As a manager, it’s often your duty to ensure the success of your team. However, when many companies bring on IT contractors, they don’t take as much time and attention with them as they do with their regular new hires.
While it’s true the company’s relationship with a contractor does differ from the one they maintain with their permanent staff, that doesn’t mean you should forgo certain steps. When you properly onboard an IT contractor, you give them the tools they need to excel in their role, increasing productivity, the quality of their outputs, and even their level of job satisfaction.
If you are getting ready to bring on an IT contractor, here is some important advice for their onboarding.
Build a Relationship
Even though a contractor may only be with your company for a short time, that doesn’t mean you should avoid making a connection. By getting to know your IT contractor, you help turn a transactional relationship into a meaningful one.
Not only can this help them feel more welcome and integrated with your organization, fostering positive feelings and potentially a greater sense of loyalty, it can also help you stay ahead in the talent war. A happy contractor is more likely to accept a position with you in the future should you have a similar project or require someone with their skill set down the road, making it easier for you to secure reliable top talent when the need arises.
Plus, if your IT contractor genuinely feels like part of your team, they are more invested in the project’s success as well as the success of everyone involved. When there is a sense of connection, most employees, whether short or long term, are more likely to go the extra mile for their co-workers and managers, enhancing productivity and the quality of their outcome.
Set Clear Expectations
When you bring in an IT contractor, you usually have a solid idea of how you want them to contribute to the organization. However, if you don’t clearly define your expectations during the onboarding process, your new IT contractor might struggle to meet or exceed these requirements simply because they weren’t aware of them.
To ensure your IT contractor is set up for success, take some time during the onboarding process to fully outline what needs to be handled and when. Create a calendar with all relevant deadlines and let them know precisely when and how they need to provide you with status updates.
Typically, a contractor isn’t fully aware of any operational standards or office norms in your organization. Additionally, they weren’t exposed to the weeks or months of planning phases that took place before their arrival, so they didn’t have a chance to glean this information over time. This means it is always best to spell everything out clearly, ensuring they understand your expectations, goals, and how their contributions align with the big picture.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT contractor for your next project, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled team today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.
Retaliation in the workplace can involve a wide range of scenarios. For example, if an employee files a complaint about a coworker or manager and is subsequently given a bad performance review that isn’t justified, transferred to another department, subjected to verbal or physical abuse, became targeted by workplace rumors, or otherwise had their work life made intentionally harder, that could be retaliation.
Often, retaliation is much more prevalent than many managers realize, and it can be seriously damaging to a company’s culture. Additionally, many skilled professionals won’t tolerate environments where retaliation is common, leading them to seek out opportunities with competitors instead of remaining in a hostile workplace.
One survey indicated that one-third of IT professionals at large tech firms witnessed or experienced retaliation after they or another employee reported an issue. If you are wondering whether your workplace is affected by retaliation, here are some signs that may be the case.
Criticism and Scrutiny
If an employee is subjected to increased criticism and scrutiny after filing a complaint or reporting an issue, that could be a sign of retaliation. Whether it involves inaccurately measuring their performance, being overly critical, or simply questioning their judgment more often, treating the employee differently after they report a problem are troubling signs of workplace retaliation.
This is especially true if any negative feedback is being discussed in front of others, such as their coworkers, employees and managers in other departments, or members of the leadership team. Criticizing someone publicly could be seen as an attempt to harm their reputation with others, something that can be detrimental to their working relationships and their career, which can be a form of retaliation.
After an employee reports a problem, if they are suddenly being removed from critical meetings, denied feedback or guidance, removed from training plans, or otherwise having opportunities eliminated, this could be retaliation.
Similarly, removing enjoyable job duties and replacing them with less desirable tasks could also be an indication of an issue, as it limits the worker's ability to derive satisfaction from their role.
Department, Location, and Schedule Changes
Relocating a worker to a different department, office, or cubicle could be viewed as retaliation if the employee did not express a desire for the change. Similarly, changing their schedule against their wishes could also be seen as punishing the person for filing a complaint or bringing up an issue.
Such changes disrupt the worker’s life and could harm their career, which qualifies them as potential forms of retaliation. However, if such changes are made at the employee’s request, they typically don’t fall into that category.
Ultimately, retaliation in the workplace is incredibly damaging, and not just to the person who reported a problem. The culture of the organization is negatively affected, creating an environment full of hostility and stress.
