When you have your dream job in sight, it can be as exciting as it is scary. After all, you have to outshine the other candidates if you are going to land the role, and that isn’t always an easy task.
Luckily, there are things you can do to beat out the competition and secure your ideal job. If you aren’t sure how to begin, here are five ways you can get started.
Bring Something Unique to the Table
When you are applying to a job, you can almost guarantee that your strongest competitors are bringing similar technical ability to the table. After all, if they didn’t have the prowess to handle the tasks, their resume would likely get discarded.
If you want to stand out, finding a unique non-technical offering can make a difference. Consider your personality and attributes and identify points that can help you excel in the role. Then, find ways to add them to your resume and cover letter, making sure the hiring manager is aware of the fact that you have more to offer than hard skills.
Make an Emotional Connection
How a hiring manager feels about you can play as much of a role in their decision as for how well your skills and experience match the job posting. If you have a chance to bond emotionally with the hiring manager, take it.
For example, if you can connect your passion for the opportunity to the company’s mission, that can help forge a bond. Similarly, by being friendly and open during the interview, they may see you as more likable, which can also create a connection.
Make Subtle Comparisons
If there are areas where you perform better than average, you can stand out from the crowd with a subtle comparison. While you should never directly bash other candidates, showcasing how you outperform the average person in your field can help.
You’ll need to do some research about statistics that apply to your chosen profession and then identify areas where you perform better than average (and can prove it). While this can take some time and energy, it can allow you to highlight why you should be considered for the job.
Correct Mistakes When Possible
Nearly everyone makes a mistake during an interview at some point in their career. Maybe they draw a blank on a topic or accidentally get an answer wrong. While this can feel dooming, a single misstep isn’t usually the end of the world. Plus, you may also have a chance to correct your error if you proceed properly.
For instance, if you missed an answer during the interview but remember the correct one before the meeting is over, you may be able to revisit the topic in a later response or when you are given a chance to ask questions. While you don’t want to force it into the conversation, as that may not impress the hiring manager, if it can work into the discussion naturally, touch on it.
Otherwise, when you send a thank you email, you can also cover it then. Let the hiring manager know that you remember the mistake and correct it quickly and concisely.
Have a Closing Summary
As your interview draws to an end, having a closing summary ready that allows you to touch on your key skills and attributes, bringing everything together. This can help you stand out by making sure your last impression is a powerful one.
Want the Most Exciting Contracts in Silicon Valley?
By following the tips above, you can beat out the competition and land your dream job. If you are looking for more valuable information, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
When you get a job offer, the excitement can easily overtake you, leading you to say “yes” before you really look at whether the opportunity is right for you. While the new role might be great for you, it’s also possible it isn’t, so taking the time to make sure is a smart move.
If you are trying to determine if a tech job is right for you, here are five questions to ask yourself before you accept.
Is Now the Right Time to Make a Switch?
As the saying goes, timing is everything. While you may be dying to leave your position, how your exit impacts your current employer is a point worth examining.
Will you be heading out in the middle of a big project? Is your involvement in the project critical for its success? Can you give sufficient notice?
Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s wise to consider how your quitting will affect your current employer. After all, if you leave them in a bind, they may not be willing to give you positive employment references in the future.
Additionally, you want to reflect on whether your personal life can support a change. If you need to relocate, how will that impact you and your family? If the new job comes with longer hours, can you still maintain an appropriate work-life balance while meeting all of your obligations? Will your spouse or partner need to take on more to accommodate the shift or will the decision impact their career (which can occur if you need to relocate)?
Make sure to review the points above before you say “yes,” especially if other people will be accompanying you on the journey.
Are You Excited About the Opportunity?
Sometimes, you apply for a job that seems amazing on the surface, only to later discover you aren’t really excited about the opportunity. Maybe something came up during the interview that changed your perspective, or you found details about the company that gives you pause.
Regardless of the reason, if you aren’t enthusiastic about the new role, then it might be better to say “no” and continue looking for something that’s a better fit.
Is the Culture a Match?
Every company has a culture. If you feel comfortable in the environment, then you are more likely to excel. However, if it doesn’t seem like a good match, you might want to decline the offer.
Being the odd person out or trying to force yourself to fit into a culture that doesn’t jive with your personality can be harmful to your well-being and may impact the quality of your work. If the culture doesn’t align with your values and preferences, then looking for an opportunity that does is usually a smarter choice.
Will You Receive Better Compensation?
While pay, benefits, and perks aren’t everything, they are always something. You need to consider whether you come out financially ahead by taking the job or are at least able to maintain the status quo.
