Build Release

 

Build and release engineering is an exciting but complex specialty within the IT world. Typically, you are responsible for a wide range of duties, including software design, building, testing, troubleshooting, and release.

 

The variety that is inherently part of build and release engineer roles make these positions attractive to professionals who appreciate both variety and challenges. You have to compile code, install libraries, create scripts, select hardware, and manage the deployment of each package, making sure that everything works seamlessly together to ensure a project’s success.

 

If you are enticed by the idea of working in build and release engineering, here’s how to know if this IT specialty is right for you.

 

Technical Skills

Since the duties associated with build and release engineering jobs are so varied, you’ll need a broad technical skill set to be successful in the role. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or an allied field serves as a foundation. Then, you need to gain a thorough understanding of key concepts like configuration management, version control systems, and branch management.

 

Additionally, the ability to write complex scripts for a range of platforms is a must. This allows portions of the build and deployment processes to be automated effectively, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome through increased reliability. Further, it enables these processes to be easily repeatable, saving additional time and energy on subsequent projects.

 

Thorough knowledge of testing and troubleshooting systems is also essential since you are typically responsible for handling those duties. You’ll also need to be able to create release schedules, adjusting your approach based on the complexity of the software.

 

 

Soft Skills

A successful build and release engineer will also possess a variety of soft skills that can help them excel in the role. Verbal communication skills are often critical, as you will need to both work as part of a larger team as well as with customers who may not be overly tech-savvy. Written communications skills are similarly a necessity, both for the use of collaboration platforms and the development of any documentation that is required for the project.

 

Due to the complexity of these roles, attention is detail is an incredibly valuable skill. If you accidentally use the incorrect version of the source code or omit an essential library, the scripts may fail, leading to issues when you attempt to deploy the software.

 

Problem-solving is also a core competency. Since you are responsible for troubleshooting, being able to identify the issues and find suitable solutions is crucial to your success.

 

Career Potential

Build and release engineers can have lucrative careers, similar to the level of success a software engineer or similar professional can experience. As you build your level of experience, six-figure salaries are possible, especially if you are highly efficient in your role.

 

If you are interested in learning about build and release engineering opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our services can make getting your build and release engineering career off on the right foot.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

H1 B Visas

 

Over the past few years, the number of H-1B visa applications has largely risen. Companies embraced it as an opportunity to find skilled foreign workers to fill vacant positions, particularly in the tech sector where low unemployment and growing skill gaps in the American workforce have made hiring a challenge.

 

However, recent data suggest the pattern has possibly changed, indicating tech firms may be seeking alternatives to H-1B visas.

 

H-1B Petitions

The H-1B visa program gives American businesses the ability to secure non-immigrant foreign professionals to work for their company. It was designed to ensure companies could access skills and abilities when they aren’t presented in their current workforce and aren’t available in their area.

 

For the 2018-2019 filing period, the number of petitions dropped by approximately 4 percent, signaling a shift in company mentality regarding the program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated only 190,098 petitions were filed for that time, a notable drop from the approximately 236,000 petitions received in 2016.

 

 

Reason for the Drop

After President Donald Trump was elected, he quickly declared his intention to overhaul the H1-B visa program. This included making the requirements more stringent across the board, including for initial selections and renewals as well as H-4 visas for spouses of H-1B workers.

 

The intention was to encourage companies to hire Americans and other legal immigrants in lieu of using the H-1B program, and it may have worked.

 

A reduced number of petitions suggests businesses aren’t turning to H-1B visas as a potential solution as often. Some may have decided to reduce their number of petitions fearing that the chance for approval was shrinking, particularly since the requirements are harder to meet. Others may have become more diligent about finding alternatives, lowering their need for the program based on updated hiring practices.

 

However, even with the policy changes and the initial reduction in petitions, it’s too soon to tell if this year’s decline is a one-off or a sign of a new pattern emerging. This may be an indication that companies were hesitant to submit petitions based on the Trump administration’s stance and various announcements about increased difficulty in obtaining approval. But this could shift again after the current period finishes and the state of the approved or rejected petitions becomes more widely known.

 

Ultimately, the H-1B visa program is still in flux. The full impact of the policy updates is not yet known, and additional changes may be on the horizon, sending the program into a different direction.

