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Whats Keeping Developers Up at Night

Some might cite the cliché, "turnabout is fair play." For decades, workers in other industries have feared their jobs might be replaced by automation. Now, losing their jobs to computerization is one of the top fears of developers.

That's one of the findings in Evans Data Corp.'s survey of developers. To be sure, assembly language coding jobs disappeared when high-level languages were developed. But the role of the software developer didn't disappear; the skills still were needed, only the tools used changed. And in general, although the tech industry is an early and enthusiastic adopter of technology, programming languages linger. There are still jobs for Cobol developers out there.

New trends in artificial intelligence, though, are making developers uneasy. Previous applications of technology in programming, like the development of compilers, mostly automated the mechanics of software development. The cognitive capabilities of AI go beyond that, promising—or threatening—to co-opt the creative thinking parts of the software job.

Up 'til now, humans' cognitive abilities were unmatched. But new advances in machine learning mean software can make software design decisions or detect bugs as effectively as human developers. Code databases may let algorithms create applications that match requirements specifications. Those abilities could put development jobs directly at risk.

This is still mostly hypothetical, though; a worry for the future. Statistics show the number of IT jobs increasing, not decreasing, and salaries for these positions are well above median wages for other kinds of work. While developers do need to keep their skills up to date as technology trends change, there's still plenty of opportunity for skilled and experienced developers to work on challenging, exciting projects.

For companies that aren't ready to hire a robot as a programmer yet, and for developers who don't plan to retire any time soon, working with The Armada Group is an effective way to find a new hire or find a new job. With our deep database of jobs, deep pool of candidates, and deep understanding of the industry, we match opportunities and candidates based on education, skills, experience, and aspiration. Contact us to learn how we can help you hire or get hired.

Stay Ahead of the Curve The Importance of Continuing Education in IT

Today’s IT professionals have a wide range of educational levels, from bachelor’s or master’s degrees, to two-year associate or one-year certificate programs, to self-taught pros who may have obtained various certifications. But whether education is obtained in a classroom, through experience, or with a combination of methods, one thing holds true — in the IT industry, there’s always more you can learn.

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. For IT managers, continuing education is the key to staying on top of the industry, maintaining personal and professional development, and remaining relevant in an ever-shifting work environment. Here’s why every IT manager should strive for ongoing learning and keep up with the latest education available for your industry.

Keep your skills fresh

Most skills continue to improve with experience, but this is not always the case in IT. While real-world practice is typically the best way to strengthen basic skills, ongoing learning is required to stay up-to-date with more specialized skills. Database software tools, network management, and even operating systems are constantly evolving, and industry best practices change as the tools and systems advance.

Unfortunately, no amount of experience will help you sharpen a skill set you don’t already have — so continuing education is a requirement to learn new systems, tools, and features that can help you advance your career.

Refresher courses are also invaluable for ensuring that your credentials and certifications remain current, and that you’re informed about the latest developments in your areas of expertise.

Increase your professional value

The IT job market is tougher than ever. Even if you’re satisfied with your current position, there are any number of reasons you may find yourself looking for a new job—from downsizing or restructuring, to your organization closing its doors, or even a personal decision to seek a better career.

Continuing education is an investment in your value as an IT professional. By expanding your skills and knowledge base, while ensuring that your existing skill set remains current and up-to-date, you’ll be able to stand out among other professionals at your level. And if you re-enter the job market, you’ll be well-positioned to get hired quickly by the company of your choice.

Further your IT career

Hard work and technical knowledge are the building blocks of a successful IT career. But in order to move up the ranks of IT management, today’s pros must have more than technical skills. IT leaders are increasingly expected to not only have strong proficiency in the tech areas they work with, but also have excellent soft skills. Often, these non-technical skills are the deciding factor for who gets promoted to the next level.

Ongoing education and personal development can help you improve your soft skills and gain a more rounded skill set that’s best suited for senior leadership positions. Some of the soft skills IT managers need for success include:

  • Communication: The ability to communicate well with team members, peers, and the C-suite, and to explain complex technical terms in language that non-tech people can understand.
  • Presentation: Successful IT leaders are able to make compelling presentations that sway decision-makers, such as executives and board members, to gain support for IT initiatives within the company.
  • Talent management: Even in organizations where HR is responsible for recruiting, strong IT managers should understand the basics of attracting and retaining talent, and participate in the process where applicable.
  • Critical thinking and decision making: A great IT leader will be able to solve problems efficiently and make the right decisions quickly.

