Automation has been a blessing for many businesses. Not only can it help cut costs, but it can also achieve amazing results while removing tedious tasks from the hands of your employees. In essence, it’s a win-win-win, making it hard to ignore.
However, automation isn’t always the way to go. There are some situations where using the technology introduces significant risk, at times in unexpected ways. Before you automate every aspect of your operations, here are three potentially risky outcomes.
When It Allows the Manual Skill to Disappear
While automation is touted for reducing the need for manual processes, freeing up employees to focus on activities that genuinely require the human touch, using automation to the point where the manual approach is no longer known isn’t a great idea.
Even though technology is robust, it is bound to fail at some point. Technical issues happen every day, so you can’t assume that your company will be immune to trouble. If you rely too heavily on automation, when that problem occurs, no one will know how to default back to the manual process. This can bring business to a standstill.
When It Leads to Disengagement
Automation is often an excellent way to boost engagement as it gives your workers the ability to handoff duties that are a bit mundane or repetitive. However, when technology is used to make decisions for employees or allows them to distance themselves emotionally from the company’s operational essence, disengagement can occur.
For employees to feel satisfied on the job, they need to connect with the company. Automation has the ability to eliminate core business knowledge over time, making it harder to create a bridge between what the worker is doing and the success of the organization. If morale begins to decrease, productivity generally falls and turnover increases, creating a less than ideal scenario for everyone involved.
When It Creates Poor Customer Experiences
At some point, everyone has had a poor customer service experience thanks to automation. For example, being stuck talking to an automated call attendant that won’t let you reach out to a person can be infuriating, especially when the system can’t provide you with the information you need.
While using automation to make customer interactions easier can be wise, it shouldn’t be used to dehumanize the entire process. Instead, striking a balance is essential. Otherwise, customer frustration is going to lead to poor word-of-mouth, and that can be incredibly damaging to your business.
Ultimately, automation is a powerful tool, but it must be used wisely. Without an adequate balance between technology and the people-factor, automation can actually do more harm than good.
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If you would like to learn more about how to use automation to your advantage without harming operations, morale, or customer service, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our workplace automation expertise can benefit you.
Companies are increasingly seeking out skilled software project managers to ensure that their projects go forward without a hitch. However, if a project manager doesn’t meet expectations, businesses usually won’t hesitate to seek out someone who will.
Becoming an irreplaceable software project manager means you need to bring specific skills and experiences to the table. Additionally, you must have the proper mindset, perspective, and attitude. Otherwise, you might end up more replaceable than you had hoped. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips to help you excel.
Software Development Knowledge
Project managers usually have a combination of business and subject-matter knowledge. However, not every tech project manager focuses on software development.
By concentrating on the software niche, you can provide companies with additional value. You understand what is involved in the development process, ensuring you can build realistic timetables, manage expectations, and set achievable goals. Plus, you will function better as a liaison between the software developers on your team and management, customers, or other stakeholders, as you will understand exactly what is being asked of them and may more easily garner their respect.
Exceptional Planning Skills
It’s no secret that project managers are responsible for planning. Any shortcomings in this arena can be detrimental to your career, so you need to be diligent about exceeding expectations.
Project managers need to be able to complete various steps, including defining the scope, scheduling activities, and identify risks. Additionally, the ability to produce Gantt charts or otherwise create a visual representation of the timeframes is beneficial.
When you work as a project manager, you are guiding a team toward success. You need to be able to provide them with clear direction, specific goals, and well-defined expectations, all while being polite and professional.
Make sure you can articulate each team member’s role. Additionally, learn about each person’s skill set so you can align tasks with the individuals who are most likely to excel in those areas.
You also need to be ready and willing to act as a mentor. At times, your team is going to have questions, so you must be prepared to point them in the right direction and offer them support when required.
It’s important to note that leadership also goes beyond managing your team. For example, standing up for them when a stakeholder places an unrealistic expectation on the project is also part of being a good leader. Similarly, controlling scope creep can fall into that category.
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Ultimately, all the skills above are necessary if you want to excel in the project management field. By focusing on the areas above, you can become an irreplaceable software project manager. If you would like to learn more or are seeking out a new project management opportunity, the team of skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members today and see how our project management expertise can benefit you.
