America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough in IT – WSJ

Six-figure bonuses, outsize equity stakes and the flexibility to work from just about anywhere: These are some of the perks companies are offering information-technology workers as they compete for talent in a tight labor market, job seekers and recruiters say.“

Recruiters are feeling the pressure, from the chief executive officer down to the hiring manager, and are working extremely hard to find that tech talent,” said James Atkinson, vice president of quantitative analytics and data science at research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner estimates that most large U.S. companies are competing to fill many of the same technology roles, including computer and information research scientists, systems managers, analysts, engineers and software architects. “Nearly a third of the most critical roles, like tech talent, are left unfilled after five months, costing millions in lost productivity on the table for each company every year,” Mr. Atkinson said.

Demand for these workers is growing as companies world-wide seek an edge over competitors by using technology such as cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence. Global spending on these and other enterprise IT tools is expected to reach $3.79 trillion this year, up 1.1% from 2018, Gartner said.

In the first half of 2019, tech job postings in the U.S. rose 32% from a year earlier, according to federal employment data analyzed by IT trade group CompTIA. In the past three months, U.S. employers had about 918,000 unfilled IT jobs, CompTIA said.

While some companies are racing to train existing staff in high-demand skills, others are buying smaller tech ventures to acquire IT workers.

Some of the biggest companies are adding to their arsenal of tools to secure the right employees, said Michael Solomon, co-founder and managing partner at 10x Ascend, an advisory firm for senior technology job seekers.

Source: America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough in IT – WSJ

Energy consumption of data centers

The music video for “Despacito” set an Internet record in April 2018 when it became the first video to hit five billion views on YouTube. In the process, “Despacito” reached a less celebrated milestone: it burned as much energy as 40,000 U.S. homes use in a year. 

Computer servers, which store website data and share it with other computers and mobile devices, create the magic of the virtual world. But every search, click, or streamed video sets several servers to work — a Google search for “Despacito” activates servers in six to eight data centers around the world — consuming very real energy resources.

fortune.com/2019/09/18/internet-cloud-server-data-center-energy-consumption-renewable-coal/

The NSA Makes Ghidra, a Powerful Cybersecurity Tool, Open Source

THE NATIONAL SECURITY Agency develops advanced hacking tools in-house for both offense and defense—which you could probably guess even if some notable examples hadn’t leaked in recent years. But on Tuesday at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, the agency demonstrated Ghidra, a refined internal tool that it has chosen to open source. And while NSA cybersecurity adviser Rob Joyce called the tool a “contribution to the nation’s cybersecurity community” in announcing it at RSA, it will no doubt be used far beyond the United States.

You can’t use Ghidra to hack devices; it’s instead a reverse-engineering platform used to take “compiled,” deployed software and “decompile” it. In other words, it transforms the ones and zeros that computers understand back into a human-readable structure, logic, and set of commands that reveal what the software you churn through it does. Reverse engineering is a crucial process for malware analysts and threat intelligence researchers, because it allows them to work backward from software they discover in the wild—like malware being used to carry out attacks—to understand how it works, what its capabilities are, and who wrote it or where it came from. Reverse engineering is also an important way for defenders to check their own code for weaknesses and confirm that it works as intended.”

If you’ve done software reverse engineering, what you’ve found out is it’s both art and science; there’s not a hard path from the beginning to the end,” Joyce said. “Ghidra is a software reverse-engineering tool built for our internal use at NSA. We’re not claiming that this is the one that’s going to be replacing everything out there—it’s not. But it helped us address some things in our workflow.”

Source: The NSA Makes Ghidra, a Powerful Cybersecurity Tool, Open Source | WIRED

The Case for Dropping Out of College

This is an interesting article. CI is inexpensive ($15K/year, with a lot of students receiving scholarships). But beside that, this article makes me think about how to give our students “more value” for their time invested in our Computer Science department at CI.

The Case for Dropping Out of College
written by Samuel Knoche

During the summer, my father asked me whether the money he’d spent to finance my first few years at Fordham University in New York City, one of the more expensive private colleges in the United States, had been well spent. I said yes, which was a lie.

I majored in computer science, a field with good career prospects, and involved myself in several extracurricular clubs. Since I managed to test out of some introductory classes, I might even have been able to graduate a year early—thereby producing a substantial cost savings for my family. But the more I learned about the relationship between formal education and actual learning, the more I wondered why I’d come to Fordham in the first place.

* * *

According to the not-for-profit College Board, the average cost of a school year at a private American university was almost $35,000 in 2017—a figure I will use for purposes of rough cost-benefit analysis. (While public universities are less expensive thanks to government subsidies, the total economic cost per student-year, including the cost borne by taxpayers, typically is similar.) The average student takes about 32 credits worth of classes per year (with a bachelor’s degree typically requiring at least 120 credits in total). So a 3-credit class costs just above $3,000, and a 4-credit class costs a little more than $4,000.