There are many beneficial soft skills for IT managers, and many training and educational programs designed to help leaders improve these skills and advance their careers. Continuing education is a necessity for any IT professional looking to remain relevant, viable, and on top of the game in today’s fast-paced technical landscape.

How to Make a Final Selection from a Pool of Qualified Candidates

You’ve scoured resumes and held interview after interview, and now you’re faced with a happy dilemma—choosing your new hire from several equally qualified candidates. While this is a problem most IT managers love to have, it can be challenging to make the final decision. You want the best possible hire, one who’ll make a long-term, productive employee and add the most value to your company.

And of course, you don’t want to second-guess your decision down the road.

If you’re struggling to choose between two or more candidates with excellent qualifications for the job, these tips will help you make that important final selection.

Take your time

Hiring in haste often leads to significant, or even disastrous, mistakes. While your company may be operating short-handed right now, it’s better to give yourself the time you need to make the best decision and hire an excellent employee who’s likely to deliver value for years. Otherwise, you risk hiring the wrong candidate—and if things don’t work out, you’ll have to start the hiring process all over again.

Consider cultural fit

With technical qualifications being equal, an important differentiator for the right candidate is cultural fit. Look for a candidate with soft skills and personal qualities that will balance out the team they’re being hired to, as well as the organization overall. Choose someone who holds values and ethics that align with the company, and who will get along well with other employees.

Identify unique skills

Review your top candidates’ backgrounds and ask yourself what kind of unique skills each of them would be able to bring to the company. For many organizations, one of the best deciding factors is finding a candidate who has demonstrated the ability to adapt their expertise to various environments. A sense of willingness to learn new skills or adopt new viewpoints is also a big plus.

Hold a final interview round for outside opinions

Ask your top candidates to come back for another interview—and this time, have the department manager or other team members sit in. This will give you a working idea of the chemistry between the candidates and the existing team, helping you determine the best cultural fit. It’s also an opportunity to ask further, more in-depth questions about the candidates’ specific skills and experiences in areas that are most important for the position.

Look for the little things

Did one candidate arrive for the interview in formal attire, while the rest were somewhat dressed down? Did any of your top choices send a handwritten thank-you note as a follow-up to the interview? Consider hiring a candidate who took things a step further than the rest—their attention to detail is a good indication that they’ll make a valuable employee.

Pick the passionate candidate

If you’re still struggling to make a final decision, passion may be your trump card. A candidate who’s passionate about the profession, and the specific position at your company they’re interviewing for, may be the best choice.

Consider personal passions as well as professional aspirations here, and look for places where the two align. Employees will be putting 40 or more hours a week into their jobs—so they should be doing something they enjoy, or their morale and productivity will suffer.

Published in Hiring Managers

 

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

Can iOS Apps Make Your Job Easier

Most of us are relying more on our smartphones and tablets every day. These indispensible pieces of technology can help us communicate, keep us organized, wake us up in the morning, and even help us find the keys we dropped somewhere in the car at night. But can your iPhone or iPad help you boost your brain function and make you more productive?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes. Here are five apps for iOS that can help you work smarter and more efficiently — either directly or indirectly.

Brainbean

What does a memory game have to do with making your job easier? According to several studies, memory games can make you smarter in the short term, improve overall brain function, and even help to prevent dementia. Brainbean gives you eight free games that exercise your mind and improve memory, pattern recognition, and imagination:

  • Letter List gives you a letter, and asks you to come up with as many words as possible that start with the letter
  • Incomplete Drawing gives you part of a drawing and asks you to complete it with the power of your imagination
  • Word Scramble gives you a bunch of letter tiles, and has you make as many four-letter words as possible from those letters
  • Pipe Builder has you rearrange six tiles containing pipe segments to form a complete pipeline

Brainbean also includes Mosaic Drawing, Pattern Tiles, Block Builder, and Remote Association.

Babbel

Learning a new language is another proven way to boost brain function, but actually doing this is harder as you get older. Babbel provides an easy, interactive tool to help you learn a second language, or a third and fourth. Game-like activities are used to help you master words and phrases, and simple listen-and-repeat actions allow you to master pronunciation. There are 14 languages to choose from, including German, Spanish, French, and Italian.

