Tag Archives: at-work/tech-careers

Larry Tesler, the Computer Scientist who Revolutionized the User Interface, Dies at 74

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/larry-tesler-the-computer-scientist-who-revolutionized-the-user-interface-dies-at-74

Larry Tesler, who died Sunday, February 16, at age 74, is the most famous computer scientist most people have never heard of—and one of the nicest guys I’ve worked with in my years as a tech journalist. I first met him when writing about the amazing things happening at Xerox Parc, when he told me that his groundbreaking work in user interface design started with his determination to prove that the computer mouse was a bad idea.

“I really didn’t believe in it,” he said. “I thought cursor keys were much better. We literally took people off the streets who had never seen a computer. In three or four minutes they were happily editing away using cursor keys. At that point I was going to show them the mouse and prove that they could select text faster than with the cursor keys. Then I was going to show that they didn’t like it.

“It backfired. I would have them spend an hour working with the cursor keys. Then I would teach them about the mouse. They would say, ‘That’s interesting but I don’t think I need it.’ Then they would play with it a bit, and after two minutes they never touched the cursor keys again.”

A researcher to the core, Tesler accepted the results of the experiment—but then set out to make the mouse, then a three-button device accompanied by a five-button keypad, better. He simplified the user interface—bringing us the click-and-drag movement to select text and graphics, along with cut, copy, and paste—and paved the way for the one-button mouse so many of us use today.

Tesler truly revolutionized the way we use computers. So today, when you cut, copy, or paste, take a moment to thank him.

I profiled Tesler, an IEEE member, in detail in 2005, while he was vice president of user experience and design at Yahoo, after he spent nearly two decades at Apple and a few years at Amazon developing that company’s shopping interface.

Here’s how I opened that story:

“Like Woody Allen’s 1983 movie character, Zelig, who appears at every significant historical event of his era, has had a hand in major events making computer history during the past 30 years. When the first document-formatting software was developed at Stanford University in 1971, Tesler was coding it. When a secretary first cut and pasted some text on a computer screen at Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973, Tesler was looking over her shoulder. When the first portable computer was turned on in an airport waiting area (and on an airplane), Tesler had his fingers on the keyboard. When Steve Jobs went to PARC in 1979 to see the legendary demo that is purported to have set the stage for a revolution in computing, Tesler had his hand on the mouse.

And when Apple Computer Inc.’s infamous Newton handheld computer failed spectacularly in the early 1990s, taking millions of dollars of investment and a few careers down with it, Tesler was there, too. Hey, nobody gets it right 100 percent of the time.”

You can read the rest of that profile here.

How to Avoid the Complacency Trap

Post Syndicated from Mark Pesce original https://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/tech-careers/how-to-avoid-the-complacency-trap

As I swam around the pool of blood, I said to myself, “There’s a lesson here.”

It hadn’t felt that way when my lecture agents first invited me out for a “talk.” Critiquing my skills as a public performer, they put it bluntly: “We’re getting top dollar for you. And we think you can do better.”


“You hide behind your iPad. Put it aside. Engage. Connect.”

That advice landed like a ton of bricks, compacting my ego just enough for me to hear the truth in their words. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and suddenly unqualified, tumbling from the top of the world to suffering impostor syndrome in less than a minute. I grew quiet, and my agents grew worried. I’d never truly learned how to take criticism without first feeling wounded. This time, with the breath knocked out of me, I chose to ignore the sting, setting my eyes on an opportunity: to be something more.

All of us walk a path throughout our lives. With a bit of luck, it leads to a comfortable destination, where we can make ourselves at home. Yet we need the occasional sleep on a bed of nails to remind us that we could benefit from some exercise. Movement keeps us trim, sharp, and healthy. Though we need rest, it should never be our goal.

Instead, take advantage of opportunities to walk with others, connecting and sharing and learning and teaching. For me, that means keeping pace with an enormous network of active and talented individuals from whom I can learn.

