Top Security Engineers Must Have These Skills

 

As cybersecurity threats continue to multiple and major breaches hit the headlines on a regular basis, more companies are seeking highly skilled security engineers to make sure their systems are secure against the latest threats. To be a top candidate for these roles, you need to bring certain key skills to the table. Otherwise, you might not catch the attention of the hiring manager.

 

If you are wondering which skills can help you become a top security engineer, here are a few you absolutely need.

 

Security Product Expertise

Security engineers interact with a range of tech products while performing their duties. Everything from firewall management to URL filtering to virus protection fall under their purview, so knowing how to use the tools and technologies required to accomplish those goals is essential.

 

Similarly, security engineers need a firm grasp on what a variety of security products and services should cost. Since many security professionals are tasked with making recommendations when a new solution is required, understanding what is and isn’t a good deal is a valuable area of expertise to bring to the table.

 

Passion for the Subject

New threats emerge on a daily basis, and skilled security engineers understand the need to remain up to date at all times. Those who have an enthusiasm for their field are often more adept at staying informed, largely because the topic is of genuine interest.

 

Additionally, passion makes sorting through information regarding the latest security-related technology updates less cumbersome. Those with enthusiasm enjoy digging into the details to learn more about what the patches or new releases have to offer, making them more valuable in the eyes of employers.

 

Written and Verbal Communication

Security engineers need to be able to relay complex information, both verbally and in writing, to a variety of other professionals and stakeholders. This includes individuals who may not have an IT background, making it a necessity to be able to translate the “tech speak” into simpler language to promote understanding.

 

Technical Experience

Aside from security products, security engineers also need a firm grasp on a range of other technical topics. This can include various operating systems, coding languages, and network operations. Without these core understandings, it can be more difficult to assess a company’s needs, identify vulnerabilities, guarantee compatibility, and troubleshoot problems.

 

Time Management and Organization

Without time management and organizational skills, any security engineer would struggle to remain appropriately productive. Many projects are complex in nature, and even daily duties can be highly time-sensitive, making these core competencies must-haves if you want to excel in the field.

 

By acquiring the skills above, you too can position yourself as a top security engineer, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers. If you would like to learn more about what makes a successful security engineer or are seeking out a new position in the field, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our tech expertise can benefit you.

 

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Google Learns from Failure

 

While the term “postmortem” may conjure up some grisly images, that is the word Google decided to assign to its process of assessing its failures to allow them to make improvements. It involves an internal process of documenting mistakes and analyzing missteps so that the company can learn from these errors.

 

Ultimately, any organization can embrace Google’s approach, allowing them to benefit from this tried-and-true system. If you are ready to see your failures in a new light, here’s how to get started.

 

Identify the Most Significant Problems

Not every incident is as serious as others. When you want to focus on improvements that provide the most value, it’s wise to focus on issues that are genuinely important.

 

To determine which events qualify, you need to define what constitutes a major problem for your company. This may include evaluating the potential ramifications of an incident, ranging from the level of impact the organization feels to how it affects customers, as well as how severe the long-term implications are should the issue remain unresolved.

 

Document Everything

Creating a written record of the issue is a critical part of the process. It allows you to review precisely what occurred, what led to the problem, how it was mitigated, and the final resolution. Then, you can focus on defining steps that can prevent the misstep from reoccurring in the future.

 

If you want the documentation process to be successful, it’s wise to gather input from all involved parties. This ensures you get a complete picture of the incident as well as the perspectives of anyone who worked on the matter.

 

It also allows every team member to reflect on the scenario, which can potentially lead to additional insights that weren’t clear during the height of the incident. The process can be a little time-consuming, but it is worth it in the end.

 

Focus on Growth

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to play the blame game. After all, no one wants to believe they are even partially responsible for what occurred.

 

However, focusing on blame isn’t constructive. It creates an environment that is based on fear as people work to dodge any repercussions.

 

Instead of allowing blame to dominate the conversation, shift the discussion to a more constructive place by making growth the priority. This will enable you to reframe the incident as a chance to improve instead of as a setback.

 

Additionally, when you remove blame from the equation, your team will be more likely to admit their mistakes or failures, increasing the odds that you’ll be able to learn from the entire situation. Leaders also need to be honest about their errors. Otherwise, your employees won’t be as open.

 

By following the tips above, you can use Google’s approach as a positive example for addressing problems as they occur. If you would like to learn more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Employment Gaps

 

Most job seekers have seen the warning; gaps on your IT resume can hurt you when you try to find a new position. This can be particularly disheartening, especially when the gap was at least partially unavoidable.

