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Monday, Feb 18 2019

Is Digital News in Trouble?

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Is Digital News in Trouble


The digital news landscape has changed dramatically over recent years. Previously, increased interest on the part of readers allowed sites like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post to thrive, as demand for their content made creating more profitable. Social media played a massive role in the success of digital news media, as the sharing of articles and posts by readers enhanced a company’s visibility, often for much less money than traditional advertising mechanisms.

However, the landscape has shifted dramatically. Everything from Facebook’s pledge to focus more on posts from friends and family to rising interest in other mechanisms, like video, is playing a role. Buzzfeed ultimately decided to lay off around 15 percent of their staff as they prepare to adjust their model.


The Rise of the Online Video Star

Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have made posting videos about as easy as possible. As a result, nearly anyone could potentially try their hand at being a star. Plus, the masses were becoming increasingly enamored with video, often favoring it over other mechanisms, like written posts and static images.

As a result, many companies began to pivot, looking for ways to profit in the video category while shifting away from other approaches. This was especially true once the digital news sections of many companies began to become less profitable, decreasing their cost-effectiveness from a business perspective.


Facebook as a Publisher

Many digital news organizations relied on social media to gain readership. Facebook was often a preferred platform, but a variety of revelations – including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and presence of Russian fake news sites – lead many users to doubt the validity of what was being posted. Additionally, Facebook itself was forced to pivot in response, altering what forms of content could be promoted by digital news organizations, limiting organic reach, and changing what users would see on their feeds.

Further, some users began to pull away from platforms like Facebook. They began to doubt the social media giant on a primal level, and that impacted how many people would be exposed to posts from digital news organizations. Others started to question the validity of nearly all digital news sources, as uncertainty about who is fake became an increasing concern.

The changes on Facebook’s side made digital news less profitable, and some digital news organizations ultimately did not survive. Skeptical readers also began pulling away, further harming readership numbers and impacting profits.


Is Digital News in Trouble?

In reality, digital news likely is not in trouble across the board. However, that does not mean companies will not need to change to survive in the shifting landscape, and those who refuse may disappear, either voluntarily or when readership dwindles to a point that they are no longer viable.

Those who change and adapt will likely remain, at least for the next few years. In the end, it is not unlike any other business segment where those who refuse to keep up with the times fade into obscurity while those who embrace the need for change have a chance to remain strong.


If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our expertise can benefit you.


The Successful Habits of the Worlds BEst IT Project Managers


Many of the best IT project managers on the planet share certain traits. Usually, this is expressed as a set of habits, all of them honed to help increase their odds of success in their roles.


By working to make these habits part of your reality, you can thrive in most IT project manager roles. Here are the ones that should be on every current or aspiring project manager’s radar.


Dedication to the Process

Today, nearly every project is governed by a methodology. These provide clear steps to make sure a project is a success, ensuring that critical points are not overlooked and that everything is addressed in an ideal order or at the proper time.


Leading project managers understand that following the process is important; so much so that the majority make it a habit. Now, this does not mean that an approach cannot be adapted based on the project at hand. Instead, it is the automatic urge to use that process as a framework, and a desire only to deviate when the situation actually demands it.


Acting with Integrity at All Times

For the best IT project managers, integrity is a core part of their personality. They never hesitate to be honest when working with their team and strive to be fair at all times.


Without integrity, even the most skilled project team may struggle. A lack of trust can be incredibly damaging to a group’s dynamic, leading to increased levels of conflict, more misunderstanding, and even rising error numbers – all of which can lead to a project’s failure.


If integrity is not a habit, becoming a leading project manager will be incredibly challenging, so it is wise to make it a focus early in one’s career.


Preparation is a Priority

If a project is going to be a success, it needs a strong foundation. Preparation is the key to creating a winning environment, ensuring risk is properly examined, contingency plans are at the ready, and all necessary information is gathered before any work begins.


Neglecting the preparation phase of a project increases the odds of failure. While this does not mean you have to focus entirely on the minutia before getting started, it does mean having all of your proverbial ducks in a row as early in the process as possible.


By embracing the habits above, you can increase your odds of becoming one of the best IT project managers around. Not only can this help you build a strong and lucrative career, but it is also intrinsically rewarding, as your success rate could skyrocket.


