While most companies understand that embracing automation is smart business, many leaders are only beginning to grasp the nuances of what is available today. Even as robotic process automation (RPA) garners more attention, not everyone fully understands what the technology can do.
If you are one of the many who is wondering what RPA entails, here’s what you need to know.
What Robotic Process Automation Is
At its simplest, RPA is a form of business process automation that takes advantage of next-level artificial intelligence (AI). It creates a mechanism to remove manual tasks that are highly repetitive and tedious from the hands of your staff, creating a way to increase overall efficiency.
At a deeper level, RPA is a technology that allows humans to create software that can accomplish specific tasks within existing applications, such as processing a transaction, triggering responses, leveraging data, or communicating with other systems. It makes the most of both APIs and user interfaces to fully automate a business process from end-to-end.
RPA also have the ability to combine the work of a human user with the software, creating more potential service capabilities. These solutions are often considered hybrids, but embrace RPA at their core as a means of boosting productivity.
What Robotic Process Automation Isn’t
RPA isn’t necessarily a method for reducing staff requirements or eliminating certain professions. Instead, it’s a technology that empowers employees to focus on tasks that genuinely necessitate a human touch, such as customer-centric activities or those that require creative thinking.
While it may help lighten workloads, RPA is more often seen as an opportunity to reassess staff priorities and realign their duties and objectives to make the most of the new paradigm. Employees can be more productive or branch out into new arenas, creating pathways for growth that can benefit both the workers and the company as a whole.
The Benefits of Robotic Process Automation
Typically, RPA allows monotonous tasks to be handled by a technology instead of your workers. Often, these are some of the most hated duties in the company, so allowing them to be managed by a machine can actually boost morale.
Additionally, it gives your staff the ability to focus on more revenue-generating, customer-centric, or innovative activities. This can enhance productivity and profitability while also providing a business a competitive edge over companies that have yet to embrace the power of the technology.
Ultimately, RPA can be a valuable tool for any company, particularly those who leverage it to enhance productivity and create the needed space to promote innovation and discovery or provide better support to potential and existing customers.
If you would like to know more about robotic process automation or are seeking an IT professional with RPA experience to help implement the technology in your company, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
As cybersecurity threats continue to multiple and major breaches hit the headlines on a regular basis, more companies are seeking highly skilled security engineers to make sure their systems are secure against the latest threats. To be a top candidate for these roles, you need to bring certain key skills to the table. Otherwise, you might not catch the attention of the hiring manager.
If you are wondering which skills can help you become a top security engineer, here are a few you absolutely need.
Security Product Expertise
Security engineers interact with a range of tech products while performing their duties. Everything from firewall management to URL filtering to virus protection fall under their purview, so knowing how to use the tools and technologies required to accomplish those goals is essential.
Similarly, security engineers need a firm grasp on what a variety of security products and services should cost. Since many security professionals are tasked with making recommendations when a new solution is required, understanding what is and isn’t a good deal is a valuable area of expertise to bring to the table.
Passion for the Subject
New threats emerge on a daily basis, and skilled security engineers understand the need to remain up to date at all times. Those who have an enthusiasm for their field are often more adept at staying informed, largely because the topic is of genuine interest.
Additionally, passion makes sorting through information regarding the latest security-related technology updates less cumbersome. Those with enthusiasm enjoy digging into the details to learn more about what the patches or new releases have to offer, making them more valuable in the eyes of employers.
Written and Verbal Communication
Security engineers need to be able to relay complex information, both verbally and in writing, to a variety of other professionals and stakeholders. This includes individuals who may not have an IT background, making it a necessity to be able to translate the “tech speak” into simpler language to promote understanding.
Aside from security products, security engineers also need a firm grasp on a range of other technical topics. This can include various operating systems, coding languages, and network operations. Without these core understandings, it can be more difficult to assess a company’s needs, identify vulnerabilities, guarantee compatibility, and troubleshoot problems.
Time Management and Organization
Without time management and organizational skills, any security engineer would struggle to remain appropriately productive. Many projects are complex in nature, and even daily duties can be highly time-sensitive, making these core competencies must-haves if you want to excel in the field.
By acquiring the skills above, you too can position yourself as a top security engineer, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers. If you would like to learn more about what makes a successful security engineer or are seeking out a new position in the field, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our tech expertise can benefit you.
