IT managers are typically tasked with deciding whether certain websites should be blocked on the next work. Members of the leadership team usually favor the idea, asserting that restricting access to potential “timewasters” like social media sites ensures employees won’t be distracted by non-work activities.
However, many workers push back on the idea, insisting that these sites offer a source of enjoyment and can be beneficial to morale. Additionally, many managers and employees are fully aware that, even if you block a site, that doesn’t mean a worker won’t turn to their personal smartphone to access the websites anyway.
Considering that you can’t prevent an employee from wasting time entirely, can blocking websites actually boost productivity? If you are wondering the same thing, here’s what you need to know.
Does Blocking Sites Help Productivity?
According to a recent survey, blocking websites does have a positive impact on productivity. When a company restricts access to classic timewasters, such as social media, employees spend less time on sites that are unrelated to their jobs during the course of a standard workweek.
The reduction in such activity is actually fairly dramatic, too. In businesses that don’t block sites, 58 percent of workers admitted to spending a minimum of four hours a week on timewaster website. Over the course of a year, that means that more than half of the organization’s workforce wastes approximately 26 days every year on sites that don’t relate to their job.
When social media websites alone are restricted, only 30 percent of workers admit spending four or more hours each week on such timewaster sites.
What Sites Should Be Blocked?
Social media is often an obvious target when it comes to blocking sites, but there are a variety of other websites that should potentially be on the table. Anything illegal or unethical are obvious additions to the list, and dating sites are also timewasters that should be on the chopping block.
Personal instant messaging sites are also potential targets. Music and video streaming websites are also frequently blocked and just because they could potentially be distracting, but also because they can require a substantial amount of bandwidth.
When you are examining which sites to block, also consider if any websites pose a security risk. This can include sites that may contain malware as well as those that may allow business communications or data to be sent and stored outside of the organization (regardless of the presence of encryption) without the company’s knowledge or approval.
Ultimately, the decision regarding which sites should or shouldn’t be blocked usually lies in the hands of leadership and the IT team. However, it’s wise to create a robust policy regarding the use of business assets for personal activities and to make it clear that certain websites will be blocked as well as the general reasoning behind those decisions. This ensures your staff is well-informed regarding the choice, decreasing the odds that they’ll object.
If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your business needs today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
While the term “postmortem” may conjure up some grisly images, that is the word Google decided to assign to its process of assessing its failures to allow them to make improvements. It involves an internal process of documenting mistakes and analyzing missteps so that the company can learn from these errors.
Ultimately, any organization can embrace Google’s approach, allowing them to benefit from this tried-and-true system. If you are ready to see your failures in a new light, here’s how to get started.
Identify the Most Significant Problems
Not every incident is as serious as others. When you want to focus on improvements that provide the most value, it’s wise to focus on issues that are genuinely important.
To determine which events qualify, you need to define what constitutes a major problem for your company. This may include evaluating the potential ramifications of an incident, ranging from the level of impact the organization feels to how it affects customers, as well as how severe the long-term implications are should the issue remain unresolved.
Creating a written record of the issue is a critical part of the process. It allows you to review precisely what occurred, what led to the problem, how it was mitigated, and the final resolution. Then, you can focus on defining steps that can prevent the misstep from reoccurring in the future.
If you want the documentation process to be successful, it’s wise to gather input from all involved parties. This ensures you get a complete picture of the incident as well as the perspectives of anyone who worked on the matter.
It also allows every team member to reflect on the scenario, which can potentially lead to additional insights that weren’t clear during the height of the incident. The process can be a little time-consuming, but it is worth it in the end.
Focus on Growth
When something goes wrong, it’s easy to play the blame game. After all, no one wants to believe they are even partially responsible for what occurred.
However, focusing on blame isn’t constructive. It creates an environment that is based on fear as people work to dodge any repercussions.
Instead of allowing blame to dominate the conversation, shift the discussion to a more constructive place by making growth the priority. This will enable you to reframe the incident as a chance to improve instead of as a setback.