Babbel is free for the first few levels. Advanced lessons are available for a monthly subscription fee.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

This free-form sketching app from the biggest name in digital illustration lets you draw and sketch on photos or backgrounds that are imported from your camera, device storage, or the Adobe Creative Cloud. You can also sketch on a blank page. It includes five pens and a full color palette, as well as a ruler tool to easily draw straight lines. Adobe Photoshop Sketch is free, and makes a great tool for meetings and presentations.

Adobe Photoshop Mix

Another Adobe product that uses the Creative Cloud, this simplified version of Adobe’s flagship software lets you perform photo editing on your iPhone or iPad. Features include image mixing, enhancing, effects, cut-outs, and crops. And with connectivity to the Creative Cloud, you can access more advanced image editing tools such as content-aware fills and shake reduction.

Adobe Photoshop Mix is a free app, and can be extremely useful in meetings and presentations, especially on larger iPad screens.

Skitch

While not as versatile or free-form functional as the Adobe apps listed here, Skitch is an excellent on-the-go annotation tool. The app allows you to quickly and easily annotate web pages, PDF files, images and photos, and maps pulled from Apple Maps, allowing for more streamlined communication on the fly.

Skitch is free to download, but it costs $1.99 to get PDF markup capabilities (all other markup features are free). You can also connect the app to Evernote Premium for $4.99.

For more information on how to make your job easier, or to find a job that suits you better, contact the employment experts at The Armada Group. We help place candidates in top positions across the nation – and world.

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Published in Staffing News

AAAAAAH

There are plenty of things “everybody knows” about technology. For instance, everyone knows you can’t use cell phones and gas pumps at the same time, or put metal in the microwave, or stick a magnet on your computer tower.

So it may be a surprise to learn that all these known technology dangers, and many more, are wrong. Some are exaggerations, and some are just flat-out incorrect. Here’s a list of common myths about technology that you’ve probably believed.

If you pump gas while you’re on your phone, your car will catch fire

So far, the number of gas station fires that have involved a cell phone have been one — and in that case, it was found that the phone didn’t actually start the fire. While the FCC says it’s “theoretically possible” an electric spark from a cell phone could ignite gasoline fumes, even they admit the possibility is “very remote.” There have been several studies and an episode of Mythbusters disproving this myth.

Magnets + stored data = poof!

As the belief goes, placing a magnet on any electronic device that stores data will erase everything on there — so unless you’re playing a cruel practical joke, keep magnets away from computers and thumb drives. But the truth is, solid state drives like thumb drives won’t be affected at all. And computer hard drive disks can be erased with magnets, but only really big ones like those used for MRI machines.

If you microwave a metal object, it will spark and your microwave will explode

It’s hard to dispute this one. Most people have either seen a video where a fork is being microwaved and shooting sparks everywhere, or they’ve tried the fork trick themselves. The myth lies in believing that any metal object will produce this effect. The sparking isn’t caused by the metal of the fork — instead, it’s the shape of it. Sharp edges conduct the electrons that cause sparks. But microwave a spoon, and pretty much nothing will happen. Note: we do not suggest you run out and microwave any or all metal items in your home.

Standing next to a microwave will pump you full of radiation

This myth has lost some ground over time, but plenty of people still believe that if you stand next to a microwave while it’s running, you could turn into Spiderman or Godzilla from the radiation. But while it’s true that microwaves sometimes leak radiation, the FDA explains that the lifetime radiation an appliance emits is “far below the level known to harm people.”

More megapixels = better photos

Smartphone cameras have come a long way in a short time, and it’s all because they keep adding megapixels to the image resolution. But equating more megapixels with higher quality photos is one of the most common misconceptions in all of digital photography. You can’t take a great picture with a crappy resolution — but you can take a fantastic photo with a decent resolution, if your phone camera has a good lens, circuitry, sensors, and controls, and you have an eye for lighting and composition. More megapixels do not create instant master photographers.

Internet, World Wide Web…same difference

The Internet and the Web are not two different terms for the same thing. The World Wide Web is actually what most people consider the Internet: all the websites that start with www. But the Internet is more than the Web — it’s the infrastructure that enables information sharing between networks around the globe, including computers, smartphone, and software networks. The Web needs the Internet, but the Internet can exist without the Web.

If you don’t completely drain and recharge your phone/laptop, the battery can’t hold a full charge

This is a myth that used to be true. Older cell and laptop batteries had this problem, but battery technology has advanced along with the devices they power. Most modern devices use lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged whenever it’s convenient — and even a quick charge just to get enough power to send a text won’t harm the battery capacity.

