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Friday, Jan 31 2014

IT Contract Hiring On the Rise

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While the economy is showing signs of recovery, CIOs and hiring managers are still cautious about adding new positions. The latest information from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that only 77,600 IT jobs have been added over the last 12 months, with some late 2013 months showing losses of a few thousand jobs.

However, there is some good news on the IT job front. This year, more companies are increasing their hiring budgets in order to bring in more skilled IT contractors.

Cautious CIOs lead to increased reliance on outsourcing

The world of technology is changing faster than ever, with everything moving toward mobile, cloud, and wireless. These rapid shifts have left many companies with aging, legacy infrastructures—and without the budgets to upgrade.

Since hiring new, full-time employees to keep up with the latest technologies represents a significant investment that’s often outside the budget, HR professionals are turning to IT contractors for help.

A recent study from IT recruiting and consulting firm Mondo, drawing on a survey of IT decision makers and data from their contract IT placement network, found that 32 percent of respondents plan to increase their contractor budgets, and 48 percent will hire more IT contractors than permanent staff over the next 12 to 18 months. OnForce, another IT contract staffing provider, says the findings are consistent with their client experiences.

Popular skill sets for IT contractors

What are CIOs and hiring managers looking for in outsourced IT? Developers and marketers are in particularly high demand, across a variety of disciplines and platforms. Nearly every type of business is looking, but those most likely to increase contract spending include the publishing, communications, media, and higher education markets.

The Mondo survey reports that 73 percent of respondents are currently using IT contractors for:

  • Application development
  • Web and mobile development
  • Application maintenance

A further 30 percent will outsource app development, and 27 percent will contract for web and mobile development, over the next 12 to 18 months.

Fluke or emerging pattern?

Is the trend toward hiring more IT contractors permanent, or will companies go back to hiring more full-time staff once the economy stabilizes further? Factors such as an aging workforce, an increased demand for flexibility, and streamlined costs point to a pattern that is here to stay.

OnForce reports an increase in monthly applicants to its Workforce-as-a-Service from around 750 to approximately 1,000 in recent months, and that number is growing. In fact, it is expected that the number of IT contractors in the workforce will double in 2014, and outsourced IT services will remain the norm for a few years, or longer.

If you are looking for IT contract work in Silicon Valley, contact our team to learn more about employment opportunitites.

 

 

Bay Area IT staffing firm to expand operations in Silicon Valley

 

The Armada Group is pleased to announce the addition of Tim Chapman to their senior leadership team as an Executive Vice President. Mr. Chapman will be responsible for corporate sales leadership and direct management of Armada's new Silicon Valley offices.

Mr. Chapman has more than 17 years of information technology staffing and recruiting experience, previously serving in leadership roles for TEKsystems and Volt Information Sciences. In addition, Mr. Chapman is a U.S. Army Veteran with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Houston.   

According to Armada CEO, Jeff Tavangar "Tim is a proven IT services leader who thoroughly understands technology staffing in the Bay area.  He will be a great resource for our clients who are looking to develop more effective talent management strategies."

Mr. Chapman will focus on the delivery of The Armada Group's proprietary talent consultation process to enable companies to more effectively and proactively hire and manage their technical staffing requirements. According to Mr. Chapman, “By joining the Armada Group, I am thrilled to be a member of the team that has been a key solutions provider to an impressive list of who’s who in global technology companies with roots in the Bay Area. Armada’s expansion is a natural step in our commitment to deliver the best available talent with the companies that require it.”

About The Armada Group

The Armada Group provides on demand talent solutions for the world’s most innovative companies. Armada's clients include global technology leaders like Cisco, eBay and Paypal, Fortune 500 companies such as HP and Sony, as well as fast growth VC funded tech firms.

The Armada Group was founded in 1995 to connect extraordinary talent with world class opportunities. Because of the incredibly competitive nature of technical recruiting in the Bay Area, Armada developed a proprietary technical talent evaluation and hiring plan process that enables employers to more effectively source qualified resources and ensure timely access to full-time and contract staff.

 

While post-recession job growth is still sluggish nearly four years later, temporary staffing is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers provided by staffing agencies rose to 2.74 million in October 2013 – a 57% increase over a low  1.75 million in August of 2009.

