ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, September 19, 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 18, September 19, 2023

AI Expert Is a Hot New Position in the Freelance Jobs Market
CNBC, September 10

The rise of generative AI is rapidly reshaping the freelance tech job market, with AI-related job posts from employers and searches among job seekers surging across career and freelance job platforms. Three years ago, becoming an AI expert typically involved extensive knowledge of machine learning algorithms, as well as a focus on deep learning. However, increasingly the focus is on ChatGPT-related projects, and that is creating an opportunity for tech freelancers to take advantage of the lack of AI skills among existing industry professionals.

According to data from Indeed, generative AI-related job posts have increased on its platform nearly 250% from July 2021 to July 2023. According to LinkedIn, ever since the large language model ChatGPT first broke through with the public in November 2022, LinkedIn member searches on generative AI terms continue to grow. Since early April, the number of U.S. LinkedIn member posts mentioning generative AI keywords has increased 25% month over month. By June, AI keywords related to ChatGPT and prompt engineering were being added to profiles 15 times more frequently than at the beginning of the year.

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83% of Gen Z Workers Consider Themselves Job Hoppers
HR Dive, September 13

Approximately 97% of Gen Z workers say work is part of their identity, yet 83% consider themselves to be job hoppers. For members of Gen Z, job hopping is not a sign of instability. Instead, it is a strategic way for these workers to diversify skill sets, pursue new challenges, and seek environments that align with their values and ambitions. The top three Gen Z work-related goals include having a good work-life balance, starting their own business, and achieving success and recognition. To accomplish these goals, job hopping is becoming an essential part of their career development strategy.

In a survey of over 1,000 U.S.-based Gen Z workers, the top driving forces that motivate them to work were personal development (35%), ambition and desire to prove themselves (28%), and family responsibilities (28%). About 1 in 4 cited the desire to make a difference or a sense of purpose. At the same time, money is still important. For 70%, a competitive salary plays a major role in deciding whether to stay with their current employer. Among the top reasons for leaving a job, Gen Z workers mentioned working too much overtime, having a clash of values, feeling unhappy due to their job, having a low salary and having a bad manager or boss. In addition, more than 70% of respondents said they would quit their job if the working environment was toxic, if they lacked development opportunities and if the job hurt their work-life balance. About 75% said they would quit without having another job lined up.

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IT Hiring Has Cooled But the Talent Market Is Still Strong
SmartBrief, September 12

There are several imperatives for organizations to keep in mind when hiring IT talent. For example, the hiring process should be as efficient as possible. AI can be used to scan resumes, create job descriptions, respond promptly to candidates and keep the process moving. Highly skilled tech talent will not wait around during a lengthy hiring process. Also, organizations should make sure to tap personal networks for candidates. Job boards are helpful, but personal connections, referrals and industry events are also important.

Many organizations have successfully navigated the current IT hiring environment by adding partnerships via staffing firms and external workforce solutions. In large part, this is because leaning on partners with experience guiding organizations through similar shifts can spare precious resources for other initiatives. Plus, such firms will often have insight into niche candidates like specialized developers, cybersecurity professionals, AI engineers, and architects well-versed in the latest AI developments. In addition to niche roles, external hiring firms are often the most adept at identifying and recruiting C-suite and senior leadership roles. However, there are pitfalls to avoid when working with a staffing or recruiting firm. Organizations must communicate their needs to the external firm, provide timely feedback and be open to suggestions. The external staffing firm could have valuable industry insight regarding talent that the employer may need to be made aware of, and to maximize their partnership, organizations should approach the process with an open mind.

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These Are the Top In-Demand Generative AI Skills
Datanami, August 31

AI skills are currently in high demand, as companies seek to leverage emerging tech such as generative AI for competitive advantage. For example, a recent survey by Upwork found that generative AI job posts on the platform were up more than 1,000% in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the end of 2022, while job searches related to generative AI were up more than 1,500% over the same period of time.

For the first six months of the year, the top 10 searches related to generative AI on the Upwork job boards were: ChatGPT, BERT, Stable Diffusion, TensorFlow, AI Chatbot, Generative AI, Image Processing, PyTorch, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Bard. Generative AI is the top skill at the moment, according to Upwork. From the first quarter to the second quarter, the fastest growing searches related to generative AI on Upwork were: AI Content Creation, Gradio, Azure OpenAI, Convolutional Neural Network, Large Language Models (LLMs), Generative AI, AI Chatbot, Midjourney, Prompt Engineering, and PyTorch.

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5 Ways to Boost Your Skills and Increase Your Career Opportunities, August 7

Tech professionals attempting to reach the top of the career ladder face a challenging climb. The combination of a competitive labor market and the ever-increasing automation of workplace activities mean it is going to be tough to stand out from the crowd. One great way to give yourself an edge, though, is to take a risk on something new. In short, experimentation could be the best way to hone your skills. Taking on new things and new roles will give you more capabilities and professional experiences than just taking a training course.

While internal courses play a key role in training and development, the onus for personal improvement often rests with the individual. The requirement to take charge of your own professional development is particularly acute in IT. Technology is changing so fast that you can train people and two years afterwards, things change, and new technology comes, and people start adopting it. Continual advances in IT, such as the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, mean professionals must stay ahead of the curve. Now, with the introduction of AI, a lot of vendors are adding tools to automate tasks that used to be completed manually. This is once again raising the bar for IT professionals.

