When you do the same thing over and over again, you develop expertise. Being an expert is valuable in your career, but sometimes doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. Changing technical specialties gives you the chance to develop new skills and new challenges, and it doesn't have to mean taking an entry-level position and salary. Use these five tips to transition to a new IT specialty, and find new excitement at work.
Choose the right new specialty.
Before making a change, make sure the position you're moving into offers the kinds of challenges you enjoy. If you've been working in technical support, but hate dealing with users, you'll probably find working as a business analyst equally frustrating. But you might enjoy working as a QA tester, which often has little need for interacting with end users and can leverage your familiarity with the kinds of problems that occur in systems.
Discuss making a change with your manager.
While your current employer may view you in a specific way and have trouble seeing you in another capability, if you have a good relationship with your manager, talking with them can help make a transition feasible. Your manager can let you know what skills you'll need to make the move, inform you about current openings, and talk you up to the hiring manager for the new position.
You'll need to develop the skills needed for the new specialty before applying for a transfer or job with another firm. Take advantage of any training your company offers; companies often have libraries of online courses available to any employee. You can also take courses outside of work. Completing a sequence of courses and earning a recognized certificate will attest to both your skills and commitment to do the work in the new specialty.
Leverage your current experience.
When you prepare your resume and answer interview questions, relate your past and current project experience to the demands of the new role. For example, if you worked as a QA tester, you've developed insights into the kinds of bugs coders create that can help you write less buggy code if you switch to a programming role.
Consider working for a smaller company.
In smaller businesses, employees need to wear many hats. You won't be locked into a single specific job function, giving you the chance to experience many roles. Not only will you develop multiple skill sets, you'll get insights that help make sure the next specialty you commit to is one you'll enjoy for the rest of your career.
Ready to make a change? At The Armada Group, our recruiting specialists see you as a whole person, not just the skills you've used in your previous jobs. We'll work with you to understand what you want to achieve in your career and match you to job opportunities that allow you to grow. Contact us to seamlessly switch to your new IT specialty.
Companies that have a diverse workforce have a competitive advantage. The different perspectives and insights that employees bring from their various backgrounds help companies shape products that appeal to the widest possible audience.
Recruiting that diverse workforce takes a concerted effort. Certainly, pictures on your website send a message about who works for you, but that isn't enough to attract diverse workers. You need to actively reach out and take steps to appeal to the diverse population.
Make a Visible Commitment to Diversity
As with most things, the commitment to success begins at the top. The best way to demonstrate that you're committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is to have diversity in the most publicly visible layer of employees—senior, board-level management. The new generation of employees, Millennials, takes diversity seriously and is likely to dismiss you as a potential employer if they don't see a truly diverse workforce.
Define Diversity Broadly
Define what diversity means for your business and make sure it's a broad definition: race, religion, age, social background, and other factors all give people different perspectives that are valuable when shared in in the workplace.
Develop a Recruitment Plan
Don't wait for diverse workers to reach out to you. Actively reach out and recruit through organizations that serve people of different backgrounds. Student groups and ethnic professional associations are great places to find talented potential employees. Churches and cultural institutions can also connect you with a diverse population.
Support Diverse Employees at Work
Once you've hired a diverse workforce, make sure the environment encourages them to remain at your business. Provide mentors and other programs to help these employees succeed. Having diverse upper management helps remind these workers that success at this company is possible. Make diversity training mandatory and take visible action if discriminatory behavior occurs.
Diverse workplaces are successful workplaces. The Armada Group's talent database can connect you with skilled employees from many different backgrounds. Contact us to work with a recruiter who will understand your business needs and match you with the talent that will help your business grow.
Java is still one of the most widely used programming languages, which means there are lots of opportunities but also lots of competition. Position yourself to stand out from your peers with these tips.
Core Java is a foundation, but not enough to get you hired.
Enhance your database skills.
Every application needs to get its data from somewhere, and most need to store results, as well. SQL databases are still standard, but NoSQL is becoming more important.
Be fully agile.
Almost all companies use some variant of the agile development methodology to manage their projects. Be prepared to explain how agile works and how it's affected your approach to building your applications. Demonstrate the interpersonal skills needed to participate in agile scrums and planning sessions.
Boost your communication skills.
Defining requirements is still the top challenge facing most software projects. Even if your team has business analysts who write the specifications, the better you can communicate with your business users, the better the applications you'll create.
