Items filtered by date: May 2018

H1 B Visas

 

Over the past few years, the number of H-1B visa applications has largely risen. Companies embraced it as an opportunity to find skilled foreign workers to fill vacant positions, particularly in the tech sector where low unemployment and growing skill gaps in the American workforce have made hiring a challenge.

 

However, recent data suggest the pattern has possibly changed, indicating tech firms may be seeking alternatives to H-1B visas.

 

H-1B Petitions

The H-1B visa program gives American businesses the ability to secure non-immigrant foreign professionals to work for their company. It was designed to ensure companies could access skills and abilities when they aren’t presented in their current workforce and aren’t available in their area.

 

For the 2018-2019 filing period, the number of petitions dropped by approximately 4 percent, signaling a shift in company mentality regarding the program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated only 190,098 petitions were filed for that time, a notable drop from the approximately 236,000 petitions received in 2016.

 

 

Reason for the Drop

After President Donald Trump was elected, he quickly declared his intention to overhaul the H1-B visa program. This included making the requirements more stringent across the board, including for initial selections and renewals as well as H-4 visas for spouses of H-1B workers.

 

The intention was to encourage companies to hire Americans and other legal immigrants in lieu of using the H-1B program, and it may have worked.

 

A reduced number of petitions suggests businesses aren’t turning to H-1B visas as a potential solution as often. Some may have decided to reduce their number of petitions fearing that the chance for approval was shrinking, particularly since the requirements are harder to meet. Others may have become more diligent about finding alternatives, lowering their need for the program based on updated hiring practices.

 

However, even with the policy changes and the initial reduction in petitions, it’s too soon to tell if this year’s decline is a one-off or a sign of a new pattern emerging. This may be an indication that companies were hesitant to submit petitions based on the Trump administration’s stance and various announcements about increased difficulty in obtaining approval. But this could shift again after the current period finishes and the state of the approved or rejected petitions becomes more widely known.

 

Ultimately, the H-1B visa program is still in flux. The full impact of the policy updates is not yet known, and additional changes may be on the horizon, sending the program into a different direction.

 

At this point, it’s safe to say companies are seeking out alternatives that allow them to locate citizens and legal immigrants for their vacancies, instead of using the program. If you are currently seeking skilled professionals for your job openings, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s top talent. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Front End Development

 

React is making waves in the front-end development community. It rose to popularity quickly and has been embraced by professionals of all skill levels. Due to its nature, React is even changing the front-end development field, creating new options and approaches that many developers favor over legacy alternatives.

 

If you are wondering how React is impacting the world of front-end development, here’s what you need to know.

 

Libraries Over Frameworks

Technically, React is a JavaScript library, not a framework. This means it does not apply certain constraints on front-end developers and will not make automatic assumptions about other portions of the full solution. It concentrates on a specific area, allowing it to be well-managed without the same level of entanglements.

 

Virtual Browsers

One benefit of using React is the option to work in a virtual browser, instead of a real one. This can create a friendlier experience, allowing the virtual browser to assist the developer by acting as an agent between the professional and the actual browser.

 

Ultimately, the approach can be incredibly beneficial, avoiding some of the trapping and tribulations associated with traditional front-end development.

 

Declarative Approach

When using React to develop user interfaces, a developer describes their desired result, but does not necessarily have to provide full instruction on how to accomplish the task. React does that segment of the build, creating user interfaces on behalf of the developer, based on the description.

 

The approach reduces the need to manually build the interface, which can be both a significant time saver and frustration reducer. All the developer has to do is tell React what it wants and the system figures out the how automatically.

 

 

“Reactive” Nature

React has the ability to alter an output, such as a user interface, whenever the input changes. Typically, input arrives through the components, or simple functions as they are referred to in many other programming languages.

 

Components in React can, unlike functions, hold data that may change over time. Additionally, the output can adjust to the changing input. Since React is declarative, it will render a new interface based on the updated data automatically.

 

Ultimately, React is an incredibly powerful tool, making it a wise addition to any front-end developers arsenal. Many companies are also getting behind React, increasing demand for professionals who are capable of working with the language.

 

By acquiring React experience and skills, you can increase your odds of landing a coveted role with a forward-thinking company. If you are currently seeking out new opportunities or are looking to take the next step in your developer career, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most coveted employers and exciting opportunities. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our services can help you advance your developer career.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Bro Culture

 

The tech industry has struggled when it comes to gender diversity. Many companies claim it is an objective, but don’t subsequently adjust their cultures to make it more welcoming to women.

