Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

Career in Data Analytics

 

As more companies look to leverage their data, a career in data analytics becomes more enticing. Data allows businesses to make smarter decisions, making it particularly powerful in today’s marketplace. But there’s more to data analytics than meets the eye, and professionals must have a strong skill set to be successful in the field. If you are considering a career in data analytics, here’s what you need to know.

 

A Forward-Thinking Perspective

Before, analyzing data was something companies did to take a look back, giving them an avenue for examining past decisions. Now, data analytics is generally viewed as a forward-thinking pursuit, allowing businesses to make smarter decisions today in hopes of securing a better tomorrow.

 

While this doesn’t necessarily innately affect how the work is done, it does demonstrate the kind of perspective successful professionals in the field must maintain. This means that assisting with future growth and profitability is a large driver for many people working in these positions, reflecting the mission of many of these roles.

 

It’s More Than Just Numbers on Screens

While the work is predominately computer-based, that doesn’t mean it is relegated to working with existing software. A lot of creation can occur in a data analytics role, including possibly working on devices designed to help capture valuable data.

 

For many people, this means that a career in data analytics can involve exciting tasks beyond reviewing information for insights, as improvements in how data is collected can be incredibly valuable to companies and rewarding to those who work on the projects.

 

 

People Matter

Many people assume that data analytics derives its value from software outputs, with the human element being secondary. However, professionals in the field generally discover that their skills and input play a substantial role in the success of data-oriented projects and goals.

 

While a system may provide outputs, data analysts are often responsible for giving the data meaning and assisting with the decision-making process, and that is a role that should never be downplayed. Even if you aren’t in a position to make large-scale decisions personally, your work guides those who are making those calls, allowing you to be a big part of instituting change within the organization and beyond.

 

Beyond Technical Skills

Having the technical know-how to perform in a data analytics position is obviously essential, but other skills are just as vital. Having a strong understanding of business terms, particularly those related to your company’s industry, is also incredibly valuable, as well as the nuances of how the business operates.

 

Communication skills are also highly coveted, as you’ll often need to relay complex information to stakeholders who aren’t as well-versed in the technical side of things. Additionally, teamwork skills are crucial, as most people in the data analytics field work closely with others.

 

If you are interested in pursuing or furthering a career in data analytics in 2018, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most in-demand employers. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step.

 

 

Wednesday, Jan 10 2018

Will Your Job Survive AI?

Survive AI

 

Many people are concerned about how AI will affect their job or career. While the technology is predicted to eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020, it should also create 2.3 million new positions, which actually leads to a net gain.

 

However, how it will affect you largely depends on the role you hold and current skill set, and nearly everyone should expect to experience some change to how their tasks are performed as AI becomes more prevalent. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about how AI could affect you.

 

Tech Will Experience Sweeping Change

One of the industries that will be most affected by AI is the one that created it: tech. AI platforms are poised to take over a variety of tasks, such as security monitoring, data analysis, and even low-level programming. This eliminates the need for people to manage repetitive and tedious tasks, allowing them to focus on other pursuits.

 

It is also possible that AI will limit the need for middle managers as these systems could be adapted to handle tasks associated with resource allocation. Likely, adjustments in this arena will be slow, as companies may be hesitant to rid themselves of middle managers until the technology is proven to be effective.

 

However, that doesn’t mean that your position will be eliminated. Instead, managers are taking advantage of these advances by refocusing their workers’ priorities, using the technology instead to augment the activities of employees and not simply replace them.

 

Currently, AI isn’t capable of certain functions, especially those associated with understanding the context surrounding a problem, and not just the data being presented. Additionally, creative pursuits aren’t easily replicated by technology yet, leaving those tasks firmly in the hands of professionals.

 

 

New Opportunities

At this point, an AI is not a self-sustaining entity. These solutions require skilled professionals to be implemented, programmed, and supported, creating a range of job opportunities that weren’t previously present in the field.

 

For professionals interested in working with the technology, having the right skill set is imperative. This can include commonly used programming languages, like Python and R, as well as an understanding of data analytics. Some tech workers may be able to gain these skills on the job, while others may need to pursue additional education.

 

By understanding how the technology may impact your job, you can make smart decisions about the direction of your career, allowing you to position yourself to take advantage of the emergence of AI instead of becoming a victim of it.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new tech position, the team at The Armada Group can help you evaluate your options and choose a direction that will allow you to meet your goals. Contact us today to see how our services can assist you as you navigate the changing tech landscape to find a new role.