Examine the entire compensation package, including the value and expenses associated with your benefits, to see if you are making positive strides. You also want to look at the shift in your costs, such as whether a change in your commute helps you save money or if it will lead to higher expenses.
If the math doesn’t work in your favor, then carefully consider whether making the change is a wise decision.
Will This Job Help My Career?
Sometimes, even if you will take a financial hit by accepting a job, it’s worth it because you can use the experience to move your career in a better direction. However, even if you are getting a substantial raise, it’s always smart to consider whether taking the position will help or hurt your chances when it comes to making progress in your field.
Ideally, you want your new job to lead to additional opportunities after you gain experience with your new employer. If that isn’t likely to happen and you’re not looking for your last role before retirement, then you might want to continue with your search.
Ultimately, it’s always wise to carefully consider whether saying “yes” is the right decision. If it isn’t, then don’t hesitate to turn the job down. You can always continue your search and, by doing so, give yourself the chance to find an opportunity that is genuinely a good fit.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can make finding your ideal role easier than ever.
Having the right credentials on your resume is only part of what you need to advance your career; you also need to make a great impression during the interview. Being able to demonstrate why you are the best candidate is the key to ultimate success, so proper interview preparation is critical. So, what do you need to do to nail your next IT job interview? Here are some steps to get you on the right track.
Find Examples of Real Interview Questions
Everyone’s heard that practice makes perfect, but figuring out which responses you need to hammer out isn’t always easy. Luckily, there are resources available online that can give you example questions to work on based on topics covered in real interviews. Glassdoor, the popular job site, gives users the chance to post information about their interview experiences, including the exact questions they were asked by hiring managers. These tidbits of information are a gold mine for preparation material, so taking the time to research what may be asked can help you get great answers together in advance.
See if any questions have been posted by people who have interviewed with your target company for similar positions first. If you find the information lacking, then check into what competitor businesses have asked candidates for similar positions. Then, consider your responses and practice them before you meet with the hiring manager. This gives you a chance to have a strong plan in place, making it less likely you’ll be caught off guard when you’re sitting in the hot seat.
Get Your Questions in Order
Towards the end of your interview, you’ll likely be given a chance to ask some questions of your own. Neglecting this part of the discussion isn’t wise, as failing to ask great questions can have the hiring manager doubting your interest in the position.
Begin by researching the company and the role for which you are interviewing. If you can’t find information about certain details, then form a question to get the feedback you need. Make sure you don’t ask questions that can easily be answered with some simple web searches, as this suggests you didn’t take the initiative to do basic research, and stay away from topics like compensation, as it is likely too early in the process. However, questions about how the position may change over the next few years or what the company’s culture is like are often fair game and show you have a long-term vision regarding the role.
Keep Expectations in Check
Even with a strong resume and well-managed interview, there is still a chance you won’t be selected for the job or that you might not even want it when all is said and done. In that regard, it is wise to keep in mind that an offer may not come, but remember that every interview experience is valuable as it lets you practice your interviewing skills. Always make sure to give it your all, and you may find that even if this job doesn’t pan out, it could help your performance at your next interview.
If you are interested in finding a new job, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with great employers in the area. Contact us to see what is available today.
Gartner estimates that there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020. All of them need to be designed, programmed, and supported by workers with leading edge technical skills. Here's a look at the technical skills that will get you hired.
Circuit Board Designer
Prototypes of IoT devices are often built with off-the-shelf components, but once a design is ready to be turned into a product, companies often need custom circuit boards that are optimized for the product's key features.
Making IoT devices perform useful functions requires programming their microcontroller. While the devices can be programmed in their own assembler language, it's more typical to develop applications in C or C++. The Arduino prototyping platform provides a library of C/C++ functions for developer use.
While IoT devices are often small, they generate large amounts of data, such as sensor measurements recorded every few seconds. Building the backend systems that can store, manipulate, and generate meaning from the data requires familiarity with big data and analytics skills.
Many smart devices need to incorporate location awareness into their functionality. Developers should learn how to work with coordinates and map data.
IoT devices must be connected to networks, which makes them potential entry points for hackers who could then gain access to other sensitive information. In addition to protecting the devices themselves, the devices are often managed through web or mobile applications that contain personally identifiable information that must be kept secure.
If you've got these skills, The Armada Group can help you find a job that puts them to use building IoT devices that will transform the world. Contact us to learn how our decades of experience and understanding of the technical jobs marketplace leads to rapid placements and career success.
Teams that are well-managed have a better chance of succeeding at their projects. Take advantage of these four ways to change the way you guide your tech team and improve the performance of your team.
Make yourself unnecessary.
