Be a Better Manager by Brushing Up on your coaching Skils

 

In the epic words of Bill Gates, “Everyone needs a coach.” Most employee learning takes place on the job, and usually not through formal training programs. As a result, managers need to be ready to step up, guiding the development of their team on a daily basis.

However, many leaders do not spend much time coaching their staff. If you want to help your team and company get ahead, here are some tips to make you a better coach.

Published in Hiring Managers

The Successful Habits of the Worlds BEst IT Project Managers

 

Many of the best IT project managers on the planet share certain traits. Usually, this is expressed as a set of habits, all of them honed to help increase their odds of success in their roles.

 

By working to make these habits part of your reality, you can thrive in most IT project manager roles. Here are the ones that should be on every current or aspiring project manager’s radar.

 

Dedication to the Process

Today, nearly every project is governed by a methodology. These provide clear steps to make sure a project is a success, ensuring that critical points are not overlooked and that everything is addressed in an ideal order or at the proper time.

 

Leading project managers understand that following the process is important; so much so that the majority make it a habit. Now, this does not mean that an approach cannot be adapted based on the project at hand. Instead, it is the automatic urge to use that process as a framework, and a desire only to deviate when the situation actually demands it.

 

Acting with Integrity at All Times

For the best IT project managers, integrity is a core part of their personality. They never hesitate to be honest when working with their team and strive to be fair at all times.

 

Without integrity, even the most skilled project team may struggle. A lack of trust can be incredibly damaging to a group’s dynamic, leading to increased levels of conflict, more misunderstanding, and even rising error numbers – all of which can lead to a project’s failure.

 

If integrity is not a habit, becoming a leading project manager will be incredibly challenging, so it is wise to make it a focus early in one’s career.

 

Preparation is a Priority

If a project is going to be a success, it needs a strong foundation. Preparation is the key to creating a winning environment, ensuring risk is properly examined, contingency plans are at the ready, and all necessary information is gathered before any work begins.

 

Neglecting the preparation phase of a project increases the odds of failure. While this does not mean you have to focus entirely on the minutia before getting started, it does mean having all of your proverbial ducks in a row as early in the process as possible.

 

By embracing the habits above, you can increase your odds of becoming one of the best IT project managers around. Not only can this help you build a strong and lucrative career, but it is also intrinsically rewarding, as your success rate could skyrocket.

 

Looking for a New Project Manager Role? Contact The Armada Group!

If you would like to learn more about what it takes to thrive as a project manager or are seeking out new opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our project management expertise can benefit you.

 

Google Learns from Failure

 

While the term “postmortem” may conjure up some grisly images, that is the word Google decided to assign to its process of assessing its failures to allow them to make improvements. It involves an internal process of documenting mistakes and analyzing missteps so that the company can learn from these errors.

 

Ultimately, any organization can embrace Google’s approach, allowing them to benefit from this tried-and-true system. If you are ready to see your failures in a new light, here’s how to get started.

 

Identify the Most Significant Problems

Not every incident is as serious as others. When you want to focus on improvements that provide the most value, it’s wise to focus on issues that are genuinely important.

 

To determine which events qualify, you need to define what constitutes a major problem for your company. This may include evaluating the potential ramifications of an incident, ranging from the level of impact the organization feels to how it affects customers, as well as how severe the long-term implications are should the issue remain unresolved.

 

Document Everything

Creating a written record of the issue is a critical part of the process. It allows you to review precisely what occurred, what led to the problem, how it was mitigated, and the final resolution. Then, you can focus on defining steps that can prevent the misstep from reoccurring in the future.

 

If you want the documentation process to be successful, it’s wise to gather input from all involved parties. This ensures you get a complete picture of the incident as well as the perspectives of anyone who worked on the matter.

 

It also allows every team member to reflect on the scenario, which can potentially lead to additional insights that weren’t clear during the height of the incident. The process can be a little time-consuming, but it is worth it in the end.

 

Focus on Growth

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to play the blame game. After all, no one wants to believe they are even partially responsible for what occurred.

 

However, focusing on blame isn’t constructive. It creates an environment that is based on fear as people work to dodge any repercussions.

