The Vital Professional

  • Does Your Company Need Bimodal IT?

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    Vital-ComputerTouchBadTie1000x667pxIf your company is struggling to find one effective approach to managing technical change, consider whether you’ll do better by taking two approaches. That’s the suggestion from Gartner, which recently defined bimodal IT as the use of two different means of managing IT change.

    Two Modes of Development

    Mode 1 is about preserving stability, rather than driving change. It’s appropriate for systems that relate to core business functions and those that hold systems of record. Traditional waterfall methodologies, where the end state is known at the start of development, are suitable for these slow-changing systems.

    Mode 2 is about innovation and making changes fast. It can be used when time-to-market is crucial. Agile development methodologies, with their emphasis on responding to changing needs, suit mode 2 applications.

    Use the Right Mode on the Right Project

    Most businesses probably already have both types of IT management going on; in fact, the key issue for many businesses is making sure that the right mode is applied to the right project.

    Groups that manage legacy systems lean towards mode 1; they use older technologies and may be older applications that are less well understood and more fragile, subject to breaking due to unknown dependencies. However, mode 1 can’t mean preserving these systems in a frozen state. They need to continue to change to integrate with new applications (after all, an ancient accounting system still needs to record sales from new online portals) and need to change so they can continue to be supported—the technologies needed aren’t taught in schools any more and finding staff with the needed skills will become ever more challenging if these systems aren’t updated.

    New product development fits into mode 2. Innovation labs and skunkworks have the main goal of creating a new product; they need the freedom for creative destruction that can’t be tolerated when supporting production systems.

    Balance the Modes

    Some view the bimodal perspective as nothing new; companies have distinguished between new development and systems maintenance for a long time. Others fear the bimodal approach puts companies at risk; by telling existing IT systems that they can’t participate in transformation to new technology, they may turn off developers from working on those projects at all. In addition, although CEOs may be frustrated at the slow pace of change from traditional IT teams, it may not be possible to easily integrate the output of mode 2 teams with the systems supported by mode 1 teams. And since ultimately both mode 1 and mode 2 teams are part of a single organization, the entire business ends up suffering from the tension between the two IT development groups.

    To succeed in technology, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. Vital Professional Services can help with finding those right professionals. Contact our great team of IT recruiters today!

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  • What Are Questions You Need to Ask Data Security Candidates?

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    Security breaches can be costly for businesses. The cost of notifying customers of a breach and implementing more effective technology is expensive, but the damage to a company’s reputation can be worse. Bringing in skilled data security staff is crucial for a company to protect itself. Asking the right questions is key to making sure a candidate has the skills needed to perform the job.

    Questions to Probe Technical Knowledge

    You’ll want to ask the candidate questions that probe their understanding about security-related technology. Depending on the position you’re hiring for, these questions can include topics such as firewall configuration or encryption and key management. They should be able to answer questions about HTTPS and SSL, and how to defend against issues such as phishing, cross-site scripting, and denial of service attacks. Ask questions about basic issues such as why and how to protect data in transit as well as data at rest.

    Questions to Verify Their Experience

    The candidate’s resume will put the best possible spin on their experience; ask probing questions to confirm exactly what tasks they were responsible for. Find out what their role was in identifying and responding to a security incident at their current or former employer. Ask what they see as their biggest accomplishment. If they had a leadership role, how did they direct their team? Also, ask questions about how they stay current with industry trends; a candidate with great current experience but little interest in maintaining their skills won’t be a top contributor for very long.

    Questions to Gauge Their Insight

    For more senior positions, questions related to the details of specific technology are less important than questions that help you assess the candidate’s ability to help your company identify and plan to cope with new threats. An interesting question to ask is where they see your company’s vulnerabilities and what they would suggest to address those weaknesses. Another question is how threat intelligence can be used to make smarter plans for responding to security threats.

    The IT recruiters at Vital Professional Services have a specific three-step recruiting and interview process to locate the best talent. Contact us today to learn more and experience the difference we can make for your organization.

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  • Understanding Edge Computing Advantages

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    Courtesy: Moor Insights & Strategy

    Courtesy: Moor Insights & Strategy

    Cloud computing’s popularity has resulted, in part, from Big Data’s growth. Many companies found it was less cost effective to maintain their own computational power, data centers, and storage than to engage cloud service providers. By paying only for actual use through price-tiered plans, adding new nodes and bandwidth became quick, easy, and economical.

    Now, edge computing, or simply the Edge (sometimes called fog computing), extends the cloud as another means by which companies can keep sensitive or commonly accessed data outside centralized archives. As a hybrid style, the Edge approach emphasizes data access and processing on local devices, which keeps data near the edge of a company’s network, hence the name.

