The more you know about a company before going in for an interview, the better you'll do. You'll have a comfort level of knowledge about what they're looking for, and you'll be able to highlight your skills and experience to match their needs. Understanding a potential employer requires more than simply glancing at their website. Follow this list of things you should do to thoroughly research a company before your interview.
Look at the company website.
Start here, and dig far beyond the landing page. Read about the company's mission, their values, and their products. Take a look at the biographies of management and employees to see if your background is similar. Explore the recruiting section thoroughly; it may tell you what to expect when you come in to the office. There may be interviews or videos with current employees telling you what it's like to work for the company. If they have the information publicly available, read through the benefits section to get a sense of how employees are really treated. Check out their competitors, too, to see how they compare.
Check out the company's social media.
Take a look at the company's posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The first two will let you see how the company interacts with the public and whether there are lots of complaints about their products. LinkedIn offers a more professional view of the company. You can view profiles of company employees and see any posts offering perspectives on the industry.
Hear what employees have to say.
If you have friends who work for the company, ask them for the true inside scoop. While their opinions are the best source, knowing the person lets you know how much weight to give their opinion. Are they perpetually happy, go-with-the-flow types or does every little thing upset them? Use that to give some shade to the information they share. If you don't have friends who work for the company, search for online reviews at sites like Glassdoor. Just be aware that the review sites may not verify that the commenter really works for the company, and you don't have all the necessary information to decide if their opinion is valid.
When you've done your company and industry research and are ready for the interview, The Armada Group will match you to the right open position. Contact us and let our recruiters help prepare you for your interviews and the next step in your career.
Picking the right technology to learn is important to position yourself for job and career success. Languages and technology vary in how in-demand they are in industry; if you choose to learn a language that's in high demand, you'll have lots of opportunities to choose from. For developers today, the language to learn is Python.
Python is Easy to Learn
Learning Python is relatively easy, compared to other programming languages. The syntax isn't cluttered with brackets; you don't need to declare variables and can just use them as you need them. There's less code needed to accomplish basic tasks. Because the language is object oriented and has built-in support for data structures like lists, programmers can quickly start building application functionality rather than application infrastructure. Because it's interpreted, you can easily test the code you write as you go along, rather than needing to define a complicated and time-consuming build process.
Python is Used in Industry
One of the biggest companies pushing Python is Google, where it's used as part of the Google App Engine and YouTube. With Google a major driver of technical innovation, it's no surprise that its support for the language has boosted its popularity. Other major companies that use Python cross every industry you can think of—the list includes Yahoo, Industrial Light & Magic, ABN AMRO, the National Weather Service, and more.
These companies like Python because it is efficient and powerful, and there are numerous libraries and frameworks that make developing substantial applications. Django is a popular framework for web development, and other frameworks provide features such as numerical analysis. The language is also portable, with versions that run on any platform, giving companies the flexibility of supporting multiple operating systems.
Python Gets You Hired
There's continued to be an increase in need for Python programmers, making them among the most in-demand and highest-paid developers. If you've got top Python skills and are ready to take on a new opportunity, The Armada Group can help you find a job that'll challenge and excite you. Contact us to start your search.
Just getting through the day at the office can be tough sometimes. When you're worried about being fired, each eight-hour workday can feel like 80. Here are four tips that can help you minimize the risk of being fired and let you enjoy the challenges of your job.
Fit In With the Company Culture
No matter how good you are technically, if you don't fit in, you may eventually be cast out. Every company has a culture, which includes things like how the employees dress, what time they show up for work, how they communicate, how they react to problems, and what the priorities are. Because it's hard to change your personality and the way you behave, it's best to evaluate your cultural fit before you accept a position.
Build a Solid Relationship With Your Manager
Even if layoffs are mandated by senior executives, your immediate manager probably has some say in which employees are let go. The better your manager knows you and your work, the more likely your position will be secure. In some tech organizations, the project manager or technical leader who oversees your work isn't the manager with the hiring authority, so be sure you understand who is. Then make sure to keep that manager updated about the work you're doing. If they offer one-on-one meetings, take them and discuss your career path. If you make it evident you see a future for yourself with the company, so will the manager.
Address Any Performance Issues
While ideally you're succeeding at your job, if there are problems, you need to address them to boost your job security. This can mean improving your technical skills—if you wrote buggy code that delayed a release or caused a production problem, you need to learn from those errors and let your managers know it won't happen again. Other problems may have to do with communication skills, whether with teammates or with the business or end users. Make sure you have good working relationships with everyone you interact with at the office.
Don't Play Politics
For the most part, technical workers have little to gain by becoming involved in office gossip or political machinations. Focus on completing your work; your own solid technical contributions are more likely to help you get ahead or keep your job secure than any attempts at undermining colleagues
Sometimes, no matter how talented you are and how well you do your job, you get fired anyway. When that happens, let The Armada Group help you find your next job. We understand technology and will match you to an employer who appreciates your talents. Contact us to start your search today.
The gig economy isn't just for Uber drivers. Companies are also turning to contract employees for skilled work, including in the technology industry. There are several reasons for this outsourcing:
Contract employees offer companies flexibility.