Earning relevant certifications like the Oracle Certified Expert Java EE Web Component Developer not only shows you know your stuff, it shows you are committed to developing your skills to the top of the profession.
Identify the career path you want to follow.
You'll help employers see how you'll fit into their organization long-term if you are clear on the career you want to have. Whether you plan to remain technical or want to move into management, be able to speak to this and show how you're developing the skills that will keep you valuable – even after the project with the opening is complete.
Do you have top Java skills? The Armada Group can connect you with top Java job opportunities. Take a look at the opportunities to see where your skills can take you, and then contact us to show off your talent.
The more you know about a company before going in for an interview, the better you'll do. You'll have a comfort level of knowledge about what they're looking for, and you'll be able to highlight your skills and experience to match their needs. Understanding a potential employer requires more than simply glancing at their website. Follow this list of things you should do to thoroughly research a company before your interview.
Look at the company website.
Start here, and dig far beyond the landing page. Read about the company's mission, their values, and their products. Take a look at the biographies of management and employees to see if your background is similar. Explore the recruiting section thoroughly; it may tell you what to expect when you come in to the office. There may be interviews or videos with current employees telling you what it's like to work for the company. If they have the information publicly available, read through the benefits section to get a sense of how employees are really treated. Check out their competitors, too, to see how they compare.
Check out the company's social media.
Take a look at the company's posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The first two will let you see how the company interacts with the public and whether there are lots of complaints about their products. LinkedIn offers a more professional view of the company. You can view profiles of company employees and see any posts offering perspectives on the industry.
Hear what employees have to say.
If you have friends who work for the company, ask them for the true inside scoop. While their opinions are the best source, knowing the person lets you know how much weight to give their opinion. Are they perpetually happy, go-with-the-flow types or does every little thing upset them? Use that to give some shade to the information they share. If you don't have friends who work for the company, search for online reviews at sites like Glassdoor. Just be aware that the review sites may not verify that the commenter really works for the company, and you don't have all the necessary information to decide if their opinion is valid.
When you've done your company and industry research and are ready for the interview, The Armada Group will match you to the right open position. Contact us and let our recruiters help prepare you for your interviews and the next step in your career.
Recruiting new employees is as much about wooing as is it about screening. You want to find the right hire, and that requires attracting candidates who can help your projects succeed as well as screening out those who just don't fit. In order to draw candidates to you, treat them the way they want to be treated. When it comes to recruiting developers, this means:
Go beyond acronyms.
Developer resumes are filled with acronyms and buzzwords, which present easy filtering criteria. Think about it from the developer's perspective, though: the acronyms on their resume represent every technology they've ever worked with, not just the tech they work with now or the tech they want to work with in the future. Instead of mass mailing or calling every candidate with the skills you need on their resume, take the time to read the resume and see if their experience with that skill is recent. You might think it's more efficient to let the candidates screen themselves out, but overloading their inboxes with inappropriate job listings hurts your reputation and can cause candidates to ignore every mail from you – even if it describes a job they'd be perfect for.
Don't rely on interviews.
Sure, development is a team effort and everyone needs to be able to interact with their peers. But unless you're hiring a lead or support role, most programming jobs are more about spending time with a keyboard than time with people. So while the interview is necessary, don't overemphasize it; many developers simply are introverts and won't do well when pinned down for verbal answers. Instead, use tests to verify a candidate's technical ability to do the job. And when you give those tests, don't make developers talk through their solution standing in front of a white board. No one works that way in reality. Instead, let the programmers develop their solution sitting in front of a computer – the way they will when they're on the job.
Present the job the way it really is.
Both resumes and job descriptions have an element of exaggeration to them; after all, they're both advertisements, in a way. Despite that, don't stretch the truth in your job description or when speaking with candidates in person. Don't try to make the job seem more exciting than it really is. If it's mostly maintenance of existing code rather than new development or there's little opportunity for advancement, be honest about that. It might cost you the chance to hire this particular candidate, but hiring someone who then quits because the job isn't what they signed up for is more expensive.
The Armada Group has been recruiting top technical employees for more than 20 years. We understand the way developers think and what they're looking for at work, and are the experts at matching developers to opportunities. Contact us to talk about your hiring needs and how we can help you recruit the right developer the right way.
