When people think of blockchain, cryptocurrency also typically comes to mind. Mainly, this is because of blockchains association with Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that soared to astounding heights as 2017 drew to a close and 2018 began. While there are hundreds of altcoins out there, Bitcoin is the one that was securing the most headlines.
However, after cryptocurrency mania peaked in January 2018, the market has mostly trended downward. One estimate suggests that $700 billion in market value was lost between then and now, showcasing just how far digital assets have fallen. While some of the losses are related to the high level of fraud in the cryptocurrency market, changes in investor sentiment and futures trading also played a role.
But blockchain isn’t losing any ground even as cryptocurrencies struggle. Predominately, this is because blockchain has uses outside the cryptocurrency landscaping, giving it stability.
Blockchain Isn’t Bitcoin
While blockchain allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to function, it isn’t inherently connected to cryptocurrency. Instead, it is a logging mechanism, and it can be completely separated from the cryptocurrency world.
Even as cryptocurrencies falter, blockchain maintains value as a standalone technology. Bitcoin and all of the altcoins could disappear tomorrow, and blockchain could remain standing on its own merit.
Blockchain is a mechanism for logging transactions. It serves as a distributed digital ledger and can’t be altered after a transaction takes place. This makes blockchain incredibly secure and reliable when multiple parties are involved, leading to a significant increase in interest in the technology.
While blockchain has obvious connections to the financial world - being a mechanism that supports real-time transactions, even across borders - it also has potential in other areas. Developers could use it to create solutions for monitoring supply chains, logging real estate title transfers, tracking medical information, issuing digital IDs, protecting copyrights, and much more.
This means that blockchain has a significant amount of potential, allowing interest in the technology to remain steady even as cryptocurrencies lose their luster.
A Fledgling Technology
While blockchain could be a gamechanger in numerous industries, it is still a fledgling technology. Big name companies are just beginning to scratch the surface of blockchains potential, and new developments are almost always on the horizon.
However, the speed at which blockchain-oriented solutions may become available may be negatively affected by the lack of tech specialists who can work with blockchain. Since it is relatively new to the larger business landscape and there aren’t many formal educational options focused on blockchain, finding suitable professionals to develop new solutions is challenging. This is especially true when today’s tight labor market (especially the low IT unemployment rate) are factored into the equation.
Ultimately, blockchain will likely maintain its appeal for the long-term, even if cryptocurrencies become largely a thing of the past. Since blockchain has potential in some many industries, it may succeed all on its own.
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If you’d like to know more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our blockchain expertise can benefit you.
Ultimately, when it comes to staying power, not every programming language is equal. Some truly stand the test of time, remaining relevant for decades, while others enter the tech world only to disappear, hardly leaving a mark.
When you’re trying to determine which programming languages are worth the time and energy required to learn, selecting the right options can impact your career in significant ways. By making smart choices, you can get more mileage out of your knowledge while ensuring that your skill set remains in-demand.
No programming language is guaranteed to stay relevant forever, but certain options have more potential when it comes to longevity. If you aren’t sure which ones will benefit you the most, here is what you need to know.
Proven Programming Languages
Some programming languages have remained predominately stable when it comes to use and demand, even as new ones emerged.
Some of the other languages that have similar levels of stability include C#, Java, PHP, and Python. All of those languages are widely used, exist on legacy systems that have remained part of the business world over the long-term, and are even favored by some developers.
C, C++, CSS, and Ruby have also stood the test of time, and aren’t likely to disappear any time soon.
Programming Languages with Potential
In some cases, a programming language has the potential to make a significant mark on the tech landscape, but its staying power isn’t fully realized. On prime example is Swift.
Swift has become popular thanks to its association with iOS. As time moves on, it may even replace Objective-C.
Languages with Uncertain Futures
While some languages could prove useful in the world of development, not all of them have gained traction in the business world. In some cases, programmers really enjoy these languages but, without widespread adoption, they may fizzle out.
In some cases, a lack of flexibility hinders a languages capacity for growth. Others aren’t as user-friendly or simply haven’t been able to overtake alternatives.
