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Items filtered by date: March 2018

Career Mistakes by CIOs

 

Nearly every CIO took an occasional misstep early in their career as they were learning to navigate the nuances of leadership roles. Luckily, aspiring tech leaders can learn from these mistakes, helping them to avoid similar situations and trappings as they work their way up the ladder.

 

If your career goals involve reaching the upper echelons of management, here are some common early-career mistakes made by CIOs and how to avoid them.

 

  1. Avoiding Maintenance Tasks and Routine Projects

Typically, maintenance activities and routine projects don’t have a substantial amount of visibility within an organization. However, they are essential to a company’s success.

 

Similarly, pushing against prolonging legacy systems in favor of transitioning to the latest and greatest system may seem more exciting, but it may not be in the best interest of the business. And rejecting the idea of improving what’s there can hurt your career.

 

Instead of rejecting the routine, differentiate yourself within that space. Increase your knowledge of existing systems, learn how to use them to create additional value, and strive to improve what is already in place. This will set you apart from professionals who aren’t interested in anything but high-visibility projects, cementing your reputation of always having the organization’s best interest in mind.

 

  1. Not Seizing Opportunities to Become a Top Performer

If you establish yourself as a top performer, it is possible to bypass your more complacent colleagues, even if they have more experience. Those interested in reaching the leadership ranks should work to keep their skills up-to-date and complete their work to the best of their ability every time, regardless of the level of visibility.

 

Don’t be afraid to acquire new skills associated with emerging technologies, even if they aren’t yet in use at your company. That way, if they decide to embrace them, you are ahead of the pack and can help make the transition a possibility.

 

 

  1. Not Proactively Planning Your Career

Becoming a CIO rarely happens by accident. Instead, reaching that level in an organization is usually the result of a well-planned career that was properly executed.

 

If your goal is to become an executive, then identify the skills and experience required to land those roles. Then, pursue opportunities that allow you to move in that direction, networking with other skilled professionals and tech leaders along the way.

 

  1. Being Afraid to Let Go

Whenever a person in a contributor position reaches the leadership ranks, it can be hard to shake that old work persona. But, if you become a manager, your role has changed, and you need to learn to trust your team and release the urge to handle the tasks that used to make up your day to day.

 

Strong leaders delegate and empower their teams, and that means letting go of who you used to be and embracing who you are now.

 

By avoiding the early-career mistakes above, you can position yourself for greater success as you reach the leadership ranks. If you are looking for a new opportunity to move your career forward, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you take the next step toward your career goal.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Working From Home

 

It’s no surprise that a significant percentage of professionals wouldn’t consider reporting to the office their favorite part of the day. In fact, many would relish the ability to work from home, for a variety of reasons.

 

Did you know that tech professionals who work from home often save a significant amount of time and money? According to a recent report, it’s true. And those points alone can make it worth exploring remote work opportunities.

 

How Working from Home Saves Time

One of the most obvious ways working remotely can save time is by eliminating an employee’s need to commute. Depending on where they live, they may save a few hundred hours a year by forgoing the daily trip to the office.

 

Remote workers also avoid many office trappings that can waste time. For example, they won’t be interrupted by a chatty coworker who wants to discuss something non-work related or distracted by the phone call taking place one desk over. Ultimately, this allows someone who is working from home to be more productive, which is a form of time-savings in and of itself.

 

How Working from Home Save Money

Since remote workers aren’t required to commute, they can save a significant amount in gas alone. While the precise amount depends on a number of factors, including their gas mileage and driving distance, employees can save upwards of $500 a year in some cases, and nearly everyone can keep at least a couple hundred bucks annually by making the transition.

 

Additionally, not commuting reduces wear and tear on their vehicles, reducing the frequency of oil changes, new tires, and many other automobile maintenance activities. Insurance rates may also decrease, as the number of miles put on a vehicle in a year plays a role in determining the cost of the premiums. In some cases, families may even be able to reduce the total number of vehicles owned by the household, making the savings more substantial.

 

 

Even those who take public transportation can experience the money saving benefits. Typically, bus and subway passes come at a cost, but they might not have to be purchased if the worker isn’t commuting.

 

But the savings go beyond commutes. If a worker typically has to grab lunch from a restaurant or a cup of coffee from a café on the way in, that expense is also eliminated. For professionals who were required to wear business attire in the office, their clothing costs and dry cleaning bills may decrease as well.

