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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.


A Win-Win

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.


Boost Morale

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.


Ambiguous Instructions

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.



Java Developer


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.



Employee Recognition


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.


Increased Opportunities

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.


Success Ratings

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.

  1. 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.

  1. SAP Managers

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.

  1. System Analysts

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.

  1. Java Architects

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Database Architects

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.

  1. Cybersecurity Consultants

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Data Managers

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.

  1. 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.



Employee Benefits


IT professionals know that the ball is in their court when it comes to choosing to stay with an employer. With unemployment among these workers sitting near 2.5 percent, there’s no shortage of opportunities for highly skilled tech pros. While salaries certainly factor into an employee’s decision to stay with a business, many companies are also including more options in their compensation packages to lure in the best and brightest.


It is important to determine what benefits are considered in-demand by your workers and adjust accordingly to stay competitive. To help you choose the right options for your team members, here are some of the most in-demand employee benefits that could affect your retention rates.

Student Loan Repayment

It’s no secret that many Millennials are plagued by student loan debt, and they aren’t necessarily the only ones working to pay back thousands of dollars for their education. With that in mind, some companies are developing student loan repayment programs for employees that meet certain requirements.


Often, these benefits are tied to specific metrics, such as performance ratings or tenure, so payment doesn't have to be made early in the individual’s employment.

Early Reviews

Most employers tie performance-based raise opportunities to reviews. By offering new hires the chance to be reviewed in six months instead of at the year mark can entice candidates to come on board. If you extend the option to existing employees by holding semi-annual salary reviews to ensure your rates are competitive, this could have a positive effect on retention efforts over the long-term as well.

Education and Training

Most top performers aren’t satisfied with stopping their career where they are today. Instead, they are looking for chances to improve their skills and grow professionally. Having an education and training program can give them an avenue to meet their goals while making them more valuable to the organization as a whole.


These benefits can be administered as a tuition assistance program as well as with formal training budgets. Since IT is an ever-evolving field, having the opportunity to earn additional certification opportunities could be highly valued by tech workers looking to stay up-to-date and competitive in the field. Some other methods can include mentorship opportunities or the ability to job shadow other workers who function in the employee’s area of interest.

Paid Time Off

This classic part of the benefits package can be used as a retention tool as well if the company is willing to exceed what is offered by competitors. Providing more than the standard two week vacation time or considering unlimited options can set your business apart from others operating in your area. These offerings can be applied companywide or scaled based on tenure. However, if you use the tenure-based approach, make sure the starting rate is sufficient to attract new talent, and that incremental increases begin early in the process.


If you would like to learn more about retention techniques that can help your business or are looking for a new employee to join your team, the experienced professionals at The Armada Group can assist. Contact us to discuss your needs and see how our services can help you reach your hiring and retention goals.