ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, September 17, 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 18, September 17, 2019
Artificial intelligence in the enterprise is poised for significant growth, so it is no surprise savvy IT professionals are looking for ways to align their career trajectories with it. In fact, there was a 29 percent increase in the number of AI jobs listed on Indeed from May 2018 to May 2019, and a concurrent 15 decrease in candidate searches for AI roles, suggesting a potential shortage of AI experts to fill all those roles. The AI marketplace is going to grow exponentially in the coming years, so it is the perfect time for young professional who want to make a career change to become involved in the field. With that in mind, the article suggests three key steps for transitioning into the AI field.
For many IT professionals, a role in AI can be a logical next step that takes advantage of some of their existing skills. Programmers and developers who code in Python and R can relatively quickly upskill themselves to become data scientists, given the machine learning libraries that are available out-of-the-box for those languages. Also, it is helpful to have good software engineering skills in order to understand the underpinnings of machine learning libraries and how to apply them. The capabilities of IT architects and DevOps professionals lend themselves particularly well to data engineer roles, where they would be charged with creating and managing the large data pipelines that make machine learning possible.
New figures from IT recruitment firm Harnham indicate that the data science field is booming, and not just in Silicon Valley. In fact, the number of data science job openings on the East Coast increased 273 percent during the first six months of 2019, compared to the same period last year. On the West Coast, data science jobs have increased 174 percent this year. While Silicon Valley may be known as the hotbed of data science, there has been huge growth across the country, particularly in New York and Boston.
The data and analytics market is showing no signs of slowing and a lack of high-level candidates means there are huge opportunities for those working in this space. Almost all data and analytics fields have seen major growth this year, according to Harnham. For example, data engineering job openings increased 252 percent on the East Coast and 150 percent on the West Coast. Nationwide, all data and analytics roles have increased by 150 percent.
According to a new study from HackerRank, the universities with the best computer science programs may not be the best places to find great developers. The study scored developers in four different skill dimensions: problem solving, language proficiency, data structures knowledge and computer science fundamentals. Based on those ratings, the researchers then ranked the universities that the developers had attended in order to come up with a Top 10 list. The results show that where a software developer went to college is not an indicator of how strong a programmer they are, and suggest that hiring managers should instead pay more attention to the technical skills listed on a resume.
The HackerRank report separates the university listings out into three different regions of the world: the Americas; Asia-Pacific; and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. All of the schools in the Americas were in the U.S. or Canada. Interestingly, some of the American schools most famous for their computer science curriculum, like Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Princeton University, were not at the top of the HackerRank list. While these well-regarded schools did appear farther down the list, students from several other schools ranked best in the four domains considered by the study. The leading schools included a mix of well known and lesser-known universities. The report's authors hypothesized that the schools near the top had programs that emphasized real-world projects, which could make them more desirable to employers.
4 Things to Add to Your LinkedIn Profile When Searching For a New Job
TheLadders.com, September 12
Social media continues to play a big role in recruiting decisions, and that means hiring managers are paying a lot more attention to your social media profiles. According to data from SHRM, for example, 84 percent of organizations are using some form of social media for recruitment. As a result, social networking platforms like LinkedIn have become powerful tools for landing the job of your dreams. It might take a little work and some careful editing, but there are plenty of ways to add content to your LinkedIn profile that can help you put your best foot forward when searching for a new job.
Even if you are currently unemployed, it is important to consider the way you introduce your professional credibility via social media. Many people leverage their headlines on LinkedIn to give the most realistic portrayal of their abilities in the least amount of time. Realistically, recruiters are skimming through a vast amount of professional profiles on a daily basis, so creating a succinct yet compelling headline is crucial if you want to stand out. Understandably, distilling who you are as a professional down to one line is difficult. Your headline may be structured differently depending on personal or industry preference, but in general, a good headline should include, as a minimum, your career focus. It can also include your current job role, even when job hunting. You can combine this with years of experience, a specific accomplishment, or unique value item. It is also helpful to include at least one keyword that relates to the job you are searching for, such as a specific management role or a specific industry focus. Be clear about what it is you would be bringing to that role, so an employer will not have to spend time figuring that out.
How to Find a Cybersecurity Job That Will Last Through the Next Recession
CNBC, September 1
Over the past 18 months, cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most attractive options for IT jobseekers in search of job security. Informal studies by Cisco, Symantec and Cybersecurity Ventures have predicted a shortfall of millions of cyber jobs in the coming years. There is indeed high demand for cybersecurity jobs, but those positions cover a far wider range of roles than most people think, and some of those jobs will be easier to automate or otherwise cut if the economy hits rough times. Moreover, some regions might have higher needs for cybersecurity specialists than others. The result is that some cybersecurity jobs are better positioned to survive a recession.
Surveys do not often take stock of precisely which cybersecurity roles are most needed, and companies can have a difficult time quantifying which skills they need. Current and historic data and predictions on cybersecurity capacity have been through annual surveys and analysis from various job postings. Historically, it has been mostly a guessing game, and there has to be some serious work done to get to the bottom of the number and nature of jobs that are required, and available. Demand for different types of cybersecurity jobs can vary by regions. For example, an interactive map run by Cyberseek, a project of certification company CompTIA, describes cybersecurity job trends by state and region. Virginia has about 33,000 open cybersecurity jobs with further opportunities in Maryland and Washington, D.C. At the same time, California offers about 36,000 open cyber jobs, and Texas has 24,000.
