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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Employee Wellness

 

Your employee wellness program is an investment. Providing access to the benefits comes with a financial burden, so being able to measure the return on investment (ROI) is essential if you want to make sure the business is deriving value from the offering.

 

From the employer perspective, it can be challenging to measure the ROI on your employee wellness program if you aren’t sure which metrics act as indicators of success. If you want to be able to measure the ROI, here are a few points that can help you see the program’s value.

 

Absenteeism

By offering an employee wellness program, you can experience a decline in health-related absenteeism. Employees in good health traditionally use fewer sick days during the year and may not require as many “mental health days” to manage stress effectively.

 

The length of each absence may also shorten, as healthier workers tend to recover more quickly from illnesses and injuries, allowing them to return to work faster. When you need to measure the ROI, associated with your program, keep an eye on absenteeism to see if it declines.

 

Medical Costs

Healthcare benefits and similar medical expenses often have a substantial impact on a company’s bottom line. By providing access to an employee wellness program, you may be able to reduce these costs, allowing you to experience a savings beyond the financial investment required to operate the program.

 

When workers are healthier, they generally don’t require as many medical appointments or treatments. This can make it easier to secure a lower rate for your healthcare plan. Additionally, this can save your employees money in the long-run, both by reducing their need for medical care and by keeping their recurring costs low.

 

 

Retention

Another important point to monitor when you want to measure the ROI is your retention rate. Offering a robust employee wellness program can increase longevity, especially if it helps differentiate your business from your competitors.

 

A side benefit of the program is increased job satisfaction on the part of employees. This may reduce their desire to seek out opportunities elsewhere, particularly if it helps them view you as an employer of choice.

 

Recruitment

If word gets out that you offer a comprehensive employee wellness program, this may make recruiting top talent easier. Job seekers often look at various aspects of a company before they apply, and the range of benefits and perks plays a substantial role in their decision.

 

While it may be challenging to measure the impact of your wellness program on the surface, you can find out if it had an effect on a candidate’s decision to apply if you ask, potentially giving you another way to measure the ROI.

 

Productivity

Offering an employee wellness program can have a positive effect on morale, partially because it demonstrates that the company cares about the well-being of its workforce and is willing to go the extra mile to help them improve their health, reduce stress, and more. Plus, a healthy employee tends to be happier, and attitude can have a significant impact on performance.

 

Ultimately, productivity usually increases after you implement an employee wellness program. You can monitor the speed and quality of outputs to monitor productivity improvements, giving you another valuable metric to watch.

 

Overall, an employee wellness program can save you money, boost retention, enhance your recruitment efforts, and increase productivity. Use the points above to help determine your ROI and see if your numbers don’t improve over time.

 

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

 

 

React Engineering

 

When it comes to tech, which skills are considered to be in-demand can seemingly change on a dime. While options like Tableau and Linux were once popular with employers, interest in these skills diminished significantly during 2017.

 

However, as one skill becomes less coveted, others rise to take their place. In 2018, React, the JavaScript library commonly used in the creation of user interfaces, is what has the attention of employers.

 

React Engineering of the Rise

Over the course of two years, employer interest in React has skyrocketed, based on a recent study. Job site Indeed examined two periods, October 2015 through September 2016 and October 2016 through September 2017, and found that the number of companies seeking out React skills rose by 229 percent.

 

That level of growth far outpaced other in-demand skills, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure at 40 percent and 62 percent respectively.

 

Another point that spurs growth is the amount of developer interest in React. Many coders appreciate its simplicity and flexibility, often leading them to consider React to be one of their favorite library options.

 

While developer support doesn’t guarantee employer buy-in, it can have an impact. As more coders touted Reacts benefits and began using the library in their work, the level of prevalence increased, leading companies to experience the benefits and start seeking out others who could work with React.

 

 

Why is React Popular with Employers?

React was developed by Facebook, a giant in the social media space. That fact alone should stand as a testament to React’s capabilities in the front-end development arena. However, the number of big name companies that embrace React doesn’t stop there. Dropbox, Expedia, Netflix, The New York Times, and Reddit all use React in some capacity, showcasing just how many organizations have shifted to the library.

 

Overall, React is highly adaptable, adjusting the renderings as new data is provided or current data changes. It also provides for a substantial amount of customization and offers a significant amount of functionality. Further, React works with a broad selection of frameworks, making it incredibly flexible too.

 

Additionally, thanks to React Native, mobile development can also be more straightforward from a company perspective. Since the transition from the web-oriented React to React Native is fairly easy to handle for most developers, this allows organizations to secure talent that has the potential to create designs in both web and mobile formats.

 

Ultimately, Reach provides a significant number of benefits and it is becoming more widely used. This increases employer interest in React, leading to additional opportunities for those interested in React engineering.

 

If you are looking for a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore opportunities in the area. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our experienced recruiters today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Tech Jobs

 

It’s no secret that tech professionals are in demand. However, certain specialties are growing at an unprecedented pace, particularly since low unemployment is common in the labor market.