 

Evidence has suggested that the gender pay gap in tech is closing, representing a solid first step toward equality. But eliminating what has become known as “bro culture” is also a vital part of the equation, and many wonder if it can ever be corrected.

 

The Beginning of Bro Culture

During the earliest stages of what can be viewed as the current technology landscape, many of the companies were comprised largely (if not entirely) by men. This resulted in a culture that met their needs and preferences, and it became ingrained over the years.

 

However, as time moved forward, the tech industry didn’t remain the territory of men. Women also became interested in computing, programming, and other areas of the sector, leading them to pursue degrees and seek out opportunities in IT. But the culture wasn’t always welcoming, even if a diverse workforce can help promote innovation and creative thinking.

 

 

Repairing Bro Culture

Any change in a company’s culture has to come from the top down. Leaders need to embrace not just the concept of diversity, but take active steps to create environments that feel welcoming and inclusive to all skilled professionals, regardless of gender.

 

Additionally, they need to communicate the benefits of diversity to everyone in the company, showcasing how people of varied background can bring in new perspectives, helping the business innovate and meet the needs of their customer base.

 

To help promote these goals, they also need to set clearly defined standards regarding employee behavior. This can include policies that guide expectations as well as repercussions for creating an environment that isn’t supportive of all members of the workforce.

 

In some cases, training may be required to help demonstrate which actions may be off-putting to other groups, including women, and how to correct any behaviors to craft an inclusive culture. Reporting mechanisms may also be necessary, giving workers a platform to discuss any problems they encounter so solutions can be identified quickly.

 

Further, hiring practices may need to be examined. Bias, whether unconscious or conscious, may be harming female candidates during the hiring process, causing them to be eliminated from consideration solely based on their gender. While gender discrimination is illegal, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur, and taking a hard look at a company’s hiring track record can help determine whether biases may have influenced decisions.

 

Overhauling an organization’s culture takes a significant amount of effort. However, if a bro culture persists, companies will struggle to find the high-quality workers they need to succeed, particularly with unemployment remaining low and skill gaps existing throughout the tech industry.

 

If you are interested in learning more, 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.

 

 

Tech Egos

 

Today’s tech pros are commonly tasked with working as part of a team and communicating with a variety of stakeholders, company leaders, and customers, some of whom may not be as tech-savvy in your area of expertise. As a skilled professional, it’s easy for one’s ego to color their interactions, especially when speaking about an area where you may be knowledgeable or are passionate about.

 

But allowing your ego to impact your interactions generally has consequences. Arrogance and bragging are rarely well received, and defensiveness or a reluctance to change one’s opinion can stymy collaboration.

 

Ultimately, if you’re going to survive in the business world, you need to be skilled at setting your ego aside. Here are a few tips to get you started.

 

Prepare for the Environment

In some cases, our environment plays a large role in the amount of ego we display. If there is a lot of it present in a room, exhibited by peers or leaders in the organization, it’s easy to get sucked in. However, in ego-free environments, it’s often easier to keep one’s ego in check.

 

While you can’t necessarily control the nature of your workplace, you can prepare for it. Knowing that you are going into a potentially contentious situation gives you an opportunity to increase your level of self-awareness, ensuring you don’t merely react to stimuli and instead consider the impact of your contributions before you speak.

 

Similarly, by setting your ego aside, others may do the same, depending on the nature of the conversation and your position within it. This allows you to potentially influence the interactions subtly, creating a more welcoming and productive environment.

 

 

Practice Mindfulness

When one’s ego comes out, it could be based on a misinterpretation of reality. For example, you may see someone else’s view or statements as threatening when they are meant to be part of constructive discourse.

 

By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to view a situation as it truly is instead of responding on an emotional level. Consider meditating regularly or dedicating time to introspection, so you can determine what about the encounter tends to put you on edge and if you may be skewing the reality of the situation unintentionally. It can also help you build willpower, ensuring you don’t lash out with your ego in a reactionary fashion.

 

Be Compassionate

Often, if we simply view a situation from the other person’s perspective, we can gain valuable insights into the origin of their behavior. Further, by considering whether additional influences, such as a personal issue or work stress, may be influencing their approach can also be beneficial.

 

At times, this allows you to see a person who seems to be using their ego isn’t intending to target you. Instead, it may be the result of increased pressure elsewhere and may be venting out unintentionally. And that can help you set your ego aside.