Your first 90 days on the job are critical. During that period, your coworkers learn what to expect from you and managers are deciding whether you were actually a good hire or not. Your initial few months at your new company set the tone, and missteps during this time can haunt you.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure that you shine during your first 90 days. If you want to make sure you make the best impression, here’s what you need to do.
Find the Flow
Every workplace has patterns. They may expect certain tasks to be completed in a particular order or have an innate understanding that some phrases should be interpreted in a specific way.
By finding the flow, you can integrate yourself into what is already there. Not only does this makes you seem like a more natural fit, but it can also save you a lot of frustration. Instead of pushing against the norm, you are recognizing it and working with it, which is going to be universally appreciated.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be a champion for change in the future. However, coming into a new workplace and asking people to conform to what you want isn’t going to win you any allies. Similarly, telling a group of colleagues that you don’t know well that their wrong is going to leave a sour taste in their mouths.
Always strive to make yourself a part of how things are first, as this gives you a chance to have the full experience. Plus, you may learn that things are the way they are for a reason, and that change isn’t actually necessary. If you do have a potentially beneficial idea, then you can share it once you garner the respect of your colleagues, and that usually won’t happen in the first 90 days.
Seek Out Expectations
Exceeding expectations is usually a great way to make a positive impression. However, you can only do that if you actually understand what expectations exist in the first place.
If your manager hasn’t clearly defined any expectations, objectives, or goals associated with your role, schedule a meeting and ask about them. You can also talk to your coworkers about what they anticipate you’ll be able to provide, giving you an idea of how they think your position fits into the bigger picture.
As you learn about the expectations, don’t make grand promises about exceeding them. Instead, acknowledge them and make commitments that give you a little breathing room whenever possible. Remember, it can take time to familiarize yourself with a new environment, so it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver in the beginning.
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By following the tips above, you can excel during your first 90 days on the job. If you would like to learn more about making a great first impression, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our skilled team members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
Every new year brings a new set of trends. After all, the business and tech worlds are continually evolving, and the points on the horizon often approach faster than many anticipate in the beginning.
In 2019, there are a few trends that tech pros should expect to encounter as the year moves forward. Here are the ones that deserve your attention.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a trend for several years, though much of the attention fell on the consumer space. Options like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are increasingly present in the daily lives of the masses but didn’t provide substantial value to many companies.
In 2019, expect an increased emphasis on enterprise-level AI. Advances in natural language processing mean more companies will integrate AI into customer support mechanisms and even certain internal resources. Similarly, the ability to automate a wider range of tasks should be anticipated as well as the chance to derive value from available data with greater ease.
More Custom Hardware
As once cutting-edge technologies become more affordable, companies integrate them at a faster rate. Custom hardware is one option that is becoming more financially viable, so businesses may explore opportunities to either develop solutions for internal use or for customers.
For example, the Amazon Dash Button concept – where a simple click of the button allowed a preset product to be ordered – could be extended into a variety of consumer experiences. Office-oriented products may also be on the horizon, allowing certain actions to be initiated with a button press, like reserving a conference room.
How it will manifest isn’t entirely clear. However, as companies have increased capacity to create custom hardware solutions, they opportunities will be easier to visualize.
Data Science Reimagined
Big Data has been a trending topic for years, but what companies expected and what they experienced often differed, leading to frustration. While many businesses initially accepted the limits without much complaint, that climate is changing.
While data scientists will continue to clarify what is and isn’t possible, companies are beginning to push for more. As a result, finding methods for overcoming barriers may become a priority, creating opportunities for technological advancement.
However, it also means that data scientists should expect pushback when they assert that a particular limit makes a request impossible. Instead of just accepting it as fact, organizations are going to want to understand the “why” behind the “no.” Then, they may rally against the restriction, expecting data scientists and other tech professionals to find a way to turn that “no” into a “yes.”
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Ultimately, 2019 is going to be an interesting year, particularly in the tech arena. If you would like to know more about the trends, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our tech trends knowledge can benefit you this year and beyond.
Since the world of technology evolves so quickly, systems administrators need to bring a lot to the table if they want to thrive in their field. This is especially true as the cloud gains greater traction in business, introducing something that is still seen as relatively new even as it enters the mainstream.
