As the holiday season approaches, many managers look for ways to express their appreciation to their IT team. However, if you want your employees to genuinely feel valued, you have to look beyond the acknowledgements that you typically dole out this time of year.
Often, to show your staff that you value them, you need to make an effort to ensure they feel heard, and this can’t be accomplished if you only focus on it during the holidays. If you want to make sure your IT team knows they are valued, here’s what you need to do.
Say “Thank You” Often
Managers are typically overtasked. This means it is easy to forget how your team keeps projects and daily activities moving forward, as it’s just part of the day-to-day. However, by actively trying to remember to thank them for their contributions, you demonstrate that you value what they have to offer. Plus, it shows that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that they are appreciated.
It also helps to extend your thanks beyond yourself. Let your team know when stakeholders appreciate the results of their efforts as well, especially if they don’t have an opportunity to interact directly with other leaders or customers.
Be an Active Listener
You can’t make your IT team feel heard if you spend the entire conversation merely waiting for your chance to speak. While you plan your response, you miss critical details in the discussion, and this can cause your employees to become frustrated if their input was ignored, even if it was unintentional.
When your employees speak, make sure to focus solely on listening. Take in every word and wait for a natural pause before you even begin to formulate a response. That way, you won’t miss a vital part of the conversation and your reply can be more meaningful.
Give Them Challenges
While every IT role comes with a certain level of monotony, giving your employees a chance to stretch outside of their comfort zones or take on a challenge can actually show that you value them. By allowing them to use their unique talents to take on something new, you demonstrate your trust in their abilities and interest in helping them grow.
See Them as Individuals
In IT, functioning as part of a team is the norm. This makes praising the group more common when a job is well done since multiple people were critical to the overall success of the project.
While recognizing the team’s efforts is wise, you also want to see them as individuals. Highlight each person’s achievements to make them feel seen and single them out if they truly went above and beyond. This ensures that every employee understands that they are valued for what they bring to the table and not just what they can accomplish together.
If you would like to know about how you can show your IT team you value them this season and beyond, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
With the implementation of GDPR in May and information about leaks and breaches continuing to make headlines on a regular basis, cybersecurity is increasingly at the forefront of every company’s mind. This has created substantial opportunities for professionals working in the field, but some are more lucrative than others.
While your skill set and level of experience play a substantial role in determining your current or future salary, one seemingly innocuous factor also has an impact: your job title.
Even when the core competencies and experience level are predominately the same, the title associated with your current or next position can either help or hurt you when it comes to pay. If you are wondering why your title affects your cybersecurity salary, here’s what you need to know.
Job Title Nuances
Certain words within a job title can alert how you are perceived. This can lead to salary variances, impacting the amount you earn today and your worth in the eyes of a potential employer.
At times, these differences reflect differences in the nature of the duties. For example, an analyst role may spend more time monitoring and examining systems, identifying potential vulnerabilities, and creating plans to overcome weaknesses in the system. Testing may also be more prominent in an analyst position than some others, though this isn’t always the case.
Cybersecurity engineer jobs may focus more on actual system changes and physical or technical interventions. Design activities may also be more common.
However, in some cases, two roles with differing titles may be incredibly similar. Companies are free to label a position how they see fit, so there isn’t an inherent standard that all businesses must adhere to when deciding which title to use.
While each organization controls the salary range it offers for a particular job, one survey showed that certain job titles tend to come with higher levels of compensation.
When the survey examined “Cybersecurity,” “Cybersecurity Analyst,” and “Cybersecurity Engineer,” as job titles, they found that the analyst positions tend to come with lower salaries than the other two in every major city they included in the analysis. Additionally, the generic “Cybersecurity” also tended to trend higher than the analyst roles.
However, it is possible to boost your value in the cybersecurity analyst field if you possess the CISSP certification. It can also have a positive impact on cybersecurity engineers, so don’t forgo the credential simply because you focus on the engineering aspects.
How to Make the Most of Your Cybersecurity Career
If you want to increase your earnings potential as a cybersecurity potential, it pays to seek out engineering roles over analyst positions. This small change can significantly improve your salary when you land a new job and throughout your career.
