Cybersecurity

 

As the number of cyberattacks seems only to keep growing, and the results of the intrusions get more severe, more and more companies have prioritized their cybersecurity operations, and that often means securing and retaining top talent in the field. Protecting sensitive data and systems is a must-do, so any trouble in the hiring arena can have a significant negative impact on operations.

 

If you are ready to find the next great crop of cybersecurity talent, here’s what you need to do.

 

Invest in the Right Tools

While having up to date cybersecurity tools doesn’t necessarily seem like a key to securing the best and brightest professionals available, it actually is. Having antiquated systems and approaches won’t make you an attractive employer to highly skilled workers, especially if they are already well-versed in the latest offerings.

 

Similarly, you need to make sure that every available tool and technology is designed to help your team be more efficient and effective. This limits the amount of frustration associated with the work, creating a more pleasant work environment and, subsequently, improving morale as well as productivity.

 

If your tools aren’t current, then its time to examine upgrades and implementations that can help your company meet the expectations of today’s workers, particularly those who aren’t interested in taking a step back in the technology arena. Otherwise, you may miss out on great workers simply because you are behind the times.

 

 

Offer Strong Salaries

If you aren’t prepared to offer a reasonable salary for the position, you’re almost guaranteed to have trouble hiring experienced cybersecurity professionals. Demand for their skill set is high, so it’s imperative that your offer be competitive.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to outdo every competitor in your area, just that your salaries need to be in line with the standard. To help you accomplish this, do some research into what certain skill sets and experience levels are worth in your city or metro area, and use that to guide your actions.

 

The same is true for benefits packages and perks, especially if there is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals in your region. Often, it’s helpful to review a variety of online resources as well as vacancy announcements from other businesses, giving you an understanding of what is available today and increasing the odds that your offer will be seen as competitive.

 

Diversify Your Recruiting Efforts

While sticking to tried and true recruitment resources may have been sufficient before, if you are struggling to find the skilled workers you need, it’s time to consider new approaches. This can include listing vacancies on niche job boards, partnering with local colleges and universities, or working with a reputable staffing firm that focuses on IT professionals. By expanding your search, you increase your odds of finding the top talent you need to succeed.

 

If you are looking for a cybersecurity professional to join your staff, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to learn more about our services and how they can help you find the right new employee quickly.

 

 

Tech Contractor

 

Technology has changed the workplace in notable ways, particularly when it comes to working remotely. This allows companies to explore opportunities to outsource certain tasks that don’t require a physical presence in the office, and this has given rise to contract work, especially in the tech space.

 

A significant amount of potential exists in this arena, including the ability to piece out larger projects and secure top talent in specific niches, something that would have been incredibly difficult to accomplish only a few years ago. Additionally, the approach allows professionals to focus on particular areas of interest, giving them more control over their careers and the tasks they choose to take on.

 

If you haven’t delved into these arrangements, here’s what you need to know.

 

Not Traditional Outsourcing

Many businesses and professionals maintain an antiquated view on outsourcing, assuming that entire projects or functions need to be offloaded for the arrangement to be effective.

 

However, opportunities exist that allow companies to break larger projects into smaller components, giving them a chance to secure highly specialized skills for a short period. It also allows multiple pieces to be in progress simultaneously as long as each part isn’t reliant on another. This can shorten development times significantly, letting projects reach completion faster than ever before.

 

Further, workers can concentrate on specific skill areas, performing tasks that only relate to their preferred field. For professionals who have a passion for a particular niche, this can be an invigorating way to structure their career, allowing them to get more value from their work.

 

 

Increased Access

When it comes to highly specialized skills, companies may struggle to find suitable workers depending on the availability of talent in their area. Similarly, a professional with a particular focus may not always locate positions in their immediate vicinity.

 

Contract arrangements, supported by remote work technologies, allow businesses and workers to connect even if they aren’t in the same city or even state. This gives both sides more access to what they are looking for, giving companies a method for overcoming skill gaps and professionals a chance to find the kind of work they want to do.

 

Classifying Tasks

In general, most work can be divided into two categories: core and non-core. While core tasks are usually assigned to full-time employees, non-core activities may be ideal for contractors, especially if the arrangement isn’t necessarily going to be long-term. This allows for more effective workflow designs and increased overall efficiency, especially when it comes to completing projects that require a highly defined skill set.

 

Ultimately, the benefits of contractor roles in IT means that they are likely to remain a viable option for companies and professionals for the long-term, particularly as the technologies that support these opportunities only continue to improve.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can help you navigate the world of contract work with greater ease and confidence.

 

 

Unethical

 

IT professionals are often trusted with a significant amount of power in any organization. They have access to critical systems and data, some of which is not directly related to their positions.