 

Instead of allowing blame to dominate the conversation, shift the discussion to a more constructive place by making growth the priority. This will enable you to reframe the incident as a chance to improve instead of as a setback.

 

Additionally, when you remove blame from the equation, your team will be more likely to admit their mistakes or failures, increasing the odds that you’ll be able to learn from the entire situation. Leaders also need to be honest about their errors. Otherwise, your employees won’t be as open.

 

By following the tips above, you can use Google’s approach as a positive example for addressing problems as they occur. If you would like to learn more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Employment Gaps

 

Most job seekers have seen the warning; gaps on your IT resume can hurt you when you try to find a new position. This can be particularly disheartening, especially when the gap was at least partially unavoidable.

 

In some cases, candidates try to disguise or minimize their gaps by adjusting employment dates. But, falsifying information, even with the smallest tweaks, can come back to bite you if they are discovered.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to address employment gaps on your IT resume the proper way. If you are dealing with a gap in your work history, here’s how to get started.

 

Highlight Your Skills, Accomplishments, and Education

One of the biggest concerns a hiring manager may have when they see a recent employment gap is that your IT skills may be out of date. However, you can put those fears to rest by showcasing any competencies, accomplishments, or education that demonstrates you have the required level of knowledge and experience to succeed in the role.

 

An easy way to make sure that what you have to offer is front and center is to add the proper details to the “Professional Summary” section of your resume. Make sure that the points you make are targeted to the job if you want to make a positive impact on the hiring manager.

 

 

Going to School isn’t Inherently a Gap

Just because you stepped away from the workforce that doesn’t mean you are necessarily dealing with an actual gap. Most employers don’t view someone choosing not to work will they pursue an education as a red flag, particularly if the field is challenging.

 

If you left a job to earn a degree and are now looking to re-enter the workforce, make sure to list your recently educational accomplishments near the top of your resume, especially if you are changing fields or specialties. This allows you to show precisely what you were doing while you weren’t employed, eliminating the issue quickly.

 

Connect with Area Recruiters

Many companies turn to recruiters to help fill IT positions, particularly if the required skills are hard to find. If you haven’t made a connection with a recruitment agency, now may be the perfect time to get started.

 

Typically, you can build a relationship with a recruiter, allowing you to explain the nature of your employment gap to someone who can then function as your advocate. In most cases, a single gap in your work history won’t hurt your chances of landing a great job, especially if you have someone to go to bat for you with local hiring managers.

 

If you are seeking a new IT opportunity, the experienced recruiters at The Armada Group can connect you with leading companies throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you take the next step forward in your career.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Generation Z

 

Generation Z currently makes up the largest portion of the population across the world, and the oldest members of this group have just recently started to enter the workforce. Like Millennials before them, Gen Z represents a significant shift in how they must be recruited, as they have their own sets of priorities and experiences.

 

While many companies are aware of Gen Z, few have crafted strategies designed to attract these potential employees. With that in mind, here are some tips for recruiting members of Generation Z.

 

Look Beyond Job Boards

Gen Z understands just how much information is available online, and that knowledge actually has them turning away from traditional online searches when they are hoping to find a new position. Instead, these new professionals favor referral-based processes, so hiring managers will need to do more than just post a vacancy online if they hope to garner attention.

 

The easiest way to start is to institute referral programs at work, creating mechanisms and incentives that get your current employees involved in recruiting. This allows you to access your staff’s network and connect with Gen Z prospects with greater ease.

 

 

Abandon the Cold Call

Typically, a member of Gen Z isn’t going to answer a phone call from a number they don’t recognize and may be hesitant to return a call based on information in a voicemail if contact wasn’t solicited. That means cold calling isn’t going to be ideal for recruiting prospects in this generation.

 

However, online or text-based communications, including reaching out over social media, may be effective, as long as you respond quickly. Gen Z is used to gathering information almost instantaneously, so a slow reply may lead to the conversation dying, and then moving on to a more responsive competitor.

 

If you haven’t made your application process mobile-friendly, then now is the time to get those updates in place. Gen Z is used to having access to information over smartphones, so mobile processes will be more enticing than those that require a computer to complete.

