Blocking Sites

 

IT managers are typically tasked with deciding whether certain websites should be blocked on the next work. Members of the leadership team usually favor the idea, asserting that restricting access to potential “timewasters” like social media sites ensures employees won’t be distracted by non-work activities.

 

However, many workers push back on the idea, insisting that these sites offer a source of enjoyment and can be beneficial to morale. Additionally, many managers and employees are fully aware that, even if you block a site, that doesn’t mean a worker won’t turn to their personal smartphone to access the websites anyway.

 

Considering that you can’t prevent an employee from wasting time entirely, can blocking websites actually boost productivity? If you are wondering the same thing, here’s what you need to know.

 

Does Blocking Sites Help Productivity?

According to a recent survey, blocking websites does have a positive impact on productivity. When a company restricts access to classic timewasters, such as social media, employees spend less time on sites that are unrelated to their jobs during the course of a standard workweek.

 

The reduction in such activity is actually fairly dramatic, too. In businesses that don’t block sites, 58 percent of workers admitted to spending a minimum of four hours a week on timewaster website. Over the course of a year, that means that more than half of the organization’s workforce wastes approximately 26 days every year on sites that don’t relate to their job.

 

When social media websites alone are restricted, only 30 percent of workers admit spending four or more hours each week on such timewaster sites.

 

 

What Sites Should Be Blocked?

Social media is often an obvious target when it comes to blocking sites, but there are a variety of other websites that should potentially be on the table. Anything illegal or unethical are obvious additions to the list, and dating sites are also timewasters that should be on the chopping block.

 

Personal instant messaging sites are also potential targets. Music and video streaming websites are also frequently blocked and just because they could potentially be distracting, but also because they can require a substantial amount of bandwidth.

 

When you are examining which sites to block, also consider if any websites pose a security risk. This can include sites that may contain malware as well as those that may allow business communications or data to be sent and stored outside of the organization (regardless of the presence of encryption) without the company’s knowledge or approval.

 

Ultimately, the decision regarding which sites should or shouldn’t be blocked usually lies in the hands of leadership and the IT team. However, it’s wise to create a robust policy regarding the use of business assets for personal activities and to make it clear that certain websites will be blocked as well as the general reasoning behind those decisions. This ensures your staff is well-informed regarding the choice, decreasing the odds that they’ll object.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your business needs today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Google Learns from Failure

 

While the term “postmortem” may conjure up some grisly images, that is the word Google decided to assign to its process of assessing its failures to allow them to make improvements. It involves an internal process of documenting mistakes and analyzing missteps so that the company can learn from these errors.

 

Ultimately, any organization can embrace Google’s approach, allowing them to benefit from this tried-and-true system. If you are ready to see your failures in a new light, here’s how to get started.

 

Identify the Most Significant Problems

Not every incident is as serious as others. When you want to focus on improvements that provide the most value, it’s wise to focus on issues that are genuinely important.

 

To determine which events qualify, you need to define what constitutes a major problem for your company. This may include evaluating the potential ramifications of an incident, ranging from the level of impact the organization feels to how it affects customers, as well as how severe the long-term implications are should the issue remain unresolved.

 

Document Everything

Creating a written record of the issue is a critical part of the process. It allows you to review precisely what occurred, what led to the problem, how it was mitigated, and the final resolution. Then, you can focus on defining steps that can prevent the misstep from reoccurring in the future.

 

If you want the documentation process to be successful, it’s wise to gather input from all involved parties. This ensures you get a complete picture of the incident as well as the perspectives of anyone who worked on the matter.

 

It also allows every team member to reflect on the scenario, which can potentially lead to additional insights that weren’t clear during the height of the incident. The process can be a little time-consuming, but it is worth it in the end.

 

Focus on Growth

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to play the blame game. After all, no one wants to believe they are even partially responsible for what occurred.

 

However, focusing on blame isn’t constructive. It creates an environment that is based on fear as people work to dodge any repercussions.

