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10 administrative skills every IT manager should have

IT managers need to know more than the tech side of a business. And while administrative skills might seem counterintuitive to the IT professional, there are some non-technical skills you must have in order to successfully manage your IT team.

As an IT leader, you serve as the bridge between your team and upper management or business users — ensuring projects are cleared, tasks are assigned, everyone stays motivated, and the work gets done. Having or developing the following10 indispensable administrative skills will help you do just that.

1. Clearly defining projects and goals

Most IT professionals are creative and resourceful, and will find a way to complete any type of project — as long as they fully understand the project’s objectives and desired outcomes. To keep your team productive, you must be able to define requirements, goals, and expectations to a detailed level. This may mean rejecting sandbox work or project prototyping if there is no definable objective, or identifying the right point to cut off work before it enters unproductive territory.

2. Relationship building with upper management

Like it or not, IT is inextricably linked to the politics of business. Your team’s ability to progress hinges on a solid working relationship with mid-level and upper management throughout the organization. Great IT managers are able to build trust with other management personnel, which gives their own team the leeway they need to undertake projects without interference.

3. Fighting for the budget

Nearly every IT team has experienced the frustration of stopped work because it’s “not in the budget.” IT managers must be able to sell the work to management convincingly, with project justifications, detailed returns on investments, and the hard numbers to back everything up.

4. Serving as a political shield

While there are some exceptions, most IT pros would rather stay in the world of technology, and avoid the world of office politics. In addition to relationship building with management, a successful IT manager will take on political pressures and battles for their team, whether the conflict is with management, shareholders, or other departments — ensuring a clear path to progress.

5. Addressing problems proactively

No project goes off without a hitch, but small snags can often become major roadblocks if they’re not addressed quickly. IT managers should be able to spot problems in any area — technical, strategic, political, or operational — and diffuse the issue before it becomes a full-blown situation.

6. Promoting teamwork

A cooperative and committed team is essential to the success of your projects. However, if there is a competitive environment in your organization where everyone feels the need to outdo everyone else, this atmosphere can adversely affect your team and cause them to work at cross-purposes. Effective IT managers must not only encourage, but practice teamwork — and demonstrate that assisting others is just as valued as individual contributions.

7. Employing the power of praise

Encouraging teamwork, along with productivity, job satisfaction, and loyalty, can be fairly easy to accomplish through the simple method of praising your team. Studies have shown that recognition of an employee’s efforts — even if it’s nothing more than a spoken thank you — can drive engagement and boost a company’s bottom line.

8. Demanding accountability

In any given team, you’ll find at least a few people who are adept at passing the buck. They’ll refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes or problems — and when that happens, the whole team loses. As an IT manager, you need to be familiar with the everyday situations and responsibilities of your team. This way, you’ll know exactly what went wrong with who, and ensure that no one is blamed or demoralized for someone else’s mistakes.

9. Being accountable

As the saying goes, you can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk. Everyone makes mistakes, including IT managers. If you want your team to practice accountability, you need to own up to your own responsibilities and admit when you’ve gone wrong.

10. Spotting employee burnout

Many IT professionals are highly driven, willing to work hard and put in extra time to solve a problem or complete a project on deadline. But this relentless pace can sometimes lead to burnout — a dangerous situation, and one that the most driven of your team will never let on about. As an IT manager, you need to be able to recognize the signs, and step in to reward hard-working team members with a day off to recharge.

At The Armada Group, we recognize what it takes to find great IT professionals, and are adept at picking out top talent in every facet of IT. Speak with a member of our team today, and learn how we can quickly fill vacancies at your facility with the best talent across the nation.

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Tuesday, Jul 22 2014

Building a Diverse IT Workplace

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Building a Diverse IT Workforce

Diversity isn’t just an HR buzzword; it increases productivity and business results by offering different perspectives. This can single-handedly increase an IT agency’s overall efficiency and help it to produce more with less. In addition, many technology companies are now seeing the benefits of a diversified workplace. Here are a few tips on finding qualified, diverse candidates:

The National Black Data Processing Associates group (NBDPA) is dedicated to African-American individuals in the IT field. They are geared specifically towards those with an interest or profession in computer science or Information Technology, and have a very qualified candidate pool to draw from. With a chapter in nearly every city, their national presence is very strong and extremely capable.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a great place to begin searching for more diverse talent. Also, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education has a large number of well-educated  technology experts. While neither of these are aimed specifically towards IT, a conversation with their associations and a job posting on their website will certainly net results.

The National Association of Professional Women is a great place to look for female talent, as is the American Business Women’s Association. Both of these have large U.S. presence, and, while neither is aimed towards IT as a profession, there are undoubtedly women in both who are in the IT field, and are qualified professionals.

