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Are Robots Finally Coming for Your Job in 2019

 

Many professionals worry that certain technologies will make their skills obsolete. News about advancements involving artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation often suggests that workers in certain jobs are at risk of being replaced by technology, leaving many nervous about the future of their career.

While these technologies are indeed becoming more robust, robots aren’t coming for most jobs any time soon. If you are wondering if your job is at risk, here’s why you should breathe easy in 2019.

Published in Staffing News

Why is AI Bias So Hard to Fix

 

While an artificial intelligence (AI) does not have its own personality, per se, that does not mean they are not affected by bias. Deep learning algorithms are designed to identify patterns and use them to make recommendations, come to decisions, or render conclusions. If any part of the learning process promotes bias, then the AI ultimately develops one. And, if an AI bias occurs, it can be incredibly hard to fix.

 

The Origins of AI Bias

AI bias can happen for a variety of reasons. While the most obvious source is the data used by the system, other issues can also result in bias.

 

For example, an AI is usually designed to help answer a specific question. If that question contains a subjective component, or a concept that is open to interpretation, the company creating the AI puts their own definition on the concept. If their viewpoint is biased (even if it is unintentional) or even just poorly defined, the AI could produce unintended outputs, creating a lack of fairness or other observable bias.

 

When data is collected, bias can show up in one of two ways. First, if the data collection method results in an inaccurate depiction of reality, that can create bias. Second, if the data reflects existing biases that are present in society, the AI then has them as well.

 

Finally, when data is prepared, bias can also creep in there, even if the source data was unbiased. For instance, the attributes selected for the AI to review could create a prejudice.

 

Why Eliminating AI Bias is So Challenging

Dealing with AI bias is actually incredibly difficult. In some cases, the introduction of bias is not very apparent, so the designer may not realize there is a problem until they begin reviewing outputs. When this occurs, retroactively finding the source of the issue is a daunting task.

 

Similarly, the subjective nature of some core questions can make it difficult to determine what an unbiased outcome looks like. Along the same line, defining fairness itself is not easy, particularly since it has to be examined in mathematical terms when designing an AI. Since social context can impact the definition of fairness, and that can vary dramatically from one location to the next, the challenge is even greater.

 

Dealing with AI Bias in the Future

While the AI bias problem could be considered vast, researchers are working diligently to find a solution to the problem. This includes developing new algorithms that detect potential issues, including hidden biases, and processes that hold organizations accountable for unfair practices.

 

Dealing with AI bias will take time. However, even if it will not be solved easily, a solution is in the works.

 

Do You Need Assistance Building Your Tech Team? Contact The Armada Group!

If you would like to learn more about AI bias and how it can impact business, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our deep learning expertise can benefit you.

 

Published in Hiring Managers

How the Newest Tech Trends will Impact Consumer Markets

 

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.

 

Blockchain

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.

 

Consumer-Facing AI

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.

 

Published in Hiring Managers

High Paying IT Skills

 

When you want to make the most of your IT career, it isn’t uncommon to jump online and learn about high-paying opportunities in the field. However, this usually results in article after article discussing the highest-paying jobs in IT, and this isn’t always helpful to tech professionals who aren’t interested in switching specialties.

 

After all, it can take a significant amount of time and training to go from a focus on networking to concentrating on cybersecurity. Additionally, you may have to take a few steps down on the career ladder to make a transition like that viable, and that isn’t always a lucrative approach.

 

However, you can still enhance your earning potential without having to fully reshape your IT career. By acquiring specific high-paying skills, you can make yourself a more valuable employee, even within your current niche.

 

If you are wondering which skills are potentially worth pursuing, here are some of the highest-paying tech skills of today.

 

Data Architecture

As companies continue to become more data-driven, having skilled professionals who can understand and enhance the complex relationships between systems, applications, and databases is a must. Additionally, they also need IT pros who can design and implement new storage and management systems, ensuring they have the ideal solution for their needs.

