Artificial intelligence (AI) is making waves in nearly every industry and country. President Donald Trump’s recent “American AI Initiative” aims to make the United States a forerunner in the area of AI research, taking on challengers like China to make sure the geopolitical landscape favors the US in this arena.
Onboarding is a critical, but often overlooked, part of the hiring process. When employees are introduced to the company properly, they are better prepared to thrive in their roles and the environment. However, when onboarding is neglected, even the most skillful new hire may not be completely comfortable or left with unanswered questions, making it harder for them to reach full productivity quickly.
By examining the best practices of leading companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you can learn from their onboarding successes. Here’s what you need to know.
In the epic words of Bill Gates, “Everyone needs a coach.” Most employee learning takes place on the job, and usually not through formal training programs. As a result, managers need to be ready to step up, guiding the development of their team on a daily basis.
However, many leaders do not spend much time coaching their staff. If you want to help your team and company get ahead, here are some tips to make you a better coach.
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.
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.
Site reliability engineering (SRE) is actually older than the DevOps movement. In 2003, Google tasked its software engineers with making the massive sites more efficient, reliable, and scalable. When the skilled team was successful, other large companies adopted the practices. Then, with a little bit of time, the site reliability engineer specialty was born.
Many professionals are intrigued by the SRE niche. Not only can the work be challenging (in a good way), but the roles are often lucrative. Plus, many site reliability engineers get to take advantage of emerging technology, especially in the automation arena, to make their coworkers’ jobs easier, something that can be rewarding on many levels.
To be successful as a site reliability engineer, you need to bring a vast and diverse skill set to the table. If you are wondering whether you have what it takes to excel, here is a look at the top skills and experiences the world’s best site reliability engineers have in common.
Systems or Software Engineering Experience
SRE is technically part systems and part software engineering. If you are interested in transitioning into the field, then having a few years of experience in either of those specialties can help you get your foot in the door. However, you’ll need a solid grasp of both to truly thrive in an SRE position.
If you come from the systems engineering side, then improving your programming skills is a great way to prepare to become a site reliability engineer. Software engineers should expand their understanding of large-scale systems management.
Infrastructure Automation Expertise
Infrastructure automation is at the core of much of what site reliability engineers do. They are often tasked with creating self-service tools for various user groups, allowing activities like test environment provisioning, event logs, and statistics visualizations to be handled with ease.
Additionally, the various automated measuring tasks create opportunities to increase reliability, something else that so is critical to the success in the role that the put the word in the job title.
Fundamental Soft Skills
While technical prowess is a must, site reliability engineers also need a variety of soft skills to excel in their roles. First and foremost, problem-solving capabilities are essential. Similarly, being able to work as part of a team and remain calm under pressure are also must-haves.
Both written and verbal communication are also critical in the SRE niche. Professionals working in the field need to be able to communicate well with their teammates and a range of stakeholders, including many individuals who aren’t as tech-savvy.
Looking For a New Tech Career? Reach Out to The Armada Group!
Ultimately, all of the world’s best site reliability engineers possess the skills and experience listed above. If you would like to learn more about the field or are seeking an SRE position, the team at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to discuss your goals and interest with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our SRE expertise can benefit you.
The H-1B visa program was designed to help companies find skilled workers in instances where there wasn’t a sufficient supply in their local, American workforce. However, abuses of the system have led to a series of changes, and one of the most recent ones takes aim at the outsourcing industry.
Form ETA-9035 & 9035E from the US Department of Labor (DOL) now have questions that could force employers to state whether the H-1B visa holder will be assigned to a “secondary entity” as part of their employment. Additionally, it requires employers to identify who those companies are, effectively forcing them to reveal their clients.
The Updates to Form ETA-9035 & 9035E
On the new version of the form, employers applying for H-1B visas first have to answer whether the workers “will be placed with a secondary entity at this place of employment.” Essentially, the DOL is determining whether the visa holder will actually perform duties for a third-party, acting as a contractor.
