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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Software Developer
- Software Engineer
- Research Assistant
- Senior Software Engineer
- Software Engineering Internship
- Web Developer
- Graduate Research Assistant
- Quality Assurance Engineer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even if you do everything right, and typically don’t experience issues with falling asleep on other nights, the majority of people suffer from what has been described as “Sunday Night Insomnia,” or trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights.
At times, this is because the weekend disrupted your usual sleep/wake cycle. In some cases, anxiety about the coming workweek is a factor, as well as logging too much screen time right before bed.
Luckily, regardless of the cause, there are things you can do to help ensure you fall asleep quickly as your weekend comes to a close. If you suffer from Sunday Night Insomnia, here are five ways to beat it.
Limit Screen Time
The blue light emitted by a variety of screens, including televisions, computers, and smartphones, can disrupt your sleep cycle. Ideally, you want to avoid being in front of any screen the hour before you go to bed. This gives your body a chance to shake off the effects of the blue light, making it easier to fall asleep.
Additionally, you should make your bedroom a device-free zone, ensuring you won’t be tempted to log some screen time once you settle in under the covers.
Put on Your Pajamas Early
For most people, the act of putting on your pajamas is associated with going to sleep. Luckily, you can use this to your advantage by switching into your sleep clothes earlier on Sunday. That way, your mind starts to think it’s close to bedtime, which may promote better sleep.
Put Worries to Bed
Sometimes, what keeps people up on Sunday nights is the coming workweek. Maybe you’re worried about your to-do list or stressing about an upcoming presentation.
One method for defeating your anxieties is to take 20 to 30 minutes and address them head-on on Sunday evening. Take some time to write out your concerns and list reasonable next steps. That way, when your head hits the pillow, your initial planning is done.
Mind the Temperature
Being too hot or too cold can make it harder to fall asleep. To avoid this, identify a temperature at which you are most comfortable, usually in the upper 60s or low 70s, and prepare your bedroom before you jump into bed.
Do Something Relaxing
During the hour before your bedtime, consider doing something relaxing. Kick back with a book, take a nice bath or shower, and listen to some soothing music. This allows you to take a moment to slow down, making it easier to fall asleep when that time arrives.
By following the tips above, you can banish your Sunday Night Insomnia, giving you the ability to wake up refreshed and rejuvenated on Monday morning.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
Have you ever walked into work thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing?” If so, you’re not alone.
Impostor syndrome, the feeling that you don’t have the right knowledge, skills or experience to work in your current role, is incredibly prevalent in tech. It often leads to extreme feelings of doubt, insecurity, and anxiety, making it harder to stay positive on the job even when people tell you that you’re doing great.
Often, beliefs that you are an impostor in the workplace aren’t based in reality, but that doesn’t make them inherently easy to conquer. If you are ready to get over your impostor syndrome for good, here’s what you need to do.
If You Don’t Know It, Learn It
One of the root causes of impostor syndrome is not having all of the answers. Maybe your code isn’t the most beautiful to behold, or you’ve never worked with a particular system before, and now you have to jump in.
Often, it’s a lack of understanding of a particular thing that leads a person to feel like they don’t belong in their job. But, it’s important to remember that no one starts out with this knowledge, and it’s always possible to learn something new.
If you don’t know how something functions or how to improve on something you’ve created, then adopt an inquisitive mindset and start researching. You can do internet searches, sign up for a class, or reach out to the expert in your workplace. All of these have the ability to get you the knowledge you need, making you more secure in your capabilities, including your ability to learn something new.
Keep Track of Compliments
Typically, we are more inclined to take criticism to heart, whether it comes from ourselves or someone else, than we are to accept that a compliment is accurate. Over time, these negative points override the positives, becoming a point of focus over the long-term.
However, it is possible to balance out the negatives with the positives, as long as you make an effort to keep track of the compliments given to you. For example, store copies of emails that offered kudos in a folder so they are accessible, write down the positive things people say, or stash cards that were given in appreciation in a file. Then, when you find yourself doubting your capabilities, turn to these resources to when you need a boost.
