At the beginning of the year, companies around the country plan for their technology spending. With so many emerging technologies grabbing headlines as of late, understanding which trends will likely provide your customers with the most benefit is critical, allowing you to make better decisions about spending.
Similarly, tech professionals can benefit from the knowledge as well. By learning about how the consumer markets are shifting, they can acquire skills that align with these trends, positioning themselves for a more lucrative career.
If you are wondering how the newest tech trends will impact consumer markets, here’s what you need to know.
Home Automation Makes Headway
Home automation is poised to make significant strides over the coming years. Currently, the market is filled with niche products, such as monitoring devices and smart lights. However, the call for simplification and integration is only getting louder, especially as more consumer buy into the concept in general.
People often embrace technology that has the potential to make their lives simpler or will help them save money. Since home automation can possibly do both, this is a trend with staying power.
Augmented Reality Meets Mobile Computing
Both augmented reality (AR) and mobile computing can be powerful. However, as the two come together, the potential to reshape work and life experiences as well as enhance productivity only grow.
By giving users the ability to see informational overlays placed onto the real-world, the possibility of real value is clear. Similarly, being able to visualize structural changes or products in the actual space where it will be placed could be a gamechanger for a wide array of industries.
While most people associate blockchain with Bitcoin, the technology is much more than just the power behind a cryptocurrency. Blockchain has the capacity to revolutionize several consumer markets, particularly in areas like banking, accounting, finance, insurance, and even healthcare.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making waves for years, and many still consider the technology to be in its infancy. Some of the more recent developments have focused on the power of consumer-facing AI, such as chatbots for customer service, giving customers the ability to get answers to common questions quickly. or voice analysis for incoming calls, allowing customer service representatives to receive call handling tips based on the system’s interpretation of the caller’s mood.
The potential for leveraging AI to improve customer interactions is there, especially as AI’s natural language processing capabilities become more robust. Precisely where it will go is still somewhat of a mystery, but no one is questioning whether there will be an impact on the consumer market.
Are You Looking for the Most Talented Tech Professionals? Contact The Armada Group!
In the end, all of the tech trends above will have a massive impact on the consumer market, so they should remain on everyone’s watchlist. If you would like to know more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our tech trends expertise can benefit you.
When you are hoping to land a new job, you may be tempted to exaggerate about your capabilities, particularly if a role is just barely beyond your skill or experience level. But, if you lie on your resume, the chances of getting caught are especially high. Skilled hiring managers and recruiters know how to spot everything from small fibs to blatant misrepresentations of your abilities. And, once your falsehood is discovered, you’re usually eliminated from contention.
If you are wondering how someone you’ve never met can figure out that you are lying on your resume, here are a few ways that hiring managers and recruiters come to that conclusion.
Title and Duty Misalignments
Job titles often give an indication of the level of the position, allowing hiring managers and recruiters to predict what sort of duties likely came with the role. When the title and responsibilities don’t align, it’s typically considered a red flag, suggesting that you may have inflated the job title to appear more experienced or valuable.
When a candidate wants to appear more experienced, they may adjust the dates on their resume to meet the position’s requirements. However, hiring managers often have access to resources that allow them to crosscheck this information, even without contacting your employment references.
For example, older copies of your resume may be stored in the company’s system if you’ve applied for a job there before. Similarly, your social media profiles may have different dates, indicating that at least one of these sources is inaccurate.
Many candidates assume that prospective employers aren’t verifying their education. However, many companies do, and finding out whether you earned a degree from a specific school is relatively easy.
A simple phone call to the college or university generally reveals if you hold a particular degree. Similarly, there are education verification services that provide access to the information.
That means, claiming a degree you didn’t earn will usually come back to bite you. Similarly, trying to misrepresent yourself as a person with a degree by showing you attended college for the required number of years, even if you don’t claim to have a degree, typically won’t work if having a degree is a requirement for the position.
Contradictions and Inconsistencies
Skilled interviewers understand how to put candidates on the spot, allowing them to assess the accuracy of a job seeker’s claims. In most cases, people who lie on their resumes will struggle to provide certain details or will accidentally contradict themselves, largely because they are making up the story as they go.
