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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's easy to feel like the company has all the power during an interview. After all, you're there because they have something you want: A job. But it's important to remember that the interview is a two-way street. You should be evaluating the company as thoroughly as they're evaluating you. That's why you should always take advantage of the opportunity when an interviewer asks if you have questions. If you don't, you can look like you aren't interested in the position, but you're also missing out on the opportunity to learn what the job would really be like.
Ask Follow Up Questions
Ask for more detail about something the interviewer mentioned only briefly. This shows that you were paying attention during the interview and that you were interested in what the interviewer said. Both are flattering to the interviewer and can make them feel positive towards you. More importantly, it lets you gently probe deeper into topics the interviewer mentioned glossed over, perhaps to conceal some less positive aspects of the job.
Ask About Life on the Job
Find out what your work life will be, both now and in the future. What stage of development is the project in? Is there a deadline crunch? Do they expect there will be one? You'll also want to look ahead towards your long-term future with the company. Ask about support for continued training and what kind of career path you can follow. Will the company support you whether you want to remain technical or move into a business or management track?
Ask About the Company
You should have researched the company prior to the interview, and you certainly don't want to ask basic questions about its business. Instead, ask about how the company is meeting its challenges and distinguishing itself from its competition. You'll gain insight into how the company perceives itself and whether there will be long term stability, growth, or failure.
Working with a technical recruiter can help prepare you for your interviews by providing a full picture of the opportunity. The Armada Group has been matching candidates to positions for more than 20 years. Contact us to start your search now.