Picking the right technology to learn is important to position yourself for job and career success. Languages and technology vary in how in-demand they are in industry; if you choose to learn a language that's in high demand, you'll have lots of opportunities to choose from. For developers today, the language to learn is Python.
Python is Easy to Learn
Learning Python is relatively easy, compared to other programming languages. The syntax isn't cluttered with brackets; you don't need to declare variables and can just use them as you need them. There's less code needed to accomplish basic tasks. Because the language is object oriented and has built-in support for data structures like lists, programmers can quickly start building application functionality rather than application infrastructure. Because it's interpreted, you can easily test the code you write as you go along, rather than needing to define a complicated and time-consuming build process.
Python is Used in Industry
One of the biggest companies pushing Python is Google, where it's used as part of the Google App Engine and YouTube. With Google a major driver of technical innovation, it's no surprise that its support for the language has boosted its popularity. Other major companies that use Python cross every industry you can think of—the list includes Yahoo, Industrial Light & Magic, ABN AMRO, the National Weather Service, and more.
These companies like Python because it is efficient and powerful, and there are numerous libraries and frameworks that make developing substantial applications. Django is a popular framework for web development, and other frameworks provide features such as numerical analysis. The language is also portable, with versions that run on any platform, giving companies the flexibility of supporting multiple operating systems.
Python Gets You Hired
There's continued to be an increase in need for Python programmers, making them among the most in-demand and highest-paid developers. If you've got top Python skills and are ready to take on a new opportunity, The Armada Group can help you find a job that'll challenge and excite you. Contact us to start your search.
You may think hiring decisions are made in the face-to-face interaction between a candidate and hiring manager at an interview. But the reality is that the most crucial hiring decision comes long before the candidate ever arrives at the job site for that interview; it comes when the potential employee decides whether or not they want to apply for the job.
These days, the candidate almost certainly finds out about a job and fills out their application online. When a candidate submits an application, that's like completing the checkout process at an online store; when they don't, that's equivalent to abandoning their shopping cart.
By realizing candidates are your recruiting processes' end user, you can apply the methods of user experience design to create a candidate experience that doesn't drive away potential employees.
As with any user experience design, the user needs to be part of the design. While your systems need to be designed to support the HR and recruiting teams, they aren't the only users – depending on your objectives, they may not even be the most important users.
This means companies need to interact with candidates not only to decide whether to hire them but to get their feedback on the systems and process. Simple surveys likely aren't enough to capture the deep understanding of user attitudes.
You may not be able to induce candidates who choose not to apply to talk with you about why not, and candidates who don't get the job may not be interested in talking with you any longer, but you should be able to glean solid feedback from the potential employees who become actual employees. Integrate collecting feedback about the online hiring process into your onboarding process; by making it a routine task, you won't miss any opportunity for gathering data.
Then make sure that data doesn't simply go into a report but is actually acted upon to improve your systems. Remember you want to encourage candidates to apply and keep streamlining the process as your goal. While systems can't be replaced overnight, there will always be a need to hire new employees, so you should always be motivated to make changes as soon as possible.
Whether or not your online process is candidate-friendly, positive word of mouth will encourage potential applicants to press "submit." When you work with The Armada Group, our recruiters take the time to fully understand what you're looking for in talent so we can help candidates understand why they should want to work for you. Contact us to start improving your candidate experience now.
The gig economy isn't just for Uber drivers. Companies are also turning to contract employees for skilled work, including in the technology industry. There are several reasons for this outsourcing:
Contract employees offer companies flexibility.
Companies today need to be able to respond to changing business demands and scale up or down quickly. Through using contract employees, companies are able to add or shed workers easily in response to growth or other changes in the business environment.
Technology enables remote work.
The internet, virtual desktops, and video conferencing all mean that people don't need to be in the same place to get work done. Documents and other resources are easily shared no matter where people are located, so companies don't need all their employees working in one office.
Contract employees offer special skills.
Companies sometimes need a specific skill for a short time, to fill a specific gap in their teams. If they don’t have many projects that will utilize that skill, it's difficult to justify adding a permanent employee just to add that skill to the team. By bringing in contractors, the employer gets the skills they need without making a long-term commitment. Employers also use contractors to help train their existing workers when there's a mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they'll need going forward.
Hiring contractors is cost-effective.
