Technology has changed the workplace in notable ways, particularly when it comes to working remotely. This allows companies to explore opportunities to outsource certain tasks that don’t require a physical presence in the office, and this has given rise to contract work, especially in the tech space.
A significant amount of potential exists in this arena, including the ability to piece out larger projects and secure top talent in specific niches, something that would have been incredibly difficult to accomplish only a few years ago. Additionally, the approach allows professionals to focus on particular areas of interest, giving them more control over their careers and the tasks they choose to take on.
If you haven’t delved into these arrangements, here’s what you need to know.
Not Traditional Outsourcing
Many businesses and professionals maintain an antiquated view on outsourcing, assuming that entire projects or functions need to be offloaded for the arrangement to be effective.
However, opportunities exist that allow companies to break larger projects into smaller components, giving them a chance to secure highly specialized skills for a short period. It also allows multiple pieces to be in progress simultaneously as long as each part isn’t reliant on another. This can shorten development times significantly, letting projects reach completion faster than ever before.
Further, workers can concentrate on specific skill areas, performing tasks that only relate to their preferred field. For professionals who have a passion for a particular niche, this can be an invigorating way to structure their career, allowing them to get more value from their work.
When it comes to highly specialized skills, companies may struggle to find suitable workers depending on the availability of talent in their area. Similarly, a professional with a particular focus may not always locate positions in their immediate vicinity.
Contract arrangements, supported by remote work technologies, allow businesses and workers to connect even if they aren’t in the same city or even state. This gives both sides more access to what they are looking for, giving companies a method for overcoming skill gaps and professionals a chance to find the kind of work they want to do.
In general, most work can be divided into two categories: core and non-core. While core tasks are usually assigned to full-time employees, non-core activities may be ideal for contractors, especially if the arrangement isn’t necessarily going to be long-term. This allows for more effective workflow designs and increased overall efficiency, especially when it comes to completing projects that require a highly defined skill set.
Ultimately, the benefits of contractor roles in IT means that they are likely to remain a viable option for companies and professionals for the long-term, particularly as the technologies that support these opportunities only continue to improve.
If you are interested in learning more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can help you navigate the world of contract work with greater ease and confidence.
While manual testing skills are still valuable to software professionals, the increased use of automated testing means that workers need to be prepared to develop their level of competency in that area. Otherwise, you risk becoming functionally obsolete, harming your ability to advance your career or even maintain your current position.
If you have been hesitant to jump into the world of automation, here is why you should take the leap today.
Demand is Rising
A few years ago, hiring professionals began sounding the alarm, letting software testers know that automation was going to become mainstream. Since that time, the demand for professionals with experience in test automation has only increased, reflecting how widely utilized the approach has become.
In some cases, companies are choosing to make automated testing skills a requirement, eliminating those who don’t possess the necessary level of competency from contention immediately. Often, this is a reflection of the growing use of Agile development methodologies which promote automation as a means of achieving continuous integration and faster development cycles.
Top Automation Technologies
Certain automation technologies are more widely used than others, so focusing on those that are most requested can be beneficial.
While every company has different needs, Selenium, JMeter, QTP, LoadRunner, and xUnit frameworks (including JUnit, NUnit, and TestNG) are excellent places to start.
If you have a target company in mind, research which technologies that business uses and begin exploring those.
Are Programming Skills a Necessity?
Often, manual testing professionals fear that improving their understanding of automated testing practices means they have to essentially become programmers. It is true that programming experience can be incredibly beneficial, particularly when interacting with development teams or assisting with black-box or white-box testing.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to become an expert in every available coding language. If you are just starting out with programming, consider dedicating some time to learning SQL, as this is a commonly requested area of competency.
Java experience is also beneficial, along with popular languages like Perl, Python, and C or C++. General web development skills, such as XML, HTML, HTTP/HTTPS, and CSS are also helpful.
In the end, software testers do need to be prepared to do some level of programming, even if it isn’t the focus of their profession. By getting started today, you can better position yourself to continue along your chosen career path, ensuring a higher level of job security.
Is Manual Testing Dead?
While the increased importance of having test automation skills is changing the tech landscape, manual testing continues to play a part in many workplaces. However, the shift does mean that automated testing skills are becoming a necessity, so it is crucial that you add them to your repertoire to ensure a reasonable level of job security.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new software testing opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.
