The law prohibits age discrimination, but there's no denying it gets harder to find a job the older you get. This is especially true in technical fields, where there's a rapid pace of innovation and a belief that older employees are less likely to keep up their technical skills or be creative. If you're over 50, here are five tips to help you get a programming job without lying about your age.
Create a resume that emphasizes accomplishments, not dates.
Rewrite your resume so it offers specific evidence of your skills and achievements. Use a project-based or functional organization that shows how you bring problem-solving skills and creativity to your work.
Improve your interview skills.
If you haven't interviewed for a job since you graduated from college, take time to practice before heading out to your interviews. You'll want to be able to cope with technical questions, questions about the details of the projects you worked on, questions about your career goals and expectations, and behavioral interview questions that probe how you tackle problems.
Prepare to prove your technical ability.
You may have been programming in Java for more than a decade, but you should still be prepared to back up your technical expertise. You may be asked to solve problems through an online exam or at a whiteboard during the interview. It's a good idea to review subject matter before an interview or test, even if you're an expert. The test or interview questions may touch on areas of the technology that you haven't been using in your current position.
Look for new ways of applying your skills.
You may not be able to find a job that uses your skills in the same ways you've used them up 'til now. Be open to positions that draw on your technical knowledge in a different way, such as analysis or testing.
Demonstrate that you're capable of learning and working in new ways.
Take a class in a new technology and add a new certification to your resume to show that you're still interested in staying up to date. At interviews, discuss how you've adapted to changing circumstances to show your flexibility.
At The Armada Group, we don't care how old you are. If you've got a resume packed with skills and experience, we can help you find a job that will let you leverage your talent in new ways. Contact us to get started in your search.
Just getting through the day at the office can be tough sometimes. When you're worried about being fired, each eight-hour workday can feel like 80. Here are four tips that can help you minimize the risk of being fired and let you enjoy the challenges of your job.
Fit In With the Company Culture
No matter how good you are technically, if you don't fit in, you may eventually be cast out. Every company has a culture, which includes things like how the employees dress, what time they show up for work, how they communicate, how they react to problems, and what the priorities are. Because it's hard to change your personality and the way you behave, it's best to evaluate your cultural fit before you accept a position.
Build a Solid Relationship With Your Manager
Even if layoffs are mandated by senior executives, your immediate manager probably has some say in which employees are let go. The better your manager knows you and your work, the more likely your position will be secure. In some tech organizations, the project manager or technical leader who oversees your work isn't the manager with the hiring authority, so be sure you understand who is. Then make sure to keep that manager updated about the work you're doing. If they offer one-on-one meetings, take them and discuss your career path. If you make it evident you see a future for yourself with the company, so will the manager.
Address Any Performance Issues
While ideally you're succeeding at your job, if there are problems, you need to address them to boost your job security. This can mean improving your technical skills—if you wrote buggy code that delayed a release or caused a production problem, you need to learn from those errors and let your managers know it won't happen again. Other problems may have to do with communication skills, whether with teammates or with the business or end users. Make sure you have good working relationships with everyone you interact with at the office.
Don't Play Politics
For the most part, technical workers have little to gain by becoming involved in office gossip or political machinations. Focus on completing your work; your own solid technical contributions are more likely to help you get ahead or keep your job secure than any attempts at undermining colleagues
Sometimes, no matter how talented you are and how well you do your job, you get fired anyway. When that happens, let The Armada Group help you find your next job. We understand technology and will match you to an employer who appreciates your talents. Contact us to start your search today.
One way to demonstrate your commitment to a technical career is to pursue technical projects outside the office. Including those projects on your resume shows potential employers that your interest in technology extends beyond the office; they won't have to push you to develop new skills and abilities.
In order to make the biggest impact, don't simply list everything you've ever done; selectively cull your experiences and highlight how they helped you develop your capabilities.
Keep the list short.
A long list makes the individual items seem as if they must have been small and insignificant. Choose only a handful of projects to list; make sure they're ones where either your contribution made a significant impact to the project, or the project made a significant impact on you.
Choose projects that are relevant to the position.
If your contribution to an outside web project was designing the layout, that might impress an interviewer who's hiring someone to work on user design. It's less likely to impress an interviewer who needs a backend developer.
Quantify the benefit of your experience.