 

At this point, it’s safe to say companies are seeking out alternatives that allow them to locate citizens and legal immigrants for their vacancies, instead of using the program. If you are currently seeking skilled professionals for your job openings, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s top talent. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Stay Interviews

 

Hiring managers understand the time, energy, and resources it takes to hire a new employee. Often, this is what makes retention so important, as being able to keep your best and brightest on staff is obviously preferred over having to find their replacement.

 

But many companies struggle to understand why some workers stay with the business and others leave. This is especially true if there are no known issues and the employee seems generally satisfied.

 

Luckily, there is a way to gather additional information that can help you with your retention efforts. By conducting stay interviews, you gain access to powerful insights, allowing to your do more to keep your top talent working for the company.

 

What Are Stay Interviews?

A stay interview is a conversation that functions similarly to an exit interview. It’s a discussion where the employee can provide feedback on the organization.

 

However, instead of waiting for the team member to provide their notice, a stay interview happens while the person is a part of your staff.

 

Why You Need to Conduct Stay Interviews

While exit interviews provide valuable information, they occur at a time where it is nearly impossible to convince that employee to stay on board, even if you are willing to make changes. A stay interview happens while the worker is still a permanent part of your staff, so the information you receive can create opportunities for action.

 

By giving your star performers a chance to participate in a stay interview, you can find out what is working for them and what they think could use improvement. Then, you can make reasonable adjustments to provide the employee with what they need so that they are open to remaining with the company for the long-term.

 

 

How to Conduct Stay Interviews

Stay interviews need to be one-on-one, giving the employee a sense of privacy and allowing them to be the focus. These meetings should be conducted in person, as a survey usually won’t provide you with the level of detail a conversation can, and the opinions of your best and brightest won’t get lost in the shuffle.

 

Work to ask probing questions that will produce honest answers. Resist the urge to interject, regardless of how you feel about what is being said, as becoming defensive may lead the employee to hold back, ensuring you won’t get the desired result.

 

Let the worker know that their feedback is valued and that their responses may help shape the future of the company. Ultimately, you want to know what will keep them interested and engaged on the job and what they value as well as any issues they’ve experienced that haven’t been addressed.

 

By conducting stay interviews, you can boost your retention rates through right-action. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a skilled professional to join your team, the employment specialists at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our services can benefit your company today.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Potential

 

When companies look to hire new employees, they often focus on the candidate’s experience and available skills. However, this information isn’t always indicative of the job seeker’s potential to succeed, and failing to account for this point can lead to a bad hire.

 

While a candidate’s potential can’t necessarily be the only consideration when selecting a new hire, it should play a role in your decision-making process. If you are wondering how much their potential should factor into your hiring, here’s what you need to know.

 

Understanding Potential

A job seeker’s potential is a reflection of their ability to grow and adapt to a particular role or environment. Those who are more capable in these areas may have an easier time achieving success, even if they don’t possess the same level of skill as other applicants.

 

It is important to understand that the candidate’s past accomplishments or the length of their resume may not accurately portray their potential. This means you will need to delve deeper if you want to find out details that can help you assess them in this manner.

 

 

Progressive Experience

In some cases, a job seeker who appears to be highly experienced may have a lot of years in the profession but has actually been relatively stagnant in their career. For example, a 20-year veteran of the field who has held the same position for nearly a decade may not have experienced much growth, depending on whether their duties evolved over time.

 

In contrast, a person with five years of experience who has been steadily moving forward is actively progressing in their career, which can be an indication of their level of drive and interest in furthering their skills.

 

Similarly, whether a job seeker is still actively learning about their field or has resigned themselves to coasting through their career is valid. Someone who is constantly pursuing knowledge may be more valuable, even if they have less starting experience than someone who has stopped actively learning about their area of expertise.

 

The Value of Accomplishments

Many hiring managers would assume that a candidate without a major accomplishment isn’t what they need. However, a person who has a steady, solid performer over the course of their career may be more valuable than a job seeker who had a single great accomplishment that amounts to no more than a flash in the pan.

 

Additionally, a candidate’s level of participation in an achievement is also valid, particularly when the accomplishment is related to the work of a team. Often, not everyone contributes equally, so you need to determine whether the individual’s contributions are as significant as they seem.

