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Data Trends

 

Data and analytics have dominated the technology landscape for the past few years, acting as a dominating force for change throughout a range of industries. Within these segments are a series of trends that suggest what the space has in store for business throughout 2017 and possibly beyond. Here are some of the key points that are garnering attention today and deserve your attention through the rest of the year.

Artificial Intelligence is Center Stage

The concept of artificial intelligence has danced its way in and out of our awareness since the founding principles were established in the 1960s. Now, significant developments in the area are seeing what once was considered science fiction to become fact within workplaces across the country. Platforms have been created with processing models that are beginning to bring AI to life.

 

Whether you call it AI, machine learning, cognitive computing, or neural networking, it looks like the technology is finally entering business in a meaningful way. While the beginning applications will involve eliminating repetitive, menial tasks from the hands of employees, where it can go has yet to be determined.

Individualized Applications

Big data stormed in with limited structure or direction. Often, businesses collected massive amounts of data from any source that could be reached. Now, companies are aiming for applications that meet the unique needs or their organization. This not only increases efficiency through targeted data analytics, but it also provides more value than the blanket approach of yesteryear.

 

To meet the need, platforms will become more agile. The ultimate goal is to create singular solutions that cover the data analytics tasks while marrying them to other operations within the company. If the solution doesn’t provide long-term value, then customers will likely look elsewhere.

Preemptive Analytics

Data analytics have typically focused on collecting information and providing either real-time or post-event outputs designed to improve processes through optimization. Preemptive analytics provides the opportunity to drive the transaction, allowing for interventions before an event has even taken place. In the end, these data-driven processes may help create new revenue opportunities, cut costs, and even improve customer interactions through a higher level of personalization.

The Rise of Data Engineers

While data scientists will still have a place in the workplace, data engineers will become the new specialty de jour. Instead of examining data to resolve business issues, data engineers create and manage the larger infrastructure behind big data. Since system operations are a critical part of the data analytics field, those who can design, support and maintain these systems will be more coveted than ever.

 

If your company is looking for the skilled IT professionals, it needs to prepare for the use of data and analytics through 2017, and beyond, the recruitment professionals at The Armada Group can help locate the employees you need. Contact us and see how finding the right employee can position your business for success throughout the year and into the next.

 

Resume

 

It wasn’t that long ago that the recommendation to use bullet points on your resume became commonplace. The approach was considered a strong alternative to giant blocks of text, a method that was often more difficult to read and generally unappealing. However, the use of bullet points shifted from helping provide a level of clarity in key sections to the go-to style for almost every portion of the resume.

 

The higher amount of use isn’t a fatal flaw in itself. However, the way bullet points are used can cause problems. To help you understand why you should bypass the bullet point approach in some cases, here is an overview of the trouble they can cause and how to produce a better resume.

Unintelligible Data Dumps

Bullet points began as an exercise in brevity, helping professionals keep things simple and clear. Over time, many began using them for every aspect of their resume. This leads to a series of factoids being listed about your experience without any depth.

 

Often, there is little if any context for these short statements and explanations are essentially nonexistent. Instead, candidates assume hiring managers will fill in the blanks themselves, even though that typically isn’t the case. These resumes don’t produce a clear picture as to why you are an ideal fit for the position and can lead to being passed over instead.

Creating Context

To make bullet points work for you, they need to be combined with greater context. First, make sure to include a summary section near the top of your resume. This highlights key points of interested customized to the position to which you are applying and serves as an introduction. Then, make sure to include explanations on a regular basis. This can include quick overviews of each position before adding bullet points as support or highlight key skill areas and how specific experiences support your knowledge.

 

The idea is to use a combination approach of short paragraphs supported by additional points. This ensures you create a whole picture of how your career unfolded and why the hiring manager should be interested in the bullet points that follow. It also makes your resume more interesting visually as it provides some variation in the structure. When used properly, you can even design the document to drawn the eye from one section to the next, leading them along through the story of your professional life.

Making Adjustments

A resume is a living document; it is always in a growth period and will almost never be completely perfect. As you apply to jobs and schedule interviews, use any feedback that is provided to create a stronger document. Ultimately, a resume is a first impression. You should take every opportunity to ensure it is the best one you can possibly make.

 

If you are interested in a new position in your field, The Armada Group can help you find new options in your area. Contact us to begin exploring the opportunities available today.

 

Bad IT Job

 

It’s just a fact; not everyone working has a job they love. In some cases, people head out the door every day to end up at a job they downright loath. But being in a bad IT job doesn’t mean there isn’t some value in the experience. In fact, it can actually be a catalyst to bigger and better things. So, before you decide that everything to do with the less than stellar position isn’t of use, here are some learning opportunities that even a bad tech job can provide.

A Better Work/Life Balance

When your job doesn’t provide much satisfaction, it is common to turn to other activities to get the fulfillment you need. This can include anything from hobbies to education to personal business pursuits. Additionally, you are less inclined to take your home with you, freeing you from a sense of obligation others may hold. As you look for more value from your home life, it is often easier to attain the work/life balance many people crave, and that can be a wonderful thing.

The Value of Perseverance

If you can’t immediately leave a bad IT job for greener pastures, you often get the exercise a valuable soft skill: perseverance. You have to dedicate yourself to finishing your tasks and meeting deadlines, even if you find the experience less than enjoyable, as this ensures you have positive references when the time comes to move on. Over time, your dedication can lead to new opportunities, too.

