Items filtered by date: February 2018

 Sports Technology

 

Technology dedicated specifically to sports and athletics, both at the professional and amateur levels, is becoming more prevalent, leaving many wondering if it will morph into a field of its own. The systems are designed to do more than just monitor performance, supporting other objectives like health tracking and providing access to visual tools that can help them improve.

 

New products are being introduced on a regular basis, but that only scratches the surface of what the field may have to offer. If you’re wondering what’s next for sports technology, here’s what you need to know.

 

New Devices and Wearables

Since fitness trackers like the Fitbit became all the rage some years ago, there have been significant advances in the available devices and wearables that are designed to help athletes improve. Activity-specific devices are becoming more prevalent in the market while the capabilities of general devices are increasingly robust.

 

The field is poised for additional growth, particularly as interest in sport-specific technologies grows, and there is certain room in the marketplace for more sophisticated advancements.

 

 

A Connection with Big Data

While most sports technology devices are capable of collecting data about the individual using the tool, big data is also making an appearance in the field. Supporting applications are able to use information about other users to provide additional information and recommendations to users, giving them the opportunity to improve their performance or simply see how they measure up to others.

 

Analytics are also often integrated into these applications, some of which have predictive capabilities that allow a user to anticipate their results if they choose a specific course of action.

 

Improved Metrics

One of the tricks associated with this rapidly advancing field is that, though a number of performance metrics are being included, tech professionals weren’t always knowledgeable about which metrics are actually valuable to users. As the sports technology field grows, however, the professionals behind the devices and applications are learning more about the sports, allowing them to select better information.

 

This means that tech professionals who have a solid understanding of athletics are highly sought after in the industry, allowing them to be well-positioned when it comes to securing a top-notch position. And, if a software engineer or data scientist has explicit knowledge about the specific sport being targeted in the device and supporting app, all the better.

 

Whether sports technology will become a full-blown field of its own, in an official sense, is yet to be seen. But, the potential is undoubtedly there, giving sports-minded tech professionals the option of specializing in an area that may combine two of their passions.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the burgeoning sports technology specialty or are looking for a new tech position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you and your career.

 

 

Wednesday, Mar 28 2018

DevOps Trends You Need to Know

DevOps

 

The DevOps approach to software development has gained significant moment over the past few years, making its way into more workplaces and industries. As with everything associated with tech, it also moves and shifts on a regular basis, making it important to stay on top of trends.

 

If you are wondering what DevOps trends deserve your attention this year, here’s what you need to know.

 

CALMS and DevOps

There is some argument about the true definition of DevOps, but one recently developed acronym is making significant headway in the field and is likely to make a larger impact throughout 2018.

 

CALMS (culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing) is a reflection of the most current mindset in the area of DevOps, reflecting current priorities and goals. It also shows that each aspect is vital to organizational success, as even a single missing component can harm a company’s ability to truly transform.

 

DevOps at Scale

Like with Agile before it, many companies have declared an acceptance of DevOps principles, though not all have taken active steps to use it in their organization. As 2018 progresses, however, this is anticipated to change, with wide-scale adoption resulting in legitimate action on the part of enterprises.

 

Ultimately, 2017 reflected an interest in experimenting with DevOps, while 2018 is poised to be the year when it actually takes real shape.

 

The Rise of the SRE Role

When an approach begins to become mainstream, a specialty role is often created that supports these objectives. For DevOps, that’s the site reliability engineer (SRE), a professional that marries ops prowess with software development skills to improve architectural flexibility, the use of automation, and empowerment of developers to create higher quality applications at a faster rate.

 

 

Increasing Use of Serverless Technology

The DevOps world has been buzzing about serverless technology, and that interest is likely going to translate into a wider adoption of the approach, similar to the rise of the function-as-a-server solution.

 

Serverless technology has the ability to provide a range of benefits, including from a development perspective. So, it shouldn’t be surprising if more DevOps professionals and companies embrace these solutions based on what they have to offer.

 

DevSecOps Will be More Prominent

With some many companies focused on IT security, it’s no wonder that the field is finding its way into the DevOps arena. Ultimately, the approach allows security professionals to join the conversation earlier, ensuring that their needs and goals are considered from the beginning.

 

It also means that DevOps teams will become more informed about security principles, allowing them to act appropriately even without direct guidance. Over time, security considerations will become a habit and not an afterthought, changing how projects are approached well into the future.