 

While data architecture may be managed by someone specifically in a data architect role, these duties may also be assigned to other professionals. For example, database administrators, application developers, project managers, and business analysts may benefit from this skill set, allowing them to earn more while remaining in their specialty.

 

Complex Event Processing (CEP)

While CEP has been around since the 1990s, it is particularly relevant in today’s business world. Big data, cybersecurity, and IoT have increased demand for this form of data processing, allowing data correlations based on information stored in multiple systems to be more easily identified.

 

CEP may be helpful for cybersecurity, IoT, data analytics, and a range of other IT professionals, making it a valuable skill to add to your repertoire.

 

Machine Learning

A subset of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning skills are increasingly valuable as more companies look to create systems that can improve how automated tasks are performed without the need to explicitly program them at each juncture. Additionally, machine learning is relevant to a range of IT specialties, including cybersecurity, data analytics, IoT, e-commerce, and more.

 

Since the technology has so many potential applications and is still relevantly new in the business world, adding machine learning skills to your arsenal can be particularly lucrative.

 

Prescriptive Analytics

Another subset in the AI space with significance in multiple IT specialties, prescriptive analytics involves processing historical data, identifying trends, and locating patterns as a means of creating meaningful predictions about future events that are accompanied by actionable recommendations. The suggestions provided take this technology beyond predictive analytics, and it is likely to become more prevalent as companies learn to harness its power.

 

Since prescriptive analytics can be relevant in a number of specialties, including cybersecurity, data management, IT operations, and application development, it’s a skill that can provide value to a variety of IT professionals.

 

Ultimately, all of the skills above are some of the highest-paying ones in the IT world today. By adding them to your repertoire, you are empowering yourself to have a more lucrative career, even without having to change IT specialties.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are searching for new tech job opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced recruiters and see how our expertise can benefit your career today.

 

 

Stay in Touch with Your Old Boss

 

When you move on to a new role, the idea of staying in touch with your old boss may seem odd. This is especially true if your relationship wasn’t always ideal or was downright challenging at times. Even if you had a strong connection, which can occur when a supervisor isn’t just overseeing your work but also helps you grow as a professional, touching base regularly might feel strange, particularly when it comes to discussing how happy you are in your new job.

 

However, remaining in contact with your former manager is actually a smart move, especially when it comes to the success of your career. If you are sure why, here aren’t four reasons to stay in touch with your old boss.

 

  1. Guidance

Just because you’ve started in a new position doesn’t mean your old boss can’t offer you guidance during trying times. In fact, they can be an excellent sounding board when you run into challenges, as they aren’t personally involved in your new work situation.

 

As long as you aren’t in a profession where discussing the details of your new role with someone outside the company could be an issue, don’t discount how valuable your former manager’s advice could be during a time of need. They could become a helpful mentor during your career journey, but that can’t happen if you don’t stay in contact.

 

  1. Professional Development

Ultimately, few people understand your professional strengths and weaknesses like your former manager. This makes them uniquely positioned when it comes to helping you determine what areas you should focus on if you want to grow your skills.

 

While they may have shared some of these details with you while you were part of their team, they may be able to speak more bluntly now that the relationship is over. By staying connected, you can invite them to discuss these points with you without being hampered by policy or formality, and you may learn valuable tidbits you wouldn’t hear about any other way.

 

  1. Opportunities

When you land a new job, the idea of having to secure another one in the future is usually the farthest thing from your mind. However, unless you are approaching retirement, there’s a decent chance you’ll end up on the job market at some point during your career.

 

Like you, your old boss maintains their own professional network, and they may hear about exciting job openings at other companies. Additionally, like you, your boss may secure a new opportunity with another business, giving you a connection to a new organization.

 

By staying in touch with your old boss, you can count on them as part of your network. That way, when it’s time to find something new again, you can reach out and see if they are aware of any jobs that may suit you.