 

 

Senior DevOps

 

If your developing a career in DevOps, the idea of being a Senior DevOps Engineer may be particularly enticing. Like any upper-level position, you’ll need to possess the proper skill set and also make an effort to separate yourself from your peers.

 

To help you begin on your way to becoming a Senior DevOps Engineer, here are some tips to get you started.

 

Technical Skills

First and foremost, you’ll need to be especially proficient in a range of scripting languages, including options like Bash, PowerShell, and Python. You may also need to be familiar with working on multiple computing platforms, such as Linux and Windows.

 

When web services are a component of your development efforts, being experienced in RESTful services is beneficial. And, to meet project objectives, you may need a thorough understanding of continuous integration and delivery, as well as knowledge of configuration management concept.

 

Since cloud services and tools can play a vital role in DevOps, being familiar with CM tools and frameworks like Chef and SALT can help you get ahead. Expertise in test automation is also highly desirable and can help you stand out from your peers.

 

Soft Skills

Like most IT positions, Senior DevOps Engineers also need a range of soft skills to excel. Most importantly, you’ll need strong written and verbal communications skills, including the ability to make complex information more accessible to stakeholders who may be less tech-savvy.

 

Planning and organizational skills are incredibly useful as they make it easier to keep projects on track and ensure you are handling your tasks based on any applicable deadlines. Being able to work as part of a team is also crucial.

 

Senior DevOps Engineers may also need to guide junior team members, so leadership skills can help you move up the ladder to the next level position.

 

Securing a Promotion

While there is no guaranteed way to obtain a promotion, certain efforts increase your likelihood of success. For example, volunteering for leadership roles can help you develop your skills and assert yourself as someone who can direct and manage the work of others. Taking on new challenges shows your interested in expanding your knowledge base and growing in the field while participating in professional development activities also demonstrate you are working to keep your skills sharp and relevant.

 

You also need to meet the fundamental requirements of your current position, such as meeting your deadlines and maintaining high-quality standards. Additionally, you need to be open to feedback and work diligently to follow any advice that can allow you to become a top employee.

 

Securing a promotion is generally about more than just being technically proficient, so aim to become a well-rounded employee who is willing to go the extra mile and support larger team goals to ensure the company has everything they need to succeed.

 

If you’re looking for a new DevOps position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the most innovative employers in the area. Contact us to see how our services can help you get ahead in your career.

 

 

Hiring Strategy

 

When it comes to hiring, two things matter more than anything: speed and quality. While the two don’t always seem to go together well, there are strategies that can help you secure top talent as quickly as possible. Here’s how to get started.

 

Clearly Define Your Ideal Candidate

One of the easiest ways to improve your hiring process is to first clearly define what your ideal candidate looks like. Typically, this involves an extensive review of the job requirements with a focus on critical competencies and priorities, such as filling skill gaps.

 

Now, during this process, you don’t want to create a skills list that is so extensive it becomes practically unattainable, especially since many professionals won’t apply to a position unless that are a 100 percent match for the requirements. Instead, list only those that are most crucial for the role as requirements, and review the applications to determine if anyone also possesses any “nice to have” skills as well.

 

Align Your Interview Team

Often, each interviewer on a team or panel has a different idea of what a great candidate looks like unless they are given clear guidance regarding any current priorities. Failure to align your interview team means everyone isn’t likely to agree on a top prospect, which may leave you without a potential new hire.

 

Begin by identifying any essential core competencies that are necessary for the role as a method for guiding everyone’s analysis of the interviewees. This will also help you determine if you need someone who functions as more of a specialist or generalist in their particular area, as either approach can be appropriate, depending on your priorities. Then, consider if any attributes define candidates who may be a solid cultural fit, increasing the chances that they will excel in the environment.

 

You also want to make sure that the panel won’t place too much weight on credentials from top-ranked schools or previous experience at leading companies, as many professionals are just as skilled even though they don’t possess that particular pedigree. It also helps to have a discussion regarding the importance of achievement versus experience, as a seemingly less experienced job seeker may be more prone to greatness despite their greenness.

 

Agree on Acceptable Trade-Offs

Some teams are more willing to take a risk on a potentially great talent who needs some additional development than others, and getting everyone on the same page in this area is essential. If everyone isn’t assessing the candidates from the same perspective, you may have conflict in your interview team as they debate the merits of someone who appears to have potential but isn’t proven. By having this discussion in advance, it is easier to align the panel in a particular direction, speeding up the hiring process.

 

Similarly, very rarely does a candidate possess every skill or trait you’re hoping to find, so it is important to determine which points are non-negotiable and which can be overlooked as long as the interviewee has another characteristic or competency which could be helpful.

