If you ask a tech pro to describe a work environment that makes them happy, a cubicle is not likely the answer they are going to provide. Often, traditional workplaces are plagued by interruptions and distractions, making it hard to focus on detail-oriented tasks. If you add in issues like frequent, and often spontaneous, meetings, it is no surprise that many IT workers would prefer to work remotely.
Plus, remote work makes goals like work-life balance and flexibility easier to manage. Since many tech professionals have the technical skills necessary to connect remotely and handle their tasks, they are also well-suited to the demands associated with telecommuting, which can make it more enticing.
If you are wondering why tech pros are happier with remote work, here are some key insights.
For many, the technology field is incredibly enticing. However, if you do not have a Bachelor’s degree, you may assume that there are not many options you can explore. In reality, you may just need to take a look at a “new collar” job if you want to make the leap into tech without formal education.
The digital news landscape has changed dramatically over recent years. Previously, increased interest on the part of readers allowed sites like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post to thrive, as demand for their content made creating more profitable. Social media played a massive role in the success of digital news media, as the sharing of articles and posts by readers enhanced a company’s visibility, often for much less money than traditional advertising mechanisms.
However, the landscape has shifted dramatically. Everything from Facebook’s pledge to focus more on posts from friends and family to rising interest in other mechanisms, like video, is playing a role. Buzzfeed ultimately decided to lay off around 15 percent of their staff as they prepare to adjust their model.
The Rise of the Online Video Star
Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have made posting videos about as easy as possible. As a result, nearly anyone could potentially try their hand at being a star. Plus, the masses were becoming increasingly enamored with video, often favoring it over other mechanisms, like written posts and static images.
As a result, many companies began to pivot, looking for ways to profit in the video category while shifting away from other approaches. This was especially true once the digital news sections of many companies began to become less profitable, decreasing their cost-effectiveness from a business perspective.
Facebook as a Publisher
Many digital news organizations relied on social media to gain readership. Facebook was often a preferred platform, but a variety of revelations – including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and presence of Russian fake news sites – lead many users to doubt the validity of what was being posted. Additionally, Facebook itself was forced to pivot in response, altering what forms of content could be promoted by digital news organizations, limiting organic reach, and changing what users would see on their feeds.
Further, some users began to pull away from platforms like Facebook. They began to doubt the social media giant on a primal level, and that impacted how many people would be exposed to posts from digital news organizations. Others started to question the validity of nearly all digital news sources, as uncertainty about who is fake became an increasing concern.
The changes on Facebook’s side made digital news less profitable, and some digital news organizations ultimately did not survive. Skeptical readers also began pulling away, further harming readership numbers and impacting profits.
Is Digital News in Trouble?
In reality, digital news likely is not in trouble across the board. However, that does not mean companies will not need to change to survive in the shifting landscape, and those who refuse may disappear, either voluntarily or when readership dwindles to a point that they are no longer viable.
Those who change and adapt will likely remain, at least for the next few years. In the end, it is not unlike any other business segment where those who refuse to keep up with the times fade into obscurity while those who embrace the need for change have a chance to remain strong.
If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
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.
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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.
Toxic workplaces are incredibly damaging to morale and are often considered the leading cause of employee burnout. While most professionals would never willingly accept a role in such an environment, it is often hard to understand the severity of the situation until you are in it personally. At times, this occurs once you begin a new job. In others, the existing culture morphs into something toxic over time, leaving you a bit stuck.
If you find yourself in a toxic work environment, there are things you can do to make it more manageable. Here’s how to get started.
Resist the Urge to Join In
When it comes to a toxic culture, the old adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” should not apply. While going along with the crowd may seem like the easiest way to avoid becoming a target of negativity, it is almost guaranteed to damage your reputation both inside and out of the company. This can make it harder to secure new opportunities when the need arises.
Similarly, it can also reflect poorly on you as an employee. Even if a workplace is toxic, that attitude rarely extends to everyone. If those above you on the ladder notice your change if behavior, it can harm your ability to grow professionally.
Build a Support Network
Having colleagues or other professionals you can trust in your corner can make it easier to survive in a toxic workplace. If you have a few coworkers you can rely on it may be easier to keep your spirits up and avoid negative incidents.
Additionally, having a large professional network increases your odds of learning about new opportunities in companies with more favorable conditions. Then, you may be able to make a speedy exit to greener pastures if you feel that is the best course of action.
Enhance Your Skills
Even the most toxic workplaces have something to offer. If you get a chance to join interesting projects or acquire new knowledge, make sure to take advantage of them. This gives you more to showcase on your resume, increasing the odds that when you apply elsewhere that you’ll impress the hiring manager.