When companies hire contractors, the contractor is paid for their work, but the hiring company doesn't have the expenses of benefits like health insurance, 401K matching, unemployment insurance or contributing the company's share of Social Security taxes. Companies also don't withhold taxes on behalf of the contractor.
There are different legal obligations between employers and contractors than there are between employers and employees. One of the main legal obligations employers have is to classify their workers correctly; companies cannot simply call a worker a contractor in order to avoid paying unemployment costs. In order to avoid the risks of being accused of misclassifying workers, many companies prefer to hire contractors who operate as employees of a contracting agency.
The Armada Group helps companies fill their staffing needs whether they want to hire permanent employees, use a contract-to-hire model to help evaluate potential employees, or add contractors on an as-needed basis. Contact us to learn how our services can help your company grow.
There are many reasons for stepping off the career track. Raising children, caring for parents, pursuing a passion, or simply taking a much-needed sabbatical all take people away from the office. Having an answer ready for the inevitable question about the gap on your resume is important, but it's not the only thing you need to do to get ready to return to work. Here are four key things to do before you start searching the job listings.
Figure out what you want to do.
While you may want to step right back into the role you stepped out of, your industry will have changed while you were away. You will have changed while you were away, too. The role you used to have may no longer exist, or it may not suit you any more. Rather than trying to reclaim your old job, take time to think about what new job fits the person you are now.
Upgrade your skills.
Especially in technical fields, many companies use online tests to prescreen candidates and verify they have the level of technical ability they claim. No matter how solid your skills were before your break, if you haven't been using them every day, you'll have grown rusty. Take time to refresh your memory of the details of your specialty. You may also want to pursue a certification in an old or new technical skill. Not only will the certification prove you have a base level of skill, it demonstrates to potential employers that you're serious and ready to return to work.
Reach out to your old network.
Get the scoop on what's going on in your industry from your former colleagues. They can tell you about opportunities, but more important, they can tell you about the challenges their companies and the industry are facing. With that inside information, you can tailor the way you present yourself to demonstrate that you can help a potential employer overcome those issues.
Prepare your family for the change.
If your time off was to take care of loved ones, when you return to work, it will change their lives as well. Make sure you've made all the necessary arrangements for their care when you're at work, so you'll be able to focus on the job and not worry about how they're doing. Depending on their ages and circumstances, explain why you're going to work and how it will impact them, so they won't worry either. Understand this can be a difficult transition for everyone, and allow time for the adjustment.
Are you ready to return to work? The Armada Group is ready to help you find the right job and reenter the workforce. Contact us to learn how our expert recruiters can help you speed your search so you can get back to work quickly.
Reaching the C-suite is the pinnacle of many job seekers' career ambitions. Those who've made it have had to succeed in a lot of jobs along the way. It stands to reason, then, that you can learn a lot about looking for a job by listening to what CIOs have to say. Here are some tips gathered from what CIOs have told online publications.
Leverage Networks and Internships
Making connections is key to getting hired. Get an internship that gives you real experience in industry and keep in touch with your manager and coworkers after you return to school. Seek out a mentoring relationship—if there isn't any formal program, take advantage of one-on-one meetings with your manager to get guidance.
Demonstrate Passion for Technology
Hiring managers want to know that you're enthusiastic about the technology you'll be using on their projects. Demonstrate that you've got passion for technology by highlighting new skills you've developed on your own. Contributing to open source projects shows both passion and commitment to keeping up with industry developments.
Demonstrate Interest in the Business and the Customers
Although technical passion is important, managers also want to see that you have an interest in the business. Make sure you research the company before your interview so you can ask intelligent questions about the industry and its customers. Find ways to demonstrate your interpersonal skills, as being able to interact well with non-technical colleagues and with end users opens up numerous other opportunities.
Don't limit yourself to a single industry vertical. Technical skills are highly portable across industries. You'll have a bigger pool of job openings to choose from if you're open to learning about new business domains.
Be Assertive and Confident
No matter how nervous you are about interviewing, present yourself as confident and enthusiastic about your ability to perform in the position. If you don't believe in yourself, it's difficult to convince others to believe in you. At the same time, you need to be yourself; you need to be the same person at the interview that you'll be every day on the job.
Ready to put the CIO tips into action? The Armada Group's recruiters can connect you to top job opportunities for developers with your skills. Contact us to learn how we can help you succeed in your job search.