The day following that momentous meeting, a friend who also does public appearances recommended a class in improvisation. “It helped,” she said. Before hearing those words, I’d never thought of needing theater skills for my craft—but of course I do. I enrolled in an improvisation workshop that evening. The following weekend I found myself swimming across that imaginary pool of blood, riffing off an idea offered by an improv partner.

Feeling now as though I’ve been jolted out of a lazy sleep, I hunger for more—for new skills, challenges, and opportunities. How can I be a better storyteller? Should I learn mime so that my body can tell the story? Voice-over skills? How to smile and speak to the camera? It feels like the first day of school, and I love it. So much to learn, so much to become. The best part: It never ends.

Though there could be more method to our growth. How often do we take the opportunity to reflect on what we can do well, then imagine what we want to be able to do? Can we write it out, naming it with, “This is where I excel, and here I fall short”? Putting ourselves in a place where we recognize our incompleteness may be uncomfortable, but it leaves us better able to imagine ourselves headed outward on a trajectory, making course corrections, toward an evolving destination. On my trajectory, that means acquiring theater skills. On yours, it could mean mastering millimeter-wave antenna design, or lidar, or memristors, or…

No one knows where we’ll be in a year or a decade, but we have the power to decide for ourselves whether we’ll be standing still or moving forward. With so many opportunities to connect with and learn from friends and colleagues, we need never remain in place. And if we remember to offer what we ourselves have learned, others will walk alongside, keeping stride, learning from us.

This article appears in the March 2020 print issue as “The Complacency Trap.”

Go Language Tops List of In-Demand Software Skills

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/go-language-tops-list-of-indemand-software-skills

Engineers love Python, JavaScript, and Java. Employers, on the other hand, shine their light on Go.

That’s the takeaway of the Hottest Coding Languages section of job site Hired’s annual State of Software Engineers report. Engineers experienced with Go received an average of 9.2 interview requests, making it the most in-demand language. Worldwide, Go’s popularity among employers was followed by Scala and Ruby. That’s not great news for engineers, who ranked Ruby number one in least loved languages, followed by PHP and Objective-C.

There are regional differences in employer interest. In the San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto, Scala rules; in London, it’s TypeScript. A roundup of regional favorites, along with the worldwide rankings, is in the chart below.

(To compile its data, Hired reviewed 400,000 interview requests from 10,000 companies made to 98,000 job seekers throughout 2019.)

Time to Update the Software Engineer Stereotype

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/time-to-update-the-software-engineer-stereotype

According to a survey of 1600 software engineers conducted by job search site Hired as part of its annual State of Software Engineers report, a number of stereotypes about software engineers are just plain wrong.

First, they aren’t all rolling into the office around noon and coding late into the night. In fact, 66 percent of software engineers, according to Hired, are larks, not owls, preferring to get up early and finish work early rather than sleeping in and working late. If forced to choose, 53 percent would work from home every day, and 47 percent would come into an office every day, the Hired survey indicated. (But, at least in Silicon Valley, most don’t have to choose on a permanent basis, and mix and match depending on the project, the day, or the season.)

The increasingly healthy foods and beverages made available  by high tech companies appear to be luring engineers away from the coffee machine; according to the Hired survey 40 percent of software engineers drink just one cup of coffee a day, and only 2 percent ever drink Soylent—that would-be trend never did really catch on.

Finally, Hired asked engineers what kind of music they listen to through their ubiquitous noise-cancelling headphones. Electronic/dance beats came out on top, followed by rock and then classical.

Software Engineering Salaries Jump, Demand for AR/VR Expertise Skyrockets

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/software-engineering-salaries-jump-demand-for-arvr-expertise-skyrockets

It’s a good time to be an engineer specializing in augmented reality or virtual reality. That’s the conclusion of the latest report by job site Hired, which just released its annual state of software engineers report. To compile its data, Hired reviewed 400,000 interview requests from 10,000 companies made to 98,000 job seekers throughout 2019.

