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Developer Skills You Need To Know Now

Technology changes fast, and developers need to keep their skills current to keep up with the marketplace. If you want the opportunity to work on the most challenging new projects, these are the skills you need to know now.

Go Big

Companies are gearing up for big data projects, hoping to gain a competitive edge from analyzing the data collected by all their interactions with customers and suppliers. There's a vast range of skills needed to support big data work, ranging from engineering tasks that focus on managing and storing these giant collections of data, to analytical tasks that focus on understanding the business and using that data to create insights that drive business success. For the engineering-oriented jobs, focus on skills like Hadoop, Spark, and NoSQL databases like MongoDB. The analytical tasks require data science skills, such as statistical methods and text analysis, plus the ability to program in languages like R and Python.


Javascript still underlies much Web and browser development. Now, with the widespread adoption of Node.js, JavaScript developers are needed for application backends as well. The ability to contribute to both frontend and backend development makes JavaScript developers twice as valuable to development projects. The MEAN stack, consisting of MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and Node.js, provides developers a comprehensive set of development tools.

Get Mobile

More and more companies are implementing a "mobile first" development strategy. Because of the small screen size, strong UI and UX skills are needed to build an effective interface. Android is by far the dominant platform; iOS trails in second and Windows, Blackberry, and other mobile operating systems barely register. Learn the languages of choice for both Android and iOS development – Java and Swift, respectively – plus a cross-platform development framework such as Sencha will give you the most options for mobile application, and mobile career, development.

Float on a Cloud

Cloud computing is fast becoming a dominant method of application delivery. Learn the features and APIs for the major cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. The cloud is also a major contributor to the growth of DevOps, opening up deployment and support career paths for those who understand how to automate the process and monitor deployed applications.

Work With a Staffing Agency

Working with a staffing agency like The Armada Group is a great way to explore the jobs your current skills prepare you for and help you identify the skills you need for the best jobs on the market. Search our jobs or contact us to learn how our services help you build your career, not just find a new job.

why data scientists are the hope for the future

Big Data is one of the hottest technologies around, but companies are struggling to succeed in their Big Data projects. Bringing in developers with Hadoop and NoSQL skills isn't enough, so companies are now turning to data scientists to help them find value in their data.

Data Scientist Is a Top-Rated Job

As a result of that push, Data Scientist sat in the number one position in a recent Glassdoor survey of the best jobs in America. Not only does the job offer a high median base salary, the position provides plenty of opportunity and job satisfaction.

Data Scientist Skills and Responsibilities

Data Scientists help companies make sense of the structured and unstructured data collected by corporate information systems. Insights from this analysis can help companies identify new marketing opportunities to increase profits or improve manufacturing processes to reduce costs.

Creating those insights requires a combination of analytical and technical skills. Data Scientists need a strong background in advanced statistical, mathematical, and analytical methods. They may use methods such as textual analysis, machine learning, or data mining to search for meaningful patterns in very large databases.

Data Scientists work with tools to help them manage and manipulate large-scale databases, including SQL, NoSQL, and Hadoop. In some companies, the technical aspects of creating an infrastructure to store and retrieve large data sets is handled by the Data Scientists, while in other firms those responsibilities fall to an engineering team.

Data Scientists can fill the role of business intelligence or data analysis, writing reports against existing databases. They may write programs in statistical tools such as R and Matlab, as well as general purpose programming languages like C++, Java, and Python. Because a large part of their job requires presenting insights to business management, understanding data visualization and reporting technology is vital. Data Scientists need a strong understanding of the business domain to relate the connections found in the data to business operations. In many cases, the end product of a data science project is a computer program and data scientists often work as part of a team that incorporates their analytical methods into a production software application.

Given the varied responsibilities of a Data Scientist, it's important to understand exactly what you'll do on the job at any given company. Conduct an analysis of your own career interests to help you select the right Data Scientist job for you.

STEM degrees its more about experience

One thing about technology: it either works or it doesn't. A fancy brand name can't make up for a program that doesn't do what it's supposed to do. That pragmatic approach applies to degrees in STEM fields, too. A recent study found that for degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math, the "brand name" of the school granting the degree had less impact on long-term salaries than for degrees in liberal arts.

Skills Matter

The reason for that is the skills that lead to success on the job are both standardized and easy to assess. Programming languages are the same whether they're learned at an Ivy League school or at a community college. And coding skills are easily evaluated through technical questions and small coding problems during the interview.

The high demand for STEM skills means even students who develop those skills in an untraditional setting find opportunity. Online courses, hackathons, and nanodegree programs provide job-oriented training outside of the college classroom. Industry finds graduates of these programs appealing because training through these programs often includes the latest programming tools that haven't been incorporated into school curriculums yet.

Experience Matters

A degree from a top school will definitely open doors, but once you start working, it's your achievements on the job that matter more in STEM fields. Managers can easily track quality metrics tied to a specific employee, such as whether features are delivered on time and how many bugs were in their work. These metrics can impact the salary increases and bonuses employees receive.

The degree is also less important when switching employers after you've been working for a few years. Because technology changes so rapidly, the specific methods and techniques you learned in school are no longer relevant. It's important to take training and continuing education classes to become familiar with the new technologies in demand. In addition, employers value the nontechnical interpersonal and leadership skills that develop after working for several years. Employees who demonstrate up-to-date technical skills plus an understanding of how to get things done in a business environment will have a solid career no matter what it says on their diploma.

