Nearly every CIO took an occasional misstep early in their career as they were learning to navigate the nuances of leadership roles. Luckily, aspiring tech leaders can learn from these mistakes, helping them to avoid similar situations and trappings as they work their way up the ladder.
If your career goals involve reaching the upper echelons of management, here are some common early-career mistakes made by CIOs and how to avoid them.
Avoiding Maintenance Tasks and Routine Projects
Typically, maintenance activities and routine projects don’t have a substantial amount of visibility within an organization. However, they are essential to a company’s success.
Similarly, pushing against prolonging legacy systems in favor of transitioning to the latest and greatest system may seem more exciting, but it may not be in the best interest of the business. And rejecting the idea of improving what’s there can hurt your career.
Instead of rejecting the routine, differentiate yourself within that space. Increase your knowledge of existing systems, learn how to use them to create additional value, and strive to improve what is already in place. This will set you apart from professionals who aren’t interested in anything but high-visibility projects, cementing your reputation of always having the organization’s best interest in mind.
Not Seizing Opportunities to Become a Top Performer
If you establish yourself as a top performer, it is possible to bypass your more complacent colleagues, even if they have more experience. Those interested in reaching the leadership ranks should work to keep their skills up-to-date and complete their work to the best of their ability every time, regardless of the level of visibility.
Don’t be afraid to acquire new skills associated with emerging technologies, even if they aren’t yet in use at your company. That way, if they decide to embrace them, you are ahead of the pack and can help make the transition a possibility.
Not Proactively Planning Your Career
Becoming a CIO rarely happens by accident. Instead, reaching that level in an organization is usually the result of a well-planned career that was properly executed.
If your goal is to become an executive, then identify the skills and experience required to land those roles. Then, pursue opportunities that allow you to move in that direction, networking with other skilled professionals and tech leaders along the way.
Being Afraid to Let Go
Whenever a person in a contributor position reaches the leadership ranks, it can be hard to shake that old work persona. But, if you become a manager, your role has changed, and you need to learn to trust your team and release the urge to handle the tasks that used to make up your day to day.
Strong leaders delegate and empower their teams, and that means letting go of who you used to be and embracing who you are now.
By avoiding the early-career mistakes above, you can position yourself for greater success as you reach the leadership ranks. If you are looking for a new opportunity to move your career forward, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you take the next step toward your career goal.
It’s no surprise that a significant percentage of professionals wouldn’t consider reporting to the office their favorite part of the day. In fact, many would relish the ability to work from home, for a variety of reasons.
Did you know that tech professionals who work from home often save a significant amount of time and money? According to a recent report, it’s true. And those points alone can make it worth exploring remote work opportunities.
How Working from Home Saves Time
One of the most obvious ways working remotely can save time is by eliminating an employee’s need to commute. Depending on where they live, they may save a few hundred hours a year by forgoing the daily trip to the office.
Remote workers also avoid many office trappings that can waste time. For example, they won’t be interrupted by a chatty coworker who wants to discuss something non-work related or distracted by the phone call taking place one desk over. Ultimately, this allows someone who is working from home to be more productive, which is a form of time-savings in and of itself.
How Working from Home Save Money
Since remote workers aren’t required to commute, they can save a significant amount in gas alone. While the precise amount depends on a number of factors, including their gas mileage and driving distance, employees can save upwards of $500 a year in some cases, and nearly everyone can keep at least a couple hundred bucks annually by making the transition.
Additionally, not commuting reduces wear and tear on their vehicles, reducing the frequency of oil changes, new tires, and many other automobile maintenance activities. Insurance rates may also decrease, as the number of miles put on a vehicle in a year plays a role in determining the cost of the premiums. In some cases, families may even be able to reduce the total number of vehicles owned by the household, making the savings more substantial.
Even those who take public transportation can experience the money saving benefits. Typically, bus and subway passes come at a cost, but they might not have to be purchased if the worker isn’t commuting.
But the savings go beyond commutes. If a worker typically has to grab lunch from a restaurant or a cup of coffee from a café on the way in, that expense is also eliminated. For professionals who were required to wear business attire in the office, their clothing costs and dry cleaning bills may decrease as well.