    A particularly important Edge companion is the Internet of Things (IoT), where many devices exchange data with each other and ultimately with servers. Performing computations at the data generation source is just one Edge advantage. This way, networks only need to carry information from permanent storage to a central location, greatly reducing network traffic. In turn, bandwidth requirements fall, and so do costs associated with supporting it.

    Edge advantages include:

    Reduced latency and improved performance, because data resides near its place of use, minimizing data access delays. As a result, Edge helps maximize the value of real-time analytics, because data often loses value over time. To exemplify this, consider the relationship between a store and a shopping consumer.

    By maximizing an approach depending primarily upon local devices, Edge also reduces demand on centralized servers, freeing main data center capacity. IoT devices can locally preprocess and analyze data, and using this approach efficiently separates archive data from operational data.

    By processing more data locally, central computing environment failures often carry less serious consequences. As a result, the Edge usually continues operations with minimal wide area impact, resulting in a more robust environment.

    Edge simplifies data management. By limiting centralized systems’ burdens only to key data archiving and data warehousing become simpler. Operationally, processes like indexing and ETL (data’s export, transform, and load) become easier to maintain, quicker, and more efficient.

    Because smaller servers often accompany Edge computing practices, the macro-approach quickly becomes less environmentally demanding. Reduced traffic to central servers means these systems are also smaller.  Consequently, power, cooling, and space requirements often fall considerably, comparing Edge’s distributed model with centralized processing.

    At Vital Professional Services, we promise to help talented people and respected companies come together through creative and conscientious recruitment solutions. We are the Bay Area’s fastest growing high-end professional services IT recruitment firm, so contact us today to find the best IT talent for your employment needs.

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  • LinkedIn Groups Are a Great Place to Find Passive Job Candidates

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    Vital-ContactTouchBadTie3to2Sometimes you can’t wait for the best candidate to find you; you have to go out and find them. There are passive job candidates who are open to the possibility of making a change in employment, but aren’t yet at the point where they’re sending out resumes and responding to job ads.

    LinkedIn is a tremendous resource for finding and reaching out to these passive job seekers. You can search for candidates by their skills, however, another way to find great candidates is through looking at active participants in relevant LinkedIn groups.

    Industry thought leaders often participate in LinkedIn groups, but anyone who writes posts and comments in technically focused LinkedIn groups clearly has passion for their subject, is working to stay knowledgeable, and is interested in interacting with other people in their field. That means they may be intrigued by the challenges your open position can offer them.

    Use LinkedIn’s group directory to find groups where candidates with the skills you need are likely to hang out; there are groups on general information technology topics and groups on specific skills and technologies, such as Java development, cloud computing, and information security. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn, so be as specific in your search terms as possible to find the most relevant groups.

    Once you identify a passive candidate through their LinkedIn group membership, you can review their profiles for more information on their backgrounds and then reach out to them if they seem like they will be a good fit for your opening. Pay attention to the things they’ve posted in their group to tailor your message to them. Their posts can tell you what they’re interested in and let you sell the job opportunity to them specifically, rather than sending them the generic job description.

    What you don’t want to do is join a group and simply post your standard job listing there. Unless the group is specifically designed for job seekers, this kind of post may not be welcome. And if the group is designed for job seekers, well, you’re in the wrong place to find passive job candidates.

    Promptly making crucial connections among people, objectives, and solutions often separates winners from losers. Find out how Vital Professional Services can help make those connections and find the best talent looking to progress their IT careers.

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  • How Much Weight Should You Put in a Boot Camp?

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    Vital_Pro_Services-Expertise-600x400With college costs continuing to rise, it’s no wonder many students interested in technology careers are taking advantage of tech boot camps as an alternative. The cost of boot camps is less than half the cost of a single year at a typical university. These programs are also popular with students who decided they wanted to pursue a technical career after they obtained a degree in a different field. Boot camps promise to train students in practical skills needed on the job. But do boot camp graduates really have the skills to work for you?

    Technical Skills

    You can be sure that boot camp graduates are trained in the latest technology. Unlike college computer science programs, which often focus on the theoretical underpinnings, boot camps focus on applying technical skills using currently popular development tools. With their familiarity with the tools and methodology your team uses, boot camp graduates can have an easy time adapting to the work process in your organization.

    Boot camp programs often include a group project, which gives graduates experience working in a team. This is something that students in traditional programs might not experience, as most of their projects are individual efforts.

    Where boot camp graduates may be lacking is in having deeper understanding of architectural and design issues, as the short length of the programs and the focus on specific skills doesn’t allow study of these issues. In addition, the “theoretical” courses taken by computer science students and courses in aspects such as compiler design give computer science graduates a broader systems perspective that project-focused boot camp graduates don’t have. Even in the specific technologies taught by a boot camp program, there may be a lack of understanding of the challenges that come with building complex applications. Students in traditional programs that extend over years complete many more projects which continually increase in complexity.