It is the hiring manager’s job to find the ideal person for the position, so it’s best to assume that they will try and trip you up to make sure you can actually handle the job. Usually, fibbers don’t fare well in these situations, as keeping track of a string of lies, no matter how small, is beyond the capacity of most.
Ultimately, lying on your resume is never worth the risk, especially because getting caught comes with serious consequences. Not only will you not get the job, but you harm your reputation, and word may get around about your choice to lie.
If you are interested in finding out more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.
If you want to be a great test automation engineer, then it would seem logical that having strong test automation skills is the way to accomplish that goal. But, there’s more to being a successful test automation engineer than technical prowess alone. In fact, being a system thinker is just as important.
So, if you are interested in becoming a top-notch test automation engineer, here is what you need to know about being a system thinker.
What are System Thinkers?
At its most basic, a system thinker is an individual who can survey the larger system to identify problems. From the perspective of test automation engineering, this includes professionals who can investigate a piece of software in its entirety as a method of locating holes in the resulting system.
System thinkers are individuals who can keep the bigger picture in mind even as they work on the smallest details. They understand how each piece fits together to create a functional whole, as well as which parts are working properly, and which are not, at any given time.
They also understand that automating particular tests may not be a suitable approach due to how the full system is constructed. Additionally, they are able to keep the return on investment (ROI) for each potential point of automation in consideration, allowing them to determine when it is financially wise to use a tool to complete the work.
Ultimately, being a system thinker means adopting the proper mindset, understanding how each part of a solution integrates to produce the final product and being able to keep it all in mind as you work.
How to Become a System Thinker
Some people have a natural inclination for monitoring the bigger picture, but others have to work to adopt the proper perspective. Part of it revolves around certain soft skills, like critical thinking and problem solving, which many test automation engineers already use on a regular basis.
However, it also involves understanding how things are connected, and that anything you do isn’t occurring in isolation of the larger system. This means applying your soft skills with a different scope, examining the implications of individual approaches based on the interconnected nature of each part.
Initially, it can be challenging to adopt a bigger picture perspective, especially if you haven’t had to use it much previously. But, by examining how your activities related to larger goals or products as a whole, you can build your skills, allowing you to become an effective system thinker.
Be prepared to have to dedicate some additional time to your work as you begin to shift your mindset. However, once you’ve practiced it for a while, it will ultimately become natural.
If you are interested in learning more about being a system thinker or are seeking a new test automation engineering opportunity, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our services today and see how they can benefit you and your career.
Artificial intelligence is getting a lot of attention in the business world, making its mark in almost every industry along the way. Information about new developments seems to pour in endlessly, creating a challenge when it comes to truly seeing what is happening in AI today. To help you see through the onslaught of news, here are some of the latest trends in the field and what they can mean for your company.
Almost every organization is watching the AI trend, but few have started the process of implementing solutions that take advantage of the technology. Much of this delay is related to the need for a highly specialized skill set to bring in these systems. Professionals with the required background aren’t readily available and obtaining the necessary skills isn’t a small task. However, there are new frameworks being developed that look to ease the burden associated with implementing and supporting these systems. Howdy’s Slack Bot and Facebook’s Wit.ai are both bringing point-and-click systems to developers, making the creation and customization of AI systems easier to manage.
Other tools also aim to simplify the implementation of deep learning models. Options like TensorFlow, Keras, and Bonsai are just some of those looking to bring more advanced AI capabilities to a wider market. Cloud platforms are also lightening the load on business eliminating internal infrastructure concerns. Collectively, this makes AI more accessible to all.
General purpose AI solutions are still something to look forward to in the future. Now, highly specialized systems are the standard, working to manage specific tasks or function in defined niches. While these targeted solutions aren’t viable across all industries, the cumulative efforts have a wide variety of sectors well covered. Organizations operating in such diverse areas as banking, healthcare, security, and production can all expect AI systems designed specifically for their needs, making them exciting developments for increasing the speed of business.