Even Occasional Telecommuting Helps
Employees can experience time and money saving benefits even if they don’t work from home every day. Just one or two days a week can create a noticeable difference in both areas, so companies that offer flexible work arrangements can tout the potential gains to employees.
If you are interested in learning more about the time and money saving benefits of working from home, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today.
Even if you do everything right, and typically don’t experience issues with falling asleep on other nights, the majority of people suffer from what has been described as “Sunday Night Insomnia,” or trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights.
At times, this is because the weekend disrupted your usual sleep/wake cycle. In some cases, anxiety about the coming workweek is a factor, as well as logging too much screen time right before bed.
Luckily, regardless of the cause, there are things you can do to help ensure you fall asleep quickly as your weekend comes to a close. If you suffer from Sunday Night Insomnia, here are five ways to beat it.
Limit Screen Time
The blue light emitted by a variety of screens, including televisions, computers, and smartphones, can disrupt your sleep cycle. Ideally, you want to avoid being in front of any screen the hour before you go to bed. This gives your body a chance to shake off the effects of the blue light, making it easier to fall asleep.
Additionally, you should make your bedroom a device-free zone, ensuring you won’t be tempted to log some screen time once you settle in under the covers.
Put on Your Pajamas Early
For most people, the act of putting on your pajamas is associated with going to sleep. Luckily, you can use this to your advantage by switching into your sleep clothes earlier on Sunday. That way, your mind starts to think it’s close to bedtime, which may promote better sleep.
Put Worries to Bed
Sometimes, what keeps people up on Sunday nights is the coming workweek. Maybe you’re worried about your to-do list or stressing about an upcoming presentation.
One method for defeating your anxieties is to take 20 to 30 minutes and address them head-on on Sunday evening. Take some time to write out your concerns and list reasonable next steps. That way, when your head hits the pillow, your initial planning is done.
Mind the Temperature
Being too hot or too cold can make it harder to fall asleep. To avoid this, identify a temperature at which you are most comfortable, usually in the upper 60s or low 70s, and prepare your bedroom before you jump into bed.
Do Something Relaxing
During the hour before your bedtime, consider doing something relaxing. Kick back with a book, take a nice bath or shower, and listen to some soothing music. This allows you to take a moment to slow down, making it easier to fall asleep when that time arrives.
By following the tips above, you can banish your Sunday Night Insomnia, giving you the ability to wake up refreshed and rejuvenated on Monday morning.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
Have you ever walked into work thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing?” If so, you’re not alone.
Impostor syndrome, the feeling that you don’t have the right knowledge, skills or experience to work in your current role, is incredibly prevalent in tech. It often leads to extreme feelings of doubt, insecurity, and anxiety, making it harder to stay positive on the job even when people tell you that you’re doing great.
Often, beliefs that you are an impostor in the workplace aren’t based in reality, but that doesn’t make them inherently easy to conquer. If you are ready to get over your impostor syndrome for good, here’s what you need to do.
If You Don’t Know It, Learn It
One of the root causes of impostor syndrome is not having all of the answers. Maybe your code isn’t the most beautiful to behold, or you’ve never worked with a particular system before, and now you have to jump in.
Often, it’s a lack of understanding of a particular thing that leads a person to feel like they don’t belong in their job. But, it’s important to remember that no one starts out with this knowledge, and it’s always possible to learn something new.
If you don’t know how something functions or how to improve on something you’ve created, then adopt an inquisitive mindset and start researching. You can do internet searches, sign up for a class, or reach out to the expert in your workplace. All of these have the ability to get you the knowledge you need, making you more secure in your capabilities, including your ability to learn something new.
Keep Track of Compliments
Typically, we are more inclined to take criticism to heart, whether it comes from ourselves or someone else, than we are to accept that a compliment is accurate. Over time, these negative points override the positives, becoming a point of focus over the long-term.
However, it is possible to balance out the negatives with the positives, as long as you make an effort to keep track of the compliments given to you. For example, store copies of emails that offered kudos in a folder so they are accessible, write down the positive things people say, or stash cards that were given in appreciation in a file. Then, when you find yourself doubting your capabilities, turn to these resources to when you need a boost.