Veterans groups are a little harder to narrow down, but the best place to start is Hireveteran.com and Vetjobs.com. Veterans who receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill will have access to education far more easily than others, which make them great candidates. Moreover, they tend to do well under pressure and have the type of precision skills that allow them to excel in the field of information technology.

Diversity is important, not for political correctness, but for the overall mission of the team. Having different viewpoints will bring different solutions to the same problem, and being able to present multiple solutions allows an IT workplace an agility and flexibility that otherwise might not exist.

At The Armada Group, we recruit the top talent – regardless of gender or race. We work with some of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in the nation, and recruit diverse, unique talent – with the soft skills that enable a business to work more flawlessly. Contact us today to see how we can help you! 

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Thursday, Nov 28 2013

Traits of Great IT Leaders

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Things are always changing in the tech industry, and that includes leadership. Today, being an IT leader means something different than it did even ten years ago. Leaders are no longer controlling, reviewing, and directing every aspect of a project-instead, they’re empowering skilled team members to work both independently and collaboratively, doing what it takes to get the job done with efficiency and excellence.

So what makes a great IT leader? Here are a few of the most common traits shared by successful leaders in the tech industry, and how these traits help them guide and develop the most powerful and complex component of IT-human resources.

They know themselves

The best IT leaders are self-aware. They have high degrees of emotional intelligence-understanding their own strengths and weaknesses, and knowing who to surround themselves with in order to complement those aspects. They’re also aware of their own emotional triggers, which helps them to manage logically.

To be a successful leader, you also need to know your own leadership style. When you’re aware of both how and why you manage as you do, you’re able to project an authenticity that your team can detect in every interaction-making it easier for them to respect you.

They create a team environment where it’s safe to fail

Collaboration is essential in today’s IT landscape. A great leader is able to encourage effective collaboration by knowing who should work together on what projects, along with when and where collaborations should take place. Leaders embrace the idea that “none of us is as smart as all of us.”

Working together can also help to cultivate innovation-and a strong leader is aware that innovation sometimes requires failure. It’s important for an IT leader to encourage team members to take reasonable risks, and not to penalize them or call out individual employees if a risk fails. Team members should know that they’re allowed to make some mistakes along the way.

They’re always learning

Without question, the most successful IT leaders never stop to rest on their laurels. Even those who reach the pinnacle of the company ladder are aware that they don’t know everything-and they’re always looking for ways to grow and improve.

This is especially essential for leaders in the tech industry. With frequent changes and upgrades, and continually emerging technologies, the only thing IT professionals can be sure of is that things will be different tomorrow. Staying up to date with the latest advances that are relevant to your company is crucial for successful leadership.

However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t only strive to improve your industry knowledge. If you’re aware that you struggle with soft skills like decision-making, or communication, or strategic thinking, you can continue to learn more in those areas-take a course, read relevant books, or even network with and learn from other leaders you admire.

Most great leaders aren’t born that way. They learn to improve through awareness and experience-and you can, too.

If you are looking for a staffing partner to help you recruit top IT talent in California, contact us today. The Armada Group has the top IT recruiters in Santa Cruz

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Tuesday, Sep 10 2013

Top California IT Talent

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Frontend Developer
• Over 14 years of experience with web applications development and JavaScript experience.
• 3 years of experience with HTML5 and CSS3.
• Over 2 years of mobile application development while working with responsive design.

Front-end/UI Engineer
• 6 ½ years of UI development, recent employers include Apple and Google
• 4-5 years of experience utilizing responsive web design
• Solid experience creating consumer-facing, high profile mobile web applications
• Skilled with cutting-edge technologies such as HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS

Systems/DevOps Engineer
• 3+ years of recent experience working with cloud computing services such as Amazon Web Services and VMware
• Over 10 years of experience with systems administration and 2+ with DevOps at major companies such as Hightail and eBay
• Excellent Shell and Perl scripting skills
• Confident working in both start-up and enterprise environments

If you are interested in one of our top candidates, contact us today.

Monday, Sep 10 2012

The Power of Language

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Over the past year I’ve been spending quite a bit a time in various courses and seminars on how to grow and run a business.  Of all the insightful and interesting things these hours of learning have covered, one of the most impactful “nuggets” I took away was the incredible power of language, the words we use in our day to day lives, both professionally and personally, and the direct correlation that language has on the quality of our lives. Here are 4 effective guidelines to consider:
Deloitte’s Talent Edge 2020 Report polled over 300 global business executives across industries validating what those of us who live and work in the Silicon Valley know all too well: national high unemployment rates have not created the predicted talent surplus.  On the contrary, Deloitte’s research showed that executives predict talent shortages across key business units.