Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

Mindful

 

In general, tech jobs aren’t considered low-stress positions. Often, you are dealing with shifting demands as managers, team members, and clients redefine priorities or change the direction of a project. Additionally, development is often a time-sensitive venture, with challenging deadlines typically being the norm.

 

Web developers may deal with additional pressure in today’s highly connected world. For example, many professionals are expected to be accessible outside of traditional business hours and, thanks to mobile technology and telecommuting, having to answer a call anytime, day or night, is a reality for many.

 

But there is a way to help reduce the negative implications of a high-stress job. Mindfulness practices can lessen the pressure associated with development work, allowing you to produce better results while enjoying an improved quality of life. Here’s how to get started.

 

It’s More Than Meditation

When people think of mindfulness, they often relate the concept to meditation. While such actions can be part of the practice, there is more to it than that.

 

Mindfulness, in a general sense, is having an awareness of how you are feeling and thinking throughout your day. It allows you to understand better what stimuli may trigger a negative reaction, making it easier to spot alternatives that produce a more favorable result.

 

Incorporating Mindfulness into Your Day

Often, those who practice mindfulness work to reframe their mindset into something that leads to better results and an improved mood. For example, assuming a positive outlook, relying on active listening, and trying to exude an aspect of caring when you communicate with others can all play a part in mindfulness.

 

Typically, the easiest way to begin being more mindful is to start with regular self-check-ins. Working as a web developer can be incredibly isolating as the majority of the work involves heads-down tasks done on your own, so assessing your own situation doesn’t always feel natural at first. However, learning to assess your current state of mind regularly and physical being allows you to initiate self-care with greater ease, giving you opportunities to reduce stress before it builds.

 

You also want to avoid multitasking whenever possible. In truth, very few people can truly multitask. Everyone else simply interrupts on task to do another, which harms one’s ability to focus and increases the time required to reach completion. Instead, work to handle each activity one at a time, working through a problem or duty until it reaches a point of completion. If necessary, you can even block out time on your calendar based on your current workload, making it more natural to stay on target and ensuring others know you are busy during those times.

 

Finally, practice reframing your stress by stepping into someone else’s shoes. For example, if your manager moves a deadline up, don’t automatically go into a state of frustration. Instead, imagine what pressures they may be facing that led them to make the decision or request. By understanding their position, you are better equipped to manage the related stress more effectively and without associating negative feelings with your boss or team.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new web developer position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members today.

 

 

Programming

 

If you ask a handful of coders to name their favorite programming language, you’ll likely get a variety of answers. And the same goes for those they prefer not to use. However, there is a short list of languages that many wish would simply disappear off the face of the planet.

 

These programming languages have fallen out of favor for numerous reasons, though the most common one is that more efficient options became available. With that in mind, here are five programming languages that are primed to disappear.

 

Ruby

Though Ruby and its framework, Ruby on Rails, were all the rage in the 2000s, the language has since fallen to the wayside. So much so that even Coding Dojo, a learning platform favored by programmers, is even altering its coursework to remove Ruby on the Rails from the curriculum. One of the key reasons is likely the broadening of JavaScript’s libraries, which has fewer people using Ruby for their projects.

 

Objective-C

The only reason Objective-C is still on anyone’s radar is Swift’s sub-par ABI stability, which is an issue for iOS developers, though it is expected to be remedied with the release of Swift 5. Once the new and improved Swift becomes available, expect Objective-C to fall into obscurity.

 

Visual Basic

While technically considered a technology, Visual Basic is a programming language most coders simply dread. Visual Basic was originally created to provide an alternative to BASIC, which gives an indication of the technology’s age. However, Microsoft is still holding firm on this language, so it may not disappear as fast as some people would like.

 

SQL

Many people are likely startled to see SQL on a list like this. Since data has become a staple in more businesses than ever, SQL certainly has a foothold in almost every industry. However, there are strong alternatives to SQL that may replace this common programming language. Pair that with its general undesirability in the minds of many coders, and it may suffer a swift demise once a reliable replacement gains ground.

