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Expand Your Python Expertise with These 4 Books

Enhancing your skillset is almost always a wise decision. When you expand your Python expertise, you become a more effective employee and a better job candidate. As a result, you may be able to land more interesting projects, handle more tasks on your own, and even advance your career more quickly.

Often, books are a great way to gain more knowledge. If you are wondering why Python books are worth considering, here are four that allows you to elevate your capabilities quickly.

5 Tips to Lead Your Team to Success in the New Year

The new year signals both a time for reflection and a time for planning. By making the right moves now, you can make the most of the season and set your team up for success. If you don’t know where to begin, here are five tips that can help you lead your staff into a bright future.

Published in Hiring Managers

The Influence Technology Has on Social Media Platforms

Social media is increasingly ingraining itself into the culture. For many, spending time on various platforms is part of everyday life, and many even turn to social media for professional reasons, including building a network and finding new opportunities or job candidates.

 

While social media platforms are certainly responsible for their popularity, other technologies are also influencing that landscape. Not only has tech allowed social media to become more popular, but it is also affecting how the platforms grow and change. Here’s a look at how technology impacts social media.

Why Tech Departments Need Excellent Project Managers in Silicon Valley

Many IT projects are substantial undertakings. Without a great project manager, many Silicon Valley tech departments would struggle to reach their project goals. This is true even if the team is otherwise highly skilled, as skill sets along aren’t necessarily enough to guarantee success.

If you are wondering why tech departments need excellent project managers in Silicon Valley, here’s what you need to know.

Published in Hiring Managers

The Soft Skills You Need to Be an Effective Risk Analyst

Risk analysts need more than strong technical capabilities; they also need a solid complement of valuable soft skills that can help them excel. Without certain soft skills, a risk analyst won’t be as effective in their role. As a result, most employers seek out candidates and invest in employees who have these capabilities.

If you want to make sure that you are a standout risk analyst, here are the soft skills you need to cultivate.

Published in Hiring Managers

best practices external recruiters

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

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

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

Make talent acquisition a priority

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

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

Keep communication lines open

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

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

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

Have realistic candidate expectations

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

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

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

Published in Recruiting

 

Fact vs Fiction- Driverless Cars

Driverless cars have been a dream for decades — but these days they’re moving from science fiction to science fact. The first self-driving vehicles have already been developed, and while they’re not on the market yet, researchers are working toward the glorious day when cars drive themselves, and humans can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Because driverless cars aren’t in widespread use, there are plenty of rumors surrounding this technology. Here are some of the top myths about driverless cars, as well as some truths that may shape the self-driving future.

Myth 1: Driverless cars eliminate the risk of human error

In a utopian world, self-driving cars would completely eliminate accidents because machines don’t sleep, text, get drunk, or stop paying attention. However, driverless cars do contain room for human error in their programming and design.

This could be a positive or a negative. On the positive side, the ability to program a self-driving car in a non-stressful environment — rather than while it’s being driven — can lead to significant increases in safety. But there is also risk with programming driverless cars, which must be ready to handle any situation. If the developers haven’t envisioned a particular scenario, the car won’t be equipped to handle it.

Myth 2: Self-driving cars can drive anywhere

It’s nice to envision driverless cars able to take on any road, anywhere, in any condition. But the fact is that at least for now, self-driving cars are extremely limited on where they can go. Because they rely on GPS for direction, these cars can only operate in very good weather conditions and can’t navigate in places like tunnels or parking garages, where there’s no GPS signal.

Myth 3: People are bad at driving

Anyone driving in rush hour traffic would disagree, but the idea that humans are inherently poor drivers is a myth — especially when compared to machine drivers. Experience and intuition go a long way toward making human drivers superior to mechanical ones. People also have the advantage of being able to understand their environment, and factor context and perceptions into their driving reactions.

Myth 4: Driverless cars are hands-off driving

The idea of climbing into a car, programming your destination, and curling up to sleep in the back seat isn’t possible with current driverless technology. The human owners of self-driving cars still have to pay attention during the drive, and keep a hand on the wheel and a foot near the brake. In fact, driverless cars have safety features that require at least one hand on the wheel at all times — because the car could fail at any point.

Fact 1: Self-driving cars can be more energy efficient

Cars require a lot of energy to move — but a majority of that energy is used to move the car itself, rather than the person inside it. Modern cars contain thousands of pounds of steel, which is primarily for crash protection. But if driverless cars moving at lower speeds remove the possibility of deadly collisions, they can be designed with more energy- and fuel-efficient materials.