Managers should actively strive to eliminate retaliation in the workplace. Otherwise, the company will suffer. If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our services can benefit you.
Database engineers are typically tasked with the creation and management of databases for a specific company or organization. This can include anything from building a new database to meet a specific need, configure new and existing systems, and maintain the databases to ensure everything remains fully functional.
The skills you need to work as a database engineer can vary from one position to the next. However, certain requirements are fairly common, making them must-haves in the eyes of many employers. If you are interested in becoming a database engineer, here are some skills that you need to acquire.
SQL is essentially “the” programming language you need to work with databases. Without SQL skills, you won’t find many opportunities in the field, let alone as a database engineer.
The level of fluency required may vary somewhat for each job. However, it’s best to keep your SQL skills current at all times and strive to learn as much about the language as possible if you want to excel as a database engineer.
There are numerous database platforms available today, and learning the ins and outs is often essential if you want to land a role that works with one.
For example, you may opt to specialize in Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or a number of others. Then, you need to take a deep dive into the platform and learn all you can about the available features, current limitations, recent releases, how to manage upgrades, and more.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to forgo all other platforms in favor of one. Instead, it merely means that becoming a platform expert can be beneficial, especially if you want to secure upper-level database engineering roles.
Debugging and Optimization
A strong database engineer has a variety of debugging and optimization skills that can help them correct problems and increase efficiency in a range of applications. In some cases, this ability is essential, particularly if the database engineer is the only team member with complete end-to-end visibility.
Patience and Communication
While patience may not be listed as a required skill in a vacancy announcement, it is usually a must for database engineers. Typically, these professionals are approached with requests, often from people who don’t fully understand how a database operates. What may appear simple to them actually ends up being highly complex, and you need to be able to navigate the situation calmly.
Similarly, being able to explain technical information in a way that is highly accessible, even to those who aren’t as tech-savvy, is vital. This ensures you can work with individuals from other departments or work areas and find compromises when what they are requesting isn’t feasible or requires more time than they initially wanted to allow.
By acquiring the skill above, you can increase your odds of landing a database engineering job. If you are looking for a new database engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to a range of opportunities throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your ideal job and learn more about our current vacancies today and see how our services can help you land your perfect role.
Build and release engineering is an exciting but complex specialty within the IT world. Typically, you are responsible for a wide range of duties, including software design, building, testing, troubleshooting, and release.
The variety that is inherently part of build and release engineer roles make these positions attractive to professionals who appreciate both variety and challenges. You have to compile code, install libraries, create scripts, select hardware, and manage the deployment of each package, making sure that everything works seamlessly together to ensure a project’s success.
If you are enticed by the idea of working in build and release engineering, here’s how to know if this IT specialty is right for you.
Since the duties associated with build and release engineering jobs are so varied, you’ll need a broad technical skill set to be successful in the role. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or an allied field serves as a foundation. Then, you need to gain a thorough understanding of key concepts like configuration management, version control systems, and branch management.
Additionally, the ability to write complex scripts for a range of platforms is a must. This allows portions of the build and deployment processes to be automated effectively, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome through increased reliability. Further, it enables these processes to be easily repeatable, saving additional time and energy on subsequent projects.
Thorough knowledge of testing and troubleshooting systems is also essential since you are typically responsible for handling those duties. You’ll also need to be able to create release schedules, adjusting your approach based on the complexity of the software.
A successful build and release engineer will also possess a variety of soft skills that can help them excel in the role. Verbal communication skills are often critical, as you will need to both work as part of a larger team as well as with customers who may not be overly tech-savvy. Written communications skills are similarly a necessity, both for the use of collaboration platforms and the development of any documentation that is required for the project.
Due to the complexity of these roles, attention is detail is an incredibly valuable skill. If you accidentally use the incorrect version of the source code or omit an essential library, the scripts may fail, leading to issues when you attempt to deploy the software.
Problem-solving is also a core competency. Since you are responsible for troubleshooting, being able to identify the issues and find suitable solutions is crucial to your success.
Build and release engineers can have lucrative careers, similar to the level of success a software engineer or similar professional can experience. As you build your level of experience, six-figure salaries are possible, especially if you are highly efficient in your role.
If you are interested in learning about build and release engineering opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our services can make getting your build and release engineering career off on the right foot.
Whether you are applying to an IT job or a position with a tech company, you typically expect to be asked certain technical questions. After all, they either apply to the role itself or the organization’s business model, so these inquiries have an innate level of relevancy.