Don't simply list the project as a bullet point. Document how your contribution contributed to the project's success and what you gained from your participation.
Include skills from side projects in your technical summary.
The skills you develop through classes and projects on your own time are as valid as the skills you develop on the job and through company-sponsored training. Make sure you include all the relevant keywords in the technical summary section of your resume.
Create an online portfolio to show off your projects.
The work you complete for your employer is usually owned by the employer and may be behind a firewall or under a nondisclosure agreement. Make the projects you complete on your own time accessible online and provide the links so interviewers can see the quality of your work for themselves.
If you've got a resume filled with solid experience from your previous jobs and from the technical projects you work on for fun, the Armada Group can help you find a new job where your skills will propel you to success. Contact us to learn how we can help you find a job that encourages you to continue to grow.
Information technology and related engineering fields continue to offer strong employment opportunities for candidates with solid credentials. IT employment has increased by nearly 4 percent since last year. For candidates looking for new opportunities in the industry, use these tips to focus your search and stand out.
Focus on industries with growing opportunities.
Although the demand for tech workers exists in all industries, it isn't equally strong across all of them. You'll find a job more quickly if you focus on the industries with the most current opportunities, such as the consulting industry and the computer systems design industry.
Emphasis your technical qualifications.
Technology jobs require many skills in addition to technical knowledge, but employers use technical skills as screening criteria to filter out resumes of unqualified candidates. Make sure your resume lists all the technical skills you have, including operating systems, programming languages, databases, software development tools, and specific frameworks.
Develop skills to meet industry trends.
Find out which programming languages and other skills are in demand. If you lack them, take time to learn them—with online resources and free downloads of software, it isn't difficult to develop basic competency by studying on your own. You can even highlight your initiative in undertaking this independent study.
Demonstrate passion for technology.
Contribute to an open source project and include that on your resume. Open source projects are typically on the cutting edge of software development methodologies, so working on one shows potential employers that you're serious about keeping current with what's happening in the tech industry.
Leverage your contacts.
Take advantage of your network. If someone you know personally recommends you for a position, you'll have the inside edge on getting the job. Hiring managers know that your contact wouldn't risk their own reputation by referring an unqualified candidate.
Work with an experienced recruiter.
If you don't have inside connections, the next-best way of connecting with a top company is to work with a staffing agency like The Armada Group. We'll take time to understand your qualifications and your interests so we can match you with openings that will challenge and excite you. Plus, our relationships with hiring companies give us insight into what the positions truly require, meaning we only send you to companies where you'll have a strong chance of getting the job. You don't waste time interviewing for positions you'll never get, and will find the job of your dreams faster than if you search on your own. Contact us to learn how we can help you find your next job now.
Building an application can be a fun challenge, but ultimately it needs to meet the needs of your client. Misunderstandings and miscommunication can lead to a difficult relationship that makes satisfying their requirements nearly impossible. If you notice you're having conflict with your client, take action to salvage the relationship and the project before it impacts your business.
Identify the Problem
First, acknowledge that there's a problem. Take a step back and try to figure out exactly what's gone wrong. You may be able to point to a specific moment after which the relationship changed, which may mean there's a specific concern about the project that you need to address. Or the relationship may have been difficult from the beginning, which can mean that your style of interacting with the client doesn't mesh with their preferred method of communicating.
Communicate With the Customer
Let the customer know that you recognize there's a problem. You may choose to apologize or simply to accept responsibility for improving the working relationship. If there's a problem with the project, identify the ways you'll be addressing the issue to reduce its impact going forward. If the problem is with how you've been interacting, put in place a new way of providing updates and answering questions – perhaps by a regular email, phone call, or demos, depending on the customer's preferences.
Know When to End the Relationship
Sometimes the relationship can't be salvaged. It's better to hand the project off cleanly to someone else rather than continue to struggle. Make sure to do this professionally; giving notice to a client, like giving notice to an employer, is not a time to burn bridges. Provide all the support needed to transition the project. Done well, you can walk about with your reputation intact.
You can't always choose your clients, but you can choose your employees. When you need to bring on top technical talent, The Armada Group can connect you to a large pool of highly qualified candidates. Contact us to learn how we can help you find employees that help you complete projects successfully to maintain good relationships with your clients.