If you want to be a top systems administrator, bringing the right skills and experience to the table is essential. If you aren’t sure that you have what it takes, here are some key points that can help you decide.
Experience with Multiple Platforms
By having experience on multiple platforms, even if your career is largely focused on one, you show that you are versatile and adaptable. After all, you had to learn each one individually, demonstrating that you aren’t afraid of tackling something new to remain relevant and valuable.
Systems administrators need to do more than just resolve issues; they need to problem-solve with speed and a sense of urgency. This ensures that everything is fully operational as quickly as possible, allowing the workplace to remain productive and efficient.
Adapt to Changing Security Standards
Security is increasingly a priority in business, and systems administrators need to be able to modify solutions as required to meet new standards. Without the ability, systems may remain vulnerable, and that can be detrimental to the company.
Top systems administrators are often tasked with thinking strategically when determining the ideal direction for a system. This requires the ability to look beyond one’s own sphere and focus on the big picture, ensuring that the greater needs of the company remain the priority.
Similarly, being able to apply the principles of system configuration management in a strategic way is also vital. This not only requires a deep understanding of the concepts but also the ability to use them effectively for the most gain.
Strong Communication Skills
When you work as a systems administrator, communication skills are essential. Not only do you have to function as a vendor liaison, but you may also be tasked with making presentations to clients, customers, and your professional peers.
Further, you’ll need to coordinate with a larger tech team and any stakeholders outside of your department. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate complex ideas in simple language are must-haves. Otherwise, those without your level of technical expertise may be lost in the conversation.
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When you have your dream job in sight, it can be as exciting as it is scary. After all, you have to outshine the other candidates if you are going to land the role, and that isn’t always an easy task.
Luckily, there are things you can do to beat out the competition and secure your ideal job. If you aren’t sure how to begin, here are five ways you can get started.
Bring Something Unique to the Table
When you are applying to a job, you can almost guarantee that your strongest competitors are bringing similar technical ability to the table. After all, if they didn’t have the prowess to handle the tasks, their resume would likely get discarded.
If you want to stand out, finding a unique non-technical offering can make a difference. Consider your personality and attributes and identify points that can help you excel in the role. Then, find ways to add them to your resume and cover letter, making sure the hiring manager is aware of the fact that you have more to offer than hard skills.
Make an Emotional Connection
How a hiring manager feels about you can play as much of a role in their decision as for how well your skills and experience match the job posting. If you have a chance to bond emotionally with the hiring manager, take it.
For example, if you can connect your passion for the opportunity to the company’s mission, that can help forge a bond. Similarly, by being friendly and open during the interview, they may see you as more likable, which can also create a connection.
Make Subtle Comparisons
If there are areas where you perform better than average, you can stand out from the crowd with a subtle comparison. While you should never directly bash other candidates, showcasing how you outperform the average person in your field can help.
You’ll need to do some research about statistics that apply to your chosen profession and then identify areas where you perform better than average (and can prove it). While this can take some time and energy, it can allow you to highlight why you should be considered for the job.
Correct Mistakes When Possible
Nearly everyone makes a mistake during an interview at some point in their career. Maybe they draw a blank on a topic or accidentally get an answer wrong. While this can feel dooming, a single misstep isn’t usually the end of the world. Plus, you may also have a chance to correct your error if you proceed properly.
For instance, if you missed an answer during the interview but remember the correct one before the meeting is over, you may be able to revisit the topic in a later response or when you are given a chance to ask questions. While you don’t want to force it into the conversation, as that may not impress the hiring manager, if it can work into the discussion naturally, touch on it.
Otherwise, when you send a thank you email, you can also cover it then. Let the hiring manager know that you remember the mistake and correct it quickly and concisely.
Have a Closing Summary
As your interview draws to an end, having a closing summary ready that allows you to touch on your key skills and attributes, bringing everything together. This can help you stand out by making sure your last impression is a powerful one.
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The cloud has become a staple in the business world over recent years. Businesses across the country are increasingly embracing hybrid and multi-cloud environments, allowing them to create solutions that best meet their needs.
As a result, cloud data engineering has emerged as a profession with a significant amount of potential. Many of the jobs are incredibly lucrative. Plus, since you get to explore an emerging field, the work itself can be very engaging.
