ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, July 11, 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 13, July 11, 2023
While Silicon Valley still pays top dollar for IT professionals, the war for talent has moved beyond the technology industry, with other verticals vying for talented IT workers. In short, there is now growing demand for IT professionals across every industry, while technology has become a top priority for businesses across every industry. Every business unit has a stake in the IT services, apps, networks, hardware, and software needed to meet business goals and objectives, and many of them are hiring their own technologists. And as the demand for tech talent grows in industries beyond tech, salaries are on the rise in fields such as software, consulting, finance and hospitality.
In terms of industries with the highest tech salaries, the consulting industry is consistently at the top of the list. Technology has become an important tool for making decisions, designing solutions, improving processes, and providing insights on optimizing business strategy. With most IT consulting jobs, your role will be to help organizations identify technology solutions and strategies for improving their hardware, software, networks, and other IT infrastructure. Consulting firms are increasingly turning to tech talent to help build in-house platforms. There is demand for skills such as cybersecurity, cloud, IT project management, UX and UI design, change management, and business analysis.
The role of the artificial intelligence specialist has quickly become one of the most desirable technology jobs in Silicon Valley. As a result, even experienced software developers and software engineering professionals, who previously had their pick of top job opportunities, are overhauling their resumes to emphasize any work done with AI in their previous roles. The takeaway is now clear for many IT professionals: you have to highlight the AI experience that you have, because that is what is attractive to companies right now.
Given the popularity of ChatGPT, money is flowing into AI, which the tech industry sees as the next big thing. Thus far, that has meant higher demand, pay, and perks for people with an AI background. This situation is incredibly attractive to people who have recently been laid off in tech or who worry that their tech jobs do not have the upward mobility they used to. To capitalize on this, people in adjacent tech careers are attempting to reposition themselves where the good jobs are. Short of getting another degree, many are hoping to do so with on-the-job training, boot camps, and self-education. If you take a look at job openings right now on job boards, many listings are now placing an emphasis on software engineers who have a background in AI. When it is time to negotiate for a higher salary, people experienced in AI will likely have more advantages and more leverage.
A new set of in-demand tech jobs is emerging, thanks to the opportunities created by recent innovations in the tech industry. Some refer to these jobs as deep tech jobs because they involve cutting-edge technologies that are built upon substantial scientific advances and engineering innovations. These technologies often require significant time and resources for research and development, as they strive to solve complex problems and create substantial societal or economic impact. Deep tech can span across various sectors, including artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain, quantum computing, robotics and advanced materials science.
Artificial intelligence is perhaps the biggest trend in deep tech today. Advancements in machine learning, natural language processing and neural networks are pushing the boundaries of what AI can achieve in everything from healthcare to finance to transportation. Beyond AI, biotechnology is also experiencing significant growth, particularly in gene editing and synthetic biology, which are set to revolutionize healthcare and agriculture. Quantum computing, even thought it is still in its nascent stage, is drawing significant interest and investment due to its potential to solve complex computational problems that are currently beyond the reach of classical computers. Sustainability-oriented technologies, such as advanced energy storage solutions and carbon capture technologies, are also gaining momentum, driven by the global urgency to address climate change. Despite these advancements, one of the challenges in the deep tech industry is the long development cycles and high capital requirements.
Searches for AI Jobs Are Four Times Higher Than Crypto Jobs During Bitcoin Boom
CoinTelegraph, July 5
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become the clear winner in the battle for IT job seekers, according to extensive analysis of recent job search results. From 2020 to 2022, searches for AI jobs and crypto jobs remained fairly close, with AI taking the crown most days and crypto pulling into the lead upon Bitcoin reaching an all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021. Along with increased adoption and interest in both Web3 and cryptocurrency technologies, the crypto boom of 2022 brought job seekers in record numbers. But that boom has now been eclipsed by the boom in generative AI. After the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, searches for AI jobs skyrocketed.
According to a recent study, the volume of AI job searches in 2023 peaked at nearly five times the number of searches for crypto jobs. Even though interest in AI jobs has recently subsided somewhat from that peak, the volume of AI job searches remains four times higher than crypto job searches. Prior to Bitcoin reaching an all-time high of $69,000, searches for AI jobs routinely outpaced similar crypto-related queries by a margin of three to one. Once Bitcoin hit $69,000, however, searches for crypto jobs started to eclipse searches for AI jobs beginning in January 2020. At that time, search interest in crypto jobs was nearly five times higher than its baseline in January 2020.
AI, Management and 5 Other Job Skills That Make You Big Money
Yahoo Finance, June 30
In a highly competitive job market, acquiring the right skills can be the key to unlocking lucrative new career opportunities. Some in-demand skills are evergreen, while others have emerged as highly sought-after assets as industries continue to evolve and adapt to technological advancements. In terms of technology skills in demand, the top skills include artificial intelligence, UX and UI design, data science, and digital marketing. And in terms of soft skills, management, leadership, sales and negotiation all rank very high.
Management and leadership skills do not always translate directly into a particular job title, but these skills are obviously critical for any management or executive-level position, regardless of the industry or field. Even better, they will remain in demand regardless of how technology continues to change the employment landscape. Developing skills like strategic thinking, team management, decision-making and emotional intelligence can make you a competitive candidate. Participating in leadership programs, taking on leadership roles in volunteer organizations or work projects and pursuing an MBA or executive education can help refine these skills.