 

Instead of allowing blame to dominate the conversation, shift the discussion to a more constructive place by making growth the priority. This will enable you to reframe the incident as a chance to improve instead of as a setback.

 

Additionally, when you remove blame from the equation, your team will be more likely to admit their mistakes or failures, increasing the odds that you’ll be able to learn from the entire situation. Leaders also need to be honest about their errors. Otherwise, your employees won’t be as open.

 

By following the tips above, you can use Google’s approach as a positive example for addressing problems as they occur. If you would like to learn more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Time to Quit

 

Let’s face facts: figuring out if you need to quit your IT job isn’t easy. Ultimately, you want to make sure you are making the right choice, and it’s common to feel conflicted about leaving.

 

However, there are certain signals that could suggest that making a move is the best option. Here are seven signs that quitting might be the right move.

 

  1. The Idea of Work Fills You with Dread

While every day at work can’t be a walk in the park, constantly dreading heading into the workplace is a sign that the job may be a poor fit. If you keep trying to convince yourself that it’s just a “bad week” or “bad month,” but things never improve, leaving may be the best option for preserving your well-being.

 

  1. Your Boss Isn’t Knowledgeable

No one knows it all. But, if your manager doesn’t seem to be knowledgeable in critical areas that relate to your department or role, then that can quickly become frustrating. If you don’t trust that your boss has the knowledge and skills required to make good decisions and lead things in the proper direction, it can cause feelings of anger, doubt, or anxiety.

 

If you find yourself repeatedly doubting your manager’s level of competence, then it may be wise to move on.

 

  1. The Company is Failing

Working for a business that may not survive is challenging. While some employees feel that sticking it out is the “right” thing to do, hanging on to an employer that is going under is going to increase your stress levels.

 

Even if you feel loyal to the organization or your manager, if you witness signs that the end is on the horizon, it could be wise to at least plan for your exit, and the sooner, the better. If you wait until the company closes its doors, you could be stuck hitting the job market with your former coworkers, leading to more competition when you find a new opportunity. In contrast, by starting early, you may be able to land another job before everyone else starts applying.

 

 

  1. You Hate the Work

While it is unrealistic to expect to love every task that falls into your hands, if none of your duties ignite your passion, then moving on could be a smart decision. Being enthusiastic about your work is necessary for long-term success. Whether you need to find a job at a different company or shift into a new career depends on how far your distaste for the field goes, so be honest with yourself about how you feel and then make an appropriate change.

 

  1. You’ve Hit a Ceiling

Being comfortable on the job isn’t automatically a bad thing. But, if you aren’t improving your skills, engaged in exciting activities, or given a chance to advance, your job could be holding back your career.

 

In some cases, if you’ve hit your career peak, that’s okay. However, if you have bigger goals, then you may need to seek out an employer that can help you get there. Otherwise, you could end up feeling trapped and stagnant, and that isn’t good for your overall well-being.

 

  1. Your Health is Suffering

No job is worth your health. If job stress is leading you to experience depression, anxiety, frequent illnesses, headaches, or worse, then it’s better to move on.

 

  1. Your Personal Life is Gone

Whether its job stress, long hours, the inability to take a vacation, or anything else, if your job is significantly affecting your personal life, it could be time to leave.

 

Ultimately, staying in a bad job can be harmful to your career, your health, and your overall well-being, and any of the signs listed above could signal that it’s time for a change. If you are interested in exploring new employment options, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our services can help you find your ideal role.

 

 

Cybersecurity Salary

 

With the implementation of GDPR in May and information about leaks and breaches continuing to make headlines on a regular basis, cybersecurity is increasingly at the forefront of every company’s mind. This has created substantial opportunities for professionals working in the field, but some are more lucrative than others.

 

While your skill set and level of experience play a substantial role in determining your current or future salary, one seemingly innocuous factor also has an impact: your job title.