    Non-technical Skills

    Even the most technical job requires non-technical skills. Boot camp graduates often have strong commitment and motivation to succeed in their technical careers; seeking out a boot camp education also indicates a desire to “go for it.” But boot camps don’t address other nontechnical skills such as interpersonal communication; you need to look for those skills to come from outside their training program. That’s true for college grads as well, of course; while they may take communications courses, they’re not typically part of a computer science curriculum.

    The Bottom Line

    Ultimately, the person you hire is an individual, and hiring decisions need to be based on an assessment of the individual, not where they got their training. You wouldn’t automatically hire someone just because they got their degree at MIT, and you shouldn’t automatically not hire someone because they got training at a boot camp. Bring in the candidates for an interview that tests their technical chops, and you’ll be able to judge the candidate by their performance, not by the name on their diploma.

    To succeed in business, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. Contact Vital Professional Services today to work with a top IT recruiter, and we’ll show you the difference our team can make.

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  • Give Thanks for Your Great Staff

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    Vital-Course3to2Money isn’t the only thing that matters to your employees. Even if corporate policy limits raises and bonuses, there are other things you can do to let your employees know they’re appreciated.

    Say “Thank You”

    It costs nothing to say “thank you,” but hearing those words from a manager can mean a lot to your staff. Say those words publicly, and be specific about what the employee did, and they’ll carry even more weight.

    Celebrate Success

    Some companies have budgets for small celebrations. Even if you don’t, spending a small amount of your own money to order a pizza or a cake is often worth it. Get the team together to celebrate the successful end of a project. Not only does your recognition count, it gives team members a chance to interact less formally, which helps build relationships that make it easy for them to work well together.

    Time is Money

    Well, not literally, but offering time in lieu of money is often appreciated by employees, especially those who’ve had to pull late hours to resolve problems. Make it up to them by offering some additional time off. On the slow days before a holiday, send staff home early. Just make sure you have sufficient coverage in case of problems, so you won’t need to call anyone back in.

    Put It in Writing

    Even if you don’t have budget for raises, you should still write positive things about an employee on their annual review. Besides making the employee feel good, this becomes part of their record at work and may help them get a raise or promotion in the future, even if it doesn’t get them any tangible reward now.

    Spend Time with Them

    One on one time with their boss is incredibly valuable to employees. Take team members out for coffee, for lunch, or just for a walk — it doesn’t matter where you go, but get away from the office so you can focus on being with the employee. Tell them thanks and make sure they hear you, but more importantly, pay attention to them — use this as an opportunity to hear your employee’s concerns and desires about what they’re doing at work and what they want from work. Then, when you get back into the office, do what you can to address those issues. Next time you meet with them one-on-one, your employee may be the one thanking you.

    To succeed in business, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. At Vital Professional Services, we help place IT professionals for Bay Area jobs. Contact us today to get started!

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  • Make It Easy for Job Candidates on Your Job Board

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    Vital-Contact3to2Remember that while you’re screening candidates to make sure that they’re a good fit for your open position, candidates are also screening you to make sure they want to work for your company. Your job board needs to encourage potential employees to submit their resumes, not turn them off before they apply. Use the following tips to make sure good candidates apply for your jobs after they visit your site:

    1. Make it easy for candidates to find jobs they’re interested in. Big companies can have hundreds of open positions, in hundreds of locations, in dozens of business areas. Make sure candidates can easily filter through jobs to get to the ones that are relevant to them — just like on Google, few people click through beyond the first page of search results. Let them sort the results in the order they want, and let them limit listings to new postings.
    1. Make your job listings appealing. Remember, a job post is an ad. You need to convince candidates they want this position, so it’s not only about what you want from them; it’s also about what you can do for them. Your job post needs to grab them from the first sentence, so the headline should say something that will get them excited — something like “build the next generation of X” rather than “Experienced Java developer.”
    1. Make it easy to apply. So the candidate found your listing and the post convinced them they’re a good fit. Don’t lose them now! A complicated application process is a turn off, so streamline the process. Limit the application to essential fields. While allowing candidates to upload a Word or pdf version of their resume can be useful, make sure the parsing tool you use does a good job of pulling out the critical information. If the applicant needs to correct too many fields, they may get frustrated and quit before the application’s complete.
    1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly. As much as 60 percent of web traffic these days is mobile. If your site’s interface is clunky when viewed on a small screen, candidates may not make the effort to read the job details and apply. They may not bother to revisit your site once they’re in front of a larger screen.

    Another way to make it easy for job candidates? Work with a staffing agency like Vital Professional Services who will pre-screen candidates’ resumes and pass on all the relevant information to you.

    At Vital Professional Services, we have industry-seasoned service professionals who know your business, and they are personally accountable for your satisfaction. You receive the highest caliber professional candidates, because we have a stake in your success – because we care. Contact us today!

     

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