08 Big Data Means Big Jobs 5 Areas to Specialize in for Career Success

In the IT industry, change is accelerating — and a large part of that change is due to big data. With organizations just beginning to realize some of the massive potential that big data holds, the demand for IT professionals working in big data-related areas is rising fast.

In fact, technology research firm Gartner predicts that 2015 will see 1.9 million IT jobs created to support big data in the United States alone, with each of those roles creating positions for three non-IT people. In total, Gartner says, the information economy will generate 6 million jobs over the next four years.

The challenge for businesses is filling those jobs, because there simply isn’t enough talent to go around. Gartner estimates that only one-third of IT jobs can be filled with the current talent pool. So if you’re considering a career in IT, there will be ample opportunity to jump on the big data bandwagon.

Here are four areas revolving around big data that will be in high demand as companies struggle to close the talent gap.

Cloud skills

The cloud can be described as the foundation for big data. All of the areas that feed into this discipline are build on the cloud — big data itself leans heavily on cloud platforms and apps, social media is powered by the cloud, and mobile is basically a personal cloud.

One of the most talked-about advantages of the cloud is the potential cost savings, but today’s cloud environment is about more than saving money. Employers are now looking for IT professionals who can leverage the potential for new capabilities, architectures, services, and approaches to app design — with big data as the lynchpin for powering the effectiveness of the cloud.

Mobile skills

According to Gartner predictions, by 2016:

  • 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile
  • Two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone
  • More than 1.6 billion smart mobile devices will be purchased globally

The outlook for tablets is equally strong, with an expected 20 percent of sales organizations to use tablets as their primary mobile platform, and 70 percent of mobile workers using a tablet or hybrid device by 2018. Even now, CIOs are purchasing iPads by the tens of thousands.

With an increasing reliance on mobile devices comes a growing demand for IT professionals who specialize in mobile — including app development, big data integration, and mobile device management. BYOD policies also require mobile specialists to manage the corporate network across disparate platforms.

Social computing

Even as the biggest social networks reach their limits in terms of growth, social is becoming even more important from a business standpoint as organizations develop a more disciplined approach to social media. Gartner forecasts that at least 10 organizations will spend more than $1 billion each on social media in three years.

Part of that spend will be on talent as organizations hire more IT pros who specialize in social media and big data. There are massive amounts of valuable social data available, and as big data tools and platforms become more refined, more businesses seek talent who can extract actionable insight from this information.

Information and analytics

Finally, big data itself will create more job opportunities directly. Organizations can access a continual flood of information from both internal and external sources, providing them with endless opportunities to innovate, optimize, discover new insights, and transform the way decisions are made.

With big data, companies are able to turn information into revenue. This opens up career opportunities for IT pros who can work with structured and unstructured data, and mine “dark data” — data that is being collected, but not used — for business value.

Published in Recruiting

Stop Making These 5 Job Search Blunders

Looking for that great new job is a complicated and time-consuming process. With so much involved, even the most savvy job seekers can make small mistakes — that may end up having huge consequences. But you can increase your chances of successfully landing your dream job by being aware of potential pitfalls in the job search process, and knowing how to avoid them as they come up.

Here are five of the most common job search mistakes, and what you can do to ensure you aren’t making them.

Sending unsolicited resumes

One common bit of advice that’s been thrown around to job seekers over the years is to apply widely, and send your resume out to as many companies as possible — even if they’re not hiring. Some have recommended using this strategy to get into your dream company. But the high volume of resumes that are sent to any given company, hiring or not, combined with widespread use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) practically guarantees that unsolicited resumes are a waste of your time and efforts.

Instead of sending out resumes blindly, your time would be better spent identifying a handful of ideal job opportunities, and customizing your resume and cover letter to match each individual job’s requirements, company information, and job description.

Relying on job boards and online listings

Generally speaking, online job boards are not the best sources for leads. Even worse are online “classifieds” or “want ads,” which are often riddled with increasingly clever scams posing as opportunities. But even legitimate online job postings will often end up wasting your time — simply because of the high volume of applicants these listings receive.