 

Even when the core competencies and experience level are predominately the same, the title associated with your current or next position can either help or hurt you when it comes to pay. If you are wondering why your title affects your cybersecurity salary, here’s what you need to know.

 

Job Title Nuances

Certain words within a job title can alert how you are perceived. This can lead to salary variances, impacting the amount you earn today and your worth in the eyes of a potential employer.

 

At times, these differences reflect differences in the nature of the duties. For example, an analyst role may spend more time monitoring and examining systems, identifying potential vulnerabilities, and creating plans to overcome weaknesses in the system. Testing may also be more prominent in an analyst position than some others, though this isn’t always the case.

 

Cybersecurity engineer jobs may focus more on actual system changes and physical or technical interventions. Design activities may also be more common.

 

However, in some cases, two roles with differing titles may be incredibly similar. Companies are free to label a position how they see fit, so there isn’t an inherent standard that all businesses must adhere to when deciding which title to use.

 

 

Salary Differences

While each organization controls the salary range it offers for a particular job, one survey showed that certain job titles tend to come with higher levels of compensation.

 

When the survey examined “Cybersecurity,” “Cybersecurity Analyst,” and “Cybersecurity Engineer,” as job titles, they found that the analyst positions tend to come with lower salaries than the other two in every major city they included in the analysis. Additionally, the generic “Cybersecurity” also tended to trend higher than the analyst roles.

 

However, it is possible to boost your value in the cybersecurity analyst field if you possess the CISSP certification. It can also have a positive impact on cybersecurity engineers, so don’t forgo the credential simply because you focus on the engineering aspects.

 

How to Make the Most of Your Cybersecurity Career

If you want to increase your earnings potential as a cybersecurity potential, it pays to seek out engineering roles over analyst positions. This small change can significantly improve your salary when you land a new job and throughout your career.

 

Should the option be available, consider listing your current cybersecurity position as an engineering role on your resume as well. This may make you appear more valuable in the eyes of potential employers, potentially leading to a higher salary offer. However, only do so if your employer supports that title as being appropriate to your position. Otherwise, a reference check may lead the hiring manager to see your resume as inaccurate or inflated, which could harm your chances of landing the job.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking to make the most of your cybersecurity career, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your professional goals today and see how our services can make finding your ideal job easier than ever before.

 

 

Network Engineers

 

When you get a job offer, the excitement can easily overtake you, leading you to say “yes” before you really look at whether the opportunity is right for you. While the new role might be great for you, it’s also possible it isn’t, so taking the time to make sure is a smart move.

 

If you are trying to determine if a tech job is right for you, here are five questions to ask yourself before you accept.

 

  1. Is Now the Right Time to Make a Switch?

As the saying goes, timing is everything. While you may be dying to leave your position, how your exit impacts your current employer is a point worth examining.

 

Will you be heading out in the middle of a big project? Is your involvement in the project critical for its success? Can you give sufficient notice?

Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s wise to consider how your quitting will affect your current employer. After all, if you leave them in a bind, they may not be willing to give you positive employment references in the future.

 

Additionally, you want to reflect on whether your personal life can support a change. If you need to relocate, how will that impact you and your family? If the new job comes with longer hours, can you still maintain an appropriate work-life balance while meeting all of your obligations? Will your spouse or partner need to take on more to accommodate the shift or will the decision impact their career (which can occur if you need to relocate)?

 

Make sure to review the points above before you say “yes,” especially if other people will be accompanying you on the journey.

 

  1. Are You Excited About the Opportunity?

Sometimes, you apply for a job that seems amazing on the surface, only to later discover you aren’t really excited about the opportunity. Maybe something came up during the interview that changed your perspective, or you found details about the company that gives you pause.

 

Regardless of the reason, if you aren’t enthusiastic about the new role, then it might be better to say “no” and continue looking for something that’s a better fit.

