Jeff Tavangar

Jeff Tavangar

Systems Integration Engineer

 

If you prefer having a broad scope when it comes to your work responsibilities and the ability to touch a variety of technologies and systems, a career as a systems integration engineer may be ideal. Professionals in this field focus on how the entire system works together, not just a single piece, making the tasks highly varied.

Succeeding as a systems integration engineer means you need to be technically well-rounded and have strong soft skills. If you want to excel in these roles, here are four essential skills you need to bring to the table.

What Makes an Outstanding Senior Java Developer

 

Java continues to be one of the most popular and in-demand programming languages around, even though it was created about 30 years ago. Not only is it in wide use in legacy applications, but tons of code is produced in Java on a daily basis, asserting the amount of staying power people believe Java has even as alternatives emerge.

However, simply knowing Java isn’t enough to excel in the field. If you want to be an outstanding senior Java developer, here is what you need to bring to the table.

Will Taking a Break from Social Media Make You Happier

 

Many people have touted that taking a break from social media actually improved their moods. In fact, one company even offered people $100,000 in exchange for giving up their smartphone for a year, a move that would certainly lower a person’s use of social media.

Thanks to data scandals and news about propaganda appearing on social media pages, interest in digital detoxes seems to be growing. However, even if other people say that giving up social media was a good move, does that mean it will make you happier? Before you ditch your accounts, here is what you need to know.

 

You Will Have More Time

In 2018, one study said that the average American adult spent around 45 minutes each day (that’s more than 5 hours a week) on social media. Another estimated showed that the average person will spend over five years of their lives on the platforms.

By giving up social media, even for a short time, you are almost guaranteed to end up with more time for other activities. Often, people spend more time with friends and family by going on a social media detox, something that can be incredibly beneficial for relationship building or maintenance and, ultimately, happiness.

 

You Avoid Negative Influences

Social media is not always good for the psyche. There are a lot of negative influences a person may encounter when on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and taking a break means you eliminate them from your daily routine.

For example, reading Facebook posts about another person’s success can actually make you feel worse, triggering the jealousy if you think they have more than you. Posts depicting perfect bodies, lives, vacations, or even meals may leave you disheartened, worried that your life does not measure up. This can create a sense of pressure - fearing that you need to somehow do better if you want to be successful - even if your life is pretty enviable in its own right.

Political infighting is another influence that isn’t always beneficial to your well-being. Even if you do not take part in the discussions, watching friends and family members tear each other down for their politics can be painful. Even crossing paths with the random rantings of someone you do not know well can be damaging.

Ultimately, your brain reacts to every post you see, and not all of the responses are beneficial. By taking a break from social media, you get to remove these influences from your life, and many people who do report that they are happier for it. Plus, many of them do not miss social media as much as they expected to, and some even choose to keep their consumption lower after the fact as a result.

Now, there is no guarantee that taking a break from social media will make you happier. However, it is an easy experiment to run in your own life, and the risk of doing so is essentially zero.

 

Looking for a New Job? Contact the Recruiters at The Armada Group!

If you’d like to learn more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our social media expertise can benefit you.

 

Why is AI Bias So Hard to Fix

 

While an artificial intelligence (AI) does not have its own personality, per se, that does not mean they are not affected by bias. Deep learning algorithms are designed to identify patterns and use them to make recommendations, come to decisions, or render conclusions. If any part of the learning process promotes bias, then the AI ultimately develops one. And, if an AI bias occurs, it can be incredibly hard to fix.

 

The Origins of AI Bias

AI bias can happen for a variety of reasons. While the most obvious source is the data used by the system, other issues can also result in bias.

 

For example, an AI is usually designed to help answer a specific question. If that question contains a subjective component, or a concept that is open to interpretation, the company creating the AI puts their own definition on the concept. If their viewpoint is biased (even if it is unintentional) or even just poorly defined, the AI could produce unintended outputs, creating a lack of fairness or other observable bias.

 

When data is collected, bias can show up in one of two ways. First, if the data collection method results in an inaccurate depiction of reality, that can create bias. Second, if the data reflects existing biases that are present in society, the AI then has them as well.