There is often some level of debate regarding which characteristics truly define great leaders in a company. Some assume that subject-matter expertise is the most critical while others think that decisiveness is imperative.
While both of those can provide value, there are some unexpected traits that many of today’s greatest tech leaders share. By working to cultivate these in yourself, you can excel in your leadership role and make sure your team is primed to perform to the best of their capabilities.
With that in mind, here are three unlikely traits that extraordinary tech leaders have in common.
The Willingness to Trust First
Many managers assume that trust needs to be earned. Similarly, they feel that a single misstep on the part of another is justification to make them re-earn trust, even if it is a relatively minor infraction.
This approach can create a contentious situation, leading employees to feel they need to either show-off to showcase they are trustworthy or walk on eggshells to avoid harming the relations. However, if you give trust freely to your team, they usually rise to the occasion and may even exceed your expectations.
By believing in your staff and their abilities quickly, you demonstrate your confidence in what they can do. This can significantly boost morale, increase productivity, and potentially spur innovation, especially if you create a safe environment for the expression of ideas.
Understanding the Power of Humility
Some managers believe that humility is a character flaw. They assume that it’s a sign of meekness or low self-esteem, largely because, to be humble, one must be open to recognizing their own shortcomings.
However, contrary to popular belief, humility is rarely a sign of weakness. In reality, humble leaders are more adept at building meaningful connections with their team and colleagues and are also more willing to help when the need arises, ensuring the success of the group during trying times.
Humility also means being able to admit your mistakes, a sign of accountability, or recognize when someone has a better idea than you. This creates an environment where your team learns to trust and respect you, enhancing the overall dynamic.
A Penchant for Active Listening
Too many managers fail to listen actively. Instead of genuinely absorbing the information as it is given, they simply wait for their turn to speak, formulating their response before they have heard all of the details.
When you are an active listener, you are able to discover what others need with greater ease. You’ll also be more open to their contributions in general, ensuring that you don’t overlook an amazing idea simply because you weren't receptive.
Ultimately, the three characteristics above are often hallmarks of great IT managers, making them worth developing if you want to create the best environment possible. If you would like to learn more about the traits that define extraordinary tech leaders, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our leadership expertise can benefit you.
As the holiday season approaches, many managers look for ways to express their appreciation to their IT team. However, if you want your employees to genuinely feel valued, you have to look beyond the acknowledgements that you typically dole out this time of year.
Often, to show your staff that you value them, you need to make an effort to ensure they feel heard, and this can’t be accomplished if you only focus on it during the holidays. If you want to make sure your IT team knows they are valued, here’s what you need to do.
Say “Thank You” Often
Managers are typically overtasked. This means it is easy to forget how your team keeps projects and daily activities moving forward, as it’s just part of the day-to-day. However, by actively trying to remember to thank them for their contributions, you demonstrate that you value what they have to offer. Plus, it shows that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that they are appreciated.
It also helps to extend your thanks beyond yourself. Let your team know when stakeholders appreciate the results of their efforts as well, especially if they don’t have an opportunity to interact directly with other leaders or customers.
Be an Active Listener
You can’t make your IT team feel heard if you spend the entire conversation merely waiting for your chance to speak. While you plan your response, you miss critical details in the discussion, and this can cause your employees to become frustrated if their input was ignored, even if it was unintentional.
When your employees speak, make sure to focus solely on listening. Take in every word and wait for a natural pause before you even begin to formulate a response. That way, you won’t miss a vital part of the conversation and your reply can be more meaningful.
Give Them Challenges
While every IT role comes with a certain level of monotony, giving your employees a chance to stretch outside of their comfort zones or take on a challenge can actually show that you value them. By allowing them to use their unique talents to take on something new, you demonstrate your trust in their abilities and interest in helping them grow.
See Them as Individuals
In IT, functioning as part of a team is the norm. This makes praising the group more common when a job is well done since multiple people were critical to the overall success of the project.
While recognizing the team’s efforts is wise, you also want to see them as individuals. Highlight each person’s achievements to make them feel seen and single them out if they truly went above and beyond. This ensures that every employee understands that they are valued for what they bring to the table and not just what they can accomplish together.