Whether you are short-staffed, inundated with projects, or your team is simply overwhelmed by their current workload, leading a team that feels stretched to the limit can be a challenge. Often, you are in the weeds with them, struggling to make time for all of the tasks that are on your plate. However, supporting your staff during this crucial time is also vital, particularly if you want to ensure that things don’t become more difficult.
Figuring out how to lead your overwhelmed team isn’t always intuitive, so here are some tips to get you started.
Fight for Your People
When tension in the workplace becomes common, and employees are straining to keep up, making sure you have their back is more important than ever. This includes ensuring that no one is unwittingly thrown under the bus for situations that aren’t their doing, as well as letting your team know that you are here for them when the going gets tough.
At times, this may involve you standing up to other managers on your workers’ behalf, be it to protect their reputation when something goes awry or turning down a project that is only going to overwhelm them further.
By fighting for your people, you provide them with a sense of security, and that can go a long way during stressful times.
Plan Stress Relieving Activities
Sometimes, the easiest way to deal with stress is to release it, and it often isn’t difficult to integrate an appropriate activity into your team’s day. Anything from giving them a physical space where they can actually scream out loud (a great tension reliever!) or stealing a moment to share something funny can help, and they only take a moment to do.
Another approach is to help them step away from their desks, even for just a few minutes. Some companies have embraced short walking meetings, where professionals discuss their current project statuses while taking a quick stroll. A little movement can be incredibly beneficial and, if the weather allows, doing it outdoors can be especially refreshing.
Avoid Tunnel Vision
While adamantly pursuing goals can be an excellent leadership trait, being overly focused on one can actually be harmful, especially if it blinds you to potential problems that you would otherwise notice during less stressful times. If part of your team’s stress is based on constantly stretching for a goal that seemingly remains out of reach, it is wise to stop and reevaluate the objective instead of fervently charging forward.
This is particularly true is circumstances have changed, as a goal that was great yesterday might not be realistic today. When this occurs, examine the updated information and formulate a new target that encourages your team. Flexibility here is the key, as just a simple change can have a significant impact.
Supplement Your Staff
Being understaffed for the workload is almost guaranteed to increase stress and frustration, so don’t be afraid to bring in an extra set of hands when it is truly needed. Whether you add a permanent team member or a temporary worker, having someone else available to manage some of the tasks can do wonders for morale while allowing their feelings of being overwhelmed to diminish.
If you are interested in hiring a permanent or temporary employee, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to see how our services can benefit you and your team today.
With technologies like AI and machine learning playing a larger role in the business world and an increased focus on mobility, the tech job market is experiencing some shifts that are expected to continue into 2018. Additionally, as more technologies are implemented in nearly every industry, opportunities for IT professionals will likely be plentiful.
However, there are a few disruptions that must be considered if you intend to find a new position this year. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the future of tech employment.
Job Creation is Expected
The ever-increasing role of technology in business means new opportunities in tech and other industries is expected, leading to more opportunities for IT professionals. Job seekers with in-demand skills, such as those associated with data science and software development, may be particularly well-positioned to take advantage of this growth, especially when it comes to securing a higher salary.
As new innovations arise, the potential for finding unique roles based on emerging technology could also grow, though exactly where this will happen can be hard to predict.
AI is Changing How Businesses Operate
AI-supported automation is becoming more common in the workplace, fundamentally changing which duties are being completed by employees and which are being handled by complex systems. Advances in this area are expected to impact nearly every industry, but it also means that new opportunities are being created for tech pros who have skills in AI and machine learning.
Support for Mobile Job Applications Will Increase
Even as job seekers become more reliant on their smartphones, not all sites have embraced mobile job applications. However, this is expected to change somewhat in 2018, with more companies supporting the technology. It may take time for it to become common, but don’t be surprised if your job search activities end up easier to manage, even if you are on the go.
Hiring Process Transparency
Even now, sending in a job application online can feel like you are chucking your resume into a blackhole. But, with candidates demanding more insight into these processes, 2018 may bring about increased transparency, including real-time updates on the status of applications. This may alleviate some of the stress that typically accompanies job hunt activities as applicants won’t be left in the proverbial dark.
