Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

Simple Ways to Keep Your IT Employees Engaged at Work

 

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.

 

 

4 Data Science Certifications that Will Increase Your Salary in 2019

 

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

 

What Recruiters are Searching For on Your Senior Dev Ops Resume

 

Successful senior DevOps professionals typically have a few things in common. When recruiters are looking for top talent, they commonly focus on core areas to help separate exceptional candidates from those who are just good or okay.

 

If you want to catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager, highlighting the right skills and experience makes all of the difference. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some insights into what recruiters look for on senior DevOps resumes.

 

Relevant Technical Experience

First and foremost, you need to showcase that you have the relevant skills to handle the technical aspects of the job. This may include experience in a variety of areas, including anything from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Apache to JIRA and more.

 

Similarly, programming language expertise in listed areas is often essential. Whether a company requires SQL, Python, Ruby, or any other language will vary depending on the role, though essentially every opportunity will need at least a few.

 

Having experience in Windows and Linux environments is also often beneficial, though each business may have its own priorities in that regard. Troubleshooting experience in a range of core areas, including everything from infrastructure to software, is valuable in the eyes of employers, though their precise needs may vary.

 

Critical Soft Skills

A range of soft skills are important for DevOps professionals. If you are trying to land a senior-level position, then leadership skills and the ability to work independently are both incredibly valuable. Senior team members often have to guide less experienced coworkers in a variety of areas. Additionally, they are expected to be able to work without having to be directly overseen by a manager every step of the way.

 

Stellar written and oral communication skills are also must-haves. DevOps professionals often work as part of a team, so being able to share critical information with ease ensures peak productivity.

 

Additionally, they must work with a broad selection of stakeholders, many of whom won’t have the same level of technical expertise. Being able to relay complex ideas and points in a way that can be understood by the masses provides value to the company, making it something recruiters traditionally seek out when looking for top talent.

 

Education

Nearly every DevOps professional needs at least a Bachelors degree in a related field. This can include computer science, information technology, software development, or a range of other applicable majors that provide tech pros with the proper base set of skills.

 

In some cases, employers also favor candidates with additional certifications. Often, these support some of the technical skills a job seeker brings to the table, serving as a demonstration that they have a certain level of competence in the selected area.

 

By showcasing the points above on your resume, you increase the odds of impressing a recruiter with your senior DevOps resume. If you would like to learn more about building a strong senior DevOps resume, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruiters today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.

 

 

3 Unlikely Traits that Extraordinary Tech Leaders Have in Common

 

There is often some level of debate regarding which characteristics truly define great leaders in a company. Some assume that subject-matter expertise is the most critical while others think that decisiveness is imperative.

 

While both of those can provide value, there are some unexpected traits that many of today’s greatest tech leaders share. By working to cultivate these in yourself, you can excel in your leadership role and make sure your team is primed to perform to the best of their capabilities.

 

With that in mind, here are three unlikely traits that extraordinary tech leaders have in common.

 

  1. The Willingness to Trust First

Many managers assume that trust needs to be earned. Similarly, they feel that a single misstep on the part of another is justification to make them re-earn trust, even if it is a relatively minor infraction.

 

This approach can create a contentious situation, leading employees to feel they need to either show-off to showcase they are trustworthy or walk on eggshells to avoid harming the relations. However, if you give trust freely to your team, they usually rise to the occasion and may even exceed your expectations.

 

By believing in your staff and their abilities quickly, you demonstrate your confidence in what they can do. This can significantly boost morale, increase productivity, and potentially spur innovation, especially if you create a safe environment for the expression of ideas.

 

  1. Understanding the Power of Humility

Some managers believe that humility is a character flaw. They assume that it’s a sign of meekness or low self-esteem, largely because, to be humble, one must be open to recognizing their own shortcomings.

 

However, contrary to popular belief, humility is rarely a sign of weakness. In reality, humble leaders are more adept at building meaningful connections with their team and colleagues and are also more willing to help when the need arises, ensuring the success of the group during trying times.