 

Ultimately, the presence or lack of a significant accomplishment needs to be closely examined if you want to figure out its true value, particularly when you measure potential.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a talented professional to join your team, the recruitment specialists as The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Network Engineer

 

Most companies rely on network engineers to ensure that internal systems are operating properly on a daily basis. The work can vary depending on the employer, ranging from basic maintenance and the troubleshooting of disruptions to the structuring of new solutions. However, what companies hope to find when they hire someone in these positions tends to remain fairly constant. If you want to stand out as a network engineer, here’s what you need to rise to the top.

 

College Education

As with many IT professions, having a degree is vital for a successful career as a network engineer. Typically, businesses are going to focus on candidates that possess a minimum of a bachelor’s, so earning a degree at that level or higher creates a sound basis upon which to progress up the ladder.

 

When the option is available, it’s always best to select a degree that focuses on networking or a closely allied specialty. However, more general IT or computer science degrees can also do the job as long as you take courses that provide you with the necessary skills to work in a networking position. For example, classes that provide you with knowledge of network design, virtual servers and TCP/IP are vital. Other subject areas like cybersecurity are helpful, as well as those that allow you to develop soft skills like oral and written communication.

 

Certifications

If you want to demonstrate that you are interested in reaching the upper echelons in your chosen field, then obtaining the right certifications can help you make the right impression on hiring managers right out of the gate. One of the most desirable options is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) credential. Juniper’s JNCIE certification can also be valuable, depending on which platform the business favors.

 

Other IT-related knowledge areas can also help you further your career. For example, training in ITIL is often beneficial. Focused certifications in topics like network virtualization or certain cloud technologies can also set you apart from the pack.

 

Experience

While a strong education and supplemental certifications are vital when shaping a network engineering career, experience also plays a large role. In fact, a suitable apprenticeship can even replace some of the educational requirements some employers set forth. However, a combination of schooling and experience is often the best way to go.

 

Regretfully, there’s no fast route for acquiring experience. Typically, you’ll need to work your way up through the ranks, starting with an entry-level networking position and assuming more responsibilities as your skills progress.

 

By focusing on your education, certifications and gaining experience, you can position yourself for a great career as a network engineer. If you are interested in learning more or would like to explore opportunities in the area, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise to help you move your career forward. Contact us to discuss your goals with one of our recruiters today and see what options may be available to you.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Bad IT Job

 

It’s just a fact; not everyone working has a job they love. In some cases, people head out the door every day to end up at a job they downright loath. But being in a bad IT job doesn’t mean there isn’t some value in the experience. In fact, it can actually be a catalyst to bigger and better things. So, before you decide that everything to do with the less than stellar position isn’t of use, here are some learning opportunities that even a bad tech job can provide.

A Better Work/Life Balance

When your job doesn’t provide much satisfaction, it is common to turn to other activities to get the fulfillment you need. This can include anything from hobbies to education to personal business pursuits. Additionally, you are less inclined to take your home with you, freeing you from a sense of obligation others may hold. As you look for more value from your home life, it is often easier to attain the work/life balance many people crave, and that can be a wonderful thing.

The Value of Perseverance

If you can’t immediately leave a bad IT job for greener pastures, you often get the exercise a valuable soft skill: perseverance. You have to dedicate yourself to finishing your tasks and meeting deadlines, even if you find the experience less than enjoyable, as this ensures you have positive references when the time comes to move on. Over time, your dedication can lead to new opportunities, too.

 

In some cases, you’ll find your current job helps you find an opportunity at a better company. In others, you may get to see your workplace change. People often come and go in any business. And, if the right people leave or come in, your once bad job may actually turn into something you enjoy.

Learning to Let Go

We aren’t all born optimists. However, being stuck in a less than ideal IT position can’t consume your whole life. Instead, you get to practice a valuable life skill as you learn to let go of what ails you. In time, you’ll learn to spot the brighter side of things within your life to help keep you moving forward on a day-to-day basis. And, with some practice, you may even find yourself assuming the new title of an optimist.

Take Every Advantage

Since your job doesn’t meet your needs overall, consider every advantage it could have to offer you and your future. Then, pursue them with all your might. Every chance to learn a new skill or explore a new technology should be grasped with both hands. Then, when it comes time to head out the door, you have more to offer than when you started in the position.

 

If you are looking for new opportunities to replace your bad IT job, The Armada Group can help you find positions that may offer what your current one lacks. Contact us today and see what the future may hold once you find a job that gives you something to smile about on its own.