With the high demand for skilled IT workers, many employees job hop frequently, in search of more challenging, better paying, and more enjoyable opportunities. Other IT employees want stability and job security that allows them to remain in one position and develop in-depth knowledge of a company's business and applications. That stability can be hard to find in the industry, as changes in technology and changes in business priorities can lead to projects being cancelled and jobs being eliminated—not to mention the risk of failure.
But not all IT workers are equally vulnerable to losing their jobs. While no one is indispensable, here are six tips you can follow that can help lead to IT job security.
Emphasize your core capabilities.
Sometimes managers forget that you know other things than the skills that you use in your current job. Find ways to remind your boss that you know other programming languages than the one your current project uses. Also, demonstrate that you're willing to help out in other ways. When there's a problem, your attitude shouldn't be "Not my job"; it should be "I can fix that."
Develop new skills.
Don't rely only on the skills that got you the job. As the industry changes, the technology used by your organization changes. Make sure you participate in training classes to learn the new skills that are being used on new projects within your company.
Develop the business, not just code.
The more you understand about the industry, the company, and its clients, the more effective you will be at developing code that meets the true requirements, not just the ones documented on paper.
Help your company adopt and adapt to new technology.
Don’t just go along with the old way of doing things. Use your understanding of the company to identify ways that new technology can solve problems. One successful idea can lead to lots of visibility for you within the company.
Don't hide behind your desk.
The more people who know you and your capabilities, the more people who will stand up for you and try to find a position for you when jobs are eliminated. Don't just hunker down behind your desk writing code. Participate in cross-departmental projects to meet other developers and managers. Become comfortable standing up in front of a room to make a presentation.
Commit to doing your best.
"Good enough" work really isn't. Your peers and managers can tell if you're just phoning it in. Make a commitment to yourself to continually do your best work with passion.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, job stability just isn’t there. When you need to look for a new position, you need a search firm that will understand your background, your skills, and your interests to match you with the best opportunities. The Armada Group has been connecting job seekers with opportunities for more than 20 years. Contact us to learn how we can help you find your next job.
Succeeding as a software architect is all about time management, but it's not about managing time the way you think. Software architects need to manage the project present, the project future, and the project past.
The Project Present
The software architect has to make the technical design decisions the project needs today. Developers need to know what tools to work with and how their code needs to be structured. The software architect helps make those decisions, selecting tools that let the application be coded most easily to satisfy the business requirements, and collaborates with the developers to build the application. The architect needs to select the tools and create a design to meet the unstated requirements too; the factors like performance metrics and the "ilities" – quality, reliability, usability – that are critical for an application's success once real users get their hands on it.
The Project Future
The architect's decisions can't be based solely on what's easiest to do today. The architect needs to be able to envision the future of the application. What isn't included in release 1.0 that will need to be in release 2.0? Design decisions made now can hinder or help the team's future development work, requiring modules to be rewritten or refactored to make them more usable. The architect needs to consider how technology will change in the future, too, to avoid tying the application to any tool that may rapidly be obsolete.
The Project Past
When deployed applications have problems in production, the architect may be called on to help the production support team investigate and resolve the issue. Through their deep understanding of the system design and its development history, architects can identify bottlenecks and root causes and propose new configurations and solutions to the problem.
If you have success as a software architect in the past or are envisioning succeeding as a software architect in the future, The Armada Group can help you find a position that will challenge you and let you grow over time. Search our jobs or contact us to learn how we can help you architect your career path.
Standing out in a competitive job market means going the extra distance beyond polishing the formatting of your resume. It can mean investing significant time and energy into developing the skills and qualifications to put on the resume. For project managers, PMP certification is one credential to consider obtaining.
A Commitment to Project Management
Choosing to obtain the PMP certification demonstrates to potential employers that you have a commitment to learning about project management and applying standard, proven methodologies to project development.
Obtaining the PMP requires a significant level of dedication. Beyond an undergraduate degree, it requires 4,500 hours leading projects, completion of 35 hours of specialized project management training, and passing the certification exam. There are costs in dollars as well as time; exam preparation tests can cost thousands of dollars, and the test itself costs between $400 and $600, depending on whether the test-taker is a member of the Project Management Institute or not. Membership in PMI costs $139 annually. Maintaining PMP certification requires completing 30 professional development units annually, usually through taking additional coursework, usually with additional expense.
