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Items filtered by date: December 2018

Skills of the Worlds Best Site Reliability Engineers

 

Site reliability engineering (SRE) is actually older than the DevOps movement. In 2003, Google tasked its software engineers with making the massive sites more efficient, reliable, and scalable. When the skilled team was successful, other large companies adopted the practices. Then, with a little bit of time, the site reliability engineer specialty was born.

 

Many professionals are intrigued by the SRE niche. Not only can the work be challenging (in a good way), but the roles are often lucrative. Plus, many site reliability engineers get to take advantage of emerging technology, especially in the automation arena, to make their coworkers’ jobs easier, something that can be rewarding on many levels.

 

To be successful as a site reliability engineer, you need to bring a vast and diverse skill set to the table. If you are wondering whether you have what it takes to excel, here is a look at the top skills and experiences the world’s best site reliability engineers have in common.

 

Systems or Software Engineering Experience

SRE is technically part systems and part software engineering. If you are interested in transitioning into the field, then having a few years of experience in either of those specialties can help you get your foot in the door. However, you’ll need a solid grasp of both to truly thrive in an SRE position.

 

If you come from the systems engineering side, then improving your programming skills is a great way to prepare to become a site reliability engineer. Software engineers should expand their understanding of large-scale systems management.

 

Infrastructure Automation Expertise

Infrastructure automation is at the core of much of what site reliability engineers do. They are often tasked with creating self-service tools for various user groups, allowing activities like test environment provisioning, event logs, and statistics visualizations to be handled with ease.

 

Additionally, the various automated measuring tasks create opportunities to increase reliability, something else that so is critical to the success in the role that the put the word in the job title.

 

Fundamental Soft Skills

While technical prowess is a must, site reliability engineers also need a variety of soft skills to excel in their roles. First and foremost, problem-solving capabilities are essential. Similarly, being able to work as part of a team and remain calm under pressure are also must-haves.

 

Both written and verbal communication are also critical in the SRE niche. Professionals working in the field need to be able to communicate well with their teammates and a range of stakeholders, including many individuals who aren’t as tech-savvy.

 

Looking For a New Tech Career? Reach Out to The Armada Group!

Ultimately, all of the world’s best site reliability engineers possess the skills and experience listed above. If you would like to learn more about the field or are seeking an SRE position, the team at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to discuss your goals and interest with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our SRE expertise can benefit you.

Published in Recruiting

Rethink Your Remote Work Policy

 

Some companies have railed against the idea of remote work. Even though most IT professionals have the technical know-how to telecommute with ease, businesses often fear that employees who are working outside of the office aren’t as productive as they are when someone can peer over their shoulders.

 

However, by limiting remote work options, most companies are doing more harm than good. If your policy is incredibly strict, here’s what you may need to rethink your approach to remote work in 2019.

 

Job Satisfaction

By and large, employees that have the ability to work remotely at least part of the time are substantially more satisfied with their jobs than those that don’t have telecommuting options. Being able to work remotely provides employees with a range of benefits including avoiding the daily commute, the ability to perform their duties in a comfortable environment, eliminate distractions for heads-down work, and more.

 

As job satisfaction rises, so does retention. Employees aren’t as inclined to seek out other opportunities with their employer meets their needs, so keeping your best and brightest on staff may be easier.

 

Productivity

When they telecommute, most professionals become more productive, not less. They have the ability to focus with greater ease and don’t have to deal with the interruptions that come with being in the office.

 

For example, random visits from coworkers are a distraction. If a tech pro is dealing with a project that requires a high level of attention to detail, every time they are pulled away harms productivity beyond the minutes they spend dealing with the interruption as they have to take time to refocus before they can continue.

 

Recruitment

The ability to work remotely is a benefit many tech professionals seek out. Since not every company offers telecommuting options, revamping your remote work policy to be more flexible can differentiate your business as an employer. You may have an easier time attracting top talent simply because a remote work program is in place, making it worth exploring.

 

Additionally, if you are open to having staff members that telecommute every day, you can even expand your recruitment efforts into other cities, states, or potentially even countries. This can dramatically increase the size of your talent pool, making it easier to locate hard to find skill sets that aren’t readily available near your office.

 

Ultimately, having a remote work policy that allows employees to telecommute at least some of the time is beneficial. Retention rates will improve, productivity will increase, and recruitment may get easier, making it a win-win scenario for workers and employers.

 

The Armada Group Can Help!