Document What Happens
If you are exposed to toxic events, make sure to keep copious notes about what occurs. Save any emails, record information after meetings, and otherwise track what happened and when it happened.
By documenting everything, you give yourself the evidence you need to either push for change or to simply protect yourself, both of which can be valuable in their own right.
Ultimately, by following the tips above, you can survive a toxic workplace. Then, if you feel like you need to make a change, you can do so at your own pace and without undue pressure to escape. If you would like to learn more about how to deal with a toxic environment or are seeking a new position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruiters and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
While having the right mix of skills and experience is critical to landing a new role, how you dress and present yourself during your job interview can also be a factor in whether you are selected for the position. By putting additional effort into your appearance, you can inspire confidence in the hiring manager. Plus, by learning to control your body language, it is possible to use your mannerisms to your benefit.
If you are wondering how to make the best impression possible, here is what you need to know about your appearance and body language during an interview.
How to Select Your Attire
How you look plays a role in how you are perceived and can significantly impact your first impression on the hiring manager. People will make assumptions about your competence, intelligence, attention to detail, and trustworthiness based on your appearance, so selecting the right attire is an essential part of preparing for an interview.
First and foremost, all of your interview clothes need to be in good repair. Holes and stains are guaranteed to leave a poor impression, so they need to be avoided at all costs. Similarly, every piece needs to fit well, as loose clothing makes a person appear disheveled while items that are too tight may seem inappropriate in a professional setting.
Additionally, you want to make sure your attire isn’t rumpled when you arrive. While you may not be able to prevent every wrinkle before you come in for your interview, ironing your outfit before you leave home can be beneficial.
If you aren’t sure what sort of clothing is appropriate for the environment, always err on the side of more dressed up and conservative. In many cases, business casual is a solid choice, but it’s hard to go wrong with a classic suit and tie or similar outfit if you aren’t sure what the hiring manager expects.
Master Your Body Language
During your interview, your body language can be just as important as the words you use when answering a question. By using positive body language, like sufficient eye contact and smiling, you increase your odds the hiring manager will see you as a competent professional.
Similarly, learning to maintain an open posture can help you seem friendlier and more self-assured while using power poses and standing or sitting up straight can make you appear more confident.
When you rehearse your interview responses prior to the meeting, spend some time reciting your answers in front of a mirror. This will allow you to observe your mannerisms, giving you a chance to adjust your body language to send the ideal message.
Ultimately, your appearance and body language do matter during a job interview, so working to improve them both can increase your odds of being selected for the role. If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a positive impression on hiring managers, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.
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.
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.
Over the past few years, the number of H-1B visa applications has largely risen. Companies embraced it as an opportunity to find skilled foreign workers to fill vacant positions, particularly in the tech sector where low unemployment and growing skill gaps in the American workforce have made hiring a challenge.
However, recent data suggest the pattern has possibly changed, indicating tech firms may be seeking alternatives to H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa program gives American businesses the ability to secure non-immigrant foreign professionals to work for their company. It was designed to ensure companies could access skills and abilities when they aren’t presented in their current workforce and aren’t available in their area.
For the 2018-2019 filing period, the number of petitions dropped by approximately 4 percent, signaling a shift in company mentality regarding the program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated only 190,098 petitions were filed for that time, a notable drop from the approximately 236,000 petitions received in 2016.
Reason for the Drop
After President Donald Trump was elected, he quickly declared his intention to overhaul the H1-B visa program. This included making the requirements more stringent across the board, including for initial selections and renewals as well as H-4 visas for spouses of H-1B workers.
The intention was to encourage companies to hire Americans and other legal immigrants in lieu of using the H-1B program, and it may have worked.
A reduced number of petitions suggests businesses aren’t turning to H-1B visas as a potential solution as often. Some may have decided to reduce their number of petitions fearing that the chance for approval was shrinking, particularly since the requirements are harder to meet. Others may have become more diligent about finding alternatives, lowering their need for the program based on updated hiring practices.
However, even with the policy changes and the initial reduction in petitions, it’s too soon to tell if this year’s decline is a one-off or a sign of a new pattern emerging. This may be an indication that companies were hesitant to submit petitions based on the Trump administration’s stance and various announcements about increased difficulty in obtaining approval. But this could shift again after the current period finishes and the state of the approved or rejected petitions becomes more widely known.
Ultimately, the H-1B visa program is still in flux. The full impact of the policy updates is not yet known, and additional changes may be on the horizon, sending the program into a different direction.
