raised bar silicon valley

With the influx of tech jobs and the shortage of qualified software engineers, many recent graduates have discovered that finding a position in Silicon Valley is remarkably easy. But while the talent gap isn’t going anywhere, tech companies are beginning to demand more and more of their engineers, resulting in remarkably high expectations for those new to the tech industry. These are a few of the ways standards are changing for Silicon Valley engineers.

More Skills, More Experience

Experience doesn’t always mean years on the job, but hiring managers in the tech industry are now expecting engineers to have a stronger grasp on a wider variety of tools. Whether that means you’ve used a suite of different coding languages to create fully-functional sites, or you’ve designed a feature-rich app, you have to have something concrete in your portfolio to get your foot in the door. With so many technologies at their disposal, tech companies like to see candidates with strong skills in a variety of areas. Create a well-rounded portfolio during your early years as an engineer to give yourself a jump start during your job search.

Creative Thinking & Other Soft Skills

Your technical capabilities, however, are no longer the be-all and end-all. You also have to work well in a team and have the ability to effectively communicate your ideas. Many of the more discerning companies are also looking for engineers who possess the ability to think creatively and find elegant, non-traditional solutions to common problems. If you possess these skills, you’ll be a more competitive candidate in the Silicon Valley tech industry. These skills, however, are often innate rather than learned, and can be difficult to replicate if they don’t come to you naturally.


In recent years, software engineers have gravitated towards social, consumer-based platforms like Facebook and Google. These industries often search for candidates with the ability to problem solve from an end user’s perspective. They need developers who can implement features and programs that would benefit and appeal to the consumer. This ingenuity can be hard to find in those who are more technical by nature, so the well-balanced engineer will find that their chances are actually better than those who are purely tech-savvy.

Meeting the new standards of Silicon Valley’s tech industry is a tall order for even the most qualified engineers. As the culture trends towards more social interfaces, they demand more socially minded engineers who can place themselves in the positions of their target audience. If you can partner creativity, collaborative effort, and the necessary know-how, you have the potential to meet and exceed these new expectations.

paranoia CISO

While it has never been seen as a desirable trait in any industry, many information security experts suggest that a healthy dose of paranoia may actually be good for business. After all, a paranoid leader is a vigilant one. This state of alertness can actually improve the defenses of your organization, through regular improvements, scheduled maintenance, and increased awareness in your company. So should you look for a CISO with a paranoid streak? Consider the benefits before making your final decision.

1. Paranoid CISOs search out advancements.

Paranoid CISOs are ever-improving. Because they constantly suspect that their organization is under attack, they’ll always be looking for new, advanced ways to fortify their defenses and stay informed on new developments in the industry. There’s always room for improvement, so your company will have the most up-to-date information security system available with new, multi-layered controls. This valuable instrumentation and increased depth can help prepare for a threat or attack before you’re even aware it’s there.

2. Paranoid CISOs never neglect necessary system maintenance.

Complacency is just as dangerous as an inherently weak security system. If your CISO isn’t taking the time to update and patch their managed program, they’re opening up channels for potential breaches. A paranoid CISO, on the other hand, constantly patches their program to ensure that no known weaknesses exist in the system. This regular maintenance might be neglected by complacent leaders, creating dangerous vulnerabilities in your organization.

3. Paranoid CISOs improve company awareness.

In their constant state of hyper-vigilance, a paranoid CISO will want to ensure that every member of your organization is doing their part to follow security protocols. This will help create a culture of data security to protect your company at every level. From data analyst to CEO, you organization will be more secure and less vulnerable to attack.

4. Paranoid CISOs develop a deep understanding of the company.

Not only will they understand the nature of each and every potential attack, but a paranoid CISO will also understand the potential consequences they may have on the company. Their deep-rooted knowledge of the business will motivate them to improve and monitor the system, specifically targeting the threats that may cause the most harm to the company.

So while paranoia is often the butt of office jokes, it may actually help the performance of a company’s security system. A paranoid CISO can do more for a business than a complacent leader. Embrace a healthy level of paranoia in your CISO for an improved system and better overall defenses against attacks.

interview objectivity

Remaining objective in an interview can be difficult. We’re often inclined to base our impressions of others on emotions and first impressions rather than fact. This can not only harm the interviewee, but it can also result in the loss of talented candidates. By maintaining objectivity and consistency in each of your interviews, you can ensure that the process is as thorough and accurate as possible.

These five key elements of an objective interview will keep you on the right track during your candidate search.