Fact 2: Driverless technology is steeped in ethical debate

The ethics of allowing self-driving cars are a major hurdle for the automotive industry. Questions that must be answered include how conservative these cars should be in the interests of avoiding accidents, whether cars should be programmed to break laws and speed limits if required to keep passengers safe, and how much control the car’s programming should have over the driving process.

Fact 3: Experts disagree whether cars should be connected

Connectivity may seem like an obvious good feature for driverless cars, and many feel they should be connected. Allowing self-driving cars to communicate with each other may make driving more efficient, and provide enhanced safety. But others feel this level of connectivity is unnecessary — because human drivers use only their eyes, driverless cars should in theory be able to rely on camera vision alone.

Fact 4: No one is empowered to decide these issues

Even if the ethical and connectivity debates could be settled, driverless technology has no centralized governance that is able to enforce decisions. While states and government agencies are working with the issues, and a standards committee with the Society of Automotive Engineers is developing voluntary standards for driverless vehicle design, there are currently no decision-makers to guide the industry into consumer markets.

Want to learn more about the cutting-edge of IT innovation? Need top IT candidates to fill open positions at your company? Contact the experts at The Armada Group today!

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Securing Your Personal Data Online

Throughout the digital shift, data breaches have been a serious and ongoing problem. Recent large-scale attacks resulted in malware-infected payments terminals and tens of millions of stolen card numbers from chain stores like Home Depot and Target. Part of the reason for these thefts is that, with the current magnetic stripe system, card information is stored inside payment terminals in an unencrypted form.

But technologies like tokenization and near field communication (NFC) are making secure data possible — and Apple may be leading the way to substantially heightened online security with the launch of their new mobile payment system.

How Apple Pay works

The latest phones from Apple, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, are equipped with a mobile payment system that lets users pay for purchases in stores quickly and conveniently, right from their phones.

This payment system uses multiple security features to protect payment information. The first is Touch ID, Apple’s biometric identification system already used in previous iPhones that identifies users by thumbprint. The second is NFC communication, which eliminates the magnetic stripe interface that is one of the leading reasons for security breaches.

But the most important security feature for Apple Pay is tokenization. The technology stores a 16-digit proxy number on a security chip inside the phone, rather than your actual payment card number. This “token” number is given to the retailer at the point of sale, and the retailer sends the token to the card issuer. Then, a trusted third party converts the token to the payment card number and sends it to the issuer — meaning the retailer never receives the actual card number.

The tokens also incorporate unique, transaction- and user-specific data, which prevents them from being reused even if they’re stolen.

Simplifying the user experience could lead to widespread adoption

In a recent keynote speech, Apple CEO Tim Cook demonstrated how easy it is to pay with this solution: Users simply hold their thumb on the Touch ID sensor and tap the phone against a payment terminal. The entire transaction takes only seconds, and is substantially more secure than magnetic stripe transactions — or even other mobile payment solutions.

Apple has always excelled at ease of use for its technologies, and the company’s entry into the mobile payment market could prompt the competition to step up their games. The more mobile payment providers offering easy-to-use solutions, the more retailers will adopt systems that accept these types of highly secure payments. In the time since Apple Pay was launched, competitor Google Wallet has already seen significant growth in usage and adoption from both customers and retailers.

Contactless NFC payment systems could provide the level of security required to make data breaches a thing of the past, especially if other providers adopt tokenization technologies to enhance security. Consumer data will be safer online, and the cumbersome and risky magnetic stripe system may be headed for obsolescence.

With Apple leading the way, widespread adoption of mobile payment solutions has a real chance of occurring — and the competition is sure to follow suit. If you want to know more about the future of personal data security or how it applies to your company, contact the IT experts at The Armada Group.

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Your Dream Job isnt a Reality - Yet

If you’re still scouring job listings for that perfect position that uses your skills and meets your career goals, and striking out every time, you may be tempted to give up and settle for a job you can do instead of the job you really want. But don’t lose hope — because if your dream job doesn’t exist, you might be able to create it.

You don’t have to limit your job search to advertised positions. With strategic research, active networking, and a sharpened pitch, you have a chance to carve out the perfect job and take control of your career.

Here’s how you can make your dream job a reality, even if it doesn’t exist.

Identify your dream employers

The perfect job starts with a great employer — one with a mission you can get behind, co-workers you’ll fit right in with, and opportunities that will help your career move forward. Begin creating your dream job by developing a short list of employers you’d love to work for.