 

In some cases, candidates try to disguise or minimize their gaps by adjusting employment dates. But, falsifying information, even with the smallest tweaks, can come back to bite you if they are discovered.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to address employment gaps on your IT resume the proper way. If you are dealing with a gap in your work history, here’s how to get started.

 

Highlight Your Skills, Accomplishments, and Education

One of the biggest concerns a hiring manager may have when they see a recent employment gap is that your IT skills may be out of date. However, you can put those fears to rest by showcasing any competencies, accomplishments, or education that demonstrates you have the required level of knowledge and experience to succeed in the role.

 

An easy way to make sure that what you have to offer is front and center is to add the proper details to the “Professional Summary” section of your resume. Make sure that the points you make are targeted to the job if you want to make a positive impact on the hiring manager.

 

 

Going to School isn’t Inherently a Gap

Just because you stepped away from the workforce that doesn’t mean you are necessarily dealing with an actual gap. Most employers don’t view someone choosing not to work will they pursue an education as a red flag, particularly if the field is challenging.

 

If you left a job to earn a degree and are now looking to re-enter the workforce, make sure to list your recently educational accomplishments near the top of your resume, especially if you are changing fields or specialties. This allows you to show precisely what you were doing while you weren’t employed, eliminating the issue quickly.

 

Connect with Area Recruiters

Many companies turn to recruiters to help fill IT positions, particularly if the required skills are hard to find. If you haven’t made a connection with a recruitment agency, now may be the perfect time to get started.

 

Typically, you can build a relationship with a recruiter, allowing you to explain the nature of your employment gap to someone who can then function as your advocate. In most cases, a single gap in your work history won’t hurt your chances of landing a great job, especially if you have someone to go to bat for you with local hiring managers.

 

If you are seeking a new IT opportunity, the experienced recruiters at The Armada Group can connect you with leading companies throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you take the next step forward in your career.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

 Data Scientist

 

Companies all over the country are looking for skilled data scientists, making it one of the hottest careers today. And, as more businesses look for ways to leverage their data, data science has the capacity to remain an in-demand specialty for quite some time.

 

Professionals in these roles often command high salaries, especially if their skill set is strong. However, even those who have worked as a data scientist can always elevate their careers by making smart decisions. If you are looking to get your data scientist career off the ground or take it to the next level, here’s how to get started.

 

Learn the Right Programming Languages

While there is a range of programming languages in use in the data science field, some of them are more in-demand than others. Ultimately, Python, R, and SQL are the most common ones requested by companies in their job postings, so having at least one of those at your disposal is a must.

 

If you aren’t familiar with those programming languages, you do have options for acquiring the skills. First, you can always take a course at a local college or university, even if you already have a degree, as this will allow you to improve your knowledge in a formal, and widely accepted setting.

 

Boot camps are also becoming a popular method for learning coding languages. Some of these courses focus on a specific language while others cover several that are relevant to a particular profession.

 

Finally, if you are already a skilled coder, you may be able to learn Python, R or SQL on your own. There are a lot of free online resources that can provide you with guidance, so don’t be afraid to conduct a search and see what is available.

 

 

Focus on Accessibility

Right now, competition for top jobs can be fierce. There are a lot of tech pros who decided to focus on data science, so there may be multiple qualified candidates that apply to every opening.

 

While having the right technical skills is important, you also want to demonstrate that you can make the information accessible to others. Not everyone who uses the results of your work will be tech-savvy, so being able to discuss the data in a way that is easy for others to understand can separate you from the pack.

 

Examine Multiple Industries

Since data science can benefit nearly any business, there are opportunities available in practically any industry. This means you may want to explore options outside of your current industry, particularly if you are looking to make a step up quickly.

 

While IT companies are an obvious target, data science is also hot in the finance, insurance, and professional services industries. Healthcare, manufacturing and even retailers (at the corporate level) may also be looking to add data scientists to their teams.

 

If you are interested in finding a new data scientist position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us today to see how our services can help you succeed.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Test Automation

 

While manual testing skills are still valuable to software professionals, the increased use of automated testing means that workers need to be prepared to develop their level of competency in that area. Otherwise, you risk becoming functionally obsolete, harming your ability to advance your career or even maintain your current position.

 

If you have been hesitant to jump into the world of automation, here is why you should take the leap today.

 

Demand is Rising

A few years ago, hiring professionals began sounding the alarm, letting software testers know that automation was going to become mainstream. Since that time, the demand for professionals with experience in test automation has only increased, reflecting how widely utilized the approach has become.