Employers See the Value in PMP
For professional project managers, PMP has value beyond its importance on a resume, as it provides skills that lead to job success and professional growth. Treating it as a professional development opportunity rather than a "hoop" you need to jump through to get a job will provide the most value to you.
For employers, the PMP certification provides "proof" that candidates have a baseline level of knowledge and skill to cope with real-world complex project management problems. They also know that candidates with this certification have invested in themselves and spent significant time and effort to acquire the certificate. This demonstrates the candidate is self-motivated and serious about the project management profession.
For these reasons, employers often included the PMP in the mandatory qualifications for an open position and use the lack of certification to weed out candidates if they receive a large number of resumes in response to a job listing.
Working with a staffing agency like Armada Group can help qualified project managers find their next job, whether or not you have the PMP certification. Through understanding your employment history and capabilities, as well as the qualifications needed to fulfill a job's responsibilities, our recruiters match you to the opportunities you're best suited for and most likely to excel at. Contact us to learn how we can help you succeed in your job search and in your next job.
User interface design is growing increasingly important as more and more activity moves online and particularly to mobile platforms with small screen sizes. Many companies are switching to a "mobile first" application development strategy. It's not enough to create responsive designs that merely adapt browser-based interfaces to smartphones; the entire design must be created with its usability as a priority.
As a result of this strategy, the UI architect role is growing increasingly important to organizations, as well. The role requires more than the ability to implement a design. In order to get hired as a UI architect, job seekers need to have the following key experiences and capabilities on their resumes:
• User-centric research.
Understanding the users' needs is the starting point for all interface design. The UI architect needs to gather the requirements and implement research to validate design ideas. The architect may also need to lead usability testing during the QA phase.
• Interpersonal skills.
The UI architect often needs to lead a team of designers and front end developers. The architect also needs to work with customers and product managers to craft designs that meet business needs.
• Understand portals and modular UI design.
UI architects need to design frameworks that can be leveraged across multiple applications and easily expanded to accommodate additional use cases.
• Understand and develop standards.
• Implement front-end build systems.
Front-end code needs a repeatable process for managing versions and compiling the components into the executable package.
If you're a UI architect looking for a new challenge, search our job list to see what opportunities we have. The Armada Group is a boutique staffing agency, helping match candidates to opportunities for 20 years. Our goal is to develop a relationship with you and help you develop your career. Contact us and let us help architect your career search strategy.
It's still news when a woman becomes the CEO of a technology firm. Women are scarce at all levels of technology, especially leadership positions. The bottom line, though, is that companies that are gender-balanced have a better bottom line. Studies have shown that businesses that are gender-balanced consistently fare better financially. Gender-balanced workplaces also have better team dynamics and productivity. Companies that want to experience these benefits need to find ways to recruit and retain women.
Develop Unbiased Job Ads
There aren't any more "Men Wanted" and "Women Wanted" job listings, but the wording in job ads can still subtly discourage women from applying. You may think you want a "coding ninja," but that phrasing is likely to turn women off. So is the use of language that emphasizes competition over cooperation. Find ways of expressing the job skills and describing the workplace environment that will appeal to potential employees of either gender.
Reassess How You Assess Technical Ability
Programmers need the ability to write code and explain their design decisions, but this doesn't often require standing up at a whiteboard. Rather than place candidates in an unnatural position to prove their skills, modify the test to allow them to sit down at a computer or conference table. This will provide a more natural, more comfortable environment that won't filter out candidates based on the style of interview rather than their capabilities.
Develop Formal Programs to Build Networks
Building a career and advancing to leadership positions requires political connections as much as technical ability. Formal mentoring programs help women expand their networks and create relationships with leaders they might not otherwise connect with. These connections are crucial in climbing the ladder and succeeding in higher-level positions.
Make the Corporate Environment Friendly to Women
Many startup tech workplaces offer perks that are more likely to appeal to men, such as basketball hoops and pool tables in the office. Make sure the environment offers perks that will appeal to employees of both genders. Offer an internal community to women in your workplace where they can discuss issues and propose solutions to enhance the work environment.
Have a Plan
Creating a gender-balanced workplace requires a plan. Set and publicize a target. Armada can help you create job descriptions that attract the best job candidates of both genders. Contact us to start working towards building your diverse workplace.