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.
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.
Cloud solutions are becoming a new standard in business. Over half of the organization that participated in a recent survey have adopted a hybrid cloud solution, and nearly 80 percent of IT budgets now have funds committed to the acquisition and maintenance associated with cloud-based solutions. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that cloud service providers are looking for security software engineers to secure the solutions they offer to clients.
Professionals focused on cloud security software engineering can bring in substantial paychecks thanks to low unemployment among tech workers and the specific skills required to perform the job. Here’s what you need to know about this profession and why it could be a lucrative choice.
Unemployment Rates are Shockingly Low
Tech professionals, in general, are seeing salaries rise thanks to staggeringly low unemployment rates. Nationally, IT unemployment was listed at just 2.5 percent during the first quarter of 2017, a level that would typically be considered full employment. But certain security-oriented professions have unemployment levels below that, with cyber security unemployment reaching the most shocking point of 0 percent.
To entice job seekers to apply, companies are having to offer better compensation than their competitors, and the combination of increased adoption of cloud services and low unemployment means security software engineers are well-positioned when it comes to securing a bigger paycheck.
Cloud security software engineers need a range of competencies and prior experiences to meet the needs of employers, and that skill set doesn’t come cheap for companies looking to hire. Development skills, expertise in the creation of scalable, distributed software systems, OOP tool development, and RESTful services infrastructure experience are all being sought, but aren’t always easy to find.
Companies may also look for a familiarity with a range of platforms including Amazon AWS, Google Computer, Microsoft Azure, and OpenStack as well as an understanding of TCP/IP networking. And the more advanced the professional’s skill set needs to be, the higher the salary the individual may be able to secure.
These requirements are on top of the needed IT security skills and standard software development experience, creating a unique combination that isn’t possessed by the masses.
Like much of IT, the world of cloud security is ever-evolving. Companies want to find professionals who proactively stay current regarding applicable trends and new developments. In many cases, this means they are seeking top performers who are traditional self-motivated and passionate about the topic.
Just as like the right hard skills can be difficult to acquire, professionals with the proper soft skills and personalities aren’t always plentiful. To get the best and brightest to apply, businesses have to offer top dollar to peak their interest.
If you are interested in learning more about cloud security software engineering or want to find a position in the field, the team at The Armada Group can help you explore lucrative opportunities in your area. Contact us today to see how your skills can translate into big bucks in the field of cloud security.
Salesforce is a CRM solution that has taken the world by storm. The cloud-based solution provides businesses with a lot of value when it comes to managing customers, and its user-friendly interface is just as comfortable for the tech-savvy as it is for technophobes. Like any technical system, it requires professionals to manage certain aspects of the solution. And that’s where a Salesforce Administrator comes in.
These tech pros may go by other names as well, such as CRM System Analysts or Business Analyst, but these Salesforce admins have a similar goal: Help the company improve using the specific CRM solution.
If you are interested in the potential of these positions, here is everything you need know about a career as a Salesforce admin.
Salesforce is the Backbone of Operations
In most cases, you’ll spend your time analyzing business processes and determining how Salesforce can improve their efficiency and effectiveness. This involves customizing features and implementing new ones based on the specific needs of the associated department. By following this method, more portions of the business operates from a central hub, keeping key data points and processes centralized.
However, at times you will have to look at external applications to fill specific needs. Typically, you’ll work to ensure a chosen solution will integrate with Salesforce, allowing everything to remain connected at some level. With the prevalence of Salesforce in the market today, it isn’t surprising that a wide range of applications works to make themselves compatible. That means, in most cases, finding a suitable option is very possible.
Education is a Necessity
The vast majority of Business Analyst positions, regardless of the software solutions in place, list a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree as a qualification. This is because people working in these jobs need to have a strong understanding of a range of fields, including customer service, finance, human resources, marketing, and sales. A Salesforce admin should expect to need at least that level of education, though some businesses may require something more advanced or that you hold additional certifications in Salesforce as well.
A Range of Duties
Salesforce admins have responsibilities in many areas, and not all of them are technical. On the IT side, you could be responsible for managing the platform, researching and trying new tools, configuring the system, and completing integrations. Documentation and training are also involved, and may or may not be overly technical in nature.
