ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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 20, Issue 1, January 9, 2024

Big Workplace Changes Are Coming in 2024
Computerworld, January 1

Over the past three years, the IT workplace was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work. Last year was also the year that generative artificial intelligence began to change the way we work, especially with the sudden popularity of ChatGPT. Similar types of big changes could be coming in 2024, including those related to both AI and mixed reality (virtual reality and augmented reality).

In the world of business technology, generative AI is now seemingly everywhere. It started last spring, when ChatGPT suddenly went mainstream. By April, a quarter of C-suite executives were using generative AI for work and a quarter of company boards of directors were talking about using it in the workplace. In 2024, the next wave of generative AI solutions could be on the way. Increasingly, companies will take a hybrid approach to implementing the fast-evolving technology at work, opening up new potential use cases for employees.

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Cloud and IT Architecture Top List of Highest-Paying Tech Jobs
CIO Dive, December 19

The majority of IT workers are earning more than in 2022, with average annual salaries increasing by nearly $20,000 from the year-earlier period. Based on a survey of 5,000 IT workers and decision-makers, it appears that cloud skills command the highest salaries in the tech job market. IT pros with cloud skills earned around $165,000 annually, surpassed only by tech executives, who averaged $168,000 annually in 2023. Companies also placed a premium on IT architecture and design skills, which now command an average salary of $142,689.

With IT unemployment rates nearing historical lows, the tech skills gaps is putting pressure on companies to pay up for top talent. In November, the IT unemployment rate fell to 1.7%, its lowest level since January 2023. Demand continues to surpass supply when it comes to skilled tech talent. It is therefore not surprising that salaries continue to rise, especially in areas like cloud computing and IT architecture, where the talent pool is already more limited.

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Top 10 Countries Attracting International Tech Talent, December 27

Tech workers looking to make a career move are flocking to international destinations where salaries are competitive and quality of life is high. Some countries are attracting tech talent from abroad at higher rates than others, including The Netherlands, Germany, and the UK. These countries offer competitive salaries, a lower cost of living compared to other major tech hubs, and better opportunities for quality of life and work-life balance. With tech talent in high demand around the world, new job opportunities are emerging in foreign destinations you might not have otherwise considered.

The United States boasts a number of important tech hubs, most notably Silicon Valley, Seattle, and New York. Washington, D.C. has also seen an influx of tech companies, and is now a leader in terms of tech job postings. The city is home to several large universities and colleges, which means there is a strong talent pool to hire from year after year. The city has become a large draw for cybersecurity professionals, software developers, and health tech workers. In Europe, The Netherlands is home to a rapidly growing tech industry. In particular, Amsterdam boasts several innovation hubs. Several high-profile tech events take place in Amsterdam, bringing tech workers from all around the world to network and connect. Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Eindhoven are other vibrant Dutch tech hubs.

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Workforce Changes to Anticipate and Embrace in 2024, December 29

The tech workplace continues to undergo significant transformation, and that is changing the types of skills and experiences in greatest demand by employers. For example, technological change, societal shifts, and global challenges have combined to shape a future where adaptability is not just a desirable trait but a necessity. From remote work to AI, the future workplace is already starting to take shape, and job candidates need to prepare accordingly.

Artificial intelligence and data analytics will play an ever-expanding role in recruitment and human resources. Automated tools will streamline the hiring process, from candidate sourcing to performance evaluations. While this offers efficiency, it also raises ethical considerations regarding bias in algorithms. Companies will need to approach technology implementation with a careful eye on equity and fairness to ensure a balanced and inclusive workforce. In terms of talent acquisition, the workforce of 2024 will be more interconnected than ever, transcending geographical boundaries. Companies will tap into a global talent pool, leveraging the advantages of remote work to assemble diverse and skilled teams. This shift necessitates a reevaluation of traditional recruitment strategies and a focus on fostering cross-cultural collaboration and communication.

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If you are considering a job change this year, there are a number of important trends to keep in mind as you search out prospective employers. From the number of potential openings to the qualifications you will need, tech job candidates will likely find a more welcoming job market in 2024. Some of the new selection criteria, however, may mean you will need to update your resume and LinkedIn profile.

The good news is that companies appear to be hiring again this year. The layoffs and hiring freezes that happened last year will come to an end. While hiring will not mirror levels seen in 2021 or 2022, it will signal that tech hiring is back. Increasingly, companies are realizing that if they are not hiring technology people, they are falling behind. At the same time, the rate of turnover is slowing down. The Great Resignation is over, and a lot of people are staying put. They are taking their time and being a lot more methodical and a lot more intentional about making a move. Companies are also being increasingly methodical about building their talent pool. Companies are becoming much more intentional about their employer brand, and how prospective employees view them.

