Everyone knows by now that exercise is important to good health. The problem is that most of us don't exercise. We drive everywhere and park as close to the entrance as we can; we watch TV instead of playing games out in our backyards; we use Roomba instead of pushing a vacuum cleaner around. And, of course, we sit in front of our computers for eight hours a day – more, if you're a techie working on a project near deadline.
So, how do you stay healthy when the world conspires to keep you sitting still? Here are five tips that will help you build activity into your day and keep you fit for work, and, more importantly, fit for the rest of your life, too.
1. Move around the office. Email, instant messaging, and the phone mean you never have to track down a co-worker to get a question answered, but a face-to-face conversation is a good excuse to get up from your desk and walk around the office. Talking in person is more sociable and will help build your relationship, too.
2. Get a standing desk. If your desk is at standing height, you won't be able to sit down on the job. Some standing desks are easily adjustable, letting you switch between sitting and standing based on your energy. You can also try a treadmill desk, which requires you to walk while you work, but that can be difficult to adjust to in a job that requires concentration and keyboarding.
3. Get out of the office. Don't eat your lunch sitting at your desk. Head out of the office for a walk in a nearby park or even just around the block. Besides the physical benefit of moving, the change of scenery will help clear your head and get you ready for an afternoon of problem solving.
4. Try out an exercise ball seat. You wouldn't want to sit on a wobbly stool, but an exercise ball seat offers just enough of a balance challenge to force you to engage your muscles while you work at your desk.
5. Hold standing meetings. Not only will your meetings be shorter and more focused in a standing meeting, you'll engage your muscles, too.
Sometimes the best move you can make at work is to move to a new job. When you're ready to start your job search, The Armada Group's recruiters can connect you to the perfect opportunity. Contact us to find a job that excites you and makes you happy to fill your desk chair every day.
A manager's job isn't the same as a worker's job, so it's no surprise they don't need to know the same things. In many occupations, that difference in knowledge bases isn’t a big deal, but technology projects and technical decisions require specialized knowledge. Managers who don't come from a technical background sometimes have a hard time understanding all the factors that affect a team's ability to meet project deadlines, and to deliver successfully. Here's how you can work effectively with a non-technical manager.
Recognize That Your Boss Isn't Stupid, Just Uninformed
Your boss got to their position because they're successful at making management decisions. That means they're smart. But making smart decisions means understanding problems and all the details that impact them. Help your boss make smarter decisions by helping them understand the technology and the choices you want to make. You'll need to support your opinions and proposals by providing lots of background information about the way the technology really works, where the problems come from, and why they can't be solved in a different, faster, cheaper way.
Keep Your Boss Out of the Code
At the same time that you're explaining details of the technology to your boss, you don't want to get so low-level that they're looking over your shoulder at the code. Encourage them to focus on managing the end users, budgets, and administrative issues – while you focus on solving the technical problems.
Document Your Discussions
For some technical problems, you may have to accept a non-technical manager's decision that it's not worth spending more time addressing issues before shipping; a report that lacks bolded headers may not look pretty, but isn't harmful. Other problems are more serious and can leave a company open to compliance problems or even cause real injury to users. In those cases, be sure you document your discussions with your manager to make it clear they were responsible for the decision.
Sometimes the frustrations of dealing with a non-technical manager are simply too much to put up with any longer. If you've reached that point of frustration and need to find a manager you'll be more compatible with, The Armada Group can help match you with a position where you'll thrive. Contact us to start your job search now.
Salary shouldn't be the only factor driving your career; you'll be working for a few decades, so you should make sure that you'll enjoy your hours on the job. That said, a healthy paycheck can definitely boost the satisfaction you experience. Here are five tech jobs that let you take home a big paycheck.
1. IT project manager. Project managers oversee the work of a technical team, developing project schedules, making sure the team delivers quality work, and making sure the clients are satisfied. While the position typically requires a technical background, the functions are primarily administrative. IT project manager salaries average over $98,000.
2. Analytics manager. Companies today are rushing to implement big data and analytics projects to help them understand their customers better and make smarter, data-driven business decisions. Analytics managers with a strong understanding of databases, statistics, and analytics earn more than $97,000.
