Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

Front End Development

 

React is making waves in the front-end development community. It rose to popularity quickly and has been embraced by professionals of all skill levels. Due to its nature, React is even changing the front-end development field, creating new options and approaches that many developers favor over legacy alternatives.

 

If you are wondering how React is impacting the world of front-end development, here’s what you need to know.

 

Libraries Over Frameworks

Technically, React is a JavaScript library, not a framework. This means it does not apply certain constraints on front-end developers and will not make automatic assumptions about other portions of the full solution. It concentrates on a specific area, allowing it to be well-managed without the same level of entanglements.

 

Virtual Browsers

One benefit of using React is the option to work in a virtual browser, instead of a real one. This can create a friendlier experience, allowing the virtual browser to assist the developer by acting as an agent between the professional and the actual browser.

 

Ultimately, the approach can be incredibly beneficial, avoiding some of the trapping and tribulations associated with traditional front-end development.

 

Declarative Approach

When using React to develop user interfaces, a developer describes their desired result, but does not necessarily have to provide full instruction on how to accomplish the task. React does that segment of the build, creating user interfaces on behalf of the developer, based on the description.

 

The approach reduces the need to manually build the interface, which can be both a significant time saver and frustration reducer. All the developer has to do is tell React what it wants and the system figures out the how automatically.

 

 

“Reactive” Nature

React has the ability to alter an output, such as a user interface, whenever the input changes. Typically, input arrives through the components, or simple functions as they are referred to in many other programming languages.

 

Components in React can, unlike functions, hold data that may change over time. Additionally, the output can adjust to the changing input. Since React is declarative, it will render a new interface based on the updated data automatically.

 

Ultimately, React is an incredibly powerful tool, making it a wise addition to any front-end developers arsenal. Many companies are also getting behind React, increasing demand for professionals who are capable of working with the language.

 

By acquiring React experience and skills, you can increase your odds of landing a coveted role with a forward-thinking company. If you are currently seeking out new opportunities or are looking to take the next step in your developer career, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most coveted employers and exciting opportunities. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our services can help you advance your developer career.

 

 

Digital Transformation Goals

 

Typically, a digital transformation represents a significant overhaul of how a company does business. It leads to the integration of new processes and procedures, introduces technologies that weren’t previously in the workplace, and may even require a fundamental shift in mentality. However, like any large-scale undertaking, a successful digital transformation plan involves goal setting. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to determine whether the change produced positive results in the proper areas.

 

If you are ready to get started, here are some tips for setting digital transformation goals for your company.

 

Don’t Automatically Follow the Other Guy

There is a significant amount of information online, including tails of successful digital transformations. While it may be tempting to model your goals after another company, this isn’t always the wisest move.

 

Ultimately, every business is different. And, if your priorities differ from those of the example, their goals might not be appropriate for you.

 

Identify Important Metrics

Before you set goals, you need to understand which metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) mean the most to your business. For example, you may want to increase profits, improve production rates, eliminate bottlenecks, or achieve an optimal inventory based on demand.

 

Unless you understand which metrics are most valuable to you, you’ll have trouble selecting measurable goals. And, if the objectives aren’t measurable, you may struggle to determine if your digital transformation was actually successful.

 

 

Align the Approach

After identifying key metrics, you need to align your approach with the broader objectives. Digital transformation can mean a lot of things, involving a wide range of technology options that may not be ideal for your business. You don’t want to incidentally waste time by focusing on a particular tech implementation that isn’t going to create meaningful value, so you need to focus on opportunities that actually align with what you hope to achieve.

 

During this phase, you’re effectively creating a project overview. You can identify potential technologies that could positively impact your KPIs and determine priorities, including whether any steps are prerequisites to others. After examining these points, create a rough outline of the project to help guide further goal setting.

