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As IT Picks Up Pace What Are Ways Your Tech Workers Can Keep Up

To say that technology changes rapidly is likely a massive understatement. Often, new innovations and approaches emerge with such frequency that keeping pace seems practically impossible. However, falling behind can be detrimental to companies, so they need to find options that can help their tech workers keep up. 

Luckily, there are a variety of resources that can make tracking trends and staying relevant as easy as possible. If you want to make sure your tech team can keep up even as IT picks up the pace, here are a few ways to get started. 

Published in IT Infrastructure

best practices external recruiters

The competition for top talent is on the rise, and IT managers are looking for the most effective ways to find and hire top candidates. One of the best strategies for bringing in IT talent is to work with a third-party recruiter that specializes in the tech industry.

External recruiters can help you relieve the burden of talent management by sourcing highly qualified candidates for your open positions, quickly and cost effectively. But like all business solutions, there are things you can do to leverage your relationship with an external recruiter and ensure a smoother process with improved results.

Here are some of the best practices for working with third-party recruiters, temporary and staffing agencies to bring top IT talent into your organization.

Make talent acquisition a priority

When you’re looking to fill an open position, finding the right candidate quickly is a top priority. Professional external recruiters will understand this, and do everything possible to ensure that the recruiting process takes the least possible time.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that finding high-quality candidates is a time- and labor-intensive process. You should expect a high-priority candidate search to take around six weeks — and during that time, be prepared to prioritize dedicated time and resources to the process on a daily basis.

Keep communication lines open

Staying in touch regularly with your external recruiter is crucial for the success of your talent search. In order to maintain strong communication and cooperation, the following best practices are recommended:

  • Maintain a direct working relationship between the third-party recruiting team and the decision makers in your company, without relying on “gatekeepers” to relay communications.
  • Be responsive, returning important calls and emails within one business day of receipt — particularly when a decision is required.
  • Deliver timely, detailed feedback on interviews and candidates submissions, also within one business day.

Maintaining a high sense of urgency and responsiveness throughout the recruiting process will enable an external recruiter to deliver the timely results you want.

Have realistic candidate expectations

Every IT manager wants to hire the “perfect” candidate — but keeping your expectations reasonable and realistic is essential for success. In order to ensure that your positions are marketable, and you receive an adequately sized candidate pool to choose from, work with your external recruiter to develop:

  • Quality job opportunities that will interest top candidates
  • Well-written, streamlined job descriptions with the best chance of being read
  • A strong employer brand that attracts the right candidates with good cultural fits
  • Realistic sets of desired skills and competencies (no “purple squirrels”)

The Armada Group is committed to the success of your organization. With our top-priority requisitions, you’ll receive at least one qualified candidate for your review within 48 hours of initiating the talent search process, or a progress report detailing key findings for further discussions. Contact us to learn more about our IT talent recruitment solutions.

Published in Recruiting

employee contractor

Hiring managers must work within their budgets to hire the staff their companies need in order to remain productive and competitive. Once you’ve determined a need for acquiring talent, the next important question is often whether you should hire a permanent employee, or a contractor.

Each choice comes with advantages and disadvantages. When making this decision, it’s important to understand the needs and core requirements of the position you’re hiring for, and know which type of employment arrangement will be a better fit for both your organization, and the candidate.

What full-time employees can offer

Depending on the type and responsibilities of the position you’re filling, hiring a new permanent employee can allow you to strengthen your organization and improve overall productivity and performance. Some of the advantages of full-time employees include:

  • Collaboration: Employees typically work from a central location, enabling your company to foster collaboration and connectivity among staff
  • Communication: Most full-time employees share similar work hours, which improves organizational communication
  • Long-term productivity: With a full-time employee, the company receives continuous output by dictating all or most of the employee’s assignments and work projects

When should you consider a contractor?