 

Assembly

If you’ve never heard of Assembly, you’re not alone. It’s a programming language that is known to be slow and tedious to use, and not nearly as capable as options like Python or C#. In most cases, programmers that encounter Assembly are likely dealing with legacy code, as very few new projects would ever consider it an ideal option.

 

All of the above-mentioned languages are poised to disappear one day, though it likely won’t be too soon. Dealing with legacy code often leaves two options: keep using what’s there or completely rewrite the program in something else. Since recreating a large-scale project in another language is a serious undertaking, especially when you consider the size of some SQL databases, many of these programming languages will likely suffer a slow death. However, it’s smart to keep your eyes open to these points, as dedicating too much time or energy on a less-desirable language isn’t smart for business or a person’s career.

 

If you’re looking for a person to join your programming team or are interested in a new coding position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today and see how our services can get you ahead of the competition.

 

 

Great Leader

 

Companies frequently want to find candidates with exceptional leadership skills to fill open positions, but figuring out who has the chops when they haven’t previously worked in such a role can seem like a challenge. Luckily, there are qualities that indicate an applicant has the potential to be a great leader even if they’ve never been in a management position. Here are six traits to keep an eye out for when evaluating candidates.

 

  1. Self-Motivated Skills Development

Most leaders aim to keep their skills up to date and improve their capabilities. Candidates who pursue opportunities to develop professionally are likely to possess these characteristics. To discover who has these inclinations, ask the interviewee for examples of how they’ve improved their skills. That will let you know who is truly dedicated to the field as well as personal growth.

 

  1. A Willingness to Make Tough Calls

To be a strong leader, a person must be fearless when making decisions. These candidates often aren’t afraid of the occasional misstep as long as it helps move things forward. You can identify these individuals by having them speak about instances when they had to make a tough call and how they approached the decision-making process.

 

  1. Pursuit of Feedback

Those interested in progressing understand that gathering feedback regarding their performance is an important step. Potential leaders will often seek out feedback to give them a basis for improvement. Ask candidates to discuss a time when they sought such input and how they reacted to the news once feedback was received.

 

  1. A Dynamic Personality

Leaders need to be able to engage with and motivate their teams, and that requires a certain kind of personality. While being a bit anxious during an interview is normal, those with leadership potential will still clearly show their personality during the process.

 

  1. Emotional Intelligence

In any workplace, emotional intelligence is something leaders need to possess. This allows them to view issues from the perspective of others and make smart decisions based on the emotions behind actions. This interpersonal soft skill can be hard to gauge, so asking candidates to recall a time when they used emotional intelligence to handle a situation in the workplace can be an ideal way to gain valuable insight into their capabilities.

 

  1. A Focus on Quality

Members of the leadership team must make the quality of their results a priority, and those with an inclination to strive for excellence often possess the necessary drive to do so. Have candidates discuss examples or metrics that clearly show their dedication to quality and you can likely identify the leader your business needs.

 

By focusing on the traits above, you can spot a great leader even if the person has never officially been a member of a leadership team. If you would like assistance during your search for an exceptional candidate for your open positions, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with top talent in their field. Contact us today to see how our services can make it easier to find the qualities you need in an ideal employee.

 

 

Google Hire

 

Tech giant Google recently released a piece of software aimed at human resources professionals and recruiters called Google Hire. The software is said to be designed for small to mid-sized business in the U.S. and seeks to provide mechanisms for recruitment specialists to communicate with job candidates, manage applications and schedule interviews, taking advantage of its integration with Google Cloud products to facilitate these activities. It even makes posting job announcements easier thanks to its ability to disseminate this information onto popular job search sites.

 

Google Hire hopes to provide recruiters with tools that help improve efficiency while also making the entire hiring process more transparent. But, even with these reported benefits, will recruiters use Google Hire? The answer is, it depends. Here’s what you need to know.

 

G Suite Application Integration

One of the largest determinates regarding whether recruitment specialists will use Google Hire is whether they currently use other Google offerings today. This new HR system is designed to work seamlessly with certain products like Google Calendar, Gmail and Sheets.