 

Published in Staffing News

Introvert

 

For an introvert, the idea of interviewing for a new position can be a bit anxiety inducing. Not only does an interview require a significant amount of interaction, but it is typically with people whom you have never met before. But there are strategies that can help even the most introverted individual feel more comfortable as they head in for an IT job interview. To help you make the most of your time, here are some tips for improving the experience.

Schedule Based on Your Preferences

When contacted for an interview, it isn’t uncommon to be given a list of available times from which to choose. This gives you a chance to select a time that allows you to be at your best, making it an opportunity to increase your level of comfort.

 

For example, if you are a morning person, then try and schedule your appointment during that window. If you feel more capable in the afternoon or evening, then try for a later time. The intention is to schedule the interview during a time where you already feel more energetic and function at your best. Then you aren’t combatting the feeling of being drained in conjunction with the interview itself.

Plan for Extra Me Time

Once your interview is scheduled, make sure and plan some extra time for yourself before and after the interview. If you can find a quiet space before the interview begins, you can take a moment to collect your thoughts or practice self-calming techniques. Then, once the interview is over, you also have some time available to regroup and recharge before heading back to your other tasks for the day.

 

The idea is to build in a buffer that will help you perform at your best and then give you a chance to re-center before any additional interactions. It can keep the process more comfortable and limits the chance of being overwhelmed at any point in your day.

Prepare to Ask Questions

One of the easiest ways to give yourself a mini-break during an interview is to get the interviewer talking. While you are listening to the interviewer, tune into can points that may help entice the interviewer to speak. Then, once you are given a chance to ask additional questions at the end of the interview, make sure you have a few stashed away for the occasion.

Practice Chit-Chat

Introverts typically aren’t fans of small talk. However, being able to manage introductions in a casual way can help build a rapport with the interviewer. Consider asking a friend to practice this process with you so you can become more comfortable with the process, allowing you take control over the initial few minutes and set the pace for the rest of the interview.

 

If you are looking for additional tips on making a great first impression during an interview or new opportunity in the IT field, the recruiters at The Armada Group can help you along the way. Contact us to see what is available in your area today.

 

Published in Hiring Managers

agile dev ops

 

Agile has been on the IT development industry radar for well over a decade, but the principles are just as valuable today as they were at their original creation.  It advocates for continuous improvement through flexibility and adaptive planning.  In comparison, the term “DevOps” is relatively new.  However, it also supports initiatives around improved quality by integrating Automated Delivery and Continuous Deployment into the software development cycle.

 

Separately, each of these strategies brings value to software and IT development teams.  Not only can they speed up the process of creation and eventual release into the market, they also has the potential to improve customer satisfaction and increase brand loyalty.  Additionally, both approaches are known to increase employee engagement, aiding companies with their larger recruitment and retention goals.

 

But, when taken together, Agile and DevOps can accomplish those goals and much more.

Employee Satisfaction

The use of Agile and DevOps in conjunction can increase employee satisfaction.  Often, involved team members are happier with their work which creates a more productive work environment.  This improves recruitment and retention efforts, helping businesses locate top talent and keep them on the payroll over the long term.

 

Projects move forward with greater velocity, and the ability to improve products to create more value becomes a constant.  Additionally, the rapid release of new iterations can actually lower the level of support required with updated releases, as companies focus on implementing a series of small changes instead of large-scale rereleases.

 

Ultimately, Agile and DevOps work towards the same goals of creating better products while simultaneously increasing employee engagement throughout the development cycle.

Customer Satisfaction

Often, when development teams are happier, productivity increases and engagement is maintained.  Additionally, product development is seen as continuous, meaning that new value is created within the product at faster intervals than traditional development approaches.  And a side effect of this is often greater customer satisfaction.

 

Customers can witness the quality of the product increasing over time, and many businesses that use Agile and DevOps techniques are able to keep pace with or stay ahead of the competition, which is critical to long-term organizational success.  In turn, the higher-quality output can increase brand loyalty while also attracting new customers.

A Combined Effect

Agile and DevOps have the same essential goals; they work to bring high-value products to customers and support continuous improvement and evolution.  Since each of these principles focus on streamlining development, businesses that use the tactics are typically more attractive to top talent working in the field.  In those regards, Agile and DevOps are natural allies.

 

If you are looking for your next software developer or are hoping to find an IT manager with experience in Agile and DevOps, The Armada Group can help streamline your hiring processes and find the candidates you need quickly and efficiently.  Contact us today to see what one of our recruitment specialists can do for you.