Demand for AR and VR engineers, in the form of job postings on Hired’s site, was 1400 percent higher in 2019 than in 2018. Salaries for engineers in these specialties climbed into the $135,000 to $150,000 range, at least in the largest U.S. tech hubs. Demand for gaming engineers and computer vision engineers is also on the upswing; both climbed 146 percent in 2019.

Meanwhile, demand for Blockchain expertise, a shooting star in 2018 with 517 percent greater demand than in the previous year, slowed dramatically, increasing only 9 percent.

What are these developers getting paid? Hired took a look at salaries in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Toronto, and London. Salaries climbed across the board, with London showing the most growth at 13 percent year over year, Toronto and New York following at 7 percent, and the already high San Francisco Bay Area salaries growing a not-too-shabby 6 percent. In spite of the growth in demand, AR/VR engineering salaries for most regions have yet to make it into the top ten among engineering specialties. But stay tuned for a change in the rankings next year.


California Is Still Top Spot for U.S. Tech Jobs

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/california-top-spot-tech-jobs

Where are all the U.S. tech jobs? California, of course, and the region shows no sign of losing its dominance, according to a study by job search firm Dice. Dice analyzed 6 million 2019 job postings in the United States in a database provided by Burning Glass Technologies, which aggregated data from employer sites, job boards, and staffing agencies.

While pundits regularly predict that California’s congestion and high cost of housing will drive new regions to take over as the next Silicon Valley, the Dice analysis indicated that California won’t be losing its crown anytime soon.

What’s the Hottest Job in Tech?

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/whats-the-hottest-job-in-tech

What’s the hottest job in tech? It depends on how you look at it. If you count job openings, the most in-demand tech professional is the software developer, according to tech recruiting firm Dice. If you’re aiming for the fastest-growing tech role, point your arrow at data engineer, the firm’s research shows. And if you’re zooming in on specific tech skills, SQL is most in demand while Kubernetes is fastest growing.

Most IBM Employees Happy About CEO Change, Blind Survey Says

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/most-ibm-employees-happy-about-ceo-change-blind-survey-says

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will leave the post in April, the company announced last week. Rometty will be replaced by Arvind Krishna, a senior vice president who runs the company’s cloud computing business. Krishna’s technical chops seem sure to excite the company’s engineers. Krishna, with bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering, joined IBM in 1990 and spent years in the company’s technical ranks before moving into management, co-authoring 15 patents along the way. Most recently, he led IBMs efforts in artificial intelligence and quantum computing as well as cloud. Rometty, who holds a bachelor’s in computer science and electrical engineering, joined IBM as a systems analyst in 1981, before moving into sales and marketing posts about a decade later.

Former employees, posting in the Facebook group “Watching IBM,” didn’t mince words about their joy in Rometty’s departure. Their reaction is not surprising, given that she ran the Big Blue as it laid off wave after wave of engineers—including many who had spent most of their careers at the company.

But what do current employees think?

Blind, the company that provides anonymous social networks for employees within specific workplaces, surveyed its current pool of 4100 verified IBM employees to find out. Of the 105 who responded, the vast majority—66.7 percent—think that Krishna will have a positive impact as the new CEO of IBM. Only 5.7 percent of respondents predicted a negative impact, while 27.6 percent remained neutral.

One respondent to the Blind survey said, “I believe Arvind Krishna will be a net positive, and will focus on making IBM about tech again rather than marketing hype.

By contrast, only 28.6 percent of the respondents indicated that Rometty had a positive impact during her tenure as CEO, with 71.4 percent indicating that was not the case. Of Rometty, another survey respondent said, “She thrived in the ‘tardy, bureaucratic mess’ so couldn’t see why it was killing the company’s future.

And, though Rometty was the first woman to head the company, a move celebrated as a crack in the glass ceiling, 96.2 percent of respondents to Blind’s survey do not believe her departure will negatively impact diversity and inclusion efforts at the company.

