All posts by Tekla S. Perry

Tech Professions Dominate Rankings of Best Jobs in the U.S.

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

What makes a job nearly perfect? It’s a combination of salary, demand (the number empty posts waiting to be filled), and job satisfaction, according to job search firm Glassdoor, which this week released a list of the best jobs in America for 2020.

Using median base salaries reported on Glassdoor in 2019, the number of U.S. job openings as of 18 December 2019, and the overall job satisfaction rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) reported by employees in those jobs, the company put front-end engineer in the number one spot, followed by Java developer and data scientist. That’s a switch previous trends; data scientist held the number one spot on Glassdoor’s top jobs list for the four previous years.

In fact, you don’t hit a non-tech job until the 8th ranking, where speech language pathologist claims the spot, boosted by astronomical demand [see table].

2020’s Top Jobs

RankJobMedian Base SalaryJob SatisfactionJob Openings
1Front End Engineer*$105,2403.913,122
2Java Developer*$83,5893.916,136
3Data Scientist*$107,8014.06,542
4Product Manager*$117,7133.812,173
5Devops Engineer*$107,3103.96,603
6Data Engineer*$102,4723.96,941
7Software Engineer*$105,5633.650,438
8Speech Language Pathologist$71,8673.829,167
9Strategy Manager$133,0674.33,515
10Business Development Manager$78,4804.06,560

*Tech job  Source: Glassdoor

Tech jobs are among the highest paying, however, with seven of the top ten median salaries [see table].

2020’s Top Jobs by Salary

RankJobMedian Base Salary
1Strategy Manager$133,067
2Finance Manager$120,644
3Design Manager*$120,549
4Product manager*$117,713
5Cloud Engineer*$110,600
6Physician Assistant$109,585
7Data Scientist*$107,801
8Dev Ops engineer*$107,310
9Software Engineer*$105,563
10Front End Engineer*$105,240

*Tech job  Source: Glassdoor

Tech jobs, however, aren’t the most satisfying, according to Glassdoor’s rankings. Top honors in that category go to corporate recruiter posts, followed by strategy manager. The only tech jobs to make the top ten rankings in job satisfaction were Salesforce Developer and Data Scientist; two other “most satisfying” job categories included a mix of technical and non-technical professionals [see table].

2020’s Top Jobs by Satisfaction

Satisfaction Score (out of 5)
1Corporate Recruiter4.4
2Strategy Manager4.3
3Salesforce Developer*4.2
3Customer Success Manager4.2
3Product Designer°4.2
7HR Manager4.1
7Design Manager°4.1
9Data Scientist*4.0
9Business Development Manager4.0
9Accounting Manager4.0

*Tech job  °Job category includes some tech professions Source: Glassdoor

A complete list of the 50 top jobs is available on Glassdoor.

Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens: It’s the Real Deal

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Augmented reality in a contact lens? Science fiction writers envisioned the technology decades ago, and startups have been working on developing an actual product for at least 10 years.

Today, Mojo Vision announced that it has done just that—put 14K pixels-per-inch microdisplays, wireless radios, image sensors, and motion sensors into contact lenses that fit comfortably in the eyes. The first generation of Mojo Lenses are being powered wirelessly, though future generations will have batteries on board. A small external pack, besides providing power, handles sensor data and sends information to the display. The company is calling the technology Invisible Computing, and company representatives say it will get people’s eyes off their phones and back onto the world around them.

CES 2020: The Best—and Wildest—Gadgets

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

At CES, among the bigger, brighter TVs, mock smart homes that seem to know more about you than you do, and all the Alexa- and Google-Assistant-enabled devices eager to talk to you, are a few products that defy categorization. Some of these new products grabbed my attention because they involve truly innovative technology. Some are just clever and cheap enough to catch on, and some are a little too wild to find a big market—but it’s still impressive when a developer realizes an extreme dream.

So, as CES 2020 retreats into history, here is my top 10 list of CES gadgets that at least got my attention, if not a spot on my shopping list. There is no way to rank these in order of importance, so I’ll list them roughly by size, from small to big. (The largest products demonstrated at CES, like John Deere’s AI-powered crop sprayer, Brunswick’s futuristic speedboat, or Hyundai’s flying taxi developed in partnership with Uber Elevate can’t be called gadgets, so didn’t make this roundup.)

CES 2020 News: Tech Executives Answer Tough Questions About Privacy

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

A panel of tech executives discussed privacy, encryption, and digital advertising this week at CES 2020. Apple’s senior director of global privacy Jane Horvath came out in strong favor of privacy protection, commissioner Rebecca Slaughter of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission came out even stronger. Facebook’s vice president of public policy Erin Egan maintained that Facebook does just fine in protecting consumer privacy, while Wing Venture Capital partner Rajeev Chand served as moderator and posed timely questions to the group.

(Proctor & Gamble’s global privacy officer Susan Shook occasionally got a word in, but the spotlight focused on companies that provide technology far more than those that use it.)

CES 2020 News: Delta Airlines to Display Custom Messages for Passengers at Detroit Metro Airport

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

A useful, though somewhat eerie, technology will start guiding passengers through airline terminals later this year. Developed by Misapplied Sciences based in Redmond, Wash., and being rolled out by Delta Airlines, Parallel Reality technology will replace the typical information-packed airport display screen that shows all departing flights with individual messages customized for each traveler. The real magic? All of those messages will appear simultaneously on a single large screen, but you’ll just see the one intended for you.

