Friday, Mar 17 2017

Is Your IT Team Burned Out?

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Burned Out

 

With unemployment amongst IT professionals being well below the national average, many teams have been asked to do more with less for the past few years. Add to that the strains of adapting to new technologies and the expectations set by management regarding their implementation, and your tech employees can easily be on the brink of burnout.

 

But, if they aren’t specifically airing their concerns, how can you tell if your IT team is starting to reach the breaking point? Here are a few common signs that can help you spot potential burnout before catastrophe strikes.

Tiredness and Exhaustion

If your tech pros are working overtime to meet demands or trying to juggle their work and home life unsuccessful, they may begin to come to work with noticeably less pep in their step. While everyone occasionally does battle with a sleepless night, coming to work a bit worse for wear the next day, employees that seem to be in a constant state of tiredness or exhaustion may be reaching the point of burnout. And, if it is combined with some of the signs below, it could be time to intervene.

Failing Motivation

When an employee is suddenly struggling to meet deadlines or meet performance metrics when they previously excelled, it could be a sign that trouble is brewing. While anyone can have an off week or month, an extreme change in performance is likely an indication of something else.

Decreased Work Quality

Even employees that meet their deadlines could be fighting off burnout. One indicator can be a dramatic change in the quality of their outputs in a short period of time. Sometimes, this is attributed to the exhaustion that can accompany burnout or the lack of motivation. However, it can also be connected to a lack of interest or caring in regards to their work, a surefire sign that burnout could be on the horizon.

Negative Attitude

We all get frustrated from time to time. But an IT employee that is suddenly teeming with negative emotions and comments might be having real difficulties. Additionally, a previously content employee that has developed a new habit of filing complaints with managers could be reaching the breaking point. Any unusual change in mood that persists for more than a day or two (and isn’t directly attributed to a specific short-term situation) might be burning out.

What to Do When the Signs of Burnout Appear

Your first step in managing potential burnout is to reach out to the employee. Atypical behavior is cause for concern, and it is easy to justify scheduling a meeting to discuss the change. The important part is to try and identify the source of the issue and not be overly confrontational. If you can find out the cause, you can begin to explore methods to help them get back on track.

 

If you are interested in learning more about employee burnout or are trying to find a new employee to alleviate some of the strain on your current IT team, the experts at The Armada Group are ready to help. Contact us to discuss your company’s needs today.

 

1 Armada FaaS

 

Features-as-a-Service (FaaS) is the latest trend to come down the developer pipeline. The driving force behind the movement is to give developers quick access to come features using a traditional off-the-shelf software model. Instead of having to recreate the same features every time they create a new application, the developers select the features they need from FaaS providers.

FaaS Offerings

Many applications have certain features in common. For example, mapping services and certain social components are regularly included by developers. Instead of having to mess with an API to have the options fit into the project, developers simply choose FaaS options that meet those needs.

 

What makes FaaS different from some other “as a service” development is the fact that the features don’t operate as a standalone product. Instead, they are intended to be components of a larger offering, providing an additional function on the front-end once integrated.

 

Since FaaS providers focus on creating these modular options, the quality of the feature should remain high. Instead of being created by developers with larger missions, for an FaaS developer, the feature is the entire product. That means that significant time and attention were likely paid to ensure it provides the best experience possible since it is intended for resale and not just internal use.

Benefits of FaaS

In essence, the features are designed to be plug-and-play, limiting the amount of work required on the developer's part to get a function that is featured in a wide array of applications. Some product features, like video chatting and news feeds, can be fairly complex in nature. And spending the time to reinvent the wheel every time a developer wants to include a certain feature isn’t an efficient use of resources.

 

FaaS allows developers to bypass the work required to create features that many apps have in common, like intuitive search-as-you-type and deeplinking. Instead, they can concentrate on the aspects of the application that are unique to that specific product.

 

The overall benefit is a more cost-effective approach to application development. Internal resources are focused solely on new development, allowing development timelines to be shortened while still ensuring a high-quality product.

 

Additionally, companies that embrace FaaS may find themselves more attractive to top developers working in the field. Often, the best and brightest end up fighting boredom on the job, and repeatedly creating the same feature could play into that feeling. By removing more repetitive portions of the development process, developers get to work on the parts of the app that are new without having to reinvent the wheel along the way.

 

If you are looking for a new application developer who understands the benefits of FaaS, the experts at The Armada Group can help you locate the ideal candidate quickly. Contact us and see how our recruiting experience can help you avoid reinventing the hiring wheel.

5 technical resume

When it comes to intimidation during the interview process, the technical interview takes the cake. No matter your level of experience or education, you never know if you are fully prepared for what you will be asked to do. And being faced with an empty whiteboard and a panel of interviewers can make even the strongest candidates stumble.

