Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

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.

 

 

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.