ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, April 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 7, April 9, 2024

The Most In-Demand Skills For 2024
Computerworld, March 25

The adoption of generative artificial intelligence has shuffled the list of top skills businesses want from professionals in 2024. Far from replacing workers, generative AI appears poised to transform the way technologists and others work, allowing them to focus more on creative tasks such as product development, and less on mundane tasks that can be automated. Tech workers can generate higher earnings and more interesting career opportunities by leveraging a new set of skills, such as those related to AI modeling and machine learning.

Over the past two years, IT employers have increasingly removed college degree requirements and focused more on skill requirements. A skills-based hiring approach emphasizes strong work backgrounds, certifications, assessments, and endorsements. Professional networking site LinkedIn now includes over 100 AI-related skills, including those related to machine learning, natural language processing, and deep learning. LinkedIn separates AI jobs, AI-related jobs, and AI literacy job listings into three distinct categories. AI jobs are those that include AI or machine learning in their job title or as part of their required skills. AI-related jobs refer to non-technical positions that include AI in their title or ask for AI skills. AI literacy refers to positions that seek workers with an understanding of how to leverage AI tools for business purposes.

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Big Tech Companies Form New Consortium to Allay Fears of AI Job Takeovers
Tech Crunch, April 4

A new consortium formed by top tech companies and consulting firms will examine how advances in artificial intelligence impact IT jobs in the workplace. Microsoft, Google, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Indeed, and Accenture have formed the AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) workforce consortium. The consortium plans to explore the impact of AI on ICT job roles, while enabling workers to find relevant training programs and connecting businesses to skilled and job-ready workers.

Consortium members and advisers share a common perspective that a greater sense of urgency is required to understand the impact of AI on key job roles within the ICT industry. In the first phase of its work, the consortium will evaluate the impact of AI on 56 ICT job roles and provide training recommendations for the roles affected. These 56 roles were selected for their strategic significance in the broader ICT ecosystem, as well as the impact of AI on the tasks required to perform the roles. The focus will also include job roles that offer promising entry points for low-level workers. Overall, the job roles include 80% of the top 45 ICT job titles garnering the highest volume of job postings over the past year in the U.S. and five of the largest European countries by ICT workforce numbers (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands). Collectively, these countries account for a significant segment of the ICT sector, with a combined total of 10 million ICT workers.

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3 Ways to Upskill Yourself and Adapt in the Age of AI
Dice Insights, March 27

Data shows that tech professionals are eager to learn artificial intelligence skills on the job, but over half of employer-led training programs are falling short of meeting their needs. In fact, only 64 percent of workers think they are receiving the training they need, and 57 percent find the training to be inadequate. With generative AI projected to impact almost all of the key skills and competencies that software engineers and other specialists will need in the future, tech professionals have no choice but to teach themselves how to use and work with AI.

Understanding the fundamentals of AI is the same as learning anything new in technology. Often, the best place to start is by becoming familiar with the tools that are already available. Most companies will be utilizing, integrating and applying AI just like any other tool. By getting hands-on with AI libraries, frameworks and tools that are designed to enhance your efficiency with tasks related to software development, DevOps or even data engineering, you will not only learn how AI works but also how to apply it effectively in your current role.

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The 10 Most In-Demand Remote Jobs Paying Over $100,000 That Companies Are Hiring For Right Now
CNBC, March 29

Remote jobs now comprise less than 10% of postings advertised on LinkedIn, down from a high of 20.6% in March 2022. This, despite the fact that close to half of jobseekers prefer remote roles. The good news for remote jobseekers is that some industries are still hiring for roles that can be done from home, and many come with six-figure salaries. Remote hiring for jobs that pay more than $100,000 is particularly strong for positions such as senior software engineer, product manager, product designer, and engineering manager.

The top job functions offering ample remote work opportunities with six-figure salaries include technology, marketing and project management. With that in mind, some in-demand, high-paying remote jobs that can earn you a salary of $100,000 or more include the following: senior software engineer (average salary of $126,956), product manager (average salary of $106,525), and senior product designer (average salary of $128,618). Other in-demand jobs that come with six-figure salaries include: senior product marketing manager, engineering manager, senior DevOps engineer, senior data engineer, senior project manager, regional sales director, and senior machine learning engineer.

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Prompt Engineering: What to Know and Why It Is Important
CNET, April 6

AI chatbots and generative AI continue to be front and center for companies this year, and that is leading to new career opportunities related to prompt engineering. This is the art and craft of creating detailed and focused prompts to get generative AI models to actually do what you want them to do. While some tech workers may be hesitant about working with AI chatbots for the first time, gaining familiarity with how they work, and how to optimize their responses could actually open up new opportunities for you in the workplace.

If you are thinking about becoming a prompt engineer, keep in mind that it will take time to become a master at building productive prompts for generative AI. If you want to get started with prompt engineering and learn how to use the AI chatbots in the workplace more effectively, it can be useful to start with a knowledge area where you already have some expertise. This will help you recognize which prompts are effective, and which are not. Generally speaking, general queries are not very effective. Writing short prompts that can be broadly interpreted for a wide range of audiences will most likely not get you the results you want.