The Ethics of Dissent in the Workplace

Post Syndicated from G. Pascal Zachary original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/tech-careers/ethics-engineers-dissent-workplace

THE ENGINEER’S PLACEA few years ago, while teaching an undergraduate class on the history of nuclear weapons, an electrical engineering student of mine made an unexpected decision. Having learned in class about the costs and benefits of the role of engineers in the creation of nuclear weapons, the student decided to avoid altogether work on classified military technologies. 

There was only one problem with my student’s decision. Lockheed Martin, the large military contractor, had already hired him. Expecting him to graduate in a couple of months, the company assigned him to work on new “classified” routers for computer networks. The devices essentially allowed the system to spy on data traffic. As a final step before starting his job, my student was supposed to undergo a security investigation. Only days before interviews began with his family and friends, my student told the company to cancel the inquiry.  

Then he chose to look elsewhere for work and on graduation he found a job he says will bring his work as an EE in closer alignment with his personal values.

My student’s journey isn’t unusual. For complex reasons, more EEs are shunning jobs that don’t square with their values, or are openly prodding their employers to adopt practices more in line with their preferences. 

One cause of the new restiveness among EEs is generational. Some younger engineers, especially in computing fields, explicitly follow a dictum made popular by Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin. They once bluntly declared, “Don’t Be Evil” and incorporated the slogan into Google’s corporate code (in 2018 the company dropped the language from the preface to its code of conduct but the wording remains in the document). 

The strong market for engineers also creates more room for dissent, since for many getting another job is relatively easy. Besides, some younger engineers fear becoming trapped in what amounts to a secret career, losing job mobility and earning power.

Another factor: engineering curriculums at universities, including my own at Arizona State University, put more emphasis on ethics, values and “sustainable” practices than in the past. 

As a result of these forces, more EEs are breaking with the field’s traditional allegiance to management by dissenting to their bosses internally or, more dramatically, publicly airing “honest disagreements” with management.

In June 2018, Microsoft employees critical of a contract between the company and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wrote to Satya Nadella, the company’s chief, accusing him and other Microsoft executives of “abdicating” ethical responsibility. In October, of this year, employees of Microsoft’s GitHub unit lodged the same protests over a GitHub contract with ICE. 

Last year Google employees revolted over the company’s plans to design a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese market codenamed “Project Dragonfly.” Reportedly more than a thousand Google employees signed a public letter of complaint, and the company dropped the project. 

Not all dissenters are liberals. In 2017, a Google software engineer named James Damore stirred controversy by internally circulating a memo complaining that “an ideological echo chamber” prevented “some ideas” about diversity from being “honestly discussed.” Among those, Damore insisted, was the possibility that the low number of women in technical positions at Google was the result biological differences and not gender stereotyping. When Damore’s memo went public (and viral), Google fired him. 

No matter the source or political complexion, some rebel engineers choose to move on. While working at Google, Tristan Harris claimed the company purposely designed systems that promote digital addictions, or intense cravings to remain online. In 2013, he shared with coworkers a presentation entitled, “A Call to Minimize Distraction & Respect Users’ Attention.” Harris suggested that Google, Apple and Facebook should “feel an enormous responsibility” to make sure humanity doesn’t spend its days immersed in digital experiences. Tens of thousands of Google employees reportedly viewed the presentation, and debated internally the company’s responsibilities towards society. 

Harris no longer works at Google and now, as the director of an advocacy group named Center for Humane Technology, actively campaigns against the power of “big tech” to colonize the minds of its users. 

Dissent doesn’t only occur within the ranks of “big tech” companies. Earlier this year, an engineer at Boeing, Curtis Ewbank, filed a formal “whistleblower” complaint against his employer. In the complaint, according to the Seattle Times newspaper, Ewbank claims that Boeing blocked safety improvements in the company’s now-grounded 737 Max airplane in order to reduce costs. The 737 Max has crashed twice in recent years, killing hundreds. Promised fixes to the airplane haven’t yet come, and in October Boeing stripped its chief executive of his chairman title over the continuing controversy. 