One could argue that Go, Haskell, Perl, and R all fall in this category. While the languages aren’t inherently doomed, their future is mostly unclear. New developments could help them gain additional traction, but may also render them obsolete.
Otherwise, make sure to monitor industry trends to see if any new developments may benefit or hinder other languages and make your selections accordingly.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit your career.
The unemployment rate among tech professionals has been falling for years and currently rests at 2.8 percent based on third quarter data from, 2016. This continues the trend of lower unemployment rates among those working in the IT field when compared to the current average rate of 4.9 percent. That makes the job market particularly favorable to those who possess certain IT-related skills.
Couple the current market conditions with feelings of being underappreciated, underpaid or operating in underfunded departments, and you may find your top-performing tech professionals heading towards the door in 2017.
The remarkably low unemployment rate in IT job classifications suggests strength in the industry. As more companies look to add IT professionals to their staff, partially due to the increased use of big data analytics, mobile technology, and cloud-based solutions, competition for the most talented workers in the field is fierce.
Professionals feel confident in their ability to find other opportunities, a distinct contrast to the job climate during the recession, and makes them more inclined to explore their options. As other employers raise salaries and benefits to help attract new talent, the job market becomes even more attractive.
Rise of the Gig Economy
Voluntary quits during the past year have also remained high. While some of this is attributed to better opportunities becoming available in the sector, the rise of freelancing opportunities and the gig economy leads some to turn away from traditional employment for more flexible options.
Technical skills relate well to the idea of working remotely, as many tasks can be completed without direct face-to-face interaction with one’s supervisor or co-workers. In some cases, projects can be handled independently, eliminating the need for the support of a larger team. For employees looking to have more control over their career and personal life, these options are highly attractive.
As the landscape changes, it is critical for business’ to reconsider their current offerings and hiring practices. Not only do salary offerings need to be competitive in your area and the position being filled, you also need to explore benefits options that are attractive to today’s IT professionals.
While basics like medical insurance and retirement are expected in most cases, other offerings also attract attention. Flexible scheduling will interest those looking achieve a better work-life balance. The option to work remotely not only appeals to those with a demanding home life, it also allows you to recruit outside of your local area.
Opportunities for education and advancement are also relevant to professionals who are looking to grow within the field. By providing a structure that allows them to reach their career goals, you can see improvements in recruitment and employee retention over the long term. Add a mentorship program for employees to help them gain experience on the job, and you have a winning combination.
The Armada Group can help you locate top talent and develop strategies to retain your current tech professionals. Reach out to us today to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.
Future-proofing your career – making it last a lifetime – requires keeping an eye on technology trends. Develop skills in an emerging technology area and you'll have the satisfaction of working with innovative technology and inventing new products, as well as being in high demand and receiving high levels of compensation. These are the tech areas that are just starting to take off now.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) devices—small, sensor-based devices that transmit data and receive instructions over the internet—are everywhere. Whether in homes with smart alarm systems, smart thermostats and smart light bulbs, manufacturing plants where connected devices control industrial process, or hospitals where smart pumps deliver medicine, they offer convenience and control critical services.
Wearables, which include smart watches, fitness trackers and Google glasses, combine aspects of mobile technology and IoT applications. Companies are starting to incorporate these devices into their business processes, especially in locations where hands-free access is important.
Autonomous cars rely on the Internet of Things as well as artificial intelligence methods to drive safely on streets and highways. Although they're not yet ready for consumer use, there's widespread commitment to developing them; Google's efforts get much media attention, many startups as well as the established automobile manufacturers are working on the problems.
Big Data and Analytics
All of these new devices, plus all of the new online interactions people have on social media and websites, are deluging companies with massive amounts of data. There's a big push to move beyond collecting and storing information to making it useful through sophisticated analytics processes. Companies hope to find insights in the data that give them a competitive advantage, so the engineering, programming, and analytical skills that can uncover that value are in top demand.
