Items filtered by date: April 2018
Thursday, May 31 2018

The Baby Tech Market is Booming

Baby Tech

 

Generation Y, or the Millennials, are primarily considered to be the first generation to grow up with tech. Now, as even the youngest members gain traction as adults, their preference for technology is reshaping another industry: the baby market.

 

Tech-savvy Millennials are looking for innovative baby products and, if they don’t find what they are looking for, some are deciding to create offerings and enter the marketplace. Startups are supporting the tech baby boom, and it isn’t likely to slow down any time soon.

 

If you aren’t familiar with the burgeoning tech baby market, here’s what’s on the horizon.

 

Better Monitoring or Tracking

In comparison to many other forms of tech, baby monitors were largely lacking. While video-enabled devices entered the marketplace some time ago, new advances are adding AI-supported features.

 

For example, Cocoon Cam is creating a product that will monitor an infant's vitals, letting parents examine the information or potentially receive alerts if an issue is detected.

 

Knowledge-oriented services, like Tinyhood, look to provide parents with valuable information and expert device on-demand, helping them with everything from sleep schedules to breastfeeding challenges.

 

Tech-Supported Planning

Most Millennial parents would likely describe themselves as busy and frequently on-the-go. This has created a need for services designed to help make planning easier to manage.

 

For example, Galore is an app-based program that helps parents plan activities and book classes. Fabric allows parents to create a digital will that can be accessed through the parents’ smartphones and adjust their life insurance plans whenever the need arises.

 

Most of these services focus on being user-friendly and highly accessible, ensuring that busy parents have access to the right tools to handle their obligations quickly and efficiently.

 

 

More Than Fashion

Young children often outgrow clothes much faster than they can wear them out, and services like Kidizen is looking to fill a void in the resale arena. The platform would help parents find second-hand items for their children or sell their children’s clothing or shoes when they outgrow them.

 

Since most Millennials are familiar with the resale concept thanks to services like Etsy and Airbnb, it is a void that seems only natural to fill.

 

The Baby Tech Trend

The baby tech trend likely began as many Millennial tech entrepreneurs started having children of their own, making the need for new products and services more apparent to their creators.

 

However, this isn’t a trend that is likely to end any time soon, especially since the next generation, Gen Z, has a similar affinity for technology and the oldest members of that generation are already adults. Additionally, IoT and smart devices are becoming more prevalent in general, showing that there is certainly an opportunity for similar offerings that focus on the needs and desires of parents.

 

If you would like to know more about the baby tech book, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

H 1B

 

Most tech employers are at least familiar with the basics of the H-1B visa program. However, not as many companies are fully aware of where these visa holders are actually working. And some may be surprised to discover that the number one spot doesn’t go to a city traditionally associated with tech.

 

If you are wondering where H-1B visa holders are actually working, here’s an overview.

 

The Number One Spot

Based on a Pew Research Center study that analyzed data associated with H-1B visa approvals between 2010 and 2016, the city with the highest number of approved workers was College Station, Texas. In total, approximately 32 of every 100 H-1B visa applications made it through, reflecting a much higher rate than anywhere else in the nation.

 

Out of the approved visas, 99 percent of those workers went to Cognizant’s headquarters, which is located in College Station.

 

Other Major Cities

Overall, the east coast of the US has more H-1B visa holders approved than the west coast. For example, Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, had around 4 for every 100 applications approved, and New York-Newark-New Jersey City’s rate was 2.5 per 100. The Trenton area had just shy of 5 approvals per 100 applications while the Washington DC metro area saw 2 approvals for every 100 applications.

 

In contrast, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area had just over 2 H-1B visa approvals per 100. Other west coast cities, like Seattle, had less than 1 approval per 100.

 

Ultimately, this shows that, while H-1B visa holders are certainly present, they may not be as common as some people would think. The numbers represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of employees in the workforce, even in areas like College Station.

 

 

Salary Offerings

Even though College Station has the most H-1B visa holders working in the area, it doesn’t take the top spot when it comes to salaries. That honor goes to Bridgeport, Connecticut, with an average salary of $100,200.

 

Seattle came in second with $98,100, and Phoenix was third with $97,100.

 

In comparison, College Station had an average salary of $82,600.

 

H-1B Program Changes

President Donald Trump has expressed an interest in overhauling the H-1B visa program, though sweeping changes have yet to occur. Various federal agencies have been tasked with reviewing H-1B policies with the goal of revamping the system, though measures in Congress that would alter the program have mainly stalled.