The dissenting impulse among EEs is closely tied to attitudes towards professionalization. Engineers are sometimes caught between twin ideals—between the independence and self-governance afforded, say, physicians and lawyers, and the view advanced by many corporate employers that engineers are employees who must follower orders, so that those who resist management dictates are guilty of insubordination and disloyalty. 

The tension between independence and obligations to employers has shaped the rise of engineering as a profession.  In a path breaking study first published in 1971, Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Professionhistorian Edwin Layton recounted of the political activities of engineers in the 1920s and 1930s. In a preface to the book in 1986, Layton expressed the hope that engineers can ultimately become a “loyal opposition” within American business, neither uncritically following management nor instinctively dismissive of the justifiable demands of large corporate employers. 

Describing his vision of an engineering field poised between autonomy and obligation, Layton wrote, “We need social mechanisms that will enable engineers to function as a ‘loyal opposition.’ Any such measures must recognize not only the right and duty of all citizens to defend the public interest but also the legitimate loyalties necessary to the functioning of our complex modern society. This will involve distinguishing between legitimate action in the public interest and the betrayal of the truth of colleagues and employers.”

Dissent is a matter of personal choice, of course, but choosing when to speak out, how and why, need not happen in isolation. Professional organizations often have their own codes of ethics for “professional activities.” This includes IEEE, which is currently accepting comments on proposed changes to its code of ethics until 10 April 2020.

Codes of ethics are viewed by some cynics as irrelevant, a kind of wishy “boilerplate” that many practitioners ignore. That’s an unfortunate reputation because, broadly viewed across medicine, law, finance and other professions, these codes tend to promote some common practices.

First, ethical approaches should allow for honest criticism of a professional’s work. Professionals should also acknowledge and correct errors. Codes also tend to encourage reflection on the societal implications of a professional’s actions. Finally, professionals should be protected, if not supported, when they publicly complain about unaddressed problems that may cause widespread harm.

While disclosure sounds straight-forward and logical, what to disclose, when and to whom sometimes sparks bitter debates. Like many ethical and professional challenges, unbending rules often don’t work well in the “real” world. Flexibility, however, can easily spawn inconsistencies that then raise doubts about the fairness of rules designed to address these challenges. The only certainty in the new age of engineering dissent: more complicated challenges are likely to arise.

Circumstances and situations bear heavily on choices no matter how technically-objective or logically clear they may seem to be at first. In the end, a sensible engineer ought to seek to balance the needs of his or her primary organization (whether a formal employers or a shorter-term contractor) with the dictates of personal conscience, values and preferences. 

Easier said than done!

Do You Work in Tech? Seattle May Be the Best City for You

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/tech-jobs-career-best-us-city-seattle-boston-austin

Where is the best place for tech professionals in the United States? Personal finance website provider WalletHub tried to answer that question by looking at the 100 largest metro areas. By its analysis, Seattle, Boston, and Austin came out on top, while Florida metros dominated the bottom 10.

That’s very different from Indeed’s recent study of smaller tech hotspots, which put Huntsville, Ala., at the top, and from SpareFoot’s rankings that gave top honors to San Antonio, Texas. That’s because the WalletHub analysis merged an extremely broad range of factors. The data crunched included the usual variables—like share of job postings in tech, STEM employment growth, and annual median tech wages—but added not so common factors, including number of tech meetups per capita, family friendliness, singles-friendliness, invention patents per capita, quality of engineering universities, and R&D spending.

It grouped these factors into three categories: opportunities, STEM-friendliness, and quality of life, and ranked each metro in each category.

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

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/tech-professions-dominate-rankings-of-best-jobs-in-the-us

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.

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

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/machine-learning-engineers-win-silicon-valleys-salary-race-but-top-salaries-drop-since-last-year

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

Arizona Man Sues State Agency Over Right to Call Himself an Engineer

Post Syndicated from Michelle V. Rafter original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/tech-careers/arizona-engineer-licensing-lawsuit

An Arizona man is suing the state’s technical registration board to protest being fined for working without an engineering license, which he maintains he doesn’t need because it doesn’t pertain to the type of work he performs.

