Many tech professionals struggle to quiet their minds when their head hits the pillow at the end of a long day. Often, people have to fight against invasive thoughts regarding whether they finished their to-do list, if an upcoming presentation will go off without a hitch, or whether a project will finish on time.
These racing thoughts can leave some wide awake, even if they’re exhausted. And, if they keep a person from being able to get enough shuteye, they may have issues staying conscious during the day, let along focused.
Luckily, there are things tech pros can do to quiet their busy minds, letting them get better quality sleep. If you struggle to get enough shuteye, here’s what you can do.
Avoid Activities in Bed
Ideally, your bed should be associated with sleep only. That means you need to avoid participating in a range of activities once you lay down.
For example, avoid the urge to watch tv or talk on the phone. Don’t jump on your smartphone for anything, including checking emails, reviewing your social media accounts, or even just cruising through the news.
Your bed needs to be a place for rest and relaxation, and that means avoiding unnecessary stimulation once your head hits the pillow.
Establish a Daily Wake Up Time
One of the biggest things you can do to ensure you can fall asleep with ease is getting up at the same time every day. This helps train your body clock to a specific waking time, making sure you’ll feel sleepy at the right time too.
Only Go to Bed When You’re Sleepy
There’s a big difference between being physically tired or without energy and actually being sleepy. If you aren’t sleepy yet, you’ll likely have issues drifting off into dreamland.
Trying to force yourself to go to sleep is often counterproductive, particularly if you get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Instead of forcing the issue, wait until you are actually sleepy to lay down.
Don’t Toss and Turn
If you can’t fall asleep, then you shouldn’t just lay there, tossing and turning while hoping that sleep overtakes you. Instead, get out of bed and participate in an activity that doesn’t increase your overall level of alertness, like reading or listening to music while enjoying a non-caffeinated beverage.
Address Your Worries
In some cases, anxiety about the upcoming day can keep you up. If this happens to you, it’s wise to take a proactive approach to managing worry.
For example, you can take about 20 minutes in the early evening to write down all of your concerns. Then, for each worry, write down a “next step” that will help you find a solution. This process can reduce your stress levels by planning for how to take action in the future, ensuring you don’t feel overwhelmed when it’s time to get some rest.
By following the tips above, tech pros can quiet their busy minds, making it easier to get some well-deserved shuteye.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking a new job opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members and to learn more about our services today.
A lot of tech professionals enjoy their jobs for a variety of reasons, but one recent study shows why careers in the field can be so satisfying, and why so many people are interested in joining the ranks of the technology-oriented workforce.
The minds behind Indeed, one of the largest job sites in the country, examined jobs across multiple industries and compiled a list of the Best Jobs in the United States, and tech positions are featured prominently.
If you are wondering why tech jobs are the best jobs in the United States, here’s what you need to know.
Many tech positions have substantial salaries. This is partially due to the fact that it requires a substantial amount of skill to be successful in these roles. Plus, the current shortage of skilled IT workers pushes compensation rates higher as companies compete for some of the industries best and brightest professionals.
For example, full stack developers, number two on the list, command annual salaries above $111,000 on average. Computer vision engineers, who placed third, can earn more than $130,000, while machine learning engineers can reach an annual income of over $136,000.
Typically, these salaries are also accompanied by comprehensive benefits packages and a variety of perks, making IT professions particularly lucrative.
Indeed also examined growth rates as a means of ranking the best jobs in the United States. High growth rates show that demand for the specified skill set is increasing, often indicating that there are a wealth of opportunities in the field.
For example, requests for full stack developers increased by an astonishing 198 percent since 2014 while machine learning engineer opportunities increased by 166 percent.
Development operations engineers saw demand for their skills rise by 128 percent and data scientist saw growth reaching 106 percent.
As more companies embraced Agile, Agile coaches became a hot commodity, experience a growth rate of 113 percent.
What This Means
Ultimately, the study suggests that the tech jobs market is incredibly healthy, creating a wide range of opportunities. Additionally, professionals working in the field can usually expect strong salaries, particularly as their skill sets grow and they gain experience.
It’s important to note that the study did have qualifiers, including only examining positions with base salaries of $75,000 at a minimum. Additionally, the information was based on job postings submitted to the site and did not include feedback from professionals working in these roles.