One effort that could be attributed to the increased importance of company culture is expanding opportunities to experiment outside of an employee’s current role. Businesses are becoming more open to the idea of letting workers branch out and explore their passions as a method of gaining access to new skills and reducing turnover. This shift means career development activities may become more accessible on the job, allowing tech professionals to explore new technologies and expand their knowledge base.
If you are looking for a new job this year, the team at The Armada Group can help you explore new opportunities while connecting you with some of today’s top employers. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit you.
Regardless of your current position or what role you have your eye on, certain tips relating to executive resumes can actually benefit job seekers at any level. Some of the approach is less conventional than traditional resume design, but the results can be incredibly compelling, especially to hiring managers who are drowning in a sea of like resumes.
To help you stand out from the crowd, here are some executive resume tips that anyone can use to help propel their careers forward.
Use an Executive Summary
When you want to showcase your most significant accomplishments and draw attention to why you are such a great candidate, writing an executive summary is an ideal way to start. This gives you the opportunity to (carefully) brag about your achievements, skills, and experience while helping to establish your professional image on paper.
Normally, this is located at the top of your resume, so you want it to be enticing. It helps draw hiring managers in, making them more intrigued about the details contained below, so make creating a strong summary a priority.
Describe Your Experience the Right Way
Most job descriptions on resumes feature a mish-mosh of duties, accomplishments, and skills. But failing to separate these points properly makes it difficult to craft a narrative about your career.
Instead of leaving anything inadvertently unstructured or resulting to uninspiring lists, begin by describing a particular challenge you faced followed by what actions and skills were required on your part, and close with an overview of the results. This makes it easier to turn your experiences into a story that is easier to connect with and follow.
Don’t Neglect the Formatting
Many job seekers use bullet points to help organize lists, but a proliferation of the bullets can leave a resume looking cluttered. Before you submit a resume, review the document in its entirety to determine if the number of bullet points could be viewed as excessive. If so, examine the content of each line to eliminate anything that may be redundant and relocate details about accomplishments or duties that are better suited to other areas, like the summary.
Ultimately, you want a solid mix of content types and a reasonable amount of whitespace. Make sure to review the look of your resume to make sure it appears balanced and easy to read.
Have Someone Else Review It
Sometimes, it’s difficult to take an honest look at your own work, so enlisting the assistance of someone else can be beneficial. Professionals working in the hiring and recruiting space are particularly well-suited to this task, as they are familiar with common trends that may be relevant to your situation.
If you are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can make sure your resume is in order while connecting you with coveted job opportunities in the area. Contact us to see how our services can help you during your search today.
Networking is the activity du jour for upwardly mobile professionals, but many find the concept behind these relationships difficult to wrap their head around, as many feel inauthentic during their pursuit of professional contacts. But having others available to act as sounding boards, provide support, and connect you with opportunities can be vital to your success. So, instead of trying to network, put your effort into building a community.
Why a Community?
The primary difference between networking and community building lies less in the activities themselves and more in how you approach them. Networking is often viewed as disingenuous, as some use these connections for the sole purpose of getting ahead.
In contrast, crafting a community focuses on creating meaningful relationships with other professionals as the primary goal. The intention is to forge a personal connection between members, making every interaction valuable on some level, regardless if each one forwards your career.
It also shifts the focus from short-term gains, such as finding out about job openings, to something with more longevity, building solid relationships. This simple change in mentality can alter how you approach the associated activities, making them feel more comfortable and rewarding.
How to Get Started
Even if you embrace the idea of building a community, it isn’t always easy to figure out how to start. One important first step is to assess your own characteristics, particularly those your friends or family members consider assets. This gives you insight into how you are perceived by others, which may differ significantly from how you believe people view you. With this knowledge, you can begin to select your actions based on how you want to be received, allowing you to shift your approach when necessary.
Once it comes time to begin building your community, it’s wise to approach each person as you would when you try to make a new friend. First, this relieves some of the pressure associated with forging relationships with career goals in mind. Second, it allows you to connect on a more meaningful level, instead of just what each of you can offer the other.
A simple way to start is to connect with people who have similar interests to yours, as bonding with like-minded individuals tends to take less effort. Begin by identifying some common ground and use that as a springboard to move the relationship forward. Then, assume a giving attitude, such as by providing advice or offering support, to help show that you have something to offer.
Long-term relationships involve give-and-take over time, so don’t be afraid to extend yourself to help build a connection.
