $30,000 more in annual salary than those holding just an undergraduate degree in computing, and, on average, $60,000 more for those transitioning from outside the field of computing.

If you have an advanced computer science degree, then it could be possible to find six-figure job openings for computer and information systems managers.This role oversees and directs daily operations of tech departments, including functions such as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming. Computer and information systems managers are expected to have strong interpersonal, organizational, and communications skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these workers can command a salary of nearly $160,000 per year. Computer and information systems managers typically need at least five years of experience. The good news is that demand for these workers is growing rapidly. Employment is expected to jump 16% by 2031, which is much faster than the growth rate of all other occupations.

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Talent Pros Prioritize Upskilling and Pre-Employment Tests to Fill Tech Jobs
HR Dive, May 16

Technology talent acquisition and retention are undergoing a transition amid the current economic uncertainty, with hiring managers prioritizing different types of training. Companies appear to be more focused on upskilling and seeking certifications for current employees, especially in areas related to cloud computing, cybersecurity, and machine learning. Upskilling is becoming more important for recruitment, with organizations choosing to train existing employees more often than hiring consultants when they cannot find suitable talent.

Overall, 59% of organizations surveyed said they revised hiring plans this year primarily by freezing new positions. However, more organizations said they plan to increase technical staff numbers, particularly in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity and AI. That is partly because new hiring is focused more on developers and IT managers rather than senior technical roles, with companies looking for workers who can contribute to implementation, management and technical development. To address this, upskilling and pre-employment testing are becoming more common. When unable to find suitable technical candidates, organizations said they trained existing employees (58%) more often than hiring consultants (38%). Most respondents also said that certification (73%) and pre-employment testing (81%) are necessary to verify skills and address the challenges of finding appropriate candidates.

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How to Keep Your IT Job in an Age of Automation
Built In, May 18

Automation and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace, with a particularly noticeable impact on the IT industry. The increased efficiency, cost effectiveness and scalability opportunities provided by automated processes unlock a new source of value for organizations. But they also displace IT workers, who find that the premium once put on their skills disappears when a machine can do the job. Such shifts in workflow and tools pose numerous challenges to IT professionals. Engineers in roles at risk of being automated should actively consider a possible career transition and ensure that their portfolios are up to date.

In order to maximize their employability, IT workers need to keep up with the latest programming languages required by employers. Engineers, for example, should get comfortable with software development methodologies, cloud computing platforms, and other technologies. They should also learn to interact with chatbots and robotic process automation (RPA) to be able to build and implement them on behalf of their clients and companies. In an age of automation and machine learning, it is quickly becoming a prerequisite for industry workers to be conversant in these tools. In the past, engineers were primarily responsible for developing products, systems and structures. They are now responsible for the design of automated systems, the integration of AI into products and processes, and the management of high volumes of complicated data. It may be helpful, even necessary, to take courses. A certification can help you stand out in the crowd. Many employers, if called upon, will make financial contributions toward additional job-related education.

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Women in Computer Science Are Making Strides
Communications of the ACM, May 2023

When it comes to the STEM workforce, women remain underrepresented, with the greatest disparities occurring in engineering and computer science. Women earn approximately 50% of the undergraduate degrees in science and engineering, but comprise just 34% of the STEM workforce. While strides have certainly been made to address the gender gap, it is still not a level playing field for women who major in computer science and related fields.

Computer science still does not attract enough girls and women, and experts say there remains a stubbornly persistent view that computer science is not a field in which women will excel. Bias against women in STEM is persistent at all levels of education. Unfortunately, girls will be exposed to these attitudes more and more frequently as they move through school and extracurricular programs. This could lead many girls to look for another option where they feel more comfortable and more likely to succeed. By the time they are college age, only 5% of women, compared to 20% of men, will apply for a degree in an engineering, physical science, or computing field. Further, women comprise a smaller number of computing students at the outset, so the loss of women from these majors is especially concerning.

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Cargo Cult AI
ACM Queue, May 11

While advances in generative AI are opening up new career opportunities, it may still be too soon to call ChatGPT a true game-changer for the workplace. Current AI models, for example, still lack the type of rigorous scientific thinking required to thoroughly investigate, reason, and invalidate hypotheses before jumping to conclusions. This can lead to wildly inaccurate results. As a result, there is still a long way to go before the arrival of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which would theoretically make computers able to perform any general task that a human might be capable of doing.

The growing consensus in the media appears to be that large language models (LLMs) are the precursor to emergent AGI. While LLMs exhibit many behaviors and precepts indicative of intelligence, they are missing something essential: the rigor of scientific inquiry. Current AI models are missing the ability to reason abstractly, including the ability to ask and answer questions about why and how certain systems work. In short, they do not have the ability to think scientifically. There is as yet no comprehensive theory to explain what intelligence is or how it emerges from first principles. It would appear evident, however, that the LLMs of today are not able to reproduce scientific thinking to create new scientific theories. Evidence abounds that the human brain does not innately think scientifically; however, it can be taught to do so. The uncanny ability of LLMs to give the appearance of advanced intelligence means that there may be a so-called cargo cult being formed around ChatGPT. With every new ChatGPT result, the cargo cult grows. Yet, even the most cutting-edge LLMs are not innately scientific. And, unlike the human brain, there is good reason to believe they never will be unless new algorithmic paradigms are developed.

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