 

By following the tips above, you can streamline your hiring process significantly. If you would like to improve your strategy further, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading talent. Contact us today to see how our hiring strategies can work for you.

 

 

Agile

 

Being a master of the Agile methodology can pay off big, regardless of whether you are a developer or in a strategic role, like management. But becoming a skilled Agile professional isn’t always easy or intuitive, as the list of associated skills is extensive and your opportunity to gain experience may initially be limited.

 

However, by working to adopt new behaviors and hone your skills, you can position yourself to take the next step in your Agile career. And much of the work can be done on your own, making it possible to up your level of mastery with just some time and dedication. Here’s how to get started.

 

Educate Yourself

The first step is to make sure you have a thorough understanding of Agile’s core principles and skills, as these serve as the foundation upon which you can build your career. Every business may approach Agile slightly differently, but the primary values system typically remains intact.

 

You can either explore the information yourself, as it is generally readily available online, or even sign up for a course to help you get started. In some cases, you may be able to find a mentor to help you familiarize yourself with the methodology or participate in area meetups to get introduced to other professionals who are proficient.

 

Once you become familiar, begin integrating those techniques into other activities, such as by using taskboards or recommending daily standup meetings. You can also use the Agile methodology on side projects or personal ventures, or consider volunteering on a project.

 

Learn T-Shaped Skills

Agile is often used in a cross-functional environment, so developing secondary skills that are logically connected to your main role is incredibly beneficial from a career perspective. By doing so, you can become a more marketable professional, making it easier to move on to new, exciting roles.

 

Often, this involves hands-on learning, be it formal or self-directed, so there is a personal investment required to make this happen.

 

Go Beyond the Certification

While a certification traditionally demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge to apply Agile methodologies, it doesn’t mean you actually have any real-world experience. Pursuing opportunities to actually use your skills on actual projects is crucial for advancing in your career.

 

In some cases, this can be accomplished through educational opportunities that actually focus on learning by doing, an approach typically embraced by boot camps. However, volunteering to participate in projects that involve Agile is also a smart move, and may provide a more valuable experience.

 

Once you have the skills and experience, make sure to show it on your resume and discuss it during your interview. Having these specific examples to refer to; can help separate you from the crowd of applicants. This can make it easier to score a new position.

 

If you are currently looking for a new Agile job, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s leading employers. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step in your career.

 

 

Network Engineering

 

Network engineers are seeing their once static roles morph into something much more fluid. As new technologies, like cloud services and IoT, enter the workplace with greater frequency, these professionals are having to adapt quickly to meet the demands of today’s leading companies. With that in mind, here are eight must-have skills that will help you land your next position.

  1. Understanding of Application Data Flow

As applications become increasingly complex and tap into more resources, understanding how data flows through the system is essential to your success. Applications interact with databases and clients while also often connecting to cloud-based services. If you want to optimize the network, you need to understand how these pieces fit together.

  1. Cybersecurity

Security is at the forefront of every company’s mind, and understanding the network’s role in cybersecurity is vital. This includes traditional technology, like firewalls and intrusion prevention techniques, as well as more sophisticated technologies, such as unified threat management (UTM) solutions. Network engineers play a large role in cybersecurity, making these skills mandatory.

  1. SD-WAN

SD-WAN garnered a lot of attention, but not everyone understands its limitations. Network engineers must know what scenarios are appropriate for SD-WAN and when a traditional service is better suited to the task. Additionally, being able to communicate these concepts to management, including leaders who may not be as tech savvy, is a valuable skill that can help set you apart from those less experienced in the technology.

  1. DNS

DNS is a critical component of public and private clouds, as well as numerous unfired network security architectures. With security being such a high priority, and some of the growing issues involving DNS specifically, being competent in this area is critical.

  1. Internet of Things

IoT has put additional pressure on network engineers who now need to accommodate a range of sensors and other wireless devices into the corporate network. You’ll be expected to provide insight into the technologies, make system recommendations, and even set governing policies. While IoT hasn’t entered all businesses, it’s a growing trend, so be prepared for it to enter into your purview soon if it hasn’t already.

  1. Virtualization

The need to virtualize network services and functions is growing, especially in companies that recognize it is needed before an end-to-end SDN can be implemented. Demand for this skill is increasing at a rapid pace, making it a smart skill for any network engineer to acquire.

  1. Network Automation

As networks become more organic and are expected to adapt to changing needs, automation is becoming increasingly more common as it eliminates the need to perform redundant actions to adjust to shifts. By learning how to automate these processes, you become a valuable member of any networking team.