Plan your career with the long term in mind. The opportunities in these areas offer technology workers in all roles – developer, designer, engineer, tester, support – the opportunity to work on projects that will shape the future. Check out the opportunities in The Armada Group’s jobs database and contact us to connect with a recruiter who can help set you on your lifetime career path.
Everybody has a smartphone in their pocket. Wearable devices like the Apple Watch and FitBit sell millions of units every quarter. Even without counting all the tablets and computer-tablet hybrids, it's obvious mobile computing is a hot market.
Because it's hot, it's a great area to focus your career. But it's also a very dynamic area, with lots of ongoing transformation. Keep the following impacts in mind as you prepare for your next mobile computing career move.
Java is still the best language to know.
Knowing a general purpose computing language is still the best development language. While knowing Objective-C or Swift are helpful for iOS development, in reality, most developers use cross-platform tools rather than platform-specific languages.
Android or iOS?
Neither one truly dominates, though the Windows mobile environment trails far behind. Their reality is that most apps will be written to run on both platforms. It's more important to understand how to design an app that works well on both the desktop and mobile platforms than focusing on a specific mobile platform.
Enterprise applications explode.
Mobile computing isn't just about games and texting. Tablet applications give field personnel access to all the corporate data, simplifying how workers conduct business while out of the office. Apps that meet corporate compliance standards will be big. So will apps that track what workers do while they're out of the office.
Non-human users dominate.
Think the age of machines is already here? It's just getting started as the Internet of Things comes online. Smarthomes with smart thermostats, smart plant-watering systems, and smart lightbulbs are just part of it. The bigger part of the IoT will be the industrial Internet of Things, where devices in factories, offices, and fields communicate and coordinate commercial operations.
Mobile payments will change commerce.
Apple Pay was just the first of several mobile payment technologies to roll out. Security issues still remain, but the growth of near field communication technology makes it a given that e-Pay will continue to grow.
Larger phones mean apps can do more.
The trend to bigger screen sizes means that apps aren't as limited by screen real estate. Mobile apps will be expected to behave more like desktops. New screens with sensors that react to how hard users touch, rather than just whether they touched, will create new ways of interacting with apps.
In Silicon Valley, the IT job market is hypercompetitive. Startups hoping to be the next Google, Facebook, or Snapchat use a wide range of tactics designed to give them a shot at snagging top engineering talent — the skills that can make or break a technical company, and mean the difference between billions and bust.
But the latest play in the engineering talent wars, being launched by startup Weeby.com, embraces a radically different philosophy from typical Valley tech startups. Instead of luring in talent with the promise of world-changing tech and substantial equity that will theoretically make them millionaires if their hard work pays off, Weeby.com is offering to make engineers millionaires from the start — by paying them a million dollars for their first four years of work.
The strategy: A transparent and “backwards” pay structure
Weeby’s salary structure represents a near-complete reversal of traditional Silicon Valley startups. While other companies establish ultra-low startup salaries and rely on finding passionate engineers who believe in the founder’s vision, Weeby.com intends to pay their talent like they’re already superstars, right from the gate.
The company’s founder, Michael Carter, believes that even the average market range salary of $111,000 for engineers in Silicon Valley isn’t enough. The Valley is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, and employees at a very low six-figure income still worry about making mortgage payments and raising families. At usual startup salaries, which can run $50,000 to $75,000 plus equity, those worries become serious concerns — and drive top talent straight to higher-paying doors like Facebook and Google.
The restructured compensation at Weeby begins with a base salary that’s at least $100,000 and commensurate with experience — always more than what engineers were previously paid. Engineers are then given performance-based monthly bumps of $10,000 until they reach $250,000. At that point, the monthly raises continue on a smaller scale, but ultimately the salary amounts to $1 million in four years.
In addition, Weeby is offering up to four times more equity than Silicon Valley startups of similar size, in a structure that will have employees collectively owning more of the company than its biggest investor.