 

In some cases, you’ll find your current job helps you find an opportunity at a better company. In others, you may get to see your workplace change. People often come and go in any business. And, if the right people leave or come in, your once bad job may actually turn into something you enjoy.

Learning to Let Go

We aren’t all born optimists. However, being stuck in a less than ideal IT position can’t consume your whole life. Instead, you get to practice a valuable life skill as you learn to let go of what ails you. In time, you’ll learn to spot the brighter side of things within your life to help keep you moving forward on a day-to-day basis. And, with some practice, you may even find yourself assuming the new title of an optimist.

Take Every Advantage

Since your job doesn’t meet your needs overall, consider every advantage it could have to offer you and your future. Then, pursue them with all your might. Every chance to learn a new skill or explore a new technology should be grasped with both hands. Then, when it comes time to head out the door, you have more to offer than when you started in the position.

 

If you are looking for new opportunities to replace your bad IT job, The Armada Group can help you find positions that may offer what your current one lacks. Contact us today and see what the future may hold once you find a job that gives you something to smile about on its own.

 

Friday, Mar 17 2017

Is Your IT Team Burned Out?

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Burned Out

 

With unemployment amongst IT professionals being well below the national average, many teams have been asked to do more with less for the past few years. Add to that the strains of adapting to new technologies and the expectations set by management regarding their implementation, and your tech employees can easily be on the brink of burnout.

 

But, if they aren’t specifically airing their concerns, how can you tell if your IT team is starting to reach the breaking point? Here are a few common signs that can help you spot potential burnout before catastrophe strikes.

Tiredness and Exhaustion

If your tech pros are working overtime to meet demands or trying to juggle their work and home life unsuccessful, they may begin to come to work with noticeably less pep in their step. While everyone occasionally does battle with a sleepless night, coming to work a bit worse for wear the next day, employees that seem to be in a constant state of tiredness or exhaustion may be reaching the point of burnout. And, if it is combined with some of the signs below, it could be time to intervene.

Failing Motivation

When an employee is suddenly struggling to meet deadlines or meet performance metrics when they previously excelled, it could be a sign that trouble is brewing. While anyone can have an off week or month, an extreme change in performance is likely an indication of something else.

Decreased Work Quality

Even employees that meet their deadlines could be fighting off burnout. One indicator can be a dramatic change in the quality of their outputs in a short period of time. Sometimes, this is attributed to the exhaustion that can accompany burnout or the lack of motivation. However, it can also be connected to a lack of interest or caring in regards to their work, a surefire sign that burnout could be on the horizon.

Negative Attitude

We all get frustrated from time to time. But an IT employee that is suddenly teeming with negative emotions and comments might be having real difficulties. Additionally, a previously content employee that has developed a new habit of filing complaints with managers could be reaching the breaking point. Any unusual change in mood that persists for more than a day or two (and isn’t directly attributed to a specific short-term situation) might be burning out.

What to Do When the Signs of Burnout Appear

Your first step in managing potential burnout is to reach out to the employee. Atypical behavior is cause for concern, and it is easy to justify scheduling a meeting to discuss the change. The important part is to try and identify the source of the issue and not be overly confrontational. If you can find out the cause, you can begin to explore methods to help them get back on track.

 

If you are interested in learning more about employee burnout or are trying to find a new employee to alleviate some of the strain on your current IT team, the experts at The Armada Group are ready to help. Contact us to discuss your company’s needs today.

 

1 Armada FaaS

 

Features-as-a-Service (FaaS) is the latest trend to come down the developer pipeline. The driving force behind the movement is to give developers quick access to come features using a traditional off-the-shelf software model. Instead of having to recreate the same features every time they create a new application, the developers select the features they need from FaaS providers.

FaaS Offerings

Many applications have certain features in common. For example, mapping services and certain social components are regularly included by developers. Instead of having to mess with an API to have the options fit into the project, developers simply choose FaaS options that meet those needs.

 

What makes FaaS different from some other “as a service” development is the fact that the features don’t operate as a standalone product. Instead, they are intended to be components of a larger offering, providing an additional function on the front-end once integrated.

 

Since FaaS providers focus on creating these modular options, the quality of the feature should remain high. Instead of being created by developers with larger missions, for an FaaS developer, the feature is the entire product. That means that significant time and attention were likely paid to ensure it provides the best experience possible since it is intended for resale and not just internal use.

Benefits of FaaS

In essence, the features are designed to be plug-and-play, limiting the amount of work required on the developer's part to get a function that is featured in a wide array of applications. Some product features, like video chatting and news feeds, can be fairly complex in nature. And spending the time to reinvent the wheel every time a developer wants to include a certain feature isn’t an efficient use of resources.

 

FaaS allows developers to bypass the work required to create features that many apps have in common, like intuitive search-as-you-type and deeplinking. Instead, they can concentrate on the aspects of the application that are unique to that specific product.

 

The overall benefit is a more cost-effective approach to application development. Internal resources are focused solely on new development, allowing development timelines to be shortened while still ensuring a high-quality product.

 

Additionally, companies that embrace FaaS may find themselves more attractive to top developers working in the field. Often, the best and brightest end up fighting boredom on the job, and repeatedly creating the same feature could play into that feeling. By removing more repetitive portions of the development process, developers get to work on the parts of the app that are new without having to reinvent the wheel along the way.

 

If you are looking for a new application developer who understands the benefits of FaaS, the experts at The Armada Group can help you locate the ideal candidate quickly. Contact us and see how our recruiting experience can help you avoid reinventing the hiring wheel.

5 technical resume

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.

Clear Communication

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.