CES 2020 News: TV Makers Face Consumers Who Don’t Need So Many TVs

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

In 2009, the number of television sets per U.S. household averaged 2.6; by 2015, that dropped to 2.3. While the official U.S. government numbers haven’t been updated since, indications are that the average is quickly dropping, as more and more people use their phones, tablets, or laptops for solo entertainment, only moving to a big screen for group viewing, if at all.

Chris Larson, a senior vice president for TV manufacturer TCL, acknowledged the downward trend at the company’s CES 2020 press conference.

“We want that main spot,” said Larson. So do the other TV manufacturers, of course.

CES 2020: Robot Vacuums That Don’t Repeat Mistakes, and Other Little Fixes to Life’s Annoyances

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Maybe we won’t see a breakthrough new technology at CES 2020. But it’s nice to see consumer electronics companies thinking about our pain points.

LG, kicking of CES press day, was all about AI, or, as the company brands it, ThinQ. Its long-term vision was a grandiose, familiar one in which all the objects that use electricity in your house will talk amongst themselves to make your life perfect.

LG’s nearer term applications of AI to household appliances were more interesting. For one, the company promised that this year’s models of its robot vacuum, the R9, will learn from mistakes—when it gets stuck in a tight corner or under a cabinet, say, and you have to retrieve it, it won’t go there again (kind of like my cat).

In another useful application of AI, LG plans to introduce washing machines that will detect the type of fabrics in the pile of clothes you shove in, automatically setting the appropriate wash cycle settings. (I reached out to the company for information on sensors and other details, and will update when I get an answer.)

Panasonic’s Cloud Analytics Will Give Cars a Guardian Angel

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

graphic link to special report landing page

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology—“everything” meaning other vehicles and road infrastructure—has long promised that a digital seatbelt would make cars safer. This year Panasonic expects to keep that promise by taking data to the cloud.

Car seatbelts, made mandatory in the United States in 1968, dramatically reduced the likelihood of death and serious injury. Airbags, becoming standard equipment some 20 years later, gave added protection. Roadway innovations—like rumble strips, better guardrail designs, and breakaway signposts—have also done their part.

In the past few years, however, the number of fatalities in U.S. car crashes has been creeping up—­possibly (but not provably) because people are increasingly being distracted by their mobile devices. What’s to be done, given how difficult it has been to get people off their cellphones?

Panasonic engineers, working with the departments of transportation in Colorado and Utah, think they can help turn the trend around. They are starting with what some call a digital seatbelt. This technology allows cars to talk to the transportation infrastructure, sending key information like speed and direction, and enables the infrastructure to talk back, alerting drivers about trouble ahead—a construction zone, perhaps, or a traffic jam.

This back-and-forth conversation is already happening on stretches of highway around the world, most notably in Europe. But these efforts use limited information—typically, speed, heading, and sometimes brake status—in limited areas. Panasonic thinks the digital seatbelt could do more for more drivers if it looked at a lot more data and processed it all centrally, no matter where it originates.

So, in the second half of this year, the company is launching Cirrus by Panasonic, a cloud-based system designed to make car travel a lot safer.

The Cirrus system takes the standard set of safety data that today’s cars transmit along the controller-area network (CAN) bus—including antilock brake status, stability control status, wiper status, fog light and headlight status, ambient air temperature, and other details and transmits it to receivers along the roadway. The receivers send the data to a cloud-based platform for analysis, where it can be used to generate personalized safety warnings for drivers.

This data is already being used in a number of ways by auto companies and researchers, but Chris Armstrong, vice president for V2X technology at Panasonic Corp. of North America, says Panasonic is the first company to use so much of it in a commercially available safety system.

“We are building a central nervous system for connected cars,” he says.

Blaine Leonard, transportation technology engineer for the Utah Department of Transportation, says, “Right now, when you are driving down a road, you might see a static road sign that says, ‘Bridge ices before road does,’ or an electronic sign that says ‘Ice ahead, beware.’ ” Drivers generally don’t pay much attention to these very imprecise warnings, he notes. But with Cirrus, Leonard says, “the temperature gauge of a vehicle passing through the area, along with the slippage of its wheels, will give us the exact location of the ice, so we can send that as a message to be displayed on the dashboard of a subsequent vehicle: ‘Ice ahead, 325 feet.’ A driver will be more likely to pay attention to a message that really is just for him. And if he passes through the area and the ice is no longer there, his vehicle will report that back, so the next driver won’t get the alert.”

Or consider an airbag deployment. “With this system,” Leonard says, “we will know within seconds if an airbag deployed, how fast the vehicle was traveling, and how many other cars in that area had airbag deployments. That information can allow us to get an emergency response out minutes faster than if the accident had been reported by a 911 call, and two to three minutes can save a life.”

The Utah Department of Transportation, along with its counterpart in Colorado, is acting as a test bed for the technology. The Utah people expect the data-gathering side of their system to be operational in May. It will start with 30 state-owned vehicles and 40 roadside receivers this year, with each receiver designed to transmit for 300 meters in all directions. (Receivers don’t have to be placed so that their individual ranges always meet; the system will also be able to briefly store data locally and share it with the cloud moments later.)