Looking for a New Project Manager Role? Contact The Armada Group!

If you would like to learn more about what it takes to thrive as a project manager or are seeking out new opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our project management expertise can benefit you.


The Most Important Skills You Need to Become a Top Manual QA Engineer


While automation may be grabbing all of the headlines, manual quality assurance (QA) engineers are still critical for many companies who want to make sure that their software operates correctly. These professionals actually interact with the program as if they were the end user, following detailed test plans to make sure the areas being tested perform to the right standard.


If you want to become a top manual QA engineer, then you need to bring the right skills to the table. Here is what you need to know.


The Most Important Skills for Manual QA Engineers

Manual QA engineers need a wide variety of skills to thrive in their roles. Often, this includes having strong assessment skills as well as the ability to write detailed test cases, ensuring any testing goes forward properly and is incredibly thorough.


Experience with test case management tools, like Zephyr, is also a must. This ensures you can use these solutions effectively, allowing you to be more efficient in the position. Similarly, knowledge of browser-based software testing frameworks is beneficial, though may not be required at all companies.


Having the right soft skills can make a significant amount of difference in your level of success as well. For example, strong communication skills are crucial as you will need to share your findings with a variety of stakeholders along the way.


Similarly, being a self-starter and highly motivated can help you stand out as a top candidate, allowing you to rise to the top with greater ease. Being a team player is also valuable to employers, especially since a decent portion of the work can be collaborative in nature.


Finally, having knowledge of automation is usually beneficial. Even if your activities are predominately manual, automation is becoming increasing prevalent in the QA world, so being capable of using those technologies can help you future-proof your career and provide support outside of the manual testing arena.


Acquire Experience to Reach the Top

While starting by learning the skills listed above is smart, you will need to put your skills to work if you want to excel as a manual QA engineer. To put it simply, having some experience under your belt is essential if you want to reach the top of the manual QA engineering field. Typically, within three to five years, you can qualify for mid-level roles, giving you access to more lucrative opportunities. After that, you just need to keep acquiring experience to continue moving forward, refining your current skills, gaining new competencies, and showing that you are effective in these roles.


Are You Looking For a New Job? The Armada Group Can Help!

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a successful manual AQ engineer or are looking for a job opportunity in the field, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our IT recruiters today and see how our QA expertise can benefit you.


If a High Salary Drives You Try a Career as a Database Administrator


For some, the idea of having a large salary is what drives them to pursue a particular line of work. If you are looking for a lucrative career path, then opting to become a database administrator (DBA) might be a wise move. Here’s what you need to know.


How Do You Become a Database Administrator?

In most cases, if you want to become a DBA, you need to start with formal education. Learning about database theory and design, the various programming languages, storage technologies, networking, and other required skills is usually best addressed while earning a college degree. Plus, most employers require at least a Bachelor’s from job candidates, it not a Master’s.


However, if you want to see if you would enjoy the work before signing up to earn a degree, there are a lot of online courses that can help you get started in database administration, allowing you to gain foundational skills and understanding before you commit. Just understand that these are often insufficient if you want to launch your career in the field, though they will help you get your feet wet.


Certifications can also boost your earnings potential. For example, getting certified in IBM or Oracle technologies can lead to higher salary offers.


Similarly, an understanding of related cloud technologies can be beneficial. Companies are increasingly shifting to the cloud to experience the cost-savings, have access to more resources or easier scalability, and even enhanced security.


A long-term willingness to learn is also essential. The world of database administration has changed dramatically over recent years thanks to the introduction of technologies like the cloud, Hadoop, and even improved analytics. If you are not willing to adapt to the changing landscape when the need arises, you will have trouble thriving in the field.


How Much Does a Database Administrator Make?

While DBA salaries can vary depending on the level of experience required, the size of the company, and the exact skill set the person needs to bring to the table, landing a six-figure position is not out of the question. In fact, the average DBA salary in San Francisco comes in right around the $100,000 mark, and those with substantial experience or in-demand skills can even earn close to $150,000.


Even entry-level DBA positions can come with livable salaries. Finding an offer around $60,000 with no more than the needed education is possible, especially in the Silicon Valley area.


Start Your Job Search with The Armada Group!

If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to become a database administrator or are looking for a new DBA job opportunity in the Silicon Valley area, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us speak with one of our IT recruiters today and see how our expertise can benefit you.



