Coding challenges have become increasingly popular over the years. They allow professionals to test their capabilities and enhance their skills. Plus, they can be surprisingly enjoyable for participants, even if they are a bit stressful, at times.
The benefits of taking part in a coding challenge aren’t solely focused on a person’s technical capability. They can also be great exercises for sharpening your critical thinking skills.
If you want to put your abilities to the test, here are ten coding challenges worth exploring.
As a tech professional, standing out from the crowd can be challenging. Often, if you are trying to land a new job, you are up against others who have similar technical capabilities and education. You can’t expect your college or hard skills alone to make a lasting impression, as there is a decent chance that other candidates look at least as good as you do on paper.
Every company has to handle certain functions. Managing people, buying products or services, selling offerings, and accounting are all fundamental activities that are a part of business, regardless of the industry. Often, having the ability to manage these processes through a single software platform is ideal. Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) solutions are systems that can handle all of those tasks and more.
With ERPs were first created for manufacturing companies, these solutions have since branched out into other industries, including everything from financial services to hospitality to government. While each of those industries is unique and has its own set of needs, an ERP has the ability to offer a streamlined, comprehensive experience.
Having the right positions represented on a team is critical to a company’s success. Similarly, if you are a professional, understanding what various job titles mean is crucial for career planning, as many that sound alike are actually very different.
At times, data engineer and data scientist are used interchangeably, mainly because they have skills associated with Big Data. However, these two roles have distinct differences, so using one title in place of the other can lead to confusion, skills gaps on a team, or a career that isn’t what you pictured.
If you want to make sure you are using the right job title, here are three major differences between data engineers and data scientists.
In April, the European Union (EU) released a set of ethical guidelines regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) by government agencies and businesses. The focus is on achieving trustworthy AI – technologies that act in a lawful, ethical, and socially acceptable manner while also being technologically robust.
Specific requirements were outlined by the EU, touching on core issues and concerns, such as oversight, safety, privacy, transparency, non-discrimination, accountability, and more. While the guidelines are not considered law, they do represent a framework for organizations who wish to create a trustworthy AI.
Additionally, the guidelines aren’t technically aimed at other nations, barring companies that may do business on an international level or organizations that interact with EU citizens. However, businesses across the world – including the United States – should take notice of this effort, as they represent a unique opportunity for global business.
As technology becomes increasingly capable, it is easier to find more potential uses for various solutions. Recently, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced a new tool designed to assist officers with reviewing police reports to find crime patterns that could indicate that the same person was involved in a string of offenses.
The program, which has been named Patternizr, could potentially assist in a range of investigations, saving time and valuable resources. While those some actions are currently completed by analysts, the task would be significantly less cumbersome if algorithms could manage much of the process.
However, some fear that such technologies cross a line. Many argue that programs like Patternizr could be unethical or might end up biased. If you are wondering whether we can or should use algorithms to catch criminals, here are some points to consider.
Many Netflix employees extol the virtues of the company’s generous benefits package and positive corporate culture. However, one interesting aspect that often garners positive attention is actually Netflix’s termination policy.
If you are wondering why employees embrace Netflix’s approach to assessing whether a worker should stay or be let go, here’s what you need to know about their unique approach.
The “Keeper Test”
Netflix understands that to build strong teams, every member needs to provide value. As a means of determining whether an employee is meeting the needs of the business, they are subject to the “keeper test.”
With the keeper test, managers consider one key question: If the employee was considering leaving Netflix for another company, would I strive to convince them to stay? If the manager would answer that with a “no,” then the person is either terminated or encouraged to leave on their own.
The approach is designed to ensure that only “highly effective” workers are retained. Not only does it ensure that mediocre employees don’t bog down their teams, but it also motivates employees to always be at their best, as everyone is subject to the seemingly ruthless evaluation.
Netflix has also employed a formal tool, known as “360,” to give everyone the ability to review anyone else in the company, including CEO Reed Hastings. Additionally, it provides every worker with insight into why any person has been let go, a critical part of the company’s transparency-focused culture.
Together, they help managers to determine which employees are actually worth keeping. Additionally, it even leads to shakeups at the upper levels of the corporate hierarchy, serving as a non-traditional playbook for making retention decisions.
Is Emulating Netflix Wise?
Ultimately, when combined, the keeper test and 360 are meant to promote objectivity when it comes to hiring decisions. It removes emotions from much of the process, as whether an employee is liked is less important than if they are effective and productive. While this can certainly be beneficial, it doesn’t mean Netflix’s model is ideal for every business.
