When you move on to a new role, the idea of staying in touch with your old boss may seem odd. This is especially true if your relationship wasn’t always ideal or was downright challenging at times. Even if you had a strong connection, which can occur when a supervisor isn’t just overseeing your work but also helps you grow as a professional, touching base regularly might feel strange, particularly when it comes to discussing how happy you are in your new job.
However, remaining in contact with your former manager is actually a smart move, especially when it comes to the success of your career. If you are sure why, here aren’t four reasons to stay in touch with your old boss.
Just because you’ve started in a new position doesn’t mean your old boss can’t offer you guidance during trying times. In fact, they can be an excellent sounding board when you run into challenges, as they aren’t personally involved in your new work situation.
As long as you aren’t in a profession where discussing the details of your new role with someone outside the company could be an issue, don’t discount how valuable your former manager’s advice could be during a time of need. They could become a helpful mentor during your career journey, but that can’t happen if you don’t stay in contact.
Ultimately, few people understand your professional strengths and weaknesses like your former manager. This makes them uniquely positioned when it comes to helping you determine what areas you should focus on if you want to grow your skills.
While they may have shared some of these details with you while you were part of their team, they may be able to speak more bluntly now that the relationship is over. By staying connected, you can invite them to discuss these points with you without being hampered by policy or formality, and you may learn valuable tidbits you wouldn’t hear about any other way.
When you land a new job, the idea of having to secure another one in the future is usually the farthest thing from your mind. However, unless you are approaching retirement, there’s a decent chance you’ll end up on the job market at some point during your career.
Like you, your old boss maintains their own professional network, and they may hear about exciting job openings at other companies. Additionally, like you, your boss may secure a new opportunity with another business, giving you a connection to a new organization.
By staying in touch with your old boss, you can count on them as part of your network. That way, when it’s time to find something new again, you can reach out and see if they are aware of any jobs that may suit you.
When you need to provide a prospective employer with contact information for a reference, being able to list a former manager is often ideal. In most cases, your old boss’s input is valuable for a few years after you leave that position, so keeping in touch ensures you can provide their details should the need arise.
Even if you landed your dream job, it’s always wise to have a plan in case you end up on the job market sooner than you expected. Unanticipated events, like a layoff or emergency move, can throw your career off track, so having important references available is always essential.
Those are just a few of the reasons why it’s smart to stay in touch with your old boss. If you would like to learn more or are hoping to land a new job soon, the staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our highly skilled team members today and see how our career management expertise can benefit you.
Whether you are applying to an IT job or a position with a tech company, you typically expect to be asked certain technical questions. After all, they either apply to the role itself or the organization’s business model, so these inquiries have an innate level of relevancy.
However, it isn’t uncommon to be asked non-tech questions as well. Typically, questions that fall outside of the tech landscape serve a critical purpose in assessing whether you are a strong fit for the position or the company as a whole.
Even tech giants like Google and Amazon branch into non-tech areas, regardless of whether the position is tech-oriented. If you are wondering why they ask their candidates these non-tech job interview questions, here’s what you need to know.
Soft Skill Assessments
Communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership potential are often highly relevant to nearly every company, regardless of the position itself or their industry. Hiring managers will often ask non-tech questions that help them assess a candidate’s soft skills as a means of determining whether the job seeker possesses the right mix to be successful in the role.
For example, if you are asked for an example of a time when you used data to make actionable recommendations (something Amazon has been known to do), the hiring manager is looking for insight into your analytical skills and how you use them to benefit the company.
Similarly, being asked how you would prioritize or choose from assignments from multiple leaders in the organization gives the hiring manager information about how you assess your skills, any preferences you may have, and how you approach challenging situations involving workplace dynamics.
Since soft skills are incredibly valuable assets, hiring managers want to know which you possess and how you use them to be effective in a position, and non-tech questions are a common approach for making these assessments.
When it comes to determining whether a candidate fits into a company’s cultural, tech questions aren’t always ideal. Instead, hiring managers use non-tech questions to assess whether the environment is right for you.