3. Product manager. While project managers oversee the technical work of building a project, product managers own the scope and functionality of the project. They make the decisions that prioritize features and own the roadmap for product development. Product manager salaries start at around $108,000 and can reach $150,000 or more with experience.
4. Mobile application developer. Smartphones are becoming the dominant way of accessing applications, and many companies now take a mobile-first approach to application development. Developers with skills in iOS and Android app development earn starting salaries around $76,000, rising to $115,000 with experience.
5. Devops automation engineer. While operations roles have traditionally been at the lower end of technology salaries, these positions are becoming more critical as companies migrate to agile, cloud, and continuous deployment approaches. The rise in need for engineers with the skills to automate deployments, monitoring, and support activities has meant a rise in the need for devops engineers and a rise in their salaries. Devops automation engineers now average salaries around $89,000.
When you do the same thing over and over again, you develop expertise. Being an expert is valuable in your career, but sometimes doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. Changing technical specialties gives you the chance to develop new skills and new challenges, and it doesn't have to mean taking an entry-level position and salary. Use these five tips to transition to a new IT specialty, and find new excitement at work.
Choose the right new specialty.
Before making a change, make sure the position you're moving into offers the kinds of challenges you enjoy. If you've been working in technical support, but hate dealing with users, you'll probably find working as a business analyst equally frustrating. But you might enjoy working as a QA tester, which often has little need for interacting with end users and can leverage your familiarity with the kinds of problems that occur in systems.
Discuss making a change with your manager.
While your current employer may view you in a specific way and have trouble seeing you in another capability, if you have a good relationship with your manager, talking with them can help make a transition feasible. Your manager can let you know what skills you'll need to make the move, inform you about current openings, and talk you up to the hiring manager for the new position.
You'll need to develop the skills needed for the new specialty before applying for a transfer or job with another firm. Take advantage of any training your company offers; companies often have libraries of online courses available to any employee. You can also take courses outside of work. Completing a sequence of courses and earning a recognized certificate will attest to both your skills and commitment to do the work in the new specialty.
Leverage your current experience.
When you prepare your resume and answer interview questions, relate your past and current project experience to the demands of the new role. For example, if you worked as a QA tester, you've developed insights into the kinds of bugs coders create that can help you write less buggy code if you switch to a programming role.
Consider working for a smaller company.
In smaller businesses, employees need to wear many hats. You won't be locked into a single specific job function, giving you the chance to experience many roles. Not only will you develop multiple skill sets, you'll get insights that help make sure the next specialty you commit to is one you'll enjoy for the rest of your career.
Ready to make a change? At The Armada Group, our recruiting specialists see you as a whole person, not just the skills you've used in your previous jobs. We'll work with you to understand what you want to achieve in your career and match you to job opportunities that allow you to grow. Contact us to seamlessly switch to your new IT specialty.
While it's true that managers need to know how to manage; they don't need to know the details of how their employees do their jobs. Managers need to know how to make decisions that help the business achieve its goals. For technology managers, that means understanding technology well enough to make smart decisions that set the technology direction for the business. The best place to find managers with that understanding? Look within the ranks of your engineering and development teams.
Your Engineers Understand Technology
For starters, the talent on those teams already understand the details of your business, and they're already thinking about how to use technology to solve your company’s problems. Because they know both technology and the business, an engineer from your team won't believe that any single technology will magically fix all the issues you face. They'll understand how to bring multiple technologies together to craft a solution.
Your Engineers Understand Technical People
The engineers on your teams also understand the way technical people work. They know that late arrivals at the office don't mean laziness; they reflect late nights spent solving problems at work. They know how the people on team work together, and where the team is struggling because of gaps in skills. They have the ability to assess the way a candidate will fit in and work with the team, as well as the candidate's technical capability.
Finding Leaders On Your Team Encourages Leaders to Develop
When you find your IT leaders from your engineering teams, you encourage the development of more leaders on your engineering teams. Promoting a technical team member to a leadership role demonstrates a true commitment to developing your employees. Other employees who weren't sure if they'd have a future at the company can see it as a real possibility.
Once you promote a technical team member to a leadership role, you'll most likely need to fill the hands-on role they're stepping out of. You might also find that, despite your honest desire to promote an internal employee, no one's ready – or technical employees prefer to remain technical. In either case, The Armada Group has extensive connections with top talent who can get the job done and help your business achieve its goals. Contact us to learn how we can help you build a team of strong developers and leaders who drive your business to technology success.
