• Blog Business & Technology

    Business & Technology

H 1B

 

Many hiring managers associated with companies operating in the tech industry have to deal with H-1B visa petitions on a regular basis. At this time, the program faces a lot of uncertainty based on government policies relating to the program being under review.

 

It has been asserted that these visas should only be given to foreign workers with the highest level of skill, and those holding the visa shouldn’t be used to replace Americans who can perform the work.

 

As more attention was drawn to the issue, many people began to wonder what H-1B visa holders actually receive for salaries. Here is some insight into that question.

 

Top-Paid H-1B Visa Holders

It’s no surprise that some of the highest H-1B visa holders are working for large tech companies that are known throughout the world. For example, those working for Apple earn an average annual salary of $139,000 while visa holders at Google bring in $132,000. Microsoft pays an average of $126,000, while Cisco and Amazon provide average annual salaries of $121,000 and $115,000, respectively.

 

To put that in perspective, the average H-1B visa holder makes around $91,000, based on data from 2016.

 

Where Do Most H-1B Visa Holders Work?

While many would assume tech companies employ the highest number of H-1B visa holders, that isn’t the case. In fact, the majority of approved visas go to business consultancy firms. This includes companies like Accenture, Cognizant, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. And, in most cases, these companies paid their visa holders far less than the tech giants listed above.

 

What Is the Purpose of the H-1B Visa Program?

The original intention behind H-1B visas was to ensure that U.S. companies could access highly skilled talent for positions that prove hard to fill. Visa holders aren’t supposed to replace competent American employees or job seekers who could reasonably do the work, though saying that never occurs would be naïve.

 

Currently, the IT unemployment rate is shockingly low, especially for in-demand specialties like programming. Many tech businesses argue that restricting the program could harm companies who otherwise couldn’t find the talent they need to sustain business operations.

 

Do Visa Holder Salaries Matter?

Regardless of whether your company employs H-1B visa holders, it is important to understand what they make. For one, it is a critical piece of data for budgeting the potential addition of a visa holding employee. Second, these salaries will affect the expectations of American employees working in the field.

 

All salary data is relevant, and this represents a piece of the larger puzzle regarding what top talent needs to be offered in order to secure and retain them as employees. And, if the H-1B visa program is altered by the government, salaries of workers may actually have to rise if you hope to stand out from the competition and gain access to skilled job seekers.

 

If you want to learn more about the impacts of H-1B salaries or are looking for a new IT professional to join your ranks, the team at The Armada Group has the expertise you can rely on. Contact us today to discuss your needs and see how our services can help you find the right candidates for your vacancies.

 

 

Bot

 

Chatbots offer a significant amount of potential in the business world, leaving many tech professionals wondering if learning to craft these unique pieces of software is a wise career move. While asking simple questions like, “How can I help you,” seems simple on the surface, the underlying code is actually incredibly complex.

 

Bots have to be able to recognize nuances in language and adjust their analysis based on context. They also have to learn to filter out space fillers like “um” and “uh” and remove pauses to get an accurate picture of what is being said.

 

If you are interested in building bots professionally, here are the skills you need to succeed.

 

A Variety of Programming Languages

Unlike some other forms of software, bots usually require a large number of programming languages to operate properly. IT workers will need to be familiar with a vast array of options including options like PHP, JavaScript, SQL, NoSQL, jQuery, Node.JS, Jabberwocky, Python and more. Which ones should take priority depend on the platform upon which they are built, which can vary from business to business.

 

Similarly, an understanding of Android and iOS can be important for creating mobile device compatible offerings.

 

Willingness to Learn

Since bots are relatively new entries in the tech space, very few professionals possess all the skills necessary when they are hired. Companies are interested in finding workers who not only have a strong foundation of technical competencies, but also a willingness to learn on the job.

 

Being a strong learner with an inquisitive mind and curious spirit can be quite attractive to hiring managers filling positions associated with the creation of bots, so showing you have the right combination of soft skills to fill in the blanks and solve problems can put you ahead of the competition.

 

Linguistics and Psychology

Part of the challenge behind bot creation is understanding how conversations unfold. Having knowledge in areas like linguistics can help you create more natural interactions, making the bot seem more engaging and well-rounded. Understanding the mechanics behind human speech is also critical, as poorly formed responses can leave a negative impression.

 

It is also important to understand the psychology behind customer interactions and how they value their relationship with the company. There’s more to dealing with an upset client than simply solving their problem, as language choice and the quality of the interaction can affect their overall perception of the encounter and ultimate level of satisfaction.