You may also spend a significant amount of time doing business process reviews and making recommendations. This involves evaluating established procedures, gathering requirements, and speaking with users about their current and preferred experience. During these tasks, you may spend a significant amount of time discussing how a technology can solve their problems, even if they aren’t technically-minded professionals. To make that work, you’ll need to be able to explain complex tech-oriented concepts in easy to follow ways.
Not every Salesforce admin has the same duties, as different companies or departments will divide the work according to their needs. However, this overview should give you a solid starting picture of what a career in the field is like, allowing you to determine if it might be the right path for you.
If you want to pursue a position as a Salesforce admin, the professionals at The Armada Group can locate opportunities at some of the leading businesses in the area. Contact us to discuss your career goals and see what we have to offer.
For many IT professionals, the idea of working in a cutting-edge sector like virtual reality is very enticing. Many believe the technology has the ability to changes lives in notable ways, and we may just be starting to understand its full potential in the business world. As the VR space gains traction, more job opportunities are likely to arise. If you want to land one of these coveted positions, here’s some advice on how to stand out in a VR job interview.
Acquire the Skills
Every IT specialty has its own mix of must-have skills, and VR is no exception. However, those with a basic programming background are well-positioned to shift into this field, and other tech pros can choose to pursue the needed competencies as well.
Due to the nature of VR environments, 3D modeling is a big component of the work. Experience with programming languages like C and C++ are also practically a necessity, and an understanding of game development and graphics can be useful as well.
And understanding of PC and mobile technologies is helpful, as many VR systems connected to these devices. Optics, one of the newer skill sets, can also ensure you stand out from the competition.
Gain Market Awareness
While VR and the gaming industry are obvious matches, the technology also has potential well beyond entertainment offerings. The architecture, construction, and engineering industries can all benefit from 3D renderings, as well as the education, medical, and military sectors. VR has the potential to create advanced simulations and training technologies, making them interesting to more businesses than you may initially realize.
Understanding how a VR professional could create unique solutions for a range of companies demonstrates industry and market awareness and is something other candidates may neglect to cover. It can also help you think creatively when it comes to envisioning just what the technology could do for your target company, allowing you to present more opportunities to which the business can take advantage.
Make the Connections
As more hiring managers turn to social media to get information about candidates, connecting with other professionals in the field can do more than help you find new opportunities; it can show you are interested in the industry on a personal level. When you want to demonstrate enthusiasm, having a feed filled with articles about new developments and updates on area conferences can make a strong impression. And, if you read through the materials and attend the meetings, you’ll have more talking points to cover during your interview.
VR is still a fledgling field, but every advantage you can maintain in your interview arsenal may help you land one of these positions. So, make sure to stay on top of industry trends, and consider how new developments can benefit the company before you meet with hiring managers. That way, you can present new and exciting ideas, and support them with a strong skill set designed to help you turn them into realities.
If you are interested in finding a VR job, The Armada Group can connect you with some of the leading employers in the area. Contact us to see how our services can clear a path to your next tech position.
When under the gun, many professionals exchange longer hours at the office for a shorter time getting restful sleep. While the occasional push likely won’t hurt you in the long run, making it a habit is almost guaranteed to backfire. This means, even if you are spending more time on the job, you aren’t necessarily getting anything additional done than you would have by maintaining a regular schedule.
It turns out that an inconsistent sleep schedule is one of the most damaging things you can do to yourself, especially when being productive is a priority. Here’s what you need to know about how your sleep patterns affect your ability to churn out quality work.
When it to managing your circadian rhythm, almost nothing is more important than melatonin. This naturally occurring chemical helps determine when you fall asleep as well as when you wake in the morning. People who sleep on a regular schedule are more likely to have melatonin on their side, allowing them to fall asleep with greater ease.
Those who keep an irregular schedule, such as not going to bed at the same time every night or waking at the same time every morning, can experience a stunning three-hour delay in their melatonin release. This shifts their circadian rhythm, functionally making an 8:00 am meeting feel like it is happening at 5:00 am.
What the Shift Means for You
If you don’t follow a regular sleep pattern and don’t have the luxury of sleeping in or maintaining a slightly skewed schedule, then you’re going to be attempting tasks when your body and mind aren’t primed for the work. Using the above meeting example, you would be required to maintain focus at a time where your performance is suffering. This is because most people aren’t at their most productive at the equivalent of 5:00 am.
