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Community

 

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.

 

 

Remote Workers

 

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.

 

Clear Expectations

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.

 

 

Ruby on Rails

 

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.

 

Ruby Skills

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

There are particular frontend and database skills that are useful to Ruby on Rails developers, so having an intermediate understanding of the systems and concepts is wise. This includes HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS on the frontend, as well as SQL, PostgreSQL or MySQL, and NoSQL databases.

 

Tools Knowledge

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.

 

 

Agile

 

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.

 

Educate Yourself

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.

 

 

Resume

 

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.

 

Job Descriptions

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.

 

 

H 1B

 

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.