 

But even if you feel confident about your actions, how do you know that you were actually successful? While the answer isn’t as black and white as your technical interview responses, there are a few signs that suggest a positive outcome.

The “Right” Answer

As with any test, getting the answer right is the key to success. However, technical interviews don’t always involve a single right answer. Some scenarios can be managed through a variety of approaches, so whether your method was sound matters more than the precise direction used. As long as your method can produce consistent results should the variables change, you should consider that a success.

 

However, it is helpful to brush up your skills based on information in the job posting. For example, if a particular programming language is explicitly listed on the announcement, then make sure you are comfortable with it before heading into the technical interview. Whether that means breaking out textbooks from your college days, taking an online refresher course, or simply practicing at home, give yourself an opportunity to get those concepts back in mind before facing unexpected questions during the interview.

Clear Communication

While writing the answer on the board is an important part of the process, so is clearly communicating your methods and reasoning. Technical interviews give interviewers and hiring managers indications regarding how you think when faced with a problem. And their assessment is based on how you manage these scenarios in real-time. Strong candidates are able to keep their composure and articulate their reasoning as they proceed through the task.

 

This doesn’t mean that you need to speak to your approach with the ease of a well-prepared speech, but you do need to be able to manage it like a comfortable conversation. If you keep everyone engaged and maintain a professional tone during your interview, a few stutters and missteps won’t be your undoing.

 

Most people don’t spend significant portions of their day writing on whiteboards for other’s benefit. And writing on a vertical surface isn’t generally as comfortable as something placed on a table. However, if you begin your technical interview and your handwriting is illegible, then you may run into trouble.

 

Now, no one is expecting elegant script during these exercises, so don’t stress about the attractiveness of your handwriting. If it can be easily read by everyone in the room, you should be fine. Often, simply slowing down your writing can keep everything in the realm of reasonable, so just try not to rush.

 

If your technical interview met the criteria above, then it is possible to consider it a success regardless of whether you are selected. As with any interview, every time you repeat the process, you will be more prepared for the next one. If you are looking for more tips on technical interviews or are interested in new job opportunities, The Armada Group is here to help. Contact us and see what positions are available in your area.

4 tech resume

 

What makes a great resume isn’t set in stone.  Trends in resume writing and presentation change almost as quickly as hiring trends within the tech community, and staying up-to-date is often a key to job hunting success.  So, if your resume format hasn’t changed since you left college, or even within the past couple of years, then it is definitely time for an overall.

 

To help you reach resume glory, here are four ways to make your tech resume more modern.

Be a Person

You are more than a set of technical skills and daily tasks, and your resume should reflect that fact.  When you are describing previous experiences, go beyond the basics of what you did to explain how you did it.  How you manage projects and issues on the job gives employers insight into how you work as an individual. So don’t be afraid to include snippets about working with consultants and coworkers to get to the bottom of an issue, as well as other process that helped you succeed.

There’s Now an “I” in Resume

The use of first-person pronouns has been a no-go in resumes for decades, but that sentiment has begun to change.  As with the above tip about being more than just a skill set, occasionally using “I” helps your turn your resume into a story instead of a highlight reel.

 

However, that doesn’t mean you need to rewrite every sentence to fit the new paradigm.  Instead, consider using first-person pronouns in your professional summary, but leaving the rest of the content more formal.

Discuss Extracurricular Activities that Count

Diversity is a priority in most workplaces, so if you have experience interacting with a diverse group of people through volunteer opportunities, community affiliations, or other relevant experience, consider including it in your resume.  It also provides insights into your personality that may set you apart from more rank-and-file applicants.

Don’t Dwell on the Past

While technical positions require specific skills, resist the urge to list every certification or skill you possess.  Instead, include those that are most relevant to the position, and leave the rest off.  Additionally, if a tool, technique, language, or skills is now considered antiquated, it is better to remove it as well.  Paying homage to the technology of yesterday won’t help in a modern job market, and it may even hurt your chances of being seen as an asset in today’s tech world.

 

By following the tips above, you can help bring your resume out of the past and into the present (or even the future).  If you are looking for additional resume tips or new job opportunities, The Armada Group has the industry experience to help you move forward.  Contact us and see what our professional recruitment team has to offer.

Armada Tach Skills

Businesses have reevaluated their goals and determined their IT budgets in preparation for 2017. Along with that comes plans regarding which tech skills will be a priority. And, even though unemployment in IT is still especially low, having the most in-demand tech skills positions you to take advantage of everything the job market has to offer. To help you on your way to career success, here are the seven tech skills you need to excel in 2017.

