Continuing education is a great way to boost your tech skillset. Today, there are tons of online platforms that can give you quick access to a range of courses, many of which you can complete at times that work for you.
If you are looking to boost your skills, here are five online tech education platforms worth exploring.
There is still a substantial gender divide in tech. Women often earn less, struggle to be taken seriously, and lack strong female role models. However, there has been progress in recent years, even if it is somewhat slow-going.
Many women do strive to see the bright side of working in tech, even if they do face challenges in the field. By focusing on the benefits, many female tech professionals are happier in their positions and in the industry as a whole. While every woman is different, here are some of the things that are motivating women in tech.
Making a Positive Impact
Whether it's through the performance of their duties or their effort to eliminate gender biases in the field, women consider “making a positive impact” one of the biggest benefits of being in tech. When an employee feels like they are making a difference, it can be intrinsically motivating. Plus, if they believe they are improving the world in some way, be that with the products or services they provide or being a force for change in the industry, that increases their satisfaction.
Being a Role Model
Most women in tech want to encourage other women to get into the tech industry. By being a strong performer and respected professional, they are helping to create a culture that is more welcoming to female tech pros. Additionally, they have the chance to become role models for young professionals, especially as they personally rise through the ranks.
The world of tech is rarely boring. Along with the speed at which the industry changes, much of the work circles on finding solutions to problems, creating something new, and otherwise being highly engaged, all of which can be very motivating. When given a chance to explore emerging technologies or advance in the workplace, often thanks to professional development opportunities, their job satisfaction can increase even more.
Exploring Their Passion
Many women who get into the tech industry are highly passionate about the field. After all, female technology professionals are nearly guaranteed to face challenges on many levels - including lower compensation when compared to men, doubt about their capabilities, and company cultures that aren’t always welcoming - Without passion, it wouldn’t be worth it to face the difficulties many women in the industry contend with on a regular basis.
How You Can Support Women in Tech
When you hire a woman in a tech role, make sure to offer them the same level of compensation as their male counterparts. This allows everyone to be on a level playing field, ensuring that no one is being treated unfairly because of their gender.
Additionally, engage with your current female employees. Learn about their needs and preferences, and see how you can make the workplace and culture more attuned to them.
If you would like to learn more about women in tech, the skilled team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
When it comes to tech, which skills are considered to be in-demand can seemingly change on a dime. While options like Tableau and Linux were once popular with employers, interest in these skills diminished significantly during 2017.
React Engineering of the Rise
Over the course of two years, employer interest in React has skyrocketed, based on a recent study. Job site Indeed examined two periods, October 2015 through September 2016 and October 2016 through September 2017, and found that the number of companies seeking out React skills rose by 229 percent.
That level of growth far outpaced other in-demand skills, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure at 40 percent and 62 percent respectively.
Another point that spurs growth is the amount of developer interest in React. Many coders appreciate its simplicity and flexibility, often leading them to consider React to be one of their favorite library options.
While developer support doesn’t guarantee employer buy-in, it can have an impact. As more coders touted Reacts benefits and began using the library in their work, the level of prevalence increased, leading companies to experience the benefits and start seeking out others who could work with React.
Why is React Popular with Employers?
React was developed by Facebook, a giant in the social media space. That fact alone should stand as a testament to React’s capabilities in the front-end development arena. However, the number of big name companies that embrace React doesn’t stop there. Dropbox, Expedia, Netflix, The New York Times, and Reddit all use React in some capacity, showcasing just how many organizations have shifted to the library.
Overall, React is highly adaptable, adjusting the renderings as new data is provided or current data changes. It also provides for a substantial amount of customization and offers a significant amount of functionality. Further, React works with a broad selection of frameworks, making it incredibly flexible too.
Additionally, thanks to React Native, mobile development can also be more straightforward from a company perspective. Since the transition from the web-oriented React to React Native is fairly easy to handle for most developers, this allows organizations to secure talent that has the potential to create designs in both web and mobile formats.
Ultimately, Reach provides a significant number of benefits and it is becoming more widely used. This increases employer interest in React, leading to additional opportunities for those interested in React engineering.
If you are looking for a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore opportunities in the area. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our experienced recruiters today and see how our services can benefit you.
Sometimes you can tell even before you walk out the door that the interview was going badly. Other times, you think everything was going great and are surprised to hear the company disagreed. Whether you can tell the rejection is coming or not, it still stings. Develop positive ways of coping with those negative responses in order to maintain the energy and enthusiasm you need while you search for the job of your dreams.
Find Out What Went Wrong
A lot of times, a company won't give any specifics, but it doesn't hurt to ask why they felt you weren't right for the job. If you were referred to the interview by a staffing agency, they may tell the recruiter, so ask your contact there as well. Once you know why they felt you weren't a good fit, you can work on improving your skills or learning how to present your abilities better.
