ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, November 21, 2023
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Volume 19, Issue 22, November 21, 2023
Companies across the U.S. are now offering high-paying jobs for workers with relevant AI experience. According to a new survey, AI-related jobs offer 77% higher salaries on average than other occupations. In 2023, some AI-related jobs have starting salaries as high as nearly $450,000 per year. From 2022 to 2023, computer science job salaries saw an average increase of over 45%, which is directly attributed to the demand for those who can fill AI roles.
Over 30% of all computer science jobs this year are AI-related. But when it comes to compensation for those AI-related jobs, where you are located in the country can have a huge impact on the salary you can expect. According to the latest survey data, the states and territories in the United States that offer the highest annual average salaries for AI-related jobs include: Connecticut ($176,775); South Carolina ($155,819); Louisiana ($154,312); California ($154,310); Minnesota ($151,792); Puerto Rico ($151,706); Rhode Island ($148,509); New York ($148,501); Pennsylvania ($144,791) and Illinois ($143,707).
From data science to games and web design to security, the most popular jobs in the tech sector span a wide range of areas and functional expertise. In fact, the wide adoption of tech by nearly every industry means that the tech sector now has something for everyone. Even if you come from a non-tech background, you can obtain tech qualifications in a few months to kick-start your tech career. With that in mind, the article offers a guide to ten of the most popular jobs in the tech industry right now.
In a world driven by data, the role of data scientist is still one of the best tech jobs you can land. These data scientists use their skills to analyze and interpret huge quantities of data and derive actionable insights from it. Analytical, statistical, and programming skills are the cornerstones of a data scientist career. Some of the responsibilities of a data scientist include: generating and analyzing data from various sources to add value to the company across different business areas; developing and optimizing data models and data sets; explaining data analytics for other stakeholders and using visuals to demonstrate data insights. In the U.S., a data scientist can earn around $127,000 on average.
A majority of software leaders are already incorporating generative AI into their day-to-day work activities. By 2025, more than half of all software-engineering leadership role descriptions will explicitly require oversight of generative AI. This shift in responsibilities brings an urgency to the need to extend the scope of software leadership well beyond the bounds of application development and maintenance. This widening scope of generative AI oversight includes team management, talent management, business development, and ethics enforcement.
While generative AI will not replace developers, it has the ability to automate certain aspects of software engineering. And while it cannot replicate the creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that humans possess, AI serves as a force multiplier that can enhance efficiency. As a result, say recruiters, the role of managers in any digital transformation involving AI cannot be overstated. These managers make all key decisions about AI. They oversee the development and implementation of AI-based systems. In turn, managers use these AI-based systems in their decision making, leverage them to target customers, and monitor and adjust the decisions, processes, and routines that appropriate AI. Managers allocate resources, oversee AI projects, and govern the organizations that are shaping the future.
The Best Non-Coding Jobs for Computer Science Majors
Analytics Insight, October 23
While having coding knowledge and abilities might be helpful in landing a job in the tech sector, there are many computer science jobs that do not require coding expertise. In fact, non-coding computer science jobs have become essential to the future growth of the technology sector, meaning that jobs in computer science are still attainable even if you are not good at programming. Even jobs that are typically thought of as coding jobs are changing in terms of the expertise required.
One of the most popular non-coding jobs is database administrator. This position has an average annual salary of $80,000 and usually requires an undergraduate degree. Database administrators manage and maintain databases, ensuring that they are secure, well-organized, and perform efficiently. Computer science graduates possess the knowledge required to design and manage databases, making this an excellent non-coding career option. Another popular non-coding job is data analyst. This position has an average annual salary of $60,000. Data analysts play a crucial role in interpreting data and turning it into actionable insights. Computer science majors excel in this field, given their proficiency in programming languages and data manipulation. Data analysts work with tools like Excel and data visualization software to make data-driven recommendations for businesses.
The Government Is Now the Hottest Tech Employer in Town
Wired, November 15
After a year of massive job cuts at high-profile tech employers, the U.S. government has come to be seen as an appealing, innovative employer. Tech companies have laid off some 400,000 people worldwide in 2022 and 2023. With the market yet to right itself, and some people reexamining the role big tech firms play in society, public sector roles, complete with perks like pensions and a warm, fuzzy do-good feeling, are suddenly proving popular. The need and capacity is certainly there for technical roles at the federal, state, and local levels, and job seekers are taking notice.
Increasingly, the gap between the government and private sector is narrowing. For example, government agencies are re-thinking their application and recruiting strategies. Rather than waiting for workers to come to websites, they are going to find them directly at live events and conferences. They are also advertising remote roles, and setting up hubs for workers in cities where tech workers congregate, like Seattle, Austin, and Charlotte. Still, there is a lot of work to do. Keeping pace with the private sector, where hiring strategies and salaries move fast, has traditionally been hard for governments. Then, once hired, those employees may face similar roadblocks when it comes to innovating in their jobs. Still, there is movement by local and federal U.S. government branches to bring in new talent.
The Future is Quantum
Nature.com, November 13
The rise of quantum computing is giving rise to new programs, degrees, and work opportunities for those looking to gain experience in the field. For example, at the undergraduate level, quantum engineering has emerged as a possible degree option for students looking to enter the emerging quantum technology industry. And some companies have started to list job opportunities that require a knowledge of quantum technology. While quantum computers may take another decade to become commercially successful, they will likely lead to a technological paradigm shift.
