Seattle is paying the most for its engineers

x

Embed

x

Share

CLOSE

A recent survey finds data-related jobs among the highest paying in the country.
USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO — Demand for the nation’s more than 1.8 million software engineers has hundreds of companies scrambling for talent in machine learning and data sciences.

The battle is pitched in coastal cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston and New York, where start-ups and established companies are dangling six-figure salaries, benefits and the chance to do interesting research, according to a study released today by LinkedIn. The social network for professionals looked at data for engineering talent on its network in March.

Machine learning and data science skills rank as the most in-demand, though both specialties have the least experienced workforces — at less than five years — because they are emerging fields. Consequently, they are fetching the highest compensation, at a median of $129,000 annually.

In the competition for engineers, Seattle — home of Amazon and Microsoft — has emerged as an aggressive bidder, offering $132,000 a year.

The race for software engineers isn’t surprising. The booming tech market expanded 2% last year to approximately 7.3 million workers as the digital economy continued to flourish in jobs for software, cybersecurity and cloud computing, according to Cyberstates 2017, an annual analysis of the nation’s tech industry by technology association CompTIA.

More:Here’s what you need to land America’s best jobs

More:6 people who’ve nabbed the nation’s top jobs share a common trait

The vast majority — 6.9 million — were employed by tech companies. Yet hundreds of thousands of jobs remain unfilled, and demand is tightening due to the need for highly skilled workers in non-tech industries such as banking and healthcare. (LinkedIn lists more than 300,000 open engineering jobs.)

All told, about 4% of the U.S. workforce is employed in the $1.3 trillion industry, about 8% of the national economy, says Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.

Follow USA TODAY’s San Francisco Bureau Chief Jon Swartz @jswartz on Twitter.

5 ways to make enterprise technology sexy for new grads …

As young software engineers and developers wrap up school and begin their careers, many may naturally be drawn to the gaming or consumer technology industries. While these fields may be alluring because of their appeal to personal interests, job seekers would be remiss to not take a serious look at enterprise technology, which can be just as exciting. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just some of the emerging technologies that are disrupting the enterprise realm – and all of them require innovative, creative minds to bring them to life. Here are five tips for how to grab the attention of young and rising talent and get them hooked to your business:

Today’s engineers are expressing a desire to engage in meaningful work that has a real impact on society. While video games are fun and exciting, they aren’t necessarily changing the world. In contrast, enterprise technology is doing just that – solving real-world challenges and changing the way businesses operate. For instance, Upskill develops AR software that helps some of today’s industrial giants, like Boeing and GE, increase worker performance and productivity while building wiring harnesses for airplanes and wind turbines. Demonstrate the value of your company and your technology, and sell that vision every day.

Engineers can be incredibly zealous about the tools they use and how they use them. OS X, Windows or Linux? Vim or Emacs? One tip for attracting and retaining developers is to give them free reign in choosing their environment, tools and hardware when possible. Engineers spend much of their day staring at their screens, so shouldn’t they use a computer and tools that they enjoy using.

Over-engineering your team’s processes can be as much of a turn-off to engineers as introducing too much rigid hierarchy. At Upskill, we bring the teams together on a regular basis to look at the tools and processes we’re using to support our development efforts. If the team doesn’t like them, we change them. Also, keeping your organization’s structure as “flat” as possible is important. In my experience, a sure-fire way to incite churn is to give engineers the idea that they’re doing certain things just to satisfy the requirements of an arbitrary hierarchy.

Advertisement

It’s cliché for executives to tell their teams, “My door is always open,” but this is not quite proactive enough for engineers (or any employee). Instead, put some regularly scheduled “face-to-face” time on the calendar. This will give you better insight into what’s happening and give them the opportunity to bring up topics they may have deemed not “important enough” to warrant a meeting. Often, those topics can build into other discussions that lead them to start looking at other opportunities.

Last but not least, engineers want to build cool stuff. If you give them that opportunity, you won’t have to worry about turnover. Even if you don’t work on the cutting edge of technology, encourage creativity in other ways. For instance, if the day-to-day work is a bit more middle of the pack, you can still sponsor your engineers in hackathons or run internal contests for office hacks that can stir the pot and bring some excitement into the mix.

Enterprise software development is more exciting than most people think – and it gives engineers the opportunity be a part of something bigger than themselves (or a video game). Take this advice, and you’ll more readily build a team of creative, smart and passionate engineers.

How a big thinker from Silicon Valley is now helping to bring world-changing ideas to life – in Miami

Go big.

That’s the advice an expert on exponential technologies has for the startup ecosystem in Miami.

