Blockchain has garnered a lot of attention thanks to its association with cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin. The solution allows transactions to be tracked in a new way, using an approach that many consider more secure than many other options available today, increasing interest in the technology and how it can benefit a number of industries.
Since blockchain is relatively new, many companies have just begun exploring how they can benefit from the technology, particularly when it comes to ensuring transactions and data exchanges are more secure. If you are wondering how you can get your start in blockchain, here’s what you need to know.
The Appeal of Blockchain
As mentioned above, most people associate blockchain with cryptocurrency, though its potential stretches well beyond that role. As a mechanism, blockchain increases accountability and security related to various transactions or information exchanges, including contract signings, while also reducing error rates.
Generally, blockchain is prized for its ability to verify a transaction’s validity. Blockchain records cannot be altered after the fact, and all transactions can be published to shared ledgers, allowing trusted involved parties to easily review details while maintaining a suitable level of access control.
It also offers companies a way to increase the speed at which transactions can be completed while also providing a method for substantial cost-savings, as blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries, such as banks or government agencies, to be involved in the execution of an agreement.
Blockchain for Business
As of today, “blockchain-as-a-service” isn’t a common offering, so some businesses have struggled to find an entry point to begin using the technology. However, two tech giants have embraced the concept, giving organizations a way to get started with relative ease.
Microsoft has provided blockchain tools into Azure, its popular cloud services offering. In just five simple steps, you can get started with blockchain through Azure through the “labs” profile. This gives you a relatively quick way to create a blockchain instance, opening the doorway to the larger world associated with the technology.
IBM also has a solution that includes a little more polish than Microsoft’s offering thanks o the ability to not just create a blockchain instance, but satellite features as well. Along with the developer environment, chaincodes and contracts can be generated through IBM Blockchain. The solution is also interoperable with Hyperledger Composer, a Linux Foundation offering. Through IBM Blockchain, it is possible to do anything from create a single blockchain application to building an entire network.
Over time, additional options for bringing blockchain into business will certainly arise, including possible “as-a-service” providers who can make the technology more accessible, though gaining an understanding of what blockchain can do now is indeed a worthwhile venture.
If you are interested in learning more, need a blockchain professional to join your staff, or are looking for a blockchain developer position, the knowledgeable team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our specialists today and see how our services can benefit you.
Java remains one of the most popular programming languages, so many professionals who develop with the language need to stay on top any changes that occur. Java 9, which was released in September 2017, does have some notable shifts, even when compared to its predecessor, Java 8.
To help you stay up to date, here’s what you need to know about Java 9.
Say Hello to Modules
While Java 8 was all about lambdas, Java 9 is essentially focused on modularity, or Java Platform Modules.
Modules reflect a new way of building and deploying software, which brings certain benefits, like helping developers create software with a better underlying architecture and a smaller runtime footprint.
However, like any technological change, there are some challenges. For example, migrating a project from Java 8 to Java 9 does involve a few hurdles, such as the changes to the behavior of the “public” keyword.
In Java 9, if a class is not included in the module API, including public methods, then it cannot be called in the software. Further, reflection and method handles provide little help, as these calls can also be prevented based on the new runtime. This can result in an “illegal access” error, which is likely to be present in any migrated project.
A Series of Upgrades and Retests
Based on the arrival of modules, changes to items may be required. For example, particular major libraries must be upgraded to function properly with Java 9, leading to the issue commonly referred to as the “library lockstep” problem. Since multiple upgrades are involved, specific applications being transitioned to Java 9 may require a full retest, and remediation work will likely be a necessity along the way.
Additionally, not everything in Java 9 is backward-compatible. This means certain classes for Java 9 features will have to be addressed, typically by shipping a jar, if the software also needs to work on Java 8. “Multi-release jars” allows a multi-release flag to be set, giving the runtime the ability to include version-specific paths for the classpath resolution. Since the flag isn’t known by Java 8, the system ignores it, keeping the versioned directories from being involved.
Ultimately, Java 9 represents a modernization of the language through its use of modules, allowing developers to craft apps with well-built architectures. However, the changes do have a learning curve associated with them, so not every team or project will automatically see the benefit in the update immediately.
However, familiarizing yourself with Java 9 now allows you to prepare for the future of Java development, ensuring your skill set remains on the cutting edge.