 

Even Occasional Telecommuting Helps

Employees can experience time and money saving benefits even if they don’t work from home every day. Just one or two days a week can create a noticeable difference in both areas, so companies that offer flexible work arrangements can tout the potential gains to employees.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the time and money saving benefits of working from home, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Bootcamp Graduates

 

Some have begun to question the usefulness of bootcamps. Not only are the expensive, but they also require a substantial time commitment. Additionally, they might not be an ideal path to a job in tech.

 

Often, bootcamps are touted as a way to break into the development field. However, the majority of attendees already work as developers, using the bootcamp to help advance their skills. And, for those that aren’t currently employed in the field, completing a bootcamp isn’t a guaranteed path to employment.

 

In fact, nearly 20 percent of bootcamp graduates don’t land jobs as developers within the first 90 days of graduating, according to a recent survey. When those who are currently employed in the field, that results in odds of landing a job within three months of graduating just only slightly better than 1 in 3.

 

But why is that the case? Here’s what you need to know.

 

Not All Businesses Trust Bootcamps

By and large, the bootcamp world is unregulated. This means there are no set standards regarding the quality of instruction or what topics or skills will be covered.

 

Plus, there are some irreputable bootcamps floating around, thanks to the lack of regulations and the high potential for profitability, that don’t leave graduates equipped to function in developer roles.

 

Overall, this leaves a lot of companies hesitant to trust that a bootcamp graduate who doesn’t have any other experience or education in the field is actually capable of meeting the demands of their developer jobs.

 

 

You May Leave Ill-Prepared

As mentioned above, not all bootcamps offer the same quality of education. This means, if you select the wrong one, you might not end up with the skills you need to succeed as a developer, particularly if you have no background in the field or supporting education.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean that all bootcamps are worthless, just that you have to be incredibly diligent in selecting one. Do your research before enrolling, and don’t assume that a high price tag means quality, as that isn’t necessarily the case.

 

Additionally, you need to look beyond the placement rate advertised by the bootcamp, as these figures may be artificially inflated by attendees who entered the program as an employed developer and left to rejoin their existing team.

 

Some bootcamp graduates do find a developer role quickly after graduating, or even immediately after finishing their program. However, there is a range of factors that can play into those statistics, including prior experience and other forms of education.

 

Can a bootcamp be beneficial to your career? It certainly can. But it’s important to remember that graduating from a bootcamp isn’t a guaranteed path to employment, so consider weighing other options, like courses through a local community college or university, before you pay for a bootcamp. 

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new tech position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced team members today and see how our services can benefit your career.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Full Stack Developer

 

More and more companies are looking for full stack developers. These jacks of all trades have detailed knowledge of every software development layer, understand front- and back-end technologies, and can create fully functional products from prototypes.

 

Since it requires a substantial amount of knowledge to become a full stack developer, not everyone chooses to pursue the profession. That means those that do are in high demand, often commanding large salaries based on their robust skill set.

 

If you’re ready to increase your level of competency so you can become a full stack developer, and possibly land a six-figure salary, here are some e-books worth reading.

 

HTML5 & CSS3 for the Real World

If your looking to gain a strong foundation in web development technologies, this easy-to-follow guide is ideal for the task, providing you with the fundamental skills in two of the most commonly used tools in the world of web development. There’s hands-on instruction, ensuring you have a chance to get the skills down, and information about building exceptional websites as efficiently as possible.

 

Jump Start Responsive Web Design

Now that a smartphone is in nearly everyone’s pocket, websites need to display properly on more than just computer screens. This e-book provides guidance on using HTML and CSS to create responsive designs that will appear correctly on any screen, making it a valuable text for any would-be full stack developer.

 

Researching UX: User Research

Ultimately, a project is only successful if it appeals to your audience. This e-book teaches you about user research, including a number of techniques for collecting data, and how the information can help you create designs that are most likely to resonate with your visitors.

 

 

JavaScript: Novice to Ninja

JavaScript is a leading programming language, so every full stack developer should know how to use it well. If you aren’t already familiar with JavaScript, this e-book will get you up to speed, giving you the ability to add new functionalities to apps and create code that is easy to maintain.

 

Jumpstart Git

Essentially, Git is a version control system that allows collaborating developers to track cumulative changes that are made to a project, ensuring everything is centralized and accessible. This e-book explains the value of Git, as well as methods for maintaining control of both your assets and your code.

 

By reading the e-books listed above, you can improve your skillset and pave the way to a strong career as a full stack developer, increasing your odds of landing a six-figure salary as you progress in your profession.

 

If you are seeking out full stack developer opportunities or would like to learn more about the skills required to be successful in these roles, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you launch or progress in your full stack developer career.

 

 

Sunday Night Insomnia

 

Even if you do everything right, and typically don’t experience issues with falling asleep on other nights, the majority of people suffer from what has been described as “Sunday Night Insomnia,” or trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights.