 

Finally, when data is prepared, bias can also creep in there, even if the source data was unbiased. For instance, the attributes selected for the AI to review could create a prejudice.

 

Why Eliminating AI Bias is So Challenging

Dealing with AI bias is actually incredibly difficult. In some cases, the introduction of bias is not very apparent, so the designer may not realize there is a problem until they begin reviewing outputs. When this occurs, retroactively finding the source of the issue is a daunting task.

 

Similarly, the subjective nature of some core questions can make it difficult to determine what an unbiased outcome looks like. Along the same line, defining fairness itself is not easy, particularly since it has to be examined in mathematical terms when designing an AI. Since social context can impact the definition of fairness, and that can vary dramatically from one location to the next, the challenge is even greater.

 

Dealing with AI Bias in the Future

While the AI bias problem could be considered vast, researchers are working diligently to find a solution to the problem. This includes developing new algorithms that detect potential issues, including hidden biases, and processes that hold organizations accountable for unfair practices.

 

Dealing with AI bias will take time. However, even if it will not be solved easily, a solution is in the works.

 

Do You Need Assistance Building Your Tech Team? Contact The Armada Group!

If you would like to learn more about AI bias and how it can impact business, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our deep learning expertise can benefit you.

 

How to Hire the Most Talented Professionals in the 10 Hottest Tech Jobs of 2019

 

With the IT labor market getting increasingly tight, companies are having to compete even harder for top talent. Learning how to higher for these in-demand roles is essential. Otherwise, staying ahead of the competition will be practically impossible.

 

Here are 10 of the hottest tech jobs today with tips to help you higher the most talented professionals around.

 

  1. Business Intelligence Analyst

When you review BI analyst candidates, look for individuals with experience in analytics, database technology, and reporting tools. Additionally, communication skills are a must, allowing them to share information with others, including less tech-savvy stakeholders, with greater ease.

  1. Cloud Systems Engineer

With a cloud systems engineering position, look for job seekers with experience with popular cloud services, like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or OpenStack. A strong understanding of programming languages, cloud databases, automation, APIs, and DevOps should also be considered a must.

  1. Data Scientist

Skilled data scientists can help gather, process, and analyze data. Strong analytic and mathematical skills are usually a must, as well as experience with programming languages like Java and Python. Communication skills are also essential, ensuring they can collaborate effectively while in the role.

  1. Database Developer

To manage database architecture and develop new database services, database developers need strong skill sets. Experience with technologies and languages like Hadoop, HTML, JavaScript, Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services, NoSQL, Oracle, PHP, and big data infrastructure could all be musts, depending on your exact needs.

  1. DevOps Engineer

DevOps allows the development process to be accelerated. Skilled DevOps engineers have extensive experience with the methodology, as well as technical expertise in areas that align with their specific role.

  1. Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack developers aren’t necessarily experts in every software development stage. Instead, they have a reasonable amount of knowledge in every key area, allowing them to perform reasonably across the board. Strong programming skills and knowledge of multiple languages is a must, as well as prior experience in all phases of development.

  1. Help Desk Specialist

Help desk specialists need the right combination of technical and soft skills, ensuring that they understand the technology and can communicate with a wide variety of callers, including those without any technical know-how. The exact requirements will vary depending on your business, but make sure that soft skills are considered just as critical as technical prowess.

  1. IoT Specialist

The right IoT specialist for your company will depend on your exact needs. There are multiple IoT disciplines, including connectivity, devices, analytics, platforms, development, and more. Focus on the one or two you will rely on heavily if you want to find someone who can help your company thrive.

  1. Security Specialist

Security professionals ensure your systems are protected from threats and remain compliant based on current regulations. Experience with security solutions, documenting failures and issues, compliance laws, and threat management are all essential.

  1. Systems Administrator

From a technical standpoint, finding a systems administrator that is familiar with your hardware and software is often a wise move. Additionally, troubleshooting, recovery, patching, and upgrading expertise should also be on your list.

 

How to Hire for In-Demand Jobs

First and foremost, offering a strong salary and benefits package is a must. If your offer is not in-line with the competition, you will not be able to secure top talent.