Should the option be available, consider listing your current cybersecurity position as an engineering role on your resume as well. This may make you appear more valuable in the eyes of potential employers, potentially leading to a higher salary offer. However, only do so if your employer supports that title as being appropriate to your position. Otherwise, a reference check may lead the hiring manager to see your resume as inaccurate or inflated, which could harm your chances of landing the job.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking to make the most of your cybersecurity career, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your professional goals today and see how our services can make finding your ideal job easier than ever before.
Typically, a digital transformation represents a significant overhaul of how a company does business. It leads to the integration of new processes and procedures, introduces technologies that weren’t previously in the workplace, and may even require a fundamental shift in mentality. However, like any large-scale undertaking, a successful digital transformation plan involves goal setting. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to determine whether the change produced positive results in the proper areas.
If you are ready to get started, here are some tips for setting digital transformation goals for your company.
Don’t Automatically Follow the Other Guy
There is a significant amount of information online, including tails of successful digital transformations. While it may be tempting to model your goals after another company, this isn’t always the wisest move.
Ultimately, every business is different. And, if your priorities differ from those of the example, their goals might not be appropriate for you.
Identify Important Metrics
Before you set goals, you need to understand which metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) mean the most to your business. For example, you may want to increase profits, improve production rates, eliminate bottlenecks, or achieve an optimal inventory based on demand.
Unless you understand which metrics are most valuable to you, you’ll have trouble selecting measurable goals. And, if the objectives aren’t measurable, you may struggle to determine if your digital transformation was actually successful.
Align the Approach
After identifying key metrics, you need to align your approach with the broader objectives. Digital transformation can mean a lot of things, involving a wide range of technology options that may not be ideal for your business. You don’t want to incidentally waste time by focusing on a particular tech implementation that isn’t going to create meaningful value, so you need to focus on opportunities that actually align with what you hope to achieve.
During this phase, you’re effectively creating a project overview. You can identify potential technologies that could positively impact your KPIs and determine priorities, including whether any steps are prerequisites to others. After examining these points, create a rough outline of the project to help guide further goal setting.
With the overview in place and your KPIs noted, you can create meaningful milestones to function as short-term goals in the larger project. Additionally, you can monitor related metrics as you move forward, giving you the ability to visualize the impact of the digital transformation as it takes place.
This approach gives you the ability to not just see your progress, but also make course corrections as necessary, helping you shift your strategy if you don't see the results you hope to have. Further, you can share this information with your staff, helping them stay on target and keep their priorities in the proper places.
By following the tips above, you can create customized goals for your digital transformation. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our experience can benefit you.
The world is full of advertisements. Whether it’s the commercials you view on television, billboards you pass during your commute, or banner ads you see on your favorite websites, advertising is everywhere. Now, ads are coming to VR, and they are likely to change your experience significantly.
Advr, a project by Google, is designing mechanisms for advertisers to reach you when you’re in an immersive virtual environment, though using an approach similar to the in-app popups most users just assume avoid. Here’s what you need to know about this emerging technology before it hits a screen near you.
Avoiding a Disruptive Experience
Part of what attracts people to a VR experience is the level of immersion. Most users are looking to escape a bit of their day-to-day, and VR entertainment certainly has the ability to transport the viewer. However, ads interrupting the experience is a counterintuitive approach, more likely to annoy the user than convince them to try a product or service.
With that in mind, Google is working to create alternatives to the traditional popups. For example, the Advr project team is working on a cube scenario where users have the option to engage with the object to view a video ad. By interacting with the cube, a video would open to show content. Then, a quick close is all that’s needed to return to the VR experience.
The approach is friendly for developers, provides a high level of customization, and is non-intrusive to the viewer. However, it’s not clear whether the ads would be fully avoidable. Google makes a significant amount of revenue from ad delivery, so having an option where users can avoid every ad, every time might not appeal to advertisers looking to hook customers.
Some speculate that VR apps may give users the option to avoid apps using the popular freemium model. This approach allows any person to enjoy the app free of charge, but often with limited functionality and/or the requirement to view ads. Freemium apps already exist in the VR space, often putting certain functions or additional content behind a paywall. Extending the practice to ads would seem natural, especially since it is already widely used in the traditional smartphone app space.