Data overload is a real issue for some companies, especially as they take advantage of the information provided through IoT and other mechanisms. While businesses want to harness the power of their data, overflowing amounts of information make it difficult to find value in the data. AI systems are being designed specifically to alleviate this issue, allowing for more efficient processing and parsing of information. Structured data extraction, natural language understanding, information cartography, and automatic summarization are all being considered for their information management capabilities and may make data overload a non-issue in the future.
As AI technologies become more robust, their ability to communicate with people improves. Developers are focusing attention on improving the emotional intelligence of systems, helping them interpret human speech more effectively based on word choice and even tone.
It is important to keep in mind that AI is still evolving, including in all of the areas above. Advances are being regularly made, but it will take additional time before these solutions can fully replace certain human interactions. Additionally, it takes a significant amount of IT talent to keep these systems functioning as they need to in order to provide the necessary value. If you are looking for professionals with AI skills to join your team, the recruiters at The Armada Group have the connections to find the ideal candidates. Contact us to discuss your needs today and see how our services can work for you.
It's easy to feel like the company has all the power during an interview. After all, you're there because they have something you want: A job. But it's important to remember that the interview is a two-way street. You should be evaluating the company as thoroughly as they're evaluating you. That's why you should always take advantage of the opportunity when an interviewer asks if you have questions. If you don't, you can look like you aren't interested in the position, but you're also missing out on the opportunity to learn what the job would really be like.
Ask Follow Up Questions
Ask for more detail about something the interviewer mentioned only briefly. This shows that you were paying attention during the interview and that you were interested in what the interviewer said. Both are flattering to the interviewer and can make them feel positive towards you. More importantly, it lets you gently probe deeper into topics the interviewer mentioned glossed over, perhaps to conceal some less positive aspects of the job.
Ask About Life on the Job
Find out what your work life will be, both now and in the future. What stage of development is the project in? Is there a deadline crunch? Do they expect there will be one? You'll also want to look ahead towards your long-term future with the company. Ask about support for continued training and what kind of career path you can follow. Will the company support you whether you want to remain technical or move into a business or management track?
Ask About the Company
You should have researched the company prior to the interview, and you certainly don't want to ask basic questions about its business. Instead, ask about how the company is meeting its challenges and distinguishing itself from its competition. You'll gain insight into how the company perceives itself and whether there will be long term stability, growth, or failure.
Working with a technical recruiter can help prepare you for your interviews by providing a full picture of the opportunity. The Armada Group has been matching candidates to positions for more than 20 years. Contact us to start your search now.
Do you feel good when you go home at the end of the day? If you don't, you may not be in the right job or working for the right company. Take a look at these seven signs that it's time for a job change and see if you recognize yourself in any of them.
You don't share the company's mission.
It's hard to be happy at work when you can't stand behind the company's product. If you trade off your values for the sake of salary, or even if you just feel that what the company does isn't meaningful, it's hard to feel good about the time you spend there.
You aren't passionate about the technology.
So much of the fun of a tech job comes from getting to use new technology to build exciting products. If your company is stuck using old tech to support existing systems, you may need to go elsewhere to find a new challenge.
When you have skills and abilities that you don't get to use on the job, you can start to get restless. By the time you've been on the job for a while, your manager should feel confident in your abilities and allow you to tackle big problems. If you've asked for those opportunities and been turned down, you may not be as skilled as you think, or your manager may not trust your abilities.
You don't respect your management.
If your managers have made bad decisions that impacted the company, your project, and you, it becomes hard to keep a positive attitude about the work. It also becomes difficult to work together to address problems, leading to even more frustration.
You're in over your head.
Sometimes the job isn't what you thought it was and you don't have the skills. You might have misunderstood what the job entailed or things might have changed at the company between the time you were interviewed and the day you showed up to start work. In either case, your inability to perform as well as you want can make you very uncomfortable every day.
You've been doing the job too long.