At some point, nearly everyone experiences bouts of impostor syndrome as they walk down their career path, so you aren’t alone in these feelings of self-doubt. But, by being open to learning and reminding yourself that you have exceeded others expectations, you can adjust your mindset, allowing you to beat impostor syndrome for good.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new opportunity, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
Pursuing a career as a software architect can be incredibly lucrative. In the San Jose area, those with the proper skills can make an average salary of over $140,000, well above the national average.
But, this means you need to have an appropriate level of technical prowess, and certain skills are more likely to help you stand out from the potential sea of applicants. If you are wondering which skills employers want to find in software architects, here’s what you need to know.
C++ and Java
While many programming languages may be requested by employers, C++ and Java are two languages that are commonly listed on software architect job postings.
Java is often prized for its versatility as well as its role in emerging technologies, like machine learning and artificial intelligence. Additionally, it can be applied to multiple environments, which is ideal for multi-platform organizations.
C++ is usually considered a general-purpose programming language and is widely used across multiple industries. It works well for application and server-side development, making it a must-have in the eyes of many companies.
Apache Hadoop plays a substantial role in big data-oriented objectives, so software architects that are familiar with this open-source software framework are in high demand. Hadoop can be seen as critical when data that needs to be analyzed is located on multiple servers, so being able to support these projects is a great way to stand out from the competition.
Many organizations favor the Agile methodology for software development. If a business already uses the approach, then being familiar with Agile will be seen as a necessity.
Since Agile has been a go-to methodology for some time, many experienced software architects will already have this knowledge. For those just breaking into the field, learning the fundamentals of Agile can be beneficial, as not everyone in entry-level roles will have this experience.
Gone are the days where a person’s technical ability was the only thing hiring managers focused on. Now, soft skills are seen as vital to a software architect’s success, so they are becoming more prominent on job postings.
Usually, leadership and organizational skills are a high priority, especially for upper-level of senior positions. Communication skills are also a must, as software architects aren’t just tasked with working as part of a team but also partnering with stakeholders who may not be as technically savvy. This means being able to gather information and communicate complex details in a way that is easily understood by those not working in the software architecture field is a must.
There is a range of opportunities for software architects, but possessing the skills above puts you in the best position when it comes to furthering your career.
If you are looking for a new software architect position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with top employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step in your career.
A lot of professionals have heard that having a mentor can potentially benefit their career. But, since these arrangements aren’t necessarily common or publicly announced, exactly how it can help you get ahead can seem like a bit of a mystery.
Ultimately, having a mentor can be incredibly beneficial, as long as the relationship is constructed in the proper way. If you are wondering how a mentor can help your career, here’s what you need to know about the role.
A Long-Term Relationship
One of the biggest differences between a mentor and a coach is the duration of the relationship. While coaches often make short-term arrangements, a mentor is usually in it for the long haul. The idea is to serve as a guide, supporting your growth and professional development, and acting as a source of insight as you move forward down your career path.
The nature of a relationship with a mentor is usually not finite, allowing them to function as a critical connection for months or even years.
A Source of Encouragement
Often, a person who serves as a mentor is a professional in a position that you would one day like to have. This means that they have usually been in your shoes at some point in their career, so they are capable of both empathizing with the challenges you encounter while also being capable of offering encouragement. After all, they have likely had to tackle the same issues as they were rising through the ranks, and they made it, so they know it is possible to overcome obstacles and reach success.
At times, simply having a cheerleader can do wonders for your career. Understanding that someone else has made it through these challenges and is rallying behind you can be both stress-relieving and empowering, allowing you to accomplish more than you previously thought possible.
A Sounding Board
While it isn’t a mentor’s responsibility to tell you exactly what to do to reach your goal or give you answers when you encounter difficult questions, they can often serve as a sounding board when you are faced with tough decisions. Again, they have a deeper understanding of the field, so their wisdom can help you work through complicated problems, giving you a chance to make the decision while ensuring you considered all of the key points along the way.
In the end, a mentor wants to see you succeed, so they are going to offer their insights and encouragement as a means of supporting you during your journey. If you are interested in learning more about how a mentor can benefit you and your career or are seeking out new opportunities in your field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about what we have to offer and to see how our services can benefit you as you work towards your larger career goals.
Companies all over the country are looking for skilled data scientists, making it one of the hottest careers today. And, as more businesses look for ways to leverage their data, data science has the capacity to remain an in-demand specialty for quite some time.