It’s the latest case pitting engineers against state licensing agencies that by some accounts have become more aggressive in attempting to regulate who can call themselves an engineer, even as the use of that term becomes more widespread. Meanwhile, licensing proponents maintain it’s necessary for the public interest and point out that Arizona statutes have clear definitions of what an engineer is.

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

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/what-skills-do-you-need-to-work-in-data-science

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.]

What Are Your Options for Cognitive Enhancement?

Post Syndicated from G. Pascal Zachary original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/tech-careers/what-are-your-options-for-cognitive-enhancement

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

THE ENGINEER’S PLACE Steve Jobs took LSD 10 to 15 times and said that taking the drug was one of “two or three” most important things he ever did.

The late cofounder of Apple was an American original. Whatever singular qualities he possessed as a digital savant can’t be explained by his choice of recreational drugs. However, a new generation of engineers and software coders, centered in Silicon Valley but not limited to the world’s premier innovation hub, are now imitating Jobs in a rather dramatic way. They are routinely dropping “microdoses” of acid—about one-tenth the amount of the standard recreational dose—in order to achieve higher levels of creativity on the job, and greater intensity and focus.

Should you be doing the same?

Excuse me for posing such a personal question, but in the years ahead the question of whether you microdose may arise during a job interview or a coffee break with co-workers.

In Silicon Valley and other enclaves of leading-edge technology, the phrase “woke and wired” is coming to describe a certain openness by technologists to using pills and processors.

While the “pill” paradigm fits neatly into modern concepts of how to achieve wellness through supplements, the processor approach raises concerns, especially when it comes to implanting devices in the brain. Obvious risks notwithstanding, trailblazers believe they can enhance cognition using a brain-computer interface (BCI) to make real-world connections more quickly and durably.

It’s a compelling yet controversial vision, one that differs radically from mind-expansion through smart phones and Internet searches. Part of the appeal of implants comes from the passionate interest of serial entrepreneur Elon Musk. He founded Neuralink, in San Francisco, to pursue his dream of using BCIs to control digital devices and connect your thoughts to the Internet.

For some cognitive enhancement enthusiasts, the combination of drugs and chips is a bio-digital marriage made in heaven. They surmise that in the future, engineers may have to pursue parallel paths—microdosing and digital implants—to achieve heightened consciousness and levels of creativity and productivity that translate into more rewards and promotions as well as better designs, devices and services.

My personal position on the pill versus processor, or both, is old-fashioned. For the individual engineer and coder, consider an alternative: try systematically to squeeze more value from mental discipline.

In my view, the best methods to heighten creativity and increase your “out of the box” thinking are traditional, analog, and noninvasive. These methods can be found in John Dewey’s classic “How to Think” primer, first published in 1910 or even earlier from Rene’ Descartes’s Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Science. In 1637, Descartes famously wrote, Cogito Ergo Sum (“I think, therefore I am”), laying the foundation for centuries cognitive enhancement through varieties of mental discipline.

The advice from Dewey, an American philosopher, also boils down to imposing various rules and routines on your own consciousness. The practice harkens back to Socrates and the memory exercises of medieval monks and includes ancient Asian techniques of meditation and control of mind-over-body. Learning the tools of deductive logic, statistical analysis and scenario planning could also qualify as humble traditional forms that are proven cognitive enhancers.

The perspective I’m advancing calls for first exhausting “analog” means to achieve mind-expansion before pursuing either pills or processors or both in combination.

While I can be fairly accused of being stuck in the past, my objections to microdosing or neural implants are not moralistic, but empirically-based and in tune with how humans study and evaluate risks from emerging technologies.

There are simply too many uncertainties with bio-pharmacological means to expanded consciousness. The costs are too great or entirely unknown. Digital means, especially those which require invasive surgery, such as electronic implants and anything supplying electric charges strike me as equally risky. And I take seriously a point advanced by Martha Farah, a cognitive neuroscience researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, that highly individualized reactions to a range of cognitive interventions could make more difficult, even impossible, rational assessment of relative risks and rewards.