Since VR ad technology is still in development, it’s challenging to say exactly where it will go. However, with the proliferation of ads throughout the rest of most entertainment-oriented experiences, it won’t be surprising to see these ads become more commonplace once technology giants like Google figure out how to integrate them successfully.
If you’re interested in learning more about new developments in the technology space, are looking to hire an IT professional, or are seeking new job opportunities in your tech field, the team at The Armada Group has the industry expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to discuss your needs today.
Unemployment among tech professionals is sitting comfortably below the 3 percent mark, leaving many companies with long-term vacancies. While hiring in the field is difficult in general, certain skilled workers are especially hard to find. Here is an overview of the 10 most challenging IT jobs to fill today.
Technical Managers and Directors
Often one of the upper most positions in the IT leadership chain, technical managers and directors aren’t currently easy to find. Some of this is due to the wide range of skills required to be successful in these jobs as they are often tasked with overseeing technical processes and managing personnel.
As the title suggests, SAP managers supervise the implementation and integration of SAP solutions throughout the entire organization. To do so effectively, the professional must be highly experienced with SAP Solution Manager software as well as guiding the actions of the members of their team.
Those working as system analysts can have a broad range of responsibilities. Often, they analyze, design, and implement IT solutions and information systems for users within the organization. This requires in-depth knowledge of the associated hardware and software, as well as design and implementation procedures.
Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages in the business world today, making it no surprise that Java architects are highly sought after. These professionals have to understand both the infrastructure and application to offer support for Java-based applications, a skill set need in a wide range of industries.
Salesforce CRM Developers
Salesforce is a leader in the CRM space, and the solution is used by over 150,000 customers worldwide. Its proliferation in the market means that professionals with the skills necessary to maintain the platform as well as integrating services within the solution are seeing high demand for their experience.
Data is still king for many businesses, and database architects are key to their success. Required competencies range from designing, creating, deploying, and managing database structures, ensuring information can be accessed whenever it is needed. They also must have a thorough understanding of the required infrastructure, ensuring businesses have the right technology in place to meet their data-oriented goals.
Most organizations understand that cyber threats can be devastating to their business. With that in mind, many turn to cybersecurity consultants to review their current systems and advise them regarding how to best protect themselves from these threats. Professionals operating in this area need a strong understanding of hardware, software, application, and network security to be effective, and finding somewhat with the right skill set is often a challenge.
Embedded Software Engineers
Thanks to IoT, the need for embedded software engineers is rising. The need to modify current systems or create new ones is great, and there aren’t enough professionals available to meet demand.
Another data-oriented position in the list is data manager. These professionals help companies store, organize and analyze their data with a specific goal of increasing security and maintaining privacy. Successful data managers have knowledge of architecture as well as security and compliance best practices, a skill set that can often be considered as very specialized.
System Integration Engineer
As more companies look to bring different systems and applications together to create a seamless solution, available system integration engineers have become harder to find. The professionals must understand software, security, networking, and business process management, as well as strong soft skills like problem-solving.
If you are looking for candidates for your hard-to-fill job, The Armada Group can find top quality talent quickly and efficiently. Contact us to discuss your vacancies and see how our team can help you find the right person for the position.
Being promoted into your first leadership position is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging one. Often, it comes with a series of nuances you have yet to experience. Add to that the desire to make a strong first impression, and it can be almost anxiety inducing.
While everything may not go perfectly regardless of your efforts, there are steps you can take to help you prepare for your first day as a leader in a company. To help you on your journey, here are some tips to make the beginning of this segment of your career as successful as possible.
An internal promotion into a leadership position means you are working with people who remember when you were a member of their ranks. Regardless of your skills or abilities, the change in the dynamic can lead to some awkward encounters. You may be unsure about your authority, and former coworkers might not know if the relationship has effectively shifted as you assume your new role. In some cases, you may even run into individuals who are blatantly resistant, guaranteeing some uncomfortable moments.
While you may not handle every one of these moments perfectly, understanding that they will occur helps ensure you aren’t caught off guard. Just remember, it can take time for a change to sink in and become the norm and make sure you handle every situation with a mixture of confidence and grace.
