Tag Archives: at-work/tech-careers

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:

Mercer Health & Benefits Administration LLC, 12421 Meredith Drive, Urbandale, IA 50398

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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?”

U.S. Job Market for Autonomous Vehicle Engineers Flattens, But Job-Seekers Still Have the Edge

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/us-autonomous-vehicle-engineering-job-market-flattens-slightly-but-jobseekers-still-have-the-edge

The availability of U.S. jobs for developers, engineers, and other tech professionals with autonomous vehicle expertise grew 833 percent in the past four years, according to job search site Indeed. The boom in job openings in the robo-car industry far outpaced the growth in the number of searches for such jobs, which climbed 450 percent during the same period. Indeed considered autonomous vehicle tech job postings as a share of all job postings in calculating these numbers. And in spite of a 19 percent dip in that share of job postings over the past year, it’s still a good time to be looking for a job involving autonomous vehicle technology.

Brexit Threatens a Steep Loss of Jobs for U.K.-Based Tech Companies

Post Syndicated from Dexter Johnson original https://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/tech-careers/brexit-threatens-a-steep-loss-of-jobs-for-ukbased-tech-companies

As of press time, the United Kingdom was scheduled to leave the European Union on 31 October. However, there has been chaos in the British parliament, and it is still uncertain if the U.K. will exit on that date, or if it does, on what terms. One thing that has become clear is that Brexit will inflict significant hardship on small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

As we reported in our September 2019 article on the flow of tech workers from the U.K. to Ireland, large multinationals have the capital to move operations in order to mitigate disruptions. For SMEs, the kind of measures that can be taken in the wake of Brexit are far more limited.

“All the stories about Brexit in the Financial Times have been about big multinational companies,” says Ross Brown, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, and coauthor of a paper on the potential impact of Brexit on SMEs. Brown says that small companies are unable to implement the kind of contingency plans that larger companies developed to deal with the chronic uncertainty of the Brexit process: “There have been a number of detrimental impacts on U.K. SMEs, and I think that’s been the hidden aspect of Brexit.”

If you go by the numbers, the impact of Brexit on SMEs should not be so hidden. Currently, SMEs make up over 99 percent of all U.K. companies, according to Brown. (In the U.K., a company having 250 employees or fewer is considered an SME. For comparison, in the United States the threshold is 500 employees.)

There are about 5.7 million SMEs in the U.K., according to Brown, and together they constitute about 60 percent of all private-sector employment. Brown estimates that 14 percent of these 5.7 million SMEs are high-tech engineering companies, meaning approximately 800,000 affected SMEs in the U.K. are in high tech.

Brown’s research indicates that two-thirds of SMEs have already reduced their capital investment. Capital investment is the lifeblood of a business, he points out. “Unless companies are investing, they’re not able to grow, they’re not able to create new products, and they might become less competitive in the marketplace,” he says. “If that’s happening across the board, it’s not going to be small beer.”

Estimates on the number of Brexit-related job losses are problematic, according to Brown. However, he remains certain that the short-term impact (the next five years) will be significant, possibly translating into a loss of around 20 percent of jobs for SMEs in the United Kingdom.

While SMEs can’t match the preparations of multinationals, there are efforts to take some advance measures, according to Brown. “Some capable and innovative companies might have set up offices in other European Union countries so they can continue accessing the single market without potentially having too much disruption,” he says.

Unfortunately, these measures are not available for all SMEs. And companies that are highly R&D focused may suffer the worst: One of the key points of concern for R&D-based companies is the potential difficulty in employing EU citizens.

This is a great fear, especially for companies in a sector like video games that is heavily reliant on Eastern European employees. “For a big company to open up a plant in Eastern Europe is fine, but for a small company of maybe 10 people to open another overseas office is really quite a major undertaking,” says Brown, who believes that many such small companies may downsize rather than take on this kind of additional risk.

This article appears in the October 2019 print issue as “Brexit Threatens British Tech Jobs.”

Which Tech Leaders do Tech Professionals Admire? Elon Musk Heads the List

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/which-tech-leaders-do-tech-professionals-admire-elon-musk-heads-the-list

In a recent survey of 3,600 tech professionals—including software developers, data scientists, and project managers—job search firm Hired asked respondents to select a “most inspiring” leader in tech.

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla and SpaceX and founder of the Boring Company and Neuralink, came out on top. And while Musk has made missteps, there’s no doubt that his big ambitions for tech’s future serve to inspire.

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO with a reputation as a harsh boss, took the number two spot; Microsoft’s Satya Nadella came in third place; and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg placed fourth. Jack Ma, who just stepped down as chairman of Alibaba, was the only non-U.S. leader to make the top ten.

Four women ranked among the most inspiring leaders in Hired’s rankings: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (who recently founded AI start-up incubator Lumi Labs), and sisters Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube) and Ann Wojcicki (founder and CEO of 23andMe).