 

Some smaller actions have impacted the H-1B visa program, including a measure that prevents H-1B visa holders’ spouses from gaining access to H-4 visas. However, even though a larger action hasn’t gone forward, that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t come along in the near future.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking tech talent to fill your vacant positions, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can benefit your company today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Programming Language

 

Ultimately, when it comes to staying power, not every programming language is equal. Some truly stand the test of time, remaining relevant for decades, while others enter the tech world only to disappear, hardly leaving a mark.

 

When you’re trying to determine which programming languages are worth the time and energy required to learn, selecting the right options can impact your career in significant ways. By making smart choices, you can get more mileage out of your knowledge while ensuring that your skill set remains in-demand.

 

No programming language is guaranteed to stay relevant forever, but certain options have more potential when it comes to longevity. If you aren’t sure which ones will benefit you the most, here is what you need to know.

 

Proven Programming Languages

Some programming languages have remained predominately stable when it comes to use and demand, even as new ones emerged.

 

For example, JavaScript is still an in-demand skill thanks to its flexibility and broad level of use. Today, there are more lines of code written in JavaScript on a daily basis than any other, showing that it remains relevant.

 

Some of the other languages that have similar levels of stability include C#, Java, PHP, and Python. All of those languages are widely used, exist on legacy systems that have remained part of the business world over the long-term, and are even favored by some developers.

 

C, C++, CSS, and Ruby have also stood the test of time, and aren’t likely to disappear any time soon.

 

 

Programming Languages with Potential

In some cases, a programming language has the potential to make a significant mark on the tech landscape, but its staying power isn’t fully realized. On prime example is Swift.

 

Swift has become popular thanks to its association with iOS. As time moves on, it may even replace Objective-C.

 

Languages with Uncertain Futures

While some languages could prove useful in the world of development, not all of them have gained traction in the business world. In some cases, programmers really enjoy these languages but, without widespread adoption, they may fizzle out.

 

In some cases, a lack of flexibility hinders a languages capacity for growth. Others aren’t as user-friendly or simply haven’t been able to overtake alternatives.

 

One could argue that Go, Haskell, Perl, and R all fall in this category. While the languages aren’t inherently doomed, their future is mostly unclear. New developments could help them gain additional traction, but may also render them obsolete.

 

In the end, choosing programming languages that are widely used and likely to stick around is a smart career move. This means, if you don’t know them already, consider investing time and energy into JavaScript, C#, Python, or any of the others with known staying power.

 

Otherwise, make sure to monitor industry trends to see if any new developments may benefit or hinder other languages and make your selections accordingly.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit your career.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Call Center

 

To say that call center agents spend a lot of time on the phone is an understatement. In most cases, their entire shift is dedicated to helping callers by answering questions and resolving issues. As the day wears on, it can be hard to maintain a level of enthusiasm, especially when the calls are some repetitive in nature. Additionally, fatigue makes it more difficult to judge the emotional state of the caller, which can be harmful.

 

Now, a software program called Cogito is looking to improve the call center experience for agents and customers alike. Here’s how.

 

Cogito Voice-Analysis

At its core, Cogito is software that analyzes the tone and pattern of the speaker’s voice, making adjustments based on word choice and even the length of time the line goes silent. It does this through robust algorithms supported by machine learning, allowing it to use data from other voice records to assess the status of a call as it progresses.

 

Cogito Call Center Software

When Cogito notices that a call participant, including agents or customers, has a voice pattern that suggests a potential problem, it alerts the call center representative.

 

For example, if it determines the agent's tone isn’t as cheerful, a notification that looks like a little cup of coffee pops up on the screen. This lets the representative know that their mood has changed, giving them a chance to refocus and correct it.

 

Similarly, if the software detects that a customer may be experiencing heightened emotions, either positive or negative, a heart icon displays. When they see the heart icon, the agent knows that the caller is having an emotional reaction and can adjust their approach if necessary.

 

 

What Does This Mean for Jobs?

Ultimately, Cogito isn’t designed to replace people in call centers. Instead, it functions in a support role, helping them assess how a call is going more quickly and efficiently so that quick action can be taken should the need arise.

 

The goal of software like Cogito is to provide customers with a better experience by bringing things to the attention of representatives that a person may have a more difficult time ascertaining. While an employee can certainly notice a heightened emotional state in a caller, they might not be as aware of their own tone. Additionally, the software may recognize changes in mood and cadence used by the customer more quickly than the agent, allowing them to intervene more rapidly to diffuse tense situations.

 

Some similar software offerings, like one from State Collection Service, can even display congratulatory messages to agents when it believes that a customer was satisfied with the interaction. These quick moments can help boost morale and confidence among agents, allowing them to be more effective at their jobs. Additionally, it can provide helpful tips, like steps to calm an upset customer, as soon as a potential issue is detected, giving the representative guidance when it is needed most.