To Err is Human
When you start a new position, you are going to make the occasional mistake. And transitioning into a leadership role is no exception. Acknowledge that errors will be made and take ownership of them when they do. Then, treat them as learning opportunities and strive to avoid that mistake in the future.
Just because you have worked at the company for a while, that doesn’t mean you will automatically know everything there is to know about being a leader in the organization. Be prepared for some missteps, make necessary corrections, learn from the experience, and then move on to the next challenge.
Popularity and Leadership Don’t Always Go Hand-in-Hand
Sometimes you will have to make a choice, and it isn’t always going to make you popular even if it is the right move. Understand that not everyone will like your decision but, if it was made based on an appropriate amount of analysis and experience, don’t be afraid to stand by it.
It can take time for employees to trust new leaders. As you continue in the position, you may see the amount of resistance lessen, though it might never disappear. Just make sure to listen to legitimate concerns or potentially valuable input and then act accordingly. If it turns out you made a mistake, refer back to the point above.
If you are interested in more advice regarding working in a leadership position, The Armada Group has the expertise to help you on your way. Contact us today and see what our recruitment professionals have to offer.
Many of the world’s most successful CIOs reached their positions through a range of career paths. On the surface, it can seem as like they may be dramatically different personalities. However, many of them share certain characteristics. And these traits are often a sign of great potential in aspiring, new, or current CIOs to develop into strong leaders.
To help you understand which traits can be an indication of exceptional leadership potential, here are some key characteristics many of the top CIOs have in common.
One of the most important traits strong leaders share is the ability to understand employees and their daily roles and struggles. Being able to relate to them personal level and empathize with their situations allows you to make decisions in a way that supports their needs as well as those of the business.
It also involves creating a culture where employees feel secure when they need to speak up and ask for support. By cultivating such an environment, workers are more likely to see themselves as being valued by management, which can be critical for morale and long-term retention.
A CIO can’t lead if people aren’t confident in their abilities. Part of ensuring workers feel secure in your decisions is being confident in your actions and abilities. Being able to assume a place of dominance without being overbearing, balancing strength with empathy, creates an ideal blend that employees are more inclined to follow.
As a leader, it’s not enough to be able to spot and correct flaws in others; you must be able to do the same with yourself. Everyone, including the most successful CIOs working today, makes mistakes. Being able to monitor and manage your own behavior is key to being a well-rounded leader in the workplace, and can support strong interpersonal relationships.
While being confident in one’s decisions is important, understanding when you need to be flexible and make adjustments is just as critical. Change is a constant part of any business, and being equipped to role with them as they arise makes you more agile on a daily basis. If you are also comfortable adapting when things don’t quite go as planned, you can make positive changes quickly, better positioning the company for success in both the short- and long-term.
We are all ingrained with the idea that being a strong leader requires being open to guidance from others. While this is true, it is just as important to be able to act independently when the need arises. Being stuck in a place where you can’t make a decision without input from others puts you at a disadvantage while also preventing you from making quick changes when the need arises.
Ultimately, no two CIOs are completely the same. However, many of them share these traits, helping to show how they can be used together for greater success. If you are interested in more information about the characteristics of strong leaders or are looking to hire additional personnel to help your business thrive, the recruitment professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need. Contact us and see how our experience can support your leadership goals today.
Nothing brings the value of a strong professional network to light like a job search. While many job seekers focus on creating new connections, your old network is also highly valuable. Throughout one’s career, it is often easy to let these prior relationships fall by the wayside. However, making an effort to cultivate that network today can yield significant returns when you are looking for new employment opportunities.
If you have neglected your prior connections, here are some tips to help you reconnect.
Embrace Social Media
Most social media networks provide a suitable path to reconnect with co-workers and supervisors past. LinkedIn is particularly well positioned for this task, though Facebook and other avenues can also be effective.
When reaching out, don’t be surprised if not everyone responds. Depending on how long it has been since you have communicated and the nature of your exit from one another’s lives, not all parties will be immediately interested in reestablishing the relationship. Make sure your initial messages do not focus on a request. Instead, remind them of your previous connection and express an interest in keeping in touch. If the original request is well received, work to reconnect before you ask for assistance in your job search.