Private or “incognito” browsing lets you be anonymous online

Whether you’re paranoid or just don’t want anyone to know about your Hello Kitty obsession, you might feel safer browsing online in “private mode.” This stealth setting for some browsers keeps the websites you visit out of your history, and prevents you from being automatically logged into your accounts (so you don’t accidentally post about Hello Kitty on your Facebook page). However, incognito mode doesn’t make you invisible to the sites you’re visiting — and your footprints are still findable with some tech savvy.

Your phone is giving you cancer

This myth has been particularly polarizing. In the 1990s and 2000s, there were people who believed this with a passion, and others who called those people paranoid Luddites for thinking it. But the truth is actually…not certain. Several studies, including an exhaustive 11-year-long research program in the UK, have failed to find any link between cell phones and brain cancer, or any other type of cancer. But the studies have also stated that “more research is needed,” so this myth can’t be truly retired yet.

Want to know more about these myths, or have an IT inquiry about jobs or open positions? Contact the experts at The Armada Group today.

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5 Tips for Defending Your Systems Against Security Breaches

Every modern business has to worry about security. The threat of hackers and damaging attacks hangs over everyone with an infrastructure — as Boston Children’s Hospital discovered this spring, when hackers claiming to represent Anonymous hit them with phishing and DDoS attacks.

Fortunately, the hospital was prepared to fight back, and patient data remained secure during and after the attacks. Here are five tips from Boston Children’s Hospital’s handling of the situation that can help you safeguard your business from security breaches:

Take an active learning approach to digital security

The best defense is a good offense. Be proactive in your security measures, with preventative strategies that include:

  • Active, real-time surveillance for emerging threats
  • Risk-based modeling and analysis that considers key security factors, including risks, threats, and information systems vulnerabilities
  • Effective regulation that ensures both privacy and safety without creating excess burden

Understand your system resource dependence

In order to mount an effective defense, you need to know which systems work internally, and which rely on external Internet access. Systems connected to the Internet are at risk for security breaches and attacks — for example, the hospital’s EHR (electronic health records) system was spared in the attacks, but its e-prescribing system that connects to pharmacies online was not.

Have an email alternative

In the interests of being prepared for the worst, have a secure access and communication system in place to guard against the possibility of compromised email during an attack. At Children’s, when DDoS attacks increased beyond what the hospital’s internal IT solutions were capable of handling, they were able to shut down all websites and email, and use a secure text messaging application to communicate internally and access patient records.

React when you see smoke — don’t wait for fire

Don’t hesitate to push the button on extreme security measures, such as shutting down websites and email. If you have the right precautions in place, you can avoid business disruption — and the ability to take swift action could save you millions in damages if cyber attacks are successful.

Don’t neglect teleconferences

Phone communications are equally at risk for security breaches. Never include conference passcodes in the body of a calendar invitation — this could get your call recorded and posted online before you even hang up. Instead, send passcodes securely through email or text applications.

Hackers pose a growing threat to the safety and security of information in every industry. Not even a children’s hospital is safe from cyber attacks. Stay up-to-date with the latest security measures, and make sure you’re protected with a proactive strategy that fights back against hackers. If you need help implementing a proactive security plan for your company, or need dedicated IT specialists to handle these threats, speak to the IT experts at The Armada Group.

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Thursday, Oct 16 2014

Big Data Gets Big Results

 

Big Data Gets Big Results

The buzz about Big Data continues to grow, but are companies that have already started working with it seeing any returns on their investment? According to a new study from tech consulting firm Accenture, an overwhelming majority of executives who’ve launched big data projects are pleased with the power and effectiveness of this new digital tool.

Big Data is consistently valuable

The Accenture study looked at big data projects and installations implemented by CIOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CDOs (chief data officers) and other senior IT leaders across seven industries, in 19 different countries. Responses indicated astonishingly high rates of satisfaction and ROI from big data investments:

  • 92 percent of executives were satisfied with the results of their big data installations
  • 89 percent said big data is “very important” or “extremely important” to the digital transformation of their business
  • 82 percent said big data provides significant value to their organization

The research and observations from senior executives point to big data as not just a passing fad, accessible only to a small percentage of huge, multi-million dollar corporations, but a truly effective strategy that delivers actual benefits like streamlined operational efficiency, an expanded base of loyal customers, and increased revenues. With effective use of big data, businesses are able to develop a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded online market.

