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.
According to recent statistics from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an increasing number of H-1B applications are being challenged by the agency. Even though the Trump administration hasn’t implemented formal reforms in the program, one study claims that “requests for evidence” has increased by 44 percent year-over-year, marking the highest levels experienced since right after the financial crisis in 2009.
Many tech companies claim that they rely on the program to help them find the skilled workers they need, stating that they aren’t always available in the local talent pool. The additional level of scrutiny leaves many such businesses concerned.
The major question regarding the program is why the applications are being more closely evaluated even if significant changes have not been made. Here’s what you need to know.
A Call for Review
In April, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that required DHS and the Labor, Justice and State Departments to review the existing H-1B policy in an effort to eliminate abuse and fraud within the program. While their exact approach isn’t thoroughly revealed, making the process more rigorous is likely a sign that the departments are attempting to live up to the requirement.
USCIS has also made the process of renewing H-1B visas more challenging, increasing the amount of proof required to determine if a worker is actually eligible for the program. This move may have at least partially been responsible for the increased number of “requests for evidence.”
The Debate Surrounding H-1B Visas
Advocates for the program, including numerous large tech firms, insist that the visas are necessary to obtain a fully capable workforce. With unemployment numbers being low, particularly among IT professionals, many fear that restricting the program will only make the talent shortage worse.
Critics of the H-1B visas state that the program takes jobs away from American workers who could otherwise fill the roles, even though the program is supposed to bar that from happening. They also suggest that tech firms should invest in the education of their workforce to manage skill gaps, and not default to bringing in foreign labor.
H-1B Program Changes
While President Trump vowed to make changes to the program during his presidential campaign, it is unknown if or when such reforms could take place. However, it should be anticipated that using the H-1B visa program could continue to become more challenging as numerous Congressional bills have targeted the system in various ways.
If you are looking for a highly skilled IT professional to join your team, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading tech talent. Contact us to see how our unique approach to recruiting and hiring can benefit your company today.
Network engineers are seeing their once static roles morph into something much more fluid. As new technologies, like cloud services and IoT, enter the workplace with greater frequency, these professionals are having to adapt quickly to meet the demands of today’s leading companies. With that in mind, here are eight must-have skills that will help you land your next position.
Understanding of Application Data Flow
As applications become increasingly complex and tap into more resources, understanding how data flows through the system is essential to your success. Applications interact with databases and clients while also often connecting to cloud-based services. If you want to optimize the network, you need to understand how these pieces fit together.
Security is at the forefront of every company’s mind, and understanding the network’s role in cybersecurity is vital. This includes traditional technology, like firewalls and intrusion prevention techniques, as well as more sophisticated technologies, such as unified threat management (UTM) solutions. Network engineers play a large role in cybersecurity, making these skills mandatory.
SD-WAN garnered a lot of attention, but not everyone understands its limitations. Network engineers must know what scenarios are appropriate for SD-WAN and when a traditional service is better suited to the task. Additionally, being able to communicate these concepts to management, including leaders who may not be as tech savvy, is a valuable skill that can help set you apart from those less experienced in the technology.
DNS is a critical component of public and private clouds, as well as numerous unfired network security architectures. With security being such a high priority, and some of the growing issues involving DNS specifically, being competent in this area is critical.
Internet of Things
IoT has put additional pressure on network engineers who now need to accommodate a range of sensors and other wireless devices into the corporate network. You’ll be expected to provide insight into the technologies, make system recommendations, and even set governing policies. While IoT hasn’t entered all businesses, it’s a growing trend, so be prepared for it to enter into your purview soon if it hasn’t already.
The need to virtualize network services and functions is growing, especially in companies that recognize it is needed before an end-to-end SDN can be implemented. Demand for this skill is increasing at a rapid pace, making it a smart skill for any network engineer to acquire.
As networks become more organic and are expected to adapt to changing needs, automation is becoming increasingly more common as it eliminates the need to perform redundant actions to adjust to shifts. By learning how to automate these processes, you become a valuable member of any networking team.
As the appeal of hyperconverged systems grows, network engineers will need to be prepared to deploy and maintain this technology. Understanding how these solutions operate is also critical, ensuring you are prepared to optimize the systems as needed.
If you are looking for a new network engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading employers. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit you.
The idea of working from home, or at least telecommuting on occasion, is appealing to many professionals. It supports a greater work-life balance and can remove certain stressors, such as a long commute. But convincing a manager that you’ll thrive in a remote position isn’t always easy, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to work remotely before. To help you craft a strong case, here are six ways to prove you’ll excel in a remote role.
At the foundation of remote work is technology. Regardless of your duties, you’ll need to complete your tasks and communicate with your teammates largely through tech resources. This means you may need to have a variety of solutions on your computer as well as sufficient bandwidth to support your work.
Request Clear Objectives
Even if you can easily reach out to your manager, having set performance standards will help ensure you are meeting and exceeding all expectations. Often, one of the largest concerns about allowing employees to work remotely is whether they will sufficiently contribute to the team. This often stems from the lack of direct supervision, but having clear objectives can help alleviate these issues as both you and the manager understand what you will be doing when you’re on company time.
Make Communication a Priority
Being separated from the proverbial hustle and bustle of the office can make it hard to stay connected with your team. This means you need to make communication a priority, through whatever means necessary.
Generally, the majority of your discussions will be online, usually through collaboration software solutions, that allow information and files to be easily shared. However, don’t relegate yourself to this platform alone, as phone calls and face-to-face meetings (whether in-person or over video conferencing software) help maintain a stronger connection.