If you would like to know about how you can show your IT team you value them this season and beyond, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
Top performing site reliability engineers (SREs) often have a few things in common. While technical prowess is a given, they also share a certain attitude toward their role and how their efforts integrate into the larger picture. If you are looking to excel in the field, here are seven things you can do to be a successful SRE.
Look at the Big Picture
Exceptional SREs always have the big picture in mind. They are able to analyze how each change could impact the business today as well as in the future. This ability to look beyond the now to effectively consider risk and future impacts is a critical habit for anyone who wants to be successful in the field.
Similar to the point above, great SREs are able to determine how their efforts impact others, including the system itself and their coworkers. They strive to break down informational silos and aim to always keep the work of others in the back of their mind, ensuring their changes don’t harm the business by negatively affecting the team.
Let Go of Duds
At times, an SRE has to determine if a process or procedure is actually enhancing productivity. In cases where a well-intentioned effort isn’t panning out, you have to be able to let it go and move on. This means making efficiency and quality results a priority, no matter how much time was dedicated to an approach that isn’t actually beneficial.
For some IT professionals, automation feels like a threat to their jobs. However, in many cases, it serves as a way to increase accuracy and efficiency while simultaneously freeing you up to focus on tasks that genuinely require your attention. This is especially true of monotonous, tedious, or repetitive work where opting to automate can actually be a source of relief.
Be an Advocate for Change
At times, you’ll need to convince organizational leaders and stakeholders to make a critical change, such as automating a particular task, that provides a substantial benefit but seems to go against tradition. A top-notch SRE understands that being a confident advocate in these instances is a necessity, and they strive to acquire the skills it takes to do so effectively.
Make Learning a Priority
Technology changes at a rapid pace, so trying to avoid the inevitable often means your skill set suffers. Talented SREs understand the value in embracing every learning opportunity, both as a means of future-proofing their skill set as well as increasing efficiency and productivity.
Strive for Better
While perfection is impossible, as preventing a system from ever breaking down isn’t realistic, successful SREs know that always striving to be better is a critical mindset to maintain. It ensures you remain open-minded about change, allowing you to adjust continuously if something will produce better results.
If you would like to learn more about what successful SREs are doing, the professionals at The Armada Group would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our technical expertise can benefit you.
Open source may seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread to some developers, leading to the growth of a healthy and expanding community of highly involved professionals. However, some developers appear to actively avoid open source, shying away from the larger communities and avoiding projects that embrace open source code.
While it may seem odd that a highly skilled developer would give open source the cold shoulder, there are numerous reasons why this happens. If you are wondering why so many developers avoid open source, here’s what you need to know.
They Are Intimidated
Surprisingly, many developers are actually intimidated by open source. While starting anything new can be scary, many worry that they don’t have the right skills to contribute effectively.
This sense of doubt around their abilities leaves them fearful. Often, the idea of being criticized by their peers, especially those with significant experience in open source, makes joining these communities particularly daunting, and many opt to stay away entirely.
However, many of the communities are actually incredibly open. People willingly share their advice and are often more than happy to help. Typically, there’s a feeling of everyone facing a challenge together, but developers only discover this after they make the leap.
They Don’t Know Where to Begin
Another common issue surrounding open source is a lack of clear pathways on how to get started. Finding a point of entry isn’t always easy, especially because the communities are vast and many of the discussions are long-standing, filled with notes and contributions.
Figuring out where to start contributing isn’t intuitive. However, in many cases, the best approach is just to jump in and put yourself out there. Every contribution can provide someone with value, so there really isn’t a reason to wait for a “perfect moment” that probably will never arrive.
They Need More Support
While companies are asking developers to do more with open source, not all of them are providing their staff with the support they need. It takes time and resources to make the most of open source, so ensuring that workers have what they require is essential to success.
Similarly, many businesses shy away from open source until it is extremely well-vetted. This means, even if an employee finds an amazing solution, management isn’t open to discussing it unless it is already widely adopted. The lack of interest ends up discouraging some developers from diving deeper into the world of open source, creating a scenario where missed opportunities are almost guaranteed to occur.
Ultimately, open source options are nearly always worth exploring. However, developers need to learn to set their fears aside and simply jump into the conversations while companies need to focus on being open-minded about what these solutions could potentially offer. Then, and only then, will more professionals and organizations be able to realize the potential of open source.