Additionally, when you remove blame from the equation, your team will be more likely to admit their mistakes or failures, increasing the odds that you’ll be able to learn from the entire situation. Leaders also need to be honest about their errors. Otherwise, your employees won’t be as open.
By following the tips above, you can use Google’s approach as a positive example for addressing problems as they occur. If you would like to learn more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.
Let’s face facts: figuring out if you need to quit your IT job isn’t easy. Ultimately, you want to make sure you are making the right choice, and it’s common to feel conflicted about leaving.
However, there are certain signals that could suggest that making a move is the best option. Here are seven signs that quitting might be the right move.
The Idea of Work Fills You with Dread
While every day at work can’t be a walk in the park, constantly dreading heading into the workplace is a sign that the job may be a poor fit. If you keep trying to convince yourself that it’s just a “bad week” or “bad month,” but things never improve, leaving may be the best option for preserving your well-being.
Your Boss Isn’t Knowledgeable
No one knows it all. But, if your manager doesn’t seem to be knowledgeable in critical areas that relate to your department or role, then that can quickly become frustrating. If you don’t trust that your boss has the knowledge and skills required to make good decisions and lead things in the proper direction, it can cause feelings of anger, doubt, or anxiety.
If you find yourself repeatedly doubting your manager’s level of competence, then it may be wise to move on.
The Company is Failing
Working for a business that may not survive is challenging. While some employees feel that sticking it out is the “right” thing to do, hanging on to an employer that is going under is going to increase your stress levels.
Even if you feel loyal to the organization or your manager, if you witness signs that the end is on the horizon, it could be wise to at least plan for your exit, and the sooner, the better. If you wait until the company closes its doors, you could be stuck hitting the job market with your former coworkers, leading to more competition when you find a new opportunity. In contrast, by starting early, you may be able to land another job before everyone else starts applying.
You Hate the Work
While it is unrealistic to expect to love every task that falls into your hands, if none of your duties ignite your passion, then moving on could be a smart decision. Being enthusiastic about your work is necessary for long-term success. Whether you need to find a job at a different company or shift into a new career depends on how far your distaste for the field goes, so be honest with yourself about how you feel and then make an appropriate change.
You’ve Hit a Ceiling
Being comfortable on the job isn’t automatically a bad thing. But, if you aren’t improving your skills, engaged in exciting activities, or given a chance to advance, your job could be holding back your career.
In some cases, if you’ve hit your career peak, that’s okay. However, if you have bigger goals, then you may need to seek out an employer that can help you get there. Otherwise, you could end up feeling trapped and stagnant, and that isn’t good for your overall well-being.
Your Health is Suffering
No job is worth your health. If job stress is leading you to experience depression, anxiety, frequent illnesses, headaches, or worse, then it’s better to move on.
Your Personal Life is Gone
Whether its job stress, long hours, the inability to take a vacation, or anything else, if your job is significantly affecting your personal life, it could be time to leave.
Ultimately, staying in a bad job can be harmful to your career, your health, and your overall well-being, and any of the signs listed above could signal that it’s time for a change. If you are interested in exploring new employment options, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our services can help you find your ideal role.
With the implementation of GDPR in May and information about leaks and breaches continuing to make headlines on a regular basis, cybersecurity is increasingly at the forefront of every company’s mind. This has created substantial opportunities for professionals working in the field, but some are more lucrative than others.
While your skill set and level of experience play a substantial role in determining your current or future salary, one seemingly innocuous factor also has an impact: your job title.
Even when the core competencies and experience level are predominately the same, the title associated with your current or next position can either help or hurt you when it comes to pay. If you are wondering why your title affects your cybersecurity salary, here’s what you need to know.
Job Title Nuances
Certain words within a job title can alert how you are perceived. This can lead to salary variances, impacting the amount you earn today and your worth in the eyes of a potential employer.
At times, these differences reflect differences in the nature of the duties. For example, an analyst role may spend more time monitoring and examining systems, identifying potential vulnerabilities, and creating plans to overcome weaknesses in the system. Testing may also be more prominent in an analyst position than some others, though this isn’t always the case.