 

  1. References

When you need to provide a prospective employer with contact information for a reference, being able to list a former manager is often ideal. In most cases, your old boss’s input is valuable for a few years after you leave that position, so keeping in touch ensures you can provide their details should the need arise.

 

Even if you landed your dream job, it’s always wise to have a plan in case you end up on the job market sooner than you expected. Unanticipated events, like a layoff or emergency move, can throw your career off track, so having important references available is always essential.

 

Those are just a few of the reasons why it’s smart to stay in touch with your old boss. If you would like to learn more or are hoping to land a new job soon, the staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our highly skilled team members today and see how our career management expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Incompetent Boss

 

At some point, nearly everyone experiences stress related to their boss. However, when your manager is genuinely incompetent, dealing with the situation can be incredibly taxing.

 

While severe ineptitude is generally rare in the workplace, it does occur. Usually, it is the result of an individual receiving a promotion for the wrong reasons or being tasked to oversee positions when they aren’t overly familiar with the person’s specialty.

 

Luckily, it is possible to thrive at work, even if you have an incompetent boss, though it does require getting into the proper mindset. Here’s how to get started.

 

  1. Be Empathetic

What may initially appear to be incompetence may, in fact, be something quite different. If your boss is overtasked or under significant pressure, their missteps may be the result of those stresses and not a lack of understanding.

 

By assuming an empathetic mindset, you may be better equipped to discover the nature of the issue. This could lead to a revelation that they aren’t actually incompetent or at least make it easier to understand that bosses, like all people, are human and can make mistakes.

 

  1. Get Advice

Sometimes, your frustration can cloud your judgment, making it hard to find a reasonable approach to the situation. If this occurs, requesting advice from a trusted colleague or mentor may help you gain perspective and find workable solutions, giving you the tools necessary to cope with an incompetent boss.

 

 

  1. Identify Solutions

When you discuss an issue with your boss or have a request, don’t just approach them with the problem. Instead, also provide them with potential solutions that can help them fulfill your needs. For example, if you need their help, require their input, or need permission to go forward in a particular direction, make that clear. Then, if your boss can’t fulfill that need, present an alternative that allows you to get what you need.

 

This approach allows you to help your boss solve the problem, making the entire situation easier on everyone.

 

  1. Practice Self-Care

Prolonged periods of stress can be harmful to your health, so practicing self-care is a necessity while you navigate the situation. For example, resist the urge to victimize yourself or spend a significant amount of time complaining to others, an approach that typically doesn’t yield positive results.

 

Instead, focus on the positives of your job and use those points to stay motivated and happy, limiting the psychological impact of working for an incompetent boss.

 

  1. Move On

In some cases, looking for a new job may be the best solution if your manager is genuinely incompetent. It gives you the ability to find a boss and environment that better meets your needs, allowing you to obtain greater job satisfaction and reduce stress.

 

If you are interested in finding a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your ideal role today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Interview Questions

 

Whether you are applying to an IT job or a position with a tech company, you typically expect to be asked certain technical questions. After all, they either apply to the role itself or the organization’s business model, so these inquiries have an innate level of relevancy.

 

However, it isn’t uncommon to be asked non-tech questions as well. Typically, questions that fall outside of the tech landscape serve a critical purpose in assessing whether you are a strong fit for the position or the company as a whole.

 

Even tech giants like Google and Amazon branch into non-tech areas, regardless of whether the position is tech-oriented. If you are wondering why they ask their candidates these non-tech job interview questions, here’s what you need to know.

 

Soft Skill Assessments

Communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership potential are often highly relevant to nearly every company, regardless of the position itself or their industry. Hiring managers will often ask non-tech questions that help them assess a candidate’s soft skills as a means of determining whether the job seeker possesses the right mix to be successful in the role.

 

For example, if you are asked for an example of a time when you used data to make actionable recommendations (something Amazon has been known to do), the hiring manager is looking for insight into your analytical skills and how you use them to benefit the company.