Target Your Search
Minimize the odds of being rejected by being selective about the jobs you apply for. Although the job market's improved, it's still very competitive. Evaluate your qualifications carefully before you even apply. It's fine to apply for a stretch position, but recognize that your odds of getting that job will be small. By accepting that in advance, rejection won't hurt as much.
Quit Worrying About It
It's impossible not to be rejected at some point during a job search; accept that it's simply part of the process. If you focus too much on the rejections and overanalyze the situation, you undermine your confidence. That sets up a negative cycle where you appear to lack confidence at interviews, which leads to rejections that further undermine your confidence. Learn what you can from a rejection, and put it out of your mind.
Work With a Skilled Recruiter
Minimize the odds of rejection by working with a staffing agency and a skilled recruiter. By understanding your skills and goals, plus the needs of employers, an agency can match you to the jobs you're likely to get. This can reduce the odds of rejection and the time it takes to find a job you want.
IT projects are intense. There's a push for perfection, a drive to meet deadlines, 24/7 systems that crash at 2 a.m. … It's easy for IT employees to get burned out.
Burned out employees aren't productive, aren't creative, and, most importantly, aren't healthy. Here are four strategies to help keep your IT team working and happy about it.
Help your team develop their skills.Find out what your employees want to do, then help them do it. Employees who are working on a project they're interested in are happier and less likely to burn out. For some employees, this may mean learning a new technology and using it in a proof-of-concept side project. For others, it may mean developing non-technical skills and moving up the management ladder.
Share the support responsibility.Rotate the responsibility for production support issues, and stick to the rotation. End users often directly call the person who helped them out the last time instead of calling the support hotline. Let your staff know that it's ok to tell these callers "John's on support this week; I'll let him know about the problem."
Honor your employees' time off.Modern business tends to treat "time off" as a joke; employees are expected to check email unless they're in a destination without Internet. Force yourself to let employees who are on vacation or taking a sick day to truly be away from the office. If the employee were to quit, you'd have to manage without them; this is an opportunity to make sure you have backup knowledge for all their responsibilities.
Praise your team publicly.Most of the rewards people receive for work aren't visible; salaries and bonuses are confidential and promotions are rare. Reward your team by letting them know you value their work in the simplest way possible: tell them. People want to feel their work has meaning, and this is an effective way of reassuring them the work is meaningful to you and to the company.
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.
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.
It’s easy to understand that there’s no single secret to success — if there were, everyone would be happy and successful. But successful people often have a lot in common, and by following those common denominators, you can achieve what you want from your career.
Here’s an example. What do Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and New York Times bestselling author Greg McKeown have in common? All three of these incredibly successful people believe that the most important factor in their success is, in a word: Focus.
Finding your focus — as a noun, and a verb — is the first step toward lifelong success in whatever career you’ve chosen.
The two meanings of focus
In a recent article on LinkedIn, McKeown states, “When people speak of focus, they usually mean having a single goal. It is a static thing, a thing you have.” This is focus as a noun — a fixed point around which all of your career activities are based. Your focus is your objective, the thing you want to achieve.
But in order to realize your focus, you must have the ability to focus, as a verb — and here’s where the secret to success diverges from the common viewpoint. Focusing does not mean honing all of your attention on a single objective. Instead, it means having the ability to see the bigger picture, and recognize unexpected opportunities that can lead to achieving your focus-noun.
Here’s what you can do to align both types of focus and accomplish your ultimate goal:
Ask (the right) questions
If you’re looking for true career success, your to-do list simply isn’t enough to get you there. The best way to focus is to view your career on a bigger landscape — one that extends beyond the day-to-day and reaches into the future. You can accomplish this by setting aside regular time to ask yourself the right questions.
What are the right questions? Instead of focusing on the next promotion, ask yourself whether you want to be at the same company two years from now. Rather than reviewing your achievements, list the professional goals you had before your current position — and whether you’ve met them, or still want them. What makes you stand out? And can those qualities help you move forward, or do you need to invest in professional development to reach your objectives?
Make time to escape
Have you become your job? Many professionals believe they’re too busy to find the free time they need to pursue their own definition of success — but if Bill Gates can do it, so can you. One of the busiest men in the world steps away from Microsoft for two week-long breaks each year, and spends them reading, studying, and thinking about the bigger picture.
The time to escape won’t fall into your lap, so you must make it a priority to take time. Ask yourself: Do you really need to attend that meeting? Will things honestly fall apart if you take a few moments out of your day for thoughtful reflection? What can you read or do that will spark your excitement and get you motivated to focus?
Remember that your time is valuable
Every successful person has the same number of hours in a day. The difference often comes down to how you value your time — do you claim it as yours, or do you give it away to others in the hopes of furthering your goals?
It’s essential for you to treat your own time as extremely valuable, and remove nonessential activities that prevent you from focusing. Make it a habit to cut down on the number of times you check your email, the number of people you hand out your personal phone number to, and the number of obligations you commit yourself to for others.