To make matters worse, you may struggle to achieve wakefulness when you need it. This could lead to sleeping through alarms, missing appointments, or even falling asleep on the job. In the end, none of those things are going to help you be productive in the office.
Even if you are able to make it out of bed, you’ll suffer many consequences from a lack of quality sleep. Decision-making ability will be impaired, making it harder to properly assess and respond to situations as they arise, and increasing the likelihood of ill-considered actions and mistakes on your part. You may also find it challenging to learn new skills, hindering growth and limiting your ability to take advantage of production-improving advancements. Reaction times also generally decrease, and your emotional and mental well-being can suffer.
Overall, getting quality sleep is more likely to make you productive than extra hours at the office can, especially over the long-term. Give yourself the best chance at a quality sleep experience by making it a priority and relaxing in the hour before your scheduled bedtime. Then, you can truly be at your best when it matters most.
If you are interested in finding a new position that allows you to better maintain a proper sleep schedule, the recruiters at The Armada Group can help you locate suitable options. Contact us to discuss your priorities today.
For many IT professionals, the idea of working remotely holds a lot of appeal. Often, you can choose to work in the comfort of your own home and may have increased flexibility regarding your hours as well. However, applying to a remote position comes with some additional challenges that aren’t necessarily present for office-based jobs. To help you navigate the idiosyncrasies associated with getting one of these positions, here are nine tips to help you land that remote tech job.
We aren’t referring to how quickly you prepare your resume or submit an application, but to how fast you make an impression on the hiring manager. Often, competition for remote positions can be plentiful in comparison to office jobs since people from all around the country (or even the world) are likely to apply. And bigger candidate pool means you need to stand out from the crowd quickly.
Make sure the first few lines of your cover letter and resume will truly speak to the hiring manager, and end ensure the important details are easy to spot if they aren’t contained at the top of these documents. Otherwise, you may end up in the discard pile regardless of what else you have to offer.
Do Your Research
Companies that hire many remote workers likely have a substantial amount of information available online. Do your best to identify who is either receiving your application or will be making the hiring decision, and try to cater your resume and cover letter to them specifically. This helps you speak to them more directly, and may help you land the position.
Create a Strong Cover Letter
As a remote worker, the majority of your communication with management and co-workers will likely be in writing. If your cover letter falls short, it can have the hiring manager wondering if you are the right person for telecommuting.
Make sure you customize the cover letter to the position and spend extra time reviewing it for spelling and grammar errors. Then, if you are applying via email, include the cover letter in the body of the email itself AND add it as an attachment. This way, you make a strong introduction and provide them with a version that is appropriate to print or save.
Explain Your Value
Companies want to know more than what you’ve done; they need to understand what value you’ll bring to their organization. Explain how your experience will apply to the role in a meaningful way and show exactly what you can do for the business. Making the right connection can be the difference between being selected or not.
Whether you are writing a cover letter or covering information in an interview, if you have a story that demonstrates your experience, consider using it. Not only are stories more interesting than simple fact statements, but they also provide a clearer picture of what you have to offer.
There’s a difference between just being brief and being concise. Ultimately, you want to convey your point as efficiently as possible, so remove extraneous details or anything that might appear to be fluff. Finding the right balance can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Just get to the meat of the matter quickly, but make sure you still thoroughly cover the information being requested.
Avoid Cockiness and Negativity
You have one chance to make a great first impression, but being overly confident about your abilities or exhibiting self-doubt can both backfire equally. If you are truly great, you shouldn’t have to be overt about it. Similarly, disparaging yourself or your current position in any way is an automatic turn-off.
Manage the Details
Everything from the formatting of your resume, language choice in your cover letter, and grammar usage in your LinkedIn profile all make an impression. And failing to get the details in line isn’t going to reflect well on you. Make sure you are presenting yourself in the best light by taking the time to review all of your information for spelling and grammar errors. If you have links or attachments in your profile, confirm they all work properly.
Since written communication is a large part of remote work, you need to show you are capable of using these methods well from the beginning. Otherwise, you might not even get a chance to interview.
Show Your Passion
Remote workers are must motivate themselves to complete tasks in many instances, so the hiring manager needs to feel confident you can do just that. If you are passionate about the work involved, show it! Passionate employees are often more productive and self-motivating, so make sure it is clear you find the opportunity exciting if you want to make the best impression.