Ultimately, creating a community is incredibly similar to becoming friends with new people. And, by approaching it as such, networking can feel less fake and more beneficial to everyone involved.
If you are looking for a new opportunity, the team at The Armada Group can help you connect with leading companies in the area. Contact us to see how our professional community can work for you.
As unemployment among tech professionals remain low and more IT workers become interested in working remotely, many companies have begun to embrace the new paradigm to help them secure top talent. But managing telecommuters is often incredibly different when compared to employees in the office, and not every business has it all figured out yet. With that in mind, here are a few things that you might not be aware of that remote workers want from their employers.
To Feel Like Part of the Team
One of the biggest issues remote workers face is feeling isolated, or even ignored, by their team and manager. Often, telecommuters aren’t privy to a variety of casual conversations that occur in the workplace, even when they result in information that could be useful to them. This can leave them seemingly disconnected and out of the loop, which can hurt their professional efforts as well as morale.
More Efficient Conflict Resolution
Additionally, since communication between remote workers and others can be more complex to manage, they may struggle when it comes to resolving conflicts in the workplace. Typically, since instantaneous back and forth is harder to coordinate, issues can drag on for days or weeks before reaching a resolution, and telecommuters rarely have alternative options to find a solution more quickly, as they can’t simply walk up to the person and begin a discussion.
Another drawback of less frequent direct interactions is remote workers don’t often receive the feedback that employees in the office may get to help them proceed in the right direction. Since the level of interaction is typically less with telecommuters, it’s critical that they are provided with clear expectations regarding their duties, hours, or any other point that may feel ambiguous. Otherwise, they may feel lost as to how they need to proceed and, unless someone is able to answer a message or phone immediately, they can be left seemingly drifting until they get a response.
The Key to Remote Worker Management
At the core of all of the above issues is communication. Since remote workers aren’t in the office, it is imperative that well-structured and highly accessible forms of communication be made available, and that members of management and their team reach out regularly. Additionally, having options like video conferencing can go a long way to help a telecommuter feel more connected to the group, as being able to see the person’s face while they are talking helps forge a stronger bond.
Ideally, you want to schedule regular meetings or conference calls with every remote worker, especially if they have recently started in the position. This ensures that everyone takes the time to communicate effectively with one another and that nothing is left hanging unnecessarily.
If you would like to learn more or are interested in finding a new remote worker to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can work for you.
Whether you have recently finished your education or are hoping to make a career switch, securing a job as a Ruby on Rails Developer can potentially be quite lucrative, with many qualified professionals achieving salaries well over the $100,000 mark. But, as with any IT position, a specific set of skills is required to be successful. Here are some of the competencies you must possess if you want to secure a Ruby on Rails position.
As a foundation, you need to have a thorough understanding of Ruby. Most commonly, this involves a substantial level of proficiency in syntax, including how to create loops, classes, and conditional statements using the language, as well as object-oriented programming (OOP).
Ruby largely relies on OOP, so having knowledge of concepts like classes, composition, inheritance, and objects is vital. Additionally, you need to understand blocks, procs, and lambdas, including when to use them and how they differ.
Ruby on Rails Skills
Ruby on Rails specific competencies are also critical. You’ll need to be familiar with the MVC paradigm, including which layer manages what and how your application needs to be structured. Experience with ERB or Haml is also important as these are the two most commonly used templating and viewing systems for Ruby on Rails.
For unit testing, it’s beneficial to know Rspec. And, since Ruby on Rails is frequently used as an API provider, grasping API concepts, as well as JSON formatting, will help you get ahead.
REST and HTTP protocols are also valuable, as many web-based applications operate as a REST app. Your knowledge of HTTP protocols can be more surface level, though more in-depth expertise can separate you from the pack.
Other Basic Skills
Certain tools are very common in these positions. Git is fundamental to code management, so understanding how to do basic operations, like create a new branch, and pull and push the code is essential. Being familiar with deployment mechanisms, like Capistrano, Docker, and Heroku, is also incredibly useful.
While not specific to Ruby on Rails, almost every IT professional needs to understand basic project and ticket management systems. Anything from Asana to Github to Trello can be helpful as a starting point, as most of the concepts behind these solutions are quite similar.
