ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 6, 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 3, February 6, 2024

Most Leaders Want to Invest More in Skills and Talent in 2024
CIO Dive, January 19

Most executives plan to increase investments in talent and skills development because of shortages in key technology areas, according to a new survey from Capgemini. The gap between talent availability and open roles is considered a top business risk by 59% of respondents, up from 35% in the previous study. As a result, CIOs will spend much of this year attempting to bridge a longstanding gap between talent need and availability.

One strategy to support talent attraction and retention is devoting resources to training existing staff. A new area for enterprise skill development could include generative AI. As enterprises infuse generative AI capabilities into operations, skills related to generative AI (such as prompting strategies) will become needed across the organization. The interest surrounding generative AI also puts more pressure on filling positions related to the infrastructure behind its implementation, such as cloud and data analytics.

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Finding a Remote Job Is Getting Harder Especially If You Want a High-Earning Job
USA Today, January 9

With remote tech jobs in high demand, candidates are now facing a lot more competition for a declining number of high-income career opportunities. Research shows that there has been a dip in remote and hybrid job postings since pandemic-era highs. For example, data from job search site Indeed shows that the share of job postings advertising remote or hybrid work options fell from a peak of 10.3% in February 2022 to 8.3% as of November. This dip is especially prevalent among jobs paying $100,000 or more per year, according to a new report from career site Ladders.

The report from Ladders found a dip in high-paying hybrid job postings across all sectors, but the decline was especially prevalent in healthcare, where the share of hybrid jobs among postings fell to 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2023 from 11.2% in the third quarter. Overall work-from-home numbers have dropped from their peak in the spring of 2020, when more than 60% of days were worked from home, to about 25% in 2023. However, these numbers held steady throughout most of last year, and experts say they may even rebound in the years to come as companies adjust to work-from-home trends.

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30% of Hiring Managers Say They Steer Clear of Gen Z
HR Dive, January 29

Managers filling entry-level positions report some hesitation when it comes to hiring young members of Generation Z, according to a survey by Thirty-one percent of the 782 people surveyed said they avoid hiring Gen Z in favor of older workers, and 30% said they have had to fire a Gen Z worker within a month of their start date. Nearly all respondents (94%) reported a Gen Z candidate acting inappropriately during an interview. In general, say hiring managers, Gen Z applicants lack interview skills, have poor communication skills, and do not seem engaged.

Recruiters and hiring managers are quick to point out that COVID-19 hindered the ability of Gen Z to acquire foundational workplace skills. Many members of Gen Z spent their college years predominantly in remote or hybrid settings, and upon entering the workforce, they often started in remote roles. This departure from the traditional in-person learning environment impacted their ability to hone crucial skills, such as effective communication, handling constructive criticism and observing others to build their professional acumen.

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What Tech Hiring Managers Want to Hear During Phone Interviews
Dice Insights, February 1

During the IT job search, phone interviews are typically one of the most difficult hurdles for job seekers to overcome. Without the benefit of face-to-face contact, it can sometimes be hard to determine what hiring managers are looking for, and what they want to hear from you. With that in mind, the article shares advice from experienced tech hiring managers, who explain what they want from tech candidates during phone interviews.

Many hiring managers use phone interviews to see if a candidate possesses the technical skills required to do a job. However, when they ask questions, they are evaluating much more than just experience with tools and programs. They often want to understand how much experience a candidate has with the stages in the development life cycle. Others are looking for a go-getter, someone with a positive attitude who will fit in with the team. Thus, it is up to candidates to structure a great answer that will address both technical and soft skills, while also giving hiring managers what they are looking for in a candidate. For example, you could describe your skills and expertise through a story. Providing context helps the interviewer understand the difficulty of the project and how you have applied many different types of skills that can help you succeed in another position.

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Nearly Half of Job Seekers Use AI to Polish Their Resumes
Yahoo Finance, January 24

Nearly half of job seekers are now using generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to build, update, or improve their resumes. This makes generative AI one of the most important new trends influencing the job searching and hiring process. According to a recent survey, the use of generative AI was highest in India (74%) and Brazil (50%) while it was lowest in France (33%) and Spain (34%). The survey also showed that hiring managers are receptive to the use of AI by candidates looking to make their resumes more creative.

An overwhelming majority (90%) of hiring managers now say it is acceptable to use generative AI in application materials, with 46% saying it should be used minimally to augment the ideas and content of an applicant, and 44% saying it can be used to create any content. Of those applicants who used AI on their resume, about 56% said they were very satisfied with their resume appearance compared to 33% of non-users, while 91% of those using AI for their resume said they had the right tools they needed, compared to just 64% of non-AI users.

