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Q2 report from Dice highlights which new tech hubs are adding more jobs and the top 20 skills in Amazon job postings.

Image: Dice

After a slow April and May, job postings in the tech sector started to recover in June with the usual suspects of software, network, and systems engineers in highest demand. Cloud skills showed the most growth year over year. 

The Q2 2020 Dice Tech Jobs Report released Tuesday found that the tech sector is focused on developing new products and services again after a quarter that required an initial focus on supporting remote work.

June job postings went up significantly at the city level compared to May. This is true with those cities which posted Q2 declines, but also with those that showed growth in Q2. While some cities are beginning to return to job posting volumes that are similar to pre-COVID-19 levels, other places are growing faster.

Austin, Raleigh, Richmond, and Charlotte continued to add more tech jobs, while positions in New York and San Francisco fell even though each city had about 31,000 and 20,000 new job postings in Q2 2020, respectively.

In May, tech unemployment dropped to 3.7%, down from 4.3% in April, compared to the overall unemployment rate of 13.3% in June.

Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, parent company to Dice, said in a press release, that he sees encouraging growth across areas of the US despite the pandemic when comparing June’s job postings to May’s.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“The tech industry’s resilience is evident, even in the very challenging conditions we are currently experiencing, which is a testament to the ongoing need for skilled and adaptable technologists,” Zeile said.

Here’s a look at where the jobs are, who is hiring, and what skills are in the most demand.

Cities and states with the most tech jobs in Q2

Only nine states posted an increase in tech jobs year over year, and California, Illinois, Texas, and New York state posted fewer new jobs this year when compared to last year.
The states with the most tech jobs for Q2 2020 were:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Virginia (due to the new Amazon headquarters)
  4. New York
  5. North Carolina
  6. Florida
  7. Illinois
  8. Maryland
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Colorado

In this list, only Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland had year-over-year growth in job postings. California tech job postings declined 28% in Q2 year over year, but the 140,00 jobs posted in the state in the second quarter were still almost double any other state.  

At the city level, New York and San Francisco still led the list, despite double-digit year-over-year drops. Only Austin and Charlotte had an increase in postings in Q2 2020 when compared to this time last year. Here is what the top 10 cities for tech jobs looks like:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Austin
  4. Atlanta
  5. Chicago
  6. Charlotte
  7. Los Angeles
  8. San Diego
  9. Seattle
  10. Boston

Companies doing the most hiring in Q2 
Amazon and military contractors topped the list of tech employers in Q2 followed by Charles Schwab, Infosys, Ramy Infotech, and Dell. 

As usual, Amazon was mostly hiring software developers, network engineers, program managers, and systems engineers. E-commerce specialists are newly in demand for the online retailer. 

According to the Dice report, the top 20 skills in Amazon job posts are:

  1. Java
  2. Python
  3. C++
  4. Project management
  5. SQL
  6. Linux
  7. Microsoft C#
  8. Cloud computing
  9. Product management
  10. Ruby
  11. Machine learning
  12. Program management
  13. JavaScript
  14. Big data 
  15. DevOps
  16. AWS Redshift
  17. PERL 
  18. AWS Elastic Compute Cloud
  19. Data science
  20. NoSQL

In-demand tech skills

At the start of the coronavirus lockdowns, companies had to make remote work successful. As a result, employers prioritized infrastructure, systems, and security over new product development.

By the end of the second quarter, employers were more confident about long-term planning, and shifted hiring plans to developers, engineers, and programmers to build new products and services.

Only four skills showed growth in job postings this year as compared to last year:

  • Kubernetes: +28%
  • Docker software: +26%
  • DevOps: +10%
  • Git: +3%

Except for Python, Java, JavaScript, and Scrum, demand was down by double digits year over year for all of the skills in the top 10, according to the Dice Q2 report:

  1. SQL
  2. Project management
  3. Java
  4. Python
  5. JavaScript
  6. Linux
  7. Oracle
  8. Technical support
  9. Scrum
  10. Business process

Also see The latest cancellations: How the coronavirus is disrupting tech conferences worldwide (TechRepublic) Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Coronavirus domain names are the latest hacker trick (TechRepublic) Pandemic response policy (TechRepublic Premium) As coronavirus spreads, here’s what’s been canceled or closed (CBS News) Coronavirus: Effective strategies and tools for remote work during a pandemic (ZDNet) How to track the coronavirus: Dashboard delivers real-time view of the deadly virus (ZDNet) Coronavirus and COVID-19: All your questions answered (CNET) Coronavirus: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

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Elastica: A Compliant Mechanics Environment for Soft Robotic Control

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Soft robots can be used in various spheres, such as agriculture, medicine, and defense. However, their complex physics means that they are hard to control. Current simulation testbeds are insufficient for taking the full advantage of elasticity.

A recent paper on proposes Elastica, a simulation environment tailored to soft robot context. It tries to fill the gap between conventional rigid body solvers, which are incapable to model complex continuum mechanics, and high-fidelity finite elements methods, which are mathematically cumbersome. Elastica can be used to simulate assemblies of soft, slender, and compliant rods and interface with major reinforcement learning packages. It is shown how most reinforcement learning models can learn to control a soft arm and to complete successively challenging tasks, like 3D tracking of a target, or maneuvering between structured and unstructured obstacles.

Soft robots are notoriously hard to control. This is partly due to the scarcity of models able to capture their complex continuum mechanics, resulting in a lack of control methodologies that take full advantage of body compliance. Currently available simulation methods are either too computational demanding or overly simplistic in their physical assumptions, leading to a paucity of available simulation resources for developing such control schemes. To address this, we introduce Elastica, a free, open-source simulation environment for soft, slender rods that can bend, twist, shear and stretch. We demonstrate how Elastica can be coupled with five state-of-the-art reinforcement learning algorithms to successfully control a soft, compliant robotic arm and complete increasingly challenging tasks.