 

If a recruiter works for an organization that favors Google’s offerings, and they are in the market for a new hiring solution, then Google Hire should be on their list. However, if the company isn’t using other Google products, they might not experience the same level of benefit by making a switch.

 

There Are a Lot of Options in the Market

Right now, there are numerous software vendors offering HR solutions including Microsoft, Workday, Lever and Greenhouse. While Google Hire may be a strong system, it isn’t the only suitable option on the market today.

 

Whether a recruiter or business is going to consider Google Hire partially depends on their level of satisfaction with their current system and how the solution measures up to competitors in regards to functionality and price. As mentioned above, the present use of other Google products may also be a factor, as Office 365 users may be more inclined to consider the Dynamics 365 Talent solution that integrates more effectively with Microsoft products.

 

Additionally, transitioning from one system to Google Hire may be a cumbersome process, so people who aren’t displeased with their current solution may forgo the hassle of moving their data and learning a new offering.

 

It’s New

Google Hire hasn’t been on the market very long, so some recruiters might not be aware of what the system has to offer. Additionally, it will take time to determine whether the software lives up to its promises.

 

Recruiters looking to simplify their lives and who already use G Suite for work may be inclined to take the plunge, even at this early stage. Others may hesitate, waiting for more reviews to become available.

 

If you are interested in finding a solution that makes hiring easier, the team at The Armada Group has the services you need to succeed. Contact us to see how our unique, customized offerings can help you find top talent more efficiently than ever before.

 

 

AI Threat

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning hold a lot of potential, providing technology that can change lives and business for the better. But, as any new technology emerges, certain professionals pay the penalty, often suffering job losses or pay decreases. While AI isn’t threatening every employee, certain positions are clearly at risk. Here is an overview of four jobs AI technology is threatening the most.

Tech Support

Thanks to the rise of chatbots, customer service professionals focused on tech support will likely see calls for the skills dwindle as these solutions become more sophisticated. Currently, these professionals are being specifically targeted by technology creators, especially for Tier 1 support issues.

 

In many cases, the majority of customer requests focus on simple matters that are resolved using repeatable processes. Chatbots can be designed to spot these problems and provide instruction based on tried-and-true troubleshooting methods not unlike the scripts many Tier 1 phone support workers use today. This means these standard issues won’t require human intervention, eliminating the need for some of these positions.

Programming

AI systems are already being designed with the ability to “think” creatively and improvise. While most of the public tests have involved competing against people by playing games such as Go, it isn’t hard to envision technologies being developed that are able to create and maintain software applications down the road. While this threat may be down the road, it is certainly viable, and something developers should keep an eye on.

SysAdmins

Maintenance tasks and security measures are critical in tech and form a large part of the sysadmins role. AI technologies are already being created to offer automated solutions for much of the work associated with supporting uptime requirements, addressing performance issues, and improving security. While these solutions might not entirely eliminate the need for sysadmins, a possible reduction in the number required is certainly plausible if these AI systems can do everything their creators are hoping they can.

Advanced Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector has experienced technologically-related disruptions to their workforce numbers before, and AI is likely to have a similar effect. Advanced robotics can replace assembly workers while providing the ability to run 24/7 without having to worry about shift changes. While these technologies won’t entirely remove the human component from the floor, professionals looking to stay in the field will need to increase their skills to remain relevant as more machines become part of the production cycle.

 

As outlined above, AI certainly has the ability to be a threat to many professions. However, it is important to note that these systems require support too. Skilled tech workers are the ones who program these solutions and perform maintenance on automated systems. That means a career in AI can be especially lucrative and an excellent method for staying relevant even as the technology becomes more sophisticated.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the impact of AI or are interested in finding a new IT position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see what our services can offer you.

 

 

Challenging

 

Unemployment among tech professionals is sitting comfortably below the 3 percent mark, leaving many companies with long-term vacancies. While hiring in the field is difficult in general, certain skilled workers are especially hard to find. Here is an overview of the 10 most challenging IT jobs to fill today.