You loved your job when you started; it had everything you wanted. But once you've been doing it for a while, it can start to get old. You can try to find ways to change the details of what you're doing and how you do it, but you may need to look for a new job in order to really find a new challenge.
If you have too much work to do or not enough time to do it, you won't leave work behind when you leave the office. You'll take it home with you, work nights and weekends, and even when you try to sleep or have fun it'll still be nagging at you that there are tasks undone.
If you see any of these signs in yourself, it's time to think about finding a new job. The Armada Group takes time to understand both candidates and open opportunities to make a good match. Contact us to start looking for the right company now.
The IT project manager role is a funny kind of job. You need to understand technology and be able to make technical decisions, but the job isn't about completing technical tasks. You need to understand people, but the job isn't about supervisory skills. You need to understand business needs, but the job isn't about completing business tasks. Being an IT project manager requires knowing how to work with people and help them work with technology to get a project completed and provide the functionality the business needs.
These seven skills will help you combine those traits to be a standout project manager:
Keep technically current.You need a strong technical team you can rely on with answers about technology, but you also need to be able to evaluate their answers. Developers are always over optimistic about how long it will be to complete a task and how easy it will be to integrate a new technology. You need to know enough about the technology to evaluate their input and weigh it against other business concerns like cost and schedule.
Be a leader.There's a difference between managing and leading, and both are part of this job. Managing requires paying attention to the details and ensuring the necessary work is completed. You also need to lead up, down, and sideways: you need to get buy-in from your team, your management, and your end users that the strategy you're using is the most effective one to deliver the project.
Be a communicator.One of the most common reasons projects fail is because people don't know what needs to be done. You need to communicate with your team about the work and its priorities. You also need to communicate with management and end users about their priorities and project status.
Multitask.As a project manager, you're never looking at a single moment in time. You need to be evaluating work that was done in the past, responding to crises in the present, and planning the work that needs to be done in the future. Being able to calmly juggle multiple demands for input is necessary to get through your day.
Negotiate for what your team needs.Management doesn't always know what it takes to get a project done. If the resources allocated to the project – people or hardware – aren't adequate, you may be able to negotiate beyond those limits.
Be proactive.Small problems grow into big problems. Don't micromanage your team, but pay close attention so you become aware as soon as an issue develops. Step in as soon as necessary to help your team overcome obstacles.
Pay attention.People don't like sharing bad news. The staff who report to you may hesitate to let you know how difficult they're finding the work. Your management may delay letting you know changes in budget, staffing or priorities. Watch for the subtle signs that let you know there's a problem, so you can address it even if no one explicitly tells you about it.
You always want new employees to be able to get down to work quickly, especially if they are a temporary worker. If temps aren't able to start contributing the day they show up, their contract may be up before you're able to get value from their presence. Have a plan to onboard them and get them started as soon as possible. Keep these three things in mind when you welcome a temp to your team:
1. Show them around.
Be sure to give your temps a tour of the work environment, both virtual and physical. They need to know where the coffee machines and copy machines are; they also need to know where the source code is. They will probably need to remotely log in to multiple machines, so be prepared with an overview of your hardware configuration and your different environments (development, QA, production). They'll likely need to get an overview of your business domain and the current applications your team is developing or supporting.
2. Give them access.
Knowing where source code and machines are isn't any good if the temp can't access them. There's often bureaucratic overhead to getting access permissions granted, even for something as basic as a company email address, so start the process early. IT workers usually need access to many applications, so it's helpful to do a review and identify a list of everything they'll need to login to: machines, email, databases, shared development environments, bug tracking tools, development and test versions of deployed applications, and anything else you can think of. Get as many of these set up in advance to avoid roadblocks when they're trying to get work done.
3. Know what you want them to do.
Have a plan for what the temp needs to deliver during their stay at your company. While priorities may change and you'll want to remain flexible, there's a cost every time someone shifts focus from one work area to another. With permanent employees, that cost may be outweighed by the knowledge and the experience gained. With temporary employees, the time lost is most likely permanently lost. Be prepared with all the information the temp will need to complete their assigned tasks. As with any new employee, they're likely to have lots of questions, so make sure they know whom to turn to for help.