 

If you are interested in finding a new role in DevOps, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading opportunities throughout the area. Contact us today to find out more about our current openings and how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Impostor Syndrome 

 

Have you ever walked into work thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing?” If so, you’re not alone.

 

Impostor syndrome, the feeling that you don’t have the right knowledge, skills or experience to work in your current role, is incredibly prevalent in tech. It often leads to extreme feelings of doubt, insecurity, and anxiety, making it harder to stay positive on the job even when people tell you that you’re doing great.

 

Often, beliefs that you are an impostor in the workplace aren’t based in reality, but that doesn’t make them inherently easy to conquer. If you are ready to get over your impostor syndrome for good, here’s what you need to do.

 

If You Don’t Know It, Learn It

One of the root causes of impostor syndrome is not having all of the answers. Maybe your code isn’t the most beautiful to behold, or you’ve never worked with a particular system before, and now you have to jump in.

 

Often, it’s a lack of understanding of a particular thing that leads a person to feel like they don’t belong in their job. But, it’s important to remember that no one starts out with this knowledge, and it’s always possible to learn something new.

 

If you don’t know how something functions or how to improve on something you’ve created, then adopt an inquisitive mindset and start researching. You can do internet searches, sign up for a class, or reach out to the expert in your workplace. All of these have the ability to get you the knowledge you need, making you more secure in your capabilities, including your ability to learn something new.

 

 

Keep Track of Compliments

Typically, we are more inclined to take criticism to heart, whether it comes from ourselves or someone else, than we are to accept that a compliment is accurate. Over time, these negative points override the positives, becoming a point of focus over the long-term.

 

However, it is possible to balance out the negatives with the positives, as long as you make an effort to keep track of the compliments given to you. For example, store copies of emails that offered kudos in a folder so they are accessible, write down the positive things people say, or stash cards that were given in appreciation in a file. Then, when you find yourself doubting your capabilities, turn to these resources to when you need a boost.

 

At some point, nearly everyone experiences bouts of impostor syndrome as they walk down their career path, so you aren’t alone in these feelings of self-doubt. But, by being open to learning and reminding yourself that you have exceeded others expectations, you can adjust your mindset, allowing you to beat impostor syndrome for good.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new opportunity, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

 Universities

 

As technology becomes more ingrained in the daily life of nearly every American, universities are working to take on issues surrounding the ethical ramifications of the increased use of tech. While many recent developments in the sector, like AI and autonomous vehicles, have a lot of potential for good, there are also risks associated with the technology that need to be considered.

 

If you are wondering how some of the top universities are teaching ethics in tech, and why they are taking it on, here’s what you need to know.

 

Why Focus on Ethics?

The technology industry has frequently become the focus of ethical challenges. Companies like Uber and Google have faced criticism about their culture, and Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms were drawn into the debate for their possible roles in spreading questionable material during the last presidential election.

 

Ultimately, technology is impacting the lives of the masses, and improper handling of certain issues in these realms negatively affects the country and even the world. Since tech is only likely to become a larger part of daily life, both inside and out of the office, the creation of classes designed to discuss and address these problems is timely.

 

 

What are Top Universities Teaching?

While the full scope of what is, or will be, offered is growing, many of the classes focus on key issues facing the tech industry and people working in IT roles. For example, MIT and Harvard are jointly offering a course titled “The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence,” predominately focusing on the possible ramifications of AI and machine learning.

 

The University of Texas at Austin has just begun offering a class called “Ethical Foundations of Computer Science,” and intends to make it a requirement for computer science majors in the future. Cornell has a course focused on data science and ethics while Stanford is developing a class on general computer science-related ethics that they plan to make available next year.

 

The ultimate goal is to introduce concepts of ethics and morality to students who will soon be working in burgeoning fields associated with computer science and tech. With technologies like autonomous vehicles and weapons, both of which have the significant capacity to harm or even kill, preparing to be released to the market, being equipped to teach critical points about ethics is being considered a must.

 

Additionally, many up and coming technologies could fundamentally change how society works, and the implications of such changes are potentially vast.

 

While it’s hard to predict exactly what technologies will become available over the next three, five, or ten years, teaching ethics at a foundational level will help those working in the field to consider the broader implications of their activities, hopefully preventing potential issues before they occur.

