Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

Skills of the Worlds Best Site Reliability Engineers

 

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.

H 1B Changes

 

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.

 

 

Be a Rock Star in your FIrst 90 Days

 

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.

 

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.