Many industries are betting that they will benefit from the anticipated quantum computing revolution. Pharmaceutical companies and electric vehicle manufacturers have begun to explore the use of quantum computers in chemistry simulations for drug discovery or battery development. Compared with state-of-the-art supercomputers, quantum computers are thought to more efficiently and accurately simulate molecules, which are inherently quantum mechanical in nature. From software developers to biologists and chemists, users are now investigating whether quantum technology can bolster their fields. But there is still lively debate about how the technology will pan out. Moreover, a lot of people are hesitant about entering the industry until they see the technology is robust.
How Employers Can Overcome Skill and Staff Shortages
Silicon Republic, November 17
In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, the digital skills shortage has become a pressing concern for businesses everywhere. Employers want to remain competitive while maximizing productivity and efficiency, and that is changing the way they hire tech employees. The first step, say recruiting experts, is to identify the skills your team needs and may not have. After understanding these skills gaps, you can match up the missing skills with the areas for growth needed in your business.
In order to address skills gaps, organizations can offer ongoing training to keep the skills of teams up to date. After all, training can quickly become outdated in the fast-paced world we live in, so it is important to find a low-cost online learning platform that constantly refreshes and adds courses to help keep your staff learning. The future of employee development looks more digital than ever. In this changing digital age, HR needs to keep up and focus on employee development to tackle skill and talent shortages. And as engaged employees are more likely to stay involved, loyal and productive, there is a lot for HR leaders and employers to gain. As the lines between work and life blur, organizations should embrace digital solutions to promote a sense of belonging and connectivity, making sure that employee development is a seamless and rewarding journey.
Should You Use AI to Apply For Jobs?
Dice.com, November 13
There are now trained bots to help applicants write and send applications to jobs that meet certain criteria, and that is changing the way job applicants apply. While a new generation of AI-powered tools now allow job candidates to apply for jobs with a minimum of time and effort, this may not always be the optimal strategy in terms of landing job interviews. In fact, the success rate may be much lower than if you had manually applied instead. The article takes a closer look at both the upside and downside of AI-powered job applications.
There is certainly upside when it comes to AI-powered job applications. That is because, over the past several years, the process of applying for jobs has become exponentially more complicated. Many companies force you to upload your resume and fill out a redundant online form breaking down your skills and experience. Automated resume software may delete your perfectly acceptable resume because you did not include the right selection of keywords. And poorly written job postings and documentation can make it difficult to determine what an employer actually wants out of a candidate. At first glance, bots that apply for jobs might seem like the perfect antidote to this aggravating situation. The primary benefit here, of course, is the time savings.
The Secret to Being a Great Software Engineering Leader
ACM Queue, November 14
To be a good software leader, you have to give your teams as much autonomy as possible. You also have to accept ultimately responsibility for the performance of your team, especially when things go wrong. One of the hardest things about being the manager is owning responsibility for everything but having no direct control. The way great managers solve this is by setting up processes, tools, or mechanisms that provide insights. These allow them to ask the right questions at the right time, and gently steer the team in the right direction.
Software engineering managers and other senior technical leaders have many responsibilities. For example, they are responsible for delivering on business outcomes, and keeping the product, system, or application up and running and in good order. Both of these areas can benefit from a systematic approach. One approach involves setting up checks and balances for operational excellence. From the perspective of teams, operational excellence is the ability to consistently deliver high-quality products and services to customers. It is essential for software engineering managers because it helps them ensure that their teams are able to meet the needs of their customers. There are many benefits to operational excellence, including increased customer satisfaction, reduced costs, improved efficiency, increased innovation, and improved employee morale.
The Perils of Stay In Your Lane
Blog@CACM, November 6
If you are thinking about advancing your career in management, then you need to be aware of an increasingly popular management approach usually referred to as Stay In Your Lane. That phrase translates roughly to: Do your job and let others do theirs. While this approach can help to improve operational efficiency and reduce the number of issues that managers need to handle on a daily basis, it can also lead to bad leadership. Even when used with the best of intentions, Stay In Your Lane is incomplete. Few systems of any reasonable complexity look like a set of parallel lines. Systems of size and significance involve multiple inputs and require coordinated decision making with functional inter-dependencies.
In order to understand possible drawbacks to the Stay In Your Lane management approach, an analogy with real-world driving can be helpful. While repeatedly swerving in and out of your lane with your car is not generally helpful for overall throughput, a lane neighbor might be able to spot something you would never be able to see from inside your own car, such as a rusted muffler about to fall off, or a broken tail light. Of course, in baseline driving, everything is fantastic as everyone is cruising along at high but appropriate speeds, and the presence of lane neighbors is rarely contemplated. This can seemingly continue forever, provided nobody runs out of gas, gets tired, or has some other reason to leave the lane. However, life has a way of presenting challenges. There are many conditions which could produce a lane blockage, such as a something falling off the back of a truck, road issues such as potholes, or scheduled maintenance. The car in the first lane has several options to deal with the blockage, and none of them are optimal. Staying in your lane, for example, might require slamming on the brakes and risking an accident with the car behind you.
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