Independent contractors can benefit your organization in a variety of situations. Hiring a contractor is typically a better choice when:

  • You’re hiring for a project with a set start and end date
  • Your company’s current employees can’t handle the entire project workload
  • The current project has tight deadlines for deliverables
  • You need temporary, specialized skills or expertise on a project basis, but not for day-to-day company operation

Hiring considerations for independent contractors

Before you begin searching for a contractor, confirm that you have the proper approval for hiring more staff. With project work that requires a contractor, determine your budget ahead of time, and include the target bill rate for the contractor in your calculations. Depending on the type of contractor you need, you may have to adjust your budget and the expectations of management prior to looking for talent.

Armada provides real-time, accurate snapshots of your local market conditions that will help you gauge supply and demand for specific IT employees, both permanent and contract. Accurate data on direct hire salaries and hourly rates can help you create an effective budget for your staffing needs. Contact us today to learn more.

Published in Hiring Managers

Are Your Job Descriptions Job Deceptions

Job candidates may be looking for a new career for one of many reasons, or several reasons at once. The motivations vary according to each candidate’s personal preferences and circumstances — but there are typically common factors. Some of the most popular reasons for embarking on the path of career change include:

  • A desire for new challenges
  • Moving or seeking a better location
  • Increased potential for career advancement
  • Improved job security
  • A higher caliber of co-workers
  • More money

The last factor may be the most common, either as a sole reason or part of the overall motivation for jumping the career ship — and it’s also a frequent cause for deception on behalf of job candidates. Here’s how it happens, and what you should do about it.

When employee verification turns up a deception

For a great candidate whose resume is impressive, and who’s passed the interview (or multiple interviews) with flying colors, typically the final step between extending a job offer and actually hiring is an employee verification screening. This includes background and reference checks, as well as contacting past employers to verify:

  • Whether the candidate worked there, and for how long
  • What their job title was
  • What salary they were receiving

At this point, many hiring managers are surprised to learn that the candidate has lied about their previous salary, stating it as higher — sometimes much higher — than it actually was.

Why candidates lie about salary

There’s a common psychology among job candidates that inflating their salary records will benefit them once they’re hired somewhere else. Some assume that if they’re applying for a position that’s offering a larger salary than they’re currently receiving, they need to say they were making the same amount (or close to it) in order to justify the higher offering. Others believe that claiming to have earned more will allow them to negotiate for a higher-than-offered salary.

In any case, it’s the wrong strategy to use in trying to earn more — and it could cost them the job offer.

Discouraging salary deception

Hiring managers and recruiters know that lying about salary simply doesn’t work. What many candidates fail to grasp is that earning less money doesn’t mean they’re worth less. Provided your resume and interview show you’re the type of person the company wants to hire, you’ll be offered the salary that was advertised for the position — even if you made less at your previous job.

Another factor is the company’s budget. In nearly all cases, hiring companies have a set budget for the roles they’re looking to fill, and they’ll stay very close to that budget. Upping the salary offer during an interview is rare, especially if the candidate is trying to negotiate a much larger amount.

When candidates inflate their salaries, they lose credibility with employers, and often destroy their chance at getting hired. Instead, the right approach is to be confident in your abilities, and prove that you’re worth the salary you’re requesting.

Want to know more about salary deceptions, or how this could apply to your hiring or job search strategies? Contact The Armada Group today. We know what it takes – and what you can’t do! – when filling or fighting for jobs.

RockStarTalent cta

Published in Staffing News

Start Using Your IT Talent to Its Full Potential

More companies may be moving away from IT cost reduction, but the responsibilities of IT departments continue to expand. In addition to standard operational and tactical activities, IT is often expected to drive innovation, foster business agility, and increase its own value to the organization — with the same limited resources.

For many IT departments, the best response to this challenge is to get more from their existing resource pool, particularly IT talent. The trick is ensuring that your team must stay motivated to be more efficient and productive, without burning out.

Here are three strategies you can use to unlock the potential of your talent, generating heightened productivity and innovation:

Encourage time management with “zones”

Improved time management leads to greater efficiency, but your team may not know how to get started. There are so many time management strategies to choose from that simply deciding on a method to implement can be challenging. As an IT manager, you can help by encouraging everyone on your team to learn and use the same strategy.