Create a Checklist

Before you begin reviewing resumes, create a checklist that you will follow for each interview. Steps can include “review the job description” or “review interview questions.” Closely following this protocol for each interview will help you maintain consistency throughout the hiring process.

Outline Your Expectations

It’s important to have a solid understanding of what you’re looking for in a candidate. Create a list of desired attributes, and rank them on a scale of importance from one to five. If computer skills are more important for this position than professionalism, for instance, then you will give that trait a higher rating. By outlining your expectations for the ideal candidate, you’ll be more able to objectively compare each individual interviewee to your set of desired characteristics.

Categorize Your Questions

As you’re writing your list of interview questions, try to categorize them by the list of traits determined above. If you need a candidate with project management skills, ask about occasions when they’ve influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership position. Other categories may be detail orientation, communication, and the ability to be a team player.

Use a Scoring System

Create a score sheet that will help you evaluate each candidate during the interview. Using your outlined traits, rate them on a scale of one to five. You should complete the score sheet as soon as possible after the end of the interview, while your impression is still objective. The same score sheet should be used for each interview.

Rank Each Candidate

Once you’ve rated your candidates, it’s time to compare their rating to the importance of each trait. Multiply the interviewee’s score in each category by its importance. This is their weighted score. Once you’ve weighted each category, add their total score and compare with other interviewees to choose the candidate best suited for the position.

These five elements of an objective interview process will aid you in choosing qualified candidates without clouding your judgment with emotions or “gut feelings.” This process is fair and consistent for the interviewees and delivers the best results for your company. By remaining consistent and impartial, you increase the effectiveness of your interview process and choose the best candidate each time.

it elements of success

In the past decade, we have seen dramatic changes in the technology available to businesses. From communication tools to advanced security features, these new elements are exceptionally valuable to modern businesses. But sifting through the wealth of available IT tools often seems like an impossible task. With so many options available, how can you choose the right tools for your company? To help you flesh out your IT arsenal, we’ve narrowed it down to five key elements that will keep your organization on track to success.

1. Incident Ticket Systems

Automated issue tracking can be a vital part of your business’s success. Its automatic bug log will help your IT staff quickly diagnose and address problems that may occur. Without a good ticketing system, important problems may get lost or overlooked in the flood of minor issues, or there may be some confusion on who each individual problem is assigned to. A good incident ticket system will help streamline this process and avoid major issues.

2. Project Management

A strong project management system should be integrated with your ticketing system, allowing managers and IT specialists to assign and complete tickets quickly and efficiently. Project management will help track assignments, establish standard responses to common problems, and allow for managers to oversee each project handled by your IT department.

3. Analytics

No matter what industry you work in, analytics tools are a vital part of making informed business decisions. You might track how customers behave on your website, your turnaround time on IT problems, or which kinds of clients bring in the most revenue. This can help you redirect your marketing efforts or restructure the way you resolve problems. By effectively analyzing data, you can make successful decisions for your company.

4. Remote Monitoring

With remote monitoring, your IT specialists have the power to access endpoint devices and address errors or bugs. This powerful cloud-based tool can save you both time and money, as well as allowing your IT staff to solve problems more efficiently. A remote monitoring system can be integrated with your system analytics, so your staff can monitor trends and catch hard-to-find errors.

5. Security

In many ways, security can often be the most important element of a successful IT system. With the frequency of cyberattacks on the rise, it’s important that you invest in a good security system to protect the confidentiality of your business, your employees, and your customers. These tools are extremely flexible, so you can choose a security setup that suits your unique business.

These five IT elements can not only streamline your operations, but protect you from catastrophic system errors and data breaches. By implementing each of these tools, your company will have everything it needs to succeed in our increasingly technological world.


talent aquisition pipelining

Technology is a core need for every organization today, and explosive growth in the tech arena has led to a shortage of IT talent. More companies are diversifying their talent acquisition strategies in order to fill IT staffing gaps, and one of the most effective methods for ensuring a smoother flow of talent is proactive pipelining.

What is talent pipelining?

Proactive pipelining is the process of building professional relationships with passive candidates — those who are already employed or may not be looking for a position at this time, yet would make a good fit with your organization.

Typical recruitment strategies are initiated when there are open positions that must be filled. With talent pipelining, the main goal is to be proactive and anticipate your hiring needs for the future — and then pre-qualify candidates who could fill those future roles, even if they’re not looking for an immediate career change.