However, it isn’t uncommon to be asked non-tech questions as well. Typically, questions that fall outside of the tech landscape serve a critical purpose in assessing whether you are a strong fit for the position or the company as a whole.
Even tech giants like Google and Amazon branch into non-tech areas, regardless of whether the position is tech-oriented. If you are wondering why they ask their candidates these non-tech job interview questions, here’s what you need to know.
Soft Skill Assessments
Communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership potential are often highly relevant to nearly every company, regardless of the position itself or their industry. Hiring managers will often ask non-tech questions that help them assess a candidate’s soft skills as a means of determining whether the job seeker possesses the right mix to be successful in the role.
For example, if you are asked for an example of a time when you used data to make actionable recommendations (something Amazon has been known to do), the hiring manager is looking for insight into your analytical skills and how you use them to benefit the company.
Similarly, being asked how you would prioritize or choose from assignments from multiple leaders in the organization gives the hiring manager information about how you assess your skills, any preferences you may have, and how you approach challenging situations involving workplace dynamics.
Since soft skills are incredibly valuable assets, hiring managers want to know which you possess and how you use them to be effective in a position, and non-tech questions are a common approach for making these assessments.
When it comes to determining whether a candidate fits into a company’s cultural, tech questions aren’t always ideal. Instead, hiring managers use non-tech questions to assess whether the environment is right for you.
For instance, questions about your preferred management style can let them know if you would thrive or struggle under the position’s manager. Asking you to describe an ideal physical environment helps them ascertain whether the workplace itself matches your preferences.
Similarly, requests for examples of how you function as part of a team provide powerful insights into how you work in group scenarios and whether your approach would mesh with your coworkers.
Ultimately, non-tech questions help the hiring manager get to know you beyond your technical capabilities. Since cultural fit and soft skills are so important in every workplace, it’s wise to anticipate that you’ll face similar questions yourself, as they are practically guaranteed to arise.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new job opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our services can benefit you.
The vast majority of workers today are not in the last position they hope to hold during their career. Often, they are looking for opportunities to advance, including a chance to land a coveted promotion.
At times, figuring out how to get promoted in your tech role can feel daunting, especially since every company handles their promotion processes differently. However, there are certain things you can do to increase your odds of being selected. To help you on your journey, here are four tips that can help you land a promotion.
Don’t Be Promotion Focused
While it may seem counterintuitive, being entirely focused on earning a promotion can backfire on you. For example, if you only accept projects with a high-level of visibility and turn away work that is necessary for daily operations, you could harm your reputation.
Being unwilling to take part in the drudgery of the day-to-day makes it seem like you aren’t a team player, especially if your coworkers have to pick up the slack. Additionally, you may lose the respect of your peers, something else that can hurt your chances of being promoted.
Even though taking assignments that can showcase why you should be promoted is a smart move, you can’t ignore the basic responsibilities that come with your role. However, if you embrace these tasks along with high-profile projects, you can increase your odds of being recognized as a reliable employee who is willing to do what is necessary to help the company thrive.
Earn the Right Kind of Recognition
Most people know that you have to be willing to work hard to get promoted. However, the precise areas in which you need to focus can seem like a mystery.
While every company has their own promotion criteria, certain points are almost universally reviewed. First, the leadership team will look for recent accomplishments that are beyond what is expected in your current position. Second, they will seek out information that shows you can solve complex problems. Third, they will look for evidence that you possess leadership qualities, such as the ability to train others, coordinate a project with multiple employees, resolve conflict, and communicate effectively.
If you can demonstrate strengths in these areas, you increase your chances of landing a promotion.
Discover (and Fix) Any Perceived Gaps
At times, it can seem that even a strong performer is being passed over for a promotion. When this occurs, it’s possible that management perceives a gap in the person’s skills, experience, or capabilities.
If you have taken action in the areas above and still aren’t seeing results, then it’s time to talk with your manager. Schedule a meeting and let them know that you would like to be promoted and you would appreciate any feedback they could provide that would help you reach that goal.
This can be an intimidating conversation, particularly since it invites criticism. However, it is also an excellent learning opportunity, giving you the chance to gain insight into areas that need improving to land a promotion.
After your manager mentions a gap, discuss what can be done to fill it. Then, take action based on that advice, and your odds of being promoted will improve.
Don’t Forget to Network Internally
When most people think of networking, they focus on external connections. However, by networking with leaders in your company, you increase your visibility, making it more likely that when a promotional opportunity arises that they will think of you.