Even though temporary employees don't stick around long, they can make a big contribution to your project's success – as long as you give them tools, support, and create an environment where they can succeed.
It can feel really satisfying to walk away from an office the last day of your job. For whatever reason, that job was no longer right for you and you moved on, starting fresh somewhere else.
If you didn't like your former boss and co-workers, it can be tempting to permanently sever the connection. But most of the time, even if they weren't your best buddies, it's best not to do that. Old colleagues and old bosses can be a network that lets you know about new opportunities and give you references that help you get the job. Keep in touch so they'll keep you in mind when these new opportunities arise.
Connect on Social Media
Connecting through social media is an easy way to keep lines of communication open, especially if you simply want to make sure you have a way to contact them if you need to.
Connecting on LinkedIn is better than connecting on Facebook for professional contacts when you don't want to share your personal life with them. Because you can contact second-degree connections on LinkedIn, connecting your profile to your former boss and colleagues gives you direct access to additional professional connections that can help a future job search.
Celebrate the Holidays
Sending a New Year's card is a painless, once-a-year way to remind former bosses or colleagues that you exist. Take the time to write a brief note on the card. It makes it personal and is a chance to update them on what's going on in your professional life, and let them know if you're open to new opportunities.
Send Useful Updates
If you want to take a more active approach to keeping in touch with old bosses and co-workers, periodically send them useful updates. You'll want to let them know when you've moved or had other significant life events, but if you really want them to keep you in mind professionally, send them links to professionally relevant articles. Make sure the links you send are useful. Try to find a timeline for sending material frequently, but not so often the recipient is being bombarded by mailings from you.
Whichever means you choose to keep in contact, don't be oversensitive to whether you get a reply or not. People are busy and may not acknowledge your notes. That doesn't mean they are snubbing you, or you should terminate communication. As long as emails don't bounce back, they're being received, and your goal is achieved.
Companies invest heavily in technology to protect themselves from cyberthreats: firewalls, antivirus software, and other tools to keep out intruders. Not all threats are external, however. Whether deliberately through malicious actions, or accidentally through online naïveté, company employees present the biggest threat to corporate information security.
Deliberate Misuse of Resources
Employees can misuse company computer resources in several ways that expose a company to risk. Use of the Internet for personal matters, like online shopping or visiting social media sites, can overload a company's computer network. This can mean companies invest money to upgrade a network when that isn't supported by business needs, and the money would be more beneficial elsewhere.
When employees bring adult content into the office, they can create a potentially hostile work environment that can lead to sexual harassment lawsuits. Employees who use corporate resources to download illegal copies of software, movies, or music also expose the company to lawsuits. In addition, these sites are also often infested with malware, so files brought onto company computers can risk introducing viruses and other dangerous software into the corporate environment.
Employees also misuse resources by removing them from the company. If files aren't appropriately protected, employees can remove confidential company information by emailing them or carrying them out on a USB drive. Employees may be able to take advantage of code bugs to escalate their privileges in an application, and view data they aren't supposed to be able to access.
Accidental Exposure of Company Data
Phishing and social engineering are still extremely effective ways for hackers to gain access. It's surprisingly easy to trick humans into sharing confidential data like passwords and company bank accounts. Employees also can accidentally expose company data if they lose a company laptop or access the company network from an insecure hotspot. The increased popularity of BYOD means that company data is accessed from devices the company doesn't control. If these devices aren't appropriately protected, confidential company information may be at risk.
Use Technology and Training to Increase Security
Companies that want to protect themselves from these risks need to take a comprehensive approach to information security. They need to use the right technological tools; firewalls and antivirus software remain important. They need to have – and enforce – policies that govern the appropriate use of company resources; these policies should also govern the handling of company information on non-company, BYOD devices.
But the most important step companies can take is to train their employees to recognize online risks, and how to defend against them. Educated employees will help defend against these online dangers because they recognize they aren't only a threat to information security; information security failures that seriously damage a company are a threat to their job security as well.