In the next few years, Utah plans to roll out 220 roadside sensors and equip thousands of vehicles to talk to them; although the department has a five-year plan to work with Panasonic, the exact pace of installation hasn’t been set. Last year, Colorado installed 100 receivers and equipped 94 vehicles; plans to go further are currently on hold pending evaluation by the state’s new administration.

Panasonic will feed data collected from these two implementations into machine-learning programs, which will make the algorithms better at predicting changing or hazardous road and traffic conditions. “For example, if we can build up historical data about weather events—ambient air temperature, status of control systems, windshield wipers—our systems will learn which data elements matter, understand the conditions as they develop, and potentially send out alerts proactively,” Panasonic’s Armstrong says.

Using the system today requires adding a module that collects the data from the CAN bus and sends it to the receivers, receives alerts, and displays the alerts to the driver. Panasonic’s engineers expect that its system will soon have the capability to collect the data and send it out either via dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), a variant of Wi-Fi, or by ­cellular-based ­vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X). One or the other method of wireless communication will eventually be built into all cars. Volkswagen is incorporating DSRC in its latest Golf model, and Cadillac has announced plans to start offering it in its crossover vehicles.

And then Panasonic will be free to focus on running the cloud-based platform and making the system available to app developers. The company expects that those developers will find ways to enhance safety even further.

This article appears in the January 2020 print issue as “A Guardian Angel for Your Car.”

CES 2020 Trends: Get Ready for Holographs, Augmented Reality, and Smart Bathrooms

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

While CES doesn’t officially start until Tuesday, announcements and teasers always begin flowing long before the show. From sifting through those materials, I’ve started to spot a few trends.

CES 2020 Preview: A Haptic Phone Display, Scrunchable Battery, and Cooler That Makes Water From Air

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

CES 2020, which kicks off on Tuesday, will be full of Internet of Things (IoT) devices made smarter than ever by artificial intelligence, TVs and home appliances that beg you to converse with them, and wearables that tell you more about yourself than you likely want to know. 

But the best part of CES is the moment you spot a tiny treasure—that little gadget that is absolutely useful, and perfectly designed. Some tiny treasures are tucked into an array of gear from major manufacturers, and some are the sole products of new companies betting their bank accounts on a CES launch. There’s also joy—or at least entertainment value—in trying out a product that has automated something that really doesn’t need to be automated. 

Machine Learning Engineers Win Silicon Valley’s Salary Race, But Top Salaries Drop Since Last Year

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

In a year-end review of Silicon Valley’s tech job activity for 2019, job-search firm Indeed found that machine learning engineers are commanding the highest salaries (averaging $172,792, up from $159,230 in 2018 and $149,519 in 2017), software engineers in general are in highest demand, and Amazon has been on the biggest hiring spree.

That’s a bit of a change from last year, when product development engineers claimed the highest salaries in Indeed’s database, at $173,570. It’s also different from 2017, when the big earners were directors of product management, with average salaries of $186,766.

The decline in top salary may reflect a slight softening in demand for tech professionals overall—Indeed’s researchers noted a 3.8 percent decrease in technology jobs listed on the site between October 2018 and October 2019.

Amazon, Walmart, and Apple posted the most Silicon Valley job openings on Indeed from January through October of this year. These three companies also claimed the top three positions in 2018, when Walmart stepped up its Silicon Valley hiring (though they shuffled positions slightly). Walmart ranked 13th in hiring in the region in 2017. Cisco, which was number three in 2017, slipped to fourth this year.

Indeed’s 2019 top 20 lists, below.

Highest-paying jobs in Silicon Valley

(ranked by average annual salary)

1Machine learning engineer ($172,792)Director of product management ($186,766)Product development engineer ($173,570)
2Principal software engineer ($169,268)Senior reliability engineer ($181,100)Director of product management ($173,556)
3Platform engineer ($154,801)Application security engineer ($173,903)Data warehouse architect ($169,836)
4Senior software engineer ($142,794)Principal software engineer ($165,487)DevOps manager ($166,448)
5Software architect ($142,372)Senior solution architect ($164,584)Senior architect ($161,124)
6Senior system engineer ($141,013)Software engineering manager ($162,115)Principal software engineer ($160,326)
7Senior product manager ($134,547)Software architect ($159,642)Senior solutions architect ($158,329)
8Cloud engineer ($132,852)Machine learning engineer ($159,230)Principal Java developer ($156,402)
9iOS developer ($131,979)User experience architect ($155,394)Senior software architect ($154,944)
10Development operations engineer ($128,495)Platform engineer ($155,075)Platform engineer ($154,739)
11Back end developer ($127,088)Data warehouse architect ($154,950)Senior SQL developer ($154,161)
12Firmware engineer ($124,190)Director of information technology ($152,331)Senior C developer ($152,903)
13Android developer ($124,024)Senior back end developer ($151,313)Machine learning engineer ($149,519)
14Software test engineer ($123,531)Senior software architect ($150,970)Software engineering manager ($148,937)
15Data engineer ($120,281)Salesforce developer ($150,923)Software architect ($148,171)
16Full-stack developer ($119,954)Ruby developer ($149,944)Cloud engineer ($146,900)
17Data scientist ($118,887)Server engineer ($149,435)Senior product manager ($146,277)
18Front end developer ($118,768)Python developer ($149,331)DevOps engineer ($146,222)
19Mobile developer ($114,560)Senior software engineer ($148,098)Senior back end developer $144,306)
20Software engineer ($112,969)NAJavaScript developer ($142,185)

