Morning Commute

 

On average, Americans spend about an hour a day commuting to and from work. In most cases, this time feels largely wasted, as it isn’t always easy to figure out what you can do while being on the road, regardless of whether or not you use public transportation.

 

Luckily, there are things commuters can do during their travel time to create a more productive morning. Here are four ways you can get started today.

 

  1. Schedule Organizing

If you take public transportation or are a passenger in a carpool, consider using your commute time to get your daily schedule organized. You can review your calendar on your smartphone, create to-do lists, or set reminders to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

 

Just a few minutes spent organizing your day can help you start work with greater ease, increasing your overall level of productivity.

 

  1. Email Review

For commuters who have their work email synced to their smartphones, the morning drive can be an excellent time to see what arrived overnight or has come in during the morning. Often, professionals are inundated with email on a daily basis, so using your commute to sort through the messages can help you identify important items before you arrive and eliminate junk mail before you reach your desk.

 

Additionally, this can be an excellent time to review any industry newsletters you subscribe to, giving you time to read through interesting and relevant information before you even start your workday.

 

 

  1. Podcasts and Audiobooks

Sometimes, simply gathering helpful information can make your day more productive. By listening to podcasts or audiobooks during your commute, drivers and passengers can benefit by increasing their knowledge of subjects relevant to them.

 

Everything from daily motivation to complex topics are covered in audio-friendly formats. They allow you to conduct research and learn valuable tidbits while you’re on the road, and many incredible podcasts can be squeezed into an average commute. And, since most cars have interfaces for playing MP3s, nearly anyone can enjoy these during their travels.

 

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Whether during your time on the road or just as you are approaching your workplace, taking a few moments to center yourself and prepare mentally for the day ahead can be incredibly helpful. Consider starting with a short five-minute meditation or listen to a song that either calms or motivates you. You can also give yourself a quick internal pep talk if you anticipate early morning challenges, increasing your confidence and helping you seize the day.

 

By using the tips above, you too can make your morning commute more productive, no matter how you travel to work. If you are interested in learning more, are seeking out new job opportunities, or are looking for a skilled candidate to fill a vacant position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

H 1B

 

Most tech employers are at least familiar with the basics of the H-1B visa program. However, not as many companies are fully aware of where these visa holders are actually working. And some may be surprised to discover that the number one spot doesn’t go to a city traditionally associated with tech.

 

If you are wondering where H-1B visa holders are actually working, here’s an overview.

 

The Number One Spot

Based on a Pew Research Center study that analyzed data associated with H-1B visa approvals between 2010 and 2016, the city with the highest number of approved workers was College Station, Texas. In total, approximately 32 of every 100 H-1B visa applications made it through, reflecting a much higher rate than anywhere else in the nation.

 

Out of the approved visas, 99 percent of those workers went to Cognizant’s headquarters, which is located in College Station.

 

Other Major Cities

Overall, the east coast of the US has more H-1B visa holders approved than the west coast. For example, Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, had around 4 for every 100 applications approved, and New York-Newark-New Jersey City’s rate was 2.5 per 100. The Trenton area had just shy of 5 approvals per 100 applications while the Washington DC metro area saw 2 approvals for every 100 applications.

 

In contrast, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area had just over 2 H-1B visa approvals per 100. Other west coast cities, like Seattle, had less than 1 approval per 100.

 

Ultimately, this shows that, while H-1B visa holders are certainly present, they may not be as common as some people would think. The numbers represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of employees in the workforce, even in areas like College Station.

 

 

Salary Offerings

Even though College Station has the most H-1B visa holders working in the area, it doesn’t take the top spot when it comes to salaries. That honor goes to Bridgeport, Connecticut, with an average salary of $100,200.

 

Seattle came in second with $98,100, and Phoenix was third with $97,100.

 

In comparison, College Station had an average salary of $82,600.

 

H-1B Program Changes

President Donald Trump has expressed an interest in overhauling the H-1B visa program, though sweeping changes have yet to occur. Various federal agencies have been tasked with reviewing H-1B policies with the goal of revamping the system, though measures in Congress that would alter the program have mainly stalled.

 

Some smaller actions have impacted the H-1B visa program, including a measure that prevents H-1B visa holders’ spouses from gaining access to H-4 visas. However, even though a larger action hasn’t gone forward, that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t come along in the near future.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking tech talent to fill your vacant positions, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can benefit your company today.

 

 

Pay Gap

 

Overall, the gender pay gap is a serious issue. Recent data suggests that women earn 81.8 percent of what a man will during the early portions of their careers.

