ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, March 9, 2021
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 17, Issue 5, March 9, 2021
While large tech hubs such as Silicon Valley and New York City may boast some of the highest salaries in the IT industry, it does not necessarily mean that they have the fastest-growing salaries. Moreover, if you factor in the high cost of living in these large tech hubs, it may be the case that it makes sense for IT job seekers to consider opportunities in smaller, faster-growing tech hubs. According to the 2021 Dice Salary Report, the U.S. cities with the fastest-growing average salaries for technologists include a number of up-and-coming tech hubs such as Charlotte and Orlando, in addition to well-established hubs such as New York City and Austin.
Charlotte, Detroit and Houston all rank highly as the U.S. cities with the fastest-growing technology salaries in the industry. For example, average tech salaries in Charlotte have increased by 13.8 percent, to $99,961. These cities have all attracted startups fueled by venture capital. In addition, technologists help drive robust local industries, such as oil and gas in Houston. Austin, a well-established tech hub, is likewise benefitting from the increasing interest in Texas by the tech industry as a place to headquarter. Minneapolis remains a strong tech city, thanks to its combination of startups and major corporations. Baltimore and Washington, D.C. benefit not only from federal government contracts, but also a growing tech local tech scene.
After a year when many organizations may have frozen pay increases to preserve cash in the midst of a crisis, it now appears that IT employees with highly valued skills may be getting a compensation boost in 2021. A new study from Hired provides a look at the jobs that got pay raises in 2020 as well as some of the skills that commanded higher salaries. The study found that back-end, full-stack, and front-end engineer candidates saw the highest demand, making up more than half of all interview requests for software engineers. Machine learning engineers were also in high demand, ranking within the top 10 highest paid roles in every major technology hub with salaries ranging between $115,000 and $171,000 per year.
Despite the pandemic, the report actually showed some salary increases for the year. For instance, average salaries for top engineering roles in the San Francisco Bay Area increased by 5 percent. Those top roles saw salary increases of 3 percent in New York, 7 percent in Toronto and 6 percent in London. Demand also increased for remote engineers. Due to the pandemic, more employers were open to remote hiring than ever before. Candidates in smaller markets were more likely to get remote job offers compared with those in major tech hubs, according to the report. For candidates in smaller markets looking to boost their salaries, remote jobs may be the road to success. The report shows that candidates in smaller markets received a slightly higher salary for a remote job when compared to job offers in their local areas. Those candidates did receive lower salaries than if they had been on-site in a major hub, but working remotely for a major hub company was a way to earn a premium over the typical salary in local smaller markets. However, candidates based in major markets received up to 5 percent less for remote roles compared to local ones. That difference indicates that tech hubs like San Francisco and others have started to outsource and seek more remote employees.
Given the rapid pace of digital transformation and the globalization of business, emerging technology professions continue to appear seemingly out of nowhere. A decade from now, it is quite likely that technology roles that do not yet exist may be some of the most popular options for recent graduates entering the technology profession. Studies by LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum have already attempted to figure out the most relevant jobs of the future to determine the direction of the labor market and companies. Based on that work, Universidad Tecmilenio has compiled a list of the 10 best-paid emerging professions of the last five years.
One IT position that stands to gain in both popularity and importance over the next decade is artificial intelligence specialist. The hiring of artificial intelligence positions has grown 74 percent in the last four years, and covers different specializations within the industry such as artificial intelligence engineering and machine learning. Robotics engineering is another expanding job category. Robotics is a growing industry, therefore the demand for careers in robotics engineering and jobs involving virtual and physical bots will be on the rise over the next few years. As might be expected, the data scientist role also continues to increase in importance. Data science has topped the list of emerging jobs for three years, and demand for this specialty will continue to grow across all industries for years to come.