In short, engineers who pursue heightened consciousness by any means available may find themselves trading short-term gain for long-term pain.

Science fiction, of course, is the master teacher of the perils of following new technologies wherever they lead. The drug soma, of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, made people happy whether or not they wanted to be. Because humans are entitled to their emotions and feelings, employers instead emphasize performance on tasks that comprise a job. If you do your job well, while miserable or supremely happy, who cares?

Performance metrics, however, seem like fair game to employers. If they find an enhancer that endows their workers with an advantage, can’t they mandate its use, provided the enhancer is lawful?

I think we are the verge of entering this brave new world of work, where enhancers are essentially mandatory. And not only in polities where individual rights are weak or non-existent. The potential benefits are too great to ignore. Engineers of the future, I humbly submit, will face wicked choices over whether to bio-digitally enhance at work or not.

To highlight the challenge, here’s a simple thought-experiment: You and I work as product architects for Corporation-of-Tomorrow. Our managers announce that everyone on our team will begin taking a daily pill to increase our concentration. The pill is legal, has no apparent side effects, and costs nothing to employees. Corporation-of-Tomorrow even declares that taking pill is voluntary. You can opt out. But the company also makes clear that the stakes are high: their products, on which lives depend, must be highly reliable, as perfect as humans can make them, and the daily pill is now viewed by management as an obligation, part of the company’s commitment to excellence and the public good.

Persuaded, you decide to take the pill daily (and be observed doing so by your smart phone). I say no. After six months, your work steadily improves. Mine does not.

I am fired.

The potential for employer-mandated enhancers should force us to reflect deeply about the importance of work, the relative value of enhancers, and illusion of choice. How might engineers respond in ways other than individually?

Collective responses would seem appealing. Engineers might band together and ask their employers to craft better policies. Or they might appeal to government to limit the power of employers to cajole, pressure or compel an employee to use bio-chemical or digital means to perform better on the job. Government could then create rules of the road for cognitive-enhancers on the job.

I figure that most engineers will reject collectivism and be comfortable with a libertarian framing. Confident individuals, educated and experienced in making design trade-offs, they will choose to engineer their own accommodation with enhancement. They will do what they wish and accept the consequences. And that means allowing individuals to opt out without fear or favor.

Some engineers, because they are clever, will divine effective “analog” means of cognitive enhancement. Praise their enterprise but admit there’s a disturbing possibility that invites comparisons to the present controversies over vaccination: that the government, or your employer, may be right and that legislators do know what’s best for your cognitive health. Won’t resisters merely drag down the group, and endanger the rest of us?

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

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/whos-hiring-engineers-tsmc-oracle-ikea-whos-firing-hp-wework-symantec

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 https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/sql-java-top-list-of-most-indemand-tech-skills

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

Why Small Business Owners Should Consider Life Insurance

Post Syndicated from Mercer original https://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/tech-careers/why-small-business-owners-should-consider-life-insurance

As a small business owner, there are many important decisions you’ll have to make—from billing/accounting to marketing to choosing the right types of insurance to protect your business.

Most small business owners realize they need basic business insurance, including general liability and property damage coverage. Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t often think about obtaining life insurance to protect their business.

That’s because life insurance is typically thought of as just financial protection for your family. But it can protect more!

What if you were to die unexpectedly? What would happen to the business you’ve worked hard to achieve? Would you want your loved ones to keep your business running or “close” its doors? How will your loved ones pay off any business debt you owe?

Life insurance for a small business owner can provide funds to keep your business doors “open” and pay off any business loans or debt you’ve accumulated. In addition, funds from life insurance coverage can help pay the rent and other office expenses. It can also be used to fund a salary to hire someone to help takeover the everyday operations of your business.

Benefits of Life Insurance

If you have a family and are the sole owner of your business (or have just one partner), life insurance may be all you need. It can be used to cover both your family and your business.