For instance, questions about your preferred management style can let them know if you would thrive or struggle under the position’s manager. Asking you to describe an ideal physical environment helps them ascertain whether the workplace itself matches your preferences.
Similarly, requests for examples of how you function as part of a team provide powerful insights into how you work in group scenarios and whether your approach would mesh with your coworkers.
Ultimately, non-tech questions help the hiring manager get to know you beyond your technical capabilities. Since cultural fit and soft skills are so important in every workplace, it’s wise to anticipate that you’ll face similar questions yourself, as they are practically guaranteed to arise.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new job opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our services can benefit you.
While each member of your tech team likely possesses a range of valuable skills, some are probably more effective in their positions than others. And, in many cases, their hard skills are only part of the story.
Successful IT professionals often have a range of qualities that help them excel, allowing them to stand out from their peers. By hiring tech pros with these traits, you can improve the overall performance of your team. To help you get started, here are seven qualities your new tech hire should possess.
If you're looking for a top performer, seek out candidates who are insatiably curious about their area of technical expertise. This can include professionals who explore their field both inside and out of the office, as well as those who stay abreast of rising trends and devour new details about emerging technologies.
Technology is an ever-changing world, and the best tech pros are prepared to roll with the changes. Ultimately, IT teams can’t afford to stand still when it comes to examining the potential of different technologies and must be willing to make a transition when it benefits the company. Otherwise, it’s easy to stagnate or, worse, fall behind the times.
In the world of IT, rarely does everything go to plan. If your team is going to be successful, your employees need to be able to identify problems, analyze the situation, and find solutions.
People who are problem-solvers are typically also strong learners, as they have to take in new information to get to the root of an issue and correct it.
The ability to teach others is a highly valuable trait, particularly in a world filled with skill gaps. A willingness to teach also indicates that they put the needs of the team first while being effective in this role shows they have a range of important soft skills, like communication and patience, that aren’t always easy to find.
A willingness to receive feedback and adjust their approach is also a valuable quality. This indicates the candidate isn’t necessarily set in their ways and is open to constructive criticism that helps them improve.
As technology becomes ingrained in nearly every department, having a foundational understanding of business is beneficial. It will make it easier for them to understand the needs of the company as a whole as well as individual departments.
Leadership isn’t limited to telling people what to do. Instead, it also includes being able to bring people together to achieve a common goal or encourage others to be at their best.
A tech pro with leadership skills can help ensure your team works well together, making it easier for them to accomplish joint goals.
By seeking out the qualities listed above, you can find a tech pro who can do more than just complete individual tasks as they are assigned.
If you are looking for a skilled IT professional to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to learn more about our services can how they can help you find the ideal tech pro for your open positions.
Augmented reality (AR) has garnered a lot of attention, particularly as the technology advanced throughout 2017. Significant launches by major tech companies propelled the forward momentum, generating a considerable amount of excitement about the potential AR technologies hold.
As they continue into 2018, many professionals are wondering what the future of AR development looks like. With that in mind, here are a few things to expect from AR developers this year.
AR Growing Pains
AR-capable applications are going to become significantly more prevalent in 2018, but that doesn’t mean the technology isn’t experiencing some growing pains.
From a developer perspective, the potential of the tech is hard to pass up, particularly as the tools become widely available. Additionally, the functionality is relatively easy to integrate, making it especially appealing.
While many AR advances will be incredibly exciting, the technology isn’t suitable for every application. This means there will likely be a push to add AR into apps that don’t require the functionality to be effective. Developers will need to manage their interest in the tech and thoroughly assess whether AR improves a particular application or is simply being added because it is possible. In many cases, this will lead some projects to be scaled back, if they are properly assessed.
Now that many tech giants, including Google, Apple, and Amazon, have created suitable platforms for AR exploration, developers working in the arena will need to spend some time exploring the various toolkits to identify which offerings provide the level of capability you need and reasonable ease of use.
As with any emerging technology, there is a learning curve, so comparing the available options to assess their suitability for specific projects will be a necessity.