Big data and analytics are among the hottest areas in computing now. Companies are capturing more data than ever: data used by their information processing systems; data generated by Internet of Things sensor-based devices; data that tracks every customer interaction with their website – even the unstructured reviews and comments their customers post on Facebook and online forums.
Then they combine that data with data from third-party sources, like weather forecasts and economic trends, and use statistical methods, machine learning, and other analytics to find patterns and make predictions to help them run their business more effectively, make more sales, and generate more profits.
One result of the growth in data is corresponding growth in data-oriented jobs. These jobs range from data engineers, who focus on putting in place the infrastructure for managing mega-sized data collections, and the data analysts and data scientists who turn the data into insight.
Because the demand for data-wrangling pros is so high, technical staff with data skills, such as SQL, NoSQL, Hadoop, Python, data visualization, data mining, and machine learning earn correspondingly high salaries.
Job sites report average data analyst salaries of $87,000 for jobs in Silicon Valley, significantly higher than similar jobs in other locations. Experience adds to your value and your paycheck, with average salaries around $120,000. The data engineer title in Silicon Valley can earn an even higher salary, around $145,000. Senior data warehouse engineer salaries in Silicon Valley can exceed $150,000. If you've got the skills for the data scientist job title—which typically requires a master's or Ph.D. in data science, analytics, machine learning, statistics, or applied mathematics—you can ultimately command a salary up to $250,000.
Of course, commanding those salaries requires having the skills to produce corresponding value for the company. If your education and experience support your ability to do this work, The Armada Group can connect you with opportunities that will challenge and reward you. Contact us to let our recruiters help you turn data into profit.
Digital assistants, like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, are great, and although artificial intelligence gets better and better each year, sometimes getting what you want done requires an actual person to do it. That doesn't mean the person doing it needs to be in the same room with you. In many cases, a "virtual assistant" is the most cost-effective means of getting the job done.
Virtual Assistants and the Gig Economy
It's the rise of the internet combined with the rise of the gig economy that makes virtual assistant work viable. With internet connectivity and remote access applications, a virtual assistant can work from home, or wherever they might be, with the same access to corporate resources they'd have if they were working in an office.
The gig economy has made connecting virtual assistants to their temporary employers seamless. Marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour let workers market their skills and availability. Both the workers and the employers can rely on the sites for verification (usually in the form of reviews) and secure payment methods.
Virtual Assistants and the Startup Economy
For many companies, especially startups, virtual assistants fill a real need. With funding tight, the ability to commit to employees without specialized skill sets just isn't there. But the companies still need basic administrative tasks taken care of. By using virtual assistants, the companies can easily find workers to handle those tasks when there's work to be done.
Virtual assistants also bring experience that's valuable to the startup. Because startups are by definition in a state of flux, without many established policies, virtual assistants who've worked for a number of firms can use that experience to figure out how to get things done.
Delegate to Use Virtual Assistants Effectively
Using virtual assistants effectively requires the startup managers to delegate tasks and responsibilities, which can be a challenge during a company's early days. Everything seems so important that letting go of anything feels like it brings the risk of failure. But letting others handle routine tasks frees managers to focus on the more critical tasks that only they can do.
That's true in hiring, too. Using recruiters to filter candidate resumes and do initial screening interviews frees up management to do the tasks that really need management attention. Management only needs to look at resumes and interview the viable candidates, rather than everyone. Ready to delegate your recruiting work so you can focus on your business needs? Contact The Armada Group. Our experienced recruiters are your virtual hiring assistants.
Finding a new job requires talking to lots of people. Lots and lots of people. For techies, who tend to be introverted and more comfortable dealing with machines than people, the networking aspect of job hunting adds to the stress. Rather than staying in a job you don't like because trying to get out of it is too uncomfortable, use these tips to make networking easier.
Network with people you know.
Networking can mean trying to make contact with powerful strangers, but in job hunting, you'll often find more benefits from networking with people you already know. Your friends in the industry, the professors and teachers you studied with, and your former managers all can have important information about opportunities you'd be interested in. Because you already know them, and already like them, connecting to talk about career opportunities shouldn't be difficult.
