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.
With competition for top talent in the IT field being fiercer than ever, many companies are exploring new options to help with recruitment and retention. One such benefit involves paying for employees’ certifications.
While the benefit to workers is clear, as having a business cover the cost of any form of continuing education is seen as a boon, some organizations struggle to see the value it provides to them. However, paying for employee certifications can actually be a very smart move when handled wisely. Here’s what you need to know.
Fill Skill Gaps
Even in today’s tech-oriented world, it can be hard to find candidates who possess the skills you need to round out your team. And, with unemployment among IT professionals remaining well below the national average, it may only become more challenging.
Choosing to pay for employee certifications can ultimately help you overcome any existing skill gaps as you can sponsor the training of your top employees, giving you access to their new skills. Essentially, you can mold your current staff into an ideal team, covering all the competencies you need to move forward towards your goals. And, by selecting truly talented workers for the task, you can almost guarantee they’ll come back with the level of understanding you need.
Many businesses turn to traditional offerings, like raises, to keep talented employees on staff. While a larger paycheck is likely to have a positive impact on workers and may improve retention rates, the direct benefit to employers isn’t necessarily as high as with paying for certifications.
Most IT professionals see the value in additional certifications, as it can help them move forward in their career, and companies can benefit from their increased skill level, helping them achieve their goals as well. In some cases, offering certifications in lieu of salary increases can have a similar effect on retention, won’t necessarily cost more than a raise, and gives your company access to skills that may otherwise be unavailable.
Having an employer support professional growth can be seen as a substantial benefit for workers. Not only does it save them from having to pay out of pocket for additional training, but it also proves the company is invested in their forward progress and various personal goals.
In the end, this can lead to a happier workforce, increasing productivity and improving retention. In addition, employees who are satisfied with their employer are more likely to stay for the long haul, and may also share their appreciation with others, making recruitment efforts easier as well.
Offering to pay for employee certifications does require a strong plan, as you need to exude a level of control over which options are supported and who would qualify for such a program. However, by investing in this area and creating a strong guiding structure, your company has a lot to gain from the arrangement.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT professional to join your team, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.
Unless you operate a one-person show, your company likely heavily relies on communication to get things done during the workday. Being able to collaborate effectively makes teamwork possible and quality lines of communication ensure everyone is in the loop.
On the other side, inefficient communication harm your business greatly, including your bottom line. A recent survey on poor communication in enterprises determined that the annual impact of subpar communication could result in a cost of $11,000 per employee. That means a loss of $1,100,000 per every 100 workers on the payroll.
The effects of inefficient communication are far-reaching. It can lead to increased stress, reduced productivity, higher levels of frustration, lower morale, poor decision making, reductions in innovation, and even legal disputes.
To help you identify which communication methods may be harming your company’s success, here are a few points worth considering.
Over-Reliance on Email
In many cases, employees are bombarded with incoming email throughout the workday. While they are simple to create, emails are also easy to miss, intentionally ignore, or accidentally delete. Additionally, multi-person email threads can quickly become confusing, especially if not everyone is responding to the latest message.
When it comes to effective collaboration, email isn’t the ideal tool. Instead, choosing an appropriate tool can help avoid the pitfalls of email, allowing full teams to communicate more efficiently and with easier tracking.
When it comes to giving instructions, clarity is key. However, many managers and team members leave important details out, creating points of contention and fueling misunderstandings. For example, the vague “as soon as possible” deadline may not mean the same thing to the writer as the reader, and its subjective nature can cause conflict. Additionally, deadlines may be missed, harming productivity, because the work wasn’t aware of the actual timetable involved.
To avoid this form of miscommunication, it’s critical that all instruction be clear and specific. Providing step-by-step instructions, hard deadlines, and even estimated time to completion can all help ensure everyone is on the same page.