  1. Hyperconverged Systems

As the appeal of hyperconverged systems grows, network engineers will need to be prepared to deploy and maintain this technology. Understanding how these solutions operate is also critical, ensuring you are prepared to optimize the systems as needed.

 

If you are looking for a new network engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading employers. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Social Recruiting

 

Even with social media playing a larger part in the daily lives of the masses, many IT hiring managers aren’t entirely comfortable with social recruiting. Often, fears that the process is complicated or that your efforts won’t yield the desired results serve as a basis for the anxiety, but failing to capitalize on what social media has to offer can be detrimental to your hiring goals.

 

If you want to put your social recruiting anxiety to rest, here are some tips to get you started.

 

Start Small

The concept behind social recruiting can be overwhelming, especially when you look at all of the available platforms and numerous lists on best practices. However, it is perfectly appropriate to start small, focusing on a single platform and dipping your toe in the water.

 

Also, don’t let fears about the right and wrong ways to approach social recruiting hold you back. Generally, the process of nailing these efforts involves a significant amount of trial and error. So, concentrate on being professional and courteous first, then adjust your approach based on your results.

 

Be Authentic

Social media isn’t a traditional advertising platform, so simply blasting information about your vacancies isn’t going to do the job. If your posts are devoid of authenticity, they’ll likely be viewed as spam by those who see them.

 

Adding a personal touch makes you and your company seem more approachable, making it easier to start meaningful conversations with potential candidates. Plus, if you also post information that provides additional value, such as useful articles, you’ll give people a reason to pay attention to what you have to say.

 

Vary Your Posts

As mentioned above, bombarding your followers with job announcements isn’t going to lead them to see you in a favorable light. Instead, you need to add a variety of posts to get the best results. For example, follow a post about a helpful article with one talking about a vacancy. You can also mix in questions you’d like to ask the crowd (as they can respond through the comments section), as well as the occasional personal post.

 

Variety is the spice of life, and it makes your posts more interesting when viewed as a whole.

 

Target Your Message

When you are trying to find a particular kind of candidate, it helps to focus your content on information they would find valuable. This enables you to craft a dedicated audience and keep your primary message on track.

 

Along the way, make sure you are clear about who you are in relation to the company. People don’t like being deceived, so being upfront about your position as a hiring manager is often a wise move.

 

If you would like to learn more about social recruiting or are looking for a skilled professional to join your team, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can work for you.

 

 

Knowledge Transfer

 

Knowledge transfer is a powerful tool in the business world. It makes a process by which one employee is able to share their skills by helping another person become self-sufficient in that area by providing casual training. While the term is most often referenced during mergers and acquisitions, it is actually a great option for strengthening IT teams by broadening each worker’s knowledge base.

 

Being able to transfer your knowledge to another team member can be seen as a beneficial skill and is a way to set yourself apart from other candidates in the eyes of the hiring manager. To help you show you have what it takes, here are some ways to prove you are a master of knowledge transfer.

 

Express Your Willingness

Job seekers who are enthusiastic about sharing what they’ve learned or know are often skilled at helping others “up” their level of competency. During your interview, let the hiring manager know you are willing to go the extra mile and not just complete the desired tasks, but teach others. This allows the interviewer to see you as a potential solution for skill gaps, as well as a team player.

 

Provide Examples

One of the easiest ways to prove you are a master of knowledge transfer is to provide examples of times you used the skill to the benefit of another employer or team. This can include times when you acted as a mentor, led a project that relied on a specific competency that not everyone possessed, or simply training other workers after becoming adept at a new system.

 

Essentially, any time you functioned as a teacher while serving in a role could be worth discussing, especially if your knowledge transfer skills ensured a project’s success or furthered a key business objective. This is especially true if your efforts allowed the company to forgo hiring a new employee who possessed the targeted competency based on your ability to share your knowledge with others. With unemployment among tech professionals remaining incredibly low, any internal talent that can help develop ways to offset skill gaps or team shortcomings will likely be seen as a valuable candidate and potential hire.

 

Detail Your Approach

Another great way to convey your ability to shine in the area of knowledge transfer is to discuss how you approach the process of getting someone else up to speed. By providing a detailed account of how you handled the task, you can increase the hiring manager’s confidence in your abilities while demonstrating your mastery.

 

To do this effectively, consider each time you were responsible for a knowledge transfer and outline the steps you took to accomplish the goal of sharing your skills with others. Then, you can talk about your abilities with greater ease.