If you are interested in finding a new position as a Java developer, the professionals at The Armada Group can assist you by connecting you with opportunities throughout the area. Contact us today to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff and see how our services can help you advance in your Java career.
As more companies look to leverage their data, a career in data analytics becomes more enticing. Data allows businesses to make smarter decisions, making it particularly powerful in today’s marketplace. But there’s more to data analytics than meets the eye, and professionals must have a strong skill set to be successful in the field. If you are considering a career in data analytics, here’s what you need to know.
A Forward-Thinking Perspective
Before, analyzing data was something companies did to take a look back, giving them an avenue for examining past decisions. Now, data analytics is generally viewed as a forward-thinking pursuit, allowing businesses to make smarter decisions today in hopes of securing a better tomorrow.
While this doesn’t necessarily innately affect how the work is done, it does demonstrate the kind of perspective successful professionals in the field must maintain. This means that assisting with future growth and profitability is a large driver for many people working in these positions, reflecting the mission of many of these roles.
It’s More Than Just Numbers on Screens
While the work is predominately computer-based, that doesn’t mean it is relegated to working with existing software. A lot of creation can occur in a data analytics role, including possibly working on devices designed to help capture valuable data.
For many people, this means that a career in data analytics can involve exciting tasks beyond reviewing information for insights, as improvements in how data is collected can be incredibly valuable to companies and rewarding to those who work on the projects.
Many people assume that data analytics derives its value from software outputs, with the human element being secondary. However, professionals in the field generally discover that their skills and input play a substantial role in the success of data-oriented projects and goals.
While a system may provide outputs, data analysts are often responsible for giving the data meaning and assisting with the decision-making process, and that is a role that should never be downplayed. Even if you aren’t in a position to make large-scale decisions personally, your work guides those who are making those calls, allowing you to be a big part of instituting change within the organization and beyond.
Beyond Technical Skills
Having the technical know-how to perform in a data analytics position is obviously essential, but other skills are just as vital. Having a strong understanding of business terms, particularly those related to your company’s industry, is also incredibly valuable, as well as the nuances of how the business operates.
Communication skills are also highly coveted, as you’ll often need to relay complex information to stakeholders who aren’t as well-versed in the technical side of things. Additionally, teamwork skills are crucial, as most people in the data analytics field work closely with others.
If you are interested in pursuing or furthering a career in data analytics in 2018, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most in-demand employers. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step.
Many people are concerned about how AI will affect their job or career. While the technology is predicted to eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020, it should also create 2.3 million new positions, which actually leads to a net gain.
However, how it will affect you largely depends on the role you hold and current skill set, and nearly everyone should expect to experience some change to how their tasks are performed as AI becomes more prevalent. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about how AI could affect you.
Tech Will Experience Sweeping Change
One of the industries that will be most affected by AI is the one that created it: tech. AI platforms are poised to take over a variety of tasks, such as security monitoring, data analysis, and even low-level programming. This eliminates the need for people to manage repetitive and tedious tasks, allowing them to focus on other pursuits.
It is also possible that AI will limit the need for middle managers as these systems could be adapted to handle tasks associated with resource allocation. Likely, adjustments in this arena will be slow, as companies may be hesitant to rid themselves of middle managers until the technology is proven to be effective.
However, that doesn’t mean that your position will be eliminated. Instead, managers are taking advantage of these advances by refocusing their workers’ priorities, using the technology instead to augment the activities of employees and not simply replace them.
Currently, AI isn’t capable of certain functions, especially those associated with understanding the context surrounding a problem, and not just the data being presented. Additionally, creative pursuits aren’t easily replicated by technology yet, leaving those tasks firmly in the hands of professionals.
At this point, an AI is not a self-sustaining entity. These solutions require skilled professionals to be implemented, programmed, and supported, creating a range of job opportunities that weren’t previously present in the field.
For professionals interested in working with the technology, having the right skill set is imperative. This can include commonly used programming languages, like Python and R, as well as an understanding of data analytics. Some tech workers may be able to gain these skills on the job, while others may need to pursue additional education.
By understanding how the technology may impact your job, you can make smart decisions about the direction of your career, allowing you to position yourself to take advantage of the emergence of AI instead of becoming a victim of it.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new tech position, the team at The Armada Group can help you evaluate your options and choose a direction that will allow you to meet your goals. Contact us today to see how our services can assist you as you navigate the changing tech landscape to find a new role.