 

Create Milestones

With the overview in place and your KPIs noted, you can create meaningful milestones to function as short-term goals in the larger project. Additionally, you can monitor related metrics as you move forward, giving you the ability to visualize the impact of the digital transformation as it takes place.

 

This approach gives you the ability to not just see your progress, but also make course corrections as necessary, helping you shift your strategy if you don't see the results you hope to have. Further, you can share this information with your staff, helping them stay on target and keep their priorities in the proper places.

 

By following the tips above, you can create customized goals for your digital transformation. 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 experience can benefit you.

 

 

Linux Systems

 

Whether you are looking to get promoted or are seeking a new senior Linux systems administrator job, certain skills should be viewed as must-haves. Without them, you’d likely struggle in the role, or may not be selected for the position in the first place.

 

By improving on the skill areas below, you can showcase why you would make an excellent senior Linux systems administrator. To help you get started, here are seven skills you must have.

 

  1. Experience on Multiple Platforms

At the senior level, familiarity on multiple platforms is a must. Plus, it’s helpful to have a minimum of four years experience with the current platform, establishing your expertise in that specific system and guaranteeing you can hit the ground running.

 

  1. System Configuration Management Knowledge

Another expectation on senior Linux systems administrators is a strong knowledge base regarding system configuration management. Additionally, understanding how configuration can play into larger strategic organizational goals should also be viewed as essential.

 

  1. Strong Problem-Solving Skills

In the vast majority of situations, the ability to identify and solve problems quickly is a significant part of the senior Linux system administrator’s role. This requires a strong fundamental understanding of the systems involved, as well as techniques for troubleshooting and error identification.

 

  1. Process Establishment and Automation

Senior-level professionals are often tasked with reviewing current processes to find potential areas for improvement and establishing new approaches to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Further, the ability to automate tracking is incredibly beneficial, particularly as the business world continues to embrace automation as a means of increasing productivity.

 

 

  1. Security Modifications

Security standards are ever-evolving, and a senior Linux systems administrator needs to be able to modify current systems to meet the demands of today and, potentially, tomorrow as well. Vulnerability detection can also be a necessity in the eyes of certain companies, giving the organization the ability to intervene before a threat can exploit the vulnerability.

 

  1. Giving Presentations

Typically, high-level professionals need to strong communication skills, allowing them to craft and lead presentations with a variety of stakeholders, vendors, and customers as well as to peers involved in the process. Effectively, a senior Linux systems administrator is a liaison, taking complex technical ideas and ensuring the information is accessible to the target audience, including those who aren’t necessarily as tech-savvy.

 

  1. Written Communications

The creation of reports, proposals, and numerous kinds of papers is a common task for senior Linux systems administrators. This makes a strong command of the English language, particularly in writing, vital if you want to be a success at this level.

 

If you are seeking a new senior Linux systems administrator opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to exciting positions throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can help you take the next step in your career today.

 

 

H 1B

 

Most tech employers are at least familiar with the basics of the H-1B visa program. However, not as many companies are fully aware of where these visa holders are actually working. And some may be surprised to discover that the number one spot doesn’t go to a city traditionally associated with tech.

 

If you are wondering where H-1B visa holders are actually working, here’s an overview.

 

The Number One Spot

Based on a Pew Research Center study that analyzed data associated with H-1B visa approvals between 2010 and 2016, the city with the highest number of approved workers was College Station, Texas. In total, approximately 32 of every 100 H-1B visa applications made it through, reflecting a much higher rate than anywhere else in the nation.

 

Out of the approved visas, 99 percent of those workers went to Cognizant’s headquarters, which is located in College Station.

 

Other Major Cities

Overall, the east coast of the US has more H-1B visa holders approved than the west coast. For example, Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, had around 4 for every 100 applications approved, and New York-Newark-New Jersey City’s rate was 2.5 per 100. The Trenton area had just shy of 5 approvals per 100 applications while the Washington DC metro area saw 2 approvals for every 100 applications.