By focusing on communication, you can keep your manager apprised of your efforts and ensure you don’t miss any critical changes that occur along the way.
Be Open to a Trial Period
Sometimes the easiest way to prove you are capable of being a productive remote employee is to show them. If your manager has doubts about the arrangement, or you're trying to convince a hiring manager that you have what it takes, consider proposing a trial period. This will give you a chance to clearly demonstrate your ability to stay on target when not in the office while providing the company some flexibility, should the arrangement not work out.
Create an Ideal Workspace
Another concern many managers have when assessing people for remote positions is whether they have a suitable environment in which to work. For example, the idea of an employee taking an important client call with a dog barking in the background or children asking for lunch isn’t very appealing and could hurt the company’s reputation. However, you can remove some of these concerns by showing you have a dedicated workspace that can be kept quiet. This could be as simple as a discussion about your home office and your plan for keeping distractions at bay.
Discuss the Benefits
While a remote position may benefit you in obvious ways, it also helps the employer. Companies often discover that telecommuters are more productive than their in-office peers and take fewer sick days. Additionally, it can lower their overhead costs.
Sometimes reminding them there is a lot to gain can help improve your case. Just make sure that, if you broach the subject, you do so professionally and come armed with facts.
If you are interested in a remote position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today.
Competition for top tech talent is fierce, as more companies are forced to do battle with one another to secure the best candidates. While this generally means that businesses are offering better salaries than they were just a few years ago, that doesn’t mean what you were hoping to be offered will automatically be on the table. And that means you’ll need to negotiate.
Walking into a negotiation unprepared, or assuming that it will somehow be easy, won’t set you up for success. Many hiring managers are quite skilled when it comes to these processes, so treating it like a game will get you nowhere. If you are anticipating a salary negotiation in your future, here are some tips to help you come at it like a pro.
Focus on Being Likeable but Persistent When Discussing Nonsalary Terms
Trying to play hardball or coming off as arrogant can easily backfire. However, being pleasant but firm rarely does. One of the easiest ways to get started is to focus on nonmonetary compensation, like your benefits package.
First, by starting with other forms of compensation, you can learn more about what the company can potentially offer. This lets you know what, aside from salary, is providing you with value, and which items can function as powerful negotiation tools.
Often, if you are firm about a particular benefit, like an extra week of vacation, one of two things will happen: you’ll get what you asked for or be offered an increased salary if they can’t come through. And, if you don’t see anything you want to ask for explicitly, these are points that can be revisited if they can’t meet your salary expectation, as long as you are open to alternative forms of compensation.
Define Success for the Position
Once you’ve gotten to a salary and benefits package you are comfortable with, it also pays to have a discussion about what defines success in the role as well as the required benchmarks to be eligible for a raise. This creates a scenario that sets expectations, both for you and the manager, regarding when a salary increase would be due, and serves as a starting plan for your future success.
Additionally, you can come to an agreement regarding what sort of raise would be appropriate if you meet those goals. Essentially, you are negotiating your future salary increase in advance, which can help keep you motivated while also projecting self confidence.
Have Them Invested in Your Success
As you wrap up your negotiations, you have an opportunity to get your manager directly interested in your success. This can be achieved by selling yourself in a way that lets them know your accomplishments validate them.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask, “What does it take to be successful here?” as the answer can be incredibly valuable and helps you forge a stronger relationship. If you receive helpful advice, and actively work to follow it, you’ve crafted a connection that may have otherwise been missed.
If you are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals today.
Now that more companies are working to make the most of their data, talented data analysts are more in-demand than ever before. And, with the number of skilled professionals remaining low, job seekers with the right combination of knowledge and experience can achieve impressive salaries and strong benefits packages with a variety of perks.
As a data analyst, you have the potential to have an incredibly lucrative career. But where your career path will take you depends on numerous variables, so taking the time to forge a proper plan is necessary if your goal is to reach the highest ranks in the field. Here’s what you need to know.
Education is a Must-Have, But Not in the Way That You Think
It’s no surprise you need a college degree to work as a data analyst. However, that doesn’t mean your education has to be completely focused on the field. Since data analytics is a relatively new specialty, only a few universities offer targeted degrees for up-and-coming data analysts. This means, as long as you have completed your education in a related field, you likely have the potential to reach the upper echelons of the career path.
Usually you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, even for entry-level data analyst positions, but there are a variety of majors that can propel you forward in your data analyst career. For example, a degree in IT or computer science can work quite well, but other relevant specialties, like economics, mathematics, and statistics, can also let you get your foot in the door.
As with almost any career path, it takes experience in the field to advance. Precisely how much you need, however, may vary from one employer to the next.
Direct experience in a data analyst position is obviously helpful, though time spent in certain related areas can also help you move forward. There are a variety of IT fields that could be applicable to data analytics, allowing those who weren’t previously working in this specialty area to transition without having to start at the bottom.
The best way to approach this, if you aren’t officially a data analyst, is to request duties that are helpful in your target field. By getting involved in these project, you have relevant experience to add to your resume, making it easier to advance towards your goals.
While a data analyst may find an opportunity in almost any industry, it may be easier to reach the top if you choose one and dedicate your career to that segment. For example, if you focus on the healthcare industry, securing a higher-level position in that niche may not be as difficult as trying to transition to a finance company. This is because you’ll be more familiar with industry norms, allowing you to integrate more quickly into your new workplace.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t switch industries. However, if one catches your eye, sticking with it can be beneficial.
If you are interested in finding a new data analyst position, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with top companies throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you advance in your career.