how to beat ageism

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.

four ways to not

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.

present side projects

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.

tech jobs on the rise

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.

stop poor client relationship

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.

6 tips lead to job security

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.