 

Ultimately, by not allowing your ego to take control, you can have more positive and productive interactions. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today and see how our experience can benefit you.

 

 

Network Engineers

 

Network engineers are vital. They ensure companies and employees have access to critical resources, allowing them to handle their duties quickly and efficiently.

 

While technical ability is obviously important, there are other skills that are essential if you want to have a successful career. If you're going to rise through the ranks as a network engineer, here are three must-have skills to keep you moving forward.

 

  1. Communication Skills

Network engineers, like many other tech professionals, are no longer in the proverbial shadows, restricted to basement work areas and never interacting with other employees.

 

Today, network engineers need to communicate with other professionals, including team members, upper management, and a variety of departments. Often, you’ll be tasked with relaying complex information to individuals who aren’t as tech-savvy. Additionally, you have to work with other departments to ensure any network changes actually meet their needs.

 

Without strong communication skills, you’ll struggle as a network engineer, so consider this a must.

 

 

  1. Organizational Skills

Since a core part of a network engineer’s job is the creation and deployment of potentially complex networks, having strong organizational skills is a must. You need to be able to outline a project, break it down into logical steps, and keep everything on target as you move forward.

 

Depending on your level of seniority, you may also be responsible for requesting bids, managing budgets, and ensuring outside parties adhere to their contractual obligations. Without strong organizational skills, it’s easy for the details to fall through the cracks, and this could quickly derail a project and, potentially, harm your career.

 

  1. Willingness to Learn

While this is more of a trait than a skill, a willingness to learn is essential for any network engineer who wants to be successful in their career. Technology evolves quickly, and IT professionals need to stay up-to-date if they're going to remain relevant in the field.

 

Without a willingness to learn or, even worse, a reluctance, you’ll quickly become stagnant in your network engineering career. Over time, your skill set may also become obsolete, cutting your career short.

 

You don’t necessarily have to commit to a lengthy formal education to keep up with the latest and greatest in the field. Instead, you can focus on up-and-coming certifications, attend training seminars and conferences, or simply conduct your own research. Additionally, if your company is bringing in a new technology, embrace it and focus on acquiring the knowledge to use it properly.

 

Ultimately, network engineers who possess the skills listed above are poised for greater success than their counterparts who may be lacking in these areas. If you haven’t focused on those before, now is a great time to start.

 

If you are currently seeking a new network engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to top employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our services can help you find your ideal role.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Digital Transformation Goals

 

Typically, a digital transformation represents a significant overhaul of how a company does business. It leads to the integration of new processes and procedures, introduces technologies that weren’t previously in the workplace, and may even require a fundamental shift in mentality. However, like any large-scale undertaking, a successful digital transformation plan involves goal setting. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to determine whether the change produced positive results in the proper areas.

 

If you are ready to get started, here are some tips for setting digital transformation goals for your company.

 

Don’t Automatically Follow the Other Guy

There is a significant amount of information online, including tails of successful digital transformations. While it may be tempting to model your goals after another company, this isn’t always the wisest move.

 

Ultimately, every business is different. And, if your priorities differ from those of the example, their goals might not be appropriate for you.

 

Identify Important Metrics

Before you set goals, you need to understand which metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) mean the most to your business. For example, you may want to increase profits, improve production rates, eliminate bottlenecks, or achieve an optimal inventory based on demand.

 

Unless you understand which metrics are most valuable to you, you’ll have trouble selecting measurable goals. And, if the objectives aren’t measurable, you may struggle to determine if your digital transformation was actually successful.

 

 

Align the Approach

After identifying key metrics, you need to align your approach with the broader objectives. Digital transformation can mean a lot of things, involving a wide range of technology options that may not be ideal for your business. You don’t want to incidentally waste time by focusing on a particular tech implementation that isn’t going to create meaningful value, so you need to focus on opportunities that actually align with what you hope to achieve.

 

During this phase, you’re effectively creating a project overview. You can identify potential technologies that could positively impact your KPIs and determine priorities, including whether any steps are prerequisites to others. After examining these points, create a rough outline of the project to help guide further goal setting.

 

Create Milestones

With the overview in place and your KPIs noted, you can create meaningful milestones to function as short-term goals in the larger project. Additionally, you can monitor related metrics as you move forward, giving you the ability to visualize the impact of the digital transformation as it takes place.

 

This approach gives you the ability to not just see your progress, but also make course corrections as necessary, helping you shift your strategy if you don't see the results you hope to have. Further, you can share this information with your staff, helping them stay on target and keep their priorities in the proper places.

