ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, July 2, 2019
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 15, Issue 13, July 2, 2019
Members of the Class of 2019 are experiencing the best job market for new college graduates since 2007, according to the Class of 2019 Student Survey Report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). In addition, NACE reports that computer science, information science, management information systems and computer engineering are among the Top 10 in-demand majors, with starting salaries for engineering majors increasing by 4 percent and computer science majors increasing by 2.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. However, at the same time, employers are expecting more than ever before from recent graduates as the market for tech talent gets more competitive.
While the demand for IT talent is robust, the number of students enrolled in computer science majors is rising, too. As a result, the applicant pool for entry-level jobs is strong. In order to attract one or more offers from high-profile companies, you need to shoot for being among the top five to 10 percent of applicants. To rise to the top, grads need to prove that they are ready to contribute from day one. Employers are willing to pay a premium for recent grads who possess strong foundational skills for the digital economy. Those skills fall into three categories: human or soft skills, digital building block skills, and business enabler skills. Specifically, employers are looking for grads that have taken machine-learning courses and know popular building-block languages. They are also looking for critical combinations of skills and coursework that drive data-powered decision-making, such as data analysis, data management and critical thinking. Just keep in mind that code samples on GitHub, along with skill endorsements from intern managers and colleagues on LinkedIn, often carry more weight with a hiring manager than a traditional resume.
The growing importance of business intelligence and the rise of highly-publicized and costly data breaches have created a growing job market for information security analysts. Information security analysts protect business information by reviewing the IT environment of an organization to identify its requirements and vulnerabilities and recommend the best methods of securing data and mitigating threats. Specific responsibilities vary between sectors and organizations but typically include risk assessment, defense planning by installing the necessary protections and updating software, recommending security measures to management, and planning disaster recovery procedures and responding to breaches.
Information security analysts should be analytically minded, with a passion for cyber security and knowledge about the latest developments. They are typically technically-minded with strong IT skills but also need to be effective communicators to ensure that staff understand relevant security risks and requirements, regardless of their position or level of technical expertise. These will ideally include verbal, presentation skills and writing communication skills. They will also need multitasking, project management, and problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, strong attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure. Most information security analysts have an undergraduate degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subject such as computer science or physics, but other routes into the role are also possible.
Increasingly, companies are using AI in the screening and hiring process, and that means the way you look for and land a job needs to evolve as well. According to a recent survey of hiring professionals, 63 percent said AI has altered the way recruiting is done within their organization. Further, nearly half of the respondents said it is making their jobs easier, including giving them valuable insights about candidates they had not had access to before. However, breaking through the competition takes more than a sharp resume with a few well-placed keywords. It takes an understanding of how companies are using AI to aid their search, and knowing the kind of information that prompts them to decide who gets hired.
The introduction of AI into the job search means that companies are looking at the entire online presence of a candidate, including communication exchanges on LinkedIn and Twitter, and not just the resume. AI is allowing companies to be more proactive by scouring the Internet for information. That includes public social media profiles as well as any articles or blog posts someone may have written or if they have spoken at an industry conference. The better a candidate is at having a good online presence, the easier it is for recruiters using AI systems to get information about you or to seek you out. AI allows company recruiters to define the kinds of candidates they are looking for in a particular role and then find matches for those qualities. Having a current, robust online presence allows those companies to find you even if you are not looking. However, stuffing a resume full of keywords that you think a recruiter will like is usually not the best option. Once you know how to game the system with keywords, you can get through the screening process, but it is not a good indicator of whether that is the right job for you.
How to Get Your Data Scientist Career Up and Running
Cloud Tech, June 14
Earning a job in data science, especially your first job in data science, can be challenging, especially given the surplus of analytics jobseekers to analytics jobs. People looking to break into data science, from undergraduates to career changers, should understand what employers are looking for, as well as how the market for data science professionals has changed in just the past few years. With that in mind, the article provides an overview of the five most valuable lessons to make your data science job hunt easier and as efficient as possible.
Currently, there are nearly 25,000 open data scientist positions on LinkedIn in the United States alone. Using data mining techniques to analyze all open positions in the U.S., the top three most common skills requested in LinkedIn data scientist job postings include Python, R, and SQL, closely followed by Jupyter Notebooks, AWS, and Tensorflow. Hands-on training is the best way to develop and continually improve statistical and programming skills, especially with the languages and technologies many LinkedIn job postings prioritize. Real-world experience with a dataset is often much better than reading through abstract concepts and not applying what you have learned to real problems. Your applied experience is just as important as your academic experience, and taking computer science classes can help to translate theoretical concepts into practical results.
Must Have IT Skills You Need to Remain Competitive
Information Week, June 3
The ever-changing, enterprise IT landscape means there will always be a need to learn new technical disciplines or concepts. Getting trained in different programming languages may just be a starting point though. New combinations of responsibilities, processes, and duties are taking shape across technical and business disciplines. IT team members may already have certain foundational skills but navigating future frontiers will require them to try new paths. Whether companies plan to train up their in-house teams or look externally for new hires, there are skills that most any IT staffer may want to pursue to keep their edge.
Not surprisingly, data scientists are hard to come by right now, since the need for them pervades aspects of organizations beyond engineering and DevOps. Demand for data scientist hires span a range of different technical areas such as data analytics, containers and Kubernetes. There is a high demand for coding and scripting skills that go beyond the basics. A few years back, data science was more about understanding tools and systems. Now everything is code. That includes APIs and infrastructure, which can achieve new levels of control through coding. DevOps is needed earlier in the design phase, raising the demand for design skills and an understanding of architecture.