 

In contrast, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area had just over 2 H-1B visa approvals per 100. Other west coast cities, like Seattle, had less than 1 approval per 100.

 

Ultimately, this shows that, while H-1B visa holders are certainly present, they may not be as common as some people would think. The numbers represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of employees in the workforce, even in areas like College Station.

 

 

Salary Offerings

Even though College Station has the most H-1B visa holders working in the area, it doesn’t take the top spot when it comes to salaries. That honor goes to Bridgeport, Connecticut, with an average salary of $100,200.

 

Seattle came in second with $98,100, and Phoenix was third with $97,100.

 

In comparison, College Station had an average salary of $82,600.

 

H-1B Program Changes

President Donald Trump has expressed an interest in overhauling the H-1B visa program, though sweeping changes have yet to occur. Various federal agencies have been tasked with reviewing H-1B policies with the goal of revamping the system, though measures in Congress that would alter the program have mainly stalled.

 

Some smaller actions have impacted the H-1B visa program, including a measure that prevents H-1B visa holders’ spouses from gaining access to H-4 visas. However, even though a larger action hasn’t gone forward, that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t come along in the near future.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking tech talent to fill your vacant positions, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can benefit your company today.

 

 

Healthy Snacks

 

When it comes to maintaining your health, getting quality sleep is a must. Not only can it help lower your risk of developing certain chronic conditions, but it also supports healthy brain function, digestive health, and immune function.

 

While most healthcare professionals recommend that people get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, many struggle with reaching that target.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to help you get more uninterrupted sleep, and eating the right before-bed snack may be one of them. If you need to get sounder sleep, here are a few snacks to try.

 

Almonds

Almonds provide a number of health benefits, and some suggest that better sleep may be one of them. Like certain other nuts, almonds contain melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. Additionally, a single serving provides 19 percent of your daily magnesium needs, and magnesium can improve the quality of your sleep.

 

Turkey

Anecdotal evidence that turkey makes people sleepy is available in abundance. Some attribute this to the presence of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with the production of melatonin. However, research is somewhat divided regarding whether turkey contains enough tryptophan to have an impact.

 

But, turkey is also a source of protein and having a moderate amount of this macronutrient before bed is associated with sounder sleep.

 

Casper sleepuniv hunger v012x

 

Chamomile Tea

While chamomile tea is a beverage and not a snack, it could help you get better quality sleep. Not only is it usually caffeine free, but it also contains the antioxidant apigenin, which may promote sleepiness.

 

A small study found that those who consumed chamomile extract before bed fell asleep faster and had less nighttime waking. While the study used an extract, drinking chamomile tea is worth a try if you have trouble falling and staying asleep, especially since a separate study suggested the tea also provided benefits.

 

Kiwi

A study involving 24 adults showed that those who consumed two kiwifruits one hour before heading to bed fell asleep 42 percent faster than when they didn’t have a snack. They also reported less nighttime waking, increasing their total sleep time.

 

Kiwis contain serotonin, a chemical that can help regulate a person’s sleep cycle. Certain antioxidants in the fruits may also promote better sleep. However, additional research is required to determine if either of those points are responsible for the benefits.

 

Walnuts

Like almonds, walnuts contain melatonin. Additionally, they are a great source of healthy fats, including ALA, which may help a person sleep sounder.

 

Limited studies have been conducted on walnuts, so additional research is required to support it’s potential. However, eating a handful of walnuts before bed may be worth a try.

 

By choosing one of the snacks or drinks above, you might find that you fall asleep faster and experience less nighttime waking, allowing you to get the rest you need to support your overall health and productivity.

 

If you would like to know more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Noise

 

When you’re getting ready to drift off to sleep, a single noisy distraction can leave you jolted awake, struggling to reclaim the sense of ease you need to get some quality shuteye. Whether it’s your neighbor’s dog barking in the yard, a car alarm that is set off by the slightest breeze, or the sound of your refrigerator kicking on, reducing the amount of noise you are exposed to should be an essential part of your nighttime routine.