If you would like to know more about how to update your remote work policy, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your current policy and which changes you are considering with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

What Tech Hiring Managers Are Really Looking For

 

Whether you are actively working to land a new position this year or simply want to remain apprised of the hiring climate, knowing what tech hiring managers are looking for is beneficial. By staying up to date, you can focus your efforts in the right direction, increasing your odds of securing a new role if you decide to make a move.

With that in mind, here are the skills tech hiring managers want to find in 2019.

 

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud

Since more businesses move to the cloud every day, it comes as no surprise that cloud-based skills are a priority. Hiring managers need to find professionals that can handle cloud computing, security, and architecture matters, ensuring their systems are functional, secure, and well-integrated into the overall business landscape.

 

Additionally, many organizations have cloud projects and initiatives planned for 2019, so they need to bolster their staff to make their goals a reality. This may lead them to expand their IT teams instead of merely adding the skill to an existing position.

 

Cybersecurity

Security is a top concern of businesses across the country. A single breach or security incident can be devastating to a company, particularly smaller to mid-sized organizations where just one event could financially doom the business or any company that does business in Europe and has to remain compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

Typically, organizations focus first on maintaining the security of their existing IT systems. However, security professionals are also increasingly involved in the early stages of project planning. This allows security to be a priority for any project instead of an afterthought, creating a better end result.

 

Database Management

Data is king for many companies, but they can only derive value from the information if it is well organized and accessible. Database management professionals are in demand as a result, so tech pros with skills in that area will find plenty of opportunities in 2019.

 

Precisely which skills are necessary will vary depending on the role. However, some cloud experience that aligns with database management would be an excellent way to stand out from the competition.

 

Mobile Development

The world is increasingly mobile. Millennials and Gen Z often prefer their smartphones to computers, so companies are continuing to focus heavily on the mobile side of development.

 

Application developers will find the most opportunities if they have experience both with iOS and Android. This ensures that applications can work on the majority of smartphones, creating the most potential value. Web developers need to be well-versed in mobile-friendly design, ensuring that sites appear properly on a range of platforms.

 

Let The Armada Group Help You Find Your Next Tech Role

Ultimately, tech hiring managers are focused on the areas listed above, creating opportunities for anyone with experience in those arenas. If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new tech role in 2019, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled staff today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

Published in Hiring Managers

 Do You Feel Like Youre Always Putting Out Fires

 

Nearly every professional faces off against the occasional workplace crisis. At times, problems are going to arise; that’s just the nature of life. And, usually, the situations themselves are short-lived, ultimately not being nearly as problematic as they appeared to be on the surface.

 

But, if you feel like you are constantly putting out fires at work or that every issue is an unmitigated disaster, then something else may be the source of your troubles: you. Whether it is how you perceive the situations or the ways your choices influence your day, your habits play a critical role in your experience.

 

If you spend your day moving from one crisis to the next, here are some potential causes and what to do about them.

 

Procrastination is Your Middle Name

Waiting until the last minute to handle a task without just cause is a recipe for panic. By the time the deadline draws near, you aren’t sufficiently prepared and have to get the work handled while under the additional stress you put on yourself.

 

If you have a project coming up or a due date you need to adhere to, avoid procrastinating by scheduling various steps as firm appointments in your calendar. Brainstorm the entire process and then give each milestone an appointment, dedicating enough time to ensure it is complete. Make sure that the final deadline is actually before the due date. That way, if you run into trouble, you have an extra day or two to work through it.

 

Lack of Focus (or a Lack of Notes)

When you’re in the middle of a meeting that doesn’t have much to do with you, tuning out is a common reaction. However, not being present may mean you miss vital details that do connect to your work, and that comes with consequences.

 

Similarly, even if you are paying attention, failing to record critical information is a mistake. In the future, you may remember that you heard something relevant, but can’t recall what it is. Then, you’re stuck scrambling to figure out exactly what slipped your mind.

 

Luckily, both of these situations can be avoided with ease. When you are in a meeting, give the speaker your full attention. Silence your smartphone, turn off notifications, and otherwise eliminate unnecessary distractions.

 

If valuable information is shared, make sure to record it. Whether you opt for handwritten notes, a file on your computer, or even capturing the audio can work as long as you can easily review it should the need arise.

 

The Inability to Say “No”

At times, people are overloaded at work because of poor time management. However, in others, genuinely being overtasked can happen.

 

When professionals end up with a bigger workload than they can handle, they usually place blame on someone else, like their manager. But, if you aren’t saying “no” when people ask if you can take the work on, you’re responsible too.

 

Now, most professionals can’t say “no” in every situation, and that’s okay. When circumstances allow, make sure to set proper boundaries. And, if you genuinely can’t fit the assignment into your schedule without sacrificing the quality of your work, say so. By focusing on the fact that the increase in your workload harms the results, others are more likely to accept your answer.