In some cases, additional education or training may be necessary, particularly for developers who intend to focus their careers in the AR field. While a solid background in other forms of development provides a strong foundation, every technology has its idiosyncrasies, so time must be dedicated to learning those associated with various AR platforms and toolkits.
More Robust Technology
Another caveat associated with emerging tech is that the platform and toolkit offerings themselves will also change. You may have access to more robust features or an increased level of stability in the near future, but every adjustment means having to potentially relearn a particular solution, especially if you want to make the most of what the technology has to offer.
Ultimately, AR is still experiencing significant growth and change, and that is almost guaranteed to come with some hiccups along the way. But, by staying on top of new developments and spending time studying the new offerings, developers can become adept quickly, allowing them to experience the benefits that AR can provide to applications.
If you are interested in securing an AR developer position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers in the area. Contact us today to learn more about our services and see how we can help you take the next step in your career.
Everyone knows by now that exercise is important to good health. The problem is that most of us don't exercise. We drive everywhere and park as close to the entrance as we can; we watch TV instead of playing games out in our backyards; we use Roomba instead of pushing a vacuum cleaner around. And, of course, we sit in front of our computers for eight hours a day – more, if you're a techie working on a project near deadline.
So, how do you stay healthy when the world conspires to keep you sitting still? Here are five tips that will help you build activity into your day and keep you fit for work, and, more importantly, fit for the rest of your life, too.
1. Move around the office. Email, instant messaging, and the phone mean you never have to track down a co-worker to get a question answered, but a face-to-face conversation is a good excuse to get up from your desk and walk around the office. Talking in person is more sociable and will help build your relationship, too.
2. Get a standing desk. If your desk is at standing height, you won't be able to sit down on the job. Some standing desks are easily adjustable, letting you switch between sitting and standing based on your energy. You can also try a treadmill desk, which requires you to walk while you work, but that can be difficult to adjust to in a job that requires concentration and keyboarding.
3. Get out of the office. Don't eat your lunch sitting at your desk. Head out of the office for a walk in a nearby park or even just around the block. Besides the physical benefit of moving, the change of scenery will help clear your head and get you ready for an afternoon of problem solving.
4. Try out an exercise ball seat. You wouldn't want to sit on a wobbly stool, but an exercise ball seat offers just enough of a balance challenge to force you to engage your muscles while you work at your desk.
5. Hold standing meetings. Not only will your meetings be shorter and more focused in a standing meeting, you'll engage your muscles, too.
Sometimes the best move you can make at work is to move to a new job. When you're ready to start your job search, The Armada Group's recruiters can connect you to the perfect opportunity. Contact us to find a job that excites you and makes you happy to fill your desk chair every day.
Recruiting new employees is as much about wooing as is it about screening. You want to find the right hire, and that requires attracting candidates who can help your projects succeed as well as screening out those who just don't fit. In order to draw candidates to you, treat them the way they want to be treated. When it comes to recruiting developers, this means:
Go beyond acronyms.
Developer resumes are filled with acronyms and buzzwords, which present easy filtering criteria. Think about it from the developer's perspective, though: the acronyms on their resume represent every technology they've ever worked with, not just the tech they work with now or the tech they want to work with in the future. Instead of mass mailing or calling every candidate with the skills you need on their resume, take the time to read the resume and see if their experience with that skill is recent. You might think it's more efficient to let the candidates screen themselves out, but overloading their inboxes with inappropriate job listings hurts your reputation and can cause candidates to ignore every mail from you – even if it describes a job they'd be perfect for.
Don't rely on interviews.
Sure, development is a team effort and everyone needs to be able to interact with their peers. But unless you're hiring a lead or support role, most programming jobs are more about spending time with a keyboard than time with people. So while the interview is necessary, don't overemphasize it; many developers simply are introverts and won't do well when pinned down for verbal answers. Instead, use tests to verify a candidate's technical ability to do the job. And when you give those tests, don't make developers talk through their solution standing in front of a white board. No one works that way in reality. Instead, let the programmers develop their solution sitting in front of a computer – the way they will when they're on the job.