Companies today need to be able to respond to changing business demands and scale up or down quickly. Through using contract employees, companies are able to add or shed workers easily in response to growth or other changes in the business environment.
Technology enables remote work.
The internet, virtual desktops, and video conferencing all mean that people don't need to be in the same place to get work done. Documents and other resources are easily shared no matter where people are located, so companies don't need all their employees working in one office.
Contract employees offer special skills.
Companies sometimes need a specific skill for a short time, to fill a specific gap in their teams. If they don’t have many projects that will utilize that skill, it's difficult to justify adding a permanent employee just to add that skill to the team. By bringing in contractors, the employer gets the skills they need without making a long-term commitment. Employers also use contractors to help train their existing workers when there's a mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they'll need going forward.
Hiring contractors is cost-effective.
When companies hire contractors, the contractor is paid for their work, but the hiring company doesn't have the expenses of benefits like health insurance, 401K matching, unemployment insurance or contributing the company's share of Social Security taxes. Companies also don't withhold taxes on behalf of the contractor.
There are different legal obligations between employers and contractors than there are between employers and employees. One of the main legal obligations employers have is to classify their workers correctly; companies cannot simply call a worker a contractor in order to avoid paying unemployment costs. In order to avoid the risks of being accused of misclassifying workers, many companies prefer to hire contractors who operate as employees of a contracting agency.
The Armada Group helps companies fill their staffing needs whether they want to hire permanent employees, use a contract-to-hire model to help evaluate potential employees, or add contractors on an as-needed basis. Contact us to learn how our services can help your company grow.
For all the supposed logic required to program, choices of programming language are often fickle. Industry trends mean languages rise and fade in popularity. Even languages you may think are dead are not; COBOL still powers 70 to 80 percent of business transactions.
The language Ruby isn't nearly as old as COBOL and never reached its level of acceptance, but after a spurt of popularity in the first decade of the century, its usage dropped due mostly to performance concerns. Now, usage surveys show Ruby is rising again. Why?
Ruby on Rails supports web development.
Ruby underlies the Ruby on Rails web development framework. With many third-party libraries available, companies that use Ruby on Rails are able to develop websites quickly and easily, plus support them effectively. Since every business depends on its online presence, those characteristics make Ruby an appealing choice for development.
Ruby is interpreted.
In slower environments, the interpreted nature of Ruby could contribute to performance problems. On fast modern hardware, using an interpreted language eliminates the need for compiling code. That makes working with Ruby quicker and easier. Given the drive towards agile development, eliminating unnecessary steps that slow things down is very appealing.
Ruby has a strong community.
There's an established community that creates resources companies can leverage to make creating Ruby applications even easier. The many frameworks and libraries mean less need to write code from scratch and faster development. There's solid documentation, plus active forums where developers can get help resolving problems; Ruby has large StackOverflow and Meetup communities. All of that reassures businesses that they're not on their own if they choose Ruby.
Ruby is cross-platform.
Companies can use RubyMotion to write cross-platform applications that run on both iOS and Android mobile devices. This means developers don't need to learn special languages and tools to create mobile apps, letting companies use their developer resources more efficiently.
Ruby is easy to learn.
Because finding technically qualified employees is so difficult, companies need to invest in training their own staff. They want this investment to pay off quickly. Ruby is easy to learn, so companies that develop in Ruby can easily grow staff who can contribute to these projects. As an easy-to-learn language that makes it easy to prototype, Ruby offers companies a great way to make progress fast.
Looking for a Ruby job or Ruby developers? The Armada Group knows who has the skills and who needs them. Whether you're a Ruby developer or you want to hire one, contact us to talk to a recruiter who can connect you to Ruby careers and Ruby professionals.
It's the core values The Armada Group applies to its work that makes its recruiters so successful, says our talent consultant Alexsis Navarro. "Armada holds the same core values as I do," Navarro says. "Integrity, passion, fun, teamwork, trust, and professionalism/respect. Working at a place where both you and the company see the same values can lead to a very successful career." Because of these values, the company and managers support recruiters with the tools and resources they need.
For talent consultants, these values mean personal interactions with its consultants. "The most unique thing about The Armada Group, as a staffing firm, is once you place a consultant at the client site, you get the opportunity to meet them face to face," Navarro says. This isn't typical across the industry, and helps the recruiters get to know and develop a professional relationship with the consultants. As a result of these personal relationships, talent consultants gain insight that helps make future placements successful.
The relationships with the client companies also help making successful placements. "Most of our clients give us detailed feedback on why a candidate was or wasn’t successful during the interview process which in turns helps us search for more suitable candidates and the feedback is always given within a reasonable time frame, anywhere between 24-48 hours – because as we all know this is a very candidate driven market," Navarro says.
While making the perfect match is what Navarro finds so rewarding, the interaction with different kinds of people is what makes the job fun on a daily basis. Navarro explains, " I love being a recruiter because of the people I interact with daily. Whether they are Front-End Engineers, Mobile Developers, Program/Product Managers, or Software Architects, I have met some of the most intelligent people. Although I am not technical, I really enjoy learning from the candidates and hearing about their background and truly am fascinated by the tech field."
