Data and analytics have dominated the technology landscape for the past few years, acting as a dominating force for change throughout a range of industries. Within these segments are a series of trends that suggest what the space has in store for business throughout 2017 and possibly beyond. Here are some of the key points that are garnering attention today and deserve your attention through the rest of the year.
Artificial Intelligence is Center Stage
The concept of artificial intelligence has danced its way in and out of our awareness since the founding principles were established in the 1960s. Now, significant developments in the area are seeing what once was considered science fiction to become fact within workplaces across the country. Platforms have been created with processing models that are beginning to bring AI to life.
Whether you call it AI, machine learning, cognitive computing, or neural networking, it looks like the technology is finally entering business in a meaningful way. While the beginning applications will involve eliminating repetitive, menial tasks from the hands of employees, where it can go has yet to be determined.
Big data stormed in with limited structure or direction. Often, businesses collected massive amounts of data from any source that could be reached. Now, companies are aiming for applications that meet the unique needs or their organization. This not only increases efficiency through targeted data analytics, but it also provides more value than the blanket approach of yesteryear.
To meet the need, platforms will become more agile. The ultimate goal is to create singular solutions that cover the data analytics tasks while marrying them to other operations within the company. If the solution doesn’t provide long-term value, then customers will likely look elsewhere.
Data analytics have typically focused on collecting information and providing either real-time or post-event outputs designed to improve processes through optimization. Preemptive analytics provides the opportunity to drive the transaction, allowing for interventions before an event has even taken place. In the end, these data-driven processes may help create new revenue opportunities, cut costs, and even improve customer interactions through a higher level of personalization.
The Rise of Data Engineers
While data scientists will still have a place in the workplace, data engineers will become the new specialty de jour. Instead of examining data to resolve business issues, data engineers create and manage the larger infrastructure behind big data. Since system operations are a critical part of the data analytics field, those who can design, support and maintain these systems will be more coveted than ever.
If your company is looking for the skilled IT professionals, it needs to prepare for the use of data and analytics through 2017, and beyond, the recruitment professionals at The Armada Group can help locate the employees you need. Contact us and see how finding the right employee can position your business for success throughout the year and into the next.
It wasn’t that long ago that the recommendation to use bullet points on your resume became commonplace. The approach was considered a strong alternative to giant blocks of text, a method that was often more difficult to read and generally unappealing. However, the use of bullet points shifted from helping provide a level of clarity in key sections to the go-to style for almost every portion of the resume.
The higher amount of use isn’t a fatal flaw in itself. However, the way bullet points are used can cause problems. To help you understand why you should bypass the bullet point approach in some cases, here is an overview of the trouble they can cause and how to produce a better resume.
Unintelligible Data Dumps
Bullet points began as an exercise in brevity, helping professionals keep things simple and clear. Over time, many began using them for every aspect of their resume. This leads to a series of factoids being listed about your experience without any depth.
Often, there is little if any context for these short statements and explanations are essentially nonexistent. Instead, candidates assume hiring managers will fill in the blanks themselves, even though that typically isn’t the case. These resumes don’t produce a clear picture as to why you are an ideal fit for the position and can lead to being passed over instead.
To make bullet points work for you, they need to be combined with greater context. First, make sure to include a summary section near the top of your resume. This highlights key points of interested customized to the position to which you are applying and serves as an introduction. Then, make sure to include explanations on a regular basis. This can include quick overviews of each position before adding bullet points as support or highlight key skill areas and how specific experiences support your knowledge.
The idea is to use a combination approach of short paragraphs supported by additional points. This ensures you create a whole picture of how your career unfolded and why the hiring manager should be interested in the bullet points that follow. It also makes your resume more interesting visually as it provides some variation in the structure. When used properly, you can even design the document to drawn the eye from one section to the next, leading them along through the story of your professional life.
A resume is a living document; it is always in a growth period and will almost never be completely perfect. As you apply to jobs and schedule interviews, use any feedback that is provided to create a stronger document. Ultimately, a resume is a first impression. You should take every opportunity to ensure it is the best one you can possibly make.
If you are interested in a new position in your field, The Armada Group can help you find new options in your area. Contact us to begin exploring the opportunities available today.