Cybersecurity engineer jobs may focus more on actual system changes and physical or technical interventions. Design activities may also be more common.
However, in some cases, two roles with differing titles may be incredibly similar. Companies are free to label a position how they see fit, so there isn’t an inherent standard that all businesses must adhere to when deciding which title to use.
While each organization controls the salary range it offers for a particular job, one survey showed that certain job titles tend to come with higher levels of compensation.
When the survey examined “Cybersecurity,” “Cybersecurity Analyst,” and “Cybersecurity Engineer,” as job titles, they found that the analyst positions tend to come with lower salaries than the other two in every major city they included in the analysis. Additionally, the generic “Cybersecurity” also tended to trend higher than the analyst roles.
However, it is possible to boost your value in the cybersecurity analyst field if you possess the CISSP certification. It can also have a positive impact on cybersecurity engineers, so don’t forgo the credential simply because you focus on the engineering aspects.
How to Make the Most of Your Cybersecurity Career
If you want to increase your earnings potential as a cybersecurity potential, it pays to seek out engineering roles over analyst positions. This small change can significantly improve your salary when you land a new job and throughout your career.
Should the option be available, consider listing your current cybersecurity position as an engineering role on your resume as well. This may make you appear more valuable in the eyes of potential employers, potentially leading to a higher salary offer. However, only do so if your employer supports that title as being appropriate to your position. Otherwise, a reference check may lead the hiring manager to see your resume as inaccurate or inflated, which could harm your chances of landing the job.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking to make the most of your cybersecurity career, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your professional goals today and see how our services can make finding your ideal job easier than ever before.
When you get a job offer, the excitement can easily overtake you, leading you to say “yes” before you really look at whether the opportunity is right for you. While the new role might be great for you, it’s also possible it isn’t, so taking the time to make sure is a smart move.
If you are trying to determine if a tech job is right for you, here are five questions to ask yourself before you accept.
Is Now the Right Time to Make a Switch?
As the saying goes, timing is everything. While you may be dying to leave your position, how your exit impacts your current employer is a point worth examining.
Will you be heading out in the middle of a big project? Is your involvement in the project critical for its success? Can you give sufficient notice?
Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s wise to consider how your quitting will affect your current employer. After all, if you leave them in a bind, they may not be willing to give you positive employment references in the future.
Additionally, you want to reflect on whether your personal life can support a change. If you need to relocate, how will that impact you and your family? If the new job comes with longer hours, can you still maintain an appropriate work-life balance while meeting all of your obligations? Will your spouse or partner need to take on more to accommodate the shift or will the decision impact their career (which can occur if you need to relocate)?
Make sure to review the points above before you say “yes,” especially if other people will be accompanying you on the journey.
Are You Excited About the Opportunity?
Sometimes, you apply for a job that seems amazing on the surface, only to later discover you aren’t really excited about the opportunity. Maybe something came up during the interview that changed your perspective, or you found details about the company that gives you pause.
Regardless of the reason, if you aren’t enthusiastic about the new role, then it might be better to say “no” and continue looking for something that’s a better fit.
Is the Culture a Match?
Every company has a culture. If you feel comfortable in the environment, then you are more likely to excel. However, if it doesn’t seem like a good match, you might want to decline the offer.
Being the odd person out or trying to force yourself to fit into a culture that doesn’t jive with your personality can be harmful to your well-being and may impact the quality of your work. If the culture doesn’t align with your values and preferences, then looking for an opportunity that does is usually a smarter choice.
Will You Receive Better Compensation?
While pay, benefits, and perks aren’t everything, they are always something. You need to consider whether you come out financially ahead by taking the job or are at least able to maintain the status quo.
Examine the entire compensation package, including the value and expenses associated with your benefits, to see if you are making positive strides. You also want to look at the shift in your costs, such as whether a change in your commute helps you save money or if it will lead to higher expenses.
If the math doesn’t work in your favor, then carefully consider whether making the change is a wise decision.