 

Similarly, being asked how you would prioritize or choose from assignments from multiple leaders in the organization gives the hiring manager information about how you assess your skills, any preferences you may have, and how you approach challenging situations involving workplace dynamics.

 

Since soft skills are incredibly valuable assets, hiring managers want to know which you possess and how you use them to be effective in a position, and non-tech questions are a common approach for making these assessments.

 

 

Cultural Fit

When it comes to determining whether a candidate fits into a company’s cultural, tech questions aren’t always ideal. Instead, hiring managers use non-tech questions to assess whether the environment is right for you.

 

For instance, questions about your preferred management style can let them know if you would thrive or struggle under the position’s manager. Asking you to describe an ideal physical environment helps them ascertain whether the workplace itself matches your preferences.

 

Similarly, requests for examples of how you function as part of a team provide powerful insights into how you work in group scenarios and whether your approach would mesh with your coworkers.

 

Ultimately, non-tech questions help the hiring manager get to know you beyond your technical capabilities. Since cultural fit and soft skills are so important in every workplace, it’s wise to anticipate that you’ll face similar questions yourself, as they are practically guaranteed to arise.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new job opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Match Business 

 

It wasn’t long ago that IT functioned in a supporting within nearly every business, learning about the business rules and processes and identifying corresponding solutions. Now, technology is evolving at a rapid pace, having the capacity to define the business and serve as a source for positive organizational change.

 

As things have shifted, IT is tasked with being a leader in innovation and has certainly become a more visible component within the company thanks to its ability to be the root of future successes. This makes matching your tech to the business incredibly critical.

 

If the idea of making your technology match the company is new to you, here’s how you get started.

 

 

Concentrate on Creating a Competitive Advantage

With the number of IT solutions available on the market today, it’s easy to become sidetracked by offerings that don’t align with your larger strategic goals. Instead of allowing yourself to be automatically caught up in the latest developments, focus only on those that will enable you to create a distinct competitive advantage, preferably one that is sustainable.

 

Ultimately, every business has mission-critical tasks that help with market differentiation, and supporting these activities through updated tech can allow your company to stay ahead in the overall marketplace. Identify the areas where the organization truly stands out from the crowd and seek out tech that can make it easier to maintain that advantage.

 

At times, you’ll need to dig deep into how the business operates to figure out which areas truly deserve special attention. You may need to ask certain questions, often repeatedly, that allows you to drill down to the core areas where a competitive advantage exists as many people want to believe that their company outshines the competition in every possible area. However, every organization will have a core focus that separates them from similar offerings in the marketplace, and those are the areas that truly deserve additional innovation as a means of staying ahead.

 

Befriend Best Practices

Once you’ve identified the company’s competitive advantage, it’s time to build best practices that keep everyone aligned with this goal. Generally, this means standardizing specific activities and simplifying your core objectives so that everyone can operate on the same page.

 

In the end, every project IT takes on should be for the betterment of the primary competitive advantage. Those that don’t align with that concept should usually be set by the wayside, at least temporarily, so that the larger goal of remaining ahead can be the focus.

 

By ensuring your tech matches your business, you can increase your odds of maintaining your advantage without wasting time, energy, or other resources on tasks that genuinely aren’t as critical to your success.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a tech professional who can help you reach your goals, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to learn more about how our services can benefit you today.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Senior DevOps

 

If your developing a career in DevOps, the idea of being a Senior DevOps Engineer may be particularly enticing. Like any upper-level position, you’ll need to possess the proper skill set and also make an effort to separate yourself from your peers.

 

To help you begin on your way to becoming a Senior DevOps Engineer, here are some tips to get you started.

 

Technical Skills

First and foremost, you’ll need to be especially proficient in a range of scripting languages, including options like Bash, PowerShell, and Python. You may also need to be familiar with working on multiple computing platforms, such as Linux and Windows.

 

When web services are a component of your development efforts, being experienced in RESTful services is beneficial. And, to meet project objectives, you may need a thorough understanding of continuous integration and delivery, as well as knowledge of configuration management concept.