If you are interested in learning more, the team at The Armada Group would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today to speak with one of our skilled staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.
When it comes to creating a tech resume, one of the most hotly debated points is how long a resume should be. Most professionals have been conditioned to believe that a one-page document is ideal, if not the only option. However, as more resumes are submitted electronically, the old advice has become less relevant.
Before you submit your resume for consideration, understand that it is okay if you end up with a two-page document, but only if both pages provide the right amount of value. If you are trying to decide which length is right for you, here is what you need to know.
Focus on Quality
Every sentence, accomplishment, and bullet point on your resume should provide the hiring manager with value. By nature, a solid resume is a combination of thorough and concise, relaying critical information in the most streamlined way possible.
Usually, this means you shouldn’t add every detail about every position you’ve ever held. Instead, you need to identify which points are genuinely relevant and eliminate anything extraneous.
If, after you audit your resume, you end up with a two-page document filled with points that align with the vacancy announcement and showcase you as an ideal candidate, then you can submit it as is. However, if anything doesn’t speak to what is requested in the job ad, then remove it and, if you end up with a one-page resume, send it that way.
Consider White Space
Often, if you are actively having to cram your relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments onto one-page by overly tweaking the margins, font size, or line spacing, you end up with a wall of text that’s hard to read, which is never ideal. A resume should be a comfortable combination of text and white space, so, if space is no longer on your side, then opting for a two-page resume is a better choice.
As you craft your resume, try to keep the margins set to one inch and the text around 12-point. If, by doing so, you genuinely need that second page, then let the information spill over.
The Length of Page Two
If you finish your tech resume and page two only have one to three lines on it, then you may be better off condensing to one-page. Otherwise, it may look like the spillover is accidental or that you lacked the ability to edit the document down properly.
However, if you’ve crossed into four lines or more, then resist the urge to fill the remaining space unless you have pertinent details to include. Usually, if you try to force it, all you end up with is a bunch of fluff that doesn’t provide value, and that isn’t a great approach if you want to keep the hiring manager’s attention.
Ultimately, having a two-page tech resume is okay as long as all of the points are relevant to the role and presented in a concise manner. If you would like to know more about resume building or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruiters today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.
There are tons of tech podcasts available today. Figuring out which ones are worth your time and attention can be challenging as few professionals have time to give everyone a try to narrow down the list.
Luckily, there are a few that stand out from the pack. While they are each incredibly unique, they all provide value to tech professionals looking to take a deeper dive into current events, emerging technology, career management, the impact of gadgets on daily life, and much more. If you are looking for a tech podcast to add to your playlist, here are five worth exploring.
Accidental Tech Podcast
Known as ATP to its fans, the Accidental Tech Podcast features three developer hosts who dig into everything from industry news to emerging products to programming languages. Their high-level of expertise give them credibility, and their passion for the topic keeps things exciting. Plus, they speak like a group of best friends, making you feel like you are simply part of the gang.
A podcast with a distinct formula, Clockwise always features a round-table discussion. Along with the two hosts, two industry guests present their thoughts on a range of tech topics. The show never gets long-winded, as every podcast is limited to 30 minutes or less. This means you can enjoy insights about some of today’s most interesting and, at times, controversial subjects in a highly digestible format.
The first and most popular tech podcast featuring an all-female set of hosts, Rocket discusses technology and geek culture. Their discussions on anything from tech to video games to comics are genuinely as enjoyable as they are informative.
Back to Work
This podcast focuses more on employment topics than IT specifically, but it is still incredibly valuable for tech professionals who want to keep their career on the right track. The discussions encourage you to really take a realistic look at your job and how you do it, providing tips and insights on key subjects like productivity, communication, tools, workplace barriers, and more.
A unique take on the tech podcast genre, Analog(ue) focuses on the human aspect of technology, including how today’s gadgets impact daily life, for better or for worse. It provides a unique perspective on the impact of technology and may give you insights that can help you determine what products may be beneficial to your lifestyle as well as those that may do more harm than good.
Ultimately, all of the tech podcasts listed above are great additions to any playlist. Consider giving one (or all) of them a try and see which ones resonate with you. If you would like to discover more amazing tech podcasts, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled IT specialists today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
Many Netflix employees extol the virtues of the company’s generous benefits package and positive corporate culture. However, one interesting aspect that often garners positive attention is actually Netflix’s termination policy.