Lack of Timely Feedback
Feedback can be incredibly powerful in the workplace, but only when it is delivered at the right time. By providing information in real time, employees have the opportunity to quickly correct issues or change courses, keeping productivity up and improving the overall quality of their work. Additionally, timely feedback can improve engagement and reduce turnover, as staff members don’t feel left in the dark when it comes to their performance or progress.
For businesses that want to increase their use of real-time feedback, consider implementing training programs for managers or using HR software designed to prompt for project- or task-oriented performance reviews once certain duties are completed.
By improving communication in the workplace, your company can experience productivity gains, boosts to morale, and more effective teamwork throughout the organization. Ultimately, those are all great for the bottom line, ensuring you get the most from every moment an employee is on the clock.
If you would like to learn more or are interested in adding a new member to your team, the skilled professionals at The Advance Group can assist you in reaching your goals. Contact us to see how our services can positively impact your bottom line today.
Salaries for Java developers can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, but reaching the six-figure mark can be seen as a reasonable goal for one’s career. While you may not be able to change your location, which is a factor in how much you’ll be offered for a new position, other aspects of your resume are under your control.
So, if you want to cross the $100,000 threshold, here’s what you need to have on your Java developer resume.
In the vast majority of cases, you’re not going to get a six-figure offer for an entry-level or junior Java developer position. That means, even with a strong skill set and appropriate level of education, you’re still going to need to put time into the field, or a closely allied one, to reach a higher pay rate.
While there is no hard and fast rule about the amount of experience required to reach a salary of $100,000 or more, it will likely take somewhere between 5 and 10 years of time in the field to qualify for many of these positions. In some cases, your amount of education may influence these numbers, as having a graduate degree may substitute for a certain number of years of experience, but that isn’t a guarantee.
To secure almost any Java developer position, a college education is required. Often, a bachelor’s degree in an associated technical field, like computer science or information technology, is considered a minimum for even entry-level positions. An advanced degree, such as a master’s, may help you reach higher pay levels in a shorter amount of time, but aren’t typically considered a necessity.
You may also benefit from various certifications. For example, the Oracle Certified Professional Java SE Programmer can verify your skill set, while the Oracle Certified Master Java SE Developer shows you have a deeper understanding of the language. Related certifications, such as certain cloud offerings, could also set you apart from the competition and appeal to companies looking for top talent with experience in a variety of areas.
While the core skill developers in this category need revolve around the Java programming language, it isn’t the only competency you’ll need to bring to the table. Most individuals working in this field also need to be familiar with specific frameworks, like Spring, software tools, and even development methodologies. For example, an understanding of Agile may be necessary or experience with RESTful.
You’ll likely also need to understand other programming languages, like SQL and Python, to reach the upper echelons in the Java development field.
Often, the best way to determine how to craft a career in Java development that allows you to arrive at a six-figure paycheck is to explore what businesses require of developers at those salary levels. Then, you can create a plan to meet those expectations, ensuring you’ll reach the mark once you’ve gained enough experience.
If you would like to learn more or are interested in finding a new Java developer position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruitment specialists today.
In the age of technology, it’s surprising that many companies aren’t leveraging available systems to improve their employee recognition programs. A variety of solutions can help make the administration of such ventures more effective, making it easier for workers to choose from multiple reward options and submit peers or subordinates for consideration.
The ability to structure awards around specific goals and the opportunity to monitor progress also create value in incentive-based plans while ensuring all staff members are acknowledged for the accomplishments. By using metrics, you can make sure your recognition program is fair and that every employee is recognized at the right time, too. Here’s what you need to know about leveraging metrics to boost your program.
Failing to use technology to support employee recognition programs often leads to missed opportunities. Not only could you overlook important activities that deserve acknowledgment, but you may also bypass chances to improve overall engagement along the way.
By tracking activities and providing mechanisms for social recognition, you can stay apprised of worker actions that are worthy of attention. You can also watch your program in action based on both inputs from management and other employees, allowing you to see when rewards are given or recommended and why. This provides you with powerful insights into your program which can help shape its development in the future.