If the answer to the question is “yes,” the employer applying for the H-1B visas then has to identify the “entities,” providing a legal business name, pay rates and prevailing wage rates for the work for every third-party worksite.
H-1B applicants aren’t the only ones who have to address these questions. The new form also applies to H-1B1 and E-3 petitions.
Who is Impacted by the H-1B Change
While the most obvious group impacted by the change to the H-1B process is companies that contract out their employees to other business, the impact will actually extend beyond those businesses. Anyone who uses firms that rely on H-1B visa holders to function as contractors for the firm may also feel the sting.
Exactly what impact the changes will have, aside from requiring employers to reveal information about clients they provide contractors to, isn’t entirely clear. However, the US government hopes it will help them combat H-1B visa fraud, which is actually beneficial to companies who use the program properly.
Some organizations that need H-1B visa holders to maintain operations have previously had difficulty securing enough visas, and some suspect that large contracting firms played a significant role in those challenges landing the majority of the visas. If those activities are even somewhat curtailed, the impact may be positive for companies that previously struggle.
Additionally, businesses that rely on reputable staffing firms for contract or contingent workers likely won’t see any difference. Many recruitment agencies don’t rely on (or even use) the H-1B visa program to secure enough workers to handle their client’s needs. Instead, they focus on the existing US workforce, using their recruitment and hiring skills to obtain top talent.
Contact The Armada Group for Questions About H-1B Hiring
If you would like to learn more about how the H-1B visa change may impact you, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or concerns today and see how our services and H-1B visa program expertise can benefit you.
Your first 90 days on the job are critical. During that period, your coworkers learn what to expect from you and managers are deciding whether you were actually a good hire or not. Your initial few months at your new company set the tone, and missteps during this time can haunt you.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure that you shine during your first 90 days. If you want to make sure you make the best impression, here’s what you need to do.
Find the Flow
Every workplace has patterns. They may expect certain tasks to be completed in a particular order or have an innate understanding that some phrases should be interpreted in a specific way.
By finding the flow, you can integrate yourself into what is already there. Not only does this makes you seem like a more natural fit, but it can also save you a lot of frustration. Instead of pushing against the norm, you are recognizing it and working with it, which is going to be universally appreciated.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be a champion for change in the future. However, coming into a new workplace and asking people to conform to what you want isn’t going to win you any allies. Similarly, telling a group of colleagues that you don’t know well that their wrong is going to leave a sour taste in their mouths.
Always strive to make yourself a part of how things are first, as this gives you a chance to have the full experience. Plus, you may learn that things are the way they are for a reason, and that change isn’t actually necessary. If you do have a potentially beneficial idea, then you can share it once you garner the respect of your colleagues, and that usually won’t happen in the first 90 days.
Seek Out Expectations
Exceeding expectations is usually a great way to make a positive impression. However, you can only do that if you actually understand what expectations exist in the first place.
If your manager hasn’t clearly defined any expectations, objectives, or goals associated with your role, schedule a meeting and ask about them. You can also talk to your coworkers about what they anticipate you’ll be able to provide, giving you an idea of how they think your position fits into the bigger picture.
As you learn about the expectations, don’t make grand promises about exceeding them. Instead, acknowledge them and make commitments that give you a little breathing room whenever possible. Remember, it can take time to familiarize yourself with a new environment, so it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver in the beginning.
Contact The Armada Group for More Help with Your Career!
By following the tips above, you can excel during your first 90 days on the job. If you would like to learn more about making a great first impression, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our skilled team members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
When it comes to motivating your staff to remain productive during the holidays, money is only one solution. While holiday or year-end bonuses can raise morale, not every business can afford to shell out a significant amount of cash.
Luckily, there are simple things you can do to keep your tech team engaged during this hectic holiday season. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Close the Office (or At Least Offer Flexible Scheduling)
Many tech professionals feel guilty if they take time off around the holidays, especially if it tends to be a busy period for the company. Additionally, many wonder if it is worth the effort if they are going to be contacted regardless of whether they are on vacation, making their time away feel like work anyway.