 

In some cases, companies are choosing to make automated testing skills a requirement, eliminating those who don’t possess the necessary level of competency from contention immediately. Often, this is a reflection of the growing use of Agile development methodologies which promote automation as a means of achieving continuous integration and faster development cycles.

 

 

Top Automation Technologies

Certain automation technologies are more widely used than others, so focusing on those that are most requested can be beneficial.

 

While every company has different needs, Selenium, JMeter, QTP, LoadRunner, and xUnit frameworks (including JUnit, NUnit, and TestNG) are excellent places to start.

 

If you have a target company in mind, research which technologies that business uses and begin exploring those.

 

Are Programming Skills a Necessity?

Often, manual testing professionals fear that improving their understanding of automated testing practices means they have to essentially become programmers. It is true that programming experience can be incredibly beneficial, particularly when interacting with development teams or assisting with black-box or white-box testing.

 

However, that doesn’t mean you need to become an expert in every available coding language. If you are just starting out with programming, consider dedicating some time to learning SQL, as this is a commonly requested area of competency.

 

Java experience is also beneficial, along with popular languages like Perl, Python, and C or C++. General web development skills, such as XML, HTML, HTTP/HTTPS, and CSS are also helpful.

 

In the end, software testers do need to be prepared to do some level of programming, even if it isn’t the focus of their profession. By getting started today, you can better position yourself to continue along your chosen career path, ensuring a higher level of job security.

 

Is Manual Testing Dead?

While the increased importance of having test automation skills is changing the tech landscape, manual testing continues to play a part in many workplaces. However, the shift does mean that automated testing skills are becoming a necessity, so it is crucial that you add them to your repertoire to ensure a reasonable level of job security.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a new software testing opportunity, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Data Analytics

More companies than ever before are embracing their data, leveraging it to make smarter business decisions and help them learn about the customer base. Data analytics plays a large role in maximizing the value of data, and 2018 is poised for some major advancements.

 

However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, particularly if you are just venturing into this exciting arena. To help you prepare, here is a look at what IT leaders can expect from data analytics this year.

 

Cloud Computing is Essential

Based on the sheer volume of data most organizations have managed to gather, on-premises solutions may not be sufficient for supporting data analytics goals. This makes cloud-based solutions critical, as they allow for greater flexibility and scalability, while also promoting collaboration.

 

Cloud computing infrastructure is often far more capable when it comes to managing increasing quantities of data, and the ability to select new tools and models to implement is easier on the cloud, particularly from an operational perspective. Plus, the increased level of agility makes exploring emerging solutions simpler, as many internal infrastructure limitations aren’t a factor.

 

 

Growth is Possible

Data analytics has the ability to support business growth in a variety of ways. Not only can it help companies increase their profits through a deeper understanding of customer preferences and behavior, but it can also assist with streamlining internal processes, modeling the results from potential solutions, and improving engagement. The technology is particularly effective at identifying bottlenecks in production, allowing companies to focus on key areas that will result in the most significant level of improvement.

 

Cumulatively, this allows organizations to develop innovative solutions based on concrete data, increasing the likelihood that any changes will be effective.

 

Deployment Challenges

While data analytics solutions can be quite robust, that doesn’t guarantee a seamless deployment. Some companies aren’t realistic about their expectations, often due to a limited understanding of the technology, and securing top talent to manage the workload can be difficult.

 

Often, successful data analytics deployments involve a number of different skill sets, including those traditionally held by business analysts, data analysts, modelers, and engineers. In some cases, AI and machine learning specialists may also be required, depending on if you intend to leverage those technologies in conjunction with data analytics. When viewed together, this can seem like a tall order, especially if you don’t already have some talented individuals on your team.

 

However, IT leaders can mitigate these concerns by ensuring that all stakeholders are fully aware of both the benefits and limitations of data analytics. Additionally, by securing the right employees, you can make sure that your team has the necessary skill set to maximize the value of data analytics at your business.

 

If you are looking for a data analytics professional, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to see how our services can work for you.

 

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Fail

 

Whether you are an experienced web developer or relatively new to the field, at times, you are going to fail. Mistakes happen, but the results of those errors can be incredibly impactful. A misstep is often stressful, but panicking when one occurs can cloud your thinking, increasing your chances of making the situation worse. Instead of allowing that to happen, here’s how to recover when you make an error as a web developer.