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This Is Exactly How to Impress an Executive Recruiter
Fast Company, September 11

There are several proven steps that job seekers can take to get recruiters to pay attention to them, as well as to maximize their chances of getting shortlisted for a specific role. It all starts with understanding how the recruiting process works. Often, recruiters get hundreds of applications for a specific opportunity, especially if it is a senior role, but each resume only gets a brief review. So if your resume is not capable of garnering attention within 30 seconds or less, you will need to take additional steps to impress an executive recruiter.

Often, it can make sense to contact the recruiter prior to submitting your application if their name is on the advertisement. Ask some specific, relevant questions to demonstrate you have read the job posting. However, do not use this opportunity to ask an obvious question about the role. Also, make sure your resume highlights key achievements that reflect the skills called for in the advertisement. Show the recruiter why you are awesome and deserve their attention. Be patient and wait five days before following up to see if you are being shortlisted. However, make sure you do follow up as each conversation is another opportunity to leave a good impression.

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Does the September Surge in Tech Hiring Actually Exist?
Dice Insights, September 8

Hiring traditionally picks up at certain times of year, such as during the fourth quarter, when companies are actively budgeting their headcount for the next year. And it slows down in other times of the year, such as in late August, when many people are on vacation. That creates the opportunity for a September surge, when job postings seem to exponentially increase immediately after Labor Day. This surge in hiring is especially prevalent for businesses and organizations whose fiscal year starts in October.

Even if there is not a September surge this year, demand for tech professionals remains high heading into the final months of 2023. Tech unemployment hit 1.8 percent in August, and employers everywhere are scrambling to find specialists in cutting-edge technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. No matter what your background, chances are good you can find suitable opportunities in a variety of arenas, from manufacturing to retail and traditional tech. No matter what the time of year, the key is to keep your resume and other application materials updated. Before applying for any job, review the posting and note the skills it lists. Then make sure to insert any of those skills you have mastered onto your resume, as recruiters and hiring managers rely on automated resume screeners that check for such terms and will likely discard your application if they are not present. You will also want to list any personal projects, and use the experience section of your resume to show how you have positively impacted your previous workplaces.

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What Are the Biggest Mistakes Jobseekers Make?
Silicon Republic, September 13

While there are more job openings than job seekers out there, candidates can still be guilty of making mistakes when they are looking for their next role. Whether it is not putting their best foot forward in the interview, not knowing how to maintain a good relationship with employers they have to turn down or even just falling at the first hurdle when applying for a job, there are plenty of ways a jobseeker can make their life harder if they do not think things through properly. From the application stage to the final job offer, there are several key mistakes to avoid.

One of the biggest mistakes is a lack of transparency in your prior work experience or simply not being clear enough about what you can offer an organization. When it comes to looking for and applying for the right job, that means not being upfront enough about the skills you have that will make you the best candidate for the role. You have to overtly state what skills and experience you have that are relevant to the role. Automated technology is getting better, but if you have a skill missing, the software program does not necessarily understand that this other skill that you have translates and is applicable. You need to spell it out. With this in mind, creating bespoke CVs for each role is vital so that you can blatantly point to the skills and experience that you have and show that they match the requirements they list.

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How Soon AI Will Start Firing Programmers?
Blog@CACM, September 3

The release of ChatGPT has been a game-changer for programmers. While many still do not fully grasp how it functions, they have come to rely on it even more than Stack Overflow, Google, or IDE built-in features. But it could be the case that we are just scratching the surface of what ChatGPT can help to accomplish. The future, for example, could include robots equipped with Generative AI accomplishing an astonishing array of complicated computing tasks that would have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago.

Bug reporting is one way that ChatGPT will likely change programming. Large language models will scrutinize the codebase, conduct analyses of the code, and may even execute various tests before filing bug reports when anomalies are discernible. They will also initiate reports if they encounter code that is obfuscated, inadequately documented, devoid of automated tests, or fraught with security vulnerabilities. Moreover, they will flag code that deviates from established norms or best practices. The reports will be so meticulously crafted, replete with technical details and auxiliary links, that programmers will favor these robot-generated reports over human-originated ones.

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Five Priorities to Help Learners in the Online Classroom
eLearn Magazine, September 2023

Online teaching offers a host of possible instructional activities. From facilitating discussions to building content to providing feedback, the list of teaching tasks for online instructors is constantly growing. Complicating the issue is a lack of natural boundaries to guide instructional time investment. Despite the flexible, ubiquitous nature of the online classroom, the reality is that instructional time is limited. As such, it is essential that online instructors prioritize limited time to focus on instructional strategies that have the greatest impact on student learning. With that in mind, the article reviews five learner priorities to guide instructional time investment in the online classroom.

Knowing that online learners prioritize feedback by an overwhelming margin, instructors should dedicate a significant portion of their instructional time to providing individualized, one-to-one feedback. Feedback can be delivered in various ways: rubrics, feedback banks, and multimedia feedback. In the online classroom, feedback related to course performance is a key aspect of the one-to-one guidance provided by the instructor to each student. Recognizing that the time investment required to provide one-on-one feedback is directly proportional to the number of students in a class, instructors can maximize the impact of their feedback time by expanding beyond traditional feedback to embrace a more holistic approach to feedback.

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