However, pursuing a career in tech can lead to lucrative opportunities, and demand for skilled IT workers is expected to continue over the long-term.
If you are interested in finding a new tech job, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading employers. Contact us today to learn more about our current opportunities and to see how our services can help you further your IT career.
Technology dedicated specifically to sports and athletics, both at the professional and amateur levels, is becoming more prevalent, leaving many wondering if it will morph into a field of its own. The systems are designed to do more than just monitor performance, supporting other objectives like health tracking and providing access to visual tools that can help them improve.
New products are being introduced on a regular basis, but that only scratches the surface of what the field may have to offer. If you’re wondering what’s next for sports technology, here’s what you need to know.
New Devices and Wearables
Since fitness trackers like the Fitbit became all the rage some years ago, there have been significant advances in the available devices and wearables that are designed to help athletes improve. Activity-specific devices are becoming more prevalent in the market while the capabilities of general devices are increasingly robust.
The field is poised for additional growth, particularly as interest in sport-specific technologies grows, and there is certain room in the marketplace for more sophisticated advancements.
A Connection with Big Data
While most sports technology devices are capable of collecting data about the individual using the tool, big data is also making an appearance in the field. Supporting applications are able to use information about other users to provide additional information and recommendations to users, giving them the opportunity to improve their performance or simply see how they measure up to others.
Analytics are also often integrated into these applications, some of which have predictive capabilities that allow a user to anticipate their results if they choose a specific course of action.
One of the tricks associated with this rapidly advancing field is that, though a number of performance metrics are being included, tech professionals weren’t always knowledgeable about which metrics are actually valuable to users. As the sports technology field grows, however, the professionals behind the devices and applications are learning more about the sports, allowing them to select better information.
This means that tech professionals who have a solid understanding of athletics are highly sought after in the industry, allowing them to be well-positioned when it comes to securing a top-notch position. And, if a software engineer or data scientist has explicit knowledge about the specific sport being targeted in the device and supporting app, all the better.
Whether sports technology will become a full-blown field of its own, in an official sense, is yet to be seen. But, the potential is undoubtedly there, giving sports-minded tech professionals the option of specializing in an area that may combine two of their passions.
If you are interested in learning more about the burgeoning sports technology specialty or are looking for a new tech position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you and your career.
The DevOps approach to software development has gained significant moment over the past few years, making its way into more workplaces and industries. As with everything associated with tech, it also moves and shifts on a regular basis, making it important to stay on top of trends.
If you are wondering what DevOps trends deserve your attention this year, here’s what you need to know.
CALMS and DevOps
There is some argument about the true definition of DevOps, but one recently developed acronym is making significant headway in the field and is likely to make a larger impact throughout 2018.
CALMS (culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing) is a reflection of the most current mindset in the area of DevOps, reflecting current priorities and goals. It also shows that each aspect is vital to organizational success, as even a single missing component can harm a company’s ability to truly transform.
DevOps at Scale
Like with Agile before it, many companies have declared an acceptance of DevOps principles, though not all have taken active steps to use it in their organization. As 2018 progresses, however, this is anticipated to change, with wide-scale adoption resulting in legitimate action on the part of enterprises.
Ultimately, 2017 reflected an interest in experimenting with DevOps, while 2018 is poised to be the year when it actually takes real shape.
The Rise of the SRE Role
When an approach begins to become mainstream, a specialty role is often created that supports these objectives. For DevOps, that’s the site reliability engineer (SRE), a professional that marries ops prowess with software development skills to improve architectural flexibility, the use of automation, and empowerment of developers to create higher quality applications at a faster rate.
Increasing Use of Serverless Technology
The DevOps world has been buzzing about serverless technology, and that interest is likely going to translate into a wider adoption of the approach, similar to the rise of the function-as-a-server solution.
Serverless technology has the ability to provide a range of benefits, including from a development perspective. So, it shouldn’t be surprising if more DevOps professionals and companies embrace these solutions based on what they have to offer.
DevSecOps Will be More Prominent
With some many companies focused on IT security, it’s no wonder that the field is finding its way into the DevOps arena. Ultimately, the approach allows security professionals to join the conversation earlier, ensuring that their needs and goals are considered from the beginning.