 

Humility also means being able to admit your mistakes, a sign of accountability, or recognize when someone has a better idea than you. This creates an environment where your team learns to trust and respect you, enhancing the overall dynamic.

 

  1. A Penchant for Active Listening

Too many managers fail to listen actively. Instead of genuinely absorbing the information as it is given, they simply wait for their turn to speak, formulating their response before they have heard all of the details.

 

When you are an active listener, you are able to discover what others need with greater ease. You’ll also be more open to their contributions in general, ensuring that you don’t overlook an amazing idea simply because you weren't receptive.

 

Ultimately, the three characteristics above are often hallmarks of great IT managers, making them worth developing if you want to create the best environment possible. If you would like to learn more about the traits that define extraordinary tech leaders, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our leadership expertise can benefit you.

 

 

What Does a Highly Effective IT Team Look Like

 

Highly effective IT teams don’t happen by accident. Instead, they are carefully crafted, bringing together the right mix of skills, experiences, and even personalities to ensure the team can collectively thrive.

 

But figuring out what such a team should look like isn’t always easy. However, there are certain traits that are common among top-performing IT teams, allowing them to serve as potential indications of the viability of the group’s composition.

 

If you are wondering what hallmarks are part of highly effective IT teams, here’s what you need to know.

 

Alignment

For a team to thrive, they need to align in a few key areas, including with the broader mission, the values of their peers, and the priorities of the leadership team. When it occurs, everyone is working toward the same collective goals, keeping everyone on target. Additionally, when every team member believes in the mission, this can boost morale, job satisfaction, and productivity, providing them with intrinsic value as a source of motivation.

 

Identity

Highly effective IT teams genuinely identify as part of a team. They exhibit self-awareness regarding how their actions impact those around them, giving them an additional source of guidance when they need to make decisions or solve problems. Additionally, they recognize that success is based on the cumulative work of the group, not the accomplishments of the individual. The perspective can increase teamwork and their willingness to help each other when problems arise, enhancing the sense of cohesion.

 

Leadership

A team can only be effective if they have a strong leader. Without proper guidance, the group will typically not flourish. Often, this involves having a manager who works as a coach and mentor, and not just a person delegating tasks. Further, open communication and transparency are necessities, ensuring everyone has vital information whenever something new comes down the pipe.

 

Growth

Genuinely stellar teams understand there is always something new to learn. Whether it’s a new approach to managing a project, a unique way to solve a problem, or an emerging technology that can provide value, they are open to exploring it. When it comes to knowledge, effective teams are never stagnant, and they typically aren’t fearful of change if it could potentially lead to better outcomes or increased efficiency.

 

Support

Strong IT teams feel inherently supported by each other. Typically, this means everyone has a voice and feels like they belong, creating an atmosphere that allows for constructive debates that don’t devolve into morale-crushing arguments.

 

Ultimately, it involves a sense of inclusion, the understanding that everyone is valued and that what they bring to the table is relevant. Without that, team members may be fearful when it comes to expressing their opinion, and that can stymy the group’s success.

 

All of the traits above are commonly found in highly effective teams, so forming a team that exhibits these characteristics may increase your project success rates. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking IT professionals to join your staff, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your company’s goals today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Find the Candidate with a Cultural Fit

 

When you are looking for a new job, finding a company that offers more than just a competitive salary is a must. If the cultural fit isn’t right, you might not be satisfied in the role, even if the compensation package meets your needs.

 

Often, assessing a company’s culture during the hiring process isn’t easy. While you may be able to gain insights from the organization’s website and social media pages, or through employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor, these only provide a glimpse into the environment. Luckily, they aren’t your only options for determining cultural fit.

 

If you want to make sure the company’s culture is the right fit for you, here are some questions you can ask during your interview.

 

What Do You Like Most About Working Here?

