How Machine Learning and AI Are Improving Forecasting

Forecasting is a critical part of business operations. For example, being able to estimate future customer demand and sales numbers can help companies anticipate revenue. Similarly, technology departments have to predict ongoing storage needs, computing requirements, and other areas that fall in their purview while planning departments have to prepare for the number of products that may be needed to meet demand.

The ability to forecast accurately is often deemed critical. Without reasonable numbers, operational decisions may not align with what actually occurs over the next weeks, months, or years.

Often, companies rely heavily on people to make forecasts. However, as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) become more accessible, we are on the precipice of a forecasting transformation; one that has already started to take root.

If you are wondering how machine learning and AI are improving forecasting, here’s what you need to know.

Published in IT Infrastructure

Tech Pros Prefer Higher Pay Over Perks

 

Offering a robust compensation package is necessary if you want to attract and retain top tech talent. While this is widely understood, not all companies know precisely how to break up the compensation package to ensure it is enticing.

The tech boom led many businesses to believe that perks were more important than higher salaries. Workplaces with ping-pong tables and on-site gyms made headlines some years ago, making it seem like these additions were more valued by employees.

However, a recent survey showed that perks aren’t necessarily the most important form of compensation. Instead, tech professionals still favor higher pay.

Published in Staffing News

5 Interview Questions to Seek Out Top Performers

 

Finding the right candidate to fill a vacant position can be challenging. Often, the interview is your best chance of separating the okay job seekers from genuine top performers. As a result, asking the right questions is critical. Otherwise, you might not find out important details that can help you figure out who can actually excel in the role.

Luckily, there are questions you can ask to gain insights into which candidates are the best and brightest. With that in mind, here are five interview questions to ask if you need top performers.

Published in Recruiting

Protect Your Sites SEO from these Cybersecurity Threats

 

Having a sound and reliable search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is increasingly becoming a standard business practice. Ensuring current and potential customers can easily find your website can be critical and, the higher up you are in the ranks, the more likely you will attract new buyers.

Rising through the SEO ranks takes time and a lot of diligence. However, even if you are at the top of the list and have been so for years, you can lose it all if certain cyberthreats get their claws into your site.

If you want to protect your site’s SEO, here are three cybersecurity threats you need to defend yourself against.

How to Keep Your Most Talented Cybersecurity Talent

 

As the labor market only seems to get tighter each day, companies are increasingly having to focus on retention. Keeping your most talented cybersecurity professionals on board is a must. Otherwise, you are stuck having to recruit a replacement, something that can be an incredibly difficult task in today’s job market landscape.

Luckily, there are things you can do to make your company more attractive to your current employees. If you want to make sure your best and brightest cybersecurity talent stay onboard, here are some tips to help you improve retention.

 

Offer the Right Working Arrangement

An increasing number of IT professionals are looking for more flexibility from their employer. The wish to work from home has made remote positions increasingly popular. Similarly, a desire for work-life balance may lead some skilled professionals to forgo traditional, full-time work.

If you want to keep highly skilled cybersecurity professionals on your team, then you need to consider these needs and accommodate them. For example, a telecommuting program that allows employees to work from home at least a few days each week can help. Adding a few part-time positions to your staff could attract skilled candidates who would otherwise turn to the gig economy, ensuring they can achieve the right level of balance.

While these options may be dramatic shifts from the usual paradigm, they could be essential if you are struggling with retention.

 

Create Opportunities for Growth and Advancement

Cybersecurity has a reputation for being highly analytical, and even somewhat repetitive. As a result, it makes the career path as a whole less enticing, decreasing the odds that people will stay in the field.

However, by offering your team chances to grow and advance, you can help them explore more of what the cybersecurity field actually involves. This can increase engagement, making the career more viable and intriguing. Plus, it adds a level of variety to the day, ensuring boredom is rare and decreasing the odds that your workers will burn out.

 

Embrace New Technologies

Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation can make certain cybersecurity tasks easier to manage. The solutions can handle more repetitive portions of the work and are incredibly effective at certain kinds of detection, at times even outpacing their human counterparts.