Report Predicts Top 6 Jobs in 2040
Thomas Insights, August 29
BAE Systems asked its futurists to predict the top six jobs of 2040, and the job titles included AI ethicist, AI translator and VR architect. By understanding where technology is headed, it will be easier to start preparing for these future roles. BAE Systems recently conducted a study that found that 47 percent of people under the age of 24 think that they will have a career in a job that does not exist yet. Of the people surveyed, only 18 percent believe they have the skills to future-proof their careers and nearly 75 percent believe that they do not have enough information on the jobs that will be available in the future.
One of the top job openings in the year 2040 could be AI Ethicist. As autonomous systems receive more responsibility, AI ethicists will make sure they do not show bias and make decisions that best serve the business. Another future role is AI Translator. An AI translator will train humans as well as their AI assistant or robot counterpart. They will tailor the AI to meet the needs of workers and tune it to acknowledge and correct human errors. From an HR perspective, Human e-Sources Managers will analyze data collected from exoskeletons, smart textiles, and wearables to perform predictive and preventative maintenance on human workers. Sensors will send alerts to the manager when you are overworked, overstressed, and otherwise unwell.
7 Future Roles That Will Exist In the Age of Automation
Digital Trends, September 3
While a certain number of tech jobs will vanish as a result of automation, many new jobs are going to be created by technology as well. After all, job titles like data analyst, machine learning scientist, process automation specialist and digital marketing expert are all roles that have been created in recent years. But which roles will be created over the next decade? According to futurists and tech experts, these future roles that will exist in the age of automation include augmented reality architect and cyber city analyst.
In an age of automation, Augmented Reality Architects might play an important role in designing buildings or cityscapes. While virtual reality (VR) means imagining entirely new virtual worlds, augmented reality (AR) means finding interesting ways to have virtual elements integrated within real environments. AR is already being used as a tool by designers to pre-imagine completed works before they are finished constructions. As AR advances, our cities, offices and homes will become a mix of both virtual and real elements for reasons that range from aesthetics like amazing AR sculptures to more functional integrations that provide new ways of interacting with our surroundings.
Elon Musk Wants You to Learn Soft Skills to Keep Your Job
Dice Insights, September 10
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, IT professionals should work on their soft skills, especially if they want to keep their jobs in the face of increasingly sophisticated automation in the workplace. AI will one day make jobs kind of pointless, Musk told the audience at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, where he debated Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma about the future of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Even developers will not be safe from the rise of the machines, Musk added, especially once AI is trained to write decent software. However, machines are a long way from mastering human-to-human interaction, which creates an opening for anyone looking to stay employed.
While the public views AI technology as primarily a threat to factory and manual labor jobs, sophisticated algorithms could one day take over human jobs in everything from customer service to datacenter operations. This is why soft skills are so important. When people use the term soft skills, they are generally referring to skills related to communication, flexibility and adaptability, efficiency, and observation and listening. These are all very possible to master, provided someone is willing to learn. Communication is obviously a key one for many technologists, who often must convey complicated ideas to executives and other team members who may not have a technological background. The ability to engage with others is also important, especially as many technologists like to silo their work away from others within their organization. While such silos may seem like an efficient way to save time, it actually results in deep isolation, which can become a problem when a technologist needs buy-in from other employees for a particular project.
A Minuscule Percentage of Students Take High School CS in the United States
Blog @ CACM, September 2
Over the last few months, a couple of key reports have provided new insights about U.S. high school computer science programs, suggesting that less than 4 percent of all high school students in the United States were taking computer science classes. For example, California, the most populous U.S. state with 1.9 million high school students, had only 3 percent of its students enroll in CS in 2017. Texas, the second most populous U.S. state, had only 3.76 percent of its students complete a computer science course in 2017-2018. California and Texas are not the whole of the United States, even if they are the two of the largest states, and data for who is taking computer science across all of the U.S is not readily available, but these are definitely troubling signs for CS participation rates nationwide.
A number of U.S. states that are part of Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) have conducted landscape surveys of what is going on in CS education at the high school level, and they tell a similar story. At the same time, U.S. universities are still reeling from the overwhelming numbers of students in CS classes and they might not need more students to become interested in computer science at the high school level. In addition, most of the introductory CS students at the university level have already had high school CS. There are 15.3 million high school students in the U.S. Three percent of that figure is around 450,000 students, which is more than the number of students enrolled in university-level intro CS in the U.S. If the CS participation numbers increased at the high school level, probably more students would want to take CS at the university level. Universities would have to restructure to manage such an enormous load.
Sustaining Open Collaboration in Universities
Communications of the ACM, September 2019
At modern research universities, open sharing has fueled the rapid advance of computing and created win-win global partnerships in the worlds of education and corporate innovation. However, increasing international tension and distrust and its projection into universities, is eroding open collaboration. For example, some universities are erecting walls around their intellectual property in the name of national security. To this end, faculty should engage and shape policies to limit the harm of rising barriers and defend core university goals around the advancement of scholarly knowledge.
In 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act recast universities as intellectual property owners, raising new barriers to information sharing in universities. This led to technology and trade secrets being shared under non-disclosure agreement (NDA) agreements, as well as exclusive licensing deals with industry partners. These practices forced faculty, staff, and students to re-think communication, collaboration and open sharing. By 2000, it was commonplace for faculty to discuss intellectual property contracts and NDAs as part of their consulting work for tech startups. Over the past two decades, however, U.S. universities have experienced significant growth in foreign-national students at both undergraduate and graduate levels (now 65% in computing Ph.D. programs). Drawn by U.S. leadership in computing, and the opportunities of an open educational and research environment, these foreign students have forced another re-thinking of sharing and collaboration.
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