 

Stop and Breathe

When your code suddenly starts throwing errors or takes down a substantial portion of the website, it’s easy to enter meltdown mode. But, before you let the crisis overwhelm you, it’s important to take a step back and breathe. This gives you a chance to re-center before you proceed, while allowing you an opportunity to realize that the mistake isn’t the end of the world.

 

Enter Decoding Mode

Now that you know a problem has occurred, you need to analyze the situation and identify the problem. Typically, this is the hardest part of many web developer’s jobs, as the source of the issue isn’t always obvious.

 

Whether you use debugging software or a more manual approach, it is important to take your time. If large segments of the code were written without being tested throughout the process, you could have a lot of information to comb through, so staying calm and proceeding methodically is crucial.

 

Additionally, you have to realize the error might not be in code you’ve written. Many web development projects combine the efforts of multiple developers, so the mistake could be located in someone else’s work. This means you have to review more than just your code to make sure you consider all the potential sources of the problem.

 

Talk to Your Co-workers

Some professionals are more prone to make certain kinds of errors than others, and communicating with each other can help you all identify patterns that may allow you to find the mistake faster. So, if you are trying to correct an issue, getting your teammates involved can speed up the process. Plus, it makes damage control efforts easier as more people are working toward the solution.

 

In some cases, having another set of eyes on the problem can also help, as you may overlook mistakes in your own code that others may spot with greater ease. Additionally, they may even be able to reassure you that the issue isn’t actually that bad, making it simpler to move forward.

 

Learn from the Mistake

Once you spot the bug, you are actually presented with a great learning opportunity. Determine what went wrong along the way and use that information to help you avoid similar errors in the future. With time, you’ll become a more capable web developer and will be able to identify mistakes more quickly, allowing you to up your skills and become more proficient.

 

If you are looking for a new web development position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Armada Pipeline

 

Software development is becoming a higher priority for businesses in 2017. With unemployment low among IT professionals, the competition for top software developer talent is fierce. So many companies are prepared to make strong offers much faster than in previous years.

 

But that doesn’t mean your company wants to cut corners in the name of greater speed. Finding the right kind of candidate is still as important as getting one quickly. So, how does your organization position itself to hold the secret to a better software developer pipeline? Here are four approaches that you can begin to implement today.

Entice, Don’t Chase

When a company is looking for a top developer, many have their internal recruiters begin the process of hunting down potential candidates. While this process can bring results, not every skilled professional is going to respond to cold calling. And that goes double in cases where the developer isn’t familiar with your company.

 

The first step to attracting these candidates is to take an unconventional approach to making the first contact. For example, your organization could host and advertise a coding challenge. This helps draw attention by engaging professionals in a new way and giving them an avenue to demonstrate their skills in a fun manner. After they complete the challenge, simply request permission to contact them with future job opportunities.

 

With this approach, you can reach developers who are interested in the challenges that often surround the work, and truly have a passion for coding and development. It also increases awareness of your business in the developer community, making potential candidates more inclined to pick up the phone when a recruiter calls.

Engage the Community

The developer online community is large. By tapping into these resources, you can do more than simply find potential candidates; you can engage with them. You’ll have the ability to see how the work, both individually and with others in the community, as well as gain insights into their general attitude.

 

For example, a skilled developer who is often assisting others with their coding issues will likely have a similar approach when working with the members of your team. Similarly, a person who is overly critical of others work may act similarly in the office.

 

If you personally don’t have the knowledge required to make the most of these communities, work with the programmers currently on your staff to evaluate potential candidates.

Test First, Interview Second

While sponsoring a coding challenge provides insights regarding a developer's skills, it won’t answer every question you have about their abilities. With that in mind, consider adding a skills test near the beginning of the recruitment process instead of after interviews.

 

This approach allows you to screen any candidates that actually have the technical skills you need. That way, you know every interview has the intellectual capacity to meet your needs and you can focus on other characteristics when you meet in person.

 

When developing the tests, focus on gathering useful information in a fun way. If the test is challenging and entertaining, you are more likely to keep the best and brightest engaged throughout the process.

Consider a Working Interview

If your initial impressions of the candidate are positive, consider scheduling a time period where they can shadow a current programming employee. This gives the candidate a chance to meet the team in a meaningful way, and the team members can learn about the candidate’s approach to some of the problems the team faces.

 

Often, this process requires a few hours of the candidates time, but it provides a real opportunity to see if what appears to be a match on paper, in fact, will work for the day to day.

 

If you are looking for additional ways to expedite your hiring process, The Armada Group can help you locate the software development candidates you need. Contact us today and speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring priorities.