Work to connect with employees at every level, including members of the leadership team. Provide them with value by assisting with their needs first. Then, when you need help to reach your goals, they will be more inclined to be there for you.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
Cloud systems are becoming increasingly important to organizations in a variety of industries, providing them with access to robust computing options that were previously inaccessible. However, it also complicates operations from a computing architecture standpoint, leading many businesses to wonder if adding a cloud architect to their team is a wise move.
What is a Cloud Architect?
Cloud architects are IT specialists who focus on the nuances of computing in an environment that includes cloud-based resources. This can include everything from front-end platform design and management to network structuring to content delivery.
As companies create more involved cloud strategies, particularly those related to multi-cloud environments, having employees that can manage the organization of assets is a must. Without the knowledge of a cloud architect, the complexity of the designs can easily become unmanageable, particularly during the transition phase.
Typical Skill Requirements
While each organization may have different requirements when it comes to the ideal skill set for a cloud architect, certain core competencies are commonly needed.
An understanding of application, integration, and network architect is often a necessity along with experience with IT security. Since cloud architects must discuss complex topics with less tech-savvy individuals, strong communication skills are a must. Having strong organizational skills should also be considered a requirement, particularly if the company is looking to begin their journey into the realm of cloud computing.
The Responsibility of Cloud Architects
Cloud architects have a range of responsibilities associated with cloud implementations. They provide guidance and support cultural change related to cloud adoption and migrating to new services. Additionally, they develop cloud architectures and strategies to make sure the resources are used effectively.
It is common for cloud architects to play a significant role in the vetting of third-party providers as they can leverage their knowledge to help identify service options that best suit the needs of the company. Over time, they can also provide input regarding best practices, assist in budget management, create risk mitigation policies, and perform required maintenance.
Cloud Architect Salaries
An employee’s salary is often a major consideration for businesses. For a skilled cloud architect, organizations should anticipate paying between $82,000 and $185,000 annually, depending on the amount of experience that is required, the physical location of the job, and the skills the person must possess.
On average, in the US, cloud architects earn just shy of $125,000 per year.
Do You Need a Cloud Architect?
Any business that is embracing the cloud as part of their standard operational paradigm could benefit from having a cloud architect on staff. This ensures you have an employee available who is familiar with the associated technologies and how they can impact other operations. Additionally, they can provide valuable input during the planning and migration phases, making the transition easier to manage.
If you are interested in hiring a cloud architect to join your tech team, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading talent. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs and see how our services can benefit your company today.
Network engineers are vital. They ensure companies and employees have access to critical resources, allowing them to handle their duties quickly and efficiently.
While technical ability is obviously important, there are other skills that are essential if you want to have a successful career. If you're going to rise through the ranks as a network engineer, here are three must-have skills to keep you moving forward.
Network engineers, like many other tech professionals, are no longer in the proverbial shadows, restricted to basement work areas and never interacting with other employees.
Today, network engineers need to communicate with other professionals, including team members, upper management, and a variety of departments. Often, you’ll be tasked with relaying complex information to individuals who aren’t as tech-savvy. Additionally, you have to work with other departments to ensure any network changes actually meet their needs.
Without strong communication skills, you’ll struggle as a network engineer, so consider this a must.
Since a core part of a network engineer’s job is the creation and deployment of potentially complex networks, having strong organizational skills is a must. You need to be able to outline a project, break it down into logical steps, and keep everything on target as you move forward.
Depending on your level of seniority, you may also be responsible for requesting bids, managing budgets, and ensuring outside parties adhere to their contractual obligations. Without strong organizational skills, it’s easy for the details to fall through the cracks, and this could quickly derail a project and, potentially, harm your career.
Willingness to Learn
While this is more of a trait than a skill, a willingness to learn is essential for any network engineer who wants to be successful in their career. Technology evolves quickly, and IT professionals need to stay up-to-date if they're going to remain relevant in the field.
Without a willingness to learn or, even worse, a reluctance, you’ll quickly become stagnant in your network engineering career. Over time, your skill set may also become obsolete, cutting your career short.
You don’t necessarily have to commit to a lengthy formal education to keep up with the latest and greatest in the field. Instead, you can focus on up-and-coming certifications, attend training seminars and conferences, or simply conduct your own research. Additionally, if your company is bringing in a new technology, embrace it and focus on acquiring the knowledge to use it properly.