 

If you are interested in learning more about ethics in tech, the knowledgeable professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled team members today.

 

 

Hadoop 

 

Pursuing a career as a software architect can be incredibly lucrative. In the San Jose area, those with the proper skills can make an average salary of over $140,000, well above the national average.

 

But, this means you need to have an appropriate level of technical prowess, and certain skills are more likely to help you stand out from the potential sea of applicants. If you are wondering which skills employers want to find in software architects, here’s what you need to know.

 

C++ and Java

While many programming languages may be requested by employers, C++ and Java are two languages that are commonly listed on software architect job postings.

 

Java is often prized for its versatility as well as its role in emerging technologies, like machine learning and artificial intelligence. Additionally, it can be applied to multiple environments, which is ideal for multi-platform organizations.

 

C++ is usually considered a general-purpose programming language and is widely used across multiple industries. It works well for application and server-side development, making it a must-have in the eyes of many companies.

 

 

Hadoop

Apache Hadoop plays a substantial role in big data-oriented objectives, so software architects that are familiar with this open-source software framework are in high demand. Hadoop can be seen as critical when data that needs to be analyzed is located on multiple servers, so being able to support these projects is a great way to stand out from the competition.

 

Agile

Many organizations favor the Agile methodology for software development. If a business already uses the approach, then being familiar with Agile will be seen as a necessity.

 

Since Agile has been a go-to methodology for some time, many experienced software architects will already have this knowledge. For those just breaking into the field, learning the fundamentals of Agile can be beneficial, as not everyone in entry-level roles will have this experience.

 

Soft Skills

Gone are the days where a person’s technical ability was the only thing hiring managers focused on. Now, soft skills are seen as vital to a software architect’s success, so they are becoming more prominent on job postings.

 

Usually, leadership and organizational skills are a high priority, especially for upper-level of senior positions. Communication skills are also a must, as software architects aren’t just tasked with working as part of a team but also partnering with stakeholders who may not be as technically savvy. This means being able to gather information and communicate complex details in a way that is easily understood by those not working in the software architecture field is a must.

 

There is a range of opportunities for software architects, but possessing the skills above puts you in the best position when it comes to furthering your career.

 

If you are looking for a new software architect position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with top employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you take the next step in your career.

 

 

Published in Staffing News
Friday, Mar 16 2018

Has Agile Hit its Peak?

Agile 

 

Agile was once lauded as the ideal approach to software development. It allowed teams to create software at a rapid pace while also keeping projects aligned to their core objectives. But, as Agile joined the mainstream, many began considering it the answer for every project, even if it wasn’t always an appropriate approach.

 

While Agile can be an excellent methodology for certain objectives, it may not be ideal for your team or project. Before you default to an Agile approach, here are a few times when you should consider using an alternative methodology.

 

Your Using Agile to Appear Up-to-Date

A lot of companies adopt the Agile methodology largely based on appearances, wanting to be able to declare to the world that they are an Agile organization. Others choose it because they haven’t used a new methodology for quite some time and they fear that they will be viewed negatively for not using the approach.

 

However, choosing Agile just because it is the method where everyone recognizes its name isn’t a good reason for bringing it in. Just because a business isn’t using Agile doesn’t mean that their current approach isn’t practical, so don’t abandon something that is working just because of the name.

 

 

Your Costs Would Rise

In some highly regulated industries, trying to force an Agile approach to development can actually cost you more money in the long run. Often, if regulatory bodies dictate how certain things must be done (even if they allow for the use of some Agile concepts), it’s best to stick with what is effective, especially if significant documentation and mindset changes could stall your tech teams.

 

Not every industry is as suited for Agile as others, so it’s okay to bypass this approach if it doesn’t quite fit in your highly regulated environment.

 

A Two-Week Delivery Schedule Doesn’t Make Sense

Agile uses a segmented development approach in the form of two- to three-week sprints. At the end of each spring, there is supposed to be working code and a demonstrable result. However, not every project can be divided into pieces that align with such a schedule and, if it doesn’t break down properly, but you try to force it by compressing your timeline, you could be pushing your IT staff beyond the limits of what is possible in that timeframe.

 

Some projects simply don’t break down into Agile-ready chunks and, when that’s the case, trying to make it align with the methodology just doesn’t make sense.