 

However, you should not rely on compensation alone. Providing an environment where innovation is encouraged, professionals are given a level of autonomy, and opportunities to learn and grow are plentiful are also helpful. Making sure your culture is welcoming, and your workforce is diverse, can also make recruitment and retention goals easier to hit.

 

Find Your Superstar Candidates with The Armada Group!

If you are looking for high-quality professionals to fill your open jobs, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our tech hiring expertise can benefit you.

What Tech Hiring Managers Are Really Looking For

 

Whether you are actively working to land a new position this year or simply want to remain apprised of the hiring climate, knowing what tech hiring managers are looking for is beneficial. By staying up to date, you can focus your efforts in the right direction, increasing your odds of securing a new role if you decide to make a move.

With that in mind, here are the skills tech hiring managers want to find in 2019.

 

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud

Since more businesses move to the cloud every day, it comes as no surprise that cloud-based skills are a priority. Hiring managers need to find professionals that can handle cloud computing, security, and architecture matters, ensuring their systems are functional, secure, and well-integrated into the overall business landscape.

 

Additionally, many organizations have cloud projects and initiatives planned for 2019, so they need to bolster their staff to make their goals a reality. This may lead them to expand their IT teams instead of merely adding the skill to an existing position.

 

Cybersecurity

Security is a top concern of businesses across the country. A single breach or security incident can be devastating to a company, particularly smaller to mid-sized organizations where just one event could financially doom the business or any company that does business in Europe and has to remain compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

Typically, organizations focus first on maintaining the security of their existing IT systems. However, security professionals are also increasingly involved in the early stages of project planning. This allows security to be a priority for any project instead of an afterthought, creating a better end result.

 

Database Management

Data is king for many companies, but they can only derive value from the information if it is well organized and accessible. Database management professionals are in demand as a result, so tech pros with skills in that area will find plenty of opportunities in 2019.

 

Precisely which skills are necessary will vary depending on the role. However, some cloud experience that aligns with database management would be an excellent way to stand out from the competition.

 

Mobile Development

The world is increasingly mobile. Millennials and Gen Z often prefer their smartphones to computers, so companies are continuing to focus heavily on the mobile side of development.

 

Application developers will find the most opportunities if they have experience both with iOS and Android. This ensures that applications can work on the majority of smartphones, creating the most potential value. Web developers need to be well-versed in mobile-friendly design, ensuring that sites appear properly on a range of platforms.

 

Let The Armada Group Help You Find Your Next Tech Role

Ultimately, tech hiring managers are focused on the areas listed above, creating opportunities for anyone with experience in those arenas. If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new tech role in 2019, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled staff today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

Be an Irreplaceable Software Project Manager

 

Companies are increasingly seeking out skilled software project managers to ensure that their projects go forward without a hitch. However, if a project manager doesn’t meet expectations, businesses usually won’t hesitate to seek out someone who will.

 

Becoming an irreplaceable software project manager means you need to bring specific skills and experiences to the table. Additionally, you must have the proper mindset, perspective, and attitude. Otherwise, you might end up more replaceable than you had hoped. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips to help you excel.

 

Software Development Knowledge

Project managers usually have a combination of business and subject-matter knowledge. However, not every tech project manager focuses on software development.

 

By concentrating on the software niche, you can provide companies with additional value. You understand what is involved in the development process, ensuring you can build realistic timetables, manage expectations, and set achievable goals. Plus, you will function better as a liaison between the software developers on your team and management, customers, or other stakeholders, as you will understand exactly what is being asked of them and may more easily garner their respect.

 

Exceptional Planning Skills

It’s no secret that project managers are responsible for planning. Any shortcomings in this arena can be detrimental to your career, so you need to be diligent about exceeding expectations.

 

Project managers need to be able to complete various steps, including defining the scope, scheduling activities, and identify risks. Additionally, the ability to produce Gantt charts or otherwise create a visual representation of the timeframes is beneficial.

 

Leadership Ability

When you work as a project manager, you are guiding a team toward success. You need to be able to provide them with clear direction, specific goals, and well-defined expectations, all while being polite and professional.