Source: Indeed

Most In-Demand Tech Jobs in Silicon Valley (ranked by share of job openings)

1Software engineerSoftware test engineerSoftware engineer
2Senior software engineerSenior product managerFront end developer
3Product managerQuality assurance engineerFull stack developer
4Software architectTechnical program managerProduct manager
5Full stack developerMachine learning engineerDevelopment operations engineer
6Front end developerCloud engineerSoftware architect
7Senior product managerPrincipal software engineerJava developer
8Data scientistFirmware engineerSoftware test engineer
9Development operations engineerSoftware engineering managerSenior product manager
10Software test engineerOperations analystEngineering program manager
11DeveloperIT security specialistApplication developer
12Data engineerProduct owneriOS developer
13System engineerSenior data analystAndroid developer
14Back end developerPrincipal product managerBack end developer
15Quality assurance engineerTechnical product managerQuality assurance engineer
16Technical program managerSenior design engineerData warehouse engineer
17Data analystInformation technology managerAutomation engineer
18Machine learning engineerSenior application engineerMachine learning engineer
19Java developerBusiness intelligence analystSenior Java developer
20Cloud engineerHadoop developerCloud engineer

Source: Indeed

*Exact shares not available

Is it Time for the U.S. Government to Drag Tech Jobs out of Silicon Valley and Into the Heartland?

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Silicon Valley continues to be the elephant in the tech room. In every study I’ve seen, it dominates the share of tech jobs. Its engineers command the highest salaries. And in spite of regular reports of its coming demise, its dominance continues.

Over the years, various regions, in the U.S. and around the world, have pitched themselves as “the next Silicon Valley.” And some have indeed increased their respective pools of tech jobs. But none—with the exception of Boston, Seattle, San Diego, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle—have become serious technology hubs.

In fact, notes a recent study by the Brookings Institution, those first three (Boston, Seattle, and San Diego) plus Silicon Valley accounted for more than 90 percent of tech job growth from 2005 to 2017. Other “superstar metro areas” are growing quickly [see list]. By contrast, much of the rest of the country is starving for tech jobs—and losing ground. This is bad for a number of reasons, the report pointed out. These include increased political polarization in the country, rising housing costs and traffic problems in the cities that are tech-haves, and skilled worker shortages in the have-nots.

Top 20 U.S. Tech Metro Areas

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX
  • St. Louis, MO-IL
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

(Source: Brookings Institution)

The solution Brookings researchers propose? Government intervention. They argue that the federal government should create eight to 10 regional “growth centers” in the U.S. heartland. According to them, each area should receive $700 million in direct R&D funding each year for the next 10 years. In addition, each should get workforce development funding of $5 million per year, plus exemptions from certain regulations, and other benefits, for a total 10-year cost of about $100 billion.

Where exactly are these potential “Silicon Valleys”? The report identified 35 possible areas that met certain criteria: geographically distant enough from superstar cities to be truly new regions; the presence of a university; a population higher than 500,000; and the presence of at least some local STEM talent, including Ph.D.-holders.

Using these and other factors, Brookings calculated an eligibility index. Madison, Wisc., came out way on top, followed by the Minneapolis area of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Albany area of New York, and the Lexington area of Kentucky. [See table]

Some other interesting tidbits in the data:

• The Albany area wins the patent race, with 124 patents per 100,000 people living in the region

• Madison’s big advantage is in University STEM R&D, at nearly $1700 per person. Its nearest competitor, Pittsburgh, has roughly a third of that.

• Madison also has the largest percentage of people with bachelor’s degrees and STEM doctorates in its population. Go Badgers!

Contenders for the Next Silicon Valley:

Metro AreaPopulation, 2018University STEM R&D per capita, 2017Patents per 100,000, 2015BA share, 2017STEM doctoral degrees per 100,000, 2017Innovation sector job share, 2018Eligibility Index
Madison, WI660,422$1,688.5171.145.9%80.85.9%1.63
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI3,629,190$245.3097.141.7%11.33.2%0.68
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY883,169$268.58124.037.2%19.54.3%0.66
Lexington-Fayette, KY516,697$717.6036.137.5%29.31.8%0.58
Rochester, NY1,071,082$370.93113.034.1%15.02.6%0.53
Provo-Orem, UT633,768$59.5667.941.3%7.96.4%0.47
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA2,478,810$14.9090.840.3%1.84.9%0.47
Tucson, AZ1,039,073$593.6463.533.6%21.35.4%0.45
Pittsburgh, PA2,324,743$539.7438.135.1%22.02.2%0.40
Salt Lake City, UT1,222,540$264.6455.235.5%16.83.7%0.34
Columbus, OH2,106,541$386.4121.935.9%20.11.7%0.30
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI9,498,716$166.6740.937.7%7.41.9%0.29
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN1,930,961$367.0112.036.0%11.21.0%0.22
Akron, OH704,845$95.0952.932.2%24.01.7%0.19
St. Louis, MO-IL2,805,465$286.5727.734.6%9.22.9%0.19
Boise City, ID730,426$45.46107.030.1%2.03.8%0.18
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI1,576,113$45.5343.735.8%6.22.1%0.18
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN2,190,209$195.9948.633.2%5.92.5%0.16
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY1,130,152$342.0422.432.5%16.92.7%0.15
Kansas City, MO-KS2,143,651$10.7239.136.5%0.01.9%0.14
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA655,409$0.0035.036.6%0.01.3%0.13
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN2,048,703$25.5537.035.6%3.72.8%0.13
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI4,326,442$53.9076.731.1%3.41.7%0.12
Albuquerque, NM915,927$259.2032.432.1%11.65.0%0.12
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL596,849$30.6779.530.0%7.38.6%0.10
Syracuse, NY650,502$164.6533.031.8%15.83.0%0.09
Cleveland-Elyria, OH2,057,009$234.9844.730.8%7.81.7%0.09
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC906,626$161.6354.928.6%19.01.8%0.07
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA942,198$11.4119.536.3%0.91.7%0.07
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO549,128$252.4615.531.8%16.20.6%0.06
Knoxville, TN883,309$307.7725.328.8%23.62.4%0.05
Dayton, OH806,548$276.4332.529.8%13.33.4%0.05
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC2,569,213$9.5818.635.5%2.71.7%0.05
Birmingham-Hoover, AL1,151,801$481.579.830.5%8.00.6%0.05
Columbia, SC832,666$218.3111.631.9%15.01.5%0.04
All U.S. metros281,128,123$215.7548.134.0%10.62.8%

