Crystal McKee

Crystal McKee

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.

 

11 Network Administrator

 

Almost every business relies on some level of network to complete daily operations, making opportunities for network administrators particularly plentiful in a wide range of industries. If you are interested in pursuing a career in network administration, here is what you can expect along the way.

What Does a Network Administrator Do?

Most network administrators are tasked with managing the day-to-day operation of a company’s network. This includes planning new solutions, installing the necessary hardware and software, managing upgrades and repairs, ensuring overall system performance, and even handling certain aspects of security. Additionally, many networking professionals interact with other employees who are experiencing difficulties with certain aspects of the system or who need training in related IT areas.

Education and Training

To work as a network administrator, formal education or training is typically required. In some cases, a computer networking program at a community or technical college can be suitable for obtaining and entry-level position in the field, while others find a bachelor’s degree to be a more appropriate option for starting their career. In some cases, a four-year degree focused specifically on networking can be found, making the transition into the working world fairly intuitive. However, a degree in a related area like system administration can also be suitable depending on the specific coursework involved.

 

Like many areas of IT, continuing education may also be necessary to stay abreast of new technologies and other developments. However, some of this can be managed by obtaining and maintaining certifications dedicated to the field.

Networking Certifications

While holding various certifications isn’t necessarily a requirement to become a network administrator, it can certainly help you develop your career. Modern systems involve a wide range of technologies, and obtaining various certifications demonstrates you hold to necessary competencies in each area.

 

In most cases, certifications are offered by specific technology vendors, such the Cisco CCIE or CCNP and Juniper JNCIE-ENT. However, CompTIA also provides one of the most in-demand certifications through their Network+ offering. Often, the CompTIA Network+ is considered an entry-level certification, demonstrating you possess the core competencies required to work in the field, while the Cisco CCIE is one of the most advanced certifications available today.

Important Skills

While technical ability is vital, having a range of soft skills is just as critical if you want to have a successful career as a network administrator. Here are just a few of the additional skills that can help you get ahead:

  • Customer Service
  • Troubleshooting
  • Technical Writing
  • Disaster Planning
  • Stress Management
  • Research and Problem-Solving

Earning Potential

In 2016, the median pay for a network administrator in the United States was just shy of $80,000 per year, making it a potentially lucrative career. Those who reach the top 10 percent of the field can even expect wages well above the six-figure mark at nearly $128,000 annually. Additionally, many of these positions are full-time, meaning they often come with strong benefits packages including items like medical insurance and retirement programs.

 

If you are interested in pursuing or furthering your career as a network administrator, the recruiters at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us today and see where our services can take you.

 

7 Data Inequality

 

As big data and analytics continue to become integral parts of business operations in a growing number of industries, companies understand that the data they collect can lead to significant advantages. However, many organizations recognize that internal data is only a small segment of the available information, making certain efforts feel incomplete since external data isn’t part of the analysis. However, integrating internal and external data is a complex undertaking, leaving most businesses to favor using their own information when performing complex analysis.

 

But why is it so challenging to overcome data inequality in the workplace? Here are just a few of the reasons that integrating internal and external sources is such a big undertaking.

Financial Cost

At a fundamental level, internal data is essentially free to use; all of the information is already collected and stored, making it ready for use at any time. External data comes with a price tag, including an upfront cost and an ongoing investment. Add to that the fact that the data is typically subject to a range of restrictions regarding its use and the value added by the information may not compensate for the financial burden.

 

To make the matter more complex, not all business intelligence systems are capable of integrating external data. That means many companies would have to purchase in a secondary solution which can be a significant investment as well.

Complexity

Even at the individual business level, internal data can be stored in a number of separate locations. This traditional silo-oriented or containerized approach automatically adds complexity to projects focused on data analytics. Now, add to that the numerous warehouses involved when external data is brought into the equation, and the level of systemic complexity only increases. Multiple systems must connect, even when different structures are in play, to create usable results and this burden can be especially heavy for business intelligence teams, ultimately leading them to favor internal data.

Integration

The majority of business have preferences regarding their software and system solutions. Often, the desire is to access external data through the mechanisms the company already has in place, which isn’t always possible. Even though certain data marketplaces have created APIs designed to make their information accessible across multiple platforms, not all business intelligence solutions or commonly used databases have opened their systems to support these connections. Until these systems become more open to integration, many organizations are going to find using external data is particularly challenging based on their current operating norms.

 

Over time, some of the barriers covered above may be lifted, making data inequality a thing of the past. However, you can start making headway today by bringing on the right business intelligence professionals and data analysts to join your team. If you would like to find the ideal candidates to make bridging the gap between internal and external data a reality, the professionals at The Armada Group can locate top job seekers in the field. Contact us to begin your search today.