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to assume that technology is designed to make our lives easier. It provides us with access to a substantial amount of information, regardless of where we go, and often helps us stay connected to both our familial and professional networks, making the devices feel invaluable.
But, depending on how you use it throughout the day, your favorite device may actually be harming your productivity more than it is helping. Since most professionals are diligently striving to balance complex work and home obligations, it’s crucial that your technology work for you instead of against you. Here’s what you need to know.
Notifications are Distracting You
Be it on a smartphone or computer, when a notification pops up, most people take a moment to see what it’s all about. This can pull us away from the tasks or activities we are participating in, regardless of whether they are professional or personal.
Instead of letting your notifications distract you, turn them off when you need to focus. This can include eliminating those associated with an incoming email, social media post, news alerts, or text message as well as apps that aren’t related to your current activities, like restaurant deals or coupon sites.
In most cases, it isn’t an emergency, and the message behind the notification can easily wait for an hour or two. If you're concerned about missing something critical, inform coworkers, managers, and family members about your intention to be less distracted by notifications, and request they contact you via other means, such as a phone call, if your immediate attention is actually required.
Be Free from Newsletters
A lot of professionals struggle to keep control of the email inbox, especially since every time you sign up for a website or app your usually automatically enrolled in a variety of newsletters. To help you save time, consider unsubscribing from every newsletter that doesn’t provide you with value, including sales flyers from retailers and restaurants.
Generally, the information is also accessible through the website, so you can always look it up when you need it. And freeing yourself from the daily email onslaught can be liberating, so it’s worth the effort.
Up Your Communication Skills
Text messaging and social media often promote the use of shorthand and quick statements to get your point across. But, at work, you may need to work harder to communicate effectively in writing.
Some of the quick responses we’ve grown accustomed to in text messages aren’t sufficient enough for workplace problems, often coming off as ambiguous or even dismissive. Instead of relying on these short messages, take the time to be thorough, yet concise. This eliminates an unnecessary back and forth triggered when the recipient of your message needs additional clarification while also ensuring you aren’t crafting a message that is longer than required.
Ultimately, the approach will save both you and them a substantial amount of time and the additional effort will be appreciated.
If you would like to learn more or are working to hire a new employee, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our flexible approach can work for you.
Many businesses still struggle when it comes to maximizing the benefits associated with social media. While many companies have prioritized it as a tool for marketing, its ability to provide you with valuable data shouldn’t be ignored. Often, simply collecting all of that information isn’t easy, let alone benefiting from the insights. Add to that the demands of content management, and it’s no wonder companies feel overwhelmed. However, by unifying your social media channels into a single data repository under one ID, you can position your organization for success. Here’s what you need to know.
By unifying your channels, you are giving yourself an opportunity to simplify the management of your accounts. For example, you can have the user IDs unified into a single user ID (SID) so that you can access all of your social media accounts through a single login.
Additionally, you can determine precisely what information should be shared through your channels, set privacy controls, and even decide which content you want brought into data repositories. This streamlines your efforts by providing you with the additional level of control you need, while limiting the amount of hands-on work that is required to get the job done.
Often, one of the biggest concerns about data management is focused on storage. The unified options usually implement a cloud-based data repository, ensuring you don’t have to dedicate internal resources to the task and providing you with a level of scalability. Additionally, the data is highly accessible, making it a strong option for distributed teams and supporting a mobile workforce.
Is It Right for You?
The biggest question regarding whether unifying your social media channels is the right move focuses on what you intend to do with the data. If, as a company, you don’t anticipate using it for analytics, this might not be necessary. However, if it aligns with your big data strategy, making the move can be highly beneficial.
Additionally, if there is the potential for a unified approach to improve certain business processes, the concept is worth exploring. And, if you anticipate greater results based on your ability to review the data, defining those expectations to see if they align with what the solution actually offers can provide additional clarity.
Currently, we are at the forefront of truly harnessing social media for business development. This means we are being presented with new technologies that can help you leverage the data to your benefit while streamlining your processes. If you haven’t revisited your social media strategy in some time or haven’t defined how this data fits into your larger objective, now is the time to take a look and see if solutions like unifying your social media channels are right for you.