It’s just a fact; not everyone working has a job they love. In some cases, people head out the door every day to end up at a job they downright loath. But being in a bad IT job doesn’t mean there isn’t some value in the experience. In fact, it can actually be a catalyst to bigger and better things. So, before you decide that everything to do with the less than stellar position isn’t of use, here are some learning opportunities that even a bad tech job can provide.
A Better Work/Life Balance
When your job doesn’t provide much satisfaction, it is common to turn to other activities to get the fulfillment you need. This can include anything from hobbies to education to personal business pursuits. Additionally, you are less inclined to take your home with you, freeing you from a sense of obligation others may hold. As you look for more value from your home life, it is often easier to attain the work/life balance many people crave, and that can be a wonderful thing.
The Value of Perseverance
If you can’t immediately leave a bad IT job for greener pastures, you often get the exercise a valuable soft skill: perseverance. You have to dedicate yourself to finishing your tasks and meeting deadlines, even if you find the experience less than enjoyable, as this ensures you have positive references when the time comes to move on. Over time, your dedication can lead to new opportunities, too.
In some cases, you’ll find your current job helps you find an opportunity at a better company. In others, you may get to see your workplace change. People often come and go in any business. And, if the right people leave or come in, your once bad job may actually turn into something you enjoy.
Learning to Let Go
We aren’t all born optimists. However, being stuck in a less than ideal IT position can’t consume your whole life. Instead, you get to practice a valuable life skill as you learn to let go of what ails you. In time, you’ll learn to spot the brighter side of things within your life to help keep you moving forward on a day-to-day basis. And, with some practice, you may even find yourself assuming the new title of an optimist.
Take Every Advantage
Since your job doesn’t meet your needs overall, consider every advantage it could have to offer you and your future. Then, pursue them with all your might. Every chance to learn a new skill or explore a new technology should be grasped with both hands. Then, when it comes time to head out the door, you have more to offer than when you started in the position.
If you are looking for new opportunities to replace your bad IT job, The Armada Group can help you find positions that may offer what your current one lacks. Contact us today and see what the future may hold once you find a job that gives you something to smile about on its own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing brings the value of a strong professional network to light like a job search. While many job seekers focus on creating new connections, your old network is also highly valuable. Throughout one’s career, it is often easy to let these prior relationships fall by the wayside. However, making an effort to cultivate that network today can yield significant returns when you are looking for new employment opportunities.
If you have neglected your prior connections, here are some tips to help you reconnect.
Embrace Social Media
Most social media networks provide a suitable path to reconnect with co-workers and supervisors past. LinkedIn is particularly well positioned for this task, though Facebook and other avenues can also be effective.
When reaching out, don’t be surprised if not everyone responds. Depending on how long it has been since you have communicated and the nature of your exit from one another’s lives, not all parties will be immediately interested in reestablishing the relationship. Make sure your initial messages do not focus on a request. Instead, remind them of your previous connection and express an interest in keeping in touch. If the original request is well received, work to reconnect before you ask for assistance in your job search.
If you regularly attend conferences, conventions or large meetings, you may be able to reconnect more organically. By being involved in the event, you show you are still committed to the industry, and face-to-face interactions often hold more potential than those based on social media.
Regardless of whether members of your previous network attend, you have the opportunity to network with other professionals who may also make valuable additions to your network (and you to theirs). Consider the time spent at these events as an investment in your professional future, and take advantage of everything they have to offer.
Set Social Appointments
Regular interaction in person is critical to maintaining your connections. Consider scheduling regular meetings or social appointments to catch up in person. Even a simple coffee break can help keep your network alive. Don’t always talk about work and professional opportunities. Instead, use those topics to pepper a conversation that resembles two friends catching up on each other’s lives.
All relationships require maintenance. Once you reconnect, make sure you follow up to keep the connection strong. If you reconnect over social media, review the other person’s posts and add comments, share their articles or simply like the content. Complement these efforts with other forms of communication when your schedules align.
Be an Asset
Keeping a healthy network involves effort on your part as well. Consider what you have to offer other members of your network and give of yourself freely. By being there when someone else needs help, you can cement the relationship over the long term while doing something positive for someone else.
If you are currently looking to expand your network or are interested in finding new employment options, The Armada Group has the skills needed to match candidates with the best opportunities available in their field. Contact us and see where our professional network can take you.