  1. Technical Managers and Directors

Often one of the upper most positions in the IT leadership chain, technical managers and directors aren’t currently easy to find. Some of this is due to the wide range of skills required to be successful in these jobs as they are often tasked with overseeing technical processes and managing personnel.

  1. SAP Managers

As the title suggests, SAP managers supervise the implementation and integration of SAP solutions throughout the entire organization. To do so effectively, the professional must be highly experienced with SAP Solution Manager software as well as guiding the actions of the members of their team.

  1. System Analysts

Those working as system analysts can have a broad range of responsibilities. Often, they analyze, design, and implement IT solutions and information systems for users within the organization. This requires in-depth knowledge of the associated hardware and software, as well as design and implementation procedures.

  1. Java Architects

Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages in the business world today, making it no surprise that Java architects are highly sought after. These professionals have to understand both the infrastructure and application to offer support for Java-based applications, a skill set need in a wide range of industries.

  1. Salesforce CRM Developers

Salesforce is a leader in the CRM space, and the solution is used by over 150,000 customers worldwide. Its proliferation in the market means that professionals with the skills necessary to maintain the platform as well as integrating services within the solution are seeing high demand for their experience.

  1. Database Architects

Data is still king for many businesses, and database architects are key to their success. Required competencies range from designing, creating, deploying, and managing database structures, ensuring information can be accessed whenever it is needed. They also must have a thorough understanding of the required infrastructure, ensuring businesses have the right technology in place to meet their data-oriented goals.

  1. Cybersecurity Consultants

Most organizations understand that cyber threats can be devastating to their business. With that in mind, many turn to cybersecurity consultants to review their current systems and advise them regarding how to best protect themselves from these threats. Professionals operating in this area need a strong understanding of hardware, software, application, and network security to be effective, and finding somewhat with the right skill set is often a challenge.

  1. Embedded Software Engineers

Thanks to IoT, the need for embedded software engineers is rising. The need to modify current systems or create new ones is great, and there aren’t enough professionals available to meet demand.

  1. Data Managers

Another data-oriented position in the list is data manager. These professionals help companies store, organize and analyze their data with a specific goal of increasing security and maintaining privacy. Successful data managers have knowledge of architecture as well as security and compliance best practices, a skill set that can often be considered as very specialized.

  1. System Integration Engineer

As more companies look to bring different systems and applications together to create a seamless solution, available system integration engineers have become harder to find. The professionals must understand software, security, networking, and business process management, as well as strong soft skills like problem-solving.

 

If you are looking for candidates for your hard-to-fill job, The Armada Group can find top quality talent quickly and efficiently. Contact us to discuss your vacancies and see how our team can help you find the right person for the position.

 

 

 Great Leader

 

Simply being in a management position doesn’t guarantee a person is a great leader, and just because someone isn’t currently a manager doesn’t mean they don’t have great potential to lead. The right skills can be found almost anywhere within your ranks or among the range of candidates who don’t explicitly have prior experience in these roles. To help you identify a great leader in a non-management position, look for some of these key traits in your applicants.

Pursuit of Professional Development

Most true leaders aren’t satisfied with staying where they are today. Instead, they look for opportunities to gain new skills, take on additional responsibilities, and develop as a professional. Often, they take on these tasks without direct instruction, pursuing these activities for their intrinsic and potential career value.

 

When meeting with candidates, ask them to discuss how they gained specific skills and if they have future plans for additional development. Those with this trait will be able to demonstrate clear desires in this area and can easily explain how they got from point A to point B.

Decision-Making Daring

As a leader, an individual often must make hard decisions in a short amount of time. Candidates who aren’t afraid to make a call (and even make mistakes during the process) may have leadership potential. To help determine their experience, as applicants to describe a time when they had to make a tough decision, how they reached a solution, what the outcome was, and what they learned in the process. This can provide you with insight into their decision making, making it easier to determine if you have a leader in your midst.