"All the research that we've done (shows) the trends are pointing towards the flexible workforce," said Jeff Tavangar, CEO at the Armada Group, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based staffing company.

  • Overall percentage of current temporary workers is now 2%, near an all-time high.
  • Temporary  jobs represented one in 10 jobs lost during the recession.
  • More than 16% of net employment gains since the recession ended were temporary jobs
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be 631,000 more temp jobs in 2020 than 2010.

If you would like to see the full article click here.

Wednesday, Sep 11 2013

Certifications to Advance Your Career

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There are more IT specializations than there are flavors of ice cream. The best way to communicate your knowledge is to supplement your experience with a certification. Seasoned professionals and recent graduates alike can benefit from these standardized measurements of expertise. But how do you know which one(s) will best top off your career?


What's Your IT Demographic?
Unlike the average person, you know that IT doesn't just translate into "good with computers". So are you a network specialist, or have you focused on security? Maybe you're a web developer or an app programmer. Getting certified in one area when you're experienced in another only makes sense if you're switching. Otherwise, there's plenty of diversification within your own specialization. Focus your certification efforts to collaborate with your experience.


What Are Your Career Objectives?
How far do you want to go? Do you want to become a CSO and oversee all of a company's security efforts? Or are you content with the next level of maintaining the firewall? Define what you want before investing the time and money educating yourself. Be SMART with your objectives – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Be aware of trends within your IT specialization, such as cloud computing and mobile security. With clear goals in mind, research which certifications might be useful in obtaining your objectives. Remember that many require a commitment to maintaining a certified status.


What Career Path Interests You?
If career objectives describe your destination, a career path is the map of your journey to get there. Just like there is more than one way to go from Philadelphia to New York City, your career path has alternate routes. Some may involve lateral moves to positions with the same pay and responsibilities as your current one, but will offer opportunities to gain the skills and experience you need to move forward. Some routes may leapfrog you ahead, provided you jump through a few hoops while in "mid-air". Both ways may require certifications, but different ones. Talk to your supervisor and/or human resources representative to discover if what you want is a possibility and if your ideas on achieving advancement coincide with theirs.


What Certifications Will Have a Significant Impact?
While certain skills are emphasized more than others at times, a few are essential. Some certifications have also been around for many years, and are simply updated as technology evolves. Whether these or newer/trending certifications are right for you can only be determined by your career objectives, path, specialization... and the demand.


Right now, project management is a hot topic, so PMP certification is highly desired for professionals looking to manage more IT projects. As Linux continues to broaden its market influence, Red Hat Certified Engineers are becoming more necessary in the system administration. RHCEs can also benefit from related but more specialized Linux certifications. There is also a high demand for virtualization (VCP), security (CISSP), networking (particularly Cisco's CCIE), and all the different flavors within Microsoft's family of domains (MCITP varietals).


Pursuing a certification for the sake of having a few letters next to your name is not going to help drive your career. Taking the time to define, discover and discuss what you really have a taste for will make you happier with what you choose and get you closer to your dreams. If you are looking IT job opportuntiites in California, contact The Armada Group today.

Wednesday, Aug 07 2013

Top Five IT Jobs for 2013

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Businesses committed to progress must keep up with rapidly evolving technology – anticipating trends, guaranteeing data capacity, and utilizing innovation. So who’s responsible for leading the charge, all while protecting the company’s systems and bottom line? Here are five roles that control the backbone of information technology.

CIO: Chief Information Officer – Median Income $160,000

Sometimes referred to as a CISO (Chief Information Systems Officer), this high-ranking position drives the organization’s objectives through technology. Focused primarily on internal customers, they are responsible for the enterprise-level network infrastructure, supporting data requirements and communication across the organization. This usually includes vendor negotiations for needed equipment, software, and services.

CIOs develop strategies and initiatives that employ information systems to support business processes. They propose budgets for programs, upgrades, and IT-related projects. The CIO role is shifting more toward business management, with an emphasis on special expertise in finance, law, green tech, and security.