Will This Job Help My Career?
Sometimes, even if you will take a financial hit by accepting a job, it’s worth it because you can use the experience to move your career in a better direction. However, even if you are getting a substantial raise, it’s always smart to consider whether taking the position will help or hurt your chances when it comes to making progress in your field.
Ideally, you want your new job to lead to additional opportunities after you gain experience with your new employer. If that isn’t likely to happen and you’re not looking for your last role before retirement, then you might want to continue with your search.
Ultimately, it’s always wise to carefully consider whether saying “yes” is the right decision. If it isn’t, then don’t hesitate to turn the job down. You can always continue your search and, by doing so, give yourself the chance to find an opportunity that is genuinely a good fit.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can make finding your ideal role easier than ever.
When a programming language has been around for as long as C (46 years and counting), many professionals wonder if it is still relevant in today’s business world. After all, that level of longevity is rare, particularly in the technology space, and new languages often garner a significant amount of attention, making it seem like it’s smarter to concentrate on those.
However, C isn’t just relevant; it’s actually in-demand. It continues to crack the top ten in a variety of lists that focus on the desirability of programming languages, both from the employer and the developer perspective.
Additionally, the C language likely isn’t going anywhere soon, so it’s a smart skill to keep in your repertoire. If you are wondering why brushing up on your C programming skills is a wise move when you want to find a new job, here’s what you need to know.
The C programming language has remained relevant largely because of its ability to evolve. The original iteration shifted to meet changing demands, leading to the development of ANSI C (or ISO C) in the late 1980s, then C99 and C11.
The ability of C to evolve keeps it from becoming obsolete, and programming professionals must do the same if they want to land a coveted opportunity. If you haven’t updated your C skills in a while, now is a perfect time, giving you a chance to reach a new level of proficiency based on the needs of businesses today.
Since C has been around for nearly half a century, there is a significant amount of existing code that was written in the language. The sheer volume of code helps C maintain its relevancy, especially since replacing legacy systems with alternatives featuring other languages could be costly and predominately unnecessary if the existing solutions still meet the needs of the company.
Unless there is a substantial benefit associated with making a change, even forward-thinking organizations are likely to shy away from replacing legacy systems that are fully functional. This means that, by keeping your C skills current, you aren’t necessarily limiting yourself in regards to opportunities.
The level of enjoyment developers derive from working with a language also plays a role in longevity and how widely a language is used. When given a choice, coders will usually select an option that is comfortable for them, and their level of familiarity with C keeps the language alive.
Additionally, like companies deciding whether or not to maintain legacy systems, many developers won’t switch away from a language that works without a notable incentive. Since other programmers you may work with likely favor C in some regards, the odds that a company’s systems will feature it increase.
Overall, the popularity of C in the development community supports the notion that staying up to date with the language is a smart move, as C will likely stay relevant for years to come.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new developer position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can make finding your ideal role a breeze.
Your employee wellness program is an investment. Providing access to the benefits comes with a financial burden, so being able to measure the return on investment (ROI) is essential if you want to make sure the business is deriving value from the offering.
From the employer perspective, it can be challenging to measure the ROI on your employee wellness program if you aren’t sure which metrics act as indicators of success. If you want to be able to measure the ROI, here are a few points that can help you see the program’s value.
By offering an employee wellness program, you can experience a decline in health-related absenteeism. Employees in good health traditionally use fewer sick days during the year and may not require as many “mental health days” to manage stress effectively.
The length of each absence may also shorten, as healthier workers tend to recover more quickly from illnesses and injuries, allowing them to return to work faster. When you need to measure the ROI, associated with your program, keep an eye on absenteeism to see if it declines.
Healthcare benefits and similar medical expenses often have a substantial impact on a company’s bottom line. By providing access to an employee wellness program, you may be able to reduce these costs, allowing you to experience a savings beyond the financial investment required to operate the program.