 

If you struggle to get the rest you need, here are some options for eliminating noisy distractions so you can get some sleep.

 

Industrial-Strength Earplugs

Sometimes, the easiest way to deal with noises is earplugs. If you purchase high-quality industrial-strength versions, they can both be comfortable and effective.

 

You’ll need to find a brand that offers the proper size for your ears. Otherwise, they may become dislodged in the middle of the night. Once you do, consider purchasing them in bulk, so you can replace worn out or missing earplugs as needed.

 

Additionally, make sure you can hear your alarm through the earplugs, so you don’t sleep longer than intended.

 

Hang Heavy Curtains

Thick, sound-absorbing curtains can make a world of difference when you need to keep noises from entering your bedroom. Select options that will fully cover any windows, buying different curtain rods if necessary to ensure the fabric provides sufficient coverage, and hang a set over your doors as well. This helps give you protection from sounds that may slip through any cracks, making your room significantly quieter.

 

Casper sleepuniv noise v012x

 

Buy Carpet

If your floors are wood, tile, laminate, or similar material, then invest in some carpeting to help dampen the noise. You can either install wall-to-wall carpet or purchase area rugs, as both can help. For additional noise reduction, consider adding a sound-absorbing pad, giving you an extra buffer. You can also layer area rugs over each other or place them on top of carpeting to reduce noise even further.

 

Try a White Noise Machine

White noise helps by overpowering ambient sounds, ensuring that any extraneous sounds don’t affect your sleep. You can purchase a white noise machine (including versions with built-in alarm clocks) or find a suitable app for your smartphone or tablet.

 

Alternatively, you can use a fan to accomplish a similar goal. So, if you already have a decent fan, consider turning it one every night instead of investing in a white noise machine.

 

If white noise doesn’t do the job, you can also try a sound machine that includes natural-sounding audio that you find soothing. You can also find nature sound tracks in a variety of apps or as downloads from a range of music stores.

 

By following the tips above, you can eliminate noisy distractions, helping you get a better night’s sleep each and every day. If you would like to learn more or are seeking out new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Working From Home

 

It’s no surprise that a significant percentage of professionals wouldn’t consider reporting to the office their favorite part of the day. In fact, many would relish the ability to work from home, for a variety of reasons.

 

Did you know that tech professionals who work from home often save a significant amount of time and money? According to a recent report, it’s true. And those points alone can make it worth exploring remote work opportunities.

 

How Working from Home Saves Time

One of the most obvious ways working remotely can save time is by eliminating an employee’s need to commute. Depending on where they live, they may save a few hundred hours a year by forgoing the daily trip to the office.

 

Remote workers also avoid many office trappings that can waste time. For example, they won’t be interrupted by a chatty coworker who wants to discuss something non-work related or distracted by the phone call taking place one desk over. Ultimately, this allows someone who is working from home to be more productive, which is a form of time-savings in and of itself.

 

How Working from Home Save Money

Since remote workers aren’t required to commute, they can save a significant amount in gas alone. While the precise amount depends on a number of factors, including their gas mileage and driving distance, employees can save upwards of $500 a year in some cases, and nearly everyone can keep at least a couple hundred bucks annually by making the transition.

 

Additionally, not commuting reduces wear and tear on their vehicles, reducing the frequency of oil changes, new tires, and many other automobile maintenance activities. Insurance rates may also decrease, as the number of miles put on a vehicle in a year plays a role in determining the cost of the premiums. In some cases, families may even be able to reduce the total number of vehicles owned by the household, making the savings more substantial.

 

 

Even those who take public transportation can experience the money saving benefits. Typically, bus and subway passes come at a cost, but they might not have to be purchased if the worker isn’t commuting.