If possible, consider closing your office on more than just the federal holidays. That way, everyone gets time away and the likelihood that they’ll be contacted by their manager or coworkers during their time off decreases dramatically.
However, if that isn’t an option, consider institution a flexible scheduling policy. Give your tech team some level of control over when they are available, allowing them to handle personal obligations while still covering their duties. Even if you need to make certain core work hours mandatory, adding some flexibility can go a long way when you need to boost engagement.
Embrace Telecommuting to Promote Work-Life Balance
The ability to work remotely can alleviate stress. It allows your tech professionals to work in environments where they are comfortable and spend more time with their friends and family since they don't have to accommodate their commute.
Often, your employees will be at least as productive at home as they are in the office. If a worker’s duties tend to require concentration and focus, they may even be more productive when telecommuting as they don’t have to deal with any office-related distractions.
Plus, your team can work remotely from nearly anywhere as long as they have a suitable internet connection. This can even allow them to travel during the holidays without having to take time off, something that can keep your team productive and engaged.
Recognize Their Contributions
Even if you aren’t offering bonuses, recognition can help boost engagement during the holidays. When employees feel that their efforts are seen and appreciated, they feel more connected to their employer. This can boost morale and enhance productivity, allowing your tech team to be at their best.
Anything from a simple “thank you” to small gifts to a catered lunch can make a difference. Consider what options are both meaningful and affordable, and make sure to make recognition a priority.
Learn More About How The Armada Group Can Boost Your Hiring Efforts!
If you are interested in learning more about increasing engagement, the skilled team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace productivity expertise can benefit you this holiday season and beyond.
As we prepare to enter 2019, many companies are planning to bring in data scientists to help them make the most of their data. It allows them to make better business decisions, enhancing productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
However, even if data scientists will continue to be in high demand, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to reach greater heights in the field. By acquiring the right credentials, you can increase your salary potential and your odds of landing coveted roles, both of which can accelerate your career.
If you are wondering which are worth your time, here are four data science certificates that you should explore.
Hortonworks Certified Associate (HCA)
Considered more of a beginner-level course, this certificate program provides you with hands-on experience in key areas. You’ll learn data manipulation tools like Hadoop, Hive, Pig, Solr, and Spark, giving you a solid foundation upon which to build your career.
If you are just starting out in the field or are working to earn your first official data science-oriented credentials, HCA is a great place to begin.
PGP in Big Data Analytics and Optimization
One of the main benefits of this course, aside from its hands-on approach to learning, is that it can be completed on nights and weekends. This is incredibly beneficial to working professionals, as you don’t have to abandon your job to earn the credential.
This course focuses on programming languages that are used in data manipulation, like Python and R, that are largely used in the data science field, including in systems like Hadoop and Spark.
Cornell Data Science Certification
This certification is a bit focused, concentrating mainly on the use of predictive analytics as a marketing tool. While it does apply to numerous data science specialties, like Business Analytics or Data-Driven Marketing, it is considered somewhat niche, so it may not be as valuable if you aren’t focused on the marketing arena as a data scientist.
However, if you want to specialize, this certification can significantly boost your earnings potential, demonstrating that you have the skills and knowledge to work effectively in the niche. Plus, it is also considered more affordable than many other certificate options, which can be ideal for the budget-conscious data scientist.
Mining Massive Data Sets Graduate Certificate
If you want to develop core data mining skills, this graduate certificate is a great option. It focuses on the fundamentals of the field, ensuring you have the proper understanding of data manipulation.
The course can be expensive, so it’s important to keep that in mind. However, it also serves as a good investment in many cases as it can increase your earnings potential.
Looking for a Career in Data Science?
All of the data science certificates can be worth pursuing, allowing you to boost your credentials and potentially earn more while working in the field. If you would like to learn more about data science certificates or are seeking new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our career specialists today and see how our services can benefit you.