If you would like more information or are looking to increase the size of your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team and see how our services can work for you.
It’s no secret that cloud computing has significantly changed the way many companies do business, but choosing the right variant of the technology isn’t always easy, especially if you aren’t familiar with the differences. Public, private, and hybrid cloud designs all come with their own benefits and drawbacks, so selecting the option that is best suited to your needs is essential. To help you make the ideal selection, here are some of the differences between public, private, and hybrid cloud.
When people imagine a cloud, they are often picturing the public version. This technology began with offerings like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or applications that are accessed over the internet and hosted elsewhere. Now the public cloud provides options for applications, data storage, and infrastructure, where the technology is housed with a third-party provider.
In the most basic sense, a public cloud centers on shared physical hardware, and access is provided by obtaining services from a third party. Often, this solution is ideal for small- to medium-sized businesses that may otherwise not be able to afford to invest heavily in internal IT resources, like servers and other infrastructure.
A private cloud often resembles on-premises data centers but provides you with additional options. This includes the ability to use automation, software, and virtualization to create an infrastructure that mimics the cloud, providing you with additional flexibility regarding how business gets done. While it doesn’t offer the full array of options you can get in a public cloud, it does give you the ability to exert more control over items like compliance, data privacy, and security, which can be incredibly beneficial for companies operating in highly regulated industries.
While the function resembles an on-premises data center, that doesn’t mean you have to keep your equipment onsite. Third-party vendors do provide access to private clouds, though the cost is likely to be higher than a public one. Often, you get the same level of control using a vendor as you would maintaining the hardware internally, so you should be able to implement security and compliance standards based on your needs.
Regretfully, there is no single widespread definition of what is and is not considered a hybrid cloud, but, at its core, these systems combine features of public and private clouds to maximize efficiency while maintaining certain security standards. For example, applications may be placed on a public cloud while data remains on a private one.
The intent behind a hybrid cloud design is to give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to pick and choose which data, applications, or infrastructure pieces are placed where. This is often done to balance accessibility with security and each solution can be customized to meet the needs of a specific organization.
If you would like to learn more about cloud technologies or need a skilled cloud-oriented IT professional to join your team, the specialists at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your needs today and learn how our services can work for you.
Some IT managers are surprised to hear the greatest security threats your company will likely face come from the inside. While not all these actions are intentional, mitigating these risks is critical to the safety of your business and the information you possess. Often, this involves having the proper methods in place for the quick detection of cybersecurity threats, as well as processes to help lower the level of risk. With that in mind, here are some tips for reducing inside security threats.
Embrace Temporary Accounts
Not everyone who needs access to your systems is a permanent employee, so having an alternative to a traditional account is a wise move. For example, contractors, interns, or short-term workers can all be assigned to temporary accounts with an identified expiration date based on the length of their time with you. This ensures access is revoked automatically when that date passes or that an extension must be initiated if they stay with the company longer than expected.
If you have unused accounts on your system, you are increasing the level of risk. However, many businesses have insufficient processes in place to ensure that access is revoked when an employee leaves the organization, and that means some old accounts may still exist.
The easiest way to mitigate this risk is to conduct frequent audits to identify accounts that have not been used during a specified period, such as the past 12 weeks, and evaluate whether it should remain or be removed.
Create Thorough Employee Exit Procedures
Most of your workers won’t stay with the company forever, and ensuring their credentials are revoked upon their exit is essential for security, especially for those who were terminated. Create strong policies and procedures that govern how these exits are handled, including when their account should be removed and who is responsible, and make sure they are followed to the letter. This limits the chance that an employee who has recently left can still access the system once they head out the door.
Identify Disgruntled Employees
Not everyone who is unhappy in their position leaves, and disgruntled employees may express their negativity toward the company by stealing data or damaging systems. While someone being displeased doesn’t mean they’ll act on their feelings, it is wise to monitor their activities more closely while you work to help improve their situation. Turning a dissatisfied worker into a happy one is a form of insider threat prevention in itself, so invest in their morale and see if things can’t turn around.
Create an Incident Response Team
Whether it consists of one employee or several, having a dedicated team that is responsible for responding to security incidents is crucial. These individuals will spearhead efforts for preventing, detecting, and addressing issues as they occur, as well as creating, maintaining, and using standard documented plans and processes based on the incident type. Establishing an official team centralizes your threat-related efforts, which can make managing issues simpler for everyone.