Zone-based time management is an effective method that works well in an IT environment. This strategy, developed by Eric Bloom of Manager Mechanics, is based on the idea of being “in the zone” — a time of peak productivity when a person is focused, motivated, and knows what needs to be done. In zone-based prioritization, IT pros tackle complex tasks like software development and business case writing while they’re in the zone, and perform less demanding activities at other times, according to their alertness levels. Here’s a look at the breakdown:

  • In the zone: High-level tasks (development, project planning, business writing)
  • Alert but not creative: Structured tasks (status report writing, project plan vs. actual tracking)
  • Functional but not up for a challenge: Routine tasks (returning emails, expense reports, reviewing spam folders)
  • Basically not sleeping: Low-level or busywork tasks (cleaning their office, deleting old email, filing things)

Develop talent diversity with cross-training

It’s a well-known fact that training existing employees is cheaper and less time-consuming than hiring new employees, yet many IT departments avoid this approach — whether it’s because they’re too focused on the idea that “hot new talent” must be acquired, or they believe multi-disciplined IT pros are less effective because their skills are spread out further. However, cross-training is a smarter, faster, and longer-lasting solution not only for getting more out of your existing talent resources, but also for increasing employee loyalty, satisfaction, and motivation levels.

The majority of IT professionals appreciate the opportunity to learn new skills, especially if they’re provided training on the company dime. Cross-training boosts employee retention, while equipping your organization with the right tools to handle constantly shifting business requirements. When everyone on your IT team is able to tackle multiple disciplines, any given project will be smoother and more efficient.

You’ll also have happier developers and engineers who are motivated to stretch their skills, try new things, and drive innovation and success for the company.

Schedule personal creative time for your talent

For top IT talent, technology is often more than a job — it’s a way of life. Many IT pros have a side project or three going on, in addition to what they’re doing at work. And if you allow your talent on-the-clock time for pursuing their own creative ideas, those side projects could ultimately benefit your organization.

The best way to let your team tinker with personal projects during the workday is to actually schedule creative time, building it right into your company’s planning process. Set a percentage of time — anywhere from 5-to-10 percent works well — for employees to indulge their personal creativity, and work out the best way to provide that time. It might be several hours on a certain day of the week, or a few hours set aside on two or three days.

When implemented consistently, this freedom to develop creatively will increase motivation and productivity for your talent, and lead to potential spinoff products that add to your organization’s bottom line. If you want to know more about driving motivation and productivity, talk to the pros at The Armada Group today.


Published in IT Infrastructure


What is Beacon Technology - And How Are We Already Using It

A relatively new type of technology is making its way into businesses and organizations across the country. Some are referring to beacon technology as “GPS for indoors,” and in effect, that’s what these devices do — though the potential applications for beacons go beyond offering locations and directions.

What are beacons?

Beacons are small, inexpensive pieces of hardware that connect via Bluetooth, enabling them to transmit data directly to mobile devices. As usual, Apple is setting the popularity trend with its iBeacon, but other companies — some of which have been using beacons before Apple launched their version — are already making waves with this technology.

How can beacons be used?

Through the combined use of beacon hardware and specialized software, beacons can be used to locate mobile devices indoors and transmit messages or prompts according to a set of targeted criteria. This enables real-time, segmented in-person marketing for consumers with mobile devices.

The most obvious applications for beacon technology are in retail. Beacons can target shoppers in certain areas of a store and send personalized deals, product information, and more directly to their smartphones or tablets. This technology can also simplify the shopping experience, allowing customers to use a completely contactless payment system that’s tied to their mobile device.

But retail isn’t the only possibility for beacon technology, which has potential applications for enterprise, event organizers, transit systems, and even educational institutions.

One potential barrier to widespread adoption of beacon technology is the required permissions. Retail locations can’t simply send messages to any mobile device that happens to be inside the store. Generally, customers have to enable Bluetooth, permit location services on the relevant beacon app, and opt-in to notifications from the store.

Who’s using beacon technology now?

Apple’s iBeacon is already being used for personalized shopping experiences through a partnership with marketing platform Swirl, which is used in several stores throughout the United States and Canada — including Lord & Taylor, Timberland, Alex and Ani, and Kenneth Cole.