 

In the end, software like Cogito isn’t going to replace workers, only give them new tools to help them be more productive and effective in their roles.

 

If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Python or Go

 

If you’re considering adding a programming language to your repertoire, you want to make sure that your time and effort yield dividends. Even if you are familiar with many of the options, and have a few languages under your belt, deciding to pick up Python or Go is a serious decision, and you want to make the right choice.

 

Ultimately, there are a number of factors that can make one option better than the other. If you're trying to choose between Python and Go, here’s what you need to know.

 

Maintaining an In-Demand Skill Set

When the decision of whether to learn Python or Go is focused on your career, then you want to make sure you select an option that is in-demand.

 

Currently, Python is one of the most requested programming languages. Not only can it be used for desktop and web-based application development, but it’s also great for data mining, data science, data analytics, and other forms of scientific computing. Its numerous potential applications means it is generally more prevalent than Go, so you may find that more employers see Python as a requirement.

 

Go is a relatively new language. This means it isn’t as prolific in the business world as Python. However, it was designed to increase efficiency, such as by reducing compile times, and is particularly focused on simplicity. It’s a powerful programming language that is brimming with potential. Ultimately, adoption may be the only thing keeping it from being as in-demand.

 

 

Examining Your Target Job

Both Python and Go have merit, so which you choose may depend more on your larger career goals than the languages themselves, especially since both can be learned in a reasonable timeframe.

 

If you have a particular job, company, or industry in mind, spend some time examining the vacancy announcements associated with that area. This will let you know what employers are seeking, including whether they require or prefer candidates to have Python or Go experience.

 

As you do your research, if you find that either Python or Go is more prevalent, then use that to help guide your decision. If not, then either option may be suitable, or even an alternative if you see a particular programming language listed as a requirement that you don’t currently possess.

 

Ultimately, Python is likely to have staying power in the world of programming and Go has significant potential to become more commonplace. That means that both of them can help you build a strong career. If you have a personal preference, consider exploring it. Additionally, there’s nothing to say that you can’t learn them both if you’re willing to commit the time.

 

If you are interested in learning more about job opportunities featuring Python or Go, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore exciting positions throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Healthy Snacks

 

When it comes to maintaining your health, getting quality sleep is a must. Not only can it help lower your risk of developing certain chronic conditions, but it also supports healthy brain function, digestive health, and immune function.

 

While most healthcare professionals recommend that people get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, many struggle with reaching that target.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to help you get more uninterrupted sleep, and eating the right before-bed snack may be one of them. If you need to get sounder sleep, here are a few snacks to try.

 

Almonds

Almonds provide a number of health benefits, and some suggest that better sleep may be one of them. Like certain other nuts, almonds contain melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. Additionally, a single serving provides 19 percent of your daily magnesium needs, and magnesium can improve the quality of your sleep.

 

Turkey

Anecdotal evidence that turkey makes people sleepy is available in abundance. Some attribute this to the presence of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with the production of melatonin. However, research is somewhat divided regarding whether turkey contains enough tryptophan to have an impact.

 

But, turkey is also a source of protein and having a moderate amount of this macronutrient before bed is associated with sounder sleep.

 

Casper sleepuniv hunger v012x

 

Chamomile Tea

While chamomile tea is a beverage and not a snack, it could help you get better quality sleep. Not only is it usually caffeine free, but it also contains the antioxidant apigenin, which may promote sleepiness.

 

A small study found that those who consumed chamomile extract before bed fell asleep faster and had less nighttime waking. While the study used an extract, drinking chamomile tea is worth a try if you have trouble falling and staying asleep, especially since a separate study suggested the tea also provided benefits.

 

Kiwi

A study involving 24 adults showed that those who consumed two kiwifruits one hour before heading to bed fell asleep 42 percent faster than when they didn’t have a snack. They also reported less nighttime waking, increasing their total sleep time.

 

Kiwis contain serotonin, a chemical that can help regulate a person’s sleep cycle. Certain antioxidants in the fruits may also promote better sleep. However, additional research is required to determine if either of those points are responsible for the benefits.

 

Walnuts

Like almonds, walnuts contain melatonin. Additionally, they are a great source of healthy fats, including ALA, which may help a person sleep sounder.

 

Limited studies have been conducted on walnuts, so additional research is required to support it’s potential. However, eating a handful of walnuts before bed may be worth a try.