When workers are healthier, they generally don’t require as many medical appointments or treatments. This can make it easier to secure a lower rate for your healthcare plan. Additionally, this can save your employees money in the long-run, both by reducing their need for medical care and by keeping their recurring costs low.
Another important point to monitor when you want to measure the ROI is your retention rate. Offering a robust employee wellness program can increase longevity, especially if it helps differentiate your business from your competitors.
A side benefit of the program is increased job satisfaction on the part of employees. This may reduce their desire to seek out opportunities elsewhere, particularly if it helps them view you as an employer of choice.
If word gets out that you offer a comprehensive employee wellness program, this may make recruiting top talent easier. Job seekers often look at various aspects of a company before they apply, and the range of benefits and perks plays a substantial role in their decision.
While it may be challenging to measure the impact of your wellness program on the surface, you can find out if it had an effect on a candidate’s decision to apply if you ask, potentially giving you another way to measure the ROI.
Offering an employee wellness program can have a positive effect on morale, partially because it demonstrates that the company cares about the well-being of its workforce and is willing to go the extra mile to help them improve their health, reduce stress, and more. Plus, a healthy employee tends to be happier, and attitude can have a significant impact on performance.
Ultimately, productivity usually increases after you implement an employee wellness program. You can monitor the speed and quality of outputs to monitor productivity improvements, giving you another valuable metric to watch.
Overall, an employee wellness program can save you money, boost retention, enhance your recruitment efforts, and increase productivity. Use the points above to help determine your ROI and see if your numbers don’t improve over time.
If you are interested in learning more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your business goals today and see how our services can benefit you.
Technology has made it easier for companies to secure talent from across the country, and even the world. Hiring remote employees can provide a lot of advantages, including locating hard to find skills and saving money on physical office space.
However, building trust with your remote workforce can be a challenge, largely because it requires a different management approach than you may use in the office. Managers often worry that remote employees aren’t doing their fair share and workers may not feel connected to the team, increasing feelings of isolation or fears that they are out of the loop.
Luckily, there are things you can do to increase trust with your remote employees. Here are three tips to get you started.
Create a Communication Plan
Regular communication is crucial if you want to increase trust. Often, the best way to ensure that everyone is communicating often enough is to craft a schedule. For example, daily 10-minute progress meetings can help keep you up to date while allowing the employee to request additional information or guidance. Video conferences can provide everyone with face time, increasing the sense of connection.
Similarly, providing your entire team access to an instant messaging system can facilitate quick conversations, making project planning and information sharing simpler. Plus, many solutions allow for document sharing and multiple chat rooms, adding to overall efficiency.
Use Outcome-Based Goals
When it comes to managing a remote workforce, outcomes are usually more important that the amount of time they spend working. If you set outcome-based goals and fully define the employee’s responsibilities, you ensure that your expectations are clear.
Put the goals in writing and use them to monitor the worker’s progress. Make sure the employee is completely aware of what you expect, and use your regular check-in meetings to request updates.
Provide the Right Tools
Remote workers need a range of technologies to be effective in their role. Aside from the above-mentioned communication platform, they may need access to other software or cloud-based resources to manage their tasks. VPN services may also be necessary, particularly if your employee needs to remote into your internal network.
Additionally, helping them acquire items to create a comfortable workstation at their location can be beneficial, as well as technology like computers, scanners, printers, and whatever else they need to do their job.
Ultimately, building trust with your remote employees doesn’t have to be a challenge. By following the tips above, you can create pathways for regular communication, ensure that your expectations are clear, and that your workforce has all of the tools they need to excel in their role.
If you are interested in learning more about managing remote workers or are looking for skilled professionals to join your company, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your unique goals with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services and expertise can benefit you.
When it comes to tech, which skills are considered to be in-demand can seemingly change on a dime. While options like Tableau and Linux were once popular with employers, interest in these skills diminished significantly during 2017.
React Engineering of the Rise
Over the course of two years, employer interest in React has skyrocketed, based on a recent study. Job site Indeed examined two periods, October 2015 through September 2016 and October 2016 through September 2017, and found that the number of companies seeking out React skills rose by 229 percent.