4 Avoid HR

When auto-rejection emails begin to dominate your inbox, it is tempting to explore other options to get your resume seen by the right people. One approach involves avoiding a major component of the traditional hiring mechanism: human resources.

 

The idea of skipping over this standard on the path to new employment is intimidating, especially if you fear repercussions associated with making such a move. However, choosing to bypass conventional routes can produce favorable results.

 

Before you decide if sidestepping the HR department is the right move, here are some points to consider.

 

Penalties are Unlikely

Most job seekers are worried that skipping past HR means you will not only get rejected from this position but from every other position that becomes available at the company. The fact is, many businesses don’t care if you work through HR or decide to contact the appropriate hiring manager directly, especially if you have in-demand skills.

 

Even if you were initially sent an automated rejection from HR, you could still inquire with the hiring manager directly. Most rejected applications are never seen by anyone outside of HR (or anyone at all), meaning the manager likely hasn’t reviewed your information.

 

If you present yourself professionally and concisely, the likelihood of fallout from your decision is minimal. Often, when going through HR is required, your email will either go unanswered, or you may be referred to the preferred hiring system.

 

Stay On Topic

Hiring managers are busy individuals; they don’t have time to sort through paragraphs of information and longer than necessary resumes. You need to create a tailored approach to the particular position you are interested in as well as the hiring manager that will be reviewing your information.

 

Keep the body of your email short. Include information regarding who you are, the reason you reached out, and an overview of what you have to offer. Don’t let the conversation drift into irrelevant areas, as that increases the likelihood of being ignored.

 

Networks and Referrals

If you currently know someone working at your target company, consider using them as a resource. Many companies are interested in referrals from employees, especially other top performers. Look through your professional network and determine if someone can bring your information directly to the hiring manager.

 

Businesses often encourage employees to refer potential candidates, especially for hard-to-fill positions. This provides a very organic approach that avoids HR naturally, so there are rarely negative connotations with the approach.

 

However, this only works when a current employee is willing to refer you. Some people may be uncomfortable with the idea entirely, while others may be highly selective regarding their referrals. Don’t just request a referral from someone with whom you have a limited connection. If a relationship is not already established, consider contacting them for insight regarding how the company operates. As the conversation progresses, asking for a referral may be more appropriate than blindsiding a friend of a friend with a blatant request.

 

Staffing companies often have unique relationships with hiring managers throughout area businesses. This means they have the ability to contact them directly when they find strong candidates, giving you a direct path to the person whom ultimately makes the hiring decisions.

 

Working with the professionals at The Armada Group can provide access to unique opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable to the standard job seeker. Contact our team of experts today and see how our two decades of experience in the field can help you find new opportunities.

Published in Recruiting

4 Full Stack Developer

The more you know, the more valuable you are to an employer. If you're able to work with multiple technologies and solve different kinds of problems, you'll be able to contribute to your project in many ways. That's why it's advantageous to think of yourself not as a front end or backend developer, but as a full stack developer instead.

 

You'll almost certainly prefer working on the front end or the backend, but develop a level of competence in these skills to let you contribute wherever the need is:

 

1. Shell scripting. Learn how to write scripts in a shell language or scripting language like Ruby or Python. These languages are often used to automate server-side support tasks.

2. Web front end tools. JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are still important. You should understand how to use AJAX to create rich interfaces, as well as be familiar with common frameworks such as Angular.

3. Web backend tools. Web applications run in a server such as Apache. Understand the basic administration tasks associated with the servers.

4. Databases. All the data used by applications has to be stored somewhere. That's still most often in a relational database, so knowing how to query in SQL is important, but NoSQL databases are becoming more important as well.

5. Server-side programming languages. Interpreted shell languages aren't appropriate for many server-side tasks, which is why you should learn Java or C++.

6. Cloud computing. Many new applications today will run in the cloud and make use of the functionality provided by Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. Become familiar with one of these cloud vendors' products, including DevOps tasks like starting a new cloud instance and deploying an application.

7. Mobile platforms. Mobile-first application development is becoming common. Know how to develop for iOS or Android; knowing cross-platform mobile development tools is also useful.

 

If you're ready to apply your full stack set of development skills, The Armada Group can help you find a job which needs your talents. Our recruiters understand the information technology space and will help match you with an employer who will challenge you across the full stack. Contact us to start your search.

Published in Staffing News
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