The more independently your team can work, the more time you can spend working on strategy and achieving your own professional goals. Don't stint on training. Bring on strong leads. Develop a project management process that staff can look at to see their goals, deadlines, and next priorities. Empower your team to interact with your end users; not only do they know the application best, these interactions will help them understand the users better and lead to a better application.
Most managers are buried under a deluge of emails, but often the most important information is hidden between the lines. Be aware that you may not get honest answers in meetings, so seek out private conversations where people can speak freely. Make sure meetings remain focused on the agenda rather than sidetracked by other issues; schedule another meeting if you need to follow up on another matter. Have an open door policy so your team feels free to come to you with their concerns.
Many technical managers come from the development role; they were promoted based on their technical skill rather than their management ability. Take an honest look at your capabilities and knowledge; managers succeed more on business knowledge and interpersonal skills than their programming ability. The better you are at your own job, the more effectively your team will perform.
Focus on the positive.
Projects fall behind schedule; production problems bring the wrath of senior management down on you. It's easy to focus on negativity and the problems you're experiencing, but it's important that your team experiences and celebrates success. Make sure everyone on your team understands the goals for the current week or quarter and what your vision of success is. Then, make sure you acknowledge and celebrate it when your team makes progress in achieving it. Your team will develop positive morale that helps them get the job done.
Managing your team well starts with building a strong team. The Armada Group has spent 20 years connecting employers with talented employees. Contact us to learn how we can help you build a strong team that practically manages itself.
Platform operations engineers typically work in a business's network operations center, overseeing the functioning of large networks consisting of thousands of servers. The engineers are responsible for making sure that service is not interrupted and that performance metrics are met. They may be responsible for installing tools and making configuration changes to network software.
Some engineers may perform similar services specifically for cloud and big data platforms rather than the general corporate network; other firms use the title to refer to engineers who support specific applications. In all cases, the job function requires maintaining uptime and capacity to handle business needs.
Education and Skills Required
An undergraduate degree in a technical field is typically necessary. The engineer should be very familiar with operating systems, networking, and communications protocols. While programming in high-level languages isn't necessary, platform operations engineers often need to write scripts to perform routine functions or extract information from log files. They should be familiar with shell and other common interpreted scripting languages such as Python.
Platform operations engineers supporting specific cloud, big data, or application platforms need to understand the functioning of the specific tool and environment. Vendor-provided training and certifications help engineers learn the necessary skills.
Platform operations engineers need good communications skills. They may need to interact with nontechnical managers to explain technical issues in an easily understandable way. They should be able to think creatively and remain calm under pressure when working to resolve critical production issues. Operations problems often occur at inconvenient hours, so engineers should expect to be on call around the clock.
Entry-level platform operations engineers will work under the guidance of more senior colleagues to understand the network topography or application, monitoring tools, and how to respond appropriately to systems alerts. With experience, senior platform operations engineers work more independently to analyze systems and help architect network and application changes. Management roles oversee the team's work and ensure that changes and service levels are aligned with corporate strategy.
With the influx of tech jobs and the shortage of qualified software engineers, many recent graduates have discovered that finding a position in Silicon Valley is remarkably easy. But while the talent gap isn’t going anywhere, tech companies are beginning to demand more and more of their engineers, resulting in remarkably high expectations for those new to the tech industry. These are a few of the ways standards are changing for Silicon Valley engineers.
More Skills, More Experience
Experience doesn’t always mean years on the job, but hiring managers in the tech industry are now expecting engineers to have a stronger grasp on a wider variety of tools. Whether that means you’ve used a suite of different coding languages to create fully-functional sites, or you’ve designed a feature-rich app, you have to have something concrete in your portfolio to get your foot in the door. With so many technologies at their disposal, tech companies like to see candidates with strong skills in a variety of areas. Create a well-rounded portfolio during your early years as an engineer to give yourself a jump start during your job search.
Creative Thinking & Other Soft Skills
Your technical capabilities, however, are no longer the be-all and end-all. You also have to work well in a team and have the ability to effectively communicate your ideas. Many of the more discerning companies are also looking for engineers who possess the ability to think creatively and find elegant, non-traditional solutions to common problems. If you possess these skills, you’ll be a more competitive candidate in the Silicon Valley tech industry. These skills, however, are often innate rather than learned, and can be difficult to replicate if they don’t come to you naturally.
In recent years, software engineers have gravitated towards social, consumer-based platforms like Facebook and Google. These industries often search for candidates with the ability to problem solve from an end user’s perspective. They need developers who can implement features and programs that would benefit and appeal to the consumer. This ingenuity can be hard to find in those who are more technical by nature, so the well-balanced engineer will find that their chances are actually better than those who are purely tech-savvy.