 

By choosing one of the snacks or drinks above, you might find that you fall asleep faster and experience less nighttime waking, allowing you to get the rest you need to support your overall health and productivity.

 

If you would like to know more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Pay Gap

 

Overall, the gender pay gap is a serious issue. Recent data suggests that women earn 81.8 percent of what a man will during the early portions of their careers.

 

Women in their 30s and 40s today are hit even harder, bringing in just 76.4 percent of what men in their age group make. Once a woman is over 45, they earn only 69.1 percent of what their male counterparts receive.

 

While recent legal rulings are working to close the gender pay gap, such as by preventing employers from using a worker’s prior salary as justification for a low offer, there is still a long way to go. However, the gender pay gap isn’t as prevalent in all industries, and tech is a particular bright spot.

 

The Gender Pay Gap in Tech

Based on data from a 2016 survey, the gender pay gap in tech is shrinking.

 

In uncontrolled environments, typically considered those where bonuses are offered, men generally bring in about $1,500 more a year than women. However, the “controlled” pay gap, an approach that examines men and women who hold the same positions, the gender pay gap was calculated at just 0.8 percent.

 

In fact, women actually earn more than men in three states. In Rhode Island, female tech workers make 0.2 percent more than their male counterparts. That number was 0.6 percent in Vermont. And, in Connecticut, the gender pay gap favored women by 1.6 percent.

 

The District of Columbia also sees women out-earning mean by 0.5 percent.

 

 

Why Is Tech Coming Out Ahead?

While there are numerous factors surrounding gender pay gaps, there are some points that could explain why the tech gender pay gap is shrinking.

 

First and foremost, many women suffer in regards to earning potential because they are traditional more likely than men to take extended periods away from work to handle certain family-related matters. Additionally, maternity leave can have a negative impact on a woman’s long-term salaries. But tech companies are leading the way in areas like paternity leave and offering options for telecommuting. This may be making it easier for women to balance their obligations, ensuring they keep pace with their male counterparts.

 

Additionally, low unemployment could be leveling the playing field. In tech, unemployment is usually well below the national average. This means companies have to compete for top talent and offering a respectable salary is a method for attracting candidates. Diversity programs may also have helped women close the gender pay gap.

 

Ultimately, there is no single factor that has helped close the gender pay gap in tech, but it does serve as an example that achieving equal wages is possible.

 

If you would like to know more about the gender pay gap in tech or are looking for high-quality candidates to fill your vacant positions, the experienced professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can benefit your business today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Stay Interviews

 

Hiring managers understand the time, energy, and resources it takes to hire a new employee. Often, this is what makes retention so important, as being able to keep your best and brightest on staff is obviously preferred over having to find their replacement.

 

But many companies struggle to understand why some workers stay with the business and others leave. This is especially true if there are no known issues and the employee seems generally satisfied.

 

Luckily, there is a way to gather additional information that can help you with your retention efforts. By conducting stay interviews, you gain access to powerful insights, allowing to your do more to keep your top talent working for the company.

 

What Are Stay Interviews?

A stay interview is a conversation that functions similarly to an exit interview. It’s a discussion where the employee can provide feedback on the organization.

 

However, instead of waiting for the team member to provide their notice, a stay interview happens while the person is a part of your staff.

 

Why You Need to Conduct Stay Interviews

While exit interviews provide valuable information, they occur at a time where it is nearly impossible to convince that employee to stay on board, even if you are willing to make changes. A stay interview happens while the worker is still a permanent part of your staff, so the information you receive can create opportunities for action.

 

By giving your star performers a chance to participate in a stay interview, you can find out what is working for them and what they think could use improvement. Then, you can make reasonable adjustments to provide the employee with what they need so that they are open to remaining with the company for the long-term.

 

 

How to Conduct Stay Interviews

Stay interviews need to be one-on-one, giving the employee a sense of privacy and allowing them to be the focus. These meetings should be conducted in person, as a survey usually won’t provide you with the level of detail a conversation can, and the opinions of your best and brightest won’t get lost in the shuffle.

 

Work to ask probing questions that will produce honest answers. Resist the urge to interject, regardless of how you feel about what is being said, as becoming defensive may lead the employee to hold back, ensuring you won’t get the desired result.

 

Let the worker know that their feedback is valued and that their responses may help shape the future of the company. Ultimately, you want to know what will keep them interested and engaged on the job and what they value as well as any issues they’ve experienced that haven’t been addressed.

 

By conducting stay interviews, you can boost your retention rates through right-action. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a skilled professional to join your team, the employment specialists at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our services can benefit your company today.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Python Skills

 

When it comes to in-demand IT skills, Python is currently on a high. The programming language plays a substantial role in data science and data analytics as well as back-end web application development.