 

By following the tips above, you can create customized goals for your digital transformation. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our experience can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Morning Commute

 

On average, Americans spend about an hour a day commuting to and from work. In most cases, this time feels largely wasted, as it isn’t always easy to figure out what you can do while being on the road, regardless of whether or not you use public transportation.

 

Luckily, there are things commuters can do during their travel time to create a more productive morning. Here are four ways you can get started today.

 

  1. Schedule Organizing

If you take public transportation or are a passenger in a carpool, consider using your commute time to get your daily schedule organized. You can review your calendar on your smartphone, create to-do lists, or set reminders to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

 

Just a few minutes spent organizing your day can help you start work with greater ease, increasing your overall level of productivity.

 

  1. Email Review

For commuters who have their work email synced to their smartphones, the morning drive can be an excellent time to see what arrived overnight or has come in during the morning. Often, professionals are inundated with email on a daily basis, so using your commute to sort through the messages can help you identify important items before you arrive and eliminate junk mail before you reach your desk.

 

Additionally, this can be an excellent time to review any industry newsletters you subscribe to, giving you time to read through interesting and relevant information before you even start your workday.

 

 

  1. Podcasts and Audiobooks

Sometimes, simply gathering helpful information can make your day more productive. By listening to podcasts or audiobooks during your commute, drivers and passengers can benefit by increasing their knowledge of subjects relevant to them.

 

Everything from daily motivation to complex topics are covered in audio-friendly formats. They allow you to conduct research and learn valuable tidbits while you’re on the road, and many incredible podcasts can be squeezed into an average commute. And, since most cars have interfaces for playing MP3s, nearly anyone can enjoy these during their travels.

 

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Whether during your time on the road or just as you are approaching your workplace, taking a few moments to center yourself and prepare mentally for the day ahead can be incredibly helpful. Consider starting with a short five-minute meditation or listen to a song that either calms or motivates you. You can also give yourself a quick internal pep talk if you anticipate early morning challenges, increasing your confidence and helping you seize the day.

 

By using the tips above, you too can make your morning commute more productive, no matter how you travel to work. If you are interested in learning more, are seeking out new job opportunities, or are looking for a skilled candidate to fill a vacant 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 expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Silicon Valley

 

When people think of the technology sector, they generally focus on the tech itself. Advances like artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, big data, and drones often capture headlines, but they aren’t necessarily the most valuable assets in the IT landscape.

 

Many high-level tech professionals, including everyone from CIOs to venture capitalists, understand that there is more to the technology arena that the tech itself; the people are just as (if not more so) important. And, by managing people properly, you can create thought leaders, inspire innovations and increase productivity.

 

Human Motivation

For the technology industry to thrive, the environment has to be conducive to innovation. Often, this doesn’t happen by chance. Instead, it must be cultivated and curated, and strong leaders can make that happen.

 

One approach to creating such a workplace is the use of Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs. Ultimately, the premise asserts that, by providing clear objectives and outlining measurable steps to monitor success, employees have something to focus on.

 

Plus, it removes any ambiguity regarding what management or the organization as a whole wants its staff to accomplish. This gives everyone a common goal, aligning internal activities and defining priorities.

 

 

Community Building

Similarly, workers who feel as though they are part of a community tend to outperform their peers. Creating a strong corporate culture that focuses on teamwork and collaboration may do better than one that concentrates on individual achievement and competition.

 

Understanding how one employee’s outputs impact the entire project, or even the company’s larger goals, can also breed a sense of unity. It allows everyone to see how they fit into the larger whole, giving meaning to daily tasks that, without this context, may seem inconsequential.

 

Additionally, encouraging relationships that mimic friendships (or even genuinely become that close) also leads to a positive culture. This is especially true when management doesn’t fully distance themselves from their staff and, instead, creates an environment filled with support.

 

Mentorship is also powerful in the workplace, allowing strong connections to form while the youngest in your staff get valuable guidance that can help them grow as professionals, both for their benefit and that of the company.

 

The “People” Factor

Regardless of how far technology comes, there is also a “people” factor to the industry. There are hardworking individuals and talented leaders behind these developments.

 

Without a focus on how to create an environment that supports the needs of the human beings behind the code and tech, revelations may not come as quickly as they otherwise could. By crafting an ideal workplace, you can increase productivity and innovative thinking, helping make the next step in technology possible.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can support your business as it strives to reach new heights.

 

 

C Programming

 

The C programming language has been around for over 46 years, and many people would consider that quite a feat. After all, few languages have that level of longevity.

