ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, December 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 24, December 19, 2023

Companies Have an Incredible Need For This In-Demand Skill That Pays Over $100,000 a Year
CNBC, November 24

Many of the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. now require cybersecurity skills. As the threat of cyberattacks grows, so does the demand for cybersecurity experts. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of cybersecurity jobs will grow 32% in the next decade, which is much faster than the average for occupations overall. There are nearly 600,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. right now, and about 3.5 million open roles globally.

Many people assume that cybersecurity is a hard field to break into as it is a highly specialized, technical role. However, you do not need an undergraduate degree to land a high-paying job in the field. Moreover, the job security is strong. Employers are really struggling to find people who are comfortable working in cybersecurity, and there is a growing need and demand for people with these skills. Cybersecurity professionals are needed across all industries, but there is a particularly urgent need in financial services, health care and government. The average pay for many cybersecurity jobs exceeds $100,000. The median salary for cybersecurity analysts is $112,000, while the median salary for cybersecurity managers is $164,070. There are also dozens of remote cybersecurity jobs on the market, some of which pay upwards of $200,000 a year.

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High-Skill Tech Freelancers Are Having a Moment
Wired (UK), December 13

Tech companies have always relied on freelancers to keep up with change, but the pace appears to be accelerating thanks to generative AI. According to LinkedIn, 55 percent of workers globally stand to have their work disrupted or augmented by generative AI. Moreover, the skills required by the average worker to do their job will change by 65 percent by 2030. The net result is that tech firms of all sizes are adjusting to having a more blended workforce and are leaning on freelancers like never before.

The reliance of the tech sector on self-employed workers is not new. Startups especially have been reliant on contractual workers, using them to quickly assemble teams tailored to the specific needs of a project while reducing fixed labor costs. However, the contextual backdrop and sheer number of businesses currently embracing a mixed workforce marks an inflection point. The average workforce in the UK is now made up of 58 percent full-time workers and 42 percent freelancers and part-time staff. Ninety-six percent of businesses say that they have engaged, or will engage, freelance support in 2023. Using freelance talent enables firms to bypass self-imposed hiring freezes or shortages of available full-time workers.

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How Many Jobs Are Available in Technology in the US?
Computerworld, December 11

The number of new IT jobs being added to the U.S. economy has continued to shrink over the past three months, even as the unemployment rate for tech workers has remained near historical lows. The unemployment rate for tech workers dropped from 2.2% in October to about 2% in November, according to new data based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, U.S. employment increased by 199,000 in November, and the national unemployment rate edged down to 3.7%. That tracks with October, when employment increased by about 150,000 jobs and the unemployment rate was 3.9%.

While there have been a number of high-profile employers announcing tech layoffs, there has also been a redistribution of tech talent to midsize and small companies. In the post-pandemic period, this talent was acquired almost in real time by smaller size businesses, so it remains quite difficult to fill tech roles in the country. Now that every company is a tech company, tech talent is absorbed into other sectors outside of tech, like retail and hospitality. Recruiters continue to see strong demand in business analyst roles and software developers as companies continue to work on readying projects for the new year and building out their apps.

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Which States Had the Highest Tech Salaries This Year?
CIO Dive, December 12

IT workers in the U.S. earn an average annual salary of $124,931, according to a new survey of 5,000 IT workers and decision-makers. Montana, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Alaska topped the list of states where the highest-paid technology professionals reside. Montana IT pros topped the list at an average annual salary of $283,750, while New Jersey was next with an average annual salary of $170,020.

In 2022, the top five list was dominated by inland states as hybrid and remote work opportunities expanded talent sourcing possibilities. However, in 2023, things are reverting back to favor coastal states as return-to-office efforts continue. About 90% of companies plan to implement return-to-office policies by the end of 2024. Recruiters say they are definitely seeing a desire among employers to bring tech workers back to the office. Approximately two-thirds of employers are now encouraging staff to return to the office, although only 11% plan to require work fully in-person.

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Unlocking Your Tech Career Potential: Crafting a Strong Tech Resume
Hackernoon, November 14

The first step in finding a dream job at a tech company is to craft a strong resume. This resume should explain what a good candidate you are by highlighting your skills and experience, as well as providing details on any projects that are relevant to the position you are seeking. You should look for jobs and projects at your current workplace that will attract attention on your resume, such as new projects using cutting-edge technology.

Since big tech companies value soft skills like leadership, it is important to showcase them on your resume. The more senior you are, the greater the importance of these skills. You can demonstrate your proficiency by showcasing your involvement in project planning, team management, or proposing tech improvements to projects. If you are a senior engineer and have not done this before, then now is the time to start being more proactive at your current work. After taking on more responsibilities, you can later add them to your resume.