Once you’ve researched and chosen 10-to-20 possible employers, start looking further to identify potential opportunities for the position you have in mind. For each company, find out everything you can about:

  • What department(s) your dream job might fit into
  • Which departments are underdeveloped or emerging
  • What areas you could apply your skills that the company hasn’t considered yet
  • Whether you have any potential contacts or other ins at the company

Look to social media, career websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, and the companies’ websites, blogs, and press released for insight into this type of information, and then reduce your list to the most likely companies. Remember not to limit yourself to the positions the company has listed as available — you’re going to offer them something unique.

Activate your network

A network is the most powerful tool available for today’s job seekers, especially when it comes to applying for an unlisted job. You’ll substantially increase your chance of getting hired if you can connect with someone who:

  • Has inside information on what’s happening in your dream companies
  • Is able to offer you tips on getting noticed by the company’s decision-makers
  • Can directly vouch for your skills and abilities to potential employers

Look through your existing network, and your extended network, to find out what kind of connections you have or can make. LinkedIn is the best source for business connections, but you might also find connected people on other social media networks, at the college or university you attended, or even among your friends and family.

Once you’ve found potential connections, send out a short message that explains what you’re looking to do, and whether they’d be willing to make an introduction for you. However, if you can’t find any personal inroads to your dream employers, you can still try contacting recruiters or hiring managers directly.

Prepare your perfect pitch

Landing a job that doesn’t exist yet is a bit more challenging than applying for a listed position. Instead of just convincing employers that you’re the right person for the job, you also have to convince them that they need the job done in the first place. This means proving that if they hire you for the position you’re pitching, you’ll have a real impact on a key component of the company — whether that’s efficiency, lead acquisition, sales, or the bottom line.

Use your best skills and achievements to prepare a pitch that explains just how you can help their company grow. Make sure your pitch incorporates ties to the specific company’s background, and be passionate about why you want to do this particular job for this particular company.

Finally, if and when you land an interview, go in prepared to talk about the company itself, the industry in general, and even its competitors. Bring examples of similar positions at competitors, and demonstrate how you can help them achieve results. Remember that you’re selling not only yourself, but the actual job you want to do.

Creating your own dream job is a challenging but worthwhile endeavor. With research, preparation, patience, and persistence, you can turn a nonexistent dream job into a personal reality.

For help finding or creating the perfect position for you, reach out to the career experts at The Armada Group. We understand what it takes to find and fill a perfect IT position, and place candidates every day in top industry jobs. 

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Using Social Networking to Succeed in IT

Social media has revolutionized the way that people interact. It helps to form our opinions, share information, and – possibly the most crucial – changes the way we conduct business. While many initially assumed MySpace would disappear into the abyss of tech fads, it gave way to Facebook, followed by a rash of different flavors of social media for different purposes. In today’s world, companies cannot expect to excel in the business world without having a platform to interact on social media.

And neither can candidates.

Facebook might be a great place to post cat memes and baby pictures, but it’s also increasingly common to use it as a news source. Some very widespread companies (PCMag, for instance) disseminate a wide variety of content, which allows users to stay abreast of current developments.

For those who find Facebook a little too personal for professional purposes, LinkedIn serves an entirely different community, as it’s aimed towards professionals. This filters the lion’s share of political and religious discussions, fighting over the greatest video game-du-jour, and the endless stream of alternately hilarious and atrocious material. LinkedIn allows users the opportunity to receive relevant news and blogs which cater towards a user’s preferences. It also allows users to join industry-specific groups, where you can both read, post, and interact with best practices and relevant information in your chosen career path.

But perhaps the most notable feature of LinkedIn is developing a network for career opportunities. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool to find and be contacted by recruiters, and using your profile to list achievements, skills, and work history is a great way to get noticed by recruiters and industry leaders alike.

Finally, SpiceWorks is one of the best methods to really showcase your talent. SpiceWorks is a social media designed specifically with the IT specialist in mind. It allows a user the ability to communicate with high-level facets of a job, help and learn about projects, and interact with others in the IT community.

When it comes to succeeding in IT, the best place to do so is with the help of a recruiter. At The Armada Group, we can help. We only work with the best talent in the Silicon Valley area, and we understand what it takes to succeed. We work with some of the most innovative companies in the nation to pair elite candidates with the ideal career opportunity for maximum long term productivity. Contact us today to see how we can help you! 

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