what seasoned tech pros wish they wouldve known

Degrees and certifications are good preparation for technical jobs – partly! They give developers the technical skills they need to get started on their career. But school projects are different from projects in the real world. Just knowing the latest technology isn't enough to succeed. Here's a look at what developers wish they knew about the work world before their first day on the job.

Lifestyle Matters

When starting a job, developers often look at the project they'll be working on and the technology they'll be using. If it's an interesting project using the latest technology and the pay is good, it's often too tempting to say no. What developers often don't consider is the lifestyle that goes with that project. Does it have an intense, deadline-driven schedule? Are employees valued and rewarded for their contributions? When you finish school, you start shaping your life, and the environment at the office will have a big impact on how you feel and how much time you have for living it.

Coworkers Can Make or Break Your Experience

In school, many projects are independent; when there are group projects, students often pick their partners. In business, almost every project is a team project, and the manager makes the assignments. Being able to get along, cooperate, and collaborate with teammates is key for succeeding in real world development projects. Even developers who aren't leading a team need to become comfortable speaking up in meetings to share opinions and shape design decisions.

Make It Work

Software projects at school are often graded on the quality of the code. In business, how good the code looks isn't always important. Sometimes it just has to work. Even if the code is ugly and will make maintaining it more difficult in the long term, the wrong technical choice may be the right choice for the business if it meets an urgent business need.

Programming Isn't Everything

You need to write code, but there are very few developers who do nothing but write code. Development jobs in industry require being able to speak with business users to get requirements, work with technical partners to design architectures, work with quality teams to design test cases (or do your own testing if there is no separate QA team), oversee the product's build and deployment into production, and help the production support team resolve issues. No matter how much you enjoy programming, developing skills to engage in these "peripheral" tasks is necessary for success.

Whether you're starting out in your career or are already a seasoned pro, think about what you want from your next job and then contact The Armada Group. Our experienced recruiters work to understand your skills, abilities, and career dreams, then match you with a job where you can excel.

six things your developers hate

Want to reduce turnover on your technology team? You should; it can take months to replace an employee who resigns, and it can cost thousands of dollars to hire their replacement. Those are only the direct costs. There are also other costs that are harder to measure, like the impact on morale when the remaining employees need to take on additional work, and the impact on the business if a project is delayed due to a key employee's departure.

So managers should do their best to keep their developers happy with their work environment to keep them on the job. A recent survey identified the top factors that developers find challenging at work – and not in a good way. Make an effort to eliminate these six factors to retain the employees you need for your projects to succeed:

Unrealistic expectations.

Setting challenging goals is one thing. Setting impossible goals is another. When management expects more from its developers than they can deliver, whether it's an unreasonable schedule or asking more of a technology than it's capable of, the developers know there's no way they can succeed.

Poor documentation.

It's impossible to develop a quality application if you don't understand the business requirements or how the existing code works. Documentation that leaves many unanswered questions, or is missing entirely, frustrates developers. It means they can't start developing the solution without spending a ton of time just figuring out what they're working on.

Unspecific requirements.

Related to poor documentation, unspecific requirements make it impossible to tell what needs to be done to make the end users happy. Developers often read between the lines and guess, only to find out at the testing phase that they guessed wrong and need to redo their work.

Inefficient development processes.

If the team doesn't have efficient tools and procedures in place, developers spend a lot of time on administrative and manual tasks to track, manage, and build packages. That's time the developers would rather spend developing.

Fragile code base.

It's tough to create a quality project on a shaky foundation. No matter what the vision of a new release is, if the existing code is poorly structured, difficult to reuse, and easy to break, developers have to spend a lot of time reworking existing code before they get to the fun part of writing new features.

Changing requirements.

A lot of mental energy gets invested in designing and coding an application, so developers get attached to the features they're working on. When requirements change often, developers have to put that aside and start something new. That can be tough for them to accept.

Of course, even if you avoid all these issues, you'll still have employees occasionally resigning – life happens, after all. When you need to find top talent, The Armada Group takes time to understand your needs and match your opening to the ideal candidates. Contact us to learn how we can help you find employees who'll be happily challenged working for you.

cios must find tech talent faster than ever

Technology is shaping businesses more than ever, which means finding the right technology staffers is more important than ever. Because technology offers a competitive advantage, failing to hire the right people, fast, will make companies fall behind their competition in the race for customers. Ultimately, in today's world, technology is the business.

Technology and Business Both Need Top Technical Staff

In a strange way, that's made hiring the right technical people even harder. Because technology underpins business solutions and business strategy, both the business team and the IT team need to hire employees with technical skills.

Technology Skills Change Rapidly, Staff Needs to Keep Up

The technical staff who solved yesterday's problems may not be the right people to solve tomorrow's problems. Companies need to hire people who can solve today's problems, but they also need people who can envision the future and understand how to deploy upcoming technology to avoid tomorrow's problems. This can mean a constant scramble to hire, using outsourcing to fill in skills gaps, using new approaches like crowdsourcing to bring in new ideas, or implementing a well thought-out training program that helps IT employees evolve along with the technology.

Transforming Education and Business

Besides an in-house training program to develop employees, businesses need to work with the educational institutions in their area to transform the curriculum and create programs that focus on the skills employers need. Internally, businesses need to transform the employee experience, much as they're transforming the customer experience, to operate digitally and appeal to skilled staff who want to work in sophisticated, innovative technology environments.

Transforming the Hiring Process

Working with The Armada Group can be part of a company's employee experience transformation. With our understanding of the job market, your opening's specific requirements, and our deep pool of technically capable candidates, we can screen and match candidates and openings efficiently and effectively. Whether the IT worker will join a business team or the IT department, we help make the hiring process smooth, seamless, and appealing to top candidates. Contact us to learn how to find the talent your company needs to build its competitive advantage. 

how to plan for a full day of changes

Succeeding as a software architect is all about time management, but it's not about managing time the way you think. Software architects need to manage the project present, the project future, and the project past.