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Move to One of These 10 Global Cities in 2024 If You Want a Great Quality of Life
Fast Company, December 15

Quality of life considerations are now top of mind for many employees, and that is leading to a reassessment of which cities are best for tech workers and their families. With that in mind, consulting firm Mercer ranked more than 200 cities on five continents based on their quality of life. The top city in the world, according to the rankings, is Vienna, Austria. The remainder of the top 10 list is dominated by European cities, which take seven of the 10 spots. The only North American city to make the top 10 list is Vancouver, Canada.

The full top 10 list of global cities with a high quality of life includes: Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; Auckland, New Zealand; Copenhagen, Denmark; Geneva, Switzerland; Frankfurt, Germany; Munich, Germany; Vancouver, Canada; Sydney, Australia; and Dusseldorf, Germany. The highest-ranking U.S. city on the list is San Fransisco, which ranks 37th. New York City comes in 40th, Boston in 41st, and Honolulu ties with Dublin, Ireland, for 42nd place. Out of all the cities on the list, 19 were in America.

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Always Research an Employer Before Your Interview
Dice Insights, December 11

If you are planning on landing your dream job in the tech industry, then you will need to research employers before meeting with them face-to-face. The good news is that you can discover a lot about a company through social media pages, the corporate website, recent news stories, and even user comments on career and salary-focused websites. As a first step, you will want to focus on learning more about the mission and values of the company, so that you can figure out how they align with your own beliefs and career aspirations.

While you can learn quite a lot from even a quick web search, you may want to explore your potential employer a little more deeply, especially so you can avoid potential career mistakes. One way to do so is via employee reviews. Hunt down reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Blind. Pay particular attention to comments about work-life balance, benefits, and culture. Also, consider how the company interacts with others on social media. Are their postings creative? What do their postings say about their brand and approach to business? Career pages and job descriptions may yield additional information. Do the company job descriptions excite you? What does the company seem to expect from its employees? If you accept the interview, make sure to mention the latest news about the company to show that you have done your research.

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Fully Remote Work Plummets
HR Dive, December 11

Fully remote work appears to be on the decline, according to the new EY Future Workplace Index. Only 1% of businesses ask workers to spend one day or less in the office each week, down from 34% in 2022. Eighty percent of respondents said they encourage or require employees to be in the office for three or more days a week. For tech employees, the shift away from remote work could have implications for everything from onboarding and training to the use of automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace.

The third annual Future Workplace Index from EY anonymously surveyed more than 500 U.S. C-suite executives and business leaders across numerous industries. When working to optimize their space, 32% of organizations reported that their greatest challenge is creating the right kinds of workspaces by balancing individual and collaborative spaces. In the last 24 months, 55% of respondents from small companies have expanded their office space footprint. Over the same period, 47% of mid-sized companies, or those with between 1,001 and 5,000 employees, increased their office space footprint.

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Eight Priorities for Instructional Videos in the Online Classroom
eLearn Magazine, November 2023

Instructional videos can make online content more vivid, demonstrate concepts that cannot be seen in a classroom, showcase experts on a topic, and engage learners in learning. The value of instructional videos is clear, but for students to benefit from a video, they must be willing to watch it. Moreover, students of all backgrounds have to be able to access the videos within the online classroom environment. For online learners to watch the videos being shared, their needs, interests, preferences, and priorities should be kept in mind.

For instructors, the primary focus should be on making any video content learner-centered. Tell learners why they should watch the video. Ensure that all videos (whether created or curated) directly align with the content and learning objectives of the module. Clearly label the video, so learners know how it fits within the course content. Keep the needs of the learners in mind. They want assignment clarification, detailed instructor expectations, and examples that directly relate to their focus in the course. Moreover, ensure that any video is worthwhile for students and yourself. For example, you could create a video that addresses a concern or question about an upcoming assignment before it comes up. Answering these questions proactively in a video can save your students and yourself time. Additionally, try to give students credit for viewing the video as a possible incentive.

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On Expert Testimony
Communications of the ACM, December 2023

Vinton G. Cerf, who served as ACM president from 2012–2014, weights in on the subject of expert testimony for computer science professionals. In a world in which computers, computing, information technology, data science, and artificial intelligence are becoming the norm, expert testimony on the use and dependence on software is inescapably on the increase. As a result, the role of ACM members, as professionals in the computing realm, makes them candidates for the provision of expert testimony in both criminal and civil judicial proceedings.

In the U.S. system of justice, experts are hired by each side (plaintiff and defendant) to argue for their side. As a result, U.S. judges dealing with highly technical testimony are often confronted with dueling experts and forced to try to make sense of and decide between conflicted testimony. When U.S. courts turn to experts directly for learning more about the subject matter involved, they do not discuss the specifics of the case but seek to gain appreciation for the technical aspects of the case. This might include getting a tutorial on DNA matching, software vulnerabilities, misinformation in social media, hallucinating chatbots, and methods for verifying the correct operation of software applications. The whole idea is to gain an acquaintance with technology and vocabulary, partly to avoid being confused or misled by jargon or worse.

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