Even in times of low unemployment, bringing the right skills to the table is essential. You need to have a firm grasp on specific technologies, programming languages, frameworks, and more to thrive as a cloud data engineer.
What to Add to Your Cloud Data Engineering Resume
By acquiring the proper skills and displaying them prominently on your resume, you can stand out in the eyes of hiring managers. Cloud data engineering requires a highly developed skill set, so just one or two of the core skills aren’t typically sufficient if you want to focus your career in this direction.
If you want to advance in the field or take your first steps into this exciting specialty, here are the eight skills you need to add to your resume.
Luckily, you have options when it comes to increasing your competency in these areas, so improving your skill set may be easier than you think.
How to Acquire Cloud Data Engineering Skills
While many developers and engineers likely possess at least a few of these skills, they may not have them all. To add the ones you need, you typically have three options: formal education or training, self-exploration, and on-the-job experience.
Formal education and training are usually the most straightforward approach. You can find classes that focus on cloud data engineering as a whole or explore courses that concentrate on a particular skill. In either case, it gives you a chance to increase your level of competency.
Alternatively, you can also gain the skills on your own. There are tons of free online resources, including webinars, blogs, and communities, that can give you viable approaches for adding the skill to your list of offerings. This approach can be ideal if your schedule is tight and you need something incredibly adaptable.
Finally, if you have a chance to join a project or have access to a mentor, you may be able to gain your skills on-the-job. Speak with your manager about opportunities that can allow you to learn or use these skills, giving you a chance to increase your knowledge while at work.
Ultimately, any of those options can help you enhance your resume, so explore them all until you have all of the skills you need to excel in the field of cloud data engineering.
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For a company to remain successful, it needs to be prepared to evolve with the times. If managers don’t maintain the proper mindsets, they can easily become roadblocks to advancement instead of champions for it. If you want to reach new heights in 2019, here are the mindsets you need to embrace to make sure that forward progress is possible.
People have a fundamental need to connect with others, but many managers try to shut themselves off from their teams, fearing that getting to close would lead to consequences. Typically, this attitude is shortsighted, as it is costing you far more than you risk by forging these connections.
When you actively strive to connect with your employees, you allow relationships to form. This can breed loyalty and create a healthier culture, as everyone will feel like they belong.
You can’t improve the performance of your business without embracing growth, and this doesn’t just include the companies. Supporting your professional growth as well as that of your team is also critical, ensuring everyone has the proper knowledge and skills to be at their best.
Make your own development a priority as this ensures your employees will have a solid example to follow. Then, provide them with opportunities too to make sure everyone can take steps forward.
Without trust, no team can thrive. Managers often worry about providing their staff with too much autonomy, fearing that, by letting go, something will go awry. However, when you give your employees some degree of freedom, they typically rise to the occasion. Plus, it frees you up to focus on your own tasks, including those that can generate growth.
Often, leaders need to extend trust first and not wait for it to be earned. By embracing this approach, your team builds confidence quickly and will strive to meet your expectations. When trust is withheld initially, it can breed discontent and anxiety, especially if your workers don’t know what they need to do to make progress. While allowing yourself to give trust when you are uncertain is difficult, it’s usually worth the effort.
Employees aren’t going to be at their best when the company’s core focus in on increasing profits. Often, workers feel little benefit from the organization improving their bottom line, so you need to give them something more if you want them to excel.
Instead of focusing on profit, adopt a purpose mindset. When professionals can work on something that is intrinsically meaningful and fulfilling, productivity and engagement rise. This can lead to growth and, subsequently, a higher level of profitability, all without making either of those a core focus.
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By adopting the mindsets above, your company can grow in 2019. If you’d like to learn more, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our growth mindset expertise can benefit you.
When people think of blockchain, cryptocurrency also typically comes to mind. Mainly, this is because of blockchains association with Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that soared to astounding heights as 2017 drew to a close and 2018 began. While there are hundreds of altcoins out there, Bitcoin is the one that was securing the most headlines.
However, after cryptocurrency mania peaked in January 2018, the market has mostly trended downward. One estimate suggests that $700 billion in market value was lost between then and now, showcasing just how far digital assets have fallen. While some of the losses are related to the high level of fraud in the cryptocurrency market, changes in investor sentiment and futures trading also played a role.