Using metrics also allows you to observe how successful certain portions of your recognition plan are, based on the frequency at which employees are acknowledged and what reward options are selected. If certain forms of recognition are used more often than others, this lets you know what workers and managers prefer, allowing you to streamline the system by removing unused options. You can also spot holes in the program, such as which tasks aren’t being acknowledged as often as they should, and use the information to keep management informed about missed opportunities.
By using the available metrics, you’ll also identify training opportunities for management and other staff members. For example, if a particular department doesn’t have the level of recognition actions as one would expect, you can look into the issue further to determine the cause. If the problem resides with management failing to spot chances for acknowledgment, they can be trained to improve their techniques and approach. When the issue lies with employee performance, you can explore the root of the problem to determine if additional action, such as training or recruitment, is needed to bring everything up to par.
Technology directed at employee recognition programs provide you with a wealth of information that can be used to steer the direction of your company and improve internal processes. Plus, you can identify which approaches are yielding the most positive results, allowing you to shift your investment in the program according to interest and demand.
If you would like to learn more or are interested in hiring a new worker to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to see how our customized approach to hiring and retention can work for you.
Unemployment among tech professionals is sitting comfortably below the 3 percent mark, leaving many companies with long-term vacancies. While hiring in the field is difficult in general, certain skilled workers are especially hard to find. Here is an overview of the 10 most challenging IT jobs to fill today.
Technical Managers and Directors
Often one of the upper most positions in the IT leadership chain, technical managers and directors aren’t currently easy to find. Some of this is due to the wide range of skills required to be successful in these jobs as they are often tasked with overseeing technical processes and managing personnel.
As the title suggests, SAP managers supervise the implementation and integration of SAP solutions throughout the entire organization. To do so effectively, the professional must be highly experienced with SAP Solution Manager software as well as guiding the actions of the members of their team.
Those working as system analysts can have a broad range of responsibilities. Often, they analyze, design, and implement IT solutions and information systems for users within the organization. This requires in-depth knowledge of the associated hardware and software, as well as design and implementation procedures.
Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages in the business world today, making it no surprise that Java architects are highly sought after. These professionals have to understand both the infrastructure and application to offer support for Java-based applications, a skill set need in a wide range of industries.
Salesforce CRM Developers
Salesforce is a leader in the CRM space, and the solution is used by over 150,000 customers worldwide. Its proliferation in the market means that professionals with the skills necessary to maintain the platform as well as integrating services within the solution are seeing high demand for their experience.
Data is still king for many businesses, and database architects are key to their success. Required competencies range from designing, creating, deploying, and managing database structures, ensuring information can be accessed whenever it is needed. They also must have a thorough understanding of the required infrastructure, ensuring businesses have the right technology in place to meet their data-oriented goals.
Most organizations understand that cyber threats can be devastating to their business. With that in mind, many turn to cybersecurity consultants to review their current systems and advise them regarding how to best protect themselves from these threats. Professionals operating in this area need a strong understanding of hardware, software, application, and network security to be effective, and finding somewhat with the right skill set is often a challenge.
Embedded Software Engineers
Thanks to IoT, the need for embedded software engineers is rising. The need to modify current systems or create new ones is great, and there aren’t enough professionals available to meet demand.
Another data-oriented position in the list is data manager. These professionals help companies store, organize and analyze their data with a specific goal of increasing security and maintaining privacy. Successful data managers have knowledge of architecture as well as security and compliance best practices, a skill set that can often be considered as very specialized.
System Integration Engineer
As more companies look to bring different systems and applications together to create a seamless solution, available system integration engineers have become harder to find. The professionals must understand software, security, networking, and business process management, as well as strong soft skills like problem-solving.
If you are looking for candidates for your hard-to-fill job, The Armada Group can find top quality talent quickly and efficiently. Contact us to discuss your vacancies and see how our team can help you find the right person for the position.