A Silicon Valley-based shopping app called shopkick has used beacon technology since 2009, rewarding users with “kicks” or retail points just for entering certain stores. The shopkick beacon platform is currently used in stores like Target, Best Buy, Old Navy, JC Penney, American Eagle, and more. Brands like Ritz, Levi’s, and Oreo also use shopkick to send alerts that draw customers to their product locations inside stores. Macy’s recently announced an expanded partnership with shopkick that represents the largest beacon deployment to date, with the technology to roll out to 4,000 Macy’s locations — bringing the total number of locations using shopkick to 7,500.

Several other companies are also getting involved in beacon technology. Both PayPal and Qualcomm tend to roll out beacon hardware of their own to compete with the iBeacon, and vendors similar to Swirl, such as Estimote and GPShopper, are offering beacon management and consulting along with software platforms.

With the prevalence of mobile devices, beacon technology provides a convenient new way to direct people — shoppers, students, travelers, and more. To learn more about this technology, or how it pertains to your company, contact the IT experts at The Armada Group today.



Resume Red Flags for IT Candidates

With the IT career field exploding, an increasing number of candidates are applying for new positions. One common problem, however, is that a fair amount of personnel are trying to “stretch” their credentials a little too far. Here are a few red flags for IT candidate resumes to ensure you’re spending time interviewing qualified candidates:

1. Too many keywords, not enough substance.
Most IT workers and business savvy candidates understand that recruiters search for keywords on LinkedIn and resumes. Using a disproportionate number of keywords – without actually saying anything – is usually an indication that candidates might be borrowing one too many skills from a search engine. If their resume reads like a SEO cluster, don’t bother calling them.

2. No quantifiable experience or improperly paired certifications.
It’s not completely abnormal for a recent college grad to have higher certifications than experience. However, someone who claims to have a CCIE, but received a BS in networking a decade ago with no experience in between is probably not being honest. Similarly, someone who claims to have a CEH but works in desktop support is not likely telling the full story, either. It may not be a bad idea to hear the other side, but be prepared to perform due diligence in finding out the legitimacy of their credentials for  yourself.

3. Higher level position without a duties description.
Having a fancy title is nice, but titles are important because they mean something. A candidate who claims to be a software development manager, but cannot comprehensively list their duties (besides programming) is a red flag. Instead, look for words like “increased,” “reduced,” “performed,” and “productivity” followed by figures or percentages to show that there is not only a valid description, but legitimate, quantifiable results as well. These are the terms managers think in – and the words they’ll most likely use.

Ascertaining what’s relevant in a job field can be tricky, but determining the validity of a resume can be nearly impossible, especially if that candidate has had some exposure to what they’re claiming. Unfortunately, interviewing the wrong candidates can cost considerable time and resources.

At The Armada Group, we routinely work with elite talent, and we know exactly what to look for. We’re a Silicon Valley based group, and we work with some of the fastest growing and largest companies in the world. We can help you find the high caliber talent you’re looking for, and the best mix of soft skills to maximize productivity. Contact us today to see how we can help you.



Published in Recruiting


5 Things Tech Employees

Motivation can be a difficult concept to pinpoint and identify. Different people have different reasons for taking or working a job, and subsequently, different aspects they like in a job. Tailoring one specific aspect may work for one, or even several employees, but certainly not everyone. Therefore, understanding a multitude of reasons is ideal for maintaining high morale and an effective, productive work force. Here are the top five things tech employees want in a job:

1. Compensation and benefits.
IT workers know how much they’re worth – and it’s considerable in comparison to other verticals. Paying a fair wage ranks among more than 50 percent of IT professionals as their primary motivator. However, pay is unique because it’s often the primary, but almost never the only motivator.

2. Job Stability.
When a professional accepts an offer, there is an unspoken agreement that both sides commit long term. When a professional is unsure about their future, or the future of their IT department, this creates a perpetual undertone of instability – which often can create or encourage self-serving behavior in employees.

3. Challenges.
IT workers, perhaps more than other sectors, enjoy being challenged and solving complex problems. Mundane, routine, and repetitive tasks can wear on a professional’s enthusiasm. Workers want new tasks and responsibilities, even if they aren’t attached to a pay raise or promotion. Allowing workers to trade tasks can be an effective means to combat this.