Present the job the way it really is.
Both resumes and job descriptions have an element of exaggeration to them; after all, they're both advertisements, in a way. Despite that, don't stretch the truth in your job description or when speaking with candidates in person. Don't try to make the job seem more exciting than it really is. If it's mostly maintenance of existing code rather than new development or there's little opportunity for advancement, be honest about that. It might cost you the chance to hire this particular candidate, but hiring someone who then quits because the job isn't what they signed up for is more expensive.
The Armada Group has been recruiting top technical employees for more than 20 years. We understand the way developers think and what they're looking for at work, and are the experts at matching developers to opportunities. Contact us to talk about your hiring needs and how we can help you recruit the right developer the right way.
Want to reduce turnover on your technology team? You should; it can take months to replace an employee who resigns, and it can cost thousands of dollars to hire their replacement. Those are only the direct costs. There are also other costs that are harder to measure, like the impact on morale when the remaining employees need to take on additional work, and the impact on the business if a project is delayed due to a key employee's departure.
So managers should do their best to keep their developers happy with their work environment to keep them on the job. A recent survey identified the top factors that developers find challenging at work – and not in a good way. Make an effort to eliminate these six factors to retain the employees you need for your projects to succeed:
Setting challenging goals is one thing. Setting impossible goals is another. When management expects more from its developers than they can deliver, whether it's an unreasonable schedule or asking more of a technology than it's capable of, the developers know there's no way they can succeed.
It's impossible to develop a quality application if you don't understand the business requirements or how the existing code works. Documentation that leaves many unanswered questions, or is missing entirely, frustrates developers. It means they can't start developing the solution without spending a ton of time just figuring out what they're working on.
Related to poor documentation, unspecific requirements make it impossible to tell what needs to be done to make the end users happy. Developers often read between the lines and guess, only to find out at the testing phase that they guessed wrong and need to redo their work.
Inefficient development processes.
If the team doesn't have efficient tools and procedures in place, developers spend a lot of time on administrative and manual tasks to track, manage, and build packages. That's time the developers would rather spend developing.
Fragile code base.
It's tough to create a quality project on a shaky foundation. No matter what the vision of a new release is, if the existing code is poorly structured, difficult to reuse, and easy to break, developers have to spend a lot of time reworking existing code before they get to the fun part of writing new features.
A lot of mental energy gets invested in designing and coding an application, so developers get attached to the features they're working on. When requirements change often, developers have to put that aside and start something new. That can be tough for them to accept.
Of course, even if you avoid all these issues, you'll still have employees occasionally resigning – life happens, after all. When you need to find top talent, The Armada Group takes time to understand your needs and match your opening to the ideal candidates. Contact us to learn how we can help you find employees who'll be happily challenged working for you.
You've got all the right skills on your resume but still can't find the right job. Use these six job search tips to amp up your search and make the right career move.
Be prepared to prove your skills.
If you put an acronym or technical skill on your resume, be prepared to show you know what you're talking about. That means more than being able to explain what the acronym stands for. More and more companies will probe your technical skills in detail, either by having you complete an online exam or by answering tough questions at your interview. It's fine to brush up before the interview—it's even fine to admit during an interview that you need to brush up. But don’t claim skills you don't have. Even if you somehow fake it through the interview, if you get hired, but can't get the work done, you'll be looking for another job.
Expect a blind audition.
Performers aren't the only ones who need to audition for work, but those auditions are often more about appearance than talent. In technology, companies are turning to blind auditions to make sure they focus on talent and to avoid discrimination.
Meet coders and employers at hackathons.
Hackathons are a great way to learn and build skills, and they're also great for making connections. If you participate in a hackathon, you may have an "in" with a corporate sponsor. You'll also get to know other coders who may be able to recommend you for opportunities with their company.
Don't chase the hot technologies.