Python Engineers Must Haves and Nice to Have Skills

It takes years to learn all the ins and outs of any technology, but you don't need to know everything before putting the skill on your resume. Focus on the must-have skills first, then stand out from everyone else with the nice-to-haves. For Python engineers, the skills break down this way.


Must-Have Python Engineer Skills


Core Python. 

You don't need to know every module, but you need to know the basics, including the differences between Python 2 and Python 3.


Web frameworks. 

Almost no project today starts from scratch; most leverage an existing framework. Learn one of the common Python frameworks such as Django.


Object-relational mappers. 

It's easier to connect an application to a database through an ORM rather than through writing SQL.


Understand multi-process architecture. 

The ability to correctly write and manage threads and processes is key to developing high-performance applications.


Developing and using RESTful APIs. 

Understanding how to use RESTful APIs is necessary to integrate your application with other components.


Building Python application. 

Your team may have a build engineer, but you should know how to package up code for release and deployment.


Good communication skills. 

Even in a purely programming role, you need to be able to communicate with teammates and to collaborate to resolve issues.


Good design skills. 

You must be able to implement servers that are scalable, secure, and highly available.


Nice-to-Have Python Engineer Skills


Front-end developer skills. 

Python developers typically work on the backend of Web applications, but every application needs a front end also. Learn how to code front ends, too, and you can contribute more to every project you work on. JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are the basic foundation for frontend work.


Database knowledge. 

Despite the importance of ORMs, it's beneficial to understand databases as well. Some performance issues may be best resolved directly in the database rather than in code.


Systems administration. 

Knowing system administration lets you solve problems at the system level rather than just the application level. 


Script writing. 

Along with systems administration, the ability to write shell scripts lets you control the server.


Other programming languages like Java or C++. 

As useful a tool as Python is, it isn't appropriate for every programming project. Know other languages so you can use the best language to solve the problem.


3 Ways to Get Hired to a Mobile Team

Mobile application development is hot. According to Gartner, demand for mobile apps will grow five times faster than companies can deliver them. The salaries for mobile app developers reflect that, averaging around $102,000 and going up to $135,000. For developers who want to get in on the mobile development action, make sure you have the skills that will make employers notice you.

Know how to develop for Android.

Apple's iOS products get lots of great press, and there are plenty of jobs for iOS developers, but there's even more demand for Android developers. While the two platforms split the U.S. market almost evenly, Android has a far larger share of the global market. So make sure your resume has the skills you need for Android development, including the Android SDK, Android NDK, Java, and C++. If you can develop on multiple platforms, that gives you additional options, so learn Objective-C or Swift for iOS devices.

Build your own app.

There's no better way to demonstrate your capability to build a mobile app than demonstrating a mobile app that you built. You can point to an app that you built at your previous employer, but because company projects are team efforts, it's difficult to really claim credit. Instead, create your own sample app in your free time. The development tools are available for free on multiple platforms. If you take the app live, you'll learn the necessary skills for packaging it and publishing it in an app store. Taking your own idea from concept through deployment shows initiative and drive that impress potential employers beyond the technical skills you develop through the process.

Have skills that go beyond mobile.

Knowing the SDK for a specific platform is only part of knowing how to create a mobile app. Like any software project, you need to understand the business requirements, so business analysis skills and communication skills are still valuable. Databases were invented long before the smartphone, but mobile apps still store data in them, so understanding SQL and database technology is necessary. Many tools generate XML automatically these days, but it's still helpful to understand the syntax.

3 Project Manager Certifications You Need to Excel

An MBA degree is a valuable credential, but it's not necessarily relevant to project managers in information technology. Project management certification attests to your knowledge in specific skills that project managers use on a daily basis. Obtain one of these certifications and you'll gain skills that help you do better at your current job as well as attract potential employers' attention when you list the credential on your resume.

Project Management Professional

Offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), Project Management Professional (PMP) is one of the most well-respected project manager certifications. This credential isn't restricted to information technology, and requires mastery of skills that will help manage projects in any business domain. The requirements for obtaining the PMP certificate include several thousand hours of hands-on project management work, plus 35 hours of coursework. After these hours are completed, a difficult exam must be passed. Less experienced project managers can obtain the Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) certification, a more entry-level credential; PMI also offers additional certification for project managers in specialty areas such as business analysis and risk management.

Scrum Master

If your workplace follows agile software development methodology, as more and more organizations currently do, you participate in scrums on a daily basis. The Scrum Master certification from the Scrum Alliance acknowledges your expertise in guiding your team through scrum practices. Obtaining the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credential requires self-study of scrum practices, followed by a CSM course led by a certified trainer. That course is then followed by an online exam. Successfully obtaining the CSM also grants access to Scrum Alliance resources, including a profile on the Scrum Alliance website, plus a logo to highlight your achievement.

Certified Project Manager

Similar to the PMP certification, Certified Project Manager (CPM) is offered through the International Association of Program and Project Management. Before taking the exam, you should have expert-level knowledge of project management practices, obtained through at least four years of project management work and 36 hours of study on the CPM syllabus. This preparation is followed by a three-hour exam. More junior professionals can obtain the Certified Project Professional credential.