Rethink Your Remote Work Policy


Some companies have railed against the idea of remote work. Even though most IT professionals have the technical know-how to telecommute with ease, businesses often fear that employees who are working outside of the office aren’t as productive as they are when someone can peer over their shoulders.


However, by limiting remote work options, most companies are doing more harm than good. If your policy is incredibly strict, here’s what you may need to rethink your approach to remote work in 2019.


Job Satisfaction

By and large, employees that have the ability to work remotely at least part of the time are substantially more satisfied with their jobs than those that don’t have telecommuting options. Being able to work remotely provides employees with a range of benefits including avoiding the daily commute, the ability to perform their duties in a comfortable environment, eliminate distractions for heads-down work, and more.


As job satisfaction rises, so does retention. Employees aren’t as inclined to seek out other opportunities with their employer meets their needs, so keeping your best and brightest on staff may be easier.



When they telecommute, most professionals become more productive, not less. They have the ability to focus with greater ease and don’t have to deal with the interruptions that come with being in the office.


For example, random visits from coworkers are a distraction. If a tech pro is dealing with a project that requires a high level of attention to detail, every time they are pulled away harms productivity beyond the minutes they spend dealing with the interruption as they have to take time to refocus before they can continue.



The ability to work remotely is a benefit many tech professionals seek out. Since not every company offers telecommuting options, revamping your remote work policy to be more flexible can differentiate your business as an employer. You may have an easier time attracting top talent simply because a remote work program is in place, making it worth exploring.


Additionally, if you are open to having staff members that telecommute every day, you can even expand your recruitment efforts into other cities, states, or potentially even countries. This can dramatically increase the size of your talent pool, making it easier to locate hard to find skill sets that aren’t readily available near your office.


Ultimately, having a remote work policy that allows employees to telecommute at least some of the time is beneficial. Retention rates will improve, productivity will increase, and recruitment may get easier, making it a win-win scenario for workers and employers.


The Armada Group Can Help!

If you would like to know more about how to update your remote work policy, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your current policy and which changes you are considering with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

2019 Tech Trends


Every new year brings a new set of trends. After all, the business and tech worlds are continually evolving, and the points on the horizon often approach faster than many anticipate in the beginning.


In 2019, there are a few trends that tech pros should expect to encounter as the year moves forward. Here are the ones that deserve your attention.


Enterprise AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a trend for several years, though much of the attention fell on the consumer space. Options like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are increasingly present in the daily lives of the masses but didn’t provide substantial value to many companies.


In 2019, expect an increased emphasis on enterprise-level AI. Advances in natural language processing mean more companies will integrate AI into customer support mechanisms and even certain internal resources. Similarly, the ability to automate a wider range of tasks should be anticipated as well as the chance to derive value from available data with greater ease.


More Custom Hardware

As once cutting-edge technologies become more affordable, companies integrate them at a faster rate. Custom hardware is one option that is becoming more financially viable, so businesses may explore opportunities to either develop solutions for internal use or for customers.


For example, the Amazon Dash Button concept – where a simple click of the button allowed a preset product to be ordered – could be extended into a variety of consumer experiences. Office-oriented products may also be on the horizon, allowing certain actions to be initiated with a button press, like reserving a conference room.


How it will manifest isn’t entirely clear. However, as companies have increased capacity to create custom hardware solutions, they opportunities will be easier to visualize.


Data Science Reimagined

Big Data has been a trending topic for years, but what companies expected and what they experienced often differed, leading to frustration. While many businesses initially accepted the limits without much complaint, that climate is changing.


While data scientists will continue to clarify what is and isn’t possible, companies are beginning to push for more. As a result, finding methods for overcoming barriers may become a priority, creating opportunities for technological advancement.


However, it also means that data scientists should expect pushback when they assert that a particular limit makes a request impossible. Instead of just accepting it as fact, organizations are going to want to understand the “why” behind the “no.” Then, they may rally against the restriction, expecting data scientists and other tech professionals to find a way to turn that “no” into a “yes.”


Let The Armada Group Bring Your Team Into The New Year!

Ultimately, 2019 is going to be an interesting year, particularly in the tech arena. If you would like to know more about the trends, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our tech trends knowledge can benefit you this year and beyond.