 

If you are considering switching into an IT career or want to know about your current path’s potential, here are seven growing tech jobs and how much you can earn in each role.

 

  1. Help Desk / Support Desk Technician

Most large enterprises and government agencies have support desk technicians on staff to ensure that internal employees have access to help when it is required. In most cases, support desks are divided into tiers, reflecting the knowledge base needed to perform in the roles.

 

Tier 1 professionals are viewed as entry-level and can earn salaries between $32,000 and $54,000, depending on the person’s amount of experience. Tier 2 generally begins near $38,000 and can reach just shy of $64,000. At the top, Tier 3 professionals may make between $48,500 and $81,500.

 

  1. Network Administrator

Keeping internal networks operational and prepared to handle the potential load is a must for any business. Plus, planning for expansions to accommodate growth is often a necessity.

 

At the low end, network administrators usually earn around $55,000. However, after acquiring experience in the field, a salary of over $104,000 is possible.

 

  1. System Administrator

Another critical business role is the system administrator. Typically, these professionals begin their careers near $64,500. With time and experience, some are able to cross the six-figure mark, reaching a salary of around $102,500.

 

 

  1. Business Intelligence Analyst

Successful business intelligence analysts usually have skills in areas like database technology, reporting, and analytics. As companies work to leverage their data more effectively, business intelligence analyst salaries have been rising.

 

Initially, professionals in this field can earn just shy of $84,000. At the upper echelons, salaries over $175,000 may be possible.

 

  1. Database Developer

Another critical role in the data field is the database developer. These professionals manage and create enterprise databases, ensuring information is properly organized and stored while remaining accessible.

 

Usually, a database developer can begin with a salary near $97,750. After acquiring experience in the field, the best and brightest may be able to earn $175,750 annually.

 

  1. Data Security Administrator

As security continues to be a top concern for businesses large and small, data security administrators have seen their skills become increasingly valuable. They ensure that all security measures are up to date and monitor company systems while implementing sound security strategies.

Even those new to the data security administrator profession can make $100,000 a year. As their knowledge and skills grow, salari

es as high as $168,750 are certainly possible.

 

  1. Data Scientist

Data scientists collect data and analyze it in the hopes of identifying patterns that can assist with critical business decisions. Programming skills are typically a must as well as communication skills, allowing these professionals to share their findings with those who may not be as tech-savvy.

 

Most data scientists start their careers around the $100,000 mark and can earn salaries near $168,000 as they gain experience.

 

All of the tech positions above are in-demand today. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

H1 B Visas

 

Over the past few years, the number of H-1B visa applications has largely risen. Companies embraced it as an opportunity to find skilled foreign workers to fill vacant positions, particularly in the tech sector where low unemployment and growing skill gaps in the American workforce have made hiring a challenge.

 

However, recent data suggest the pattern has possibly changed, indicating tech firms may be seeking alternatives to H-1B visas.

 

H-1B Petitions

The H-1B visa program gives American businesses the ability to secure non-immigrant foreign professionals to work for their company. It was designed to ensure companies could access skills and abilities when they aren’t presented in their current workforce and aren’t available in their area.

 

For the 2018-2019 filing period, the number of petitions dropped by approximately 4 percent, signaling a shift in company mentality regarding the program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated only 190,098 petitions were filed for that time, a notable drop from the approximately 236,000 petitions received in 2016.

 

 

Reason for the Drop

After President Donald Trump was elected, he quickly declared his intention to overhaul the H1-B visa program. This included making the requirements more stringent across the board, including for initial selections and renewals as well as H-4 visas for spouses of H-1B workers.

 

The intention was to encourage companies to hire Americans and other legal immigrants in lieu of using the H-1B program, and it may have worked.

 

A reduced number of petitions suggests businesses aren’t turning to H-1B visas as a potential solution as often. Some may have decided to reduce their number of petitions fearing that the chance for approval was shrinking, particularly since the requirements are harder to meet. Others may have become more diligent about finding alternatives, lowering their need for the program based on updated hiring practices.

 

However, even with the policy changes and the initial reduction in petitions, it’s too soon to tell if this year’s decline is a one-off or a sign of a new pattern emerging. This may be an indication that companies were hesitant to submit petitions based on the Trump administration’s stance and various announcements about increased difficulty in obtaining approval. But this could shift again after the current period finishes and the state of the approved or rejected petitions becomes more widely known.

 

Ultimately, the H-1B visa program is still in flux. The full impact of the policy updates is not yet known, and additional changes may be on the horizon, sending the program into a different direction.

 

At this point, it’s safe to say companies are seeking out alternatives that allow them to locate citizens and legal immigrants for their vacancies, instead of using the program. If you are currently seeking skilled professionals for your job openings, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s top talent. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs today and see how our services can benefit you.