 

At times, this is because the weekend disrupted your usual sleep/wake cycle. In some cases, anxiety about the coming workweek is a factor, as well as logging too much screen time right before bed.

 

Luckily, regardless of the cause, there are things you can do to help ensure you fall asleep quickly as your weekend comes to a close. If you suffer from Sunday Night Insomnia, here are five ways to beat it.

 

  1. Limit Screen Time

The blue light emitted by a variety of screens, including televisions, computers, and smartphones, can disrupt your sleep cycle. Ideally, you want to avoid being in front of any screen the hour before you go to bed. This gives your body a chance to shake off the effects of the blue light, making it easier to fall asleep.

 

Additionally, you should make your bedroom a device-free zone, ensuring you won’t be tempted to log some screen time once you settle in under the covers.

 

  1. Put on Your Pajamas Early

For most people, the act of putting on your pajamas is associated with going to sleep. Luckily, you can use this to your advantage by switching into your sleep clothes earlier on Sunday. That way, your mind starts to think it’s close to bedtime, which may promote better sleep.

 

  1. Put Worries to Bed

Sometimes, what keeps people up on Sunday nights is the coming workweek. Maybe you’re worried about your to-do list or stressing about an upcoming presentation.

 

One method for defeating your anxieties is to take 20 to 30 minutes and address them head-on on Sunday evening. Take some time to write out your concerns and list reasonable next steps. That way, when your head hits the pillow, your initial planning is done.

 

Casper sleepuniv sunday v022x

 

  1. Mind the Temperature

Being too hot or too cold can make it harder to fall asleep. To avoid this, identify a temperature at which you are most comfortable, usually in the upper 60s or low 70s, and prepare your bedroom before you jump into bed.

 

  1. Do Something Relaxing

During the hour before your bedtime, consider doing something relaxing. Kick back with a book, take a nice bath or shower, and listen to some soothing music. This allows you to take a moment to slow down, making it easier to fall asleep when that time arrives.

 

By following the tips above, you can banish your Sunday Night Insomnia, giving you the ability to wake up refreshed and rejuvenated on Monday morning.

 

If you would like to learn more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals 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

New Tech Hire

 

While each member of your tech team likely possesses a range of valuable skills, some are probably more effective in their positions than others. And, in many cases, their hard skills are only part of the story.

 

Successful IT professionals often have a range of qualities that help them excel, allowing them to stand out from their peers. By hiring tech pros with these traits, you can improve the overall performance of your team. To help you get started, here are seven qualities your new tech hire should possess.

 

  1. Curiosity

If you're looking for a top performer, seek out candidates who are insatiably curious about their area of technical expertise. This can include professionals who explore their field both inside and out of the office, as well as those who stay abreast of rising trends and devour new details about emerging technologies.

 

  1. Adaptability

Technology is an ever-changing world, and the best tech pros are prepared to roll with the changes. Ultimately, IT teams can’t afford to stand still when it comes to examining the potential of different technologies and must be willing to make a transition when it benefits the company. Otherwise, it’s easy to stagnate or, worse, fall behind the times.

 

  1. Problem-Solving

In the world of IT, rarely does everything go to plan. If your team is going to be successful, your employees need to be able to identify problems, analyze the situation, and find solutions.

 

People who are problem-solvers are typically also strong learners, as they have to take in new information to get to the root of an issue and correct it.

 

  1. Teaching

The ability to teach others is a highly valuable trait, particularly in a world filled with skill gaps. A willingness to teach also indicates that they put the needs of the team first while being effective in this role shows they have a range of important soft skills, like communication and patience, that aren’t always easy to find.

 

 

  1. Coachable

A willingness to receive feedback and adjust their approach is also a valuable quality. This indicates the candidate isn’t necessarily set in their ways and is open to constructive criticism that helps them improve.

 

  1. Business-Savvy

As technology becomes ingrained in nearly every department, having a foundational understanding of business is beneficial. It will make it easier for them to understand the needs of the company as a whole as well as individual departments.

 

  1. Leadership

Leadership isn’t limited to telling people what to do. Instead, it also includes being able to bring people together to achieve a common goal or encourage others to be at their best.

 

A tech pro with leadership skills can help ensure your team works well together, making it easier for them to accomplish joint goals.

 

By seeking out the qualities listed above, you can find a tech pro who can do more than just complete individual tasks as they are assigned.

 

If you are looking for a skilled IT professional to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to learn more about our services can how they can help you find the ideal tech pro for your open positions.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Productive

 

In most cases, it’s easy to see if your team is busy. After all, furious typing, frequent meetings, and piles of reports stacked on desks can show that your staff has a lot on their plate.