Big Data pinpoints new sources of revenue, enhances customer experience

One of the most common ways businesses are using big data is to find new sources of revenue — and this area is also delivering the most tangible benefits. According to the Accenture study:

  • 94 percent of executives use big data moderately or extensively to identify new revenue sources — and 56 percent report extensive tangible benefits
  • 90 percent use big data moderately or extensively to retain current customers and acquire new customers
  • 89 percent use big data moderately or extensively to develop new products and services

While bringing in new customers creates new sources of revenue, organizations are also using big data to improve customer relations. Of the executives surveyed, 47 percent report extensive, measurable benefits from winning and keeping customers through big data, and 51 percent say enhancing the customer experience through big data has achieved measurable gains. Considering the next five years, 63 percent of executives believe that big data will have the largest impact on their customer relationships.

Challenges to big data implementation

As with any relatively new technology, using big data comes with some challenges and concerns. Accenture found that security is the greatest challenge, with 51 percent of executives citing security as the top issue — particularly as the number of big data users in their organization expands.

Other major challenges facing big data include:

  • Budget (47 percent)
  • Lack of talent for big data implementation (41 percent)
  • Lack of talent to run big data / analytics on an ongoing basis (37 percent)
  • Integration with existing systems (35 percent)

Flexibility and a willingness to experiment with approaches and strategies has been the most effective means to overcoming the challenges presented by big data. Accenture states that it’s vital for organizations to recognize that no single big data solution will fit every situation.

Tips for success with Big Data

With the increasing accessibility and cost-effectiveness of big data technology, companies of any size in every industry can take advantage of the benefits big data provides. Accenture’s key recommendations for capitalizing on big data include:

  • Start small. Attempting to accomplish everything at once with big data can, and typically will, result in a scattered focus and little to no return. Instead, choose a single business area to target first, and launch a proof of concept or pilot program to prove value before implementing wider strategies.
  • Stay flexible. The technologies that drive big data are still relatively new, and in a constant state of change. Companies using big data must remain nimble and alert to the opportunities presented by these evolving technologies.
  • Focus on talent. In order to capitalize on big data, companies need a workforce that’s able to implement strategies effectively. One solution is to offer training for existing employees to build big data skills — a strategy 54 percent of executives said they are currently implementing.

But don’t rely on your in-house team alone — only five percent of executives said their company uses solely internal resources to develop, implement, and manage big data strategies. Outsourcing IT talent for big data is a fast and effective way to start reaping the benefits of the latest technologies for your business.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of big data, or find staff who are already well-versed in big data implementation, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today. 

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How to Better Measure Your Success in IT

Most IT departments are, by nature, results-driven. And because IT loves numbers and formulas, you’ll find myriad combinations of analytics and KPIs and data charts designed to measure success — usually in terms of output or dollars. But how good are these measurements in gauging the success of your career on a day-to-day basis?

If you’re an IT pro, and you want raises and promotions and accolades (and who doesn’t?), all those analytics won’t help you much in the way of personal advancement. There are better ways to track your progress that can alleviate the daily stresses of your job and help you become more satisfied, productive, and promotable.

Here are three of them, relating to the most common issues IT professionals face in the workplace: prioritizing, communicating, and building relationships.

Prioritize: Measuring where all your time really goes

For an IT pro, there are never enough hours in the day. Your workload always seems to exceed the amount of time you have to spend on it, and every week you feel further behind. But the good news is, you’re probably spending a lot of time on tasks you don’t need to worry about — and you can focus your efforts to increase productivity and decrease stress.

Take the time each day to write down your top three-to-five priorities. Then keep track of what you do all day, and how long you do it. Once you have these lists, figure out what percentage of time you’re spending on your priorities versus everything else, and prune out the clutter. If your workload is actually too heavy to accomplish your core tasks, you can show this data to your boss and ask to have non-essential activities reassigned.

Communicate: Measuring the effectiveness of what others are hearing

Good communication is essential in the workplace. As an IT pro, you need to communicate not only with the rest of your team, but also with your supervisors, management, people in other departments, or even customers. And the most common barrier to communication is that not everyone you need to convey information to speaks the same language.

When you’re communicating something, the tendency is to think only about what you have to say. But the key to effective communication is to understand how the other person needs to hear it. If you’re speaking to a non-tech person, you can’t use jargon or complex terms. If your style is straightforward and to the point, a less direct person may find you abrasive or intimidating — and therefore will only hear your tone, not the words you’re saying.