It also means that DevOps teams will become more informed about security principles, allowing them to act appropriately even without direct guidance. Over time, security considerations will become a habit and not an afterthought, changing how projects are approached well into the future.
If you are interested in finding a new role in DevOps, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading opportunities throughout the area. Contact us today to find out more about our current openings and how our services can benefit you.
As technology becomes more ingrained in the daily life of nearly every American, universities are working to take on issues surrounding the ethical ramifications of the increased use of tech. While many recent developments in the sector, like AI and autonomous vehicles, have a lot of potential for good, there are also risks associated with the technology that need to be considered.
If you are wondering how some of the top universities are teaching ethics in tech, and why they are taking it on, here’s what you need to know.
Why Focus on Ethics?
The technology industry has frequently become the focus of ethical challenges. Companies like Uber and Google have faced criticism about their culture, and Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms were drawn into the debate for their possible roles in spreading questionable material during the last presidential election.
Ultimately, technology is impacting the lives of the masses, and improper handling of certain issues in these realms negatively affects the country and even the world. Since tech is only likely to become a larger part of daily life, both inside and out of the office, the creation of classes designed to discuss and address these problems is timely.
What are Top Universities Teaching?
While the full scope of what is, or will be, offered is growing, many of the classes focus on key issues facing the tech industry and people working in IT roles. For example, MIT and Harvard are jointly offering a course titled “The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence,” predominately focusing on the possible ramifications of AI and machine learning.
The University of Texas at Austin has just begun offering a class called “Ethical Foundations of Computer Science,” and intends to make it a requirement for computer science majors in the future. Cornell has a course focused on data science and ethics while Stanford is developing a class on general computer science-related ethics that they plan to make available next year.
The ultimate goal is to introduce concepts of ethics and morality to students who will soon be working in burgeoning fields associated with computer science and tech. With technologies like autonomous vehicles and weapons, both of which have the significant capacity to harm or even kill, preparing to be released to the market, being equipped to teach critical points about ethics is being considered a must.
Additionally, many up and coming technologies could fundamentally change how society works, and the implications of such changes are potentially vast.
While it’s hard to predict exactly what technologies will become available over the next three, five, or ten years, teaching ethics at a foundational level will help those working in the field to consider the broader implications of their activities, hopefully preventing potential issues before they occur.
If you are interested in learning more about ethics in tech, the knowledgeable professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled team members today.
If you want to be a great test automation engineer, then it would seem logical that having strong test automation skills is the way to accomplish that goal. But, there’s more to being a successful test automation engineer than technical prowess alone. In fact, being a system thinker is just as important.
So, if you are interested in becoming a top-notch test automation engineer, here is what you need to know about being a system thinker.
What are System Thinkers?
At its most basic, a system thinker is an individual who can survey the larger system to identify problems. From the perspective of test automation engineering, this includes professionals who can investigate a piece of software in its entirety as a method of locating holes in the resulting system.
System thinkers are individuals who can keep the bigger picture in mind even as they work on the smallest details. They understand how each piece fits together to create a functional whole, as well as which parts are working properly, and which are not, at any given time.
They also understand that automating particular tests may not be a suitable approach due to how the full system is constructed. Additionally, they are able to keep the return on investment (ROI) for each potential point of automation in consideration, allowing them to determine when it is financially wise to use a tool to complete the work.
Ultimately, being a system thinker means adopting the proper mindset, understanding how each part of a solution integrates to produce the final product and being able to keep it all in mind as you work.
How to Become a System Thinker
Some people have a natural inclination for monitoring the bigger picture, but others have to work to adopt the proper perspective. Part of it revolves around certain soft skills, like critical thinking and problem solving, which many test automation engineers already use on a regular basis.
However, it also involves understanding how things are connected, and that anything you do isn’t occurring in isolation of the larger system. This means applying your soft skills with a different scope, examining the implications of individual approaches based on the interconnected nature of each part.
Initially, it can be challenging to adopt a bigger picture perspective, especially if you haven’t had to use it much previously. But, by examining how your activities related to larger goals or products as a whole, you can build your skills, allowing you to become an effective system thinker.
Be prepared to have to dedicate some additional time to your work as you begin to shift your mindset. However, once you’ve practiced it for a while, it will ultimately become natural.