If you are interested in adding IT security professionals to your team, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to see everything our services have to offer.
When it comes to publishing an app, there are essentially two platforms to choose from: Apple’s App Store for iOS and Google’s Play Store for Android. Both companies work to keep “bad” apps from entering their marketplaces, an effort that seems to be directed at keeping users safe from nefarious pieces of software.
However, some of the guidelines regarding the publication of apps have other implications, and may keep a “good” app from being offered through the respective stores. But each tech giant’s approach is different. Here’s what you need to know.
Apple’s App Store
While Apple is generally recognized for keeping a strong grasp on its store offerings, making the marketplace a fairly safe destination when it comes to downloading apps, some of their guidelines leave a bit to be desired.
For example, what defines a “bad” app is somewhat vague and even ambiguous. Additionally, a rule that states that “apps created from commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected,” make it difficult for some apps to pass the test, even if they are safe.
While the core intention may be the avoidance of too many cloned apps entering the marketplace, small businesses often rely on template or app generation services to produce the apps they need. Even if the function is unique, a copycat framework could lead to rejection. Additionally, when certain skeletons become popular, increasing their prevalence in the store, it is possible Apple’s algorithm will turn the app away based on its similarities.
Google’s Play Store
Google takes a different approach when it comes to the management of supposed “bad” apps. Instead of focusing on the framework, Google emphasizes functionality when it makes a decision.
To improve the marketplace experience, Google works to have higher quality apps display more often than those of lower quality (such as apps that crash frequently). The company states, “The change has had a positive impact on engagement” as Play Store users are more likely to download an app with increased stability.
Google has also recommended that developers take advantage of the Android Vitals tool, a mechanism for monitoring stability and the associated battery usage when installed on a person’s device, as it allows creators to keep an eye on the quality of the app experience. This gives people the ability to improve their search ranking by improving the app.
Apple does also keep an eye on low-quality apps, and even outright rejects those who aren’t above 32-bit, but the company aims more to prevent these applications from ever being available instead of simply pushing them down in the search results, like Google. For small businesses looking to create an app, especially if the intention is for internal use only, Apple’s strict guidelines may make it harder to reach publication, an important point to understand before investing in development.
If you would like to learn more about app development, including how to find a skilled professional or acquire a new position in the field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.
With the number of available programming languages being so great, it can be hard to determine which ones to focus on as a method of forwarding a career in the field. While there are opportunities that require almost every language, some options are more in-demand than others. If you are looking to position yourself as a top talent in the field today, here are the five most important programming languages you need to know.
Java is widely used in enterprise environments, making it an in-demand skill for developers throughout the country. This language also plays a large role in e-commerce and web development, making it highly desirable for smaller businesses as well. Java is also recognized for its high level of flexibility, as code written in Java can be used in a variety of environments and multiple device types without requiring substantial (if any) changes.
Another commonly requested programming language is C++. Considered an enhanced variant of C, this object-oriented language that utilizes a class-based system is seen as highly portable thanks to its ability to run on multiple operating systems with limited (if any) changes being required. It is also highly prevalent in the working world today, so companies maintaining legacy programs may prefer a developer with C++ skills.
Python is connected to both machine learning and web development. It is prized for its highly readable syntax, which can make it easier to use and simpler to learn. The language is also especially portable, allowing it to be interpreted by a range of operating systems. For workplaces that don’t limit themselves to a single OS, this can be a boon that they simply can’t ignore, leading them to pursue professionals with Python experience specifically.
While learning SQL isn’t necessarily considered a glamorous pursuit, it’s high level of use in our data-driven world has kept it popular. Widely used to query databases, SQL is anticipated to have a seat at the table for the foreseeable future as it is considered a staple in the relational database community. Additionally, since SQL has been around for decades, it is used by the majority of businesses that have a need for data, making it especially prevalent in the working world.
While these five languages aren’t the only options available to learn in our tech-oriented world, they do represent those that are in the highest demand. If you would like to know more or are looking for a new position as a programmer, the team at The Armada Group can assist you with your goals. Contact us to discuss your professional and educational experience today and see which top employers in the area are looking for workers like you.