While it’s okay to dedicate a small portion of your time applying through online job boards, the majority of your efforts should be spent on more productive and effective strategies for finding opportunities. Networking is absolutely the most effective, since a majority of today’s new hires are referral-based. The Jobvite 2014 Social Recruiting Survey reports that 60 percent of hiring managers and recruiters said their best hires were through referrals.

Working directly with a recruiter is another highly effective way to find great opportunities. Recruiters have access to job openings that aren’t posted to the public, which means you’ll apply with a referral from the recruiter and compete against a smaller pool of candidates for the position.

Networking ineffectively

While many job seekers understand the importance of networking, at least in theory, most aren’t using this powerful tool effectively. Networking is best when it’s made the focus of your job search, and when it’s approached in a structured and professional way that allows you to measure the results of your efforts.

For example, “being on LinkedIn” is not an effective networking strategy. Simply joining the social network doesn’t bring a flood of recruiters and potential employers to your virtual doorstep. You need to optimize your LinkedIn presence with a detailed, relevant profile that lets people know you’re in the job market, connect with industry professionals, influencers, and potential employers, and interact through groups and discussions in order to attract attention and grow your network.

Flying solo on your job search

This refers not only to networking, but also using career experts in general. Of course, when you’re actively looking a job, you should let family, friends, and colleagues know that you’re in the market to keep your network open — you never know where the next opportunity might come from.

In addition to asking for help from people you know, you can substantially increase your chances of getting hired by working with a professional. Career coaches, resume experts, staffing agencies, and recruiters have extensive resources for job seekers that can help you every step of the way, from identifying opportunities to making it through the interview.

Not asking for the job

It’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating to trip at the finish line — but that’s what can, and often does happen when you forget to ask for the job. You might make it all the way through the application process and a round of interviews, but if you don’t express your genuine interest in the position, you may be passed over anyway.

The very last step of every interview should be to thank hiring managers for their time, and state clearly that you want the job, in plain language. This makes your final impression as someone who’s both qualified and enthusiastic, which exponentially increases your chance at getting hired.

Need more assistance in your job search, or have questions about any of the job search blunders above? Call The Armada Group today and talk to one of our career guidance experts!

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Published in Staffing News

 

What-CIOs-Need-to-Excel-in-2015

As technology continues to evolve rapidly, so does the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Like many other positions, the demands and responsibilities of this role are rising to meet the fast-paced changes throughout the industry. What is important for today’s CIOs — and what may be less important than it used to be?

Here’s a look at the future of the CIO role, for 2015 and beyond.

CIOs will be less tech-savvy, more boardroom-ready

Traditionally, the role of any IT professional has required high levels of technological skill. But in the modern business landscape, where every organization regardless of industry has an IT infrastructure to maintain, the technical side of a business is no longer separate — it’s an integral component of every department, and increasingly important to shareholders, partners, and customers.

The CIO of the (near) future will rely less on technical skill, and more on leadership and persuasion. CIOs will be responsible for gaining buy-in and getting the green light from shareholders and the C-suite, and for ensuring a strong business-IT alignment across the organization. These leaders can come from any background — not just IT.

Speed and agility are critical

Successful CIOs in 2015 will be able to move at the speed of technology. CIO strategies will incorporate high degrees of agility and scalability to accommodate the latest advances, leading organizations through massive transformations from companies that have tech departments, to world-class digital companies that also operate in the physical space.

The CIO of tomorrow understands that the competitive technology curve is moving away from strong IT skills and traditional IT services, and toward emerging digital business technologies in the social, mobile, analytics, and cloud spaces. Cutting-edge strategies in these areas will be vital to the success of any organization, particularly as big data evolves toward more practical uses and substantially increased ROI.

CIOs will adopt a customer point of view

The traditional role of the CIO has been internally focused. CIOs tend to consider internal operations and supporting functions, while leaving external impacts and customer-facing decisions to marketing and sales. But the new CIO will understand that the market is shifting toward customer-centric technologies and infrastructure decisions — and a customer-first attitude is essential for success.