Feedback Appreciation

To grow professional, you need to know what you’re doing right and what could use improvement. Top performers typically seek out feedback as a method for spurring personal or professional growth and generally receive the information with grace regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

 

As you interview candidates, have the discuss a time they sought out feedback as well as what they do once they hear the good or bad news. This can give you indications of their character and if they could potentially make a great leader.

Emotional Intelligence

Leaders have to manage a range of personalities, all of which may have different needs in regards to keeping them motivated and engaged. A person with emotional intelligence has the ability to see things from the perspective of others and understand the emotions that drive that person’s decisions and reactions. Candidates who’ve used this skill before will be able to discuss it clearly, so don’t be afraid to ask them for an example of a time when they used emotional intelligence in the workplace.

 

If you are looking for a new professional to join your leadership team, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can help you identify the best candidates for the job. Contact us to see how our expertise can ease the hiring process, allowing you to find the skills you need quickly and efficiently.

 

 

11 Salesforce

 

Salesforce is a CRM solution that has taken the world by storm. The cloud-based solution provides businesses with a lot of value when it comes to managing customers, and its user-friendly interface is just as comfortable for the tech-savvy as it is for technophobes. Like any technical system, it requires professionals to manage certain aspects of the solution. And that’s where a Salesforce Administrator comes in.

 

These tech pros may go by other names as well, such as CRM System Analysts or Business Analyst, but these Salesforce admins have a similar goal: Help the company improve using the specific CRM solution.

 

If you are interested in the potential of these positions, here is everything you need know about a career as a Salesforce admin.

Salesforce is the Backbone of Operations

In most cases, you’ll spend your time analyzing business processes and determining how Salesforce can improve their efficiency and effectiveness. This involves customizing features and implementing new ones based on the specific needs of the associated department. By following this method, more portions of the business operates from a central hub, keeping key data points and processes centralized.

 

However, at times you will have to look at external applications to fill specific needs. Typically, you’ll work to ensure a chosen solution will integrate with Salesforce, allowing everything to remain connected at some level. With the prevalence of Salesforce in the market today, it isn’t surprising that a wide range of applications works to make themselves compatible. That means, in most cases, finding a suitable option is very possible.

Education is a Necessity

The vast majority of Business Analyst positions, regardless of the software solutions in place, list a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree as a qualification. This is because people working in these jobs need to have a strong understanding of a range of fields, including customer service, finance, human resources, marketing, and sales. A Salesforce admin should expect to need at least that level of education, though some businesses may require something more advanced or that you hold additional certifications in Salesforce as well.

A Range of Duties

Salesforce admins have responsibilities in many areas, and not all of them are technical. On the IT side, you could be responsible for managing the platform, researching and trying new tools, configuring the system, and completing integrations. Documentation and training are also involved, and may or may not be overly technical in nature.

 

You may also spend a significant amount of time doing business process reviews and making recommendations. This involves evaluating established procedures, gathering requirements, and speaking with users about their current and preferred experience. During these tasks, you may spend a significant amount of time discussing how a technology can solve their problems, even if they aren’t technically-minded professionals. To make that work, you’ll need to be able to explain complex tech-oriented concepts in easy to follow ways.

 

Not every Salesforce admin has the same duties, as different companies or departments will divide the work according to their needs. However, this overview should give you a solid starting picture of what a career in the field is like, allowing you to determine if it might be the right path for you.

 

If you want to pursue a position as a Salesforce admin, the professionals at The Armada Group can locate opportunities at some of the leading businesses in the area. Contact us to discuss your career goals and see what we have to offer.

 

7 Lives

 

National unemployment rates among IT workers remains shockingly low, hovering around the 2.5 percent mark during the first quarter of 2017. As businesses struggle to find the candidates they need for vacant positions, many are putting more pressure on their current workforce to ensure required tasks are getting accomplished. This leads many tech pros to dedicate more hours to work, sacrificing their personal lives in the process.

 

But failing to lead a fulfilling life outside of the office can have detrimental effects, leading to decreased productivity as morale begins to suffer. That makes this model unsustainable over the long-term. To help you see why, here are some of the reasons IT pros must have lives outside of work.