 

Women in their 30s and 40s today are hit even harder, bringing in just 76.4 percent of what men in their age group make. Once a woman is over 45, they earn only 69.1 percent of what their male counterparts receive.

 

While recent legal rulings are working to close the gender pay gap, such as by preventing employers from using a worker’s prior salary as justification for a low offer, there is still a long way to go. However, the gender pay gap isn’t as prevalent in all industries, and tech is a particular bright spot.

 

The Gender Pay Gap in Tech

Based on data from a 2016 survey, the gender pay gap in tech is shrinking.

 

In uncontrolled environments, typically considered those where bonuses are offered, men generally bring in about $1,500 more a year than women. However, the “controlled” pay gap, an approach that examines men and women who hold the same positions, the gender pay gap was calculated at just 0.8 percent.

 

In fact, women actually earn more than men in three states. In Rhode Island, female tech workers make 0.2 percent more than their male counterparts. That number was 0.6 percent in Vermont. And, in Connecticut, the gender pay gap favored women by 1.6 percent.

 

The District of Columbia also sees women out-earning mean by 0.5 percent.

 

 

Why Is Tech Coming Out Ahead?

While there are numerous factors surrounding gender pay gaps, there are some points that could explain why the tech gender pay gap is shrinking.

 

First and foremost, many women suffer in regards to earning potential because they are traditional more likely than men to take extended periods away from work to handle certain family-related matters. Additionally, maternity leave can have a negative impact on a woman’s long-term salaries. But tech companies are leading the way in areas like paternity leave and offering options for telecommuting. This may be making it easier for women to balance their obligations, ensuring they keep pace with their male counterparts.

 

Additionally, low unemployment could be leveling the playing field. In tech, unemployment is usually well below the national average. This means companies have to compete for top talent and offering a respectable salary is a method for attracting candidates. Diversity programs may also have helped women close the gender pay gap.

 

Ultimately, there is no single factor that has helped close the gender pay gap in tech, but it does serve as an example that achieving equal wages is possible.

 

If you would like to know more about the gender pay gap in tech or are looking for high-quality candidates to fill your vacant positions, the experienced professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can benefit your business today.

 

 

Python Skills

 

When it comes to in-demand IT skills, Python is currently on a high. The programming language plays a substantial role in data science and data analytics as well as back-end web application development.

 

Based on the number of positions that require Python, and that demand is expected to rise, learning this language can help tech professionals secure more lucrative opportunities.

 

Some job seekers may be surprised at how many kinds of list Python as a requirement or preferred skill. If you are wondering whether learning Python can boost your chances of finding a great job, here’s what you need to know.

 

10 Jobs Python Skills Can Help You Land

While the top 10 jobs that favor candidates with Python skills are largely in the IT realm, there is a reasonable amount of diversity when it comes to potential opportunities. Here are 10 jobs where Python might be featured in the vacancy announcement:

 

  1. Software Developer
  2. Software Engineer
  3. Research Assistant
  4. Senior Software Engineer
  5. Software Engineering Internship
  6. Web Developer
  7. Graduate Research Assistant
  8. Quality Assurance Engineer
  9. Researcher
  10. Developer

 

Positions in the software development or engineering arenas aren’t necessarily a surprise, but some job seekers may be startled when they see that even internships may require Python.

 

Additionally, certain research-oriented jobs benefit from Python skills as well, particularly when custom software is needed to handle the associated projects.

 

 

How to Learn Python

If you decide that you want to add Python as a skill, you do have options for learning this programming language. First and foremost, traditional education is always an option. In some cases, Python will be featured as part of a larger degree plan, either as a requirement or optional course. However, you don’t necessarily have to be pursuing a degree to take a single class focused solely on Python, particularly if you are open to online learning.

 

You may be able to find a boot camp that either concentrates on Python or features it along with a variety of other languages. If you choose to go the boot camp route, make sure the company offering the boot camp is reputable and that you have the time necessary to complete the entire course.

 

For those who are already comfortable with programming languages in general, teaching yourself Python is also an option. There is a variety of resources, both online and off, and communities that can help you learn the language and improve your skills.

 

Ultimately, adding Python to your repertoire can be a smart move, particularly if you want to land one of the 10 jobs listed above. It can take a little time to learn, but is well worth the effort if you wish to pursue a career in any of the tech-oriented areas contained in the list.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our experience can benefit you.