 

Ready to Build a Better Team? Call the Experts at The Armada Group!

Ultimately, any of the tendencies above can make you feel like you’re always putting out fires. Luckily, most are easy to remedy with a little effort and diligence. If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members about your questions today and see how our workplace productivity and efficiency expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

H 1B Changes

 

The H-1B visa program was designed to help companies find skilled workers in instances where there wasn’t a sufficient supply in their local, American workforce. However, abuses of the system have led to a series of changes, and one of the most recent ones takes aim at the outsourcing industry.

 

Form ETA-9035 & 9035E from the US Department of Labor (DOL) now have questions that could force employers to state whether the H-1B visa holder will be assigned to a “secondary entity” as part of their employment. Additionally, it requires employers to identify who those companies are, effectively forcing them to reveal their clients.

 

The Updates to Form ETA-9035 & 9035E

On the new version of the form, employers applying for H-1B visas first have to answer whether the workers “will be placed with a secondary entity at this place of employment.” Essentially, the DOL is determining whether the visa holder will actually perform duties for a third-party, acting as a contractor.

 

If the answer to the question is “yes,” the employer applying for the H-1B visas then has to identify the “entities,” providing a legal business name, pay rates and prevailing wage rates for the work for every third-party worksite.

 

H-1B applicants aren’t the only ones who have to address these questions. The new form also applies to H-1B1 and E-3 petitions.

 

Who is Impacted by the H-1B Change

While the most obvious group impacted by the change to the H-1B process is companies that contract out their employees to other business, the impact will actually extend beyond those businesses. Anyone who uses firms that rely on H-1B visa holders to function as contractors for the firm may also feel the sting.

 

Exactly what impact the changes will have, aside from requiring employers to reveal information about clients they provide contractors to, isn’t entirely clear. However, the US government hopes it will help them combat H-1B visa fraud, which is actually beneficial to companies who use the program properly.

 

Some organizations that need H-1B visa holders to maintain operations have previously had difficulty securing enough visas, and some suspect that large contracting firms played a significant role in those challenges landing the majority of the visas. If those activities are even somewhat curtailed, the impact may be positive for companies that previously struggle.

 

Additionally, businesses that rely on reputable staffing firms for contract or contingent workers likely won’t see any difference. Many recruitment agencies don’t rely on (or even use) the H-1B visa program to secure enough workers to handle their client’s needs. Instead, they focus on the existing US workforce, using their recruitment and hiring skills to obtain top talent.

 

Contact The Armada Group for Questions About H-1B Hiring

If you would like to learn more about how the H-1B visa change may impact you, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or concerns today and see how our services and H-1B visa program expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

3 Risky Areas Where Automation Shouldnt Solve Your Business Issues

 

Automation has been a blessing for many businesses. Not only can it help cut costs, but it can also achieve amazing results while removing tedious tasks from the hands of your employees. In essence, it’s a win-win-win, making it hard to ignore.

 

However, automation isn’t always the way to go. There are some situations where using the technology introduces significant risk, at times in unexpected ways. Before you automate every aspect of your operations, here are three potentially risky outcomes.

 

  1. When It Allows the Manual Skill to Disappear

While automation is touted for reducing the need for manual processes, freeing up employees to focus on activities that genuinely require the human touch, using automation to the point where the manual approach is no longer known isn’t a great idea.

 

Even though technology is robust, it is bound to fail at some point. Technical issues happen every day, so you can’t assume that your company will be immune to trouble. If you rely too heavily on automation, when that problem occurs, no one will know how to default back to the manual process. This can bring business to a standstill.

 

  1. When It Leads to Disengagement

Automation is often an excellent way to boost engagement as it gives your workers the ability to handoff duties that are a bit mundane or repetitive. However, when technology is used to make decisions for employees or allows them to distance themselves emotionally from the company’s operational essence, disengagement can occur.

 

For employees to feel satisfied on the job, they need to connect with the company. Automation has the ability to eliminate core business knowledge over time, making it harder to create a bridge between what the worker is doing and the success of the organization. If morale begins to decrease, productivity generally falls and turnover increases, creating a less than ideal scenario for everyone involved.

 

  1. When It Creates Poor Customer Experiences

At some point, everyone has had a poor customer service experience thanks to automation. For example, being stuck talking to an automated call attendant that won’t let you reach out to a person can be infuriating, especially when the system can’t provide you with the information you need.