At this point, it’s safe to say companies are seeking out alternatives that allow them to locate citizens and legal immigrants for their vacancies, instead of using the program. If you are currently seeking skilled professionals for your job openings, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s top talent. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs today and see how our services can benefit you.
Network engineers are vital. They ensure companies and employees have access to critical resources, allowing them to handle their duties quickly and efficiently.
While technical ability is obviously important, there are other skills that are essential if you want to have a successful career. If you're going to rise through the ranks as a network engineer, here are three must-have skills to keep you moving forward.
Network engineers, like many other tech professionals, are no longer in the proverbial shadows, restricted to basement work areas and never interacting with other employees.
Today, network engineers need to communicate with other professionals, including team members, upper management, and a variety of departments. Often, you’ll be tasked with relaying complex information to individuals who aren’t as tech-savvy. Additionally, you have to work with other departments to ensure any network changes actually meet their needs.
Without strong communication skills, you’ll struggle as a network engineer, so consider this a must.
Since a core part of a network engineer’s job is the creation and deployment of potentially complex networks, having strong organizational skills is a must. You need to be able to outline a project, break it down into logical steps, and keep everything on target as you move forward.
Depending on your level of seniority, you may also be responsible for requesting bids, managing budgets, and ensuring outside parties adhere to their contractual obligations. Without strong organizational skills, it’s easy for the details to fall through the cracks, and this could quickly derail a project and, potentially, harm your career.
Willingness to Learn
While this is more of a trait than a skill, a willingness to learn is essential for any network engineer who wants to be successful in their career. Technology evolves quickly, and IT professionals need to stay up-to-date if they're going to remain relevant in the field.
Without a willingness to learn or, even worse, a reluctance, you’ll quickly become stagnant in your network engineering career. Over time, your skill set may also become obsolete, cutting your career short.
You don’t necessarily have to commit to a lengthy formal education to keep up with the latest and greatest in the field. Instead, you can focus on up-and-coming certifications, attend training seminars and conferences, or simply conduct your own research. Additionally, if your company is bringing in a new technology, embrace it and focus on acquiring the knowledge to use it properly.
Ultimately, network engineers who possess the skills listed above are poised for greater success than their counterparts who may be lacking in these areas. If you haven’t focused on those before, now is a great time to start.
If you are currently seeking a new network engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to top employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our services can help you find your ideal role.
After Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017, the world has become fascinated with cryptocurrencies. The virtual currencies were designed to be an alternative medium for payments, employing new ledger mechanisms to record transactions and monitor the flow of funds.
However, the largely unregulated cryptocurrency market has also come under fire. Scams aren’t uncommon, and some question whether they help support illegal activities simply based on how they are designed, even if it is an unintentional side effect.
Cryptocurrencies are shaking up the global market. If you aren’t familiar with how they are used, here’s what you need to know.
The Appeal of Cryptocurrencies
While initially considered a novelty by many governments, cryptocurrencies have significant potential when it comes to international dealings. The funds are easy to use and can provide alternatives to individuals or companies operating in countries where the local currency is unstable.
Additionally, cryptocurrencies are primarily unregulated, providing people with the ability to circumvent strict controls regarding taxation and the flow of money, both internally and across borders.
The technical mechanisms are also appealing to some. Blockchain ledgers provide some benefits for the recording and tracking of transactions, being mostly transparent and unalterable.
Government Responses and Perspectives
As cryptocurrencies gained traction, many governments began examining the digital currency market in an effort to develop proper controls, particularly when it comes to preventing issues like tax evasion. However, few limitations on the use of cryptocurrencies are currently in place, and it may take time to resolve any potential problems, as some may not yet be especially apparent.
Issues of High Volatility
One of the biggest concerns regarding cryptocurrencies is their volatile nature. At one point in 2017, Bitcoins were valued at over $19,000 each. However, the market has since experienced significant declines, even falling below the $8,000 mark.
While the high experienced by Bitcoin has led some to invest in it and other altcoins as a means of diversifying their portfolios, the future of most cryptocurrencies is incredibly uncertain. Some financial experts fear that a crash is inevitable while others claim that a recovery is on the horizon.
A boom or crash can impact global markets in a variety of ways, though the low total market capitalization should prevent a drop from having the same level of impact as those in other areas, such as when mortgage-backed securities led to a global financial crisis.
The size of the market likely means that there is little systemic risk today, though that may change depending on how much traction cryptocurrencies gain and how investors react. Additionally, new legislation will impact the effect virtual currencies have on larger markets, but the precise impact of regulations won’t be fully known until they are in place.
Ultimately, cryptocurrencies are a fledgling part of the global market, so the full effect of their presence may not be known for some time.
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 expertise can benefit you.