If you are wondering why employees embrace Netflix’s approach to assessing whether a worker should stay or be let go, here’s what you need to know about their unique approach.
The “Keeper Test”
Netflix understands that to build strong teams, every member needs to provide value. As a means of determining whether an employee is meeting the needs of the business, they are subject to the “keeper test.”
With the keeper test, managers consider one key question: If the employee was considering leaving Netflix for another company, would I strive to convince them to stay? If the manager would answer that with a “no,” then the person is either terminated or encouraged to leave on their own.
The approach is designed to ensure that only “highly effective” workers are retained. Not only does it ensure that mediocre employees don’t bog down their teams, but it also motivates employees to always be at their best, as everyone is subject to the seemingly ruthless evaluation.
Netflix has also employed a formal tool, known as “360,” to give everyone the ability to review anyone else in the company, including CEO Reed Hastings. Additionally, it provides every worker with insight into why any person has been let go, a critical part of the company’s transparency-focused culture.
Together, they help managers to determine which employees are actually worth keeping. Additionally, it even leads to shakeups at the upper levels of the corporate hierarchy, serving as a non-traditional playbook for making retention decisions.
Is Emulating Netflix Wise?
Ultimately, when combined, the keeper test and 360 are meant to promote objectivity when it comes to hiring decisions. It removes emotions from much of the process, as whether an employee is liked is less important than if they are effective and productive. While this can certainly be beneficial, it doesn’t mean Netflix’s model is ideal for every business.
In some cases, the risk of being quickly terminated can lead some to constantly fear being fired, even if they don’t make a mistake. This can increase stress and potentially harm productivity, even in top performers if they have a tendency toward anxiety.
Similarly, it relies on management being able to set emotion aside at all times, which isn’t something everyone can do. Further, a good employee who is well liked may be better in your company than a tremendous talent whose personality clashes with the rest of the team, something that can breed conflict and harm overall productivity.
However, that doesn’t mean that companies can’t learn from Netflix’s approach, particularly if there is a tendency to keep mediocre workers without just cause.
If you would like to learn more about effective internal policies, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions or concerns with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
Toxic workplaces are incredibly damaging to morale and are often considered the leading cause of employee burnout. While most professionals would never willingly accept a role in such an environment, it is often hard to understand the severity of the situation until you are in it personally. At times, this occurs once you begin a new job. In others, the existing culture morphs into something toxic over time, leaving you a bit stuck.
If you find yourself in a toxic work environment, there are things you can do to make it more manageable. Here’s how to get started.
Resist the Urge to Join In
When it comes to a toxic culture, the old adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” should not apply. While going along with the crowd may seem like the easiest way to avoid becoming a target of negativity, it is almost guaranteed to damage your reputation both inside and out of the company. This can make it harder to secure new opportunities when the need arises.
Similarly, it can also reflect poorly on you as an employee. Even if a workplace is toxic, that attitude rarely extends to everyone. If those above you on the ladder notice your change if behavior, it can harm your ability to grow professionally.
Build a Support Network
Having colleagues or other professionals you can trust in your corner can make it easier to survive in a toxic workplace. If you have a few coworkers you can rely on it may be easier to keep your spirits up and avoid negative incidents.
Additionally, having a large professional network increases your odds of learning about new opportunities in companies with more favorable conditions. Then, you may be able to make a speedy exit to greener pastures if you feel that is the best course of action.
Enhance Your Skills
Even the most toxic workplaces have something to offer. If you get a chance to join interesting projects or acquire new knowledge, make sure to take advantage of them. This gives you more to showcase on your resume, increasing the odds that when you apply elsewhere that you’ll impress the hiring manager.
Document What Happens
If you are exposed to toxic events, make sure to keep copious notes about what occurs. Save any emails, record information after meetings, and otherwise track what happened and when it happened.
By documenting everything, you give yourself the evidence you need to either push for change or to simply protect yourself, both of which can be valuable in their own right.
Ultimately, by following the tips above, you can survive a toxic workplace. Then, if you feel like you need to make a change, you can do so at your own pace and without undue pressure to escape. If you would like to learn more about how to deal with a toxic environment or are seeking a new position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruiters and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.