Since you can name your beneficiaries, you can list a spouse, other loved ones and/or a business partner. By doing so, your spouse and other loved ones could receive proceeds you designated to help replace your income and all you do for your family, while your business partner could also receive a portion of your proceeds to keep the business running and pay off any debt.

Level Term Life Insurance is a popular choice for small business owners for two main reasons:

  • It makes it easy to protect your family and business with one benefit amount that remains the same for the duration of your coverage.
  • It features fixed rates that won’t change for the life of your coverage. Rates won’t increase or decrease—making it easy to fit within your family and business budgets.

IEEE Offers an Affordable Option

As an IEEE member, you have access to a variety of insurance benefits designed to protect you, your family and your business, including the IEEE Member Group 10-Year Level Term Life Insurance Plan. It features high amounts of coverage and fixed rates to help protect both your family and business. For more details, visit www.IEEEinsurance.com.

Visit www.ieeeinsurance.com  for more material.

This information is provided by the IEEE Member Group Member Insurance Program Administrator, Mercer Health & Benefits Administration, LLC, in partnership with IEEE to provide IEEE Members with important insurance, health and lifestyle information.

*Including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, limitations, and exclusions.

The IEEE Member Group Term Life Insurance Plan is available in the U.S. (except territories), Puerto Rico and Canada (except Quebec). This plan is underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010 on Policy Form GMR

The IEEE Member Group Insurance Program is administered by:

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The Blockchain Job Boom Continues

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/the-blockchain-job-boom-continues

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.

Are Engineers Who Specialize More Successful?

Post Syndicated from Robert W. Lucky original https://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/tech-careers/are-engineers-who-specialize-more-successful

I was walking my dog one morning when I saw a man setting up a surveyor’s laser transit. I stopped to ask him about it, and the man launched into a long explanation, beginning with “I’m an engineer, so I know about these things.”

I didn’t mention that long ago as a college freshman I was required to take a course in surveying. This, as well as drafting, welding, and other forgotten subjects, were deemed to be things that a well-rounded engineer should know. I wasn’t very good at some of them, and I despaired at becoming what I thought of as a “real” engineer.

In later years, I got to know some people who I believed were “real engineers.” They knew things. Lots of things, and across a broad swath of technology. And more than just knowing things, they had an instinctive ability to work with or fix anything mechanical or electronic. Often they were, or had been, radio amateurs.

I think of Thomas Edison as the epitome of a real engineer, but I’m not sure that such people still exist today. My test for being a real engineer is how well you would do as Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. How much electrical technology could you create yourself if you were transported back in time to the Middle Ages? Would your electrical magic make Merlin jealous, or would all this end badly?

I held these generalist engineers in the highest esteem. They were usually the people I would call when some problem arose. But now I am wondering—how successful were they in their overall careers? I was prompted to consider this by reading Thomas Epstein’s recent popular book Range—Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (Riverhead Books). My immediate reaction to the title was skepticism. Is it true in electrical engineering today that generalists are more likely to succeed than are specialists?

It seems to me that almost all the IEEE major awards go to specialists. IEEE Fellows and members of the National Academy of Engineering get elected because of specialties. Most of the important innovations in our field have been made by specialists. Many of the engineers who have started important tech companies have done so in the field of their specialty. Of course, some of these famous engineers could be real engineers, but their success and fame was initially due to their mastery of a specialty.

Epstein’s book is more nuanced than its title would imply. It does say, sometimes grudgingly, that specialists are nice to have, but their weakness is in having a narrow view. They are often most useful as adjuncts to the generalists. But perhaps in engineering it’s the other way around—it is generalists who are nice to have, but it is specialists who triumph. Yes, we need and respect real engineers, but the pathway to success seems to lead through specialization. Our world is too complex. The most successful among us begin as specialists. Some of the best then become generalists later, showing innate skills in management, interpersonal skills, communications, and business.

It’s an academic argument, literally. Should the education system focus on producing “real engineers,” or has our field become so splintered and complex that early specialization is a necessary step to an employable skill?

This article appears in the November 2019 print issue as “Are Specialist Engineers More Successful?”