ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 14, Issue 3, February 6, 2018
Landing a job in Silicon Valley is the dream for thousands of tech professionals, but in order to do so, you will need to know how to evaluate the many opportunities that are available. For example, you will need to understand the potential trade-offs involved: prestigious companies, high salaries and great perks must be balanced against a high cost of living, fierce competition for work, and long work hours. You will also need to understand which job titles and roles are on the way up, and which are on the way down. In some cases, jobs once popular in the Bay Area are moving to cities such as Seattle or Austin, and are being replaced by jobs in new cutting-edge disciplines.
The high cost of living in Silicon Valley requires a career with a high salary, so keep your salary expectations in perspective. While a $120,000 salary may be impressive elsewhere in the country, it is average in Silicon Valley. That is why it is typically only worth it to make the move if you are in a high-salaried line of work. According to the survey, these are the top ten roles with the highest annual pay in Silicon Valley: Product development engineer ($173,570), Director of product management ($173,556), Data warehouse architect ($169,836), DevOps manager ($166,448), Senior architect ($161,124), Principal software engineer ($160,326), Senior solutions architect ($158,329), Principal Java developer ($156,402), Senior software architect ($154,944) and Platform engineer ($154,739). The jobs that take the top spots are those that combine different specialties, such as product know-how with programming or management, technical knowledge with big-picture vision and leadership.
Cloud computing skills rank among the most in-demand of all IT skills. As organizations move more of their infrastructure to public clouds, they are having trouble finding the qualified professionals they need to manage and support their environment. As a result, companies are finding that it takes a long time to fill those positions. For job seekers, the good news is that the demand for cloud computing expertise is driving up salaries. Acquiring new cloud skills, as long as they are ones most in demand by recruiters, could result in a significant bump in pay.
According to experts, there are many desirable skills on the radars of recruiters that are related to emerging areas like cognitive computing, machine learning, data analytics, IoT and blockchain. The candidates who are most in demand are those who can not only deepen their bench of tech skills but also keep an eye on the bottom line. For example, there has been a focus for the last several years on enterprise data management, big data and analytics. Finding true data scientists continues to be a challenge. Companies have focused on getting their arms around their data and their disparate systems. Now the focus is on how to exploit the data to improve business decision-making and to create competitive advantage.
According to the annual survey from U.S. News & World Report, the best job in 2018 is software developer. This jobs ranking uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify jobs with the greatest hiring demand and the best work-life balance, salary and future prospects, among other factors. Software developers, which on average make more than $100,000 per year, according to the report, are very much in demand all across the nation. Moreover, all signs point to them being in demand in the future as well.
There are several reasons why software developer jobs made the top of the list. One big reason is that society is more and more dependent on digital technology for all aspects of its success. Not just large tech firms such as Facebook and Google, but every other business needs software developers to make their applications. For example, hospitals are tapping into digital communication to make sure doctors and patients can communicate. As a result, job demand has grown significantly outside of the technology sector, leading to even more prestige for the position.
The 11 Most Difficult IT Hires Today
CIO.com, January 29
According to IT recruiters, the most difficult tech positions to fill are those that require a combination of hard-to-find technical skills and business know-how. Some of the most in-demand IT skill areas include data science, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. These relatively young technologies are being introduced in all sorts of companies going through their digital transformation. The challenge, say recruiters, is finding individuals with the right tech skills who can connect the dots to create business impact.
In the survey, 44% of respondents listed database management as a cloud skill they paid the most for, and 24% said it was among the hardest to find. It might seem counterintuitive that something as new and innovative as the cloud requires database management expertise. After all, databases have been around for a long time. However, demand for cloud professionals with database skills likely relates to the trend toward big data. Public cloud adoption is the No. 1 priority for technology decision makers investing in big data. As enterprises turn to the cloud for their data storage and analytics needs, they need database administrators and managers who understand cloud-based data warehouses, data lakes and relational databases.
The Fastest Path to the CEO Job
Harvard Business Review, January 31
Conventional wisdom says that the fastest path to the CEO job is by attending an elite university, landing a high-powered job right out of school at a prestigious firm, and climbing the ladder straight to the top, carefully avoiding risky moves. However, a new 10-year study, the CEO Genome Project, presents a very different picture. Those who reach the CEO role the fastest do not accelerate to the top by acquiring the perfect pedigree. They do it by making bold career moves over the course of their career that catapult them to the top. Through these career catapults, executives build the specific behaviors that set successful CEOs apart, including decisiveness, reliability, adaptability, and the ability to engage for impact. At the same time, they get noticed for their accomplishments.
The path to CEO rarely runs in a straight line. Sometimes you have to move backwards or sideways in order to get ahead. More than 60% of those with accelerated CEO career paths took a smaller role at some point in their career. They may have started something new within their company (by launching a new product or division, for example), moved to a smaller company to take on a greater set of responsibilities, or started their own business. In each case, they used the opportunity to build something from the ground up and make an outsize impact.
What Does the Future Hold For Coding Schools?