(Source: Brookings Institution)

What Programming Languages Do You Need to Work in Data Science?

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Data scientists and software engineers who work with big data are in high demand. Thinknum Media called this field the hottest profession in 2019. Job search site Indeed earlier this year reported that job listings for data scientists jumped 31 percent between 2017 and 2018, while searches only increased 14 percent.

But what skills do you need to fill this lucrative niche?

Indeed set out to answer that question by looking at 500 tech skill terms related to data science that appeared in tech jobs posted on the site during the past five years. The analysis determined that, while Python dominates, Spark is on the fastest growth path and demand for engineers familiar with the statistical programming language R is also growing fast. Also on the radar: Hadoop, Tableau, SAS, Matlab, Redshift, and TensorFlow. [See graph, below, which omits Python because demand is literally off the charts, and because it is not strictly a data science skill.]

In terms of exactly how these skills are being applied, Indeed looked four fields that require data scientists. Machine learning came out on top—and is growing the fastest—followed by artificial intelligence, deep learning, and natural language processing. [See graph, below.]

Who’s Hiring Engineers? (TSMC, Oracle, Ikea) Who’s Firing Them? (HP, WeWork, Symantec)

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

The second half of 2019 saw big engineering workforce moves both positive and negative.

HP (big layoffs), WeWork (more layoffs), Oracle (layoffs and hiring), and TSMC (hiring explosion) made big moves. The bulk of the hiring news came from outside Silicon Valley—with a flurry of activity outside the U.S. And the trends show that it’s a good time to be in AI and machine learning or 5G development, perhaps not such a good time to be developing consumer cybersecurity tools.

The big swings:

HP Inc. in October announced that it would cut up to 16 percent of its workforce, between 7000 and 9000 jobs. How many of those cuts affect technical professionals and how they would be distributed geographically wasn’t announced.

Struggling WeWork in October reportedly decided to lay off 500 from its technology division, including about 150 tech professionals from companies it had recently acquired. In November, WeWork-owned Meetup announced layoffs of 50 employees, mostly engineers, and coding boot camp Flatiron School planned to lay off dozens. Overall, including architects, cleaners, and maintenance workers, WeWork is expected to axe as many as 4000, about a third of its total staff.

Oracle announced in October plans to hire 2000 engineers to work on cloud computing technology around the world, including in Silicon Valley, Seattle, and India and at new data centers to be established. Oracle’s announcement came after a major round of layoffs in March. And in August Oracle laid off at least 300 engineers from its flash storage operations in Silicon Valley and Colorado.

In Silicon Valley:

Apple in October began ramping up hiring of engineers to work on its smart-home platform and new smart-home devices in its Cupertino and San Diego, Calif., offices, according to Bloomberg. Apple hasn’t announced specific numbers.

Robotic pizza-maker Zume, based in Mountain View, Calif., has been steadily increasing its engineering workforce in recent months, Thinknum Media reported in October, but didn’t speculate on exact numbers.

JP Morgan, meanwhile, has been recruiting engineers with AI and machine learning expertise for its San Mateo, Calif., office, according to efinancialcareers.

Around the U.S.:

SpotHero, a parking technology developer based in Chicago, in August announced plans to hire 50 software engineers this year, adding to SpotHero’s current total staff of 210.

Amazon in September announced plans to add 400 tech professionals to its Portland, Oregon, tech center, including those with expertise in development, information technology, software architecture. The hires will double the company’s engineering workforce there.

In August, Uber announced a tech hiring freeze for all software and services jobs based in the U.S. and Canada. Then in September, Uber announced that it had cut 435 from its product and engineering teams, the majority from U.S. operations, but lifted the hiring freeze. Just weeks later, Uber announced long-term plans to hire 2000 professionals to staff a headquarters and engineering center for Uber Freight in Chicago.

Stratifyd, a four-year-old artificial intelligence and machine learning startup based in Charlotte, N.C., announced in November that it would add at least 200.

Microsoft is also ramping up in North Carolina, announcing in November that it would be adding 430 jobs at its Charlotte campus, mostly in engineering and management. This expansion followed on Microsoft’s October announcement of 575 new positions opening at its tech center in Irving, Texas.

