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IT PMs

 

As an IT project manager, you understand the value of accurate cost estimates. Not only do they ensure you have the funds necessary to complete the work, they also serve as a strong framework regarding what is required along the way. So, what can an IT project manager do to improve their cost estimates? Here are a few tips to get you started.

 

Get a Grip on Risk

Risk assessments are a big part of project management; they let you identify and address potential problems in advance, helping to keep everything on target. Failing to manage the risks properly means you’re more likely to be faced with a challenge that could turn into a budget buster, rendering your initial estimate useless. However, by taking the time to assess these points in advance, you can adjust your estimate accordingly and plan to mitigate any unexpected costs.

 

Be Realistic

We all want to do more with less, but overestimating the team’s capabilities and underestimating the costs based on the more optimistic scenario can come back to bite you. While you should work to identify potential cost savings for the project, make sure you are realistic about the expenses involved.

 

Create a Thorough Plan

Your estimate will only be accurate if you track all of the required tasks and materials needed to see the project through to completion. Failing to get a firm plan in place means certain details may be missed, rendering your initial estimate inaccurate.

 

You also need to identify any variables that may affect the associated expenses as the project moves along. This will ensure you adjust your estimate to reflect different scenarios based on how things play out.

 

Think in Multiples

One way to increase the accuracy of your estimates is to produce more than one. Multiple estimates can help you look at the situation from multiple perspectives, spotting potential risks associated with individual variables or unexpected events.

 

Once you have a few created, find commonalities that likely represent a suitable estimate. Then, examine the differences and identify the most probable scenarios before including a variant on your formal estimate.

 

Have a Plan B

If you’ve spotted potential trouble spots in the project, make sure you create a contingency plan to address these issues and keep everything on track. Then, create supplementary estimates based on these scenarios to ensure you can provide all stakeholders an accurate picture of how things will work if things don’t go exactly according to plan A.

 

By completing the steps above, you have the ability to improve the quality of your cost estimates, making it easier to stay on target and keep everyone involved happy. If you are looking for an IT project management position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers in the area. Contact us today and see which open positions may be right for you.

 

 

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.

 

 

Network Engineer

 

Most companies rely on network engineers to ensure that internal systems are operating properly on a daily basis. The work can vary depending on the employer, ranging from basic maintenance and the troubleshooting of disruptions to the structuring of new solutions. However, what companies hope to find when they hire someone in these positions tends to remain fairly constant. If you want to stand out as a network engineer, here’s what you need to rise to the top.

 

College Education

As with many IT professions, having a degree is vital for a successful career as a network engineer. Typically, businesses are going to focus on candidates that possess a minimum of a bachelor’s, so earning a degree at that level or higher creates a sound basis upon which to progress up the ladder.

 

When the option is available, it’s always best to select a degree that focuses on networking or a closely allied specialty. However, more general IT or computer science degrees can also do the job as long as you take courses that provide you with the necessary skills to work in a networking position. For example, classes that provide you with knowledge of network design, virtual servers and TCP/IP are vital. Other subject areas like cybersecurity are helpful, as well as those that allow you to develop soft skills like oral and written communication.

 

Certifications

If you want to demonstrate that you are interested in reaching the upper echelons in your chosen field, then obtaining the right certifications can help you make the right impression on hiring managers right out of the gate. One of the most desirable options is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) credential. Juniper’s JNCIE certification can also be valuable, depending on which platform the business favors.

 

Other IT-related knowledge areas can also help you further your career. For example, training in ITIL is often beneficial. Focused certifications in topics like network virtualization or certain cloud technologies can also set you apart from the pack.

 

Experience

While a strong education and supplemental certifications are vital when shaping a network engineering career, experience also plays a large role. In fact, a suitable apprenticeship can even replace some of the educational requirements some employers set forth. However, a combination of schooling and experience is often the best way to go.

 

Regretfully, there’s no fast route for acquiring experience. Typically, you’ll need to work your way up through the ranks, starting with an entry-level networking position and assuming more responsibilities as your skills progress.

 

By focusing on your education, certifications and gaining experience, you can position yourself for a great career as a network engineer. If you are interested in learning more or would like to explore opportunities in the area, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise to help you move your career forward. Contact us to discuss your goals with one of our recruiters today and see what options may be available to you.

 

 

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.

 

 

12 Uber

 

After accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination had reached the media, Uber came under fire for many of its practices and its poor corporate culture. Both the CEO and a board member have since resigned from the business, highlighting the level of turmoil experienced by the company.

 

Uber’s failure to create a culture that focused on supporting and caring for their workforce had serious consequences for the business, resulting in a situation that could have otherwise been avoided. Learning from their mistakes gives you an opportunity to avoid a similar debacle, ensuring your employees are working in an environment that promotes inclusiveness and safety. To help you benefit from the situation, here are some tips regarding what your company can learn from Uber’s culture mistakes.

Craft Strong, Clear Policies

Policies regarding issues relating to harassment and discrimination in the workplace are your first line of defense against improper behavior and guide the actions of leadership whenever an incident occurs. Uber failed to apply their policies universally, allowing certain members of upper management to operate with different standards than those assigned to the workforce. This creates a “them versus us” mentality, separating the workers from the leadership team and poisoning the culture.

 

All policies need to apply equally to employees, regardless of their level of status. This ensures everyone is suitably protected and provides clear guidance regarding associated disciplinary actions.

Document Complaint Tracking Procedures

Uber didn’t provide definitive guidelines regarding grievance tracking, and that led to inconsistent processes being used. Over time, critical information was lost, and follow-up opportunities were missed due to the lack of data.

 

Companies need to have thorough complaint tracking procedures, documented in such a way as to guide the actions of human resources professionals and members of management. This ensures vital information is recorded, including any course of action that is taken and their ensuing results. It also increases the likelihood of consistency throughout the organizations, making it easier to maintain standards as decisions are made, and plans are put into action.

Monitor Culture Shifts

A company’s culture develops over time, and it can change even with strong policies and appropriate measures on the part of the leadership team. Businesses need to monitor their climate for shifts, giving them the opportunity to intervene if things begin to move in an unfavorable direction.

 

Typically, this means communicating with employees regularly to assess the current state. By cultivating conversations between workers and management, it is easier to create a sense of community and take advantage of opportunities to make course corrections at the earliest sign of trouble.

Provide Appropriate Training

Conscious and unconscious biases can hurt company hiring, firing, and disciplinary standards. Those responsible for these decisions must be suitably trained to ensure certain opinions aren’t incidentally affecting outcomes in these areas. Additionally, making transparency a priority can alleviate concerns employees may have about the fairness of actions, helping them see why decisions are made instead of simply witnessing the outcomes.

 

If your company would like to work with a skilled staffing firm to ensure biases aren’t impacting hiring decisions, the professionals at The Armada Group have the training and expertise necessary to provide an appropriate solution. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs and see how our services can ensure bias doesn’t come into play.

 

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.