 

Make sure you can articulate each team member’s role. Additionally, learn about each person’s skill set so you can align tasks with the individuals who are most likely to excel in those areas.

 

You also need to be ready and willing to act as a mentor. At times, your team is going to have questions, so you must be prepared to point them in the right direction and offer them support when required.

 

It’s important to note that leadership also goes beyond managing your team. For example, standing up for them when a stakeholder places an unrealistic expectation on the project is also part of being a good leader. Similarly, controlling scope creep can fall into that category.

 

Let the Expert Recruiters at The Armada Group Help You Find Your Next Job!

Ultimately, all the skills above are necessary if you want to excel in the project management field. By focusing on the areas above, you can become an irreplaceable software project manager. If you would like to learn more or are seeking out a new project management opportunity, the team of skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members today and see how our project management expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Beat the Competition and Land Your Dream Job

 

When you have your dream job in sight, it can be as exciting as it is scary. After all, you have to outshine the other candidates if you are going to land the role, and that isn’t always an easy task.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to beat out the competition and secure your ideal job. If you aren’t sure how to begin, here are five ways you can get started.

 

  1. Bring Something Unique to the Table

When you are applying to a job, you can almost guarantee that your strongest competitors are bringing similar technical ability to the table. After all, if they didn’t have the prowess to handle the tasks, their resume would likely get discarded.

 

If you want to stand out, finding a unique non-technical offering can make a difference. Consider your personality and attributes and identify points that can help you excel in the role. Then, find ways to add them to your resume and cover letter, making sure the hiring manager is aware of the fact that you have more to offer than hard skills.

 

  1. Make an Emotional Connection

How a hiring manager feels about you can play as much of a role in their decision as for how well your skills and experience match the job posting. If you have a chance to bond emotionally with the hiring manager, take it.

 

For example, if you can connect your passion for the opportunity to the company’s mission, that can help forge a bond. Similarly, by being friendly and open during the interview, they may see you as more likable, which can also create a connection.

 

  1. Make Subtle Comparisons

If there are areas where you perform better than average, you can stand out from the crowd with a subtle comparison. While you should never directly bash other candidates, showcasing how you outperform the average person in your field can help.

 

You’ll need to do some research about statistics that apply to your chosen profession and then identify areas where you perform better than average (and can prove it). While this can take some time and energy, it can allow you to highlight why you should be considered for the job.

 

  1. Correct Mistakes When Possible

Nearly everyone makes a mistake during an interview at some point in their career. Maybe they draw a blank on a topic or accidentally get an answer wrong. While this can feel dooming, a single misstep isn’t usually the end of the world. Plus, you may also have a chance to correct your error if you proceed properly.

 

For instance, if you missed an answer during the interview but remember the correct one before the meeting is over, you may be able to revisit the topic in a later response or when you are given a chance to ask questions. While you don’t want to force it into the conversation, as that may not impress the hiring manager, if it can work into the discussion naturally, touch on it.

 

Otherwise, when you send a thank you email, you can also cover it then. Let the hiring manager know that you remember the mistake and correct it quickly and concisely.

 

  1. Have a Closing Summary

As your interview draws to an end, having a closing summary ready that allows you to touch on your key skills and attributes, bringing everything together. This can help you stand out by making sure your last impression is a powerful one.

 

Want the Most Exciting Contracts in Silicon Valley?

By following the tips above, you can beat out the competition and land your dream job. If you are looking for more valuable information, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Blockchain Remains Steady While Cryptocurrency Struggles

 

When people think of blockchain, cryptocurrency also typically comes to mind. Mainly, this is because of blockchains association with Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that soared to astounding heights as 2017 drew to a close and 2018 began. While there are hundreds of altcoins out there, Bitcoin is the one that was securing the most headlines.

 

However, after cryptocurrency mania peaked in January 2018, the market has mostly trended downward. One estimate suggests that $700 billion in market value was lost between then and now, showcasing just how far digital assets have fallen. While some of the losses are related to the high level of fraud in the cryptocurrency market, changes in investor sentiment and futures trading also played a role.

 

But blockchain isn’t losing any ground even as cryptocurrencies struggle. Predominately, this is because blockchain has uses outside the cryptocurrency landscaping, giving it stability.