Professionals in these roles often command high salaries, especially if their skill set is strong. However, even those who have worked as a data scientist can always elevate their careers by making smart decisions. If you are looking to get your data scientist career off the ground or take it to the next level, here’s how to get started.
Learn the Right Programming Languages
While there is a range of programming languages in use in the data science field, some of them are more in-demand than others. Ultimately, Python, R, and SQL are the most common ones requested by companies in their job postings, so having at least one of those at your disposal is a must.
If you aren’t familiar with those programming languages, you do have options for acquiring the skills. First, you can always take a course at a local college or university, even if you already have a degree, as this will allow you to improve your knowledge in a formal, and widely accepted setting.
Boot camps are also becoming a popular method for learning coding languages. Some of these courses focus on a specific language while others cover several that are relevant to a particular profession.
Finally, if you are already a skilled coder, you may be able to learn Python, R or SQL on your own. There are a lot of free online resources that can provide you with guidance, so don’t be afraid to conduct a search and see what is available.
Focus on Accessibility
Right now, competition for top jobs can be fierce. There are a lot of tech pros who decided to focus on data science, so there may be multiple qualified candidates that apply to every opening.
While having the right technical skills is important, you also want to demonstrate that you can make the information accessible to others. Not everyone who uses the results of your work will be tech-savvy, so being able to discuss the data in a way that is easy for others to understand can separate you from the pack.
Examine Multiple Industries
Since data science can benefit nearly any business, there are opportunities available in practically any industry. This means you may want to explore options outside of your current industry, particularly if you are looking to make a step up quickly.
While IT companies are an obvious target, data science is also hot in the finance, insurance, and professional services industries. Healthcare, manufacturing and even retailers (at the corporate level) may also be looking to add data scientists to their teams.
If you are interested in finding a new data scientist position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you succeed.
Job seekers are often anxious when it comes to having their references checked, with many wondering exactly what a former employer can say about their performance. For example, can a previous employer tell a hiring manager that you were fired? Can them tell them why that decision was made? Are they allowed to discuss the amount of notice you provided when you quit or how many times you were absent?
Questions such as those can leave a lot of job seekers worried, even if their overall work history is fairly standard for their field. If you have been wondering what a previous employer can or cannot say about you legally, here’s what you need to know.
Federal and State Laws
When it comes to federal regulations, there simply aren’t any. Employers, from a national perspective, have the ability to say whatever they want when they are contacted for a reference.
However, many states do have laws that dictate what can or cannot be discussed, though they can vary dramatically from one state to the next. This means you need to review the regulations that pertain to you, and not just based on where you live now, but where your previous employers were located too. If you are planning to relocate for a job, then review the laws in each of the states you are considering as well.
What Employers are Usually Allowed to Say
As mentioned above, what your former employers can say about you varies from one state to the next. However, there are certain things that are commonly considered legal.
Most previous employers can typically disclose if you were terminated from your position, as well as the reason behind that decision. Some states also allow them to talk about your performance, though the feedback may be limited to generalizations.
However, even if an employer can discuss specific details about their experience with you, the majority are very cautious when it comes to disclosing various kinds of information. Predominately, their goal is to avoid lawsuits that fall into the defamation category, which includes slander and libel. This means that, unless they are entirely certain that what they are about to say is accurate, they won’t provide the information.
Can You Ask Them What Will be Discussed?
Sometimes, the easiest way to find out what might be disclosed is to contact your previous employer’s HR department or a suitable representative and just ask them. In most cases, they will be upfront with you about their policies, so you can determine what they are likely to say during a reference check.
Ultimately, if you aren’t sure what they will cover, it is best to assume that they will provide a large amount of detail. This is one of the reasons why you need to always be honest on your application, as failing to be truthful can come back to bite you.
If you are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with exciting opportunities throughout the area. Contact us today to learn more about our services, including how they can benefit your career.
Infrastructure support engineers are a vital part of any business that has its own IT infrastructure. These professionals help ensure that the environment is robust, scalable, and capable of delivering essential services that are required for a variety of tasks.
Typically, professionals working in this field are largely focused on physical resources, including a wide range of hardware, software, and tools, ensuring that they are fully operational whenever they are needed. They may be tasked with building new solutions, maintaining current systems, or integrating new technologies into existing infrastructure designs.