The opposition: Higher salaries will attract mercenaries
Not everyone in Silicon Valley agrees that paying engineers higher-than-market rates is a smart idea, especially for startups. In an interview with CNet, Y Combinator president Sam Altman called the strategy “a horrific idea,” saying that if a company is known for paying huge cash salaries, they’ll end up attracting terrible cultural fits. Altman adheres to a more traditional view, stating that startups should recruit an initial batch of core employees who are “maniacally dedicated” to the company’s vision and products, and believe they’re working for a purpose that is bigger than themselves.
Three-time Silicon Valley founder Steve Newcomb, in the same interview, asserted that paying exorbitant salaries can harm a startup company’s reputation before they get off the ground. “If you have to pay people more money than market to come work for your company, then that’s a statement of the value of your product and the value of your company,” Newcomb said — also mentioning that above-market salary investments could upset investors.
However, Weeby’s investors are on board with the strategy, including Karl Jacob, who served as an advisor to Mark Zuckerberg’s six-man board during Facebook’s early days. Carter hopes that the idea of paying top engineers what they’re truly worth will spread, and more Valley startups will be able to build superstar teams that can change the world — and still get paid.
“Silicon Valley’s about getting a great team together and trying new things,” Carter said. “When you do something for the first time, it allows you to approach something with a fresh eye, [and] sometimes, you get a result like Google, Facebook, or Snapchat.”
Hiring managers must work within their budgets to hire the staff their companies need in order to remain productive and competitive. Once you’ve determined a need for acquiring talent, the next important question is often whether you should hire a permanent employee, or a contractor.
Each choice comes with advantages and disadvantages. When making this decision, it’s important to understand the needs and core requirements of the position you’re hiring for, and know which type of employment arrangement will be a better fit for both your organization, and the candidate.
What full-time employees can offer
Depending on the type and responsibilities of the position you’re filling, hiring a new permanent employee can allow you to strengthen your organization and improve overall productivity and performance. Some of the advantages of full-time employees include:
- Collaboration: Employees typically work from a central location, enabling your company to foster collaboration and connectivity among staff
- Communication: Most full-time employees share similar work hours, which improves organizational communication
- Long-term productivity: With a full-time employee, the company receives continuous output by dictating all or most of the employee’s assignments and work projects
When should you consider a contractor?
Independent contractors can benefit your organization in a variety of situations. Hiring a contractor is typically a better choice when:
- You’re hiring for a project with a set start and end date
- Your company’s current employees can’t handle the entire project workload
- The current project has tight deadlines for deliverables
- You need temporary, specialized skills or expertise on a project basis, but not for day-to-day company operation
Hiring considerations for independent contractors
Before you begin searching for a contractor, confirm that you have the proper approval for hiring more staff. With project work that requires a contractor, determine your budget ahead of time, and include the target bill rate for the contractor in your calculations. Depending on the type of contractor you need, you may have to adjust your budget and the expectations of management prior to looking for talent.
Armada provides real-time, accurate snapshots of your local market conditions that will help you gauge supply and demand for specific IT employees, both permanent and contract. Accurate data on direct hire salaries and hourly rates can help you create an effective budget for your staffing needs. Contact us today to learn more.
Whether you’re actively seeking a job, or just want to have an established relationship with someone who can help you find new employment quickly, having a recruiter on your side can be highly beneficial. There are many advantages to working with a recruiter, including:
- Typically faster job placement
- Access to great jobs that aren’t advertised to the public
- Being referred for positions by someone who has a working relationship with employers
- Additional resources, such as help with your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills
In order to make the most of your partnership with your recruiter, there are some things you can do to make the process smoother and ensure great job placements. Here’s what you can do this year that will help your recruiter help you.
Reply to emails and phone calls
This may seem like basic common courtesy, but it’s surprising how many candidates fail to return phone calls or reply to emails from their recruiters. If you’re unresponsive, the recruiter will assume that you’re not interested in the position — and if you habitually ignore or fail to return messages, the recruiter may decide they can’t help you at all.