 

But the savings go beyond commutes. If a worker typically has to grab lunch from a restaurant or a cup of coffee from a café on the way in, that expense is also eliminated. For professionals who were required to wear business attire in the office, their clothing costs and dry cleaning bills may decrease as well.

 

Even Occasional Telecommuting Helps

Employees can experience time and money saving benefits even if they don’t work from home every day. Just one or two days a week can create a noticeable difference in both areas, so companies that offer flexible work arrangements can tout the potential gains to employees.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the time and money saving benefits of working from home, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today.

 

 

New Tech Hire

 

While each member of your tech team likely possesses a range of valuable skills, some are probably more effective in their positions than others. And, in many cases, their hard skills are only part of the story.

 

Successful IT professionals often have a range of qualities that help them excel, allowing them to stand out from their peers. By hiring tech pros with these traits, you can improve the overall performance of your team. To help you get started, here are seven qualities your new tech hire should possess.

 

  1. Curiosity

If you're looking for a top performer, seek out candidates who are insatiably curious about their area of technical expertise. This can include professionals who explore their field both inside and out of the office, as well as those who stay abreast of rising trends and devour new details about emerging technologies.

 

  1. Adaptability

Technology is an ever-changing world, and the best tech pros are prepared to roll with the changes. Ultimately, IT teams can’t afford to stand still when it comes to examining the potential of different technologies and must be willing to make a transition when it benefits the company. Otherwise, it’s easy to stagnate or, worse, fall behind the times.

 

  1. Problem-Solving

In the world of IT, rarely does everything go to plan. If your team is going to be successful, your employees need to be able to identify problems, analyze the situation, and find solutions.

 

People who are problem-solvers are typically also strong learners, as they have to take in new information to get to the root of an issue and correct it.

 

  1. Teaching

The ability to teach others is a highly valuable trait, particularly in a world filled with skill gaps. A willingness to teach also indicates that they put the needs of the team first while being effective in this role shows they have a range of important soft skills, like communication and patience, that aren’t always easy to find.

 

 

  1. Coachable

A willingness to receive feedback and adjust their approach is also a valuable quality. This indicates the candidate isn’t necessarily set in their ways and is open to constructive criticism that helps them improve.

 

  1. Business-Savvy

As technology becomes ingrained in nearly every department, having a foundational understanding of business is beneficial. It will make it easier for them to understand the needs of the company as a whole as well as individual departments.

 

  1. Leadership

Leadership isn’t limited to telling people what to do. Instead, it also includes being able to bring people together to achieve a common goal or encourage others to be at their best.

 

A tech pro with leadership skills can help ensure your team works well together, making it easier for them to accomplish joint goals.

 

By seeking out the qualities listed above, you can find a tech pro who can do more than just complete individual tasks as they are assigned.

 

If you are looking for a skilled IT professional to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to learn more about our services can how they can help you find the ideal tech pro for your open positions.

 

 

 Quality Sleep

 

Many tech professionals struggle to quiet their minds when their head hits the pillow at the end of a long day. Often, people have to fight against invasive thoughts regarding whether they finished their to-do list, if an upcoming presentation will go off without a hitch, or whether a project will finish on time.

 

These racing thoughts can leave some wide awake, even if they’re exhausted. And, if they keep a person from being able to get enough shuteye, they may have issues staying conscious during the day, let along focused.

 

Luckily, there are things tech pros can do to quiet their busy minds, letting them get better quality sleep. If you struggle to get enough shuteye, here’s what you can do.

 

Avoid Activities in Bed

Ideally, your bed should be associated with sleep only. That means you need to avoid participating in a range of activities once you lay down.

 

For example, avoid the urge to watch tv or talk on the phone. Don’t jump on your smartphone for anything, including checking emails, reviewing your social media accounts, or even just cruising through the news.

 

Your bed needs to be a place for rest and relaxation, and that means avoiding unnecessary stimulation once your head hits the pillow.