How to Get Your Resume Past Artificial Intelligence Screening Tools
The Enterprisers Project, March 4
Keeping in mind that the first challenge that IT professionals need to overcome when landing a new job is simply getting past the front door, it is now more important than ever to understand how artificial intelligence (AI) is being deployed as part of applicant pre-screening systems. Even before a human hiring manager or recruiter gives your resume a passing look, an AI system may have already assessed its overall fit for a specific role or position. According to experts, the use of AI is increasingly prevalent in companies that receive hundreds of applications for a single position. If you are directly applying for jobs through a corporate ATS or other online application channels, then you should learn how to build a resume that gets past AI screening tools.
As experienced IT recruiters point out, you should not go overboard trying to game the system. It is important for job seekers who are applying online to understand how human recruiters might perceive your resume. It can actually be counterproductive if your resume reads like a game of keyword bingo and might give a human hiring manager the sense that you are trying to fake your way through the process or are otherwise overselling your qualifications. With that in mind, there is still an opportunity to tailor your resume to specific job descriptions. In the case of an ATS that uses some form of automated prescreening, doing so will have the added benefit of increasing the likelihood that the text in your resume hits the mark in terms of screening criteria the company may be using. Keywords do matter, provided you are not actually trying to game the application process or mislead someone. As recruiters point out, the job description itself is providing you a working vocabulary as a foundation for tailoring your resume accordingly, so read the description closely.
How to Become a Data Scientist With a Non-Technical Background
Analytics Insight, March 1
As the demand for data scientists in various industrial roles continues to expand worldwide, there are now growing opportunities for job seekers without technical backgrounds to launch a career in data science. Since they may not have had direct exposure to working with data, individuals with non-technical backgrounds should begin with understanding how data is being leveraged by organizations and its industrial applications. Then they can curate a curriculum to obtain the required technical skills. For example, to learn about programming languages and other key concepts, one can register for courses via online learning platforms.
While data science tools and tech will continue to change rapidly, the underlying disciplines needed to master it will not. As a result, any experience or education with probability or statistics would be important to highlight during your job hunt. One can also enroll in certification programs for data science. Earning a certification can improve you skills and boost the chances of being a better data scientist candidate. Gaining practice training and experience is the linchpin of securing a data science job in the top reputed companies. For this, one must focus on building a portfolio of projects that focus on solving real-world bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Obviously, there will be many candidates applying for the same data scientist job position. So, going for more focused project learning is a sure way to stand out in a crowd than the academic route. These projects also highlight your ability to transfer theoretical skills into the creation of data models that have an impact on society and industry.
People Needed to Put the Intelligence In Artificial Intelligence
Forbes, February 13
Artificial intelligence may be capable of assuming many tasks in the workplace, but it will be some time, if ever, that it can replace jobs on a widespread basis. As a result, organizations need to acquaint a generation of workers with technologies to take on the more mundane, repetitive portions of their jobs, and in turn elevate their decision-making roles within enterprises. For now, people-oriented jobs in finance, marketing, sales, and HR are probably safe. The types of jobs that will be impacted are ones that involve repetitive decision-making that can be learned by AI systems.
Rather than replace jobs, AI will replace tasks. Repetitive, data-oriented analyses are candidates for automation by AI systems. If it is possible to create a large training set of examples in which each example is labeled with the correct answer, that analysis can likely be learned by an AI system. Another task category that AI will enhance is repetitive customer service interactions. AI-based chatbots are assuming more customer-service work, and customer service jobs that involve a human following a script to interact with customers are at the most risk. Human interactions that require real, unscripted conversations are not at risk. For non-technical careers, the greatest impact is the availability of massive amounts of data. For example, the field of marketing has already been transformed by data. Marketers analyze data to determine which keywords to buy. They analyze huge amounts of customer data to determine which campaigns should be targeted to which customers. And they analyze massive databases of web traffic to determine what changes to make to their websites.
7 Myths About the Video Game Industry and Game Developer Jobs
Tech Republic, March 5
With the video gaming industry currently in the midst of an unprecedented boom, job seekers over the next few years should expect the video gaming industry to play a major role in their search strategy. According to one study, for example, the value of the global video games market in 2021 will reach almost $140 billion. However, job seekers not familiar with the video gaming industry may have certain misconceptions about how the industry works and just what positions are available. After all, just because an industry is growing fast does not mean that all employment opportunities are created the same. With that in mind, it is important to dispel some of the myths surrounding job seeking in the video game industry.