Recruiters have a responsibility to find great candidates for their paying clients, which are the employers they work with. If a candidate doesn’t return messages or calls in a timely manner, it’s easy to view them as irresponsible or uninterested, which are not qualities employers want.
Follow up — but not too often
It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your recruiter. Following up on job offers demonstrates interest and helps the recruiter keep track of where you are in the process, and it’s crucial to let your recruiter know when you have a job offer. You may also check in from time to time, such as once a week, if there hasn’t been any recent activity.
However, it’s not a good idea to send your recruiter six emails a day, and call two or three times, to check on a specific position or any opportunities in general. Keep in mind that your recruiter is working with multiple candidates and multiple employers, and will contact you whenever they have something relevant or actionable to share.
Take advantage of your recruiter’s resources
Most recruiters offer more than a job-matching service. Recruiters work closely with many employers, and they’re often able to share resources that will help you improve your resume and cover letter, sharpen your interviewing skills, or even get additional training to qualify for more positions.
In addition to general job-seeking resources, recruiters can provide you with assistance for specific positions. Don’t be afraid to pick your recruiter’s brain and find out as much as you can about the positions you’re being referred to, such as the responsibilities of the job, the company culture, and the employer’s preferences. This will help you perform better in the interview and increase your chances of being hired.
Make honesty your policy
The best relationships are built on trust and honesty, and that goes for the relationship between you and your recruiter. If you’re not honest about your capabilities, your expectations, and your interests, your recruiter can’t help you find the best job for you.
Always be upfront with your recruiter. Offer an accurate picture of your skills and experiences, and don’t lie about your salary in the hopes of earning more. If your recruiter offers you a position that’s not the right match for you, make sure to tell them — and in this case, you may also want to have a conversation about what you’re looking for specifically, so the recruiter can find opportunities that are better tailored to your needs.
Finally, remember that trust needs to extend both ways. Take your recruiter’s word if they tell you that you haven’t been selected for a position, or that a particular job isn’t right for you. Never go behind a recruiter’s back and talk directly to the employer — this will damage both your relationship with the recruiter, and your potential relationship with the employer.
Keep these tips in mind going forward, and you’ll enjoy a smooth and productive 2015 working with your recruiter!
It’s hard not to have heard about the IT talent shortage. While many industries are still slowed, or even stopped, due to the effects of the recession, the tech job market continues to grow — and IT hiring managers are struggling to hire the right people. Unemployment is low for the IT industry, and tech pros can afford to be more discerning when it comes to accepting job offers.
With all the challenges that already surround hiring IT talent, you can make your life easier as a hiring manager by avoiding these common technical hiring mistakes.
Mistake #1: Poor job descriptions
The IT recruitment process starts with the job description — and if you don’t have it right, you’re not going to attract the right talent. Accuracy is particularly important for IT job descriptions. If candidates show up expecting to interview for a certain job, only to find the position isn’t as described, they’ll take a pass on accepting any offers.
Make sure your job descriptions convey the nature of the position and the requirements accurately, and as briefly as possible. Skip the laundry lists of every hard and soft skill you can think of — instead, focus on three-to-five core technical requirements, and one or two essential soft skills. The rest of the information you need will come out in the interview.
Also, keep in mind that your job description is selling your company to candidates, so emphasize the benefits and the reasons a candidate should choose to work for you over your competitors.
Mistake #2: Bad first impressions
You know how much significance you place on your first impression of a candidate — so remember that the candidate will also have a first impression of you and your company, and it may be good or bad. When you’re in hiring mode, it’s easy to forget about keeping your best foot forward, and many hiring managers make this mistake.
Make sure you’re dressed appropriately, the overall work environment is presentable, and you have someone to greet candidates and point them in the right direction when they arrive. First impressions definitely count for candidates who have multiple employment options.
Mistake #3: Inadequate interview prep
Just as the most successful job candidates never go into an interview unprepared, the best hiring managers make sure everything is lined up prior to interviewing candidates. On your end, being prepared for an interview means having that great first impression ready, ensuring that your interview team has clearly defined roles according to which parts of the interview they’re responsible for, and letting candidates know in advance what to expect during an interview — including any testing that may be involved.