There's plenty of opportunity on the trailing edge, not just the leading edge. It may not be as glamorous as Hadoop, but knowing Cobol is still needed for plenty of tech jobs. While you may want to hold out for working with new technology, if your job search is taking longer than you'd like, consider looking for a position that works with more established tools.
Practice your people skills.
Even technical jobs require interacting with other people, and most companies will assess your interpersonal abilities as well as your technical chops. Behavioral interviews go beyond asking what you've done and the technical tools you've worked with to probe how you handle situations.
It gets frustrating to go to interview after interview, but it's important to keep your energy up. Employers want to hire someone who's excited to come to work every day, someone who cares about the work, not just the paycheck. Make sure you express your enthusiasm for the business and project, and that you can see yourself making contributions there long term. Companies want to hire people who'll stick around—they don't enjoy the search process any more than you do.
The letters "I" and "X" are pretty far apart on a keyboard, but type UI and type UX, and suddenly the distance between them isn't very clear at all. Both UI, which stands for User Interface, and UX, which stand for User Experience, relate to the design of a product's interface. Choose a job in one or the other and you'll be doing something very different on a day-to-day basis.
UI developers focus on the visible pieces of an application's interface. UI designers specify how specific elements are laid out on specific pages of the application. They also ensure that the overall look of the product is consistent. Their job is to make sure the application looks good using tools like HTML and CSS.
UX developers focus on the entire experience users have while working with an application. Their job is to make sure that using the application feels good, and often conduct experiments with users to identify troublesome spots in the application's flow. UX developers don't build pages; they create wireframes and storyboards to show how the application will work.
Which Career Should You Choose?
If you like the hands-on work of fine-tuning page layouts and creating graphic elements using Photoshop, working as a UI designer will satisfy your creative urges. If you tend to a more analytical kind of thinking and enjoy research, working as a UX designer will give you big questions to think about.
You don't necessarily need to choose one path over the other. At many companies, the difference between UI design and UX design isn't a hard distinction; one person may do both tasks for a project, depending on where it is in its development cycle. In those companies, whichever title your role is given, you'll enjoy the challenges of both kinds of design thinking.
You should also realize that you can choose more than once; you can change your mind. Career paths don't have to be a straight line. When you work as a UX developer, you'll work with UI developers, and vice-versa, so you'll be able to see the responsibilities of both titles. If you think you'll be happier in the other role, work with your employer to make the switch. There are plenty of design challenges to go around however you abbreviate your job title.
Do robots hurt manufacturing jobs? As with almost everything, it depends on who you ask and how you word the question. Since technology is continuing to develop – there are now robots that can learn new skills by watching videos on YouTube – understanding their impact on human society is becoming more and more critical.
Yes, Robots Hurt Manufacturing Jobs
Until now, robot workers have been able to perform limited functions that they're programmed for, but that's changing. A robot developed at the University of Maryland learns by watching YouTube videos. It's able to learn new fine motor skills, like cracking an egg, and turn that into a repeatable process. Another robot, created in Finland, was built with a neural network that let it improve its welding skills on its own.
Once robots are able to learn and effectively reproduce procedures without being programmed, they'll be able to move to new areas within the factory more easily. Not only will this hurt assembly-line workers, it will hurt the workers who've moved into robotics programming jobs.
No, Robots Don't Hurt Manufacturing Jobs
Although there's no doubt that robots can replace manufacturing – Foxconn last year announced plans to replace iPhone assembly workers with robots – the overall statistics on the impact don't actually support fears of a robot takeover.
The loss of jobs in manufacturing in the United States is correlated with increased use of robotics, but there were many other economic changes that contributed to job loss at the same time, including globalization and offshoring of jobs. A recent study showed that Germany uses more robots than the U.S., but lost a smaller percentage of its manufacturing jobs. Other countries that use fewer robots than the U.S., such as the United Kingdom and Australia, experienced larger drops in manufacturing employment.
Meeting the Challenge of Robots
The same study found that the biggest impact of robots on workers was for low-skilled workers. Improved vocational training may help workers remain employed. Still, as robots become smarter and more flexible, finding the balance between automation and employment will remain a challenge.