When you find your focus and commit yourself to doing something each day to reach it, success is practically guaranteed to find you. If you want partners in your journey to success, contact The Armada Group today. We know what it takes to be successful, and to place candidates in careers that launch them into future success.
Mobile payment technology is supposed to be the wave of the future, but so far smartphone payments haven’t gained much traction. PayPal and Google have both made starts with mobile wallet solutions, though neither has seen widespread adoption. Now, as Apple may be getting into the game, the iOS solution just might kickstart the entire mobile payment industry.
Apple and the mobile wallet
According to a new report from The Information, smartwatches and iPhones with larger screens aren’t the only projects in Apple’s pipeline. The tech giant – with more than 40 percent market share of mobile phones in the U.S. – is reported to be in talks with payment industry companies to develop a mobile wallet solution that may be ready in time for the 2014 holiday season.
The report states that the integrated solution would allow iPhone owners to pay for purchases in stores using just their phones, and would involve a “so-called secure element” that’s projected to refer to the iPhone 5S Secure Enclave, which stores and protects Touch ID fingerprint data from access outside the phone, reverse engineering, and transmittal over the Internet.
Deal with Visa reported in place
The Information’s report says that Apple has already reached a deal with major credit card processor Visa for its mobile wallet solution. With more than three-quarters of a billion iTunes and App Store customer accounts — most with stored credit card numbers — Apple is uniquely positioned to make such a deal work.
But a direct partnership between Apple and Visa is not likely to be an exclusive arrangement. This powerhouse combination could serve as the first step for encouraging massive numbers of retailers to accept Apple payments, which in turn would interest other major smartphone brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony in exploring integrated mobile wallet solutions to meet market demand.
Apple and the ripple effect
When it comes to mobile technology, Apple has been a pioneer across every segment. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad each introduced groundbreaking features and technologies that other companies were quick to follow. If Apple enters the mobile wallet arena, this ripple effect is likely to bring the competition along for the ride.
The credit processing industry may experience a similar effect. Typically, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express work to capitalize on new fields the competition is entering — so if the Visa-Apple partnership succeeds, other major credit card companies will follow their lead.
Mobile payments have been projected for years, but the technology has not quite realized its potential. Apple’s entry into this new frontier could provide the push other companies need to make the mobile wallet a reality for the majority of smartphone owners.
If you are looking for candidates who are at the top of their technical fields, or are looking for a career in one of the most innovative companies in the nation, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today!
No one enjoys an audit. You know that compliance and security are vital areas for your IT department, but facing an audit in these areas is like heading to the dentist for a root canal. Audits always seem to come at the wrong time. And it doesn’t help that no matter how prepared you think you are, the compliance auditor is going to find something wrong — after all, they have to keep their job.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer with anxiety every time a security or compliance audit is announced. By proactively addressing compliance and security issues, and performing regular checks that make compliance a year-round focus instead of an annual scramble, your IT department can rest easy when the auditor shows up.
Here’s what you can do to handle compliance issues regularly and stay prepared for audits 365 days a year, while also handling your day-to-day IT project load.
Plan (and budget) compliance work for IT every year
Like most of the IT industry, compliance and regulations change continually. It’s essential for your IT department to work proactively on compliance every year, rather than simply catching up before (or after) an audit. The best solution here is to plan realistic budgets and implement new compliance measures as they come up, instead of waiting for an auditor to point out the fact that they’re missing.
Designate a compliance control point
Rather than spreading compliance tasks through your IT team on an as-needed basis, which often results in a last-minute rush before an audit, appoint one person as your compliance central command to plan and budget your needs. This ensures someone is always keeping an eye on compliance, and you’ll know about potential problems before they become major issues.
Some of the responsibilities for your control point should include:
- Reading the latest compliance and security publications
- Attending conferences on new or changing regulatory and security measures
- Scheduling the IT work required to ensure consistent compliance
Perform regular self-audits
Waiting for your regulators to show up for an audit can throw your IT department into a minor panic. To help control audit fever, create a regular audit schedule and perform “dry runs” with either internal auditors, or a third party that is separate and distinct from your regulators. In addition to helping your department understand and experience audits, these practices also help to strengthen your company’s security and governance positioning.
Prep a single file for your documentation prior to an audit
When you have an upcoming audit, prepare a single binder or efile that contains all of your documentation for compliance, including procedures, policies, system flow diagrams, and anything relevant that pertains to governance or security. Presenting this file to an auditor not only makes their job easier, but also creates a favorable first impression of your preparedness — which can positively impact your overall assessment.
By taking proactive steps to address security and compliance issues before audits happen, you and your IT department can ease audit anxiety and come through the experience quickly and painlessly. Speak to the staffing experts at The Armada Group today, to ensure your company is compliant and to ensure all your staffing needs are met.