That level of growth far outpaced other in-demand skills, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure at 40 percent and 62 percent respectively.
Another point that spurs growth is the amount of developer interest in React. Many coders appreciate its simplicity and flexibility, often leading them to consider React to be one of their favorite library options.
While developer support doesn’t guarantee employer buy-in, it can have an impact. As more coders touted Reacts benefits and began using the library in their work, the level of prevalence increased, leading companies to experience the benefits and start seeking out others who could work with React.
Why is React Popular with Employers?
React was developed by Facebook, a giant in the social media space. That fact alone should stand as a testament to React’s capabilities in the front-end development arena. However, the number of big name companies that embrace React doesn’t stop there. Dropbox, Expedia, Netflix, The New York Times, and Reddit all use React in some capacity, showcasing just how many organizations have shifted to the library.
Overall, React is highly adaptable, adjusting the renderings as new data is provided or current data changes. It also provides for a substantial amount of customization and offers a significant amount of functionality. Further, React works with a broad selection of frameworks, making it incredibly flexible too.
Additionally, thanks to React Native, mobile development can also be more straightforward from a company perspective. Since the transition from the web-oriented React to React Native is fairly easy to handle for most developers, this allows organizations to secure talent that has the potential to create designs in both web and mobile formats.
Ultimately, Reach provides a significant number of benefits and it is becoming more widely used. This increases employer interest in React, leading to additional opportunities for those interested in React engineering.
If you are looking for a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore opportunities in the area. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our experienced recruiters today and see how our services can benefit you.
Every generation is unique, particularly when it comes to the values they hold dear and common behaviors, such as how they prefer to communicate. While certain traits typically associated with Millennials should be considered strengths, others make actually hold you back as you work to forge a career in tech.
If you are a Millennial tech pro and are wondering if some of the characteristics of your generation are holding your career back, here’s what you need to know.
Hard Work Doesn’t Guarantee Anything
Many members of the Millennial generation were raised to believe that by working hard their employer will take care of them. This leads many Millennial tech pros to put nearly all of the energy into work in hopes that it will help them get ahead. However, that doesn’t necessarily transpire.
When the hard work doesn’t pay off in the way they expect, many Millennials become frustrated and disappointed. However, many fail to realize that there are other mechanisms that control raises and promotions, particularly at large tech firms.
While being a diligent employee is certainly smart from a career perspective, it’s unwise to assume that a company will automatically reward you for your efforts beyond your current paycheck. Millennials need to, instead, learn to navigate the organization or larger industry. This can include anything from discussing what it takes to get a raise or promotion with a manager or seeking out new opportunities outside of the company.
Focusing on Happiness Can be a Mistake
Many Millennials bounce from one job to the next in hopes of finding a role that makes them happy. However, the misconception that work should be fun can hinder their careers.
Ultimately, as the old adage goes, if work was fun, then companies wouldn’t have to pay people to do the job. While it isn’t impossible to be happy at work, seeking out situations that provide a sense of contentment or an environment they find generally pleasant would be a better approach.
Typically, in a suitable job, some fun will certainly be had, but it isn’t going to be the standard. By lowering this expectation to simple contentment, it can help a position feel more satisfying. Plus, it is a much more realistic goal, which can alleviate the stress of chasing something that may be impossible to find.
Still Relying on the Traditional Career Ladder
Millennials were often raised by parents who could clearly map out their future thanks to traditional career ladders. This leads many of Gen Y to assume that similar paths are still available today, but that isn’t always the case.
Modern workplaces rely less on standard transitions from one rung to the next. Instead, employees are rewarded for accomplishments, acquiring new skills, and blazing their own trails.
While certain progression patterns still exist, the path between point A and point B isn’t as defined. As a Millennial tech pro, if you want to move your career forward, you have to take control of your career by seeking out new opportunities and not just waiting for them to simply appear at your feet.
If you are ready to take the next step forward in your career, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to exciting opportunities throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our services can help you reach them.