But blockchain isn’t losing any ground even as cryptocurrencies struggle. Predominately, this is because blockchain has uses outside the cryptocurrency landscaping, giving it stability.
Blockchain Isn’t Bitcoin
While blockchain allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to function, it isn’t inherently connected to cryptocurrency. Instead, it is a logging mechanism, and it can be completely separated from the cryptocurrency world.
Even as cryptocurrencies falter, blockchain maintains value as a standalone technology. Bitcoin and all of the altcoins could disappear tomorrow, and blockchain could remain standing on its own merit.
Blockchain is a mechanism for logging transactions. It serves as a distributed digital ledger and can’t be altered after a transaction takes place. This makes blockchain incredibly secure and reliable when multiple parties are involved, leading to a significant increase in interest in the technology.
While blockchain has obvious connections to the financial world - being a mechanism that supports real-time transactions, even across borders - it also has potential in other areas. Developers could use it to create solutions for monitoring supply chains, logging real estate title transfers, tracking medical information, issuing digital IDs, protecting copyrights, and much more.
This means that blockchain has a significant amount of potential, allowing interest in the technology to remain steady even as cryptocurrencies lose their luster.
A Fledgling Technology
While blockchain could be a gamechanger in numerous industries, it is still a fledgling technology. Big name companies are just beginning to scratch the surface of blockchains potential, and new developments are almost always on the horizon.
However, the speed at which blockchain-oriented solutions may become available may be negatively affected by the lack of tech specialists who can work with blockchain. Since it is relatively new to the larger business landscape and there aren’t many formal educational options focused on blockchain, finding suitable professionals to develop new solutions is challenging. This is especially true when today’s tight labor market (especially the low IT unemployment rate) are factored into the equation.
Ultimately, blockchain will likely maintain its appeal for the long-term, even if cryptocurrencies become largely a thing of the past. Since blockchain has potential in some many industries, it may succeed all on its own.
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Over recent years, the networking field has changed dramatically. Thanks to technology that has led many companies to shift away from on-premises infrastructure and servers, network administrators have to adapt if they want to achieve the highest salary possible.
While certain fundamental skills always provide value, new additions are also necessary if you want to reach the upper echelons of compensation. If you want to know which skills can help you achieve your goal, here are a few that should be on your radar.
Since companies are increasingly relying on cloud solutions, network administrators need skills that align with the technology. Typically, cloud-based servers need to be integrated into the organization’s environment, requiring specific infrastructure changes and other adjustments to the overall approach to IT. Additionally, being able to effectively evaluate solutions to see if they can meet a company’s needs is similarly essential.
In many cases, earning a certification that covers networking and the cloud, such as the Cisco Certified Network Professional – Cloud certification, you can show that you have the proper skills to work in a cloud-oriented environment. This can help you stand out from other network administrators who may not have delved into the technology, increasing the odds that your salary offering will be highly competitive.
While not every company embraces BYOD, many do. Network administrators need to know how to contend with employees’ personal devices and how to make sure that the network remains secure.
Often, this means familiarizing oneself with mobile device management (MDM) or similar platforms that provide the necessary protections and capabilities. This allows you to enforce user authentication requirements, remotely wipe missing devices to protect company systems and data, and separate personal and professional data and accounts.
As the workforce continues to become increasingly mobile, being prepared for BYOD and its related concerns can help you stand out. Plus, the skills are often beneficial even in companies that only support company-owned devices, as the approach to management is often similar, though less cumbersome.
Creativity and Flexibility
As the workplace evolves, the role of the network administrator shifts along with it. Without creativity and flexibility, you might not be viewed as a competent professional who is able to adapt when the need arises.
Similarly, creativity and problem-solving often go hand-in-hand. Network administrators have to deal with complex systems to ensure resiliency and the integrity of the network, and being able to solve problems effectively goes a long way in that regarding.
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By possessing the skills above, you can increase your odds of achieving a top salary as a network administrator. If you’d like to learn more about how you can excel in the field or are seeking out new opportunities, the knowledgeable team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our industry specialists today and see how our network administration expertise can benefit your career.