Salim Ismail is the founding executive director and now the global ambassador for Silicon Valley’s Singularity University and a board member of XPRIZE, well-known organizations that inspire, educate and fund people and projects trying to solve world-changing problems through technology.

“In Silicon Valley, people think on a global scale. In many other parts of the world, Miami included, people are trying to build a niche product or feature,” said Ismail, the author of “Exponential Organizations.”

Yet Ismail, now a Miami area resident, also said Miami has passion that you don’t find everywhere. “When you can align the natural passion of the residents here with a very big purpose or outcome, there is literally no limit as to what could happen.”

Ismail is being honored with Endeavor Miami’s Impact Award at its fourth annual benefit gala, which will be held Oct. 21 at the Faena Forum in Miami Beach, Endeavor Miami announced. During an address to gala attendees, Ismail will share his vision for entrepreneurship and what emerging technology trends mean for the future. Endeavor Miami is an arm of the global organization that selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.

“We choose honorees each year that reflect the characteristics we believe will inspire our entrepreneurs and exemplify the progressive mindset that Endeavor selects in its companies,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami. “Salim is a visionary leader whose accomplishments are shaping the future of entrepreneurship and technology.”

Of particular local interest, Ismail is also the co-founder of Fastrack Institute, along with South Floridians Rodrigo Arboleda, an architect who co-founded the global nonprofit One Laptop Per Child and CEO of Fastrack, and Dr. Maurice Ferré, co-founder of Mako Surgical and now is running Insightec and other healthcare-technology ventures. Fastrack, a one-year-old nonprofit developing in Miami, plans to partner with cities that then become launching pads to rapidly build companies that can solve critical urban problems – such as mobility or access to quality healthcare or education, for example – in those cities and then scale those technologies globally.

It’s not enough to have a great product – it needs to effect meaningful change in the world.

Salim Ismail

Because Fastrack teams work through legal, regulatory and safety issues with cities as they are building the companies, “we found with Fastrack we can solve a problem facing a city at about one tenth the current cost, which makes it economically very compelling,” said Ismail, in an interview this week. “What we want to do is make Miami the capital for this kind of thinking … what an ideal city should look like.”

Fastrack, which counts University of Miami’s Center For Computational Science as a partner, has been running pilot programs in Medellín, Colombia, and now about 20 cities around the world are interested in becoming Fastrack cities, including Miami, he said. One Fastrack problem could be traffic, he said. “Think about it. If we can solve it in Miami then that becomes an export industry that applies to every city in the world.”

Exponential companies, however they are built, need to be information-based because that scales, said Ismail, who also helps established companies quickly incorporate an exponential mindset through his company ExO Works. “Airbnb’s information is enabling people’s extra bedrooms. Ride-sharing is creating more of a liquid workforce,” he explained. Just as importantly, he said, exponential companies also need to have a massive transformative purpose. “It’s not enough to have a great product – it needs to effect meaningful change in the world.”

Ismail believes solar energy will be one of the world’s most powerful exponential technologies.

“Energy has been scarce for the whole of the history of humanity. It is about to become abundant in the next five to seven years and that will radically change the global geopolitics of it,” he said. “The Middle East will be essentially rendered mostly worthless. In Canada, the Keystone Pipeline will be irrelevant before it is even built. The poorest companies in the world are also the sunniest countries in the world; solar will really change the global equation.”

And there are other exponential technologies, including autonomous cars, drones and artificial intelligence, he said. Bitcoin and blockchain-based technology will radically change government services and public services even more so than the private financial sector, he said. Biotech technologies give people the power to edit the human genome, allowing the human body to become a software engineering problem.

Ismail believes solar energy will be one of the world’s most powerful exponential technologies.

Ismail, who was an executive at Yahoo and started companies before joining Singularity in 2008, moved to Miami in 2014 and has led or spoken at several events, including most recently eMerge Americas. “I love it. I am an avid tennis player and I am from India originally so I am like a lizard on the rocks – I love the humidity. I travel a lot and the airport is one of the best connected airports in the world.”

He also loves the natural diversity of the region – the ethnic makeup, the arts, the mix of industries, he said. “Absolutely the biggest success factor for any city is diversity and the richness that comes from it. All great ideas come when you cross disparate domains together.” And it has the power to attract: “It’s fascinating to see the talent that is now arriving in Miami, it really is.”

Calling himself a massive technology optimist, Ismail sees climate change as South Florida’s biggest urban challenge. “Miami has an opportunity to act as a world leader because it is going to be first affected. Whatever solutions come out of here, it will apply to about 60 percent of the global population.”

He calls Endeavor one of the most important and interesting initiatives to ever get created in entrepreneurship.