4. Flexible schedule/Remote working.
Most IT workers are on a computer most of the day – enabling a large plurality the ability to work from home. Many workers are even willing to take a pay cut to work from home or work their own hours. Regardless, this is also one of the top requests from tech employees.

5. Relation with superiors.
This is a broad category, ranging from effective leadership to employees feeling that their opinions are valued. Often, workers want “attaboys” and praise or recognition, and will opt for a company that offers them more freely. Other professionals simply want to have a say in the direction of a company or project. Whichever the case may be, your company should strive to avoid an oppressive environment, instead allowing ideas to transfer freely.

There are a number of reasons different people choose different employers. The business culture of a company is often equally as important as the compensation and pay. Thus, creating a culture suitable for innovation is the most important aspect of an effective IT workforce.

At The Armada Group, culture is one of the ways we create lasting relationships between employer and employee. We carefully vet candidates to understand what they’re looking for, and match them to businesses of a similar vision. This method has enabled us to recruit for some of the top companies in the U.S., as well as the fastest growing companies in the world. Contact us today to see how we can help you. 



Published in Recruiting

Senior Tech Lead
•15+ years of experience with companies such as Applied Materials and Lucent Technology. 
•Proven expertise in System and Application Architecture - starting from bare metal, heterogeneous technologies (Servers, Storage, Network, Security, OS, Middleware, Web/App/DB server, monitoring), Cloud Computing/ Virtualization (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), HPC/LSF, ERP applications (SAP, Oracle, Teamcenter) , Databases (Oracle, MSSQL, NoSQL), Hadoop/BigData Eco System (HDFS, MapReduce, Hive, Hbase, Flume and other tools
•PMP, ITIL and Six Sigma Certified 
Senior Java Developer
•Excellent client feedback from prior engagement with Armada 
•8+ years of excellent experience in Java, J2EE, JEE and Database technology
•Developed Web-Applications using MVC frameworks like Spring and Struts
•Web Services Design & Development (REST, SOAP, WSDL).
•Experience using legacy database systems DB2, Oracle and MySQL and supporting technologies like Hibernate and JPA
•Experienced writing NoSQL for Big Data technology like MongoDB
Senior Frontend Developer
•9+ years of Front-end development experience working with companies like General Electric and Capital One. 
•Strong web development skills in web 2.0 framework, JSP & MVC and Classic JSP, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, DHTML, Servlet, XHTML, XSLT, XSL, VSS, Eclipse, Tomcat 6.0 and UNIX, Linux, Windows XP, 2000, 2003 and NT. 
•Extensive experience on implementing the AJAX features using frameworks like Direct Web Remoting (DWR), YUI, JQuery and DOJO. 
•Worked on AJAX features and enhancement in various projects using JQuery, AngularJS, DOJO (for JavaScript event handling) and Ext JS framework (for AJAX communication). 
•Web developer with a strong background working on open source technologies, including PHP, HTML, CSS, MySQL, JavaScript, Flash, Photoshop. 
•Experience in developing Web and Mobile-based applications using HTML, XHTML, XML, JavaScript OOP, JQuery, CSS, JSP and JSP Tag Libraries. 
•Hands-on experience developing web-applications using various design patterns, including session facade, MVC, Data Access Object, Transfer Object, and Business Delegate. 
•Experienced in writing XML converters using DTD for validation, XSL for formatting and displaying XML data on browser. 
•Expert in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe In Design, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Designer, Adobe Image Ready, Adobe/Multimedia Flash, Dream weaver. 
•Excellent understanding on RIA, AJAX and Web 2.0 applications both for PC and other devices (iPhone, Apple Mac). 
•Knowledge of XSLT, CSS, Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) using Java RPC API. 
•Leader with expert understanding of user interface design principles, product build cycle and working within a cross-functional team under tight deadlines. 
•Bachelor’s degree in Electronics, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, India
Senior iOS Developer
•4+ years of iOS development experience.
•Enterprise and start-up experience working for companies like Tomfoolery Inc. (acquired by Yahoo!) and AOL. 
•Expertise working with Product and Design teams to create pixel-perfect front-end development. 
•Strong interpersonal skills - relate to, communicate easily with, and enjoy people of diverse backgrounds.
•Strong time management and organizational abilities.
•Respect management authority and procedures and work well with co-workers.
•Versatile, flexible, and adaptable.
•Hands-on development experience working with iOS technologies such as Objective-C.
•Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Michigan State University
Java Developer
•Highly motivated and passionate professional with over 6 years of Java Development experience 
•Strong Ruby scripting experience
•Masters of Science degree from NYU
•Recent project with Apple (Applied Machine Learning Group), responsible for writing the topologies to accept incoming requests and pass along the correct business logic so that fraud detection could work
Test Engineer
•20 years Software QA and networking experience
•7 years of Linux UI testing experience both frontend GUI interface and backend server data validation
•Experience  performing WiFi testing with Kineto Wireless, where responsibilities included testing mobile connections through their UNC/UMA networks
•10 years of IPv4 experience, most recently gaining exposure to IPv6 protocols with Pace America
•Most recent engagement included testing the end user Web UI and front end server for functionality, development, content for customer fields/requirements, and enter the updates on the back-end server database