Health tech startup Well announced in November plans to hire 400 in North Carolina.

Computer security toolmaker McAfee in October gave notice of 107 layoffs in Hillsboro, Oregon, by year-end, including 44 software engineers.

Symantec, another cybersecurity tools company, in October indicated that it would be cutting 213 software engineering and middle management jobs from its California operations and an additional 24 engineers and other professionals from its Oregon staff. (Broadcom acquired part of Symantec in August.)

Samsung in October gave notice that it would cut a significant but unspecified number of engineers working on CPU development from its Austin, Texas, R&D center, according to Extremetech. That month, Samsung also announced plans to hire an additional 1200 engineers in India for its R&D centers there.

Goldman Sachs in August announced plans to hire 100 software engineers to be based in its trading divisions in New York and London.

More from around the world:

The biggest hiring news for the second half of 2019 came from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC). TSMC in late July announced plans to fill 3000 new tech jobs by the end of this year distributed among three Taiwan locations.

Elon Musk, in September announced that Tesla is building a “major engineering team” in China to support Gigafactory 3 and to generally work on software for Tesla’s cars.

Ikea executives in October told the Financial Times that the company aims to add more smart products to its line of home furnishings. The retailer is in the process of adding engineers to its Swedish hub, and is considering setting up development operations in the U.S. and Asia.

Nokia, based in Finland, announced in November that it had recently hired 350 engineers to work on 5G technology.

BFS Capital announced in October that it would be hiring 50 to staff its new data science and engineering hub in Toronto.

Essential, the mobile device developer founded by Andy Rubin, tweeted in October news of a hiring push for engineers and designers in Bangalore, India. Essential didn’t release specifics about the eventual size of this team but at this writing listed 10 openings.

SQL, Java Top List of Most In-Demand Tech Skills

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

What tech skills do U.S. employers want? Researchers at job search site Indeed took a deep dive into its database to answer that question. And, at least for now, expertise in SQL came out on top of the list of most highly sought after skills, followed by Java. Python and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are coming on fast, and, should trends continue, may take over the lead in the next year or two. (Python came out on top in IEEE Spectrum’s analysis of top programming languages for 2019.)

Indeed’s team considered U.S. English-language jobs posted on the site between September 2014 and September 2019; those postings encompassed 571 tech skills. Over that period, Docker, the enterprise container platform, sits at number 20 on the list today, but that is the result of a dramatic climb over that five-year period. Demand for proficiency in that platform-as-a-service grew more than 4000 percent, from a barely registering share of 0.1 percent of job post mentions in 2014 to 5.1 percent today. Azure jumped more than 1000 percent during that period, from 0.6 percent to 6.9 percent; and the general category of machine learning climbed 439 percent, closely followed by AWS at 418 percent. (The top 20 for 2019, along with their 2014 shares, are listed in the table below.)

Indeed’s researchers note that the big jumps in demand for engineers skilled in Python stems from the boom in data scientist and engineer jobs, which disproportionately use Python. AES’s growth, they indicated, has been fueled by the proliferation of full stack developer and development operations engineering positions.

Employer Interest in Tech Skills

Key: Green = greater than 10 percent increase, Red = greater than 10 percent decrease, Yellow = less than 10 percent increase or decrease

RankSkill2014 Share2019 ShareChange
16Machine Learning1.3%7.0%439%
19SQL Server7.8%6.5%-17%

Source: Indeed

The Blockchain Job Boom Continues

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Employer demand for engineers with Bitcoin, blockchain, or general cryptocurrency expertise continued to grow between September 2018 and September 2019—albeit in fits and starts (see graph, below). These figures come from job search site Indeed. The 26 percent increase that occurred over this period was not as dramatic as the jump of 214 percent between September 2017 and September 2018.

Trump CTO Addresses AI, Facial Recognition, Immigration, Tech Infrastructure, and More

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Michael Kratsios, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, took the stage at Stanford University last week to field questions from Stanford’s Eileen Donahoe and attendees at the 2019 Fall Conference of the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI).

Kratsios, the fourth to hold the U.S. CTO position since its creation by President Barack Obama in 2009, was confirmed in August as President Donald Trump’s first CTO. Before joining the Trump administration, he was chief of staff at investment firm Thiel Capital and chief financial officer of hedge fund Clarium Capital. Donahoe is Executive Director of Stanford’s Global Digital Policy Incubator and served as the first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council during the Obama Administration.

The conversation jumped around, hitting on both accomplishments and controversies. Kratsios touted the administration’s success in fixing policy around the use of drones, its memorandum on STEM education, and an increase in funding for basic research in AI—though the magnitude of that increase wasn’t specified. He pointed out that the Trump administration’s AI policy has been a continuation of the policies of the Obama administration, and will continue to build on that foundation. As proof of this, he pointed to Trump’s signing of the American AI Initiative earlier this year. That executive order, Kratsios said, was intended to bring various government agencies together to coordinate their AI efforts and to push the idea that AI is a tool for the American worker. The AI Initiative, he noted, also took into consideration that AI will cause job displacement, and asked private companies to pledge to retrain workers.

The administration, he said, is also looking to remove barriers to AI innovation. In service of that goal, the government will, in the next month or so, release a regulatory guidance memo instructing government agencies about “how they should think about AI technologies,” said Kratsios.