 

Currently, there are no formal educational programs focused specifically on the creation of bots. This means many companies aren’t finding what they need, giving you the opportunity to adjust your skill set to meet the demand increases that are based on this emerging technology.

 

If you are interested in exploring opportunities as a bot programmer or are simply seeking a new IT position in any specialty, the team at The Armada Group wants to hear from you. Contact us to schedule some time with one of our recruitment specialists and see how our services can help you find your next opportunity.

 

 

Friday, Aug 25 2017

Coming Soon: VR Ads

Written by

VR Ads

 

The world is full of advertisements. Whether it’s the commercials you view on television, billboards you pass during your commute, or banner ads you see on your favorite websites, advertising is everywhere. Now, ads are coming to VR, and they are likely to change your experience significantly.

 

Advr, a project by Google, is designing mechanisms for advertisers to reach you when you’re in an immersive virtual environment, though using an approach similar to the in-app popups most users just assume avoid. Here’s what you need to know about this emerging technology before it hits a screen near you.

Avoiding a Disruptive Experience

Part of what attracts people to a VR experience is the level of immersion. Most users are looking to escape a bit of their day-to-day, and VR entertainment certainly has the ability to transport the viewer. However, ads interrupting the experience is a counterintuitive approach, more likely to annoy the user than convince them to try a product or service.

 

With that in mind, Google is working to create alternatives to the traditional popups. For example, the Advr project team is working on a cube scenario where users have the option to engage with the object to view a video ad. By interacting with the cube, a video would open to show content. Then, a quick close is all that’s needed to return to the VR experience.

 

The approach is friendly for developers, provides a high level of customization, and is non-intrusive to the viewer. However, it’s not clear whether the ads would be fully avoidable. Google makes a significant amount of revenue from ad delivery, so having an option where users can avoid every ad, every time might not appeal to advertisers looking to hook customers.

Freemium Apps

Some speculate that VR apps may give users the option to avoid apps using the popular freemium model. This approach allows any person to enjoy the app free of charge, but often with limited functionality and/or the requirement to view ads. Freemium apps already exist in the VR space, often putting certain functions or additional content behind a paywall. Extending the practice to ads would seem natural, especially since it is already widely used in the traditional smartphone app space.

 

Since VR ad technology is still in development, it’s challenging to say exactly where it will go. However, with the proliferation of ads throughout the rest of most entertainment-oriented experiences, it won’t be surprising to see these ads become more commonplace once technology giants like Google figure out how to integrate them successfully.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about new developments in the technology space, are looking to hire an IT professional, or are seeking new job opportunities in your tech field, the team at The Armada Group has the industry expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to discuss your needs today.

 

 

Wednesday, Aug 23 2017

Is IoT a Viable Career?

Written by

loT Career

 

With IoT gaining a lot of attention for its potential to revolutionize business operations and collect valuable data, more tech professionals are beginning to wonder if a career in the field is possible. However, even though interest has gotten a lot of vocal attention, consumers and companies aren’t rushing out to implement these solutions. Now, that doesn’t mean IoT isn’t a viable career, as long as you approach the opportunities wisely. Here’s what you need to know.

The Consumer Market is Lagging

Smart home devices have been on the market for some time. But, even with aesthetically attractive designs and potentially useful functionality, the adoption rate is still slow. In mid-2016, a mere 6 percent of households in the country had a smart device installed, and only 15 percent are expected to add one by 2021.

 

While a revolutionary product in the consumer market could shift these numbers, it’s unknown if such an offering will arise.

Commercial Interest is Stronger

Businesses see IoT as a method for connecting portions of their operations to larger systems through the use of sensors and software. Since improving production can lead to long-term cost savings, it’s no surprise that companies can see the potential.

 

IoT has the ability to increase efficiency and identify bottlenecks. These capabilities mean industrial organizations can learn to streamline their processes to improve profitability. That means that professionals interested in IoT careers will be best served by finding ways to use these skills in commercial environments, either through the development of solutions or the implementation and support of systems available on the market today.

 

Certain public sector organizations can also benefit from IoT, especially local utilities and energy providers and those performing similar functions. These technologies can make it easier for them to monitor usage across the system and determine whether certain improvements are worth the investment. It is estimated that 93 percent of such organizations have increased their involvement in such projects and approximately 30 percent of local government agencies will be leveraging IoT within the next two years.

What This Means for Your Career

Developers interested in IoT will likely be most successful by marketing their skills to commercial and public interests that have the ability to benefit from the technology. Yes, growth in the IoT arena is slow, but these organizations will likely be at the forefront of the implementation movement. And these markets are relatively wide and interspersed through the majority of the country.