Consider the communication issues you’ve experienced in light of your audience. Is it possible they could have misunderstood you because of their listening style? To measure your effectiveness in communicating, pay attention to nonverbal cues that suggest they’re confused by the terms you’re using, or tuning out your words in favor of your tone. You can adjust the way you convey information to make sure everyone’s clear, resulting in smoother daily operations all around.

Relate: Measuring your workplace relationships

Relationships make the working world go ‘round. When you have strong relationships in the workplace, your career will flourish — but weak relationships can hamper or cripple your progress. You may get along great with like-minded people, but what about those from different generations, different cultures, or even different departments?

Improving your workplace relationships will help you get ahead, and make for a more harmonious environment for everyone. It only takes a few minutes at a time to build rapport — you can choose a day to sit with a different group at lunch, or invite a co-worker you don’t know well for a cup of coffee. Make it a point to offer authentic compliments on other people’s work, especially those in different departments, and send a quick thank-you when another person does something that positively affects your work.

Charts and analytics are great for measuring the technical ROI of your work, but these real-world measurements can help you achieve personal satisfaction and advancement. Speak to the experts at The Armada Group today to find out how to take a better measure of your IT success, and enjoy lowered stress and higher productivity.

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Published in IT Infrastructure

 

Why Your Developers Should be Focusing on Innovation

With the rise of easily accessible technologies like the cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the digital landscape is more competitive than ever. Organizations looking for an edge need to focus on innovation — especially when it comes to apps.

App development is the new frontier for innovation and organizational change. The best way to achieve this is to give your developers room and encouragement to innovate, by making their lives easier and providing them with the tools they need to produce great apps and secure valuable intellectual property (IP) for your organization.

The following tips will help you help your developers, leading to increased innovation and driving competition in a fast-paced technical world.

Go all in with the public cloud

For most organizations, building an in-house infrastructure with enough servers, storage, and services to provide developers with sufficient resources for innovation just isn’t practical, or even feasible. The public cloud is a faster and more economical choice, both for developers and the organization as a whole.

Public clouds offer highly efficient, flexible infrastructures that can scale up as needed, and consume only those resources developers actually use. Embracing the public cloud reduces project completion times and product time-to-market, and saves you significant money.

Broaden access to tools and services

With the rise of SaaS and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), the many tools and resources employed by developers can be readily available. In the past, most organizations relied on long-term contracts for services and tools, often spending hundreds or thousands on legacy and enterprise software in the interests of cost efficiency over time — complete with drawn-out approval processes and lengthy installations and rollout.

This approach is detrimental to app developers, who may switch the tools and services they use from day to day and prefer to test out a tool before making a long-term commitment. You can encourage innovation by foregoing long-term contracts and letting developers self-select the tools they’ll use.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by giving them access to enterprise developer marketplaces, such as those from Windows Azure, Red Hat, and Heroku. These marketplaces allow developers to work with a wide variety of enterprise-ready tools and APIs, which help them build better applications, faster.

Encourage freedom from locks and controls

When your developers are locked down to a single platform or language, innovation is stifled. Allowing and encouraging them to design platform agnostic apps for the Web, mobile, and Internet of Things devices will save your developers a lot of time and grief.

What’s more, you can encourage innovation by limiting the controls placed on developer experimentation. Consider monitoring tools and API management solutions that take security measures into account, but still provide developers a window into network traffic.

Give developers time for pet projects

In general, developers are highly creative and love to make things. Regardless of what they’re working on for the organization, chances are high they’re also invested in a few personal side projects. They’ll work on these projects on their own — but your organization can benefit by allowing developers to pursue pet projects at work.

The ability to collaborate with co-workers on side projects and invest paid time in developing them often leads to positive, unanticipated developments, such as solving a business problem that was previously intractable. You may also end up with new products to add to your organization’s portfolio — AdSense, Gmail, and Google Hangouts all began as Google employees’ side projects.

If you provide your developers with tools and resources they can use without limits, and the time they need to pursue creative solutions, you’ll benefit from the innovative apps and products they turn out.

For more information on innovation – for your employees or your recruiting strategy – contact the innovative recruiting experts at The Armada Group. We know what it takes to stay at the forefront of our industry, and can help you with any staffing issue today. 

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Published in IT Infrastructure
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