Preventing Burnout

When your workers spend extra hours at the office and don’t completely disconnect from their duties during their off time, burnout is almost a guarantee. The constant feeling of having to be 100 percent available weighs them down and can build resentment throughout your team.

 

Encouraging your staff to engage in personal interests when away from their desks can help relieve some of this pressure, giving them an outlet for frustrations and supporting their need to relax and recharge. While they might not be able to completely put work down depending on their assigned duties, even regularly scheduled reprieves can make a big difference in combating burnout.

Increasing Motivation

Sometimes, we all need to know there is some form of light at the end of the tunnel. Having a personal activity to look forward to after hours can help them push through the more challenging times as it functions as a reward for their hard work. This gives them a powerful incentive, giving them a reason to focus on essential tasks. Ultimately, knowing there is something enjoyable just around the corner can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping motivation high.

Adding Experiences

IT is an ever-evolving field, and most professionals have to dedicate serious time to keep up with the latest news and trends. However, when you feel bogged down by the day-to-day, exploring new technologies and learning additional skills will take a backseat in their lives.

 

By ensuring your workforce is given the time to pursue their interests during their off time, you may find them more inclined to keep up with changes in the industry. This can lead them to discover new technologies that can help increase productivity or find solutions they may otherwise have missed.

 

Even completely personal pursuits can enhance creativity, as their unconscious mind may have the chance to solve problems when their conscious mind isn’t actively concerned about the issues. Sometimes, brilliant revelations occur thanks to unexpected catalysts, making these other experiences valuable in numerous ways.

 

If you want to alleviate some of the pressure from your IT team, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you find suitable candidates for vacant positions. Contact us to get the recruitment process started today and see how even just one more skilled worker can make things better for everyone in the office.

 

3 Cloud Systems

 

The importance of the cloud in business is no secret.  The majority of companies have shifted at least a portion of their systems to cloud-based solutions, and hybrid cloud environments remain popular. As organizations continue to use these hybrid infrastructures, the need for cloud systems administrators has increased dramatically. If you want to learn about what it takes to succeed in this growing field, here is an overview of some of the must-have skills for these positions.

Systems

Cloud administrators need to have a thorough understanding of traditional systems as well as virtual ones. While specific experience in private, public, or hybrid cloud-based environments is obviously helpful, so is prior experience with a variety of virtualization technologies. Additionally, server management and their associated OS’s are also important for the job, while storage technology is vital as well. Look to branch out your experience to include solutions like Avamar, Dell EqualLogic, EMC VNX, Extreme IO, Veeam, and VMAX to give yourself the biggest leg up in the field.

Languages and Tools

Well-rounded experience with a range of languages and tools can also help you make a positive impression when applying to cloud administration positions. Some of the more popular programming languages in the field include BASH, Perl, PowerShell, Python, and Ruby. That means having an understanding of at least a few of these can help you secure a job. Add to that knowledge of tools and automation technologies like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet, and you have created a powerful toolbox that many companies crave.

 

However, you also need certain mental tools to help you be successful. Experience with methodologies like DevOps and Scrum agile processes is often considered a must-have, as many businesses prefer these approaches to managing development.

Security

In today’s day and age, it should be no surprise that an understanding of security measures is part of the equation. Many cloud administrators need to be able to secure cloud-based apps and data from a variety of threats. Data backup and disaster recovery methods differ slightly in cloud and hybrid environments, so understanding any applicable differences and being equipped to create comprehensive plans can help you stand out from the crowd. Application-level security methods should also be part of your wheelhouse to ensure you truly get the hiring managers attention.

Communication and Collaboration

Cloud systems administrators don’t exist in a bubble. Not only do they have to coordinate with third-party SaaS providers, but they must also work with diverse technical teams and non-technical stakeholders. This means you need to be able to communicate complex information in a way that less tech-savvy individuals can grasp and facilitate understanding between a range of IT professionals.

 

If you think you have the right skills to start or further your career in cloud systems administration, the recruiters at The Armada Group can connect you with leading companies looking for professionals just like you. Contact us today to explore new opportunities today.