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Navigating the Path to Becoming a Backend Developer, January 31

If you are looking for a career opportunity as a backend developer, you will need to be aware of some of the most common misperceptions. For example, in any discussion about the best programming language to learn, the focus is typically on the greatest number of high-income job opportunities. But job seekers should not always follow the hype. While media coverage may provide insights into languages in high demand, it is crucial to consider the job market for entry-level positions. Instead of blindly following the latest trends, research the demand for programming languages in your specific region or country.

To increase your chances of landing an entry-level position, opt for a programming language that is in high demand in your area. Building a solid foundation in a language with job-friendly prospects ensures you can gain practical experience through projects and eventually secure employment. Also, do not be afraid to switch to your language of choice after gaining a year or two of experience. It is essential to research and align your language choice with the job market to avoid finding yourself in a predicament where you are proficient in a language employers do not need.

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How Much Does Pay Differ Between a Job in Web3 and One in AI?
Be In Crypto, December 5

Skills in artificial intelligence (AI) could boost pay for Web3 workers in healthcare, education, and financial services. This is not a case of AI skills supplanting Web3 skills, but rather, of enhancing them and making them more valuable. In fact, over 80% of finance, education, and healthcare employees think their AI skills could increase their salaries. Information technology, sales, and marketing roles were expected to see pay bumps of 31%, 37%, and 47%, respectively.

In many ways, AI is already part of Web3, the decentralized version of the internet that includes blockchains, data autonomy, and decentralized identities. Like Web2, this decentralized version of the internet needs content writers, designers, social media specialists, and community managers. And like Web2, Web3 workers could see a wage bump by increasing their AI skills. A recent study at the Boston Consulting Group found that gig workers whose jobs were most in danger from AI were those requiring a narrow set of responsibilities. On the other hand, those who had multiple skills stood a better chance of finding work. With that in mind, Web3 workers should be looking for ways that new AI skills could make them more productive.

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Microsoft CEO Says You Need to Hire Smart People With This One Key Trait, January 30

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, there is one trait that helps job seekers really stand out during the job search. The most important attribute that any leader needs to have is the ability to create clarity when none exists. When information is lacking and ambiguity prevails, it is important for a leader to bring clarity to the situation. When everything is clear and well-defined, a leader has done his or her job well. As a result, those who can navigate through uncertain times and provide clarity on the road ahead are invaluable.

Whether you are an emerging leader or a seasoned IT veteran looking for ways to improve your skills, there are three ways to provide clarity through clear and effective communication. First of all, you can learn to clarify goals and expectations. Great leaders provide leadership by communicating consistently about where the team is headed. One of the top reasons for employe disengagement is not having clear goals and expectations. So, every leader should be asking whether his or her team members know what is expected of them. Many great workplaces have defined the right outcomes, so it is up to leaders and managers to set goals for their people or work with them to set their own goals.

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The Role of Autonomous Machine Computing in Shaping the Autonomy Economy
Blog@CACM, January 31

The integration of autonomous machines such as autonomous vehicles, delivery robots, and drones into the provision of goods and services is giving rise to the Autonomy Economy. Central to this transformation is Autonomous Machine Computing (AMC), the computing technological backbone enabling these diverse autonomous systems. Importantly, the rise of autonomous machines signals a paradigm shift from the Digital Economy. Originally confined to basic robotics and industrial applications, these autonomous machines now permeate everyday life. Compared to the Digital Economy, the Autonomy Economy is poised for an even more profound impact.

At the heart of the transition to the Autonomy Economy is AMC. Similar to its predecessors (personal computing and mobile computing), AMC is the core technology stack that empowers a wide range of autonomous machine form factors, including intelligent vehicles, autonomous drones, delivery robots, home service robots, agriculture robots, industry robots and many more that we have yet to imagine. AMC involves sensing technologies, computing technologies, communication technologies, autonomous machine algorithms, reliability and security, and many other technical areas. As of today, AMC is still evolving and being defined.

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Teaching Transformed
Communications of the ACM, February 2024

New collaboration opportunities between GitHub and OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, are becoming increasingly popular. Three years ago, GitHub partnered with OpenAI to develop Codex as an automated assistant for programmers, quickly followed by the Copilot code-completion tool. The public release of ChatGPT by OpenAI toward the end of 2022 made the technology even more widely available to software developers and people learning to program, with other vendors joining in the effort to automate the job of writing software using LLMs.

Workplace studies have shown that LLMs boost productivity on real-world projects. In its own survey of usage by close to a million users over the year since the launch of Copilot, GitHub says that developers accepted on average 30% of code suggestions and that usage of the suggestions increases over time as programmers become more familiar with the recommendations. For its own tests, management consultancy McKinsey recruited around 40 developers working in-house across the U.S. on two types of LLMs fine-tuned on coding problems. The experiment showed the tools could reduce the time to write new code by one-half, with an average time savings of nearly one-third.

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