In Their Dreams: Where Tech Professionals Long to Work

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/in-their-dreams-where-tech-professionals-long-to-work

It’s the salary. And the location. And the mission. And the reputation. It’s a combination of these things—as well as, let’s face it, the coolness factor—that make a tech company a dream employer for a software engineer, product manager, data scientist, or other tech professional.

Job search firm Hired surveyed 3,600 tech professionals to come up with a list of top employers. They did this by creating a positivity index—a number based on a mix of survey respondents who either would “love to work” or “might like to work” at a particular company. Hired also asked respondents what factors played into their choices.

Some of the usual suspects—Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft—made the top 15. But others, particularly on the list of privately held tech companies—were a bit of a surprise. I didn’t realize engineers dreamed of working at Virgin Hyperloop One or Instacart; and stock-trading app Robinhood hadn’t even been on my radar until it ranked seventh on LinkedIn’s list of hottest startups released earlier this month.  Overall, the top 15 public companies pulled higher positivity indexes than all of the private ones except Airbnb, SpaceX, and Hulu—perhaps simply because they are better known.

Silicon Valley companies dominated Hired’s dream employer rankings—of the top 30 (15 public, 15 private) companies that Hired identified, 19 call the San Francisco Bay Area home. With another five based in Los Angeles and two in Seattle, that left only four tech dream companies with roots beyond the west coast of the U.S.: three in New York and one in Austin, Texas. And in spite of this being a global survey, no non-U.S. company made the top rankings.

Companies Most Loved by Tech Professionals (Private)

RankCompanyLocationPositivity Index*
1AirbnbSan Francisco Bay Area76
2SpaceXLos Angeles Area70
3HuluLos Angeles Area66
4RedditSan Francisco Bay Area59
5KickstarterNew York City55
6WeWorkNew York City54
8RobinhoodSan Francisco Bay Area50
9StripeSan Francisco Bay Area48
10SquarespaceNew York City47
11Virgin Hyperloop OneLos Angeles Area46
12QuoraSan Francisco Bay Area45
13JPLLos Angeles Area44
14InstacartSan Francisco Bay Area40
15CoinbaseSan Francisco Bay Area40

*based on number of respondents interested in working for a company

Source: Hired

Companies Most Loved by Tech Professionals (Public)

RankCompanyLocationPositivity Index*
1GoogleSan Francisco Bay Area87
2NetflixSan Francisco Bay Area82
3AppleSan Francisco Bay Area77
4Linked InSan Francisco Bay Area76
5MicrosoftSeattle Area75
6SlackSan Francisco Bay Area72
8GitHubSan Francisco Bay Area70
9DropboxSan Francisco Bay Area68
10TeslaSan Francisco Bay Area67
11AdobeSan Francisco Bay Area65
12LyftSan Francisco Bay Area63
13FacebookSan Francisco Bay Area63
14The Walt Disney Co.Los Angeles Area62
15TwitterSan Francisco Bay Area60

*based on number of respondents interested in working for a company

Source: Hired

How Expat Engineers Can Make a Difference Back Home

Post Syndicated from G. Pascal Zachary original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/tech-careers/the-engineers-place-expat-engineers

THE ENGINEER’S PLACEThe world is connected. For many of us, the concept of global citizenship is hardwired into our daily lives. Many engineers have migrated from their home countries to other lands, sometimes temporarily to attend university, and then to work for a few years, sometimes forever.

Estimates of engineers in the United States say one in five, or even one in four, are non-natives. While sub-fields vary, the percentage of foreign-born engineers in the U.S. has risen this century. A study by the National Science Foundation in 1999, found 17 percent of US working engineers were non-native born (compared to 10% of all workers in the U.S. 25 and older). Today, at least 20 percent are non-natives.

For these engineers, keeping a connection to the folks back home is soul-nourishing. And they aren’t alone. Across the globe, electrical and electronics engineers are on the move, with significant numbers educated in Asia and Latin America working now in Europe and the Middle East. The high rate of mobility likely makes electrical engineering on of the most globalized professions on the planet.

My insights about expat engineers are drawn from close observations of diverse technical communities over the course of the 25 years: from 50 visits to sub-Saharan Africa; two dozen to Southeast Asia, including four to Borneo’s digital-enclave in Kuching; a half-dozen visits to the former Soviet republics of Estonia and Moldova; and single lengthy visits to South Korea and Peru. In all of these places, mastering digital and electrical technologies remains central to improving living standards and deepening global connections.

How to sustain connections is personal, and often defined by the needs of family members who stayed behind. Engineers on the move, however, find effective ways to help their home places while in faraway places.

Doing so is tricky. A lot can go wrong, even when an engineer has the best intentions. What follows are some tips on how expat engineers can sustain meaningful, gratifying and pragmatic connections with their countries of origin.

To get started, ponder basic choices. Do you wish to give money, advise distant projects, train technical people in far-flung places or visit yourself and act? These four categories of connection offer different levels of commitment, cost, risk and reward.

Giving money, in the form of donations to a worthy organization or direct cash transfers to a family member, is simple, easy and popular. If you choose this path, you can heighten your engagement by earmarking funds for specific work and by linking future donations achievement of concrete goals. For my wife, who was born and raised in Nigeria, physical evidence of success is always welcome. When she gave money recently to relatives to build a new well, she received videos via the WhatsApp of water gushing out of the ground.

More robust assistance can come from working with existing organizations. One of the most imaginative and flexible at the start of this century was Geekcorps, co-founded by Ethan Zuckerman, now a professor in MIT’s Media Lab. The non-profit paired visiting engineers from North America with counterparts in African cities around digital projects, many based on fast-changing mobile technologies. Geekcorps is today a unit of DC-based International Executive Service Corps.

Plugging into an organization of do-gooders can be difficult for those steeped in corporate values. Many of the engineering projects mounted by non-profits can appear as make-work, designed more to give training and experience to local technologists than to actually build a working system. At times visiting engineers find they are doing all or most of the heavy lifting on the ground, and even need to arrive with their own tools and resources. Once the visiting engineer departs, projects may fall into disuse because maintenance issues are neglected or prove daunting. Even worse, locals can end up fighting for control or profit from the systems designed and built by outsiders. That’s not an outcome any visiting engineer wants.

Multinational corporations offer prime opportunities, but these are more difficult to obtain. Google, for instance, has offered assignments its own African-born engineers in California to work on vital projects in African cities, such as street mapping, health information and text-message gateways to the Web. Intel has done the same in Israel, China for employees born in those countries

Volunteering is another option, and suitable for those who want to help during a leave of absence from their job or over vacation time. Engineers Without Borders, for instance, offers to place volunteers on projects that “empower communities to meet their basic needs.” IEEE’s Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology outfits rickshaws in Bangladesh with solar energy and builds bridges and applies appropriate technologies to isolated communities in Nicaragua, for instance. People with high attainment can also compete for consulting gigs from such agencies as The World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with whom I consulted from 2007 to 2009.

To be sure, fitting into an existing agenda means giving up some freedom, and perhaps surrendering your own dream for how to best the help the folks at home. Two paths are open in this case. You can start your own organization, or you can partner with a trusted existing organizations.

One impressive example of the former: a Microsoft employee from Ghana, Patrick Awuah, chose to launch and run a private university, Ashesi, in Accra, his country’s capital. Ashesi puts engineering and technology at the center of its undergraduate experience. Awuah, who now devotes full-time to running Ashesi, has been widely recognized and won a McArthur “genius” award in 2015.

More realistic is to identify a reliable and prominent engineer back home who can serve as leader or focal point for a substantial effort. Along with one of the pioneers of cloud computing in the U.S., I’m advising a professor of computer scientist at Kampala’s Makarere University. He happens to be named Engineer Bainomugisha, and with some technical and organizational help, he is designing what could be among the first “clouds” built and run in the sub-Saharan. Because the cloud pioneer and I have each met Bainomugisha over several years, both Uganda and (once) in Seattle, communication is good and integrity is high. Credit face-to-face for this sunny situation.

Purely online relations often don’t provide a strong foundation for partnerships, so global alliances built on personal relationships require time, and travel. The personal approach, while offering greater rewards, presents greater risks as well. Differences in time zones are a nuisance and gaps in resources can fuel resentments and misunderstandings even in well-meaning collaborators back home. Managing expectations of how much you can assist is also challenging.

The same advice might apply to engineers moving within a country because of the vast divide between rural and urban. Professor Bainomugisha, for instance, struggles to help his home village, far from the thriving city of Kampala, because the gap in mentality and material life between the two places is roughly as large as that between Kampala and Seattle.

The high degree of difficulty in giving back, from developed to developing world, will bedevil the community of electrical engineering for many years to come. Frankly, this specter is a positive, highlighting the centrality of electricity, electronics and engineering. Because so many foreign-born engineers in Europe and the U.S. are in their working prime, the intensity of efforts to assist across borders should only grow. And looking ahead 10 to 20 years, waves of EEs of diverse backgrounds and allegiances raises the likelihood that, in retirement, many more engineers will have the vitality, passion and resources to stretch a helping hand across the world.

U.S. Engineering Salaries Jump; Smartphone Developers Win Big

Post Syndicated from Tekla S. Perry original https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/at-work/tech-careers/us-engineer-salaries-jump-smart-phone-developers-are-biggest-winners

US $145,000: That’s the key number reported in the just-released IEEE-USA Salary & Benefits Survey. It represents the median income for U.S. engineers in 2018, up $6,200 from 2017 and $15,000 from 2014. That figure includes salary, commissions, and bonuses. (When income from all sources is added, including overtime pay and side hustles, the 2018 number jumps to $150,000.) In constant dollars, the gains over the past year are still significant.

However, these income gains weren’t evenly spread among engineers of all specialties, regions, race, gender, or age. The 63-page report is full of fascinating data; here’s what stood out for me.