While the question may seem obvious, or even bordering on cliché, it’s also incredibly valuable. If the hiring manager can quickly provide a meaningful response, that’s usually a good indication the environment is positive. In contrast, if they struggle to give you an answer or their response feels shallow, that could be a sign of trouble.

 

Ideally, the hiring manager should be able to share details about why the company is a great employer. Then, you can consider their perspective and see if those aspects are similarly enticing to you. However, if they can’t, that could signal the company’s culture is lacking in some regard, and it may be wise to continue your job search.

 

How is Feedback Usually Delivered?

Asking about feedback creates multiple opportunities for you to assess the company’s culture. First, managers that provide guidance regularly are often invested in the growth and development of their teams, as long as they focus on being constructive. In contrast, if the hiring managers only answer involves annual performance evaluations, it could indicate they aren’t as focused in those areas.

 

Second, how feedback is provided can be critical to your job satisfaction. For example, if a business favors peer review, and that isn’t a paradigm you prefer, that might make the job a less-than-ideal fit. However, if you appreciate continuous, small doses of feedback and that’s the approach the manager uses, you may feel more confident about the cultural fit.

 

Who Else Is on the Team?

In nearly any job, you’re going to spend a significant amount of time interacting with your teammates. By asking this question, you can gain a variety of insights about their personalities and positions, both of which can clue you into the company’s and group’s cultures. This may allow you to assess whether it’s a team you’ll mesh with or if conflicts may be inevitable.

 

Ultimately, by asking the questions above, you can gather valuable information that can allow you to assess whether the company is the right cultural fit, ensuring you only accept a role in an environment that meets your needs.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your ideal company culture today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

High Paying IT Skills

 

When you want to make the most of your IT career, it isn’t uncommon to jump online and learn about high-paying opportunities in the field. However, this usually results in article after article discussing the highest-paying jobs in IT, and this isn’t always helpful to tech professionals who aren’t interested in switching specialties.

 

After all, it can take a significant amount of time and training to go from a focus on networking to concentrating on cybersecurity. Additionally, you may have to take a few steps down on the career ladder to make a transition like that viable, and that isn’t always a lucrative approach.

 

However, you can still enhance your earning potential without having to fully reshape your IT career. By acquiring specific high-paying skills, you can make yourself a more valuable employee, even within your current niche.

 

If you are wondering which skills are potentially worth pursuing, here are some of the highest-paying tech skills of today.

 

Data Architecture

As companies continue to become more data-driven, having skilled professionals who can understand and enhance the complex relationships between systems, applications, and databases is a must. Additionally, they also need IT pros who can design and implement new storage and management systems, ensuring they have the ideal solution for their needs.

 

While data architecture may be managed by someone specifically in a data architect role, these duties may also be assigned to other professionals. For example, database administrators, application developers, project managers, and business analysts may benefit from this skill set, allowing them to earn more while remaining in their specialty.

 

Complex Event Processing (CEP)

While CEP has been around since the 1990s, it is particularly relevant in today’s business world. Big data, cybersecurity, and IoT have increased demand for this form of data processing, allowing data correlations based on information stored in multiple systems to be more easily identified.

 

CEP may be helpful for cybersecurity, IoT, data analytics, and a range of other IT professionals, making it a valuable skill to add to your repertoire.

 

Machine Learning

A subset of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning skills are increasingly valuable as more companies look to create systems that can improve how automated tasks are performed without the need to explicitly program them at each juncture. Additionally, machine learning is relevant to a range of IT specialties, including cybersecurity, data analytics, IoT, e-commerce, and more.

 

Since the technology has so many potential applications and is still relevantly new in the business world, adding machine learning skills to your arsenal can be particularly lucrative.

 

Prescriptive Analytics

Another subset in the AI space with significance in multiple IT specialties, prescriptive analytics involves processing historical data, identifying trends, and locating patterns as a means of creating meaningful predictions about future events that are accompanied by actionable recommendations. The suggestions provided take this technology beyond predictive analytics, and it is likely to become more prevalent as companies learn to harness its power.