If you are interested in learning more about being a system thinker or are seeking a new test automation engineering opportunity, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our services today and see how they can benefit you and your career.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding blockchain, especially due to its association with Bitcoin, which skyrocketed to a value of just under $20,000 per coin before experiencing a significant decline. With all the chatter, many professionals have considered making a move into the field of blockchain development. But the big question is, is blockchain actually creating jobs?
While any new technology that garners as much attention as blockchain will certain lead to the creation of some new jobs, the actual number available may surprise you. If you’re curious about positions in blockchain, here’s what you need to know.
Requests for Blockchain Skills are Rising
Since there was a bit of a fervor surrounding blockchain, it’s no surprise that the number of employers looking for people with that skill has increased throughout 2016 and 2017. The technology has a lot of potential, particularly in industries where virtual contracts would be beneficial.
It is likely that requests for blockchain skills will continue throughout 2018, but the rate at which this occurs may leave some disappointed.
But It Isn’t Rising as Fast as You’d Think
One survey showed that, in early February, there were on 133 positions listed that explicitly asked for blockchain, while a total of 36 mentioned Bitcoin specifically. Additionally, there are a suitable number of professionals apply to these roles, making it apparent that tech workers are interested in getting an opportunity to work with blockchain.
Further, throughout 2016 and 2017, the number of available positions associated with Bitcoin tended to fluctuate, and only a few dozen employers were seeking workers with the blockchain or Bitcoin skills.
What Does the Future Hold?
While it is impossible to predict with any level of precision just how many blockchain jobs will be created in the future, there is potential for a notable uptick. The technology could provide significant benefits to a range of employers in a number of industries, particularly when it comes to records management and bookkeeping or in healthcare.
However, blockchain technologies are largely in their infancy outside (and even occasionally inside) the cryptocurrency realm. As new solutions are developed that can assist businesses with their operations, demand may increase, potentially sharply.
At this point, demand for blockchain and Bitcoin skills is fairly low. But, if adoption rates increase, which they very well could, so will demand. But, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo a career in blockchain now, as there are many employers who would be happy to bring on a skilled developer, even if it is just in preparation of future projects.
If you are interested in learning more about what a career in blockchain could offer you or are seeking a new IT position, the professionals at The Armada Group can provide you with critical information and connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can help you take the next step in your career, both inside and out of the blockchain field.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have taken the business world by storm, with more and more companies becoming interested in how they can integrate these technologies into their operations so they can experience the benefits for themselves. However, there are a limited number of skilled professionals available to support these emerging systems.
While the high level of demand is excellent for AI specialists, it leaves companies struggling to find the skilled workers they need to reach their technology goals. But Google is releasing a solution that may make AI and machine learning technologies more accessible to businesses.
Say Hello to Cloud AutoML
Google has begun rolling out Cloud AutoML, a solution focused on automating the creation of machine learning models, to help bring the emerging technologies to the masses. The first product in the release, Cloud AutoML Vision, provides developers with an easy to use, drag and drop interface, allowing them to craft image recognition models with greater ease.
According to the company, the system allows organizations to experience more accurate results, when compared to generic machine learning APIs, which can easily be considered a significant benefit for businesses looking to implement the technology.
It should be noted that the Cloud AutoML platform is still in the Alpha phase of development, so growing pains are likely as Google works to iron out the kinks in the technology. However, it represents a potentially significant step forward, even if there is still work to be done to make it viable on a larger scale.
Additionally, the question as to whether something as inherently complex as AI and machine learning can be automated, a point that is particularly relevant should the technology be added to critical systems. But, if it is deemed a success, it could signal the beginning of a revolution in the field, encouraging more firms to explore the associated possibilities and giving companies a new approach that can help them overcome skill gaps in their teams.
Will AI and Machine Learning Specialists Still be Relevant?
While the idea of an automated or simplified approach is enticing, most companies would be wise to maintain an AI or machine learning specialist on their staff, particularly as the technology still has a long way to go before it can be deemed suitable for all situations. In the meantime, working with experienced professionals will continue to be the norm, even as Cloud AutoML exits Alpha, or even Beta, as businesses will need to learn what the solutions can and cannot do effectively.
If you are interested in hiring an AI or machine learning specialist to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today and see how our services can help you achieve your AI and machine learning implementation and support goals.
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.
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.
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.
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.