 

Not only is C still relevant, but it’s also in demand, cracking many top 10 lists focused on the most desirable languages for programming professionals. But how has C managed to succeed while so many others have, by comparison, failed? If you are wondering about its retained relevance, here’s what you need to know.

 

C Evolves

The C programming language of today isn’t the same iteration as the original. ANSI C (or ISO C) raised to prominence in the late 1980s. C99 and C11 later became standards in many organizations.

 

Since C is ever-evolving, the language changes to meets the demands of today’s IT world. This has allowed those with C skills to simply update their level of competency and businesses to keep moving forward, treating it as an advanced version of the status quo.

 

 

C Footprint

C has been around for nearly five decades. That means a lot of existing code is written in C. Approximately 31 percent of Debian Linux was comprised of C programming, along with various legacy database systems.

 

The sheer amount of code written in C helps it remain relevant. Replacing these systems with alternatives focused on other languages would be costly, making it an unattractive approach for even forward-thinking organizations. And, if the current option is still meeting a company’s needs, the incentive to change is even more minimal.

 

C Is Popular

Whether developers enjoy, or are at least willing to tolerate, a particular language also plays a big role in longevity. When given a choice, programmers typically default to options with which they are comfortable.

 

The fairly wide use of the C programming language means many professionals operating in the development and coding arenas know how to use C. The increased level of familiarity helps keep it alive and increases the odds that newer systems will feature at least some C-based code.

 

Additionally, developers aren’t keen on switching to another language unless it offers an obvious benefit. While C++, Go, and Rust could potentially replace C, they don’t typically provide enough to make switching necessary.

 

Ultimately, C does the job, so moving away from something that works doesn’t make a lot of sense in the eyes of development professionals.

 

Will C remain a popular language for years to come? It’s hard to say. However, its widespread use, and general popularity help keep it relevant in 2018, making it a skill worth acquiring and maintaining for many programming professionals.

 

If you are currently looking for new developer job opportunities, including those featuring C as a requirement, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the leading employers in the area. Contact us to learn more about our available positions and see how our services can help you take the next step in your programmer career today.

 

 

Linux Systems

 

Whether you are looking to get promoted or are seeking a new senior Linux systems administrator job, certain skills should be viewed as must-haves. Without them, you’d likely struggle in the role, or may not be selected for the position in the first place.

 

By improving on the skill areas below, you can showcase why you would make an excellent senior Linux systems administrator. To help you get started, here are seven skills you must have.

 

  1. Experience on Multiple Platforms

At the senior level, familiarity on multiple platforms is a must. Plus, it’s helpful to have a minimum of four years experience with the current platform, establishing your expertise in that specific system and guaranteeing you can hit the ground running.

 

  1. System Configuration Management Knowledge

Another expectation on senior Linux systems administrators is a strong knowledge base regarding system configuration management. Additionally, understanding how configuration can play into larger strategic organizational goals should also be viewed as essential.

 

  1. Strong Problem-Solving Skills

In the vast majority of situations, the ability to identify and solve problems quickly is a significant part of the senior Linux system administrator’s role. This requires a strong fundamental understanding of the systems involved, as well as techniques for troubleshooting and error identification.

 

  1. Process Establishment and Automation

Senior-level professionals are often tasked with reviewing current processes to find potential areas for improvement and establishing new approaches to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Further, the ability to automate tracking is incredibly beneficial, particularly as the business world continues to embrace automation as a means of increasing productivity.

 

 

  1. Security Modifications

Security standards are ever-evolving, and a senior Linux systems administrator needs to be able to modify current systems to meet the demands of today and, potentially, tomorrow as well. Vulnerability detection can also be a necessity in the eyes of certain companies, giving the organization the ability to intervene before a threat can exploit the vulnerability.

 

  1. Giving Presentations

Typically, high-level professionals need to strong communication skills, allowing them to craft and lead presentations with a variety of stakeholders, vendors, and customers as well as to peers involved in the process. Effectively, a senior Linux systems administrator is a liaison, taking complex technical ideas and ensuring the information is accessible to the target audience, including those who aren’t necessarily as tech-savvy.

 

  1. Written Communications

The creation of reports, proposals, and numerous kinds of papers is a common task for senior Linux systems administrators. This makes a strong command of the English language, particularly in writing, vital if you want to be a success at this level.

 

If you are seeking a new senior Linux systems administrator opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to exciting positions throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can help you take the next step in your career today.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure
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