 

Since prescriptive analytics can be relevant in a number of specialties, including cybersecurity, data management, IT operations, and application development, it’s a skill that can provide value to a variety of IT professionals.

 

Ultimately, all of the skills above are some of the highest-paying ones in the IT world today. By adding them to your repertoire, you are empowering yourself to have a more lucrative career, even without having to change IT specialties.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are searching for new tech job opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced recruiters and see how our expertise can benefit your career today.

 

 

Full Stack Engineer

 

Over recent years, companies have become increasingly interested in securing full-stack engineers for their development positions. These professionals need a wide array of skills, ensuring they can handle both front end and back end development while supporting cross-functionality or multi-platform initiatives.

 

Full-stack engineers can easily cross into the six-figure salary category in San Francisco. However, a robust skill set is necessary to reach that pay level. If you are hoping to land a six-figure full-stack engineer position, here’s what you need to bring to the table.

 

Solid Knowledge Base

Full-stack engineers have to have a thorough understanding of a range of concepts and systems to be efficient in their roles. For example, knowledge of hosting systems, such as operating systems and services like DNS, is an essential part of these positions. Similarly, an understanding of the application stack and web applications is also vital.

 

A full-stack engineer can’t afford to have a substantial hole in their knowledge base, particularly if they want to earn six-figures in their next job. Ultimately, a knowledge gap means they may not be able to handle all of the duties, making their cumulative skill set fall outside of the full-stack arena.

 

 

Key Full-Stack Engineer Technical Skills

Working as a full-stack engineer requires a broad skill set that encompasses every development phase. This includes a range of programming languages, such as Python, JavaScript, Ruby, and SQL, as well as frameworks. Additionally, an understanding of networking, cloud services, and UX may also be necessities.

 

Ultimately, every full-stack engineer position may vary slightly from others, but core skills are commonly requested for all jobs. First, you’ll need front-end skills that allow the website or mobile app to be aesthetically pleasing and intuitive. This includes everything from being able to create code to knowing what layouts, color choices, or even fonts are considered the most attractive and appropriate.

 

On the back-end, full-stack engineers need the ability to build and maintain servers, applications, and databases. They have to have the skills required to create a functional solution. Precisely which languages, frameworks, or servers that will be involved may differ from one employer to the next, so having a diverse skill set increases your odds of landing a six-figure job.

 

Essential Soft Skills

Having certain non-technical (or soft) skills is also a must. The ability to communicate effectively with team members is critical to a project’s success, and being able to speak with stakeholders who may not understand the idiosyncrasies associated with the development process is crucial for gathering requirements and sharing what the final product can and cannot do.

 

Similarly, organization, patience, and attention-to-detail are also essential, especially for large-scale projects that are complex in nature.

 

Ultimately, by acquiring the right knowledge and skills, it is possible to land a six-figure full-stack engineer position in San Francisco. If you would like to learn more about exciting opportunities in the field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to find out more about our current vacancies and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

AR

 

Augmented reality (AR), a technology that was once just a dream for sci-fi fans, has quickly become a valuable tool for business. The ability to layer information over real-world settings has a significant amount of potential, making certain errors easier to spot, information simpler to visualize, and three-dimensional planning more accurate.

 

Ultimately, AR has the ability to improve operations, enhance collaborative efforts, and even cut costs. While the potential of the technology is not yet fully realized, it is already starting to make waves in a range of industries.

 

If you are wondering how AR is impacting business in the real world, here’s what you need to know.

 

Instructional Overlays

When an employee is troubleshooting a malfunctioning device or piece of equipment, shifting back and forth between a set of instructions and the object itself isn’t the most efficient approach. With smart glasses that use AR technology, instructional overlays can be displayed across the worker’s field of vision, helping them identify components, handle tricky steps, or otherwise manage the repair process with greater ease.