 

Ultimately, Agile can be a great software development methodology, but only if it makes sense for your project and is appropriate for your industry. If it doesn’t align, then don’t try to force Agile into your workplace. Otherwise, it could cost you more than you expect.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a skilled IT pro to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our services, including how they can benefit your business, today.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

 Mentor

 

A lot of professionals have heard that having a mentor can potentially benefit their career. But, since these arrangements aren’t necessarily common or publicly announced, exactly how it can help you get ahead can seem like a bit of a mystery.

 

Ultimately, having a mentor can be incredibly beneficial, as long as the relationship is constructed in the proper way. If you are wondering how a mentor can help your career, here’s what you need to know about the role.

 

A Long-Term Relationship

One of the biggest differences between a mentor and a coach is the duration of the relationship. While coaches often make short-term arrangements, a mentor is usually in it for the long haul. The idea is to serve as a guide, supporting your growth and professional development, and acting as a source of insight as you move forward down your career path.

 

The nature of a relationship with a mentor is usually not finite, allowing them to function as a critical connection for months or even years.

 

 

A Source of Encouragement

Often, a person who serves as a mentor is a professional in a position that you would one day like to have. This means that they have usually been in your shoes at some point in their career, so they are capable of both empathizing with the challenges you encounter while also being capable of offering encouragement. After all, they have likely had to tackle the same issues as they were rising through the ranks, and they made it, so they know it is possible to overcome obstacles and reach success.

 

At times, simply having a cheerleader can do wonders for your career. Understanding that someone else has made it through these challenges and is rallying behind you can be both stress-relieving and empowering, allowing you to accomplish more than you previously thought possible.

 

A Sounding Board

While it isn’t a mentor’s responsibility to tell you exactly what to do to reach your goal or give you answers when you encounter difficult questions, they can often serve as a sounding board when you are faced with tough decisions. Again, they have a deeper understanding of the field, so their wisdom can help you work through complicated problems, giving you a chance to make the decision while ensuring you considered all of the key points along the way.

 

In the end, a mentor wants to see you succeed, so they are going to offer their insights and encouragement as a means of supporting you during your journey. If you are interested in learning more about how a mentor can benefit you and your career or are seeking out new opportunities in your field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about what we have to offer and to see how our services can benefit you as you work towards your larger career goals.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Match Business 

 

It wasn’t long ago that IT functioned in a supporting within nearly every business, learning about the business rules and processes and identifying corresponding solutions. Now, technology is evolving at a rapid pace, having the capacity to define the business and serve as a source for positive organizational change.

 

As things have shifted, IT is tasked with being a leader in innovation and has certainly become a more visible component within the company thanks to its ability to be the root of future successes. This makes matching your tech to the business incredibly critical.

 

If the idea of making your technology match the company is new to you, here’s how you get started.

 

 

Concentrate on Creating a Competitive Advantage

With the number of IT solutions available on the market today, it’s easy to become sidetracked by offerings that don’t align with your larger strategic goals. Instead of allowing yourself to be automatically caught up in the latest developments, focus only on those that will enable you to create a distinct competitive advantage, preferably one that is sustainable.

 

Ultimately, every business has mission-critical tasks that help with market differentiation, and supporting these activities through updated tech can allow your company to stay ahead in the overall marketplace. Identify the areas where the organization truly stands out from the crowd and seek out tech that can make it easier to maintain that advantage.

 

At times, you’ll need to dig deep into how the business operates to figure out which areas truly deserve special attention. You may need to ask certain questions, often repeatedly, that allows you to drill down to the core areas where a competitive advantage exists as many people want to believe that their company outshines the competition in every possible area. However, every organization will have a core focus that separates them from similar offerings in the marketplace, and those are the areas that truly deserve additional innovation as a means of staying ahead.

 

Befriend Best Practices

Once you’ve identified the company’s competitive advantage, it’s time to build best practices that keep everyone aligned with this goal. Generally, this means standardizing specific activities and simplifying your core objectives so that everyone can operate on the same page.

 

In the end, every project IT takes on should be for the betterment of the primary competitive advantage. Those that don’t align with that concept should usually be set by the wayside, at least temporarily, so that the larger goal of remaining ahead can be the focus.