 

Offer What Matters

Each generation has their own priorities when it comes to benefits and perks, and Gen Z is no different. This group is particularly well-connected with their peers, thanks to social media, so they may have more competitive tendencies, making things like job titles more relevant to them. Additionally, work perks, such as travel opportunities, and a photograph-worthy workspace could also be enticing.

 

However, like Millennials, Gen Z also appreciates a clear path for advancement, so having benefits like mentorship programs, company-provided training, and obvious career ladders can attract positive attention from job seekers.

 

Since Gen Z is new to the workforce, there is still a lot to learn about what interests them, so make sure your company remains flexible with its approach, allowing you to adjust as more information becomes known.

 

If you are working to fill a vacancy, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with top talent throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you find the skilled workers you need to succeed.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Fail

 

Whether you are an experienced web developer or relatively new to the field, at times, you are going to fail. Mistakes happen, but the results of those errors can be incredibly impactful. A misstep is often stressful, but panicking when one occurs can cloud your thinking, increasing your chances of making the situation worse. Instead of allowing that to happen, here’s how to recover when you make an error as a web developer.

 

Stop and Breathe

When your code suddenly starts throwing errors or takes down a substantial portion of the website, it’s easy to enter meltdown mode. But, before you let the crisis overwhelm you, it’s important to take a step back and breathe. This gives you a chance to re-center before you proceed, while allowing you an opportunity to realize that the mistake isn’t the end of the world.

 

Enter Decoding Mode

Now that you know a problem has occurred, you need to analyze the situation and identify the problem. Typically, this is the hardest part of many web developer’s jobs, as the source of the issue isn’t always obvious.

 

Whether you use debugging software or a more manual approach, it is important to take your time. If large segments of the code were written without being tested throughout the process, you could have a lot of information to comb through, so staying calm and proceeding methodically is crucial.

 

Additionally, you have to realize the error might not be in code you’ve written. Many web development projects combine the efforts of multiple developers, so the mistake could be located in someone else’s work. This means you have to review more than just your code to make sure you consider all the potential sources of the problem.

 

Talk to Your Co-workers

Some professionals are more prone to make certain kinds of errors than others, and communicating with each other can help you all identify patterns that may allow you to find the mistake faster. So, if you are trying to correct an issue, getting your teammates involved can speed up the process. Plus, it makes damage control efforts easier as more people are working toward the solution.

 

In some cases, having another set of eyes on the problem can also help, as you may overlook mistakes in your own code that others may spot with greater ease. Additionally, they may even be able to reassure you that the issue isn’t actually that bad, making it simpler to move forward.

 

Learn from the Mistake

Once you spot the bug, you are actually presented with a great learning opportunity. Determine what went wrong along the way and use that information to help you avoid similar errors in the future. With time, you’ll become a more capable web developer and will be able to identify mistakes more quickly, allowing you to up your skills and become more proficient.

 

If you are looking for a new web development position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Programming

 

If you ask a handful of coders to name their favorite programming language, you’ll likely get a variety of answers. And the same goes for those they prefer not to use. However, there is a short list of languages that many wish would simply disappear off the face of the planet.

 

These programming languages have fallen out of favor for numerous reasons, though the most common one is that more efficient options became available. With that in mind, here are five programming languages that are primed to disappear.

 

Ruby

Though Ruby and its framework, Ruby on Rails, were all the rage in the 2000s, the language has since fallen to the wayside. So much so that even Coding Dojo, a learning platform favored by programmers, is even altering its coursework to remove Ruby on the Rails from the curriculum. One of the key reasons is likely the broadening of JavaScript’s libraries, which has fewer people using Ruby for their projects.

 

Objective-C

The only reason Objective-C is still on anyone’s radar is Swift’s sub-par ABI stability, which is an issue for iOS developers, though it is expected to be remedied with the release of Swift 5. Once the new and improved Swift becomes available, expect Objective-C to fall into obscurity.

 

Visual Basic

While technically considered a technology, Visual Basic is a programming language most coders simply dread. Visual Basic was originally created to provide an alternative to BASIC, which gives an indication of the technology’s age. However, Microsoft is still holding firm on this language, so it may not disappear as fast as some people would like.