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Before AI Puts Us Out of Work, AI Jobs Could Pay Well
Decrypt, January 3

In the midst of a booming tech revolution, AI-related jobs are not only becoming more plentiful, but are also offering significantly higher paychecks. A recent study indicates that AI roles are offering 77.53% higher salaries than other occupations, marking the start of a lucrative era for those equipped with AI skills. This surge in compensation is not confined to seasoned tech gurus. For example, a career in prompt engineering does not typically require an engineering background, only a basic understanding of programming and AI models.

Thanks to the rise of AI chatbots, some of the hottest new AI jobs involve prompt engineering. The average salary for prompt engineers is now $62,977 annually in the U.S., with top earners making up to $95,500 per year. The highest paying cities can see prompt engineering salaries around $80,745. In just one year, from 2022 to 2023, computer science salaries in the United States witnessed a substantial surge, with an impressive average increase of 45.87%. For entry level positions, AI-related job roles command salaries about 128.23% more than non-AI related roles. The gap starts to reduce for jobs that require more experience, with senior roles paying only 48.61% more on average.

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Crafting an Impressive Tech Resume
Dice Insights, January 2

Instead of writing a resume that details your skills and background in a very generalized way, a better approach is to customize your resume for a particular position. If you do not customize your resume to the position, the hiring manager or recruiter will have a difficult time seeing how your skills and background will help their company with its very specific goals and needs. In addition to being highly customized, a good tech resume conveys your skillset with easily readable formatting.

Most tech resumes list the same skills, and many applicants are just as accomplished as you are. As a result, you need to do everything possible to make your resume stand out. Recruiters and hiring managers do not always compare tech resumes the way you think they do. Those in charge of hiring tech professionals often look for context, not just content. Because of that, tech pros must not only explain their proficiency and unique experience, but also how those apply to the specific role. Instead of just creating a skills section for your resume, and including a long laundry list of skills, you should try to provide some context for how you used them. Moreover, your skills and proficiencies should link to measurable results as much as possible.

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More Than a Quarter of Workers Say They Are Ready to Leave Their Current Job
HR Dive, January 3

More than a quarter of employees globally say they do not plan to remain with their current employer in 2024, according to a recent report from Boston Consulting Group. Workers named emotional needs among their top concerns, such as feeling respected and enjoying their job. According to the survey, managers had the most influence over these factors, especially when it comes to factors such as employee motivation and overall job satisfaction.

In a survey of 11,000 employees from eight countries, Boston Consulting Group tested more than 20 needs. These included functional needs such as pay, hours and benefits, as well as emotional needs such as fair treatment, respect and fulfillment with work. When asked directly what would lead them to take a new job, employees focused on functional factors such as pay, benefits and work-life balance. However, when employees were asked to make choices between different aspects of work, emotional needs also rose to the top. Pay and hours were still the main priorities, but fair treatment, respect, job security and enjoying work moved into top spots as well.

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The Interdisciplinarity of Data Science From the People Analytics Perspective
Blog@CACM, January 2

People analytics is an interdisciplinary topic that deals with the application of data science methods and machine learning algorithms for a variety of purposes in the domain of human resources. Such an approach requires a variety of skills, including those related to human resources, computer science, and machine learning. It also requires the ability to apply specific domain expertise that is relevant to either a job assignment or a research topic.

Interdisciplinary research projects in data science can open up a variety of learning opportunities for computer science students. In addition, they can also enable students to gain a variety of skills. Most importantly, though, they can open up the zone of proximal development, which is the space between what a learner can do without assistance and what he or she can do with guidance or in collaboration with capable peers. In many computer science classes, students know what they need to do, they know it is possible to complete the task, and the general approach is known. However, with interdisciplinary research projects, it may be necessary to test a number of different directions, and even to retrace former directions, in order to find a workable solution.

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10 Things Software Developers Should Learn About Learning
Communications of the ACM, January 2024

Over the course of their careers, software developers may need to learn many new programming languages and frameworks. New technologies are frequently invented, and old technologies are repeatedly updated. Thus, developers do not learn to program only at the university level. However, just because we learn does not mean we understand how we learn, even after years of research. And that means that more work still needs to be done on understanding different learning styles, and how those learning styles can be used to teach in a formal educational environment.

Decades of research into cognitive psychology, education, and programming education provide strong insights into how we learn. And one major takeaway lesson is that human memory is very different from computer memory. Software developers are familiar with the incredible power of computer memory, where we can store a series of bits and later retrieve that exact series of bits. While human memory is similar, it is neither as precise nor as reliable. Due to the biological complexity of human memory, reliability is a complicated matter. With computer memory, we use two fundamental operations: read and write. Reading computer memory does not modify it, and it does not matter how much time passes between writes and reads. Human long-term memory is not as sterile. Human memory seems to have a read-and-update operation, wherein fetching a memory can both strengthen and modify it. This modification is more likely on recently formed memories.

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