How much you can earn as an infrastructure support engineer in San Jose depends on a few factors, such as your level of experience and your personal skill set. However, here is an overview of what is potentially available, depending on where you are in your career.
In the San Jose area, the average base pay for an infrastructure support engineer is just over $81,000, which is considered well above the national average. Typically, it takes a minimum of seven years of experience in the profession or a highly coveted skill set to reach salaries above that point, though many professionals who dedicate themselves to the field will see this as perfectly reasonable.
The full range of potential pay rates can fall anywhere between $65,000 on the low end, typically reflecting entry-level positions, to $123,000 on the high end, indicative of professionals with a substantial amount of experience.
In some cases, senior level professionals can even obtain higher salaries, particularly if they are tasked with overseeing a team of other professionals.
Factors that Determine Salary
While experience often plays the largest role when it comes to a professional’s pay rate, other factors can also impact salary offerings. For example, most infrastructure support engineers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and those who obtain graduate degrees may be better equipped to reach a higher level of compensation more quickly than those who don’t.
Your skill set is another point that can impact your salary, especially if you are highly competent in a niche area that many other professionals don’t encounter and a company is seeking out a professional who specifically has expertise in that area.
Ultimately, pursuing a career as an infrastructure support engineer can be incredibly lucrative, especially if you obtain the necessary level of education and are willing to put in the time to build your skills and level of experience.
If you are interested in securing a job as an infrastructure support engineer at one of the area’s leading companies, the knowledgeable professionals at The Armada Group can assist you in reaching your goals. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our services can help you take the next step forward in your career.
Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out who to list as a reference. Ultimately, you need to select people who can speak to your professional abilities in a positive manner, as the information they provide the hiring manager is a crucial part of their decision-making process.
That means, there are certain people you should never include on that list. With that in mind, here are six people you should forgo listing as a reference.
Anyone Who Fired You
While it seems obvious, it’s still worth saying: anyone who fired you should never be used as a reference.
Generally, a manager who terminated your employment won’t have positive things to say about you in the workplace and may be inclined to be honest with the prospective employer about their experience. Even if the reason you were fired wasn’t related to an infraction or issue, such as when it just isn’t a great fit, it is best to avoid using them as a reference at all costs.
Someone with a Bad Reputation
Whether their reputation focuses on their performance or their attitude, such anyone who tends to bad mouth their coworkers or company, having such a person speak on your behalf may backfire. Essentially, there is an inherent risk that you will be considered guilty by association or, at a minimum, anything positive they have to say about you won’t carry much weight.
Anyone You’ve Never Worked With
Unless a purely personal reference is requested, you should only list professionals with whom you’ve worked. This ensures they can speak to your skills and performance accurately and based on firsthand knowledge.
Now, it is okay to list people who worked with you as a volunteer or even classmates that you completed projects with if you are a recent graduate. Otherwise, stick to current or former managers and coworkers whenever possible.
Someone You Don’t Know
If you have a particular company in mind, and you know someone who knows someone who works there, it may be tempting to ask the inside contact for a reference. But, since they don’t know anything about you, they aren’t going to have much to say. Plus, asking them to put themselves out there for a stranger may not turn out well, doing more harm than good.
Anyone You’ve Lost Contact With
Similarly, if you haven’t been in contact with someone for a few years, then they aren’t the best choice for a reference. First, the can’t speak to your recent experience, and that may not reflect well on the hiring manager. Second, you have no way of knowing what is currently happening in their professional lives, and there may be some factors that are relevant.
However, you can work to reconnect with the person first and then decide whether they make a suitable reference, particularly if the information they can provide is important.
Someone You Don’t Know Well
While an acquaintance may seem like a viable option, they may struggle if any of the hiring manager’s questions require in-depth knowledge about your experience or personality. Vague answers may give the hiring manager pause, leading them to assume that the reference is intentionally hiding something.
Ideally, your references need to be able to speak about your experience in a thorough, informed and positive manner, so you need to select people who can do so well. This ensures the hiring manager gets the information they need without having doubts about the quality of your references.
If you are seeking out a new opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with top employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how we can help you take the next step in your career.