At some point, nearly everyone experiences bouts of impostor syndrome as they walk down their career path, so you aren’t alone in these feelings of self-doubt. But, by being open to learning and reminding yourself that you have exceeded others expectations, you can adjust your mindset, allowing you to beat impostor syndrome for good.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new opportunity, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
Pursuing a career as a software architect can be incredibly lucrative. In the San Jose area, those with the proper skills can make an average salary of over $140,000, well above the national average.
But, this means you need to have an appropriate level of technical prowess, and certain skills are more likely to help you stand out from the potential sea of applicants. If you are wondering which skills employers want to find in software architects, here’s what you need to know.
C++ and Java
While many programming languages may be requested by employers, C++ and Java are two languages that are commonly listed on software architect job postings.
Java is often prized for its versatility as well as its role in emerging technologies, like machine learning and artificial intelligence. Additionally, it can be applied to multiple environments, which is ideal for multi-platform organizations.
C++ is usually considered a general-purpose programming language and is widely used across multiple industries. It works well for application and server-side development, making it a must-have in the eyes of many companies.
Apache Hadoop plays a substantial role in big data-oriented objectives, so software architects that are familiar with this open-source software framework are in high demand. Hadoop can be seen as critical when data that needs to be analyzed is located on multiple servers, so being able to support these projects is a great way to stand out from the competition.
Many organizations favor the Agile methodology for software development. If a business already uses the approach, then being familiar with Agile will be seen as a necessity.
Since Agile has been a go-to methodology for some time, many experienced software architects will already have this knowledge. For those just breaking into the field, learning the fundamentals of Agile can be beneficial, as not everyone in entry-level roles will have this experience.
Gone are the days where a person’s technical ability was the only thing hiring managers focused on. Now, soft skills are seen as vital to a software architect’s success, so they are becoming more prominent on job postings.
Usually, leadership and organizational skills are a high priority, especially for upper-level of senior positions. Communication skills are also a must, as software architects aren’t just tasked with working as part of a team but also partnering with stakeholders who may not be as technically savvy. This means being able to gather information and communicate complex details in a way that is easily understood by those not working in the software architecture field is a must.
There is a range of opportunities for software architects, but possessing the skills above puts you in the best position when it comes to furthering your career.
If you are looking for a new software architect position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with top employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step in your career.
A lot of professionals have heard that having a mentor can potentially benefit their career. But, since these arrangements aren’t necessarily common or publicly announced, exactly how it can help you get ahead can seem like a bit of a mystery.
Ultimately, having a mentor can be incredibly beneficial, as long as the relationship is constructed in the proper way. If you are wondering how a mentor can help your career, here’s what you need to know about the role.
A Long-Term Relationship
One of the biggest differences between a mentor and a coach is the duration of the relationship. While coaches often make short-term arrangements, a mentor is usually in it for the long haul. The idea is to serve as a guide, supporting your growth and professional development, and acting as a source of insight as you move forward down your career path.
The nature of a relationship with a mentor is usually not finite, allowing them to function as a critical connection for months or even years.
A Source of Encouragement
Often, a person who serves as a mentor is a professional in a position that you would one day like to have. This means that they have usually been in your shoes at some point in their career, so they are capable of both empathizing with the challenges you encounter while also being capable of offering encouragement. After all, they have likely had to tackle the same issues as they were rising through the ranks, and they made it, so they know it is possible to overcome obstacles and reach success.
At times, simply having a cheerleader can do wonders for your career. Understanding that someone else has made it through these challenges and is rallying behind you can be both stress-relieving and empowering, allowing you to accomplish more than you previously thought possible.
A Sounding Board
While it isn’t a mentor’s responsibility to tell you exactly what to do to reach your goal or give you answers when you encounter difficult questions, they can often serve as a sounding board when you are faced with tough decisions. Again, they have a deeper understanding of the field, so their wisdom can help you work through complicated problems, giving you a chance to make the decision while ensuring you considered all of the key points along the way.
In the end, a mentor wants to see you succeed, so they are going to offer their insights and encouragement as a means of supporting you during your journey. If you are interested in learning more about how a mentor can benefit you and your career or are seeking out new opportunities in your field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about what we have to offer and to see how our services can benefit you as you work towards your larger career goals.