As you can see, it takes a lot of knowledge to be a Ruby on Rails developer. But, by dedicating time and energy to increase your level of competency, you will likely see your hard work rewarded.
If you are interested in landing a Ruby on Rails developer position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most innovative and exciting employers. Contact us today to learn more about our available jobs.
Being a master of the Agile methodology can pay off big, regardless of whether you are a developer or in a strategic role, like management. But becoming a skilled Agile professional isn’t always easy or intuitive, as the list of associated skills is extensive and your opportunity to gain experience may initially be limited.
However, by working to adopt new behaviors and hone your skills, you can position yourself to take the next step in your Agile career. And much of the work can be done on your own, making it possible to up your level of mastery with just some time and dedication. Here’s how to get started.
The first step is to make sure you have a thorough understanding of Agile’s core principles and skills, as these serve as the foundation upon which you can build your career. Every business may approach Agile slightly differently, but the primary values system typically remains intact.
You can either explore the information yourself, as it is generally readily available online, or even sign up for a course to help you get started. In some cases, you may be able to find a mentor to help you familiarize yourself with the methodology or participate in area meetups to get introduced to other professionals who are proficient.
Once you become familiar, begin integrating those techniques into other activities, such as by using taskboards or recommending daily standup meetings. You can also use the Agile methodology on side projects or personal ventures, or consider volunteering on a project.
Learn T-Shaped Skills
Agile is often used in a cross-functional environment, so developing secondary skills that are logically connected to your main role is incredibly beneficial from a career perspective. By doing so, you can become a more marketable professional, making it easier to move on to new, exciting roles.
Often, this involves hands-on learning, be it formal or self-directed, so there is a personal investment required to make this happen.
Go Beyond the Certification
While a certification traditionally demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge to apply Agile methodologies, it doesn’t mean you actually have any real-world experience. Pursuing opportunities to actually use your skills on actual projects is crucial for advancing in your career.
In some cases, this can be accomplished through educational opportunities that actually focus on learning by doing, an approach typically embraced by boot camps. However, volunteering to participate in projects that involve Agile is also a smart move, and may provide a more valuable experience.
Once you have the skills and experience, make sure to show it on your resume and discuss it during your interview. Having these specific examples to refer to; can help separate you from the crowd of applicants. This can make it easier to score a new position.
If you are currently looking for a new Agile job, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s leading employers. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step in your career.
Your resume often serves as your first introduction to a hiring manager, so making sure it is on point is a crucial step when you are looking for a job. Trends for resumes change regularly, and falling behind the times can actually hurt your chances of being called for an interview, even if you have the right skills and experience for the role.
To make sure your resume is ready for 2018, here are some tips to get you started.
Streamline Your Contact Information
With the internet playing such a large part in finding a job, certain contact information that was once considered vital to include can actually be discarded. There’s no need to list your entire street address, so remove everything but the city and state. Additionally, just use your cell phone number, and forgo labeling it as being mobile. You also want to make sure to add an email address and make sure it is professional.
If you want to include links to an online profile, select the one that is most applicable, such as LinkedIn. To keep your resume from initially feeling cluttered, consider placing the links at the bottom of your resume instead of the top.
Headlines and Summaries
For your headline, you want to focus on the position you are hoping to land, not the one you have today. Start off with common variants of the job title and select a few keywords that are particularly relevant to the role based on your experience.
When you move on to the summary, create an explanation that shows how the skills and experience you possess today relate to the position, including how you can add value to the business.
Adjust Job Titles
Not every job title you’ve officially held may be easy to relate to the role you are hoping to land. With that in mind, include the official job title and, in parenthesis, list the more common variant. This helps the hiring manager see how your experience relates to the job and eliminates some of the mystery that can surround some of the more unique job titles some companies choose to use.
For added impact, directly under your job title, add a short caption that highlights your key contributions, especially if you’ve held multiple positions with the same company.
When you write a job description, you want to concentrate on the value you provided instead of just listing your duties. When possible, quantify the information to help make it feel less abstract. After the short description, include a section that discusses any relevant achievements by focusing on three to five major accomplishments that are most applicable to the target position.
In most cases, you can simply tweak your current resume based on the trends that hiring managers will want to see in 2018. And, once you have your resume created, remember to customize it every time you apply for a job.
If you are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most desirable employers. Contact us to see how our services can help you succeed.