 

Employees in any department may participate in some questionable activities, and IT workers are no exception. While some occasional lighthearted actions can be beneficial to morale, when certain lines are crossed, a serious problem exists.

 

To help you identify these issues and address unruly IT employee behavior, here are some common areas of concern and how to handle them.

 

Practical Jokes

IT employees are uniquely positioned when it comes to practical jokes. They can do anything from changing a person’s password to adjusting computer wallpaper, often remotely.

 

While some of these actions may seem harmless, they can easily become bothersome. For example, another employee’s work may be disrupted by a practical joke, hurting productivity. In more severe scenarios, such as changing a worker’s desktop background to something inappropriate, a staff member may become offended, or worse.

 

To prevent these activities, you need strong policies in place that define how credentials can be used as well as any consequences that are associated with these breaches of trust. Using alerts that inform the manager when specific actions are taken can also be effective deterrents, as all activities are automatically broadcast to their supervisor.

 

 

Accessing Confidential Information

Most IT professionals have administrator credentials that allow them to access a range of systems. While this is necessary for the work, it can cause problems when they abuse the privilege, using their credentials to access confidential or sensitive information not related to their positions.

 

Further, they often have the ability to delete or alter logs, giving them a chance to cover their tracks.

 

Setting up alerts can help spot this kind of activity, as well as a robust ticketing system that can help determine which actions are legitimate and which may be illicit in nature.

 

Non-Work-Related Activities

Since IT often controls what can be accessed over the internet and which activities are logged, the potential for abuse is significant. A worker could give themselves the ability to access entertainment related sites that would otherwise be blocked, giving them the opportunity to slack off while they are on the clock.

 

While taking a moment to relax isn’t inherently a problem, if they begin spending more than a reasonable amount of time on non-work-related activities, productivity is going to decline. Further, if they access inappropriate content using company resources, you could have a bigger problem.

 

To help lower the risk associated with such actions, it’s imperative that all employees be subject to the same restrictions based on actionable policies and that any attempts to circumvent certain blocks be appropriately logged and alerted. This helps deter IT professionals from taking advantage of their position, lessening the likelihood that someone will do so.

 

Ultimately, most IT employees are standup workers and wouldn’t abuse their power. However, it is crucial that the proper policies and monitoring mechanisms are in place to ensure that such activities don’t take place.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking to hire a new IT worker, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can work for you.

 

 

Test Automation

 

While manual testing skills are still valuable to software professionals, the increased use of automated testing means that workers need to be prepared to develop their level of competency in that area. Otherwise, you risk becoming functionally obsolete, harming your ability to advance your career or even maintain your current position.

 

If you have been hesitant to jump into the world of automation, here is why you should take the leap today.

 

Demand is Rising

A few years ago, hiring professionals began sounding the alarm, letting software testers know that automation was going to become mainstream. Since that time, the demand for professionals with experience in test automation has only increased, reflecting how widely utilized the approach has become.

 

In some cases, companies are choosing to make automated testing skills a requirement, eliminating those who don’t possess the necessary level of competency from contention immediately. Often, this is a reflection of the growing use of Agile development methodologies which promote automation as a means of achieving continuous integration and faster development cycles.

 

 

Top Automation Technologies

Certain automation technologies are more widely used than others, so focusing on those that are most requested can be beneficial.

 

While every company has different needs, Selenium, JMeter, QTP, LoadRunner, and xUnit frameworks (including JUnit, NUnit, and TestNG) are excellent places to start.

 

If you have a target company in mind, research which technologies that business uses and begin exploring those.

 

Are Programming Skills a Necessity?

Often, manual testing professionals fear that improving their understanding of automated testing practices means they have to essentially become programmers. It is true that programming experience can be incredibly beneficial, particularly when interacting with development teams or assisting with black-box or white-box testing.

 

However, that doesn’t mean you need to become an expert in every available coding language. If you are just starting out with programming, consider dedicating some time to learning SQL, as this is a commonly requested area of competency.

 

Java experience is also beneficial, along with popular languages like Perl, Python, and C or C++. General web development skills, such as XML, HTML, HTTP/HTTPS, and CSS are also helpful.

 

In the end, software testers do need to be prepared to do some level of programming, even if it isn’t the focus of their profession. By getting started today, you can better position yourself to continue along your chosen career path, ensuring a higher level of job security.

 

Is Manual Testing Dead?

While the increased importance of having test automation skills is changing the tech landscape, manual testing continues to play a part in many workplaces. However, the shift does mean that automated testing skills are becoming a necessity, so it is crucial that you add them to your repertoire to ensure a reasonable level of job security.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new software testing opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.