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Why Millennial Women Are Turning to Facebook Groups For Career Advice
Fast Company, April 3

Personal networks, career coaches, and LinkedIn have long been the go-to resources when it comes to career advice. But some millennial women are leveling up their careers by turning to the Facebook Groups they belong to for everything from referrals at dream companies to advice on transforming an interview into an offer. They say chatting with peers in a more casual setting allows them to feel heard. That is especially true when it comes to asking questions that might be awkward or personal. At the very least, they can get honest responses about their skills and experiences from a fresh perspective.

While Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, its use has declined among younger users. However, Facebook Groups are still popular. Of the 3 billion monthly users on the platform, 1.8 billion of them use Facebook Groups every month. More than half of all Facebook users belong to five or more active groups. It makes sense that some of them are being used as a career advice outlet during the current job market. The average job seeker feels the market is incredibly competitive despite low unemployment, so any little advantage can help. Facebook Groups tend to have a lot of people, so it is a great place to crowdsource and ask questions.

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Generative AI Jobs Are Still Rare But on the Rise
CIO Dive, March 18

Although generative AI-related job postings remain a relatively small proportion of technology positions overall, they have proliferated over the past year. According to a new Indeed report, job postings directly related to generative AI skills have risen significantly, going from 3 in every 100,000 job postings to 11 in 10,000 between January 2023 and February 2024. Growth in broader AI jobs is far more muted than growth in jobs related to generative AI, even as the total level of broad AI jobs remains much higher.

Deploying enterprise-grade generative AI requires talent, and thus, many enterprises are very focused on having the right skill sets on board. The talent market is reflecting this trend. A previous Indeed report found jobseekers with generative AI skills could expect a nearly 50% salary bump compared to competitors who lack them. On average, generative AI-savvy workers command average salaries of up to $174,727. The speed at which generative AI is developing is another factor making enterprise adoption challenging. Nearly 3 in 4 executives said the accelerated technology change is surpassing the capacity of their company to deploy advanced generative AI technologies.

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What Exactly Am I Making a Resume For?
Hackernoon, March 18

There continues to be significant misunderstanding about what resumes are, what they do, how they should look, and the effort one should put into creating them. Given the current period of churn in the tech industry, it could be time to re-think the purpose of a resume, as well as what you can expect when you create one. Contrary to popular belief, a resume is not a detailed retrospective of your work history. It is not meant to stand as de facto proof of your skills. Instead, a resume serves exactly one purpose: to entice the recipient to call you for an interview.

The two primary goals of a resume will inform both the format and the content of the information you share. These two goals are to get past the automated HR filters every company uses these days so that a real human sees your resume, and then to entice that human to set up an initial call. That is when the real interviewing will begin. There is demonstrable value in having someone on the inside to help shepherd your resume along the application journey. Internal referrals often give your resume an automatic pass to the first real interview stage. Even when it does not, at the very least, it increases the likelihood you will get feedback if you do not make the cut. If you do not know anyone at the company in question, it is time to trot out your LinkedIn skills to find people who know the people you need to know.

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Are You a Doomer or a Boomer?
Blog@CACM, March 27

When it comes to the rise of any new technology, there are two options. You can be a Doomer, and take a jaded view of the technology and the predictions that propel it. Or, you can be a Boomer, and take the optimistic point of view that the technology could indeed have world-changing potential. Interestingly, it is not your age or workplace experience that determines your viewpoint. A lot of it comes down to the way you view the process by which technology transforms society. The article illustrates this with examples from the world of AI.

Consider the two widely different perspectives on AI chatbots. For some, chatbots (such as ChatGPT) are a force for good that will affect all our lives, giving us thoughtful answers and responses to just about any query. To maintain quality, prompt engineers will work harder and harder to ensure generation of the right answers. At the same time, AI specialists will become much more aware of the various ethical concerns that might be raised by training these bots on the wrong data. However, it is possible to take a much more negative view of chatbots. Due to the lack of sustained use cases, demand could fizzle out as user input declines, leading to even worse results and eventually, model collapse. Volunteer groups will take up the task in order to boost quality, then fade away into other projects.

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Generative AI and Computer Science Education
Communications of the ACM, March 19

Companies now find themselves at a pivotal point in how they train their tech employees for the latest advances in artificial intelligence. Some, for example, are now opting to redesign their internal curricula to keep pace with these changes. With the proliferation of generative AI, the roles and activities of many tech employees have already changed. As a result, companies not only have to train their engineers on the latest advances in generative AI, but also how to think about AI-enablement in their products.

Over the past year, CS educators and researchers have been trying to accelerate and influence change in computing education. While well aware of the potential risks posed by large language models (LLMs), these educators also point out the opportunities when generative AI is used not just as a productivity tool for students, but also a pedagogical one. It is able to provide real-time feedback in large introductory classes, help students overcome creativity blocks, help with code explanation, and hone computational thinking. Whether we are educating software engineers in industry or computer scientists at universities, all of us need to look carefully at the skills and conceptual understanding we currently emphasize and how those may change in the near future.

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