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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.

6 Network RESIZE

 

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.

Industry Events

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.

Follow Up

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.

1 Job Searching RESIZE

The unemployment rate among tech professionals has been falling for years and currently rests at 2.8 percent based on third quarter data from, 2016. This continues the trend of lower unemployment rates among those working in the IT field when compared to the current average rate of 4.9 percent. That makes the job market particularly favorable to those who possess certain IT-related skills.

 

Couple the current market conditions with feelings of being underappreciated, underpaid or operating in underfunded departments, and you may find your top-performing tech professionals heading towards the door in 2017.

Tech-Related Unemployment

The remarkably low unemployment rate in IT job classifications suggests strength in the industry. As more companies look to add IT professionals to their staff, partially due to the increased use of big data analytics, mobile technology, and cloud-based solutions, competition for the most talented workers in the field is fierce.

 

Professionals feel confident in their ability to find other opportunities, a distinct contrast to the job climate during the recession, and makes them more inclined to explore their options. As other employers raise salaries and benefits to help attract new talent, the job market becomes even more attractive.

Rise of the Gig Economy

Voluntary quits during the past year have also remained high. While some of this is attributed to better opportunities becoming available in the sector, the rise of freelancing opportunities and the gig economy leads some to turn away from traditional employment for more flexible options.

 

Technical skills relate well to the idea of working remotely, as many tasks can be completed without direct face-to-face interaction with one’s supervisor or co-workers. In some cases, projects can be handled independently, eliminating the need for the support of a larger team. For employees looking to have more control over their career and personal life, these options are highly attractive.

Remaining Competitive

As the landscape changes, it is critical for business’ to reconsider their current offerings and hiring practices. Not only do salary offerings need to be competitive in your area and the position being filled, you also need to explore benefits options that are attractive to today’s IT professionals.

 

While basics like medical insurance and retirement are expected in most cases, other offerings also attract attention. Flexible scheduling will interest those looking achieve a better work-life balance. The option to work remotely not only appeals to those with a demanding home life, it also allows you to recruit outside of your local area.

 

Opportunities for education and advancement are also relevant to professionals who are looking to grow within the field. By providing a structure that allows them to reach their career goals, you can see improvements in recruitment and employee retention over the long term. Add a mentorship program for employees to help them gain experience on the job, and you have a winning combination.

 

The Armada Group can help you locate top talent and develop strategies to retain your current tech professionals. Reach out to us today to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.

3 Tech Skills

Advancement in the IT field relies highly upon the specific skills you possess. Since the landscape is ever-changing, keeping yourself aligned with the most in-demand skills of today can give you the opportunity to find new possibilities and command higher salaries. To help you determine if your skills can translate into additional earnings in 2017, here are ten that are receiving a lot of attention by employers today.

 

1. Azure

Cloud computing is all the rage for its ability to house information and provide access to software across multiple devices. Microsoft Azure provides tools to make the management of mobile devices and big data easier for businesses of any size. That makes it a great skill to possess in today’s increasingly mobile workplace.

2. Big Data

Every business has data. Often, this combines segments that are contained in structured, semi-structured, and unstructured formats. Being able to bring all of the sources together for advanced analytics is a skill that will remain in demand for the foreseeable future. Candidates with the skills can often command higher salaries as the field is still relatively new.

3. Cassandra

Database management helps businesses coordinate and contain data from a variety of sources. Cassandra allows that information to be managed even when it resides on multiple servers. The open-source solution gives tech professionals the ability to tweak the software to fit the needs of the business, making experience with Cassandra highly desirable.

4. Cloud

Having a functional understanding of cloud services allows you to manage them more efficiently. As the number of cloud offerings increases, the demand for skilled professionals familiar with the system requirements and management procedures will continue to be in demand.

5. JIRA

Project management in agile workplaces requires the right software support. JIRA provides developers a way to track issues and manage projects through each step of the development process. Being familiar with JIRA increases your opportunities with agile-oriented teams and workplaces, making it a strong option for those interested in increasing their employment or promotional opportunities.

6. Mobility

Workplaces are continually looking for ways to support worker mobility. Having experience in the management and deployment of mobile solutions, including smartphones and tablets, becomes more valuable as employees embrace alternatives to traditional computing devices.

7. Networking

As the number of device types in use across a network increases, having skilled network administrators is a necessity. Not only do you need to understand infrastructure, you also must have knowledge about creating a cohesive environment that contains different platforms and operating systems across a wider variety of form factors. The more familiar you are with creating solutions for environments including desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphones, the more opportunities you will find.

8. Salesforce

A workhorse in the corporate world, Salesforce provides a CRM solution that combines the efforts of multiple departments into a single tool. Since Salesforce can function as the sole solution for many business operations, having technical support personnel available who are familiar with the system creates new opportunities for candidates with Salesforce experience.

9. Security

You can hardly turn on a major news broadcast without hearing about another data breach. Companies of all sizes prioritize security in their tech hiring, making it an ideal skill set to possess.

 

Information security encompasses a large knowledge area, so options to specialize are plentiful. If you are building on your current IT career, consider which options best match your current area of expertise and proceed accordingly.