CTO: Chief Technology Officer – Median Income $150,000

This role is often confused with the CIO. The latter is concerned with the profitability of the IT structure, while the CTO is motivated by the external customer and uses technology to augment their organization’s offerings. Though they do share some responsibilities, the strategies a CTO develops are intended to increase revenue.

The CTO is responsible for the company’s web presence, maintaining site registration, up-time, and search engine optimization. They may conduct code reviews, test for conformance, and examine web analytics. If relevant, CTOs also supervise web application and software development.

CSO: Chief Security Officer – Median Income $150,000

While the CSO may also be required to provide for the physical security of employees and facilities, this job’s primary function is to shield the organization’s data from internal and external threats.

The goal is to proactively protect sensitive information by identifying vulnerabilities, creating security solutions, and developing and implementing policies and procedures, which the CSO then communicates to employees. Staff training and active system monitoring help ensure security. The CSO may also be involved in plans for disaster recovery and business continuity efforts.

VPIT: Vice President of Information Technology – Median Income $140,000

The VP of IT is the visionary, anticipating company growth and using emerging technology to support long-term objectives. They implement and maintain current systems and infrastructure while analyzing new possibilities for integration.

The VP allocates resources, prioritizes IT projects, and administers the development of applications and technology, providing leadership for development teams. Plans, policies, programs, and schedules for networks, computer services, data processing, and business operations are directed and managed by the VP.

ITSM: Information Technology Security Manager – Median Income $135,000

An Information Technology Security Manager establishes the company’s security strength via guidelines, design, and training. The role oversees risk audits and assessments, implementing appropriate security solutions and collaborating with other departments to ensure that employees comply with procedures. The ITSM maintains an awareness of possible threats and plans countermeasures for security vulnerabilities. Responsibilities may also include securing networks and any off-site backup storage.

Most of these positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but MBAs or specialized master’s degrees will serve better. Would honing your skills and education pay off? We see the IT field expanding rapidly, and the need for qualified experts is poised for growth.

 

Three Errors to Watch For

The saying “the devil is in the details” certainly didn’t originate with programming, but it’s an apt truism for the world of code. Three simple categories of mistakes and oversights can cause numerous headaches for developers, but it can be difficult to stay on top of all the minutiae. Are you prone to one or more of these missteps? They happen to everyone, but a little practice can give you a sharper eye and reduce your workday stress.

Inconsistency

It isn’t always easy to remember what you’ve named a past piece of data, but when you’re dealing with thousands of bits of information, consistency is your best friend. Call a spade a spade, every time you reference one—or as the case may be, refer to a “product number” as ProductID or ProdID, but not a conglomeration of the two. The same goes for dates and times: rely on the internal clock, or set a company-wide standard—otherwise, you might be faced with endless debates on whether 6/8 refers to June 8th or August 6th.

Overenthusiasm

Sometimes, excitement can impede logical thinking, and a fad is born. These fads can be genuinely good trends, but they’re easily overused or pushed on the wrong audience. Just because something is in style, doesn’t make it the right choice, and could actively harm your end goal. Another common error due to overenthusiasm comes from code completion tools. It’s great to have help with code, but you need to stay on top of even the best tools, even when it’s all too easy to click away and wait for the magic.

Forgetting the basics

After weeks, months, and years spent tackling complex programming, it’s easy to forget the initial lessons you learned. This most commonly shows up when checking the logs—or, rather, not checking them. You need to find an error message before resolving a problem, but programmers often seem to skip over that first step and then find themselves befuddled. If something isn’t making sense, step back and make sure you’ve checked all the avenues for gathering information before calling in reinforcements.

Don’t beat yourself up

If you catch yourself making some of the above mistakes, don’t stress. Even advanced programmers get caught up in little details and find themselves wading through inconsistent timestamps or gleefully showering clients with the latest UI fashion. Instead, take an error as a warning sign, and keep your eyes peeled. These common programming flubs are only true problems if they are consistent; one or two won’t hurt your reputation or work output. But for fewer headaches all around, beware the details that can try to trip you up.

If you are looking for a career in IT, contact the staffing experts at The Armada Group today. We have the network and resources to help you land your next job.