Meeting the new standards of Silicon Valley’s tech industry is a tall order for even the most qualified engineers. As the culture trends towards more social interfaces, they demand more socially minded engineers who can place themselves in the positions of their target audience. If you can partner creativity, collaborative effort, and the necessary know-how, you have the potential to meet and exceed these new expectations.
As technology continues to advance rapidly, the machines we use are getting smarter. Machine learning is the technology of constructing “learning” algorithms that drive a broad range of smart technologies — and the new generation of this discipline, called deep learning, has the potential to power more advanced artificial intelligence capable of everything from sophisticated speech and image recognition, to self-driving cars.
What is deep learning?
Deep learning, also called deep structured learning or hierarchical learning, is a type of machine learning that uses high-level data abstractions, nonlinear transformations, and layered cascades applied to learning representations of data, in order to help machines “learn” tasks through observations and examples.
Algorithms with deep learning applied are often inspired by communication patterns found in neuroscience — the study of the human nervous system. For example, a deep learning algorithm might be based on the relationship between a stimulus and a neural response, which registers as electrical activity in the brain. This type of machine learning attempts to create neural networks for machines that “think” in ways similar to humans.
Following are a few of the applications currently being developed with deep learning algorithms.
Automatic speech recognition
Technologies such as Apple’s Siri are built on machine learning algorithms that work to recognize speech, including words and sounds. Deep learning has led to the advancement of automatic speech recognition using the TIMIT data set — a limited-sample database using 630 speakers and eight major American English dialects, each with 10 different spoken sentences — to large vocabulary speech recognition through DNN models that rely on deep learning algorithms.
Deep learning differentiates from other forms of machine learning through the use of raw features at a learning level, rather than pre-constructed models. With deep learning, speech recognition can be highly accurate using the true “raw” form of speech — waveforms, or visual representations of sounds using curves.
Similar to speech recognition, a limited size data set called the MNIST database has been the popular model for powering image recognition applications. This database includes 60,000 training examples and 10,000 test examples, composed of handwritten digits. However, MNIST relies on shallow machine learning for image recognition — and deep learning allows for more large-scale image recognition at a higher accuracy rate.
One practical example of deep learning algorithms applied to image recognition can be found in the automotive industry. A car computer trained with deep learning may enable cars to process and interpret 360-degree camera views, allowing for heightened “awareness” in self-driving or assisted-driving vehicles.
Many in the tech industry view deep learning as a strong step toward realizing truer artificial intelligence. In 2013, Google hired three DNN researchers tasked with not only dealing with the search engine giant’s constantly growing stores of data, but also to improve Google’s existing machine learning products, such as semantic role labeling and search results.
Facebook has also created an artificial intelligence lab, largely dedicated to the development of deep learning techniques that will improve the user experience. Automatic image tagging was developed in Facebook’s AI lab — a technology that is still being refined for greater accuracy using deep learning.
As machine learning continues to increase in sophistication, more companies will look to hire IT professionals interested in developing deep learning algorithms and improved artificial intelligence applications. Machine learning is an exciting field with a wide range of possibilities ahead.
Making the right hiring decisions the first time is crucial to the success of your organization. If you hire someone who’s not suitable for the position, you’ll typically end up losing significant time and money — simply by having to start the hiring process all over again. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management finds that the average cost of a bad hire is five times the amount of the salary for that position.
This includes hiring the right IT and engineering contractors. Recruiting top IT talent is a major challenge, especially considering that there is no guaranteed recruiting roadmap you can use for every open position. However, you can increase your hiring success rate by knowing where to go in order to find the best candidates.
The following resources will help you source and retain top IT and engineering candidates, so you can hire the right person for the job.
Your job description
The job posting you provide for open positions is one of the biggest and most effective tools you have for successful recruiting. The job description is usually the first thing candidates will read about your company — so make sure it’s clear, concise, and candidate-focused, with an emphasis on how working for you will benefit the job seeker.
Once you have a great job description, make it easily accessible to a wide pool of candidates by posting it on:
- Your company’s website
- Popular job boards, such as Monster and CareerBuilder
- Niche IT job boards like TechCareers, Dice, 37Signals, and FlexJobs
Social media has become a very common tool for both employers and job seekers to connect, network, and find the best matches between professionals and careers. In addition to helping you get the word out about your open job positions, social platforms also give you the opportunity to communicate your employer brand, and attract the best talent to your open positions.