 

 

Career Mistakes by CIOs

 

Nearly every CIO took an occasional misstep early in their career as they were learning to navigate the nuances of leadership roles. Luckily, aspiring tech leaders can learn from these mistakes, helping them to avoid similar situations and trappings as they work their way up the ladder.

 

If your career goals involve reaching the upper echelons of management, here are some common early-career mistakes made by CIOs and how to avoid them.

 

  1. Avoiding Maintenance Tasks and Routine Projects

Typically, maintenance activities and routine projects don’t have a substantial amount of visibility within an organization. However, they are essential to a company’s success.

 

Similarly, pushing against prolonging legacy systems in favor of transitioning to the latest and greatest system may seem more exciting, but it may not be in the best interest of the business. And rejecting the idea of improving what’s there can hurt your career.

 

Instead of rejecting the routine, differentiate yourself within that space. Increase your knowledge of existing systems, learn how to use them to create additional value, and strive to improve what is already in place. This will set you apart from professionals who aren’t interested in anything but high-visibility projects, cementing your reputation of always having the organization’s best interest in mind.

 

  1. Not Seizing Opportunities to Become a Top Performer

If you establish yourself as a top performer, it is possible to bypass your more complacent colleagues, even if they have more experience. Those interested in reaching the leadership ranks should work to keep their skills up-to-date and complete their work to the best of their ability every time, regardless of the level of visibility.

 

Don’t be afraid to acquire new skills associated with emerging technologies, even if they aren’t yet in use at your company. That way, if they decide to embrace them, you are ahead of the pack and can help make the transition a possibility.

 

 

  1. Not Proactively Planning Your Career

Becoming a CIO rarely happens by accident. Instead, reaching that level in an organization is usually the result of a well-planned career that was properly executed.

 

If your goal is to become an executive, then identify the skills and experience required to land those roles. Then, pursue opportunities that allow you to move in that direction, networking with other skilled professionals and tech leaders along the way.

 

  1. Being Afraid to Let Go

Whenever a person in a contributor position reaches the leadership ranks, it can be hard to shake that old work persona. But, if you become a manager, your role has changed, and you need to learn to trust your team and release the urge to handle the tasks that used to make up your day to day.

 

Strong leaders delegate and empower their teams, and that means letting go of who you used to be and embracing who you are now.

 

By avoiding the early-career mistakes above, you can position yourself for greater success as you reach the leadership ranks. If you are looking for a new opportunity to move your career forward, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you take the next step toward your career goal.

 

 

Working From Home

 

It’s no surprise that a significant percentage of professionals wouldn’t consider reporting to the office their favorite part of the day. In fact, many would relish the ability to work from home, for a variety of reasons.

 

Did you know that tech professionals who work from home often save a significant amount of time and money? According to a recent report, it’s true. And those points alone can make it worth exploring remote work opportunities.

 

How Working from Home Saves Time

One of the most obvious ways working remotely can save time is by eliminating an employee’s need to commute. Depending on where they live, they may save a few hundred hours a year by forgoing the daily trip to the office.

 

Remote workers also avoid many office trappings that can waste time. For example, they won’t be interrupted by a chatty coworker who wants to discuss something non-work related or distracted by the phone call taking place one desk over. Ultimately, this allows someone who is working from home to be more productive, which is a form of time-savings in and of itself.

 

How Working from Home Save Money

Since remote workers aren’t required to commute, they can save a significant amount in gas alone. While the precise amount depends on a number of factors, including their gas mileage and driving distance, employees can save upwards of $500 a year in some cases, and nearly everyone can keep at least a couple hundred bucks annually by making the transition.

 

Additionally, not commuting reduces wear and tear on their vehicles, reducing the frequency of oil changes, new tires, and many other automobile maintenance activities. Insurance rates may also decrease, as the number of miles put on a vehicle in a year plays a role in determining the cost of the premiums. In some cases, families may even be able to reduce the total number of vehicles owned by the household, making the savings more substantial.

 

 

Even those who take public transportation can experience the money saving benefits. Typically, bus and subway passes come at a cost, but they might not have to be purchased if the worker isn’t commuting.

 

But the savings go beyond commutes. If a worker typically has to grab lunch from a restaurant or a cup of coffee from a café on the way in, that expense is also eliminated. For professionals who were required to wear business attire in the office, their clothing costs and dry cleaning bills may decrease as well.

 

Even Occasional Telecommuting Helps

Employees can experience time and money saving benefits even if they don’t work from home every day. Just one or two days a week can create a noticeable difference in both areas, so companies that offer flexible work arrangements can tout the potential gains to employees.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the time and money saving benefits of working from home, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today.