In some cases, the risk of being quickly terminated can lead some to constantly fear being fired, even if they don’t make a mistake. This can increase stress and potentially harm productivity, even in top performers if they have a tendency toward anxiety.
Similarly, it relies on management being able to set emotion aside at all times, which isn’t something everyone can do. Further, a good employee who is well liked may be better in your company than a tremendous talent whose personality clashes with the rest of the team, something that can breed conflict and harm overall productivity.
However, that doesn’t mean that companies can’t learn from Netflix’s approach, particularly if there is a tendency to keep mediocre workers without just cause.
If you would like to learn more about effective internal policies, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions or concerns with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace 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.
When it comes to in-demand IT skills, Python is currently on a high. The programming language plays a substantial role in data science and data analytics as well as back-end web application development.
Based on the number of positions that require Python, and that demand is expected to rise, learning this language can help tech professionals secure more lucrative opportunities.
Some job seekers may be surprised at how many kinds of list Python as a requirement or preferred skill. If you are wondering whether learning Python can boost your chances of finding a great job, here’s what you need to know.
10 Jobs Python Skills Can Help You Land
While the top 10 jobs that favor candidates with Python skills are largely in the IT realm, there is a reasonable amount of diversity when it comes to potential opportunities. Here are 10 jobs where Python might be featured in the vacancy announcement:
- Software Developer
- Software Engineer
- Research Assistant
- Senior Software Engineer
- Software Engineering Internship
- Web Developer
- Graduate Research Assistant
- Quality Assurance Engineer
Positions in the software development or engineering arenas aren’t necessarily a surprise, but some job seekers may be startled when they see that even internships may require Python.
Additionally, certain research-oriented jobs benefit from Python skills as well, particularly when custom software is needed to handle the associated projects.
How to Learn Python
If you decide that you want to add Python as a skill, you do have options for learning this programming language. First and foremost, traditional education is always an option. In some cases, Python will be featured as part of a larger degree plan, either as a requirement or optional course. However, you don’t necessarily have to be pursuing a degree to take a single class focused solely on Python, particularly if you are open to online learning.
You may be able to find a boot camp that either concentrates on Python or features it along with a variety of other languages. If you choose to go the boot camp route, make sure the company offering the boot camp is reputable and that you have the time necessary to complete the entire course.
For those who are already comfortable with programming languages in general, teaching yourself Python is also an option. There is a variety of resources, both online and off, and communities that can help you learn the language and improve your skills.
Ultimately, adding Python to your repertoire can be a smart move, particularly if you want to land one of the 10 jobs listed above. It can take a little time to learn, but is well worth the effort if you wish to pursue a career in any of the tech-oriented areas contained in the list.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our experience can benefit you.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have taken the business world by storm, with more and more companies becoming interested in how they can integrate these technologies into their operations so they can experience the benefits for themselves. However, there are a limited number of skilled professionals available to support these emerging systems.
While the high level of demand is excellent for AI specialists, it leaves companies struggling to find the skilled workers they need to reach their technology goals. But Google is releasing a solution that may make AI and machine learning technologies more accessible to businesses.
Say Hello to Cloud AutoML
Google has begun rolling out Cloud AutoML, a solution focused on automating the creation of machine learning models, to help bring the emerging technologies to the masses. The first product in the release, Cloud AutoML Vision, provides developers with an easy to use, drag and drop interface, allowing them to craft image recognition models with greater ease.
According to the company, the system allows organizations to experience more accurate results, when compared to generic machine learning APIs, which can easily be considered a significant benefit for businesses looking to implement the technology.
It should be noted that the Cloud AutoML platform is still in the Alpha phase of development, so growing pains are likely as Google works to iron out the kinks in the technology. However, it represents a potentially significant step forward, even if there is still work to be done to make it viable on a larger scale.
Additionally, the question as to whether something as inherently complex as AI and machine learning can be automated, a point that is particularly relevant should the technology be added to critical systems. But, if it is deemed a success, it could signal the beginning of a revolution in the field, encouraging more firms to explore the associated possibilities and giving companies a new approach that can help them overcome skill gaps in their teams.
Will AI and Machine Learning Specialists Still be Relevant?
While the idea of an automated or simplified approach is enticing, most companies would be wise to maintain an AI or machine learning specialist on their staff, particularly as the technology still has a long way to go before it can be deemed suitable for all situations. In the meantime, working with experienced professionals will continue to be the norm, even as Cloud AutoML exits Alpha, or even Beta, as businesses will need to learn what the solutions can and cannot do effectively.
If you are interested in hiring an AI or machine learning specialist to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today and see how our services can help you achieve your AI and machine learning implementation and support goals.