The Project Present

The software architect has to make the technical design decisions the project needs today. Developers need to know what tools to work with and how their code needs to be structured. The software architect helps make those decisions, selecting tools that let the application be coded most easily to satisfy the business requirements, and collaborates with the developers to build the application. The architect needs to select the tools and create a design to meet the unstated requirements too; the factors like performance metrics and the "ilities" – quality, reliability, usability – that are critical for an application's success once real users get their hands on it.

The Project Future

The architect's decisions can't be based solely on what's easiest to do today. The architect needs to be able to envision the future of the application. What isn't included in release 1.0 that will need to be in release 2.0? Design decisions made now can hinder or help the team's future development work, requiring modules to be rewritten or refactored to make them more usable. The architect needs to consider how technology will change in the future, too, to avoid tying the application to any tool that may rapidly be obsolete.

The Project Past

When deployed applications have problems in production, the architect may be called on to help the production support team investigate and resolve the issue. Through their deep understanding of the system design and its development history, architects can identify bottlenecks and root causes and propose new configurations and solutions to the problem.

If you have success as a software architect in the past or are envisioning succeeding as a software architect in the future, The Armada Group can help you find a position that will challenge you and let you grow over time. Search our jobs or contact us to learn how we can help you architect your career path.

embrace the gig economy by hiring millenials

Millennials came of age during challenging economic times. Many had trouble finding good jobs after school, settling for jobs they were overqualified for or working at internship after internship, hoping to get an "in" with a good company and a good job.

Now, the work habits that were forced on millennials are impacting employers. Millennials don't have the same experiences or expectations of the workplace that other generations had, and employers who want to hire millennials, perhaps to replace retirees of older generations, need to adapt the way they work to appeal to the younger generation.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Millennials don't expect to be tied to their workplace for a 40-hour work week. They've grown up with computer technology that keeps them connected around the clock, wherever they are; they don't see why work should have to me going to a specific place at a specific time. The "gig economy" lets them work on projects in short bursts of time when they have availability, giving them the freedom to pursue personal interests and passion projects. While those positions were initially focused on low-level, menial tasks such as running errands and standing in line, newer gig firm let even grads with advanced degrees like MBAs work on a short-term basis.

In order to compete for workers who prefer that kind of arrangement, firms need to offer flexible work arrangements that extend beyond an occasional "work-from-home" day. This might mean hiring millennials on a part-time basis; to succeed, the part-time schedule has to be desired by the employee rather than an attempt to save on the cost of benefits.

Companies can also consider having their millennials work as internal consultants. Rather than being assigned to a specific department or project, they could work for any department that has need of their skill on a specific project. This has the advantage of providing the employee a broad perspective on the company's operations. By also providing the millennial employee a large number of internal contacts, this helps the employee develop connections needed that help professional growth.

Opportunities for Growth

The gig economy lets workers accept the jobs that interest them so they can develop their interests. Within a company, implementing a formal mentorship program will also appeal to millennials who are focused on career development. Companies also need to present millennials with a clear career path, perhaps through implementing leadership programs. Companies also need to refine their mission statement to reflect the millennial values of work interests go beyond financial success.

The Armada Group's talent database includes the best potential employees of every generation. Contact us to learn how to find the best candidates and how to make your job appeal to them.

 data shows developers will leave for these perks

Many people are drawn to technical careers by a love of technology; they enjoy the creativity those careers require and the challenges they provide. Others are drawn to technical careers by more practical concerns: tech careers are among the best-paying opportunities out there. But even if your developers love their jobs because they love technology, they still want to be fairly compensated. That compensation isn't limited to their paycheck; benefits and perks matter, too. Work with your human resources and budgeting teams to make sure your company provides developers these crucial perks:

Standard benefits.

Start with a basic benefits package – 401K, stock options, paid time off including vacation, sick days, and personal days. Don't be tempted to leave insurance to the government-run exchanges; employer plans can offer better options and better networks. Offer, and subsidize, the cost of dental and vision insurance as well as medical insurance.

State-of-the-art equipment.

Sure, developers can work on any old computer, but they'll get a lot more done and be a lot happier with top-of-the-line equipment. The larger the monitor, the better, and the more monitors, the better, too. Make sure you have enough printers, so developers don't have to walk all the way around the building to pick up a printout. The paperless office isn't a reality for developers or anyone.

Quiet space where they can think.

Coding problems aren't solved on the computer; they're solved in the developer's mind, first. The open workspace with low cubicle walls is filled with distractions that make concentration difficult, which frustrates developers who want to get their jobs done. Even if you can't give everyone an office with real walls and a door, provide a quiet space where they can go to simply think through a tough challenge.

Freedom to use the best technology to solve the problem.

You need a stable technology platform, and mixing multiple technologies can complicate support, but don't force your team to use a tool that isn't appropriate for the task at hand just because you have the support capability. Developers want to work with new technology that makes it easier and more fun to solve the hard problems.

Training in new technology.

To use the best and newest technology, your team needs to understand it. Support your developers in learning those skills; don't force them to study on their own time but encourage them to attend off-site seminars where they can concentrate on learning without being distracted by day-to-day business issues. The commitment to their development will boost morale as well as their technical capabilities.

These perks help developers get their jobs done and demonstrate the value your company places on their skills, which boosts morale and their loyalty to your business. Contact The Armada Group to learn how we can help your business find employees who love technology and want to apply their skills to solving your problems.