1. Software Programming and Development

Companies are typically allocating larger portions of their budgets to software programming and development, increasing the demand for those with the proper skills. Whether businesses are interested customizing off-the-shelf products or want to develop from scratch, developers and programmers are needed to make those goals a reality.

Along with high demand comes higher salaries, so pursuing or furthering a career in software programming and development can be a highly lucrative path.

2. Help Desk Technical Support

Help desk professionals often don’t get a lot of glory, but they are critical to the operations of large enterprises. Being able to manage incoming trouble tickets effectively, while also improving processes and procedures is incredibly valuable.

Success in these positions requires a fairly wide knowledge base, and that isn’t always easy to find, especially at Tier 2 or Tier 3 levels. If you enjoy diversity in your daily tasks, then focusing on Help Desk operations may be ideal.

3. Security

It’s no surprise security will remain a priority. Threats change constantly, so having skilled professionals who are able to keep up with the shifting demands of these critical positions will be a top concern for more organizations. Positions will be available in larger enterprises, as well as consulting options for those who prefer to work with a variety of businesses to help them meet their needs.

4. Cloud Services

The cloud is now considered fairly mainstream technology. Many companies have already invested in cloud storage and services, including SaaS, and those that haven’t may be contemplating the move. Professionals who are familiar with the idiosyncrasies of how these services work in companies of varying sizes are well-positioned to move forward in their careers during 2017.

5. Data Analytics

Big data is still very relevant in today’s business climate, so skills in data analytics will remain in-demand. Most industries can benefit from data analytics, so positions may be available in everything from healthcare to retail to manufacturing.

6. Web Development

The need for quality websites isn’t set to change anytime soon. In fact, some companies are spending less time concentrating on mobile app development and, instead, redirecting those energies to mobile versions of their websites. With that in mind, experience in web development and associated skill can provide new employment opportunities through the next year.

7. Project Management

There will always be projects that need oversight and coordination. Having a solid understanding of IT and project management principles gives you the ability to take on projects that may be outside of the experience of project managers not as familiar with IT. To command top dollar, education and certification in the skill area are often preferred.

If your career is focused on any of these areas or you are interested in exploring new employment options, The Armada Group has the industry experience needed to match your skills to the best opportunities available in the area. Contact us and see where your knowledge can take you in 2017.

9 Anxiety

Most people paint stress and anxiety in a bad light. While excessive stress can lead to various negative consequences, some anxiety can actually help you move forward. Before you dismiss your concern as being poor for your work performance and general well-being, consider these benefits that lurk just below the surface of that troubling feeling.

Change Can Be Good

One source of anxiety is a fear of change. And this feeling can happen even if the change reinforces something you already know. Many people remain stagnant because they feel secure, even if they aren’t happy. But ignoring your displeasure can leave you waiting for a sign that will never appear.

 

However, sometimes experiencing the anxiety related to change helps you understand more about what you truly want. For example, a pending layoff can provide clarity regarding whether your current job is right for you. If you truly valued the position (beyond the security), you will be reminded of all of the things you value. However, if you are unhappy, you may find the prospect of a layoff inviting, even invigorating, as it gives you an easy way to exit.

 

Now, that doesn’t mean the transition won’t be scary, but sometimes staying on your current course is a bigger long-term risk than pursuing a new opportunity.

Anxiety Requires Action

Alleviating anxiety requires you to take action, as the situation rarely resolves itself. Sometimes the desire to get beyond that feeling is enough to have you making the tough decisions you may have been avoiding. If the idea of maintaining a business-as-usual lifestyle creates a tightness in your chest and has your pulse racing, then the only way to get past those feelings may be through action.

 

Sometimes you have to make a choice. Your anxiety may be focused on the risks associated with the decision you actually want to settle on. Many people allow their careers to flow without much intervention. They continue forward without a definitive plan or hold on to goals that will not happen organically. Without committing to a direction, you will find yourself coasting through life and possibly missing the chance to pursue your dreams.

Action Leads to Growth

Once you take control of your IT career and pursue what is important to you, you may find your anxiety transforming into relief or even calm. While that doesn’t mean all risks are gone, sometimes the risks of remaining stationary are just as painful to contemplate.

 

If you find yourself interested in a new IT field or position, consider what is required to make that change happen. If you need more education, check into your options. Need more experience? See what it takes to gain it. You may find that your anxiety drives you to locate the answer to the questions you’ve been holding on to, and it may not be as scary as you imagined.

 

To help you turn your anxiety into success, consider working with employment professionals who can show you all the options available to you in the IT field. Working with The Armada Group provides access to unique opportunities that can have you headed in a better, less anxiety-ridden direction. Contact us and see how our 20+ years of experience can help you take control of your anxiety.