Technical.ly, January 31
Almost 23,000 Americans graduated from code schools last year, and this represents a more than 900 percent increase since 2012, according to Course Report, a company that studies trends and attendance at nearly 100 code schools across the U.S. Also known as boot camps, code schools are typically three-to-six-month programs that usually bill themselves as the way to help lower-income workers and people from outside the technology sector find jobs in tech, without the need for an expensive, four-year computer science degree. In some cases, these code schools are merging with co-working giants to create new job and training opportunities. So what can we expect from these code schools in 2018?
The growth in code schools is part of the new thinking amongst business leaders that sees coding as the new key to landing middle class jobs both today and tomorrow. Recent job reports seem to back up this hypothesis. For example, a recent survey by Indeed.com found that, among tech recruiters and hiring managers, nine out of 10 thought it was challenging to find and hire tech talent, even at a time when tech jobs are rapidly proliferating. That same Indeed.com survey found that the top five jobs of 2017, according to its data, were all in technology fields; the top job was full-stack developer. Some figures estimate the number of tech jobs nationwide to be as high as 500,000, a tall order for the roughly 43,000 annual computer science graduates to fill. According to Course Report, roughly 80% of code school graduates are able to lock down work in the tech sector within six months, with an average salary of $70,000, which is more than enough to pay back the $10,000 to $20,000 that most code schools typically cost.
Lack of Soft Skills Holding IT Pros Back From Getting Hired and Promoted
Tech Republic, January 23
TA lack of soft skills is holding some tech professionals back from getting jobs or advancing in their workplace. According to a new research report, 98% of HR leaders said that soft skills were important for candidates looking to land a technology job. Further, 67% said they had withheld a job offer from a skilled tech candidate because they had lacked soft skills. Despite the value of these skills, many companies are not training their employees to develop them, the report found. Tech jobs are some of the most in-demand jobs in the world right now, but prospective IT experts will not be able to get by on just raw technical abilities. By working on building their soft skills on their own time, developers and IT could set themselves apart in the job search process.
For many organizations, one major issue is the lack of technological representation in leadership: 39% of firms lack someone with a technology background in their C-suite. This further hurts potential collaboration between IT and line of business employees. Some of the best leaders come from a technology background, and organizations need more of them. To remain on the forefront of innovation, companies need to put their technologists in a position to lead. They also must prioritize soft skills and leadership training as part of continued growth and development. The report defined soft skills as communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, and leadership. However, it also noted that verbal communication and collaboration were the most important soft skills for tech job candidates, while leadership was the least important.
Five Reasons To Quit Your IT Job
Tech World, January 22
The start of the New Year is the perfect time to reflect on our happiness in our jobs and satisfaction in our career path overall. While every role will have its ups and downs, there are certain things that you should never settle for in your job. For example, if you dread going to work every day, it is a clear sign that it is time to move on. After all, constantly feeling anxious or full of dread at the prospect of being in the office is not part of being employed. Try to get to the root of the problem and evaluate what element or elements of work, such as an impossible work load, are having such a negative impact on your mood.
One clear sign that it is time to leave your job is if you feel like you have progressed as far as you are going to go within a company. At this point, it can be hard to motivate yourself and to continue to be productive. As such you may find yourself getting by without putting much effort into your work. While this may seem like an attractive prospect at times, the reality of being in an unfulfilling role is not a pleasant one. Thus, do not settle for a job where you are underutilized and not being given adequate opportunities to grow and develop your skill sets. To excel in IT, you need to always be looking for new ways to solve problems. Find a company that allows you to do that.
For IT Workers Praise Matters Just As Much As Money
ACM Queue, January 30
The easiest way to make your team members more productive, more excited, and more motivated is to offer praise for a job well done. This praise lets a worker know that his or her work is appreciated, and also that this work helped the organization achieve some important goals. In short, praise is one of the most meaningful ways to connect with the people on your team and motivate them to perform at their best. That might sound obvious, but it is rare that we hear how our work is being received. In fact, according to one Gallup survey, more than two-thirds of employees do not receive any praise in a given week.
One reason for the lack of praise in a tech work environment is that giving praise is hard. It can be awkward. It can feel unnecessary. Your employees might already know you appreciate them. But that does not counteract their need to hear that you still think they are awesome. It is not just the knowledge that your boss values you and your work that matters. Hearing it, out loud, for specific projects is what really matters. It is what sustains people. It is what motivates them. Hearing praise releases a special hormone that fuels trust and bonding. Simply put, hearing how much our work is appreciated makes us want to do more to repeat that feeling by pleasing the people we work with. In most cases, praise matters just as much as money.
Benefits of a Master's Degree in Computer Science
Blog @ CACM, January 28
While you do not necessarily need an advanced academic degree in computer science to have a successful programming career, getting a master's degree can certainly help to give you a strong foundation. If you enjoyed the computer science subject during your undergraduate studies, a master's program will let you continue your computer science education at a deeper level. An undergraduate computer science program focuses mostly on fundamentals. There is only so much you can cover in four years. With the basics out of the way, you can follow a more specialized path in a graduate program.
Having a master's degree in computer science immediately elevates your tech stature at your current or prospective company. For example, when internally debating a job offer or promotion, a company will highlight your master's degree as justification. Another example is interfacing with customers. A master's degree gives you instant credibility in the eyes of customers. They will perceive that you have greater knowledge and better insights than if you did not have an advanced degree.
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