Published in Recruiting


Just as with every field, not all IT administrator salaries are the same. Your earnings—both your potential and actual income—can be affected by a number of factors. Figuring it out can be tricky, but it’s good to know what you should be worth while you’re on the job search path. You can use your estimated salary as a negotiating point with potential employers, as well as a tool to discount lowball offers.

Types of IT administrators

One of the major factors in calculating IT administrator salary is the type of job you’re qualified to work. There are dozens of possibilities here, from broad administrator roles to specialized niches. Three of the most common general categories are:

Network and computer systems administrator: This is the broadest type of IT administrator. The role may be described as both network and systems admin, especially for smaller companies—but in larger companies, there may be separate positions for network administrators and systems administrators.

Duties and responsibilities for these positions tend to overlap, which is why they’re often combined. However, when they’re available as separate roles, the systems administrator is usually the more skilled—and therefore the higher paid—of the two.

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for:

  • Systems administrators is $77,000
  • Network administrators is $70,000
  • Network and systems administrators is $76,000

Database administrator: This highly sought-after position is becoming increasingly important to organizations in the age of Big Data. Database admins can find work on a variety of levels, from database integration to creation, development, and maintenance. They may work in-house for companies, or as external consultants.

Indeed.com reports that the average salary for a database administrator is $74,000.

Web administrator: Specialists in maintaining websites, the web administrator approves content, monitors speed, analyzes data on traffic patterns, and implements user suggestions for improvements on websites. In today’s business culture, this role is often blended with other IT responsibilities—so the average salary for web administration alone is $61,000, according to Indeed.com.

Factors that affect IT administrator salaries

Outside the type of IT admin role, there are many things that affect your salary potential. These can include:

  • Education. Both the degree earned and the quality of the institution can impact your salary. Having the right degree for the job, obtained at a well-regarded college or university, will give you the best chance at a higher salary.
  • Skills. This factor is high on the list for determining salary. The more relevant skills you have, the better you can expect to be paid—as long as you’re able to demonstrate that you can use those skills.
  • Experience. Although IT is a relatively young industry, experience still counts for a lot. IT administrators with 5 or more years of experience can command double, or even triple, the salary of entry-level professionals.
  • Certifications. Many companies require their IT staff to have certain certifications. If you already have them, you’ll be worth more in terms of salary than a potential employee who has to be certified on the company dime. Optional certifications that are considered a plus can also increase your salary potential.
  • Company size and location. This is one salary factor that you won’t have much control over. Salaries vary from company to company, and region to region, in the United States. Generally, you can expect larger companies to pay more than small businesses, and companies in major urban areas to pay more than rurally located companies.

A working knowledge of your anticipated salary can help you ensure that you’ll be paid what you’re worth as an IT administrator. Take the time to calculate your potential salary before your next interview, and you’ll be able to negotiate with confidence. If you are looking for IT administrator jobs in San Francisco CA, contact our team today.


Published in Recruiting