 

Based on the number of positions that require Python, and that demand is expected to rise, learning this language can help tech professionals secure more lucrative opportunities.

 

Some job seekers may be surprised at how many kinds of list Python as a requirement or preferred skill. If you are wondering whether learning Python can boost your chances of finding a great job, here’s what you need to know.

 

10 Jobs Python Skills Can Help You Land

While the top 10 jobs that favor candidates with Python skills are largely in the IT realm, there is a reasonable amount of diversity when it comes to potential opportunities. Here are 10 jobs where Python might be featured in the vacancy announcement:

 

  1. Software Developer
  2. Software Engineer
  3. Research Assistant
  4. Senior Software Engineer
  5. Software Engineering Internship
  6. Web Developer
  7. Graduate Research Assistant
  8. Quality Assurance Engineer
  9. Researcher
  10. Developer

 

Positions in the software development or engineering arenas aren’t necessarily a surprise, but some job seekers may be startled when they see that even internships may require Python.

 

Additionally, certain research-oriented jobs benefit from Python skills as well, particularly when custom software is needed to handle the associated projects.

 

 

How to Learn Python

If you decide that you want to add Python as a skill, you do have options for learning this programming language. First and foremost, traditional education is always an option. In some cases, Python will be featured as part of a larger degree plan, either as a requirement or optional course. However, you don’t necessarily have to be pursuing a degree to take a single class focused solely on Python, particularly if you are open to online learning.

 

You may be able to find a boot camp that either concentrates on Python or features it along with a variety of other languages. If you choose to go the boot camp route, make sure the company offering the boot camp is reputable and that you have the time necessary to complete the entire course.

 

For those who are already comfortable with programming languages in general, teaching yourself Python is also an option. There is a variety of resources, both online and off, and communities that can help you learn the language and improve your skills.

 

Ultimately, adding Python to your repertoire can be a smart move, particularly if you want to land one of the 10 jobs listed above. It can take a little time to learn, but is well worth the effort if you wish to pursue a career in any of the tech-oriented areas contained in the list.

 

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

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Noise

 

When you’re getting ready to drift off to sleep, a single noisy distraction can leave you jolted awake, struggling to reclaim the sense of ease you need to get some quality shuteye. Whether it’s your neighbor’s dog barking in the yard, a car alarm that is set off by the slightest breeze, or the sound of your refrigerator kicking on, reducing the amount of noise you are exposed to should be an essential part of your nighttime routine.

 

If you struggle to get the rest you need, here are some options for eliminating noisy distractions so you can get some sleep.

 

Industrial-Strength Earplugs

Sometimes, the easiest way to deal with noises is earplugs. If you purchase high-quality industrial-strength versions, they can both be comfortable and effective.

 

You’ll need to find a brand that offers the proper size for your ears. Otherwise, they may become dislodged in the middle of the night. Once you do, consider purchasing them in bulk, so you can replace worn out or missing earplugs as needed.

 

Additionally, make sure you can hear your alarm through the earplugs, so you don’t sleep longer than intended.

 

Hang Heavy Curtains

Thick, sound-absorbing curtains can make a world of difference when you need to keep noises from entering your bedroom. Select options that will fully cover any windows, buying different curtain rods if necessary to ensure the fabric provides sufficient coverage, and hang a set over your doors as well. This helps give you protection from sounds that may slip through any cracks, making your room significantly quieter.

 

Casper sleepuniv noise v012x

 

Buy Carpet

If your floors are wood, tile, laminate, or similar material, then invest in some carpeting to help dampen the noise. You can either install wall-to-wall carpet or purchase area rugs, as both can help. For additional noise reduction, consider adding a sound-absorbing pad, giving you an extra buffer. You can also layer area rugs over each other or place them on top of carpeting to reduce noise even further.

 

Try a White Noise Machine

White noise helps by overpowering ambient sounds, ensuring that any extraneous sounds don’t affect your sleep. You can purchase a white noise machine (including versions with built-in alarm clocks) or find a suitable app for your smartphone or tablet.

 

Alternatively, you can use a fan to accomplish a similar goal. So, if you already have a decent fan, consider turning it one every night instead of investing in a white noise machine.

 

If white noise doesn’t do the job, you can also try a sound machine that includes natural-sounding audio that you find soothing. You can also find nature sound tracks in a variety of apps or as downloads from a range of music stores.

 

By following the tips above, you can eliminate noisy distractions, helping you get a better night’s sleep each and every day. If you would like to learn more or are seeking out new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

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