 

Not only could this be beneficial to repair-oriented professions, but it could also allow other employees to troubleshoot some issues on their own, or at least accurately assess the situation before requesting help from a skilled technician.

 

Design Walkthroughs

Architecture and engineering firms have long embraced AR’s capabilities, using the technology to render building projects to create functional, virtual walkthroughs. This can provide valuable real-world context for designs that were once limited to drawings on paper, making certain problems easier to spot before construction even begins.

 

Additionally, the technology can allow customers to experience their new home or building to ensure it meets their needs, giving designers the ability to make adjustments before they break ground. This can help bridge the gap for customers who don’t have much construction knowledge and may not understand how a plan will look as a finished building, ensuring they aren’t disappointed by the results.

 

 

Virtual Prototypes

The ability to create virtual prototypes is incredibly beneficial for manufacturing and production companies of all kinds. Being able to see how an object would look in the real-world can help companies better assess an item’s size and shape, a critical step when it comes to determining whether a product is reasonably easy to handle or if it will fit into a particular space.

 

Navigation

AR systems could be invaluable when it comes to navigation. Whether it is guiding workers through large manufacturing or warehousing facilities or helping long-haul truck drivers manage unfamiliar routes, the ability to receive directions on smart glasses or heads-up displays allows employees to keep their eyes on the walkway or road. This could not only help them get where they are going but could prevent accidents and injuries as well, increasing efficiency and safety at the same time.

 

Ultimately, AR could become a powerful tool in the workplace, particularly as the technology becomes more robust and affordable over time. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Workplace Retaliation

 

Retaliation in the workplace can involve a wide range of scenarios. For example, if an employee files a complaint about a coworker or manager and is subsequently given a bad performance review that isn’t justified, transferred to another department, subjected to verbal or physical abuse, became targeted by workplace rumors, or otherwise had their work life made intentionally harder, that could be retaliation.

 

Often, retaliation is much more prevalent than many managers realize, and it can be seriously damaging to a company’s culture. Additionally, many skilled professionals won’t tolerate environments where retaliation is common, leading them to seek out opportunities with competitors instead of remaining in a hostile workplace.

 

One survey indicated that one-third of IT professionals at large tech firms witnessed or experienced retaliation after they or another employee reported an issue. If you are wondering whether your workplace is affected by retaliation, here are some signs that may be the case.

 

Criticism and Scrutiny

If an employee is subjected to increased criticism and scrutiny after filing a complaint or reporting an issue, that could be a sign of retaliation. Whether it involves inaccurately measuring their performance, being overly critical, or simply questioning their judgment more often, treating the employee differently after they report a problem are troubling signs of workplace retaliation.

 

This is especially true if any negative feedback is being discussed in front of others, such as their coworkers, employees and managers in other departments, or members of the leadership team. Criticizing someone publicly could be seen as an attempt to harm their reputation with others, something that can be detrimental to their working relationships and their career, which can be a form of retaliation.

 

Limiting Access

After an employee reports a problem, if they are suddenly being removed from critical meetings, denied feedback or guidance, removed from training plans, or otherwise having opportunities eliminated, this could be retaliation.

 

Similarly, removing enjoyable job duties and replacing them with less desirable tasks could also be an indication of an issue, as it limits the worker's ability to derive satisfaction from their role.

 

Department, Location, and Schedule Changes

Relocating a worker to a different department, office, or cubicle could be viewed as retaliation if the employee did not express a desire for the change. Similarly, changing their schedule against their wishes could also be seen as punishing the person for filing a complaint or bringing up an issue.

 

Such changes disrupt the worker’s life and could harm their career, which qualifies them as potential forms of retaliation. However, if such changes are made at the employee’s request, they typically don’t fall into that category.

 

Ultimately, retaliation in the workplace is incredibly damaging, and not just to the person who reported a problem. The culture of the organization is negatively affected, creating an environment full of hostility and stress.

 

Managers should actively strive to eliminate retaliation in the workplace. Otherwise, the company will suffer. If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

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