 

Establish a Daily Wake Up Time

One of the biggest things you can do to ensure you can fall asleep with ease is getting up at the same time every day. This helps train your body clock to a specific waking time, making sure you’ll feel sleepy at the right time too.

 

Casper sleepuniv busymind v012x

 

Only Go to Bed When You’re Sleepy

There’s a big difference between being physically tired or without energy and actually being sleepy. If you aren’t sleepy yet, you’ll likely have issues drifting off into dreamland.

 

Trying to force yourself to go to sleep is often counterproductive, particularly if you get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Instead of forcing the issue, wait until you are actually sleepy to lay down.

 

Don’t Toss and Turn

If you can’t fall asleep, then you shouldn’t just lay there, tossing and turning while hoping that sleep overtakes you. Instead, get out of bed and participate in an activity that doesn’t increase your overall level of alertness, like reading or listening to music while enjoying a non-caffeinated beverage.

 

Address Your Worries

In some cases, anxiety about the upcoming day can keep you up. If this happens to you, it’s wise to take a proactive approach to managing worry.

 

For example, you can take about 20 minutes in the early evening to write down all of your concerns. Then, for each worry, write down a “next step” that will help you find a solution. This process can reduce your stress levels by planning for how to take action in the future, ensuring you don’t feel overwhelmed when it’s time to get some rest.

 

By following the tips above, tech pros can quiet their busy minds, making it easier to get some well-deserved shuteye.

 

If you would like to learn more or are seeking a new job opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members and to learn more about our services today.

 

 

Wednesday, Mar 28 2018

DevOps Trends You Need to Know

DevOps

 

The DevOps approach to software development has gained significant moment over the past few years, making its way into more workplaces and industries. As with everything associated with tech, it also moves and shifts on a regular basis, making it important to stay on top of trends.

 

If you are wondering what DevOps trends deserve your attention this year, here’s what you need to know.

 

CALMS and DevOps

There is some argument about the true definition of DevOps, but one recently developed acronym is making significant headway in the field and is likely to make a larger impact throughout 2018.

 

CALMS (culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing) is a reflection of the most current mindset in the area of DevOps, reflecting current priorities and goals. It also shows that each aspect is vital to organizational success, as even a single missing component can harm a company’s ability to truly transform.

 

DevOps at Scale

Like with Agile before it, many companies have declared an acceptance of DevOps principles, though not all have taken active steps to use it in their organization. As 2018 progresses, however, this is anticipated to change, with wide-scale adoption resulting in legitimate action on the part of enterprises.

 

Ultimately, 2017 reflected an interest in experimenting with DevOps, while 2018 is poised to be the year when it actually takes real shape.

 

The Rise of the SRE Role

When an approach begins to become mainstream, a specialty role is often created that supports these objectives. For DevOps, that’s the site reliability engineer (SRE), a professional that marries ops prowess with software development skills to improve architectural flexibility, the use of automation, and empowerment of developers to create higher quality applications at a faster rate.

 

 

Increasing Use of Serverless Technology

The DevOps world has been buzzing about serverless technology, and that interest is likely going to translate into a wider adoption of the approach, similar to the rise of the function-as-a-server solution.

 

Serverless technology has the ability to provide a range of benefits, including from a development perspective. So, it shouldn’t be surprising if more DevOps professionals and companies embrace these solutions based on what they have to offer.

 

DevSecOps Will be More Prominent

With some many companies focused on IT security, it’s no wonder that the field is finding its way into the DevOps arena. Ultimately, the approach allows security professionals to join the conversation earlier, ensuring that their needs and goals are considered from the beginning.

 

It also means that DevOps teams will become more informed about security principles, allowing them to act appropriately even without direct guidance. Over time, security considerations will become a habit and not an afterthought, changing how projects are approached well into the future.

 

If you are interested in finding a new role in DevOps, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading opportunities throughout the area. Contact us today to find out more about our current openings and how our services can benefit you.