 

3 Millennials

 

While certain aspects of project management have remained largely unchanged, Millennial workers are beginning to influence how the duties associated with these positions are managed. Thanks to their increased interest in technology and differing attitudes towards traditional work structures, the project manager of the future will use a varied approach when compared to some of the current norms. To help you see what the future holds, here are some of the ways Millennials are changing the role.

Digital Communication and Collaboration

Millennial workers aren’t fans of the traditional paradigm, shirking meetings in favor of well-rounded technology-based solutions for exchanging data and covering critical information. Applications designed to facilitate communication and collaboration are plentiful, allowing teams to share files, trade messages, and coordinate actions from almost any location at any time. Not only is this a relatively new way to keep project management teams connected, but it also supports the shift towards employing a remote workforce, allowing project managers to access the best and brightest talent regardless of location.

 

The ability to communicate in real-time can also support a stronger team dynamic. Instead of having to reach out to others in the group physically, they can accomplish the same level of communication from their workstation. This means decisions can be made more quickly than when groups have to be gathered for meetings, allowing the team to get more done in less time.

Flexible Scheduling and Worksites

While project management often requires adhering to strict timelines, that doesn’t mean everyone has to stick with a traditional 8 to 5 schedule to get things done. Facilitated by advanced communication and collaboration applications, Millennials enjoy being able to exercise a level of freedom while they accomplish their tasks without ever being fully inaccessible.

 

This approach makes work/life balance a priority but doesn’t mean these teams aren’t willing to put in the necessary hours to stay on target. Instead, they are more inclined to take work home, choosing comfortable off hours to tidy up anything that isn’t accomplished on a traditional schedule. Plus, since their personal lives are easier to manage, they are often more productive when they do focus on the task at hand.

New Perspectives

Since Millennial workers don’t view traditional hierarchies in the same way as other generations, many are more inclined to provide input instead of simply being led forward. This can increase innovation and creativity as more members of the group feel confident expressing their ideas. By leveraging their diverse perspectives, businesses are positioned to find solutions that may otherwise be missed.

 

If you are interested in seeking a project manager for your team or are want to take on a new challenge in a project management role, The Armada Group can locate your ideal fit. Contact us to discuss your needs today and see how our services can help you take the next step.

 

Choose

 

As an IT professional, you may have tried to weigh the benefits between holding a full-time job or working on short-term contracts. While each can be viable options for your career, which is right for you ultimately depends on where your priorities lie. To help you sort through your options, here are some key points to consider about these employment opportunities.

Job Duties

Even if a full-time and contract position function with the same job title, the actual duties that will be assigned can be somewhat difference. Often, contract employees are given the chance to focus on their core skill set, since the positions are typically associated with a particular project or goal. This means you’ll spend less time on tasks outside of those core competencies, making it ideal for those who want to work in specialized positions without any excess.

 

Full-time positions often have duties outside of the core set. For example, software developers may be responsible for projects as well as providing a level of support to end-users and performing certain maintenance activities. This can provide a more well-rounded experience and may appeal to those who like diversity in their daily tasks.

Benefits

Most full-time positions come with a range of standard benefits, including health insurance, paid time off and retirement options. This allows you to coordinate multiple needs through your employer, and can provide a level of security to those who don’t want to manage these requirements on their own.

 

In contrast, many contract positions provided limited, if any, benefits beyond a paycheck. Depending on the length of the contract, you may have some opportunities for paid time off, but companies aren’t required to provide these benefits. Additionally, you’ll likely be responsible for managing your own retirement, healthcare, and even tax withholdings as a contract employee. You may have a chance to explore less expensive options for insurance or have more control over your retirement, but it will require you to be more hands-on than full-time employees generally have to be.

Workplace

Sometimes you don’t know whether a workplace is right for you until you are seated at a desk trying to get your work done. While full-time employees have limited options for leaving, often feeling they have to tolerate less than ideal circumstances for at least a year or so before jumping ship, contractors have a defined end date from the beginning. This means if the environment isn’t a great fit, you already know when you can head out the door.

 

However, if the company offers a great place to work, contractors might not have the option to stay regardless of how well they perform in the position. In some cases, you might be given the chance to sign on full-time, but that isn’t guaranteed. Full-time employees are generally hired with long-term potential in mind, meaning they can enjoy the workplace for as long as they choose.

 

Whether you should choose full-time or contract opportunities depends on what you value. Both approaches to your career have merit, so there is no inherently right or wrong answer. Instead, consider which advantages appeal to you most and whether the drawbacks are tolerable. Then, shape your career in that image. In the end, if your original choice isn’t the right one, you can always choose to change directions.

 

If you are looking for either a contract or full-time opportunity, The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us today and see what is available in your area.