 

SQL

Many people are likely startled to see SQL on a list like this. Since data has become a staple in more businesses than ever, SQL certainly has a foothold in almost every industry. However, there are strong alternatives to SQL that may replace this common programming language. Pair that with its general undesirability in the minds of many coders, and it may suffer a swift demise once a reliable replacement gains ground.

 

Assembly

If you’ve never heard of Assembly, you’re not alone. It’s a programming language that is known to be slow and tedious to use, and not nearly as capable as options like Python or C#. In most cases, programmers that encounter Assembly are likely dealing with legacy code, as very few new projects would ever consider it an ideal option.

 

All of the above-mentioned languages are poised to disappear one day, though it likely won’t be too soon. Dealing with legacy code often leaves two options: keep using what’s there or completely rewrite the program in something else. Since recreating a large-scale project in another language is a serious undertaking, especially when you consider the size of some SQL databases, many of these programming languages will likely suffer a slow death. However, it’s smart to keep your eyes open to these points, as dedicating too much time or energy on a less-desirable language isn’t smart for business or a person’s career.

 

If you’re looking for a person to join your programming team or are interested in a new coding position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today and see how our services can get you ahead of the competition.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

AI Threat

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning hold a lot of potential, providing technology that can change lives and business for the better. But, as any new technology emerges, certain professionals pay the penalty, often suffering job losses or pay decreases. While AI isn’t threatening every employee, certain positions are clearly at risk. Here is an overview of four jobs AI technology is threatening the most.

Tech Support

Thanks to the rise of chatbots, customer service professionals focused on tech support will likely see calls for the skills dwindle as these solutions become more sophisticated. Currently, these professionals are being specifically targeted by technology creators, especially for Tier 1 support issues.

 

In many cases, the majority of customer requests focus on simple matters that are resolved using repeatable processes. Chatbots can be designed to spot these problems and provide instruction based on tried-and-true troubleshooting methods not unlike the scripts many Tier 1 phone support workers use today. This means these standard issues won’t require human intervention, eliminating the need for some of these positions.

Programming

AI systems are already being designed with the ability to “think” creatively and improvise. While most of the public tests have involved competing against people by playing games such as Go, it isn’t hard to envision technologies being developed that are able to create and maintain software applications down the road. While this threat may be down the road, it is certainly viable, and something developers should keep an eye on.

SysAdmins

Maintenance tasks and security measures are critical in tech and form a large part of the sysadmins role. AI technologies are already being created to offer automated solutions for much of the work associated with supporting uptime requirements, addressing performance issues, and improving security. While these solutions might not entirely eliminate the need for sysadmins, a possible reduction in the number required is certainly plausible if these AI systems can do everything their creators are hoping they can.

Advanced Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector has experienced technologically-related disruptions to their workforce numbers before, and AI is likely to have a similar effect. Advanced robotics can replace assembly workers while providing the ability to run 24/7 without having to worry about shift changes. While these technologies won’t entirely remove the human component from the floor, professionals looking to stay in the field will need to increase their skills to remain relevant as more machines become part of the production cycle.

 

As outlined above, AI certainly has the ability to be a threat to many professions. However, it is important to note that these systems require support too. Skilled tech workers are the ones who program these solutions and perform maintenance on automated systems. That means a career in AI can be especially lucrative and an excellent method for staying relevant even as the technology becomes more sophisticated.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the impact of AI or are interested in finding a new IT position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see what our services can offer you.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure
Wednesday, Jun 21 2017

Is Tech Burnout the New Normal?

9 Burnout

 

Many businesses are in the position of having to push their tech teams harder than ever thanks to low unemployment among IT professionals and an increasing dependence on technology. As the pressure placed on these workers mount, carrying such a heavy burden often takes a toll on morale and puts many at risk of reach full-blown burnout.

 

Tech employees have found themselves working longer hours to ensure critical tasks are completed in a timely fashion. If a pattern of extra hours develops, members of the IT teams may find themselves growing resentful and battling exhaustion, causing job satisfaction and productivity both to plummet.

 

Even as many IT departments face the challenges associated with being short staffed, that doesn’t mean burnout has to be the new norm for these skilled professionals. Here are some methods you can begin using today to keep your tech talent working at their best even during challenging times.