 

But being busy isn’t the same as being productive. In fact, some of your highly tasked workers might not actually be accomplishing much during your day.

 

How can you tell how productive your employees are actually? By asking them this one simple question.

 

What Results Did You Achieve Today?

Ultimately, results are more important in business than just being busy. But, if you ask your team what they actually achieved over the course of their day, even if they’ve been working furiously, you may find that they don’t have much to show for their efforts.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean it’s your staff’s fault, though, at times, it certainly can be. Luckily, there are things you can do to increase their level of productivity. Here’s how to get started.

 

Align Their Duties with Their Talents

In some cases, an employee is busy because they are working on a task that doesn’t fit with their primary skill set. This can increase the amount of effort and research required to get the job done when compared to that of a worker who is adept in that area.

 

If you want to increase productivity, make sure to align a person’s role with their primary skills. That way everyone can work more efficiently by staying largely within their wheelhouse.

 

 

Use Metrics for Accountability

Often, a particular position is associated with specific goals, and progress towards these goals is typically measurable. Ideally, you want to identify any Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) associated with each position, and then monitor the employee’s productivity based on those metrics.

 

By doing so regularly, you can ensure that accountability is a foundation upon which your business is built. You’ll be able to identify which workers are meeting expectations and which aren’t, giving you a chance to intervene when necessary.

 

Delegate Properly

Simply dumping a task or project on an employee isn’t delegation. Instead, you need to set your staff up for success by ensuring they have the proper tools and information to perform. Additionally, you need to set clear expectations, including defining milestones, to help keep them on target.

 

Essentially, don’t just define what they need to do, but also how, why, and when. This creates a roadmap that not only outlines your expectations but also gives them a plan of attack, making it easier for them to meet or exceed your expectations.

 

By following the tips above, you can determine exactly how productive your employees are while also increasing the odds that they can achieve the results you need to succeed.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a skilled professional to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of your knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Data Scientist or Engineer

 

As big data made waves in the business world, a range of new job titles emerged that described some of the critical functions associated with harnessing the power of a company’s data. But, with many of them being similar, it can be hard to identify the differences between the roles based on their job titles alone.

 

The data scientist and data engineer titles are a prime example, as they may seem similar on the surface. However, these are unique professions, and which you choose with impact how your career develops.

 

If you aren’t sure whether a data scientist or data engineer career path is right for you, here’s what you need to know.

 

Data Scientist

A data scientist is a professional who can take raw data and turn it into something meaningful. Often, an understanding of statistics, analytics, and machine learning are required, enabling these specialists to solve a variety of critical business problems or answer important questions.

 

At their core, data scientists take large quantities of data and use the information to generate actionable insights. This requires strong programming skills, an understanding of algorithm creation, data visualization skills, and high-level problem-solving skills.

 

Some of the commonly requested hard skills include Apache Spark, Hadoop, Python, R, deep learning, machine learning, and statistics.

 

 

Data Engineer

A data engineer is usually responsible for handling the infrastructure that supports the big data activities of data scientists. Often, this includes designing systems, building solutions, and creating mechanisms that allow information from a variety of sources to integrate.

 

They may also compose complex queries, ensuring that the data is accessible and the larger system operates efficiently, and design data warehouses.

 

The ultimate goal of most data engineers is to ensure that the proper system design and architecture are in place, and usually aren’t expected to have high-level skills in areas like analytics and machine learning.

 

However, commonly requested skills include Hadoop, MapReduce, SQL, NoSQL, MySQL, and Cassandra.

 

Which is Right for You?

Ultimately, which career path is right for you depends on your skill set and personal preferences. Both options can lead to a lucrative and long-lasting career, particularly since companies are likely to continue pursuing data-oriented objectives for years to come.

 

Both roles are important in the data landscape, so one isn’t inherently more valuable than the other. Without data engineers, data scientists wouldn’t have the infrastructure they need to get their jobs done.

 

There are also other roles associated with big data that may be appealing, such as data analyst positions, so you aren’t restricted to only exploring data scientist or data engineer job.

 

If you are interested in finding a new opportunity in any of the above career paths, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options and connect you with leading companies throughout the area. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

 Programming Language

 

While every developer has their most and least favorite programming languages, not every company knows which ones are predominately despised by the community as a whole. But, a recent survey provides some insight into the topic, showing which languages the vast majority of developers would just assume avoid.

 

In total, more than 100,000 developers responded to the survey, so the information can be considered at least reasonably reliable. If you are wondering which programming languages are hated most by developers, here’s what you need to know.