U.S. vs China in AI

A few of the exchanges between Kratsios and Donahoe hit on current hot topics, starting with the tension between the U.S. and China.


“You talk a lot about unique U.S. ecosystem. In which aspect of AI is the U.S. dominant, and where is China challenging us in dominance?


“They are challenging us on machine vision. They have more data to work with, given that they have surveillance data.”


“To what extent would you say the quantity of data collected and available will be a determining factor in AI dominance?”


“It makes a big difference in the short term. But we do research on how we get over these data humps. There is a future where you don’t need as much data, a lot of federal grants are going to [research in] how you can train models using less data.”

Donahoe turned the conversation to a different tension—that between innovation and values.


“A lot of conversation yesterday was about the tension between innovation and values, and how do you hold those things together and lead in both realms.”


“We recognized that the U.S. hadn’t signed on to principles around developing AI. In May, we signed [the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Principles on Artificial Intelligence], coming together with other Western democracies to say that these are values that we hold dear.

[Meanwhile,] we have adversaries around the world using AI to surveil people, to suppress human rights. That is why American leadership is so critical: We want to come out with the next great product. And we want our values to underpin the use cases.”

A member of the audience pushed further:

“Maintaining U.S. leadership in AI might have costs in terms of individuals and society. What costs should individuals and society bear to maintain leadership?”


“I don’t view the world that way. Our companies big and small do not hesitate to talk about the values that underpin their technology. [That is] markedly different from the way our adversaries think. The alternatives are so dire [that we] need to push efforts to bake the values that we hold dear into this technology.”

Facial recognition

And then the conversation turned to the use of AI for facial recognition, an application which (at least for police and other government agencies) was recently banned in San Francisco.


“Some private sector companies have called for government regulation of facial recognition, and there already are some instances of local governments regulating it. Do you expect federal regulation of facial recognition anytime soon? If not, what ought the parameters be?”


“A patchwork of regulation of technology is not beneficial for the country. We want to avoid that. Facial recognition has important roles—for example, finding lost or displaced children. There are use cases, but they need to be underpinned by values.”

A member of the audience followed up on that topic, referring to some data presented earlier at the HAI conference on bias in AI:

“Frequently the example of finding missing children is given as the example of why we should not restrict use of facial recognition. But we saw Joy Buolamwini’s  presentation on bias in data. I would like to hear your thoughts about how government thinks we should use facial recognition, knowing about this bias.”


“Fairness, accountability, and robustness are things we want to bake into any technology—not just facial recognition—as we build rules governing use cases.”

Immigration and innovation

A member of the audience brought up the issue of immigration:

“One major pillar of innovation is immigration, does your office advocate for it?”


“Our office pushes for best and brightest people from around the world to come to work here and study here. There are a few efforts we have made to move towards a more merit-based immigration system, without congressional action. [For example, in] the H1-B visa system, you go through two lotteries. We switched the order of them in order to get more people with advanced degrees through.”

The government’s tech infrastructure

Donahoe brought the conversation around to the tech infrastructure of the government itself:

 “We talk about the shiny object, AI, but the 80 percent is the unsexy stuff, at federal and state levels. We don’t have a modern digital infrastructure to enable all the services—like a research cloud. How do we create this digital infrastructure?”


“I couldn’t agree more; the least partisan issue in Washington is about modernizing IT infrastructure. We spend like $85 billion a year on IT at the federal level, we can certainly do a better job of using those dollars.”

Is it Time for Tech to Stop Moving Fast and Breaking Things?

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

On Monday, I attended the 2019 Fall Conference of Stanford’s Institute for Human Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). That same night I watched the Season 6 opener for the HBO TV show Silicon Valley. And the debates featured in both surrounded the responsibility of tech companies for the societal effects of the technologies they produce. The two events have jumbled together in my mind, perhaps because I was in a bit of a brain fog, thanks to the nasty combination of a head cold and the smoke that descended on Silicon Valley from the northern California wildfires. But perhaps that mixture turned out to be a good thing.

What is clear, in spite of the smoke, is that this issue is something a lot of people are talking about, inside and outside of Silicon Valley (witness the viral video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg).

So, to add to that conversation, here’s my HBO Silicon Valley/Stanford HAI conference mashup.

Silicon Valley’s fictional CEO Richard Hendriks, in the opening scene of the episode, tells Congress that Facebook, Google, and Amazon only care about exploiting personal data for profit. He states:

“These companies are kings, and they rule over kingdoms far larger than any nation in history.”

Meanwhile Marietje Schaake, former member of the European Parliament and a fellow at HAI, told the conference audience of 900:

“There is a lot of power in the hands of few actors—Facebook decides who is a news source, Microsoft will run the defense department’s cloud…. I believe we need a deeper debate about which tasks need to stay in the hands of the public.”

Eric Schmidt, former CEO and executive chairman of Google, agreed. He says: 

“It is important that we debate now the ethics of what we are doing, and the impact of the technology that we are building.”

 Stanford Associate Professor Ge Wang, also speaking at the HAI conference, pointed out:

“‘Doing no harm’ is a vital goal, and it is not easy. But it is different from a proactive goal, to ‘do good.’”

Had Silicon Valley’s Hendricks been there, he would have agreed. He said in the episode:

“Just because it’s successful, doesn’t mean it’s good. Hiroshima was a successful implementation.”