 

By ensuring your tech matches your business, you can increase your odds of maintaining your advantage without wasting time, energy, or other resources on tasks that genuinely aren’t as critical to your success.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a tech professional who can help you reach your goals, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to learn more about how our services can benefit you today.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

 Test Automation

 

If you want to be a great test automation engineer, then it would seem logical that having strong test automation skills is the way to accomplish that goal. But, there’s more to being a successful test automation engineer than technical prowess alone. In fact, being a system thinker is just as important.

 

So, if you are interested in becoming a top-notch test automation engineer, here is what you need to know about being a system thinker.

 

What are System Thinkers?

At its most basic, a system thinker is an individual who can survey the larger system to identify problems. From the perspective of test automation engineering, this includes professionals who can investigate a piece of software in its entirety as a method of locating holes in the resulting system.

 

System thinkers are individuals who can keep the bigger picture in mind even as they work on the smallest details. They understand how each piece fits together to create a functional whole, as well as which parts are working properly, and which are not, at any given time.

 

They also understand that automating particular tests may not be a suitable approach due to how the full system is constructed. Additionally, they are able to keep the return on investment (ROI) for each potential point of automation in consideration, allowing them to determine when it is financially wise to use a tool to complete the work.

 

Ultimately, being a system thinker means adopting the proper mindset, understanding how each part of a solution integrates to produce the final product and being able to keep it all in mind as you work.

 

 

How to Become a System Thinker

Some people have a natural inclination for monitoring the bigger picture, but others have to work to adopt the proper perspective. Part of it revolves around certain soft skills, like critical thinking and problem solving, which many test automation engineers already use on a regular basis.

 

However, it also involves understanding how things are connected, and that anything you do isn’t occurring in isolation of the larger system. This means applying your soft skills with a different scope, examining the implications of individual approaches based on the interconnected nature of each part.

 

Initially, it can be challenging to adopt a bigger picture perspective, especially if you haven’t had to use it much previously. But, by examining how your activities related to larger goals or products as a whole, you can build your skills, allowing you to become an effective system thinker.

 

Be prepared to have to dedicate some additional time to your work as you begin to shift your mindset. However, once you’ve practiced it for a while, it will ultimately become natural.

 

If you are interested in learning more about being a system thinker or are seeking a new test automation engineering opportunity, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our services today and see how they can benefit you and your career.

 

 

 Data Scientist

 

Companies all over the country are looking for skilled data scientists, making it one of the hottest careers today. And, as more businesses look for ways to leverage their data, data science has the capacity to remain an in-demand specialty for quite some time.

 

Professionals in these roles often command high salaries, especially if their skill set is strong. However, even those who have worked as a data scientist can always elevate their careers by making smart decisions. If you are looking to get your data scientist career off the ground or take it to the next level, here’s how to get started.

 

Learn the Right Programming Languages

While there is a range of programming languages in use in the data science field, some of them are more in-demand than others. Ultimately, Python, R, and SQL are the most common ones requested by companies in their job postings, so having at least one of those at your disposal is a must.

 

If you aren’t familiar with those programming languages, you do have options for acquiring the skills. First, you can always take a course at a local college or university, even if you already have a degree, as this will allow you to improve your knowledge in a formal, and widely accepted setting.

 

Boot camps are also becoming a popular method for learning coding languages. Some of these courses focus on a specific language while others cover several that are relevant to a particular profession.

 

Finally, if you are already a skilled coder, you may be able to learn Python, R or SQL on your own. There are a lot of free online resources that can provide you with guidance, so don’t be afraid to conduct a search and see what is available.

 

 

Focus on Accessibility

Right now, competition for top jobs can be fierce. There are a lot of tech pros who decided to focus on data science, so there may be multiple qualified candidates that apply to every opening.

 

While having the right technical skills is important, you also want to demonstrate that you can make the information accessible to others. Not everyone who uses the results of your work will be tech-savvy, so being able to discuss the data in a way that is easy for others to understand can separate you from the pack.

 

Examine Multiple Industries

Since data science can benefit nearly any business, there are opportunities available in practically any industry. This means you may want to explore options outside of your current industry, particularly if you are looking to make a step up quickly.

 

While IT companies are an obvious target, data science is also hot in the finance, insurance, and professional services industries. Healthcare, manufacturing and even retailers (at the corporate level) may also be looking to add data scientists to their teams.

 

If you are interested in finding a new data scientist position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you succeed.

 

 

Published in Staffing News
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