 

Since cloud services and tools can play a vital role in DevOps, being familiar with CM tools and frameworks like Chef and SALT can help you get ahead. Expertise in test automation is also highly desirable and can help you stand out from your peers.

 

Soft Skills

Like most IT positions, Senior DevOps Engineers also need a range of soft skills to excel. Most importantly, you’ll need strong written and verbal communications skills, including the ability to make complex information more accessible to stakeholders who may be less tech-savvy.

 

Planning and organizational skills are incredibly useful as they make it easier to keep projects on track and ensure you are handling your tasks based on any applicable deadlines. Being able to work as part of a team is also crucial.

 

Senior DevOps Engineers may also need to guide junior team members, so leadership skills can help you move up the ladder to the next level position.

 

Securing a Promotion

While there is no guaranteed way to obtain a promotion, certain efforts increase your likelihood of success. For example, volunteering for leadership roles can help you develop your skills and assert yourself as someone who can direct and manage the work of others. Taking on new challenges shows your interested in expanding your knowledge base and growing in the field while participating in professional development activities also demonstrate you are working to keep your skills sharp and relevant.

 

You also need to meet the fundamental requirements of your current position, such as meeting your deadlines and maintaining high-quality standards. Additionally, you need to be open to feedback and work diligently to follow any advice that can allow you to become a top employee.

 

Securing a promotion is generally about more than just being technically proficient, so aim to become a well-rounded employee who is willing to go the extra mile and support larger team goals to ensure the company has everything they need to succeed.

 

If you’re looking for a new DevOps position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the most innovative employers in the area. Contact us to see how our services can help you get ahead in your career.

 

 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Certifications

 

With competition for top talent in the IT field being fiercer than ever, many companies are exploring new options to help with recruitment and retention. One such benefit involves paying for employees’ certifications.

 

While the benefit to workers is clear, as having a business cover the cost of any form of continuing education is seen as a boon, some organizations struggle to see the value it provides to them. However, paying for employee certifications can actually be a very smart move when handled wisely. Here’s what you need to know.

 

Fill Skill Gaps

Even in today’s tech-oriented world, it can be hard to find candidates who possess the skills you need to round out your team. And, with unemployment among IT professionals remaining well below the national average, it may only become more challenging.

 

Choosing to pay for employee certifications can ultimately help you overcome any existing skill gaps as you can sponsor the training of your top employees, giving you access to their new skills. Essentially, you can mold your current staff into an ideal team, covering all the competencies you need to move forward towards your goals. And, by selecting truly talented workers for the task, you can almost guarantee they’ll come back with the level of understanding you need.

 

A Win-Win

Many businesses turn to traditional offerings, like raises, to keep talented employees on staff. While a larger paycheck is likely to have a positive impact on workers and may improve retention rates, the direct benefit to employers isn’t necessarily as high as with paying for certifications.

 

Most IT professionals see the value in additional certifications, as it can help them move forward in their career, and companies can benefit from their increased skill level, helping them achieve their goals as well. In some cases, offering certifications in lieu of salary increases can have a similar effect on retention, won’t necessarily cost more than a raise, and gives your company access to skills that may otherwise be unavailable.

 

Boost Morale

Having an employer support professional growth can be seen as a substantial benefit for workers. Not only does it save them from having to pay out of pocket for additional training, but it also proves the company is invested in their forward progress and various personal goals.

 

In the end, this can lead to a happier workforce, increasing productivity and improving retention. In addition, employees who are satisfied with their employer are more likely to stay for the long haul, and may also share their appreciation with others, making recruitment efforts easier as well.

 

Offering to pay for employee certifications does require a strong plan, as you need to exude a level of control over which options are supported and who would qualify for such a program. However, by investing in this area and creating a strong guiding structure, your company has a lot to gain from the arrangement.

 

If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT professional to join your team, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News
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