Are you ready to work with the most passionate, professional recruiting team in the industry? Contact The Armada Group to learn about our recruiters and the skills we'll bring to identifying the ideal employees for your team.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The balance between security and privacy is a constant struggle. Consumers rightly want their personal information protected, and have a constitutional right to privacy from unauthorized searches. At the same time, government security agencies have a legitimate interest in investigating threats to security, including terrorism. When the agencies go through proper channels, technology firms are put in a difficult position between meeting the expectations of their customers and satisfying their responsibilities under the law.
Apple vs. FBI
This struggle was made highly visible during the recent battle between the FBI and Apple over the contents of an iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI obtained a court order that would force Apple to develop a backdoor that would allow the FBI to break into the phone to read its contents. Although Apple appealed the court order and didn't comply, the FBI was able to read the contents of the phone via a hack provided by a third party.
This isn't the first time the government has pressured a technology firm in a security matter. Yahoo faced crippling fines if it didn't participate in the PRISM security program; it had no choice but to participate or go bankrupt.
Legal Changes Coming?
Now a bill proposed in the Senate would impose fines on technology firms that don't provide the government with a backdoor to bypass security measures on technical products. And both New York and California have proposed state measures to prohibit the sale of devices that can't be unlocked by law enforcement.
Currently the Senate bill is a draft under consideration. Technology firms are lobbying against it, as the requested backdoors would make the devices vulnerable to hackers and spies, not just court-ordered searches. The law would also make it more difficult for the companies to sell their products to overseas customers, who are already suspicious of the reach of American national security agencies.
Information Security Experts in Demand
Information security experts are in demand, whether to build the next generation of devices or to help companies protect their information against intruders. Whether you're a cybersecurity professional looking for your next opportunity or a company that needs to add to your defenses, The Armada Group's boutique placement service matches candidates to the right position. Contact us to learn how our services can help make you and your organization more secure.
One reason selecting The Armada Group as your recruiting firm helps you find great employees fast is because of the dedicated recruiters on our team. The environment at The Armada Group encourages our recruiters to work hard on your behalf.
As our recruiter Jesse Oehler says, "I love the people I work with, from the CEO Jeff to my fellow recruiters who are in the trenches with me every day. We all have a similar drive to succeed, a passion for helping people, a competitive fire and a true 'work hard, play hard' mentality."
It helps that the work is so rewarding. Jesse says, "I really enjoy talking every day with so many intelligent, accomplished people. I’m calling people with a job to offer them, so almost every conversation I have is warm and pleasant, even if it is with someone who will ultimately not be a good match for the position. I have been able to build a network of outstanding individuals to work with."
Having great networks lets our recruiters find you great employees you wouldn't be able to find on your own. Because the placements we make benefit both the candidate and the company, it's doubly rewarding for our recruiters. Jesse particularly remembers placing a candidate who called her afterwards to let her know that she loved the new job and that it had improved her quality of life.
The company also let Jesse know about the candidate's – the new employee's – success on the job. "It is rewarding to know that I was truly able to make a great match for that particular requisition," Jesse says.
The recruiters at The Armada Group strive to make great matches for all the organizations we work for. Jesse's had the opportunity to work with top-notch firms including with Apple, Cisco, Fujitsu, HP and PayPal.
"These organizations are made up of awesome, responsive and engaging individuals and teams that value and demand both quality and excellence, not only from their staffing partners, but from the consultants that work with them as well," Jesse says. The companies help the recruiters make great matches by giving them timely and detailed feedback.
Our recruiters develop the skills that help them make great matches over time. The Armada Group’s recruiters receive incentives to work together and build long-term careers here. Through their own successful careers, our recruiters learn how to identify candidates who'll enjoy successful careers at our clients' companies. Contact us to learn how working with us can build your team.
When companies want to hire a standout project manager, they look for a rock star. What does that mean, and how can you prove you're one? Make sure you can point out how you handled these rock star skills in your previous job.
Rock stars know how to command an audience.
They're comfortable getting up on the biggest of stages, speaking to the crowd, and getting the audience behind them. So hone up on your interpersonal skills and develop confidence in your interactions and ability to present. Point out an example of how you persuaded the organization to buy into a successful project.
Rock stars put the band together.
Rock stars lead their bandmates to success; they make the hiring and firing decisions. Explain how you built a successful team, how you lead them towards a goal, and how you handle the inevitable intra-team conflicts that arise.
Rock stars understand what music sells as well as how songs are structured.
That is, rock stars understand the business they're in. As a technical project manager, you need to demonstrate that you understand the business and how to structure technology projects to support the business needs.
Rock stars communicate.
Rock stars document their song lists; they make sure the crew knows where to put the equipment and when to trigger the lights, smoke, and special effects. Prove your communication skills by explaining how you built your network – up, down, and sideways.
Rock stars revel in their position.
Rock stars seek out the spotlight; they love being the center of attention. Demonstrate that you love your job too; passion combined with talent is the best way to achieve a rock star level of success in any profession.
Are you a rock star project manager? Whether you're a rock star or still aspire to reach that level, The Armada Group can help you find a position at the top of the charts. Contact us to learn how to start your search now.