Personalization, market segmentation, and targeting strategies must start at the foundational level in order to be effectively driven by the latest technologies. In 2015, successful CIOs will transition legacy skill sets to the new digital reality, and develop an outside-in view of an organization’s technology. Keeping up with the speed of the modern market will require massive changes in the mindsets of IT leaders as the focus shifts from maintaining internal functions, to streamlining external operations and creating a flawless customer experience.

For the modern CIO, success hinges on mastering the soft skills that have been regarded as the antithesis of the IT profession for decades. Exceptional communication, increased speed and agility, and strong leadership and persuasion skills will define the role of the CIO for 2015 and beyond.

 

 

How-to-Make-2015-a-More-Productive-Year

Looking for a job can be stressful and time-consuming, whether you’re unemployed or unhappily employed. But with the New Year approaching, it’s the perfect time to turn things around and make a fresh start. Your job search doesn’t have to consume your life — by working smarter, you can corral your job-seeking activities and be more productive with the time you spend.

As an IT candidate, these tips will help you make 2015 your most productive year, so you can land the job of your dreams.

Ready, set, organize

Like any other task, your job search will be smoother if you have an efficient, dedicated workspace. Set up an area that will provide you with minimal interruptions — because each time you have to stop what you’re doing, it takes time to refocus and get back into the task.

Decide on the system you’ll use for organizing tracking your job search progress, and have it ready to go in your workspace. There are many different ways to keep track, so choose whichever method you feel most comfortable with that you’re likely to stick to — whether it’s spreadsheets, index cards, a weekly planner, or a tracking app.

Create a daily and weekly plan

Job seeking involves a lot of activities, and many of them are repetitive. You need to network and monitor your presence online, search for jobs, research companies, update your resume and cover letter, apply to jobs, follow up on submissions, attend interviews, and follow up with those. Developing a plan that reminds you when to do each of these activities helps you save a lot of time — and prevents you from chasing your tail.

A sample daily and weekly plan might include:

  • Monday: Review available positions you can apply to
  • Tuesday, Thursday: Research companies you plan to apply, take notes to use in your custom resume and cover letter
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Follow up with one networking contact
  • Wednesday: Google yourself and weed out negative information, if needed
  • Friday: Follow up on any applications you sent out last week

Let technology find jobs for you

Actually searching for jobs that match your criteria can take a lot of your valuable time — but you don’t have to spend hours running Google searches and scouring job boards. Most online job boards provide a free alert system that notifies you via text or email when a new job is posted that meets your search criteria. There are also several Twitter feeds for job boards that send out tweets as new job postings come in. You can typically choose either daily or real-time updates, and select the alert type that’s most convenient for you.

As you subscribe to job alerts, don’t forget to check niche online job boards as well as general boards. Niche IT job boards can provide a richer and more focused resource for open positions — which makes your job search easier.

Tailor your resume and cover letter smartly

This may not save a lot of time, but customizing your resume and cover letter according to each job you’re applying for increases your productivity by producing more targeted, effective submission materials. The better you can express your qualifications for a specific position, the higher your chances of landing an interview.

You don’t have to rework your entire submission packet every time. But at a minimum, update your resume keywords and your Summary of Qualifications according to the requirements for the job you’re applying to, and enhance your cover letter with comments about the specific company that you’ve found through your research.

Work with a recruiter

One of the most efficient and time-saving steps you can take for your 2015 job search is to work with an IT staffing agency. Recruiters handle much of the legwork for you — finding positions that you’re best suited for, submitting your resume and cover letter, and scheduling interviews.

In addition, recruiters can help you get hired faster, for better jobs. Staffing agencies specializing in IT develop long-term relationships with IT hiring managers, giving you the value of a referral to help you get your foot in the door. A recruiter can also give you access to jobs that aren’t posted for public viewing, since many hiring managers often hire directly through staffing agencies instead of posting job descriptions.

Make 2015 your year to land your dream job with a streamlined, productive job search strategy!

 

Published in Recruiting

Mention productivity suites, and you’re most likely to think of Microsoft Office. This extremely popular collection of software includes the basic office programs—Word for word processing, Excel for spreadsheets, Access for databases, and PowerPoint for slideshows—and comes with extras such as Outlook for email, OneNote for freeform note taking and collaboration, Publisher for desktop publishing, and more.