Network via email.
"Talking" doesn't have to mean meeting for a face-to-face conversation, or even talking on the phone. Try making contact by email or text message instead. You won't have to worry that you're imposing on the contact, because they can respond whenever it's convenient to them.
Network at events.
You can network even at events where networking is the not primary focus. You can also network at events where you're doing things you enjoy. Attend an industry conference on a topic that interests you or participate in a hackathon challenge. You can be sure you and the other people at the event share a common interest, so connecting and finding things to talk about shouldn't be difficult. The same applies to networking at non-technical events.
The best way to build a network is to reach out to people frequently. If you wait until you're looking for a new job, you may find you have no one to network with. You'll also feel better about networking if you're able to contribute something to your contacts instead of just asking them for help, so be on the lookout for opportunities to offer advice and support.
Take advantage of other people's networks.
You can reduce the networking you need to do by leveraging other people's networks. Technical recruiters, like those at The Armada Group, are plugged in to what's happening in the industry, and their databases are filled with job listings. When you network with a recruiter that might be the last network connection you need to make before starting your new job.
Companies that have a diverse workforce have a competitive advantage. The different perspectives and insights that employees bring from their various backgrounds help companies shape products that appeal to the widest possible audience.
Recruiting that diverse workforce takes a concerted effort. Certainly, pictures on your website send a message about who works for you, but that isn't enough to attract diverse workers. You need to actively reach out and take steps to appeal to the diverse population.
Make a Visible Commitment to Diversity
As with most things, the commitment to success begins at the top. The best way to demonstrate that you're committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is to have diversity in the most publicly visible layer of employees—senior, board-level management. The new generation of employees, Millennials, takes diversity seriously and is likely to dismiss you as a potential employer if they don't see a truly diverse workforce.
Define Diversity Broadly
Define what diversity means for your business and make sure it's a broad definition: race, religion, age, social background, and other factors all give people different perspectives that are valuable when shared in in the workplace.
Develop a Recruitment Plan
Don't wait for diverse workers to reach out to you. Actively reach out and recruit through organizations that serve people of different backgrounds. Student groups and ethnic professional associations are great places to find talented potential employees. Churches and cultural institutions can also connect you with a diverse population.
Support Diverse Employees at Work
Once you've hired a diverse workforce, make sure the environment encourages them to remain at your business. Provide mentors and other programs to help these employees succeed. Having diverse upper management helps remind these workers that success at this company is possible. Make diversity training mandatory and take visible action if discriminatory behavior occurs.
Diverse workplaces are successful workplaces. The Armada Group's talent database can connect you with skilled employees from many different backgrounds. Contact us to work with a recruiter who will understand your business needs and match you with the talent that will help your business grow.
For programmers, machines are often easier to deal with than people. They don't have personal quirks, they do what you tell them to do, and they don't talk back. For introverted personalities, technical jobs can mean minimizing interactions with difficult people.
It isn't possible to avoid people entirely, even in tech jobs. The ultimate users of every application are people, after all; even embedded systems hidden inside a manufacturing machine need to serve the goals of the company – the people – that own the application. This means technical workers need to deal with people, whether to understand the application's requirements or help them provide support when there are problems.
If you're a techie who hates to look up from your computer, here are three ways to develop skills that let you work well with customers.
Become less introverted.
Put yourself in positions where you need to interact with people. Sticking to technical interactions can help boost your confidence. You can also start online, by participating in forums. Then move on to real-world environments like a tech meet-up. Force yourself to talk to at least one person. These activities can make dealing with other people less intimidating.
Improve your interpersonal skills.
Along with reducing your fear of interacting with people, you need to build skills to make the interactions effective. You can take classes in presentation and communication skills; it's also important to boost your listening skills. Understanding customers' issues by listening to them is the first step in being able to resolve their concerns.
As well as being able to listen and speak with customers, really interacting well requires having the empathy to understand their points of view. Acting classes are a great way to experience another person's perspective.
Whether you're ready for a position that requires dealing with customers every day, or just want to keep your head down and write code, The Armada Group's jobs database has jobs that match your skills and interests. Take a look at the available positions and then contact us to start working with great recruiters who'll help you find a job that challenges and rewards you every day.