By embracing these technologies, you can remove those duties from your employees’ plates. Then, they can spend more time on engaging work, increasing interest in the roles and improving job satisfaction.

Plus, you will be viewed as an innovative company. This can be incredibly enticing to cybersecurity professionals, increasing the odds that you will be seen as an employer of choice.

 

Are You Looking to Add to Your Cybersecurity Team? Contact The Armada Group!

By following the tips above, you can keep your most talented cybersecurity professionals onboard. If you would like to learn more about improving retention, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our retention experts today and see how our knowledge can benefit you.

 

Published in Staffing News

H 1B Changes

 

The H-1B visa program was designed to help companies find skilled workers in instances where there wasn’t a sufficient supply in their local, American workforce. However, abuses of the system have led to a series of changes, and one of the most recent ones takes aim at the outsourcing industry.

 

Form ETA-9035 & 9035E from the US Department of Labor (DOL) now have questions that could force employers to state whether the H-1B visa holder will be assigned to a “secondary entity” as part of their employment. Additionally, it requires employers to identify who those companies are, effectively forcing them to reveal their clients.

 

The Updates to Form ETA-9035 & 9035E

On the new version of the form, employers applying for H-1B visas first have to answer whether the workers “will be placed with a secondary entity at this place of employment.” Essentially, the DOL is determining whether the visa holder will actually perform duties for a third-party, acting as a contractor.

 

If the answer to the question is “yes,” the employer applying for the H-1B visas then has to identify the “entities,” providing a legal business name, pay rates and prevailing wage rates for the work for every third-party worksite.

 

H-1B applicants aren’t the only ones who have to address these questions. The new form also applies to H-1B1 and E-3 petitions.

 

Who is Impacted by the H-1B Change

While the most obvious group impacted by the change to the H-1B process is companies that contract out their employees to other business, the impact will actually extend beyond those businesses. Anyone who uses firms that rely on H-1B visa holders to function as contractors for the firm may also feel the sting.

 

Exactly what impact the changes will have, aside from requiring employers to reveal information about clients they provide contractors to, isn’t entirely clear. However, the US government hopes it will help them combat H-1B visa fraud, which is actually beneficial to companies who use the program properly.

 

Some organizations that need H-1B visa holders to maintain operations have previously had difficulty securing enough visas, and some suspect that large contracting firms played a significant role in those challenges landing the majority of the visas. If those activities are even somewhat curtailed, the impact may be positive for companies that previously struggle.

 

Additionally, businesses that rely on reputable staffing firms for contract or contingent workers likely won’t see any difference. Many recruitment agencies don’t rely on (or even use) the H-1B visa program to secure enough workers to handle their client’s needs. Instead, they focus on the existing US workforce, using their recruitment and hiring skills to obtain top talent.

 

Contact The Armada Group for Questions About H-1B Hiring

If you would like to learn more about how the H-1B visa change may impact you, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or concerns today and see how our services and H-1B visa program expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Cybersecurity Salary

 

With the implementation of GDPR in May and information about leaks and breaches continuing to make headlines on a regular basis, cybersecurity is increasingly at the forefront of every company’s mind. This has created substantial opportunities for professionals working in the field, but some are more lucrative than others.

 

While your skill set and level of experience play a substantial role in determining your current or future salary, one seemingly innocuous factor also has an impact: your job title.

 

Even when the core competencies and experience level are predominately the same, the title associated with your current or next position can either help or hurt you when it comes to pay. If you are wondering why your title affects your cybersecurity salary, here’s what you need to know.

 

Job Title Nuances

Certain words within a job title can alert how you are perceived. This can lead to salary variances, impacting the amount you earn today and your worth in the eyes of a potential employer.

 

At times, these differences reflect differences in the nature of the duties. For example, an analyst role may spend more time monitoring and examining systems, identifying potential vulnerabilities, and creating plans to overcome weaknesses in the system. Testing may also be more prominent in an analyst position than some others, though this isn’t always the case.

 

Cybersecurity engineer jobs may focus more on actual system changes and physical or technical interventions. Design activities may also be more common.