The speakers at the HAI conference discussed the implications of moving fast and breaking things, of putting untested and unregulated technology into the world now that we know that things like public trust and even democracy can be broken.

Google’s Schmidt told the HAI audience:

“I don’t think that everything that is possible should be put into the wild in society, we should answer the question, collectively, how much risk are we willing to take.

And Silicon Valley denizens real and fictional no longer think it’s OK to just say sorry afterwards. Says Schmidt:

“When you ask Facebook about various scandals, how can they still say ‘We are very sorry; we have a lot of learning to do.’ This kind of naiveté stands out of proportion to the power tech companies have. With great power should come great responsibility, or at least modesty.”

Schaake argued:

“We need more guarantees, institutions, and policies than stated good intentions. It’s about more than promises.”

Fictional CEO Hendricks thinks saying sorry is a cop-out as well. In the episode, a developer admits that his app collected user data in spite of Hendricks assuring Congress that his company doesn’t do that:

“You didn’t know at the time,” the developer says. “Don’t beat yourself up about it. But in the future, stop saying it. Or don’t; I don’t care. Maybe it will be like Google saying ‘Don’t be evil,’ or Facebook saying ‘I’m sorry, we’ll do better.’”

Hendricks doesn’t buy it:

“This stops now. I’m the boss, and this is over.”

(Well, he is fictional.)

How can government, the tech world, and the general public address this in a more comprehensive way? Out in the real world, the “what to do” discussion at Stanford HAI surrounded regulation—how much, what kind, and when.

Says the European Parliament’s Schaake:

“An often-heard argument is that government should refrain from regulating tech because [regulation] will stifle innovation. [That argument] implies that innovation is more important than democracy or the rule of law. Our problems don’t stem from over regulation, but under regulation of technologies.”

But when should that regulation happen. Stanford provost emeritus John Etchemendy, speaking from the audience at the HAI conference, said:

“I’ve been an advocate of not trying to regulate before you understand it. Like San Francisco banning of use of facial recognition is not a good example of regulation; there are uses of facial recognition that we should allow. We want regulations that are just right, that prevent the bad things and allow the good things. So we are going to get it wrong either way, if we regulate to soon or hold off, we will get some things wrong.”

Schaake would opt for regulating sooner rather than later. She says that she often hears the argument that it is too early to regulate artificial intelligence—as well as the argument that it is too late to regulate ad-based political advertising, or online privacy. Neither, to her, makes sense. She told the HAI attendees:

“We need more than guarantees than stated good intentions.”

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios would go with later rather than sooner. (And, yes, the country has a CTO. President Barack Obama created the position in 2009; Kratsios is the fourth to hold the office and the first under President Donald Trump. He was confirmed in August.) Also speaking at the HAI conference, Kratsios argued:

“I don’t think we should be running to regulate anything. We are a leader [in technology] not because we had great regulations, but we have taken a free market approach. We have done great in driving innovation in technologies that are born free, like the Internet. Technologies born in captivity, like autonomous vehicles, lag behind.”

In the fictional world of HBO’s Silicon Valley, startup founder Hendricks has a solution—a technical one of course:  the decentralized Internet. He tells Congress:

“The way we win is by creating a new, decentralized Internet, one where the behavior of companies like this will be impossible, forever. Where it is the users, not the kings, who have sovereign control over their data. I will help you build an Internet that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

(This is not a fictional concept, though it is a long way from wide use. Also called the decentralized Web, the concept takes the content on today’s Web and fragments it, and then replicates and scatters those fragments to hosts around the world, increasing privacy and reducing the ability of governments to restrict access.)

If neither regulation nor technology comes to make the world safe from the unforeseen effects of new technologies, there is one more hope, according to Schaake: the millennials and subsequent generations.

Tech companies can no longer pursue growth at all costs, not if they want to keep attracting the talent they need, says Schaake. She noted that, “the young generation looks at the environment, at homeless on the streets,” and they expect their companies to tackle those and other issues and make the world a better place.

Coming Soon: Augmented Reality Glasses for the Masses

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

A lot can change in seven years. Google Glassa wearable display with a camera and other tools that feed wearers information and allow them to capture photos and videos, began shipping to selected developers in 2013. It was released as a more open beta test in 2014. Then, in early 2015, Google withdrew the product. It has since reemerged, along with a variety of competitors, as a specialized product for use in industry—often for training or displaying diagrams or other information during specific tasks.

As a consumer product though, the technology stalled.

Until now, that is. Facebook last month confirmed that it’s building augmented reality (AR) glasses. Apple is rumored to be getting ready to release its own version of AR glasses next year.

But are AR glasses finally ready for prime time?

I asked Nandan Nayampally, vice president and general manager of ARM’s Immersive Experience Group, to consider whether the technology—and consumers—are ready for AR glasses. Here’s what he had to say.

Forget Moore’s Law—Chipmakers Are More Worried About Heat and Power Issues

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original

Power consumption and heat generation: these hurdles impede progress toward faster, cheaper chips, and are worrying semiconductor industry veterans far more than the slowing of Moore’s Law. That was the takeaway from several discussions about current and future chip technologies held in Silicon Valley this week.

John Hennessy—president emeritus of Stanford University, Google chairman, and MIPS Computer Systems founder—says Moore’s Law “was an ambition, a goal. It wasn’t a law; it was something to shoot for.”