Published in Recruiting

7 Resumes

The current IT job market significantly favors job seekers. This makes it harder for hiring managers to find the candidates they need to fill job vacancies and can increase the time required to complete the hiring process. To find the best applicants, you must give significant consideration to the content of their resumes. However, not every section is as important as others.

If you want to locate qualified candidates more quickly, here are some tips on what to look for in a resume, and what you can ignore.

Look for: Social Media Links

Resumes have a limited amount of space to review one’s prior education and experiences. However, social media profiles geared towards their professional lives can fill in many of the gaps. Applicants are more inclined to include links to their LinkedIn profiles directly on their resume. When this information is provided, take a moment and see what their profile has to offer. You may find answers to questions that resumes simply can’t answer.

Ignore: College GPAs

Unless a candidate has just graduated from college, a GPA provides little indication regarding their capabilities today. While a degree provides a solid foundation for entry-level positions, 15-year-old grades and test scores are essentially meaningless in comparison to more recent certifications and professional references.

Look for: Quantified Data

Numbers speak volumes. Having hard data about the number of users an IT professional supported, the size of a project budget that was managed, or the percentage reduction of the overall costs associated with a service give you metrics that can be easily compared. This helps you understand the value a candidate has provided in previous positions, and shines a light on any potential they may have for your organization.

Ignore: Objective Statements

The objective statement has lost its usefulness. Most candidates just state their desire to land a job, further their career, or some other banality. In some cases, objective statements even make the candidate look less appealing. However, if you choose to bypass this information when a resume still includes it, you may find the other information enticing.

Look for: Spelling and Grammar

While some of the rules regarding how a resume is written contradict those in other writing styles, it should still be well-composed with no grammar or spelling errors. A resume is an important document, and an applicant not taking the time to perfect the information contained therein may suggest a lack of attention to detail in other areas.

Ignore: Resumes that Don’t Meet Stated Application Requirements

Alternative resume formats, including infographics and other visually stimulating options, are gaining ground in many industries. While using these options can be completely appropriate, if your application materials specifically request a traditional resume, and one is not provided, then you may want to move on. Failure to follow basic instructions in an attempt to stand out is still a failure to follow instructions.

Look for/Ignore: Keywords

Keyword use has benefits and drawbacks. Some resumes are crammed full of keywords to help them get beyond the roadblocks created by applicant tracking software (ATS), but they don’t always provide value. Just because a large number of keywords are represented doesn’t mean the candidate is by default a better choice than someone who used them more sparingly. However, a heavy use of keywords can also indicate the candidate has a broad range of experience that may be useful.

Ultimately, keywords can be a factor, but shouldn’t be the only factor when determining which applications to interview.

The staffing professionals at The Armada Group can help you sort through the resumes to find those who possess the skills you need. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.

Published in Hiring Managers

Armada Group Top Performing Programmers

For management, it's tempting to want to keep your top performers in their current roles. They're doing a great job; everything's under control. If move them to a different position, someone else will have to take over their job. You'll have to train that person and they might not be as good. It seems better to keep your programmer doing that job.

The problem is, programmers work in a world where there's always something new; most programmers have curious minds and want to try out the new technology. Forcing a programmer to stay in the same job makes it likely your developer will make the decision to move out, and you'll be even less prepared to cope with their absence.

Instead, recognize that retaining your top-performing programmers doesn't mean keeping them in the same role on the same team on the same project in the same department. Focus on offering them challenges that will keep them in your company while giving them the opportunity to learn and grow.

Challenge them.

Let your developers move to new projects with different roles, responsibilities and technologies. Encourage your top individual contributors to take leadership roles or apply their technical insight to solving a new problem.

Develop them.

Help your talent discover and develop all their talents. Assign mentors who can help programmers envision their long-term career path. Offer support for continuing education, and don't restrict company support to training that's immediately applicable at work.

Reward them.

Monetary rewards are important; top programmers can definitely find well-paying work. But other rewards are also important; praise, both public and private, assures developers that their work is both noticed and appreciated.

Despite your efforts to retain top talent, sometimes they'll decide to leave anyway. When that happens, you need an effective recruiting process that will bring in someone equally good. When you work with The Armada Group, you leverage our 20 years of experience. We make sure we understand the role you're filling so the job description will attract the best candidates, we prescreen potential hires who respond to the description, and we help your team interview and evaluate the candidates. You'll quickly stop worrying about the employee who left and start focusing on how to retain the new talent on board.

Published in Hiring Managers
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