Six Myths About Working in Fintech
Silicon Republic, May 30
Fintech is one of the hottest industries to work in right now for IT professionals, but it is easy to have certain misconceptions about what it is really like working there. For example, one of the biggest myths about working in fintech is that anyone can do it. In reality, it is far from easy. Fintech products look and feel easy to use and take no time at all to plug into, but behind the front-end of every tech product is a very complex and sophisticated piece of technology. Overall, there are six big myths about working in fintech.
A common assumption is that because fintech seems fun, exciting and cool, that working in it is especially fun, exciting and cool, too. However, it is an IT job like any other and much harder than people think. The people you work with may very well be fun, exciting and cool; however, it is a much harder slog than working for an established employer, as most often you are working for a business that is still creating itself. Also, there is a myth of working in a glamorous startup office in a cool neighborhood next to other startups. People often picture swanky offices with plenty of modern amenities and comfortable beanbags. However, most early-stage companies start out in cramped old office spaces rather than glamorous surroundings.
7 Signs You Are CEO Material
Entrepreneur.com, June 24
Becoming a CEO often requires a certain amount of being in the right place at the right time. However, having certain qualities and soft skills will significantly boost the chance that you will be considered for the spot of CEO or any other top leadership position. With that in mind, Tiffany Franklin, executive career consultant and founder of TJF Career Coaching, explains what it takes to become a CEO in any industry.
CEOs are responsible for significant decisions about the strategy and future of the organizations they lead, and should be ready to take calculated risks. While a CEO must maintain stability within an organization, they also must sometimes take risks that can result in both short- and long-term payoffs for an organization. Being a strategic risk-taker means having that ability to consider a confluence of multiple internal and external factors, both for the organization and the global market as a whole. Strategic risk takers see lessons from the past, but are looking to the future, in terms of marketing, timing, and people. In addition, communication is one of the foundation stones for being a leader. CEOs need to motivate and empower the people around them, to sell their vision, and also outline a path to make it a reality. Communication and relationship-building skills are also an integral part of generating employee satisfaction as a leader.
8 Must-Read Books For Managing Your Career
The Enterprisers Project, June 17
The best IT leaders expertly help their team members manage their career goals, and one key component of that is being able to recommend the best books to boost their professional growth. There are eight books that can help IT leaders at various points in their career journeys, whether they are considering transitioning to a new role or organization, managing a particularly thorny situation at work, or rethinking their professional trajectories.
One important book to keep in mind for your career journey is called Lose the Resume, Land the Job. Gone are the days of polishing up your resume and sending it out at random. At every level today, you need to lose the resume in order to land the right job. In other words, you have to learn to tell a story about yourself that speaks to your competencies, purpose, passion, and values. Lose the Resume, Land the Job shares the new rules of engagement of how you must think, act, and present yourself so you can win. The book gleans insights and stories from Korn Ferry recruiters across the globe who work with thousands of candidates each day. It helps you gain a deeper perspective on who you are, what you are passionate about, the cultures in which you fit, the kind of bosses you should work for, and where you can bring the most value to organizations. Finding a job may not be hard for people with years of experience, but what has never been harder is finding the right job.
Turing Lectures Open ACM FCRC
Blog @ CACM, June 24
Taking place every four years, the ACM Federated Computing Research Conference (FCRC) is the site of 13 computer science conferences at the same time and place, along with their associated workshops. One of the highlights of the event is hearing from current A.M. Turing Laureates about their insights into the cutting edge of computer science research. The 2019 event was the largest FCRC since its creation in 1993, attracting 2,700 participants, including more than 1,100 students. Given the broad range of topics covered by the individual conferences, FCRC offers a unique opportunity for participants to attend sessions and conference that expose them to new and emerging ideas in many different areas of computer science.
Computing has become increasingly interdisciplinary, but it is not often that those in the field have the chance to meet and interact with leading researchers from other areas outside their own. Getting a full view of advances in the field is critical for innovation. For example, recent advances in artificial intelligence would never have been possible without some of the foundations that were established in the area of deep learning. Notably, the 2018 ACM Turing Award was presented in San Francisco to three pioneers of deep learning: Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun. The three of them, collectively and independently, worked over a 30-year period to develop first of all the conceptual foundations of deep neural networks, and then performed experimentation that ended up identifying a lot of very interesting phenomena. They did not stop there, they went on to develop engineering advances that demonstrated conclusively that deep neural nets could actually be applied in practice and in an economic way. This, in turn, led to advances that we are now seeing in computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing and robotics.
To Serve Humanity
Communications of the ACM, July 2019
The first International Workshop on Digital Humanism, organized by the faculty of Informatics at the Technical University of Vienna, sought to bring clarity to some of the most troubling issues in the current relationship between technology and society. There is no doubt that we are in the midst a profound transformation of our society, with computer science and its artifacts as a major driver of change. Whereas this development opens enormously positive possibilities for our future, it also raises serious questions and has dramatic downsides. Instead of technology assisting humanity, technology sometimes seems to erode some of the basic freedoms and principles embraced by humanity. Thus, issues of digital humanism are more relevant than ever before.
The recent Vienna workshop on digital humanism focused on the broad societal role of digital technology and how technology has always been a two-edged sword. Its basic premise was that technology is for people and not the other way round. Practitioners need to put humanity at the center of their work. The goal of the workshop was to raise questions, rather than provide answers. It was acknowledged that computer science alone cannot provide answers to the challenges raised by the digital transformation. Yet the participants were convinced it is possible to influence the future of science and technology and, in consequence, society. They were also aware of their joint responsibility for the current situation and the future, both as professionals and citizens.
Copyright 2019, ACM, Inc.