Build your social media presence on:
- LinkedIn: The largest business-oriented social network in the world offers a wide range of tools and features for employers, recruiters, and job candidates
- Facebook: Still a highly effective platform for making connections, Facebook gives you an opportunity to showcase your employer brand and interact closely with potential candidates
- Twitter: This fast-moving network can help you gain a broader reach and quickly spread the word about your job opportunities
The recruitment process is a complex and time-intensive undertaking. In fact, recruiting the best talent is a full-time job by itself. If you’re struggling to devote the necessary time and resources to recruiting top candidates, there are third parties whose sole function is to recruit, screen, and interview candidates according to the needs of your organization. These include:
- Staffing agencies and firms
- Recruiters (both contingent and retained)
- Executive search firms
- Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firms
Many of these third-party organizations specialize in sourcing IT talent, and have an existing pool of highly qualified candidates to choose from.
While recruiting is a nuanced and time-intensive process, there are many ways you can leverage your own contacts in order to locate top IT and engineering candidates. Within your HR department, some of the available resources can include:
- Resume databases
- Internal databases of past candidates and contractors you’ve worked with previously
- Referrals from existing employees
You can also reach out through personal connections using resources such as online user groups and alumni groups, business schools and technical institutes, or professional networking contacts. Finally, look for talented candidates by getting involved with IT forums or programming competitions on sites like HackerRank, InterviewStreet, and GitHub.
Just as technology is constantly evolving, so is the complex IT job market. Knowing the latest hiring, salary, and industry trends can help IT professionals navigate the tech job industry, and be prepared to advance their careers with upcoming opportunities.
The recently released 2015 Modis Salary Guide for Tech Professionals reveals very promising news for tech professionals in the near future, with a look at the overall tech job market as well as the hottest IT careers over the next few years. Here’s what IT pros can look forward to for in-demand jobs with great salaries.
The IT jobs market at a glance
Overall, tech job continue to show rapid growth across multiple sectors. The report from Modis projects that while other industries will experience 10.8 percent employment growth by 2022, IT jobs are expected to show 18 percent growth in the same time period.
In the United States, 685,000 new tech jobs are projected to be added by 2022.
Most in-demand IT jobs
The IT job market is generally growing across all areas, but some sectors are hotter than others. Here are the tech careers that will be the most in demand — and some of the highest paid — over the next few years:
Analysts: Systems analysts jobs are expected to grow 25 percent by 2022. An example of the projected salary in this sector is Business Data Analyst II (mid-level), with a salary range of $55,376 to $86,535, and an average salary of $70,453.
Health IT: The value of the health IT sector is expected to reach $56.7 billion by 2017. Some of the most in-demand jobs for this sector include:
- Revenue cycle analyst (salary range $36,892 - $71,829; average salary $51,930)
- Clinical systems analyst (salary range $64,927 - $101,154; average salary $82,454)
- Clinical informaticist (salary range $42,282 - $74,147; average salary $55,728)
Database development, administration, and business intelligence: With big data becoming a must for many businesses, database and analyst related jobs are projected to show a 15 percent growth by 2022. Positions in high demand include:
- Data scientist (salary range $79,285 - $138,281; average salary $109,260)
- Database administrator (salary range $81,497 - $129,993; average salary $107,130)
- Business intelligence specialist (salary range $88,930 - $137,534; average salary $110,197)
Programming and software engineering: These positions are constantly in demand, and developer jobs are expected to show 22 percent growth by 2022. Some of the top positions for this sector include:
- Applications engineer, entry level (salary range $45,069 - $80,665; average salary $59,355)
- Applications engineer, advanced (salary range $86,819 - $156,118; average salary $122,627)
- Programmer III, mid-level (salary range $71,616 - $111,422; average salary $90,528)
- Software engineer II, mid-level (salary range $62,811 - $96,472; average salary $78,410)
- .NET developer (salary range $55,689 - $95,556; average salary $75,995)
Project management: This area has a growth forecast of 15 percent by 2022. Anticipated salaries for project managers include:
- IT project manager I, entry (salary range $51,173 - $101,266; average salary $76,282)
- IT project manager III, senior (salary range $81,603 - $129,987; average salary $107,203)
Security: Another area that is always in demand, the growth forecast for security and security analyst jobs is robust at 37 percent by 2022. Some of the most sought-after IT security jobs will include:
- Security administrator (salary range $50,812 - $108,106; average salary $74,917)
- Systems security analyst (salary range $62,102 - $111,026; average salary $84,941)
- Data security manager (salary range $91,305 - $157,778; average salary $115,415)
Web development: High-end web developer positions are projected to grow 20 percent by 2022. The most popular positions in this sector include:
- Web application developer (salary range $52,462 - $84,613; average salary $66,212)
- Interface design director (average salary $129,421 - $179,701; average salary $155,669)