If you want to learn more about remote work opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to see what is available in your field today.
Almost every business relies on some level of network to complete daily operations, making opportunities for network administrators particularly plentiful in a wide range of industries. If you are interested in pursuing a career in network administration, here is what you can expect along the way.
What Does a Network Administrator Do?
Most network administrators are tasked with managing the day-to-day operation of a company’s network. This includes planning new solutions, installing the necessary hardware and software, managing upgrades and repairs, ensuring overall system performance, and even handling certain aspects of security. Additionally, many networking professionals interact with other employees who are experiencing difficulties with certain aspects of the system or who need training in related IT areas.
Education and Training
To work as a network administrator, formal education or training is typically required. In some cases, a computer networking program at a community or technical college can be suitable for obtaining and entry-level position in the field, while others find a bachelor’s degree to be a more appropriate option for starting their career. In some cases, a four-year degree focused specifically on networking can be found, making the transition into the working world fairly intuitive. However, a degree in a related area like system administration can also be suitable depending on the specific coursework involved.
Like many areas of IT, continuing education may also be necessary to stay abreast of new technologies and other developments. However, some of this can be managed by obtaining and maintaining certifications dedicated to the field.
While holding various certifications isn’t necessarily a requirement to become a network administrator, it can certainly help you develop your career. Modern systems involve a wide range of technologies, and obtaining various certifications demonstrates you hold to necessary competencies in each area.
In most cases, certifications are offered by specific technology vendors, such the Cisco CCIE or CCNP and Juniper JNCIE-ENT. However, CompTIA also provides one of the most in-demand certifications through their Network+ offering. Often, the CompTIA Network+ is considered an entry-level certification, demonstrating you possess the core competencies required to work in the field, while the Cisco CCIE is one of the most advanced certifications available today.
While technical ability is vital, having a range of soft skills is just as critical if you want to have a successful career as a network administrator. Here are just a few of the additional skills that can help you get ahead:
- Customer Service
- Technical Writing
- Disaster Planning
- Stress Management
- Research and Problem-Solving
In 2016, the median pay for a network administrator in the United States was just shy of $80,000 per year, making it a potentially lucrative career. Those who reach the top 10 percent of the field can even expect wages well above the six-figure mark at nearly $128,000 annually. Additionally, many of these positions are full-time, meaning they often come with strong benefits packages including items like medical insurance and retirement programs.
If you are interested in pursuing or furthering your career as a network administrator, the recruiters at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us today and see where our services can take you.
While IT professionals in almost every specialty are seeing increased demand thanks to low unemployment, certain skill sets are more lucrative than others in today’s job market. If your goals are to find a new tech position with one of the top companies in the area, here are the skills that are gaining the most attention in 2017.
Java skills are highly prized since much of the code can be written once and applied to a range of environments, which is a level of efficiency most other programming languages simply can’t beat.
Another programming language that has gained recognition based on its use in the data science and in back-end web application development community is Python. With data analytics and web-based development remaining popular in the business world, understanding Python will likely lead to lucrative employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.
While this programming language previously saw demand fall, Matlab is experiencing a resurgence thanks to big data. The fact that it hasn’t regained its position as an in-demand competency until recently, many professionals who possess the skill may be able to market their ability as a somewhat unique addition to their resume, helping you stand out from the crowd.
As long as data remains a kind in the world of business, SQL will be a sought-after skill. The quintessential way for interacting with relational databases, professionals who can use SQL to run queries, create reports, and generate insights are positioned to see some excellent employment opportunities throughout 2017 and beyond.
With the cloud representing cost savings and increased efficiency to many businesses, professionals adept at managing key areas of cloud storage, computing, and application development are positioned to do well in a variety of sectors. And, since the use of the cloud spans most industries, opportunities may arise in almost any company in the country.
While the skills listed above represent some of the most in-demand competencies, that doesn’t mean your experience can’t be translated into new opportunities this year. If you are interested in furthering your IT career by landing a new job, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with employers looking for professionals just like you. Contact us today.
Having the right credentials on your resume is only part of what you need to advance your career; you also need to make a great impression during the interview. Being able to demonstrate why you are the best candidate is the key to ultimate success, so proper interview preparation is critical. So, what do you need to do to nail your next IT job interview? Here are some steps to get you on the right track.