What you may not know is that there are many free, open source alternatives out there that are similar to MS Office in appearance and functionality. Most include only the basic programs, but some include additional applications and features that put them on a par with the software giant’s flagship suite.

If you’re looking to replace Microsoft Office, or just want to investigate the alternatives, here are three of the best Office-style productivity suites out there.

Kingsoft Office Free 2013

Perhaps the closest in appearance to MS Office, Kingsoft Office Free 2013 gives you a choice of three display styles. You can use a ribbon-style interface similar to the latest Office programs in one of two colors—Elegant Black or Water Blue—or you can switch to “Classic Style” if you’re a fan of the old-school, 2003-and-earlier MS Office versions.

This productivity suite includes three applications: Writer (similar to MS Word), Spreadsheets (similar to MS Excel), and Presentations (similar to MS PowerPoint). Office Free 2013 has nearly all the functionality of MS Office, and adds features not found in its Microsoft paid counterparts, including tabbed document display and a click-and-drag paragraph adjustment tool.

While the programs aren’t able to save files in the latest X-extensions (.docx, xlsx, and pptx), these file types can be opened and edited with Office Free 2013, and saved in the earlier standard formats of .doc, .xls, and .ppt.

Apache OpenOffice

One of the most widely known free alternatives to MS Office, Apache OpenOffice comes with applications for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, databases, and graphics. The tools included with this suite are:

  • Writer: Comparable to MS Word, this word processing application has a similar look and feel, and includes features like design wizards and desktop publishing tasks
  • Calc: A spreadsheet application in the vein of Excel, this program includes most of the same features as the Microsoft version
  • Impress: The PowerPoint-like tool for slideshows offers multiple view options, diagramming and drawing tools, effects, and animations, and supports multiple monitors
  • Base: OpenOffice includes a database tool that lets you create and modify forms, queries, tables, and reports
  • Draw: This image application offers a complete set of tools for producing graphics that range from simple diagrams to full 3D illustrations

A newer version of this productivity suite, LibreOffice, is available that uses the same underlying source code as OpenOffice, but varies in terms of application features, usability, and available support from the development community.

Google Docs

There isn’t much in the digital world that Google hasn’t attempted (and for the most part, succeeded with), and productivity suites are no exception. Google Docs is a free online productivity suite that can be used by anyone with a Google account, which is just about everyone.

The applications include Google Documents, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Presentations, respectively substituting for MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In addition, there’s the Google Drawings image editor, and Google Forms, which lets you create forms to embed on a website or share through email or a link.

What makes Google Docs different is its focus on collaboration. Because it’s an online suite, users can easily share and collaborate on their creations. These applications are also easy to integrate with other Google services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, and Google Drive.

If you are looking for technical recruiters in Santa Cruz, contact us today.

Published in Recruiting

Self-analysis can help define your career

First developed over fifty years ago, SWOT analysis is still a useful tool to chart a career path that capitalizes on what you have to offer and where you want to be. It stands for Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats—two dichotomies that can direct your future along a course that you’ll both enjoy and prosper at. Self-analysis isn’t easy, and requires owning up to your less than optimal traits and patterns. Still, it gives you a valuable look at your true potential at work.

From the inside

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, built into you by predisposition, education, interests, and other shaping forces. Your strengths, where they align with your passions, will determine your dreams, goals, and objectives, both in life and your career. Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses is a challenge, and requires uncomfortable honesty; ask yourself, what do I avoid doing? What are the areas where I’ve received less than positive feedback?

At the same time, ensure you acknowledge and celebrate your strengths: Which tasks do I enjoy doing? In what work environments do I thrive? Knowing both the positives and negatives about your internal talents will give you a clear base from which to examine the outside factors surrounding your career.

From the outside

Opportunities and threats are factors that affect your career externally. You have minimal control over them, if any, but you can use opportunities to your advantage, and minimize the risk of threats. This section of your SWOT analysis is less personal, but equally important: it’s where you integrate reality into your self-investigation.