 

 

Tech Salaries

 

While low unemployment had previously spurred significant growth in regards to tech salaries, 2017 somewhat bucked the trend, at least when it comes to the average pay over all specialties. However, certain skill sets are highly valued, allowing salaries in those areas to soar. Additionally, whether you work as a full-time employee or a contractor also plays a role regarding the level of compensation you can likely obtain today.

 

National Averages

Across all specialties, the average salary tech pros received was $92,712 in 2017. This reflected only slight growth (a 0.7 percent increase) when compared to 2016.

 

However, IT contractors saw a 5 percent increase year over year, with the average hourly rate being $72.32.

 

Additionally, specific skill sets achieved above-average growth when it came to pay. For example, PAAS professionals had compensation rates around $127,702 in 2017, a marked increase from 2016 levels where the average was $120,403.

 

Some other skills that outpaced the slow growth trend were MapReduce, Elasticsearch, Redshift, and Cloudera.

 

 

Tech Salaries in Silicon Valley

The average tech salary in the Silicon Valley region was notably higher than the national average, reaching $114,654. Along with a high demand for skilled IT workers in the area, the difference can likely be partially attributed to the increased cost of living in California. But, that doesn’t mean that Silicon Valley salaries don’t outpace other regions with high costs of living.

 

For example, New York is considered a more expensive state, but the average pay rate there came in at only $103,941. Similarly, Washington DC had salaries below the six-figure mark, at $99,937, even though the cost of living is generally seen as higher.

 

Additionally, tech salaries have experienced some significant increases over the past few years. Between 2013 and 2017, the change was measured as an 8.4 percent increase, which is certainly notable.

 

However, in 2017, the region did experience a slowdown, with growth only coming in at 0.4 percent.

 

What These Trends Mean

At times, there can be a significant disconnect between what tech professionals believe their skills are worth and what the market data suggests is reasonable. This can make filling vacant positions difficult for companies as a skilled candidate may have a stated salary expectation that isn’t within their budget, or workers can assume that they are underpaid, leading to frustration, when they are actually well within the standard.

 

Ultimately, both sides would be well-served by researching the going rates for particular skill sets and using that information to set their expectations. This can ensure that businesses are offering a suitable salary for the skills and experience they hope to find and that candidates aren’t over or undervaluing their capabilities when seeking a new job.

 

If you are interested in learning more, are seeking a new position, or are looking to hire additional team members, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

AR

 

Augmented reality (AR) has garnered a lot of attention, particularly as the technology advanced throughout 2017. Significant launches by major tech companies propelled the forward momentum, generating a considerable amount of excitement about the potential AR technologies hold.

 

As they continue into 2018, many professionals are wondering what the future of AR development looks like. With that in mind, here are a few things to expect from AR developers this year.

 

AR Growing Pains

AR-capable applications are going to become significantly more prevalent in 2018, but that doesn’t mean the technology isn’t experiencing some growing pains.

 

From a developer perspective, the potential of the tech is hard to pass up, particularly as the tools become widely available. Additionally, the functionality is relatively easy to integrate, making it especially appealing.

 

While many AR advances will be incredibly exciting, the technology isn’t suitable for every application. This means there will likely be a push to add AR into apps that don’t require the functionality to be effective. Developers will need to manage their interest in the tech and thoroughly assess whether AR improves a particular application or is simply being added because it is possible. In many cases, this will lead some projects to be scaled back, if they are properly assessed.

 

 

Toolkit Exploration

Now that many tech giants, including Google, Apple, and Amazon, have created suitable platforms for AR exploration, developers working in the arena will need to spend some time exploring the various toolkits to identify which offerings provide the level of capability you need and reasonable ease of use.

 

As with any emerging technology, there is a learning curve, so comparing the available options to assess their suitability for specific projects will be a necessity.

 

In some cases, additional education or training may be necessary, particularly for developers who intend to focus their careers in the AR field. While a solid background in other forms of development provides a strong foundation, every technology has its idiosyncrasies, so time must be dedicated to learning those associated with various AR platforms and toolkits.

 

More Robust Technology

Another caveat associated with emerging tech is that the platform and toolkit offerings themselves will also change. You may have access to more robust features or an increased level of stability in the near future, but every adjustment means having to potentially relearn a particular solution, especially if you want to make the most of what the technology has to offer.

 

Ultimately, AR is still experiencing significant growth and change, and that is almost guaranteed to come with some hiccups along the way. But, by staying on top of new developments and spending time studying the new offerings, developers can become adept quickly, allowing them to experience the benefits that AR can provide to applications.

 

If you are interested in securing an AR developer position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers in the area. Contact us today to learn more about our services and see how we can help you take the next step in your career.