 

However, in some cases, two roles with differing titles may be incredibly similar. Companies are free to label a position how they see fit, so there isn’t an inherent standard that all businesses must adhere to when deciding which title to use.

 

 

Salary Differences

While each organization controls the salary range it offers for a particular job, one survey showed that certain job titles tend to come with higher levels of compensation.

 

When the survey examined “Cybersecurity,” “Cybersecurity Analyst,” and “Cybersecurity Engineer,” as job titles, they found that the analyst positions tend to come with lower salaries than the other two in every major city they included in the analysis. Additionally, the generic “Cybersecurity” also tended to trend higher than the analyst roles.

 

However, it is possible to boost your value in the cybersecurity analyst field if you possess the CISSP certification. It can also have a positive impact on cybersecurity engineers, so don’t forgo the credential simply because you focus on the engineering aspects.

 

How to Make the Most of Your Cybersecurity Career

If you want to increase your earnings potential as a cybersecurity potential, it pays to seek out engineering roles over analyst positions. This small change can significantly improve your salary when you land a new job and throughout your career.

 

Should the option be available, consider listing your current cybersecurity position as an engineering role on your resume as well. This may make you appear more valuable in the eyes of potential employers, potentially leading to a higher salary offer. However, only do so if your employer supports that title as being appropriate to your position. Otherwise, a reference check may lead the hiring manager to see your resume as inaccurate or inflated, which could harm your chances of landing the job.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking to make the most of your cybersecurity career, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your professional goals today and see how our services can make finding your ideal job easier than ever before.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

H 1B

 

Most tech employers are at least familiar with the basics of the H-1B visa program. However, not as many companies are fully aware of where these visa holders are actually working. And some may be surprised to discover that the number one spot doesn’t go to a city traditionally associated with tech.

 

If you are wondering where H-1B visa holders are actually working, here’s an overview.

 

The Number One Spot

Based on a Pew Research Center study that analyzed data associated with H-1B visa approvals between 2010 and 2016, the city with the highest number of approved workers was College Station, Texas. In total, approximately 32 of every 100 H-1B visa applications made it through, reflecting a much higher rate than anywhere else in the nation.

 

Out of the approved visas, 99 percent of those workers went to Cognizant’s headquarters, which is located in College Station.

 

Other Major Cities

Overall, the east coast of the US has more H-1B visa holders approved than the west coast. For example, Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, had around 4 for every 100 applications approved, and New York-Newark-New Jersey City’s rate was 2.5 per 100. The Trenton area had just shy of 5 approvals per 100 applications while the Washington DC metro area saw 2 approvals for every 100 applications.

 

In contrast, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area had just over 2 H-1B visa approvals per 100. Other west coast cities, like Seattle, had less than 1 approval per 100.

 

Ultimately, this shows that, while H-1B visa holders are certainly present, they may not be as common as some people would think. The numbers represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of employees in the workforce, even in areas like College Station.

 

 

Salary Offerings

Even though College Station has the most H-1B visa holders working in the area, it doesn’t take the top spot when it comes to salaries. That honor goes to Bridgeport, Connecticut, with an average salary of $100,200.

 

Seattle came in second with $98,100, and Phoenix was third with $97,100.

 

In comparison, College Station had an average salary of $82,600.

 

H-1B Program Changes

President Donald Trump has expressed an interest in overhauling the H-1B visa program, though sweeping changes have yet to occur. Various federal agencies have been tasked with reviewing H-1B policies with the goal of revamping the system, though measures in Congress that would alter the program have mainly stalled.

 

Some smaller actions have impacted the H-1B visa program, including a measure that prevents H-1B visa holders’ spouses from gaining access to H-4 visas. However, even though a larger action hasn’t gone forward, that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t come along in the near future.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking tech talent to fill your vacant positions, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how our expertise can benefit your company today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Working From Home

 

It’s no surprise that a significant percentage of professionals wouldn’t consider reporting to the office their favorite part of the day. In fact, many would relish the ability to work from home, for a variety of reasons.

 

Did you know that tech professionals who work from home often save a significant amount of time and money? According to a recent report, it’s true. And those points alone can make it worth exploring remote work opportunities.