 

Blockchain Isn’t Bitcoin

While blockchain allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to function, it isn’t inherently connected to cryptocurrency. Instead, it is a logging mechanism, and it can be completely separated from the cryptocurrency world.

 

Even as cryptocurrencies falter, blockchain maintains value as a standalone technology. Bitcoin and all of the altcoins could disappear tomorrow, and blockchain could remain standing on its own merit.

 

Blockchains Value

Blockchain is a mechanism for logging transactions. It serves as a distributed digital ledger and can’t be altered after a transaction takes place. This makes blockchain incredibly secure and reliable when multiple parties are involved, leading to a significant increase in interest in the technology.

 

While blockchain has obvious connections to the financial world - being a mechanism that supports real-time transactions, even across borders - it also has potential in other areas. Developers could use it to create solutions for monitoring supply chains, logging real estate title transfers, tracking medical information, issuing digital IDs, protecting copyrights, and much more.

 

This means that blockchain has a significant amount of potential, allowing interest in the technology to remain steady even as cryptocurrencies lose their luster.

 

A Fledgling Technology

While blockchain could be a gamechanger in numerous industries, it is still a fledgling technology. Big name companies are just beginning to scratch the surface of blockchains potential, and new developments are almost always on the horizon.

 

However, the speed at which blockchain-oriented solutions may become available may be negatively affected by the lack of tech specialists who can work with blockchain. Since it is relatively new to the larger business landscape and there aren’t many formal educational options focused on blockchain, finding suitable professionals to develop new solutions is challenging. This is especially true when today’s tight labor market (especially the low IT unemployment rate) are factored into the equation.

 

Ultimately, blockchain will likely maintain its appeal for the long-term, even if cryptocurrencies become largely a thing of the past. Since blockchain has potential in some many industries, it may succeed all on its own.

 

Ready to Find Your Next Gig? Start with The Armada Group!

If you’d like to know more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our blockchain expertise can benefit you.

 

 

How to Show Gratitude to Your IT Team

 

As the holiday season approaches, many managers look for ways to express their appreciation to their IT team. However, if you want your employees to genuinely feel valued, you have to look beyond the acknowledgements that you typically dole out this time of year.

 

Often, to show your staff that you value them, you need to make an effort to ensure they feel heard, and this can’t be accomplished if you only focus on it during the holidays. If you want to make sure your IT team knows they are valued, here’s what you need to do.

 

Say “Thank You” Often

Managers are typically overtasked. This means it is easy to forget how your team keeps projects and daily activities moving forward, as it’s just part of the day-to-day. However, by actively trying to remember to thank them for their contributions, you demonstrate that you value what they have to offer. Plus, it shows that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that they are appreciated.

 

It also helps to extend your thanks beyond yourself. Let your team know when stakeholders appreciate the results of their efforts as well, especially if they don’t have an opportunity to interact directly with other leaders or customers.

 

Be an Active Listener

You can’t make your IT team feel heard if you spend the entire conversation merely waiting for your chance to speak. While you plan your response, you miss critical details in the discussion, and this can cause your employees to become frustrated if their input was ignored, even if it was unintentional.

 

When your employees speak, make sure to focus solely on listening. Take in every word and wait for a natural pause before you even begin to formulate a response. That way, you won’t miss a vital part of the conversation and your reply can be more meaningful.

 

Give Them Challenges

While every IT role comes with a certain level of monotony, giving your employees a chance to stretch outside of their comfort zones or take on a challenge can actually show that you value them. By allowing them to use their unique talents to take on something new, you demonstrate your trust in their abilities and interest in helping them grow.

 

See Them as Individuals

In IT, functioning as part of a team is the norm. This makes praising the group more common when a job is well done since multiple people were critical to the overall success of the project.

 

While recognizing the team’s efforts is wise, you also want to see them as individuals. Highlight each person’s achievements to make them feel seen and single them out if they truly went above and beyond. This ensures that every employee understands that they are valued for what they bring to the table and not just what they can accomplish together.

 

If you would like to know about how you can show your IT team you value them this season and beyond, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.

 

 

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