Read more here – Source: The Case for Dropping Out of College – Quillette

US weapons systems can be easily hacked

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found “mission-critical” cyber-vulnerabilities in nearly all weapons systems tested between 2012 and 2017.That includes the newest F-35 jet as well as missile systems.

Pentagon officials had no immediate response to the 50-page report from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The committee’s members expressed concerns about how protected weapon systems were against cyber-attacks.

Source: US weapons systems can be ‘easily hacked’ – BBC News

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – Bloomberg

The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies

Understanding Cybersecurity & Privacy Best Practices

Understanding “industry best practices” involves a simple process of distilling expectations for both cybersecurity and privacy requirements. This process is all part of identifying reasonable expectations that are “right-sized” for an organization, since every organization has unique requirements. It can be best to visualize “best practices” as a buffet of cybersecurity and privacy controls, where you select what is applicable to your organization, based on statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.

Source: (18) Understanding Cybersecurity & Privacy Best Practices | LinkedIn

Decade of research shows little improvement in password guidance 

Leading internet brands including Amazon and Wikipedia are failing to support users with advice on how to securely protect their data, a study shows.More than a decade after first examining the issue, research by the University of Plymouth has shown most of the top ten English-speaking websites offer little or no advice guidance on creating passwords that are less likely to be hacked.Some still allow people to use the word ‘password’, while others will allow single-character passwords and basic words including a person’s surname or a repeat of their user identity.

Source: Decade of research shows little improvement in password guidance – University of Plymouth

14 most popular programming languages according to Stack Overflow study

Stack Overflow, a question-and-answer site for global programmers, has released its 2018 report on the most popular programming languages based on responses from over 100,000 developers. The top language cited is Javascript, which allows developers to build interactive elements on websites, making it one of the most common languages on the Web. HTML, while technically a markup language rather than a programming language, placed second in the ranking, as it forms the basis of all Websites. Third on the list was Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, used to design Websites and browser-based apps. Structured Query Language (SQL), which allows users to handle large amounts of data by accessing and managing databases, placed fourth in the ranking, followed by Java, the most common tool for building Android apps. Following Java in the ranking were, in descending order, Bash/Shell, Python, C#, PHP, C++, C, Typescript, Ruby, and Swift.

Source: 14 most popular programming languages according to Stack Overflow study – Business Insider

Moscow State University Team Wins World Finals of ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest


NEW YORK, April 19, 2018 – The 2018 World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) culminated today at Peking University in Beijing, China. Three students from Moscow State University earned the title of 2018 World Champions. Teams from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Peking University and The University of Tokyo placed in second, third and fourth places and were recognized with gold medals in the prestigious competition.

ACM ICPC is the premier global programming competition conducted by and for the world’s universities. The global competition is conceived, operated and shepherded by ACM, sponsored by IBM, and headquartered at Baylor University. For more than four decades, the competition has raised the aspirations and performance of generations of the world’s problem solvers in computing sciences and engineering.

In the competition, teams of three students tackle eight or more complex, real-world problems. The students are given a problem statement, and must create a solution within a looming five-hour time limit. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner. This year’s World Finals saw 140 teams competing. Now in its 42nd year, ICPC has gathered more than 320,000 students from around the world to compete since its inception.

As computing increasingly becomes part of the daily routines of a growing percentage of the global population, the solution to many of tomorrow’s challenges will be written with computing code. The ICPC serves as a unique forum for tomorrow’s computing professionals to showcase their skills, learn new proficiencies and to work together to solve many real-world problems. This international event fosters the innovative spirit that continues to transform our world.

The 140 teams that participated in this year’s World Finals emerged from local and regional ICPC competitions that took place in the fall of 2017. Initially, selection took place from a field of more than 300,000 students in computing disciplines worldwide. A record number of students advanced to the regional level. 49,935 contestants from 3,089 universities in 111 countries on six continents competed at more than 585 sites, all with the goal of earning one of the coveted invitations to Beijing.In addition to the World Champion designation, gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded. The top teams this year included:

  1. Moscow State University
  2. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
  3. Peking University
  4. The University of Tokyo
  5. Seoul National University
  6. University of New South Wales
  7. Tsinghua University
  8. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  9. St. Petersburg ITMO University
  10. University of Central Florida
  11. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  12. Vilnius University
  13. Ural Federal University

About the ACM-ICPC

Headquartered at Baylor University, the ACM-ICPC is a global competition among the world’s university students, nurturing new generations of talent in the science and art of information technology. For more information about the ACM-ICPC, including downloadable high resolution photographs and videos, visit ICPC headquarters and ICPCNews. Additional information can be found via the “Battle of the Brains” podcast series. Follow the contest on Twitter @ICPCNews and #ICPC2016.

Source: Moscow State University Team Wins World Finals of ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest