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American Schools Are Teaching Our Kids How to Code All Wrong

By Idit Harel // Quartz // May 25, 2016

Third-grader Jaysean Erby raises his hands as he solves a coding problem as Apple CEO Tim Cook watches from behind during a coding workshop at an Apple Store, in New York.
Third-grader Jaysean Erby raises his hands as he solves a coding problem as Apple CEO Tim Cook watches from behind during a coding workshop at an Apple Store, in New York. // Mark Lennihan/AP File Photo

The Labor Department projects that 1 million jobs in computing will go unfilled by 2020. These are good jobs, jobs that would allow economic mobility and great earning potential over the course of a career. We know why these positions aren’t being filled—a lack of skilled candidates.

In response, there has been a national movement to teach computing to students in schools across the country. Many organizations, including my own company, are up for the challenge. Our country must make a commitment to teaching every child computer science. That doesn’t mean teaching watered down content and using simple coding apps but a strong curriculum that leads students to achieve real deep and broad mastery of computer science.

The light and fluffy version of computer science—which is proliferating as a superficial response to the increased need for coders in the workplace—is a phenomenon I refer to as “pop computing.”

While calling all policy makers and education leaders to consider “computer science education for all” is a good thing, the coding culture promoted by Code.org and its library of movie-branded coding apps provide quick experiences of drag-and-drop code entertainment. This accessible attraction can be catchy, it...

So, What Does a CIO Actually Do All Day?

By Tom Shoop // May 23, 2016

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A day in the life of a chief information officer at a federal agency involves a lot of meetings, a search for consensus on key decisions and a dose of the unexpected.

So said four federal CIOs who appeared at the ACT-IAC Management of Change conference Monday in Cambridge, Maryland.

The four CIOs, who spoke under rules set by conference organizers that they not be quoted by name, said working with their colleagues in other parts of the agency is a constant -- and sometimes challenging -- task.

“My day is generally going to meetings,” said one of them. “A good day is when we can make a decision.”

One key challenge, another said, is that “the requirements outpace the budget” on a regular basis. “So on any given day, I’m negotiating, [asking] ‘Do you really need all this right now?’”

“Ninety-five percent of the time, I convince people to make the right decision,” said another. “Five percent of the time, I have to tell them what the decision is.”

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While the CIOs had varying degrees of authority and responsibility, all indicated that the heads...

Does Your HR Office Really Get Cybersecurity?

By Jack Moore // May 20, 2016

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As part of an ambitious White House effort initiated last year after a massive government data breach, the Obama administration plans to soon issue the first-ever governmentwide HR strategy for recruiting information security professionals.

Such strategy may be sorely needed, new survey results suggest.

Despite longstanding calls for the federal government to overhaul its recruiting practices to make them more amenable to the digital age, cybersecurity as a discipline doesn’t get respect in some quarters -- including HR.

Thirty-nine percent of federal cybersecurity executives polled in a new survey conducted by (ISC)2 and KPMG reported that their HR department rank cybersecurity as “unimportant” or “very unimportant. In contrast, just 8 percent of respondents said their agency’s IT shop rates cyber as “unimportant.”

That’s particularly concerning because HR offices are essential to helping embed certain values in an agency’s workforce, authors of a report accompanying the survey results noted.

“Integrating cyber hygiene and awareness in the traditional human resources functions of recruiting, onboarding, training and performance assessment are essential to creating a cyber-educated workforce that can reduce the threat potential,” the report stated. “In addition, human resources must nurture the fragile cyber workforce.”

Just how fragile is...

Student Coders Expect $70K Starting Salaries

By Alice Truong // Quartz // May 18, 2016

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Students seeking a full-time software job or internship are quite optimistic about their salary expectations, according to a new surveyreleased today (May 18) by Devpost, which polled 1,700 US students this spring at hack events it organized on college campuses. The report found that the majority of students expect starting salaries of at least $70,000.

Devpost’s report also found that more than 90% of respondents said receiving equity as part of their compensation was somewhat or very important to them.

The students may find themselves somewhat disappointed. Their expectations far surpass the $50,561 starting salary for the class of 2015, according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and it’s also higher than what computer and information sciences majors who graduated last year earned, an average of $65,849.

Survey respondents also anticipate their salaries will rise by $20,000 to $30,000 after five years on the job market—even as annual raises have become a thing of the past for many Americans. But their upbeat expectations do reflect one reality, says Devpost CEO Brandon Kessler: the surging demand for students with coding chops. “Wages for software developers are in...

Video: 3 Ways to Make the Most of Google Docs

By Caitlin Fairchild // May 13, 2016

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Google Docs can be an essential tool for collaborating in the workplace and for working remotely. The word processor has a few extra features you might not know about, like "Voice Typing." Located in the tool bar, this lets you dictate what you want to write when you're on the go.

Also useful is the "Document Outline" feature. A side bar will pop up breaking down the sections of your writing, allowing you or your editor to see how your work is organized (or perhaps not organized).

Most importantly, users can do a Google Search within Google Docs, extremely useful during the writing process. Highlight a word or phrase, then click on tools, then research. A sidebar will pop up with everything you need to know.

To learn more, check out the video below from CNET