 

If you are a master of knowledge transfer and are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our knowledge can work for you.

 

 

 

Stress

 

In some cases, your manager isn’t the source of inspiration you would aspire to find. Instead, interactions with your boss can actually increase your stress levels, making it harder to get through your day. Whether it’s a callous temperament, a rigid workplace structure, or a perceived level of incompetence, there is often little you can do to change your manager. However, there are methods for coping with the situation, making it easier to get through your tasks. Here are five techniques you can try today.

 

  1. Learn Their Patterns

Often, even the most insufferable boss adheres to behavioral patterns. They typically have particular triggers that result in the less-than-desirable interactions, and learning these can be incredibly beneficial.

 

By understanding what causes your manager to act a certain way, you can work to avoid these scenarios. And, if they can’t be avoided, you’ll at least understand the catalysts behind the activity, which can be a relief if you know for certain you specifically aren’t responsible.

 

  1. Be at Your Best

One method for decreasing the stress your boss adds to your day is to avoid being a source of stress in their day. By handling your tasks professionally and efficiently, you aren’t increasing the number of factors that may elicit a poor response from your manager, helping to keep the peace.

 

  1. Make Your Boss Look Good

Some managers move forward in their careers, not because of their capacity to lead, but because they have the ability to share (or take) credit for the work of others. While having your work claimed by someone else can be disheartening, allowing it to happen on occasion can make you appear like a highly valuable asset. And, once your manager realizes they don’t want to lose you, they may adjust their approach with you.

 

  1. Don’t Take It Personally

Often, a boss who is adding stress to your day isn’t targeting you alone. It generally has little, if anything, to do with you personally, and is more of an expression of either their stress or foibles. Learning to separate their actions from yours can provide relief, especially if you tend to internalize unwarranted criticism or unnecessary pressure. So, keep perspective when dealing with a difficult boss, and you should experience a decrease in your negative feelings.

 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Move On

At times, there is little you can do to improve your situation at work. When it becomes clear that things won’t change and the additional stress is harmful to you, then it could be time to find a new position. While it can take some effort to secure a new job, even getting the process started can provide relief. Then, once you have a definitive offer, you can move on to greener pastures.

 

If you’re interested in finding a new position, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers in the area. Contact us to see how our services make it easy to find a job, even when you’re still employed.

 

 

Bad Apps

 

When it comes to publishing an app, there are essentially two platforms to choose from: Apple’s App Store for iOS and Google’s Play Store for Android. Both companies work to keep “bad” apps from entering their marketplaces, an effort that seems to be directed at keeping users safe from nefarious pieces of software.

 

However, some of the guidelines regarding the publication of apps have other implications, and may keep a “good” app from being offered through the respective stores. But each tech giant’s approach is different. Here’s what you need to know.

 

Apple’s App Store

While Apple is generally recognized for keeping a strong grasp on its store offerings, making the marketplace a fairly safe destination when it comes to downloading apps, some of their guidelines leave a bit to be desired.

 

For example, what defines a “bad” app is somewhat vague and even ambiguous. Additionally, a rule that states that “apps created from commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected,” make it difficult for some apps to pass the test, even if they are safe.

 

While the core intention may be the avoidance of too many cloned apps entering the marketplace, small businesses often rely on template or app generation services to produce the apps they need. Even if the function is unique, a copycat framework could lead to rejection. Additionally, when certain skeletons become popular, increasing their prevalence in the store, it is possible Apple’s algorithm will turn the app away based on its similarities.

 

Google’s Play Store

Google takes a different approach when it comes to the management of supposed “bad” apps. Instead of focusing on the framework, Google emphasizes functionality when it makes a decision.

 

To improve the marketplace experience, Google works to have higher quality apps display more often than those of lower quality (such as apps that crash frequently). The company states, “The change has had a positive impact on engagement” as Play Store users are more likely to download an app with increased stability.

 

Google has also recommended that developers take advantage of the Android Vitals tool, a mechanism for monitoring stability and the associated battery usage when installed on a person’s device, as it allows creators to keep an eye on the quality of the app experience. This gives people the ability to improve their search ranking by improving the app.

 

Apple does also keep an eye on low-quality apps, and even outright rejects those who aren’t above 32-bit, but the company aims more to prevent these applications from ever being available instead of simply pushing them down in the search results, like Google. For small businesses looking to create an app, especially if the intention is for internal use only, Apple’s strict guidelines may make it harder to reach publication, an important point to understand before investing in development.

 

If you would like to learn more about app development, including how to find a skilled professional or acquire a new position in the field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.