Perhaps the biggest myth about the video game industry is that video game development is all fun and games. However, video game development is work. The work is often satisfying and fulfilling, and perhaps even lucrative, but it is a job. The mythological idea that game development is all about playing games can be completely and utterly dispelled. Even the people tasked with playing and testing the game during its development process approach their roles as a deliverable that must be completed on time and on budget. Another myth is that you have to be a gamer to work in the video game industry. While experience playing video games may help the artist, the musician, the writer, or the puzzle maker produce better content, it is certainly not an absolute necessity.
Low-Code and No-Code is Shifting the Balance Between Business and Technology Professionals
ZDNet, March 6
The low-code and no-code movement may be fundamentally transforming the future of work by blurring the line between business and IT professionals. One key factor here has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many business-side professionals working remotely over the past year to troubleshoot network issues, download front-end apps and even create new applications to help them in their jobs. Many end-users are essentially on their own when it comes to leveraging IT capabilities, and that has resulted in rising interest to take matters into their own hands and solve some of their own digitalization problems. At the same time, IT has less time to help evaluate solutions for the business to use, less time to coach novice developers, and less time to oversee best practice deployment of new technologies.
The definition of who is a developer is changing as no- and low-code become more prominent. People who just five years ago would have opened a ticket to request the creation of a dashboard or workflow are now empowered to create those things themselves. People who would have had no visibility into how to connect to a core system like SAP or Oracle can drag-and-drop data sources like that into applications today. People who we would have thought of as just BI data analysts are creating custom software today. Given all this, it is less about what development tasks are accessible to non-technical people, and more about what capabilities individuals can create on their own through software, and that universe just keeps growing every day. Historically, only a small percentage of technically skilled people were able to create software, but no-code is changing this drastically.
Is the Pandemic Affecting Science and Engineering Undergraduate Students?
Blog@CACM, March 4
According to a new Technion survey, the ongoing pandemic appears to be impacting not only the day-to-day educational experience of undergraduate science and engineering students, but also the way they perceive their future job prospects in the labor market. New questions added to the survey this year were designed with the pandemic in mind in order to discover which issues or challenges were top-of-mind for students and then to address them. Two off-campus issues were particularly important to students: the future of the labor market, and what the world will look like in 2021 and beyond.
For each of the factors of uncertainty covered by the survey, students were asked to indicate whether they were concerned or not concerned by its existence. In order to gauge the overall depth of this concern, students were asked to rank their feelings on a three-point scale: not concerned, occasionally concerned, and concerned. Students were also asked to estimate the concerns of their peers with respect to these factors. Students again were asked to rank their answers on a three-point scale. The picture that emerged with respect to four of the factors (student social life, the extension of the duration of their studies, the future of the labor market, and what the world will look like in the future) was understandable and consistent. Student concerns were distributed more or less evenly among the three optional answers, and the majority estimated that most of their peers feel more or less like they do.
Strategies to Build Student-to-Student Rapport in Online Adult Learning Courses
eLearn Magazine, February 2021
When teaching online adult learning classes, there are several key strategies that educators can deploy to build social interaction and rapport between students. This student-to-student rapport is a key component in supporting and complementing best practices and tips for online learning. With virtual classrooms, student-to-student interaction primarily takes place via emails, chats, and class discussion boards. The problem for online instructors is how to get students to make connections and build that important student-student rapport when they may have never met in person before.
One way to build student-to-student rapport is with introduction slides. For their first class together online, each student can build their own introduction slide to present to the class. This might include a photo, a summary of where they are from, educational background and last place of work. It could also include factors such as favorite TV show, favorite food or favorite sports team. This can help them find others with similar interests. Special event emails or texts can also help build rapport throughout the year. Group texts about what is going on for a specific occasion or date can help to bring people together. Special activities can also play a role. Those that like to run, for example, could use an online app to record and share their run times and distances. Similarly, fans of a specific TV show could hold online watch parties, while others could start a book club recommending books they are reading.
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