Endeavor Miami is the first U.S. affiliate of Endeavor Global. Since Endeavor Miami’s 2013 launch, 15 South Florida companies and 24 entrepreneurs have become part of Endeavor’s global network of business leaders, mentors and investors.

Previous IMPACT award recipients include Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties; Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and founder of LaunchCode; and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt and GLAMSQUAD.

The 2017 Endeavor Miami Gala will be held Oct. 21 from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at the Faena Forum. Proceeds from the event directly support Endeavor Miami’s mission. Find more information about the gala here.

Charles W. Bachman, Business Software Innovator, Dies at 92

His software was crucial to converting the G.E. manufacturing-control system from an idea to a reality, an impressive technical feat given the limitations of the primitive computers at the time.

In 1973, Mr. Bachman received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery for his contributions to database technology. The award is often described as the Nobel Prize for computer science. In 2014, Mr. Bachman visited the White House to receive a National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama.

Mr. Bachman was the first Turing Award recipient who did not have a Ph.D. The earlier winners of the prize, which was first issued in 1966, had academic backgrounds, mainly as mathematicians or physicists. Mr. Bachman had degrees in mechanical engineering, a bachelor’s from Michigan State College and a master’s from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Bachman spent his career in the business world at a series of companies large and small, including Dow Chemical, G.E., Honeywell and a start-up backed by venture capital in the 1980s.

Yet it was the application of computing to business problems — rather than business itself — that Mr. Bachman found appealing.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

“He was always an engineer at heart,” said Thomas Haigh, a technology historian at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who interviewed Mr. Bachman for an oral history project and studied his work. “He was motivated by the joy of tinkering with complex systems and making things work better.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

Charles William Bachman III was born on Dec. 11, 1924, in Manhattan, Kan., the second of four children of Grace Marie Cary Bachman and Charles W. Bachman Jr. His father was the football coach at Kansas State College, and later at Michigan State.

The younger Mr. Bachman grew to be a sturdy 6 feet 4 inches, and he inherited his father’s fondness for sports, but his real passion was building and fixing things. “I was always going to be an engineer,” Mr. Bachman told Mr. Haigh in 2004.

Mr. Bachman graduated early from high school, took spring and summer courses at Michigan State and then joined the Army in 1943, serving two years in the artillery corps in New Guinea, Australia and the Philippines. Antiaircraft guns at the time used simple mechanical computers to target a plane’s predicted flight path, a rudimentary primer for Mr. Bachman’s later work.

After the war, Mr. Bachman returned to Michigan State to complete his undergraduate degree in 1948. The following year, he married Constance Hadley, shortly after she graduated from Michigan State. They were married for 62 years. She died in 2012.

Besides his daughter Chandini, Mr. Bachman is survived by a brother, J. Cary; three other children, Thomas, Jonathan and Sara Bachman Ducey; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Mr. Bachman began his engineering career with big companies that were starting to use computers — Dow Chemical, G.E. and Honeywell, which bought G.E.’s computer business in 1970. During that time, Mr. Bachman took a leading role in computing organizations, which were establishing standards for how data is represented, shared and modeled.

Later in his career, Mr. Bachman worked for smaller companies and started one of his own, Bachman Information Systems, in 1983. The start-up focused on a technology called computer-aided software engineering. It was intended to make creating software easier by offering programmers graphical tools instead of requiring them to write code line by line. His company attracted funding from two leading venture capital firms, Venrock and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and it enjoyed some early success. It sold shares in a public offering in 1991, and its stock price surged for a while.

The young company had some impressive technology. But it failed to catch the shift to personal computers running Microsoft’s Windows software and lower-cost applications programs. The remnants of Bachman Information Systems went through a couple of mergers and eventually sold to a larger corporation.

“Charlie was always the architect, not a managerial C.E.O. type,” said Jonathan Bachman, a software project manager who worked with his father for years. “And a lot of what he designed lives on, in a new guise, today.”

Follow Steve Lohr on Twitter: @SteveLohr.


Continue reading the main story

The Unlikely STEMinist: Software Engineer turned Social Entrepreneur to Raise Computational Thinkers

In Africa, we say it takes a village. In America, we call it, Social Capital. Even though my parents grew up with scarce educational resources, which limited their exposure and access to opportunities to further their schooling, they worked tirelessly so that I could advance mine. They championed, encouraged, and supported me to stand on their strong shoulders, so I could see farther and reach higher, for us all. I went on to build the first United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) website and earn my Masters of Science degree in Software Engineering from North Dakota State University (NDSU). I strongly believe in the proverb, “education is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” A lot of people helped me acquire this treasure. Now, it is time to give back.