Not all advantageous openings or unexpected concerns can be predicted, but a thorough look at where your career might go and what events or people might hinder it can help prepare you for your best future. Ask yourself what could potentially be coming your way, and whether it’s something you want to pursue or avoid. Having that direction will allow you to more effectively utilize your strengths and weaknesses.

From others

Feedback from one or more individuals outside your job, preferably who’ve known you for years, can really tighten your SWOT analysis. They can point out areas you excel or typically avoid, and bring an outside perspective on your workplace and desired career path. By connecting with someone who isn’t invested in your career, you can trust that they will ask hard questions and bring a more unbiased opinion to the table.

A person who knows you as an individual, not just an employee, will have a broader spectrum from which to draw their queries and conclusions. At the same time, it’s important for you to convey how critical honesty is—this person should be tactful, but not try to spare your feelings too much when it comes to weaknesses and concerns.

On the right path

Conducting a self-analysis will help you chart a vision for your future or at a minimum, have more information at your disposal when a new position opens up, you receive a negative review, or you find yourself contemplating a career move. SWOT is an excellent place to start to get a handle on whom you are and where you can go. If you are looking for IT jobs in California, contact the experts at The Armada Group today. We have the network and resources to help you advance your career.

Published in Recruiting

Red flags to avoid

You have finally scheduled an interview for the position you’re hoping for, but you’re far from the finish line. The hiring manager has clearly reviewed your resume and expressed interest in your as a candidate, so a strong interview could be the last hurdle before you land your new job. While the basics of interviewing can be easily accomplished—don’t be late, dress professionally, and so on—there are more subtle actions and phrases that can turn off an IT hiring manager. Don’t fall prey to these common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Not doing your homework on the company you are interviewing with

Just because you’re the perfect fit for the position description doesn’t mean you’re right for the company, or that it’s right for you. It’s an embarrassment, to say the least, to go into an interview and be asked a question like “What 3 things did you learn about our company from our website?” and not being able to articulate an educated answer. A hiring manager can immediately tell if you haven’t done your research—if you aren’t willing to invest time to learn about the company beforehand, they’ll likely assume you won’t after being hired.

Mistake #2: Failing to listen actively

Interviews are your opportunity to present yourself and your qualifications. That doesn’t let you off the hook for listening to what the hiring manager is saying—and if you don’t breathe long enough to actively focus on what you’re being told, you’ll be on your way posthaste. Active listening goes beyond simply hearing words, and requires digesting and responding to what’s being said. Without it, you can’t connect with the hiring manager, and they’re likely to not value your input since you don’t value theirs.

Mistake #3: Being a Robot

The ability to work as a team is important, and a hiring manager will likely make sure you have that experience before taking you on. However, it’s possible to be TOO team-oriented in your interview, to your own detriment. If you consistently talk about “we”—as in “we took this approach”; “we implemented this software solution to solve X”—you run the risk of appearing to be an insignificant contributor to the initiative. It’s a fine line: don’t act like you single-handedly delivered a 50 person, 25 man-year project; at the same time, make sure the hiring manager knows your specific contributions to a successful outcome.

Mistake #4: Giving robotic answers

One of the biggest turn-offs for a hiring manager is when an interviewee fails to present herself as an individual, with specific talents and expertise. This goes beyond setting yourself apart from the “we” of your team, and involves telling detailed stories and real-world practical answers from your past. If all you offer is methodology, you’ll be perceived as no different than any other potential employee. It’s the specific facets of how you approach your work that will set you apart.

Become a shoe-in

Obviously, you want to make a lasting, positive impression at your interview. By learning as much as possible up-front about the company, actively paying attention to the conversation with the hiring manager, asserting your initiative as well as collaborative skills, and focusing on your qualities in addition to book smarts, you’ll position yourself as someone to keep an eye on—and, better yet, someone to hire.

 

If you are looking for top IT positions in California you need to be prepared for the interviewm. Let The Armada Group help you develop a job search strategy, and land you an interview with your ideal company.

Published in Staffing News