 

Visual Basic 6

The programming language that was considered the most dreaded option was Visual Basic 6. Approximately 89.9 percent of survey respondents identified an extreme dislike for the language.

 

Ultimately, Visual Basic is moving toward obsolescence, so many developers aren’t excited to work with a language that is largely seen as dying.

 

COBOL

Coming in second was COBOL with 84.1 percent of developers saying they hated this language.

 

COBOL has been around for nearly 60 years, so there isn’t a lot of excitement surrounding the language, leading to a fall in popularity. Additionally, companies that still use the language might be viewed as behind the times, as there are certainly more robust options available today.

 

 

CoffeeScript

With 82.7 percent of developers indicating a dislike for the language, CoffeeScript came in third on the list.

 

In some cases, the preference to stay away from CoffeeScript is based on already knowing how to use JavaScript or another language that can accomplish the same tasks. Since CoffeeScript isn’t as widely used, some developers may be reluctant to learn a new language that doesn’t result in a meaningful transferable skill (when compared to the prevalence of other languages). That means they would sooner avoid it than have to deal with it.

 

VB.NET

Rounding out the top four was VB.NET with 80.9 percent. Some consider VB.NET and the VB variants difficult to use, while others simply prefer to use the C# language, as it can accomplish similar tasks.

 

Additionally, VB.NET uses a different syntax than C#, which can be frustrating for developers. And, since their libraries are effectively identical, many don’t see the justification for learning a new language from the library calls perspective.

 

Plus, VB.NET does not have certain functions, like multi-line lambdas, that some developers rely on regularly, which can make using VB.NET particularly frustrating.

 

What Languages Do Developers Love?

There are certain languages that developers love to use. Currently, Rust is at the top of the list, based on the survey results, followed by Kotlin, Python, and TypeScript.

 

While certain languages may be considered hated by many, that doesn’t mean certain developers don’t love them. However, if you are filling a developer position, be aware that requiring a despised language may make it harder to secure top talent for the role.

 

If you are looking for a developer to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help you improve your hiring process from beginning to end.

 

 

 Quality Sleep

 

Many tech professionals struggle to quiet their minds when their head hits the pillow at the end of a long day. Often, people have to fight against invasive thoughts regarding whether they finished their to-do list, if an upcoming presentation will go off without a hitch, or whether a project will finish on time.

 

These racing thoughts can leave some wide awake, even if they’re exhausted. And, if they keep a person from being able to get enough shuteye, they may have issues staying conscious during the day, let along focused.

 

Luckily, there are things tech pros can do to quiet their busy minds, letting them get better quality sleep. If you struggle to get enough shuteye, here’s what you can do.

 

Avoid Activities in Bed

Ideally, your bed should be associated with sleep only. That means you need to avoid participating in a range of activities once you lay down.

 

For example, avoid the urge to watch tv or talk on the phone. Don’t jump on your smartphone for anything, including checking emails, reviewing your social media accounts, or even just cruising through the news.

 

Your bed needs to be a place for rest and relaxation, and that means avoiding unnecessary stimulation once your head hits the pillow.

 

Establish a Daily Wake Up Time

One of the biggest things you can do to ensure you can fall asleep with ease is getting up at the same time every day. This helps train your body clock to a specific waking time, making sure you’ll feel sleepy at the right time too.

 

Casper sleepuniv busymind v012x

 

Only Go to Bed When You’re Sleepy

There’s a big difference between being physically tired or without energy and actually being sleepy. If you aren’t sleepy yet, you’ll likely have issues drifting off into dreamland.

 

Trying to force yourself to go to sleep is often counterproductive, particularly if you get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Instead of forcing the issue, wait until you are actually sleepy to lay down.

 

Don’t Toss and Turn

If you can’t fall asleep, then you shouldn’t just lay there, tossing and turning while hoping that sleep overtakes you. Instead, get out of bed and participate in an activity that doesn’t increase your overall level of alertness, like reading or listening to music while enjoying a non-caffeinated beverage.

 

Address Your Worries

In some cases, anxiety about the upcoming day can keep you up. If this happens to you, it’s wise to take a proactive approach to managing worry.

 

For example, you can take about 20 minutes in the early evening to write down all of your concerns. Then, for each worry, write down a “next step” that will help you find a solution. This process can reduce your stress levels by planning for how to take action in the future, ensuring you don’t feel overwhelmed when it’s time to get some rest.

 

By following the tips above, tech pros can quiet their busy minds, making it easier to get some well-deserved shuteye.

 

If you would like to learn more or are seeking a new job opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members and to learn more about our services today.

 

 

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