Mistake #4: Lack of enthusiasm
Just as you want to hire a candidate who really wants to work for your company, candidates want to work for a company that really wants them on board. As a hiring manager, you’re the first line of enthusiasm for candidates — who are hoping to recognize from their interaction with you that your company is a great place to work, and they’ll make a good fit with your culture.
Be conscious of the type of picture you’re painting for candidates during the interview. If you focus too much on the issues surrounding the position, you may end up turning candidates off instead of engaging them. Offer realistic expectations, but at the same time sell the benefits of the position.
Mistake #5: Waiting too long
In slower economic times, hiring managers often have the luxury of taking their time with the hiring process, and waiting to make a job offer until they have multiple possibilities to choose from. But in today’s IT job market, this is not usually the case. If your phone screenings, interview calls, and face-to-face interviews are spread out over a week or two, you’ll find that the most desirable candidates have competing offers by the time they get to you — and you’ll have to work even harder to land them.
It’s a better idea to streamline your hiring process as much as possible. When you find qualified candidates who seem like a good fit, compress the screening and interview process down to a few days. Then, make the job offer immediately when you’ve decided on a great candidate.
With the rapid evolution of the Cloud, today’s companies no longer wonder whether they should climb aboard the Cloud bandwagon, because the answer is yes. The only question is how much of your infrastructure should move to the Cloud, and when.
Hybrid cloud environments—infrastructures that mix cloud services with on-premise solutions—are here to stay. But many organizations still aren’t leveraging the cloud in the most effective ways. The primary reason for this is a focus on costs, as companies try to replace on-premise solutions with the cheapest cloud services possible.
However, there’s far more value in choosing cloud components on the basis of innovation, and aligning your hybrid model with the primary functions of your business.
Identifying candidates for the cloud
When planning a hybrid cloud environment, CIOs need to separate their workloads by business function, and decide which functions would be best served by migrating to a cloud-based service. For most businesses, these functions will be the core enterprise workloads.
Infrastructure components like messaging, supply chain, HR, service management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are typically ideal cloud candidates. These functions can be expensive to maintain through on-premise solutions, and difficult to integrate with a network. The cheaper, faster cloud alternatives for core enterprise workloads help organizations improve automation and cross-departmental functionality, delivering a more streamlined and cost-effective environment.
In these spaces, migrating to the cloud can be equated with buying innovation. Advances in software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) enable more features, better scalability, and decreased downtime for universal cloud-based services that are common to most businesses.
Choosing on-premise solutions
Where most companies err in developing hybrid solutions is choosing the cloud to save time and money for workloads that feed into core business functions. On-premise solutions allow for more robust and innovative platforms, which further key differentiators and help organizations remain competitive in their primary fields.
For functions that serve as your company’s main profit centers, on-premise solutions are the right choice. Your infrastructure investments should be directed toward these on-premise models—including all that money you’re saving by migrating core enterprise workloads to the cloud. On-premise solutions allow you to retain control of every aspect, which permits greater innovation and competitive advantage.
Blurring the line: Tips for maintaining hybrid environments
In most cases, dividing workloads into enterprise and core won’t always be a clean or simple process. The flow of information between departments must be taken into account, and full integration can be challenging with a hybrid model.
In an environment with cloud components, control is always decentralized to some degree. There will be parts of the IT process outside of your control, particularly when you’re feeding multiple cloud services into an on-premises environment. Within a hybrid system:
- The IT environment is chaotic (but it can be controlled)
- Operational performance will rely on external systems to some degree
- The user experience is highly distributed, with some aspects reliant on a third party
- Visibility is the key to optimized performance
Successful hybrid solutions will extend visibility to every component of the network layer. With orchestrated visibility, you can control the flow of information even when some elements are outside your control.
Choosing the right components to migrate to the cloud, and ensuring a seamless information flow with high visibility, will help you develop and maintain an effective hybrid environment that delivers optimal ROI for your organization.