 

 

  1. Is the Culture a Match?

Every company has a culture. If you feel comfortable in the environment, then you are more likely to excel. However, if it doesn’t seem like a good match, you might want to decline the offer.

 

Being the odd person out or trying to force yourself to fit into a culture that doesn’t jive with your personality can be harmful to your well-being and may impact the quality of your work. If the culture doesn’t align with your values and preferences, then looking for an opportunity that does is usually a smarter choice.

 

  1. Will You Receive Better Compensation?

While pay, benefits, and perks aren’t everything, they are always something. You need to consider whether you come out financially ahead by taking the job or are at least able to maintain the status quo.

 

Examine the entire compensation package, including the value and expenses associated with your benefits, to see if you are making positive strides. You also want to look at the shift in your costs, such as whether a change in your commute helps you save money or if it will lead to higher expenses.

 

If the math doesn’t work in your favor, then carefully consider whether making the change is a wise decision.

 

  1. Will This Job Help My Career?

Sometimes, even if you will take a financial hit by accepting a job, it’s worth it because you can use the experience to move your career in a better direction. However, even if you are getting a substantial raise, it’s always smart to consider whether taking the position will help or hurt your chances when it comes to making progress in your field.

 

Ideally, you want your new job to lead to additional opportunities after you gain experience with your new employer. If that isn’t likely to happen and you’re not looking for your last role before retirement, then you might want to continue with your search.

 

Ultimately, it’s always wise to carefully consider whether saying “yes” is the right decision. If it isn’t, then don’t hesitate to turn the job down. You can always continue your search and, by doing so, give yourself the chance to find an opportunity that is genuinely a good fit.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can make finding your ideal role easier than ever.

 

 

C Programming

 

When a programming language has been around for as long as C (46 years and counting), many professionals wonder if it is still relevant in today’s business world. After all, that level of longevity is rare, particularly in the technology space, and new languages often garner a significant amount of attention, making it seem like it’s smarter to concentrate on those.

 

However, C isn’t just relevant; it’s actually in-demand. It continues to crack the top ten in a variety of lists that focus on the desirability of programming languages, both from the employer and the developer perspective.

 

Additionally, the C language likely isn’t going anywhere soon, so it’s a smart skill to keep in your repertoire. If you are wondering why brushing up on your C programming skills is a wise move when you want to find a new job, here’s what you need to know.

 

Continually Evolving

The C programming language has remained relevant largely because of its ability to evolve. The original iteration shifted to meet changing demands, leading to the development of ANSI C (or ISO C) in the late 1980s, then C99 and C11.

 

The ability of C to evolve keeps it from becoming obsolete, and programming professionals must do the same if they want to land a coveted opportunity. If you haven’t updated your C skills in a while, now is a perfect time, giving you a chance to reach a new level of proficiency based on the needs of businesses today.

 

 

Substantial Footprint

Since C has been around for nearly half a century, there is a significant amount of existing code that was written in the language. The sheer volume of code helps C maintain its relevancy, especially since replacing legacy systems with alternatives featuring other languages could be costly and predominately unnecessary if the existing solutions still meet the needs of the company.

 

Unless there is a substantial benefit associated with making a change, even forward-thinking organizations are likely to shy away from replacing legacy systems that are fully functional. This means that, by keeping your C skills current, you aren’t necessarily limiting yourself in regards to opportunities.

 

Overall Popularity

The level of enjoyment developers derive from working with a language also plays a role in longevity and how widely a language is used. When given a choice, coders will usually select an option that is comfortable for them, and their level of familiarity with C keeps the language alive.

 

Additionally, like companies deciding whether or not to maintain legacy systems, many developers won’t switch away from a language that works without a notable incentive. Since other programmers you may work with likely favor C in some regards, the odds that a company’s systems will feature it increase.

 

Overall, the popularity of C in the development community supports the notion that staying up to date with the language is a smart move, as C will likely stay relevant for years to come.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new developer position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can make finding your ideal role a breeze.