 

While using automation to make customer interactions easier can be wise, it shouldn’t be used to dehumanize the entire process. Instead, striking a balance is essential. Otherwise, customer frustration is going to lead to poor word-of-mouth, and that can be incredibly damaging to your business.

 

Ultimately, automation is a powerful tool, but it must be used wisely. Without an adequate balance between technology and the people-factor, automation can actually do more harm than good.

 

Ready to Hire Talented Developers? The Armada Group Can Help!

If you would like to learn more about how to use automation to your advantage without harming operations, morale, or customer service, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our workplace automation expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Be an Irreplaceable Software Project Manager

 

Companies are increasingly seeking out skilled software project managers to ensure that their projects go forward without a hitch. However, if a project manager doesn’t meet expectations, businesses usually won’t hesitate to seek out someone who will.

 

Becoming an irreplaceable software project manager means you need to bring specific skills and experiences to the table. Additionally, you must have the proper mindset, perspective, and attitude. Otherwise, you might end up more replaceable than you had hoped. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips to help you excel.

 

Software Development Knowledge

Project managers usually have a combination of business and subject-matter knowledge. However, not every tech project manager focuses on software development.

 

By concentrating on the software niche, you can provide companies with additional value. You understand what is involved in the development process, ensuring you can build realistic timetables, manage expectations, and set achievable goals. Plus, you will function better as a liaison between the software developers on your team and management, customers, or other stakeholders, as you will understand exactly what is being asked of them and may more easily garner their respect.

 

Exceptional Planning Skills

It’s no secret that project managers are responsible for planning. Any shortcomings in this arena can be detrimental to your career, so you need to be diligent about exceeding expectations.

 

Project managers need to be able to complete various steps, including defining the scope, scheduling activities, and identify risks. Additionally, the ability to produce Gantt charts or otherwise create a visual representation of the timeframes is beneficial.

 

Leadership Ability

When you work as a project manager, you are guiding a team toward success. You need to be able to provide them with clear direction, specific goals, and well-defined expectations, all while being polite and professional.

 

Make sure you can articulate each team member’s role. Additionally, learn about each person’s skill set so you can align tasks with the individuals who are most likely to excel in those areas.

 

You also need to be ready and willing to act as a mentor. At times, your team is going to have questions, so you must be prepared to point them in the right direction and offer them support when required.

 

It’s important to note that leadership also goes beyond managing your team. For example, standing up for them when a stakeholder places an unrealistic expectation on the project is also part of being a good leader. Similarly, controlling scope creep can fall into that category.

 

Let the Expert Recruiters at The Armada Group Help You Find Your Next Job!

Ultimately, all the skills above are necessary if you want to excel in the project management field. By focusing on the areas above, you can become an irreplaceable software project manager. If you would like to learn more or are seeking out a new project management opportunity, the team of skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced staff members today and see how our project management expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Be a Rock Star in your FIrst 90 Days

 

Your first 90 days on the job are critical. During that period, your coworkers learn what to expect from you and managers are deciding whether you were actually a good hire or not. Your initial few months at your new company set the tone, and missteps during this time can haunt you.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure that you shine during your first 90 days. If you want to make sure you make the best impression, here’s what you need to do.

 

Find the Flow

Every workplace has patterns. They may expect certain tasks to be completed in a particular order or have an innate understanding that some phrases should be interpreted in a specific way.

 

By finding the flow, you can integrate yourself into what is already there. Not only does this makes you seem like a more natural fit, but it can also save you a lot of frustration. Instead of pushing against the norm, you are recognizing it and working with it, which is going to be universally appreciated.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be a champion for change in the future. However, coming into a new workplace and asking people to conform to what you want isn’t going to win you any allies. Similarly, telling a group of colleagues that you don’t know well that their wrong is going to leave a sour taste in their mouths.

 

Always strive to make yourself a part of how things are first, as this gives you a chance to have the full experience. Plus, you may learn that things are the way they are for a reason, and that change isn’t actually necessary. If you do have a potentially beneficial idea, then you can share it once you garner the respect of your colleagues, and that usually won’t happen in the first 90 days.

 

Seek Out Expectations

Exceeding expectations is usually a great way to make a positive impression. However, you can only do that if you actually understand what expectations exist in the first place.

 

If your manager hasn’t clearly defined any expectations, objectives, or goals associated with your role, schedule a meeting and ask about them. You can also talk to your coworkers about what they anticipate you’ll be able to provide, giving you an idea of how they think your position fits into the bigger picture.

 

As you learn about the expectations, don’t make grand promises about exceeding them. Instead, acknowledge them and make commitments that give you a little breathing room whenever possible. Remember, it can take time to familiarize yourself with a new environment, so it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver in the beginning.