 

Does this mean a career in IoT is viable? It can be, depending on your approach. If you focus your efforts on industrial companies and local energy and utility providers, then you may find suitable opportunities. But, if you have your heart set on the consumer market, it may be slow going.

 

If you would like to learn more about a career in IoT or are looking for a new IT position, the team at The Armada Group can assist you as you explore the available options. Contact us to see how our services can help you determine the best path for your career, regardless of whether you think a career in IoT is right for you.

 

 

Tech Conferences

 

For many, conference season is in full swing. These ventures can be costly but, with the proper planning, have a lot to offer IT managers in return. If you want to get the most out of your tech conference experience, here are some tips to help you manage these trips right.

Don’t Let Co-Workers Distract You

While many organizations can only send one person due to budget constraints or workload concerns, some companies try to send as many people as possible. While having more eyes on the ground may seem beneficial, most co-workers feel obligated to spend time together. This may serve as a great bonding experience but doesn’t mean you’ll get the most from the conference if it keeps you from being able to focus.

 

Additionally, coming in with a team may make it less likely you’ll connect with other people while you explore the conference. If you want to network, make sure your co-workers break away from time to time to allow everyone to meet new people and foster new relationships that could be beneficial.

Review the Session and Events Schedules

Before you even begin packing for the conference, take the time to review the session and other event schedules in advance. This gives you an opportunity to mark must-attend sessions and presentations first, giving you a framework for your time. Then, you can pencil in time for other activities, like exploring vendor offerings on the trade show floor. It will also let you know when you can safely break for meals or check in at the office without missing something important.

Ask Questions Often

To get the most out of a conference, you need to be prepared to ask questions along the way. Speakers, vendors, sponsors, and other attendees are often open to having conversations, so don’t shy away from approaching someone if you think they have valuable information you would like to learn.

 

And don’t feel limited by the content of a particular session or a specific product offering. If someone seems knowledgeable about a topic, ask for anything from book or blog recommendations to information about upcoming conferences they are interested in attending. You may learn something unexpected if you take a risk and branch out.

Split Up to Cover More Ground

If you attend the conference with other coworkers, considering dividing up sessions to help you access more information. By splitting up, you can attend more sessions and experience more collectively. This means your total amount of information acquired is higher and everyone has a somewhat different experience.

 

After the sessions are over for the day, consider meeting up for dinner and discussing key points about your conference experience. Not only can this make great meal-time conversation, but it also ensures everyone’s memories are fresh when they share details.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how to optimize your conference experience or are working to add a new member to your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can work for you.

 

 

UX Researcher

 

An application is only helpful if users will adopt the solution. User experience (UX) professionals are tasked with learning about user preferences to help design solutions that are comfortable and intuitive to use. UX researcher focus specifically on gathering the needed data to thoroughly understand user desires, providing key insights to developers as they create a solution, putting them at the front of the development process. Here’s what you need to know about these professionals and how UX researchers lead product development efforts.

Requirement Identification

If your product doesn’t solve a problem for users, then it isn’t likely they will be quick to adopt the solution. UX researchers work with customers to help identify their needs and requirements for the final product. Often, they must use a variety of techniques to get the proper information. This can involve quick interviews, focus groups, usage diaries, and even usability testing.

 

Throughout these processes, UX researchers learn what does and doesn’t work for end-users, allowing them to create mockups and reports to help guide the actions of developers as the production cycle moves forward.

Problem Analysis

Sometimes, UX researchers are given information about a requirement or issue the end-users are experiencing, but not much guidance on how the users would like to see the product change. This means these professionals much be able to analyze the problem to come up with potential solutions. These efforts may be bolstered by a strong understanding of fundamental user behaviors as well as a creative and curious nature.

 

Once potential solutions are identified, UX researchers often must go back to the end-users for feedback, making changes as necessary to meet their requirements and preferences.

External Research

Not all research involves working directly with potential end-users; UX researchers often must look at sources outside of the immediate project for guidance. This can include previous product development efforts, and their associated successes and failures, as well as investigations into competitor products currently on the market.

Why UX Researchers Should Take the Lead

While some of the duties discussed above don’t intuitively need to be completed early in the product development cycle, it is important to realize that placing user experience concerns too late in the design process can be detrimental. If a product is beginning to take shape and is only later found out to not meet the needs of users, it can mean portions of the previous work must be scrapped or the project started over entirely.

 

By allowing UX researchers to get involved early and drive certain design decisions, you can be sure your developers get everything right the first time or that any needed changes are discovered early in the process.

 

If you would like to learn more about the value of UX researchers, are interested in hiring one, or are looking for a position in the UX field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to discuss your needs and see how our services can work for you.