 

How Working from Home Saves Time

One of the most obvious ways working remotely can save time is by eliminating an employee’s need to commute. Depending on where they live, they may save a few hundred hours a year by forgoing the daily trip to the office.

 

Remote workers also avoid many office trappings that can waste time. For example, they won’t be interrupted by a chatty coworker who wants to discuss something non-work related or distracted by the phone call taking place one desk over. Ultimately, this allows someone who is working from home to be more productive, which is a form of time-savings in and of itself.

 

How Working from Home Save Money

Since remote workers aren’t required to commute, they can save a significant amount in gas alone. While the precise amount depends on a number of factors, including their gas mileage and driving distance, employees can save upwards of $500 a year in some cases, and nearly everyone can keep at least a couple hundred bucks annually by making the transition.

 

Additionally, not commuting reduces wear and tear on their vehicles, reducing the frequency of oil changes, new tires, and many other automobile maintenance activities. Insurance rates may also decrease, as the number of miles put on a vehicle in a year plays a role in determining the cost of the premiums. In some cases, families may even be able to reduce the total number of vehicles owned by the household, making the savings more substantial.

 

 

Even those who take public transportation can experience the money saving benefits. Typically, bus and subway passes come at a cost, but they might not have to be purchased if the worker isn’t commuting.

 

But the savings go beyond commutes. If a worker typically has to grab lunch from a restaurant or a cup of coffee from a café on the way in, that expense is also eliminated. For professionals who were required to wear business attire in the office, their clothing costs and dry cleaning bills may decrease as well.

 

Even Occasional Telecommuting Helps

Employees can experience time and money saving benefits even if they don’t work from home every day. Just one or two days a week can create a noticeable difference in both areas, so companies that offer flexible work arrangements can tout the potential gains to employees.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the time and money saving benefits of working from home, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Less Productive

 

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to assume that technology is designed to make our lives easier. It provides us with access to a substantial amount of information, regardless of where we go, and often helps us stay connected to both our familial and professional networks, making the devices feel invaluable.

 

But, depending on how you use it throughout the day, your favorite device may actually be harming your productivity more than it is helping. Since most professionals are diligently striving to balance complex work and home obligations, it’s crucial that your technology work for you instead of against you. Here’s what you need to know.

 

Notifications are Distracting You

Be it on a smartphone or computer, when a notification pops up, most people take a moment to see what it’s all about. This can pull us away from the tasks or activities we are participating in, regardless of whether they are professional or personal.

 

Instead of letting your notifications distract you, turn them off when you need to focus. This can include eliminating those associated with an incoming email, social media post, news alerts, or text message as well as apps that aren’t related to your current activities, like restaurant deals or coupon sites.

 

In most cases, it isn’t an emergency, and the message behind the notification can easily wait for an hour or two. If you're concerned about missing something critical, inform coworkers, managers, and family members about your intention to be less distracted by notifications, and request they contact you via other means, such as a phone call, if your immediate attention is actually required.

 

Be Free from Newsletters

A lot of professionals struggle to keep control of the email inbox, especially since every time you sign up for a website or app your usually automatically enrolled in a variety of newsletters. To help you save time, consider unsubscribing from every newsletter that doesn’t provide you with value, including sales flyers from retailers and restaurants.

 

Generally, the information is also accessible through the website, so you can always look it up when you need it. And freeing yourself from the daily email onslaught can be liberating, so it’s worth the effort.

 

Up Your Communication Skills

Text messaging and social media often promote the use of shorthand and quick statements to get your point across. But, at work, you may need to work harder to communicate effectively in writing.

 

Some of the quick responses we’ve grown accustomed to in text messages aren’t sufficient enough for workplace problems, often coming off as ambiguous or even dismissive. Instead of relying on these short messages, take the time to be thorough, yet concise. This eliminates an unnecessary back and forth triggered when the recipient of your message needs additional clarification while also ensuring you aren’t crafting a message that is longer than required.

 

Ultimately, the approach will save both you and them a substantial amount of time and the additional effort will be appreciated.

 

If you would like to learn more or are working to hire a new employee, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our flexible approach can work for you.

 

 

 

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