The benefits of proactive pipelining

Talent pipelining is a long-term strategy that benefits your organization in many ways, including:

  • Stronger industry knowledge: The pipelining process requires a deeper understanding of your company’s long-term goals, the current talent landscape, and potential talent gaps within your organization. Engaging in talent pipelining helps you increase awareness and make smarter hiring decisions.
  • Shorter time-to-fill: With proactive pipelining, you can pull ahead of the game for recruiting and hiring, giving your organization the ability to fill open positions quickly and confidently from a pre-qualified pool of talent.
  • Reduce or eliminate cold candidates: When implemented effectively, proactive pipelining not only supplies you with candidates who already have a relationship with your organization, but also gives you access to a broader network of industry professionals who are familiar with your company — leading to more referrals and warm talent leads.
  • Ensure cultural fit: Finding candidates who fit your organizational culture is one of the most challenging aspects of hiring. Proactive pipelining allows you to gauge the cultural fit of candidates long before you reach the interview stage.

Talent pipelining best practices

The typical IT candidate search takes 45 days from initiation to the candidate’s start date. If you wait until your organization has a critical need for talent, you risk losing significant time on project starts, missing deadlines, and suffering from poor organizational performance when there’s a staff shortage.

Proactive talent pipelining can reduce or eliminate these costly delays. You can ensure that your talent needs are met by reviewing upcoming projects, and anticipating your hiring plans ahead of time with detailed information on the number of people and specific skills you’ll need for successful project completion.

For each position you’ll need to fill, develop a profile for the type of candidate you’re looking for that includes:

  • Project description and background
  • Projected start and end dates, and anticipated project duration
  • Talent budget for the project
  • Estimated work hours (full time, part time, or flexible)
  • Skill areas and domains required
  • Software tools and packages required
  • Desired candidate soft skills, behavioral, and personality traits

Once you’ve anticipated your IT talent needs, you can begin building a proactive pipeline that will save your organization time, money, and stress for future projects.

The Armada Group can help you develop plans for your future talent acquisition needs, and proactively recruit highly qualified candidates to fill your talent pipeline in anticipation of your hiring requirements. Contact us to learn more about proactive pipelining strategies that help you secure top talent quickly and effectively. 

android ios engineers

The global popularity of mobile continues to rise. More online traffic now comes from mobile devices than desktops, and the usage of mobile is projected to continue increasing as device technology spreads and advances. Of course, this means more employers are looking for IT pros who specialize in mobile engineering — particularly iOS and Android, the top mobile platforms.

Are you looking for a career in mobile software engineering? Here are the top skills and qualifications you should invest in to land a great job as an Android or iOS engineer, app, or web developer.

Education requirements for Android and iOS engineers

The requirements for education in this field vary from employer to employer, but experts suggest that educational requirements are becoming stricter as the economy recovers and competition for IT positions increase. In general, the preferred education levels for iOS and Android careers are either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in computer science or related fields.

Experience is also a major factor for mobile software engineers. For senior developer and engineer positions, employers typically look for a bachelor’s degree with seven years of experience, or a master’s degree with five years of experience.

Top technical skill requirements for iOS and Android engineers

While most employers have specific platform and programming language skills in mind for a given position, a well-rounded skill set increases your chances of landing a great job as a mobile engineer. Both Android and iOS engineer jobs require solid full stack skills, as well as a strong understanding of web and cloud technologies. Some of the most common cloud and web technologies that employers desire for mobile engineers include J2EE, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Amazon AWS.

Top desired hard skills for Android engineers may also include:

  • Experience working with open source technologies or Microsoft / .Net stacks, depending on the systems used by the employer — stack experience should include front end, web server, and database skills
  • Java development skills
  • Experience in developing applications for Android, with a strong understanding of the platform’s user interface (UI) design patterns
  • Unit testing and debugging skills

For iOS engineers, some of the top desired hard skills include:

  • Open source or common proprietary technology stack skills (Microsoft, .Net), depending on the employer’s preferred systems
  • A well-rounded understanding of the entire iOS codebase
  • Skills and/or experience with multiple programming languages and technologies

Desired soft skills for Android and iOS engineers

There are any number of job candidates who meet the requirements for technical skills when it comes to iOS and Android mobile engineering positions, so your soft skills will often make the difference in being hired for the job you want. The top soft skills employers look for in job candidates are similar for both Android and iOS developer positions, and include:

  • The ability to generate code quickly and efficiently, with relatively few bugs
  • Creativity, focus, and self motivation
  • Desire to keep up with the latest trends, innovations, and opportunities in mobile development and apply trends to current projects
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to work well in a team environment
  • A drive for learning and continuous improvement

Most importantly, employers are looking for Android and iOS engineers who are passionate about their work — with enthusiasm, strong attention to detail, and a dedication to providing exceptional user experiences through mobile application development.