Make Accurate Time Tracking a Priority

A recent poll of tech professionals suggests that more than 20 percent of your IT workforce might be underreporting the number of hours they work. This means management could be unaware of growing problems in the department while also making it difficult for them to properly allocate vital resources and personnel to alleviate the strain. By making time tracking a priority, leadership knows how much time workers are spending doing critical tasks, allowing you to intervene in the most effective way when the opportunity to rebalance the workload arises.

Support Downtime

When workers are trying to do more with less, many feel pressured to maintain an “always on” lifestyle, sacrificing personal time and skipping vacation to meet workplace objectives. In some cases, workers take this stance even if it isn’t a spoken requirement, believing that management expects them to dedicate every possible hour to the job. And, the longer they maintain this work style, the easier it is to reach burnout.

 

To combat the feeling of always being on the clock, make sure your team understands the company understands their need for downtime. Consider placing limits on the use of technology after hours, allowing your workers to set down the constant connection to email and other work tasks. Additionally, make sure there isn’t a stigma associated with taking paid time off so your employees can feel secure whenever they need to take a break.

Express Appreciation

When your staff is burning the candle at both ends, taking the time to acknowledge their hard work and dedication can have a significant impact on morale. Make sure recognition is part of your company’s culture by encouraging managers to show appreciation for the work being completed and by arranging some larger recognition events to show your staff they contributions are valued. Everything from a sincere “thank you” to a formal employee appreciation day can go a long way when it comes to fighting burnout among your ranks, and they are often easy to implement in any environment.

 

By using some of the recommendations above, you can help keep your employees happy even if there is an occasional demand for extra hours. If you would like to alleviate the strain on your IT department by bringing in additional skilled professionals, The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to see how our services can help you bring in the right tech pros to improve the performance and morale of your team today.

 

Work From Home

 

The idea of working from home appeals to workers in almost every field, with tech professionals leading the way. Having the opportunity to work remotely either full-time or a few days a week is one of the most valued job perks an employer can provide, even beating traditional offerings like health benefits. That means, if you want to attract top talent, giving telecommuting options is a surefire way to get some attention.

 

But what about remote work do tech pros find so appealing? Here are some of the top reasons why your team wants to work from home.

Increased Productivity

Many companies fear telecommuting leads employees to be less productive, but the opposite is actually more likely. Working from home significantly limits interruptions throughout the day and ultimately makes it easier to stay on task.

 

Instead of running between meetings that run long, dealing with co-workers dropping by, or focusing through the distractions caused by other activities in the workplace, remote workers have control over their home environment. This gives them a chance to work more effectively, especially on tasks that require high amounts of concentration and attention to detail.

 

The benefits of increased productivity can be even more notable if your company uses open office designs in the workplace. While 70 percent of employees work in this paradigm, almost no one likes the design. There’s a lack of privacy or sense of personal space, and it is easy to become irritated by extraneous noises coming from all across the floor. In that regard, working from home is an appreciated reprieve from an otherwise stressful environment, letting them focus on their job instead of what is happening around them.

More Comfort

Telecommuting gives employees the ability to be more comfortable within their workspace. Most offices provided limited options when it comes to body positioning, leaving workers in the same seated position for an entire shift.

 

When working from home, people can get up and move whenever they need to without having to worry about distracting their coworkers. They can put their feet up, shift around, change chairs, or pace around the room whenever the mood strikes. It removes the certain expectations regarding how you are expected to physically be while working, allowing them to do what it takes to stay comfortable while getting work done.

No Commute

While your employees might work for eight or more hours a day, their functional workday may start much sooner. Many employees spend an average of 25 minutes each way commuting, an action that is rarely stress-free.

 

If they have the chance to work from home, their commute is completely eliminated. This means they don’t have to start their day by battling traffic, only to end it by doing the same. Your employees also have more time to manage other tasks, as they essentially get almost an hour back that isn’t spent sitting in a car, train, or another form of transportation just to get to work.

 

Almost any tech employee would appreciate the chance to telecommute, and the advantages of the arrangement can lead to mutual benefit. If you are interested in finding new IT professionals to join your team, including by working from home, The Armada Group can help you find the right candidates. Contact us today for more information about our employer services.

 

Published in Hiring Managers
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