 

Contact The Armada Group for More Help with Your Career!

By following the tips above, you can excel during your first 90 days on the job. If you would like to learn more about making a great first impression, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our skilled team members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.

 

Published in Staffing News

2019 Tech Trends

 

Every new year brings a new set of trends. After all, the business and tech worlds are continually evolving, and the points on the horizon often approach faster than many anticipate in the beginning.

 

In 2019, there are a few trends that tech pros should expect to encounter as the year moves forward. Here are the ones that deserve your attention.

 

Enterprise AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a trend for several years, though much of the attention fell on the consumer space. Options like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are increasingly present in the daily lives of the masses but didn’t provide substantial value to many companies.

 

In 2019, expect an increased emphasis on enterprise-level AI. Advances in natural language processing mean more companies will integrate AI into customer support mechanisms and even certain internal resources. Similarly, the ability to automate a wider range of tasks should be anticipated as well as the chance to derive value from available data with greater ease.

 

More Custom Hardware

As once cutting-edge technologies become more affordable, companies integrate them at a faster rate. Custom hardware is one option that is becoming more financially viable, so businesses may explore opportunities to either develop solutions for internal use or for customers.

 

For example, the Amazon Dash Button concept – where a simple click of the button allowed a preset product to be ordered – could be extended into a variety of consumer experiences. Office-oriented products may also be on the horizon, allowing certain actions to be initiated with a button press, like reserving a conference room.

 

How it will manifest isn’t entirely clear. However, as companies have increased capacity to create custom hardware solutions, they opportunities will be easier to visualize.

 

Data Science Reimagined

Big Data has been a trending topic for years, but what companies expected and what they experienced often differed, leading to frustration. While many businesses initially accepted the limits without much complaint, that climate is changing.

 

While data scientists will continue to clarify what is and isn’t possible, companies are beginning to push for more. As a result, finding methods for overcoming barriers may become a priority, creating opportunities for technological advancement.

 

However, it also means that data scientists should expect pushback when they assert that a particular limit makes a request impossible. Instead of just accepting it as fact, organizations are going to want to understand the “why” behind the “no.” Then, they may rally against the restriction, expecting data scientists and other tech professionals to find a way to turn that “no” into a “yes.”

 

Let The Armada Group Bring Your Team Into The New Year!

Ultimately, 2019 is going to be an interesting year, particularly in the tech arena. If you would like to know more about the trends, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our tech trends knowledge can benefit you this year and beyond.

 

 

Be a Top Systems Administrator

 

Since the world of technology evolves so quickly, systems administrators need to bring a lot to the table if they want to thrive in their field. This is especially true as the cloud gains greater traction in business, introducing something that is still seen as relatively new even as it enters the mainstream.

 

If you want to be a top systems administrator, bringing the right skills and experience to the table is essential. If you aren’t sure that you have what it takes, here are some key points that can help you decide.

 

Experience with Multiple Platforms

By having experience on multiple platforms, even if your career is largely focused on one, you show that you are versatile and adaptable. After all, you had to learn each one individually, demonstrating that you aren’t afraid of tackling something new to remain relevant and valuable.

 

Quick Problem-Solving

Systems administrators need to do more than just resolve issues; they need to problem-solve with speed and a sense of urgency. This ensures that everything is fully operational as quickly as possible, allowing the workplace to remain productive and efficient.

 

Adapt to Changing Security Standards

Security is increasingly a priority in business, and systems administrators need to be able to modify solutions as required to meet new standards. Without the ability, systems may remain vulnerable, and that can be detrimental to the company.

 

Strategic Mindset

Top systems administrators are often tasked with thinking strategically when determining the ideal direction for a system. This requires the ability to look beyond one’s own sphere and focus on the big picture, ensuring that the greater needs of the company remain the priority.

 

Similarly, being able to apply the principles of system configuration management in a strategic way is also vital. This not only requires a deep understanding of the concepts but also the ability to use them effectively for the most gain.

 

Strong Communication Skills

When you work as a systems administrator, communication skills are essential. Not only do you have to function as a vendor liaison, but you may also be tasked with making presentations to clients, customers, and your professional peers.

 

Further, you’ll need to coordinate with a larger tech team and any stakeholders outside of your department. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate complex ideas in simple language are must-haves. Otherwise, those without your level of technical expertise may be lost in the conversation.

 

Find Your Dream Job Today!

If you have the skills and experiences above, you are poised to one day become a top systems administrator. If you’d like to learn more or are seeking opportunities in the field, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our highly knowledgeable recruiters about our current openings or for career guidance today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure
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