Ultimately, network engineers who possess the skills listed above are poised for greater success than their counterparts who may be lacking in these areas. If you haven’t focused on those before, now is a great time to start.
If you are currently seeking a new network engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to top employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our services can help you find your ideal role.
Typically, a digital transformation represents a significant overhaul of how a company does business. It leads to the integration of new processes and procedures, introduces technologies that weren’t previously in the workplace, and may even require a fundamental shift in mentality. However, like any large-scale undertaking, a successful digital transformation plan involves goal setting. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to determine whether the change produced positive results in the proper areas.
If you are ready to get started, here are some tips for setting digital transformation goals for your company.
Don’t Automatically Follow the Other Guy
There is a significant amount of information online, including tails of successful digital transformations. While it may be tempting to model your goals after another company, this isn’t always the wisest move.
Ultimately, every business is different. And, if your priorities differ from those of the example, their goals might not be appropriate for you.
Identify Important Metrics
Before you set goals, you need to understand which metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) mean the most to your business. For example, you may want to increase profits, improve production rates, eliminate bottlenecks, or achieve an optimal inventory based on demand.
Unless you understand which metrics are most valuable to you, you’ll have trouble selecting measurable goals. And, if the objectives aren’t measurable, you may struggle to determine if your digital transformation was actually successful.
Align the Approach
After identifying key metrics, you need to align your approach with the broader objectives. Digital transformation can mean a lot of things, involving a wide range of technology options that may not be ideal for your business. You don’t want to incidentally waste time by focusing on a particular tech implementation that isn’t going to create meaningful value, so you need to focus on opportunities that actually align with what you hope to achieve.
During this phase, you’re effectively creating a project overview. You can identify potential technologies that could positively impact your KPIs and determine priorities, including whether any steps are prerequisites to others. After examining these points, create a rough outline of the project to help guide further goal setting.
With the overview in place and your KPIs noted, you can create meaningful milestones to function as short-term goals in the larger project. Additionally, you can monitor related metrics as you move forward, giving you the ability to visualize the impact of the digital transformation as it takes place.
This approach gives you the ability to not just see your progress, but also make course corrections as necessary, helping you shift your strategy if you don't see the results you hope to have. Further, you can share this information with your staff, helping them stay on target and keep their priorities in the proper places.
By following the tips above, you can create customized goals for your digital transformation. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our experience can benefit you.
If you are interviewing machine learning developer candidates, you likely have a strong grasp of technical concepts. Plus, those who make your short list are practically guaranteed to have a level of tech prowess, regardless if they’ve specifically worked in the machine learning arena before.
However, since machine learning development is a relatively new specialty, it can be hard to determine what interview questions will help you sort out those with the right kind of potential. This is especially true since many fledgling fields attract job seekers looking to make a change, so their prior experience may not be in the world of machine learning.
If you are getting ready to interview machine learning developer candidates, here are a few questions you can ask to help identify top talent.
What’s the Difference Between Bias and Variance?
This question is designed to help separate those who have a textbook understanding of the concepts from those who understand how they impact machine learning applications. While the fact-based response isn’t inherently wrong, by looking for candidates who take it to the next level, you can gauge if they have a functional understanding, as well as a conceptual one.
If You Had to Choose, Would You Say Model Accuracy or Model Performance is More Important?
Many job seekers approach this question by attempting to avoid a direct answer, instead focusing on how both are important. However, top talent will understand that, without accurate data, performance is largely irrelevant.
By asking this question, you can assess whether a candidate has a realistic picture of how the two concepts work together. While them mentioning that both are vital for overall success, a skilled developer is going to understand that accuracy is paramount, since low quality data makes even the speediest results unusable.
How Does Deep Learning Contract With Other Typical Machine Learning Algorithms?
Some job seekers are going to assert that deep learning is just a more complex or sophisticated approach to machine learning. However, this is only a surface level response.
The ideal candidate will be able to express a more thorough understanding of deep learning, including the use of the neural network model and how it can eliminate the need for manual feature selection based on the algorithm’s ability to learn meaningful features without the need for intervention.
Ultimately, top talent can go beyond a simplistic definition and actually show how they grasp the concept more fully, as well as how it affects the use of algorithms.
By asking the questions above, you are better equipped to determine which machine learning developer candidates have the strongest understanding of the field and are most likely to meet your needs. If you are seeking high-quality machine learning professionals to join your team, the staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading developers. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our services can help you find the ideal candidate quickly and efficiently.