Do Blockchain Developer Salaries Match the Hype?
Dice, July 6
For software engineers and other tech professionals, mastering blockchain technology can result in higher compensation over both the short- and long-term. According to PayScale data, for example, the average annual blockchain engineer salary is now $90,000 per year, comparable to that of a software engineer ($90,777 per year), cybersecurity engineer ($99,887) or product manager ($102,866). As cryptocurrency adoption continues to rise, so too will salaries for blockchain developers.
Becoming a blockchain engineer can require quite a bit of learning. Many blockchain engineers start out in other tech-related jobs, such as software engineer or developer, before specializing in blockchain technology. Mastering the intricacies of the various blockchain tools and services can take quite a bit of time, even if you participate in a high-intensity bootcamp or other formal learning course. For example, blockchain engineers need knowledge of smart contracts and smart contract programming languages. Knowing blockchain platforms such as Ethereum or Solana is crucial, as is mastering the principles of programming.
CIOs Revise the Talent Playbook as Economy Shows Mixed Signals
CIO Dive, June 29
CIOs in large enterprises still expect to add IT staff in 2023, but changing macroeconomic conditions are forcing them to readjust hiring strategies. According to new Gartner research, more than 4 in 5 CIOs in businesses with revenue of $1 billion or more planned to increase overall IT headcount. Despite growth ambitions, adverse economic indicators forced IT leaders to slow the pace of hiring, decrease the overall IT budget and lay off employees. As a result, nearly half of enterprise CIOs plan to invest in upskilling or reskilling training to ensure teams meet goals.
Despite headlines about job cuts and corporate downsizings, many sectors of the economy are still struggling to acquire and retain skilled IT talent. The talent cutbacks seen earlier this year, mainly a feature of the tech industry, represented a reversal of earlier hiring binges to a more stabilized trend. In May, the overall number of tech jobs across the economy increased by 45,000. At the same time, the tech sector lost nearly 5,000 jobs. Additionally, many tech layoffs have yet to impact critical IT roles. That means that CIOs are still hiring for architecture, cloud computing, cybersecurity and AI skills. As evidence of this, there were around 15,000 job openings for AI-skilled tech workers in May.
How to Create Your Own Career Development Plan
Silicon Republic, July 3
Rather than entrusting your career development to your employer, you should play an active role. According to many career experts, it all starts with a self-assessment and different goal-setting exercises. A good way to think of your career development is by imagining a series of concentric circles, with yourself at the center, surrounded by your employer or an employer you would like to work for. The outside circles would be industries you see yourself working in.
Self-assessment and goal-setting should be a priority in your career development. Take care of yourself first, because you are the most important person in your plan. Think about what you want for yourself and how you can achieve that. Then begin to relate that to the research you carry out in your industry and think about how you can develop your professional skills to be an attractive candidate for employers. When assessing your skillset, be as honest as you can, because that will help you acknowledge your weaknesses and areas you need to work on down the line. Then think about what kind of job you want, whether it has to be remote or hybrid or part-time or full-time to work out in your non-working life. And if you need to learn new skills, can you do that online, at a university, or at an-person workshop? Be realistic about what your situation is and remember everyone develops at a different pace.
From UX to Product: An Intentional Career Route
Communications of the ACM, July 2023
Pursuing a successful technology career starts with a number of important career building blocks. For some, the process starts at a young age, with parents who take an active interest in technology. For others, it can start at the university level, when it is time to study practical applications of what had previously been just theoretical concepts. The article outlines some of the choices involved in creating an intentional career route. One of the earliest choices to make is whether to remain in academia or to pursue a job in industry.
One popular technology job right now is user experience (UX) researcher. In this role, you might have the opportunity to conduct thousands of hours of research with customers worldwide, observe user behaviors and workarounds, and then translate these findings into rich insights to empower design change. It can be rewarding to see the impact different products have on the lives of others. Just be aware, however, that changes in technology platform, workflow, or business strategy can often force you to make changes in your own professional development. For that reason, it could be beneficial to spend time learning about product management in greater depth. This could be the key to making the transition from UX researcher to product manager or experience design director.
Managing Hybrid Teams
ACM Queue, June 29
After three years of supporting remote work due to the pandemic, many companies are asking their people to return to the office. Not everyone is coming back, however. With some people in the office and some still working from home, leaders must get this transition to hybrid work right. Organizations can easily end up creating two experiences, one for the people in the office and one for the remote workers, which can lead to problems that will compound over time and have long-term damaging effects on your team. With that in mind, the article proposes some important issues to consider when managing hybrid teams.
Proximity bias can create potentially unfair advantages for people who work together in person, compared to those who cannot be in the office on a full-time basis. The in-person team might have closer relationships with each other, share information more easily, or access informal opportunities that are not shared across official channels. Videoconferencing can isolate remote individuals and make it more difficult for them to play a key role or understand the dynamics of a team. Disorganization and differing expectations can easily become the norm. When everyone is in the same place, it is easier to enforce the same rules. If you are in a hybrid setup, you have to be more thoughtful and intentional about keeping everyone on the same page.
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