Find Examples of Real Interview Questions
Everyone’s heard that practice makes perfect, but figuring out which responses you need to hammer out isn’t always easy. Luckily, there are resources available online that can give you example questions to work on based on topics covered in real interviews. Glassdoor, the popular job site, gives users the chance to post information about their interview experiences, including the exact questions they were asked by hiring managers. These tidbits of information are a gold mine for preparation material, so taking the time to research what may be asked can help you get great answers together in advance.
See if any questions have been posted by people who have interviewed with your target company for similar positions first. If you find the information lacking, then check into what competitor businesses have asked candidates for similar positions. Then, consider your responses and practice them before you meet with the hiring manager. This gives you a chance to have a strong plan in place, making it less likely you’ll be caught off guard when you’re sitting in the hot seat.
Get Your Questions in Order
Towards the end of your interview, you’ll likely be given a chance to ask some questions of your own. Neglecting this part of the discussion isn’t wise, as failing to ask great questions can have the hiring manager doubting your interest in the position.
Begin by researching the company and the role for which you are interviewing. If you can’t find information about certain details, then form a question to get the feedback you need. Make sure you don’t ask questions that can easily be answered with some simple web searches, as this suggests you didn’t take the initiative to do basic research, and stay away from topics like compensation, as it is likely too early in the process. However, questions about how the position may change over the next few years or what the company’s culture is like are often fair game and show you have a long-term vision regarding the role.
Keep Expectations in Check
Even with a strong resume and well-managed interview, there is still a chance you won’t be selected for the job or that you might not even want it when all is said and done. In that regard, it is wise to keep in mind that an offer may not come, but remember that every interview experience is valuable as it lets you practice your interviewing skills. Always make sure to give it your all, and you may find that even if this job doesn’t pan out, it could help your performance at your next interview.
If you are interested in finding a new job, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with great employers in the area. Contact us to see what is available today.
As an IT professional, you may have tried to weigh the benefits between holding a full-time job or working on short-term contracts. While each can be viable options for your career, which is right for you ultimately depends on where your priorities lie. To help you sort through your options, here are some key points to consider about these employment opportunities.
Even if a full-time and contract position function with the same job title, the actual duties that will be assigned can be somewhat difference. Often, contract employees are given the chance to focus on their core skill set, since the positions are typically associated with a particular project or goal. This means you’ll spend less time on tasks outside of those core competencies, making it ideal for those who want to work in specialized positions without any excess.
Full-time positions often have duties outside of the core set. For example, software developers may be responsible for projects as well as providing a level of support to end-users and performing certain maintenance activities. This can provide a more well-rounded experience and may appeal to those who like diversity in their daily tasks.
Most full-time positions come with a range of standard benefits, including health insurance, paid time off and retirement options. This allows you to coordinate multiple needs through your employer, and can provide a level of security to those who don’t want to manage these requirements on their own.
In contrast, many contract positions provided limited, if any, benefits beyond a paycheck. Depending on the length of the contract, you may have some opportunities for paid time off, but companies aren’t required to provide these benefits. Additionally, you’ll likely be responsible for managing your own retirement, healthcare, and even tax withholdings as a contract employee. You may have a chance to explore less expensive options for insurance or have more control over your retirement, but it will require you to be more hands-on than full-time employees generally have to be.
Sometimes you don’t know whether a workplace is right for you until you are seated at a desk trying to get your work done. While full-time employees have limited options for leaving, often feeling they have to tolerate less than ideal circumstances for at least a year or so before jumping ship, contractors have a defined end date from the beginning. This means if the environment isn’t a great fit, you already know when you can head out the door.
However, if the company offers a great place to work, contractors might not have the option to stay regardless of how well they perform in the position. In some cases, you might be given the chance to sign on full-time, but that isn’t guaranteed. Full-time employees are generally hired with long-term potential in mind, meaning they can enjoy the workplace for as long as they choose.
Whether you should choose full-time or contract opportunities depends on what you value. Both approaches to your career have merit, so there is no inherently right or wrong answer. Instead, consider which advantages appeal to you most and whether the drawbacks are tolerable. Then, shape your career in that image. In the end, if your original choice isn’t the right one, you can always choose to change directions.
If you are looking for either a contract or full-time opportunity, The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us today and see what is available in your area.