10. Spark

Since big data stormed onto the stage, it has become a priority for businesses across multiple industries. Being able to manage, maintain, and process the information requires specific skills. Spark is a tool seen in many organizations as a mechanism for handling large quantities of data and managing heavy traffic.

 

The sudden demand for Spark skills makes it an especially lucrative choice to increase earnings potential while working in the IT field.

 

If you currently possess any of these in-demand skills or are simply interested in 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 your skill set can take you.

2 Nontraditional Resume

The resume has been a staple of the job seeker for decades. Most advice focuses on using a more uniform approach and standard process for the included information. However, sometimes a nontraditional resume gives you additional opportunities to not just draw attention, but to demonstrate your skills.

 

Before you let creativity run rampant, here are some considerations regarding whether a nontraditional resume is the right approach for you.

 

Introduction to Nontraditional Resumes

Any resume that is not the traditional paper (or digital) offering that lists your current skills, experience, and education can be considered nontraditional. This can include the use of alternate formats, mediums, or a combination to create a unique offering beyond what is normally expected.

 

Some of the common iterations of unconventional resumes include video resumes, personal career-oriented websites, online portfolios, and infographics. Other options can exist depending on your field of expertise.

 

Often, these differing forms are not required as part of a standard job application and may be ill-advised for certain positions. However, when used wisely, it can bring additional attention to you as a candidate and can result in more opportunities.

 

Pros of a Nontraditional Approach

For candidates interested in more creative fields, a nontraditional resume can work to demonstrate your skills in an accessible way. For example, marketing and design professions are well-suited for an unconventional approach. If your job includes the use of video or sound editing, photography, or other areas that cannot be fully explored on paper, choosing a resume format that allows you to demonstrate those skills can be helpful.

 

Nontraditional resumes can also help applicants who do not possess much work experience in the field but do have suitable skills. Instead of trying to convey your abilities through a regular resume, adding a nontraditional format that directly relates to the work you are pursuing can bolster your odds.

 

Cons of a Nontraditional Approach

Even if your profession encourages creativity, that does not make a nontraditional resume ideal in all situations. First, most companies will require a traditional format for your resume and application. Applicant tracking systems cannot review information held in different forms, making a text-based approach a requirement.

 

Second, some organizations dislike the use of graphics and visuals that are common in nontraditional formats. Some hiring professionals feel that these approaches take away from the content, making them unnecessary if not bothersome.

 

Making the Choice

Nontraditional resumes must be as professionally designed as a traditional resume. This means that you have to dedicate the time (and possibly money) necessary to make it work. Failure to create a strong resume in any format can result in being passed over, so this isn’t when you should consider doing something halfway.

 

Additionally, you may need a traditional resume as well. That means you need to keep both up-to-date at all times.

 

If you aren’t confident that the company you are applying to will appreciate an alternative approach, provide a traditional text-based resume or application. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a nontraditional resume as a supplement, especially in creative fields.

 

Relying solely on an unconventional resume is a risk, but it can work in your favor. It gives you a chance to demonstrate your abilities and express your personality. That means you may find a better match regarding company culture with a nontraditional format than a text-based one.

 

If you are trying to decide if a nontraditional resume is the right move for you and your career, or are interested in exploring new employment opportunities, The Armada Group can guide you in the right direction. With more than 20 years of experience matching candidates to job opportunities, we have a thorough understanding of what is happening in today’s technology-based job market. Contact us and see what we have to offer.

4 Full Stack Developer

The more you know, the more valuable you are to an employer. If you're able to work with multiple technologies and solve different kinds of problems, you'll be able to contribute to your project in many ways. That's why it's advantageous to think of yourself not as a front end or backend developer, but as a full stack developer instead.

 

You'll almost certainly prefer working on the front end or the backend, but develop a level of competence in these skills to let you contribute wherever the need is:

 

1. Shell scripting. Learn how to write scripts in a shell language or scripting language like Ruby or Python. These languages are often used to automate server-side support tasks.

2. Web front end tools. JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are still important. You should understand how to use AJAX to create rich interfaces, as well as be familiar with common frameworks such as Angular.

3. Web backend tools. Web applications run in a server such as Apache. Understand the basic administration tasks associated with the servers.

4. Databases. All the data used by applications has to be stored somewhere. That's still most often in a relational database, so knowing how to query in SQL is important, but NoSQL databases are becoming more important as well.

5. Server-side programming languages. Interpreted shell languages aren't appropriate for many server-side tasks, which is why you should learn Java or C++.

6. Cloud computing. Many new applications today will run in the cloud and make use of the functionality provided by Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. Become familiar with one of these cloud vendors' products, including DevOps tasks like starting a new cloud instance and deploying an application.

7. Mobile platforms. Mobile-first application development is becoming common. Know how to develop for iOS or Android; knowing cross-platform mobile development tools is also useful.

 

If you're ready to apply your full stack set of development skills, The Armada Group can help you find a job which needs your talents. Our recruiters understand the information technology space and will help match you with an employer who will challenge you across the full stack. Contact us to start your search.