If you regularly attend conferences, conventions or large meetings, you may be able to reconnect more organically. By being involved in the event, you show you are still committed to the industry, and face-to-face interactions often hold more potential than those based on social media.
Regardless of whether members of your previous network attend, you have the opportunity to network with other professionals who may also make valuable additions to your network (and you to theirs). Consider the time spent at these events as an investment in your professional future, and take advantage of everything they have to offer.
Set Social Appointments
Regular interaction in person is critical to maintaining your connections. Consider scheduling regular meetings or social appointments to catch up in person. Even a simple coffee break can help keep your network alive. Don’t always talk about work and professional opportunities. Instead, use those topics to pepper a conversation that resembles two friends catching up on each other’s lives.
All relationships require maintenance. Once you reconnect, make sure you follow up to keep the connection strong. If you reconnect over social media, review the other person’s posts and add comments, share their articles or simply like the content. Complement these efforts with other forms of communication when your schedules align.
Be an Asset
Keeping a healthy network involves effort on your part as well. Consider what you have to offer other members of your network and give of yourself freely. By being there when someone else needs help, you can cement the relationship over the long term while doing something positive for someone else.
If you are currently looking to expand your network or are interested in finding new employment options, The Armada Group has the skills needed to match candidates with the best opportunities available in their field. Contact us and see where our professional network can take you.
For software developers, writing code and making it work is the fun part of the job. For software testers, breaking code is the fun part of the job. Until recently, this meant that testers were the "bad guys" at work. They were there to find flaws and point them out. This meant they weren't popular with either software developers or management.
Today, things are different. Well – developers still like writing code and testers still like breaking it. But today the relationship between coders and testers is a partnership. The shift to agile and test-driven design means that testing isn't left for the end of a project, when everyone wants to push it out the door and move on to the next great thing; testing is part of the project every day. That means testers aren't seen as a stumbling block to the project's release, but rather as partners in creating a product that will succeed.
The increased emphasis on testing means that what testers need to know to succeed is changing, too. Testers now need:
To know how to write automated tests.
Manual testing is time-consuming and tedious. Automating the test process speeds it up. While there are specific tools to create and execute test cases, testers who know a scripting language will be able to more easily set up the environment for test scenarios.
To understand the full requirements.
Agile development methods don't create extensive requirements documents. Instead, they deliver small working chunks of functionality that will eventually add up to a full application. Testers need to understand the ultimate goal to make sure the functionality in each sprint moves it forward.
To communicate testing results.
To be full members of the project team, testers can't simply tell management the percentage of tests that were passed or failed. They need to evaluate and discuss the overall quality and performance of the application in a much deeper sense.
Successful software projects require rock solid coding verified by rock solid testing. Find employees with the skills to deliver by contacting a recruiter at The Armada Group.
Job descriptions may attract you to a job, but they're rarely a good description of the role. The person who prepares the description may not really know anything about the job. It may be the same description used on another job in another department. It may list technologies the project isn’t using, or omit important aspects of the job, such as on-call production support.
This means you can't simply trust a job description to tell you what skills are really needed and what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis if you get hired. You need to do some research and ask questions to find out the truth about the job.
Ask about the technology being used on the project and in the job you're being hired for.
Most projects use multiple technologies, but not all roles will use every technology. Find out for certain which languages will be used by the job you're being interviewed for so you can be certain it's a language you want to program in.
Clarify the scope of the position.
Not all programming positions are alike. Some have you spending all your time coding to someone else's design. Other's require you to spend time talking to business users to figure out the requirements long before you write any code. There's nothing wrong with either kind of shop, as long as the responsibilities of the role match what you want to do.
Get feedback on the company from current and former employees.
During your interview, pay attention to the tone as well as the comments expressed by your interviewers. Try to gauge whether they're genuinely enthusiastic about the work and the company. If you have any contacts within the company, get their opinions about the company and the department you'd be working in. If you know people who've left the company, ask them why.
A staffing agency can also give you insight into a job and a company. The recruiters at The Armada Group are skilled at matching candidates with the right opportunity. Contact us to learn how we can help you read between the lines of a job ad to find a job that will truly advance your career.