How to Find a Mentor to Help Advance Your High-Tech Career

Knowing How to Find a Mentor Can Be the Key to Finding Your Way in Tech If you want to know how to move your information technology career forward, you need to know how to find a mentor. Your high-tech career is a long journey. As you advance, you’ll encounter twists and turns, roadblocks and pitfalls, forks in the road, and roads you didn’t even know existed. Having an experienced guide who can help you navigate these uncharted waters can be the key to keeping you on the right course in the tech industry. While some technology companies have formal mentoring programs in which they pair a more seasoned pro with someone just starting out, many new IT professionals will need to figure out how to find a mentor on their own. Your search may include connecting with a mentor at your current company, but you shouldn’t necessarily limit your efforts to your workplace. Wherever and however you hook up with a mentor, that individual should be experienced, available, empathetic, open, and enthusiastic about helping you. Here are some helpful tips on how to find a mentor who will help you find your way in an ever-changing technology landscape. Do What Comes Naturally In your current tech role, there may be someone you work with or for whom you use as your go-to person when you have a question or need guidance. There may be a certain team member you turn to for coding help, or perhaps a senior developer who’s always receptive when you knock on their door looking for advice. These organic relationships often evolve into a mentorship dynamic, even if neither you nor the other person formally recognizes it as such. In addition to providing general or technical guidance, an in-house mentor can offer you unique insights about your workplace, its culture, and the interpersonal dynamics that play a role in your trajectory at the company. But in addition to a mentor in your office, there may be issues or concerns that you’re not comfortable raising with a direct supervisor or colleague. Similarly, you may be looking to expand your skill sets and network beyond what an in-house mentor can offer. These common roadblocks prove why you need to broaden your horizons and look elsewhere for a mentor. Network Like You Know How Important Networking Is We don’t have to tell you how critical networking is when it comes to finding new opportunities or growing your circle of relationships in the tech industry. But networking also provides a great way to locate potential mentors. Stay in touch with college friends and other pals in tech and ask them if they know of any good mentor candidates. Go to tech talks and seminars and mingle with your fellow IT pros. If a speaker is particularly impressive, stick around and introduce yourself. Arrange for informational interviews with people whose career paths reflect what you would like to see happen in your own career. Any of these folks could wind up being a perfect mentor. Style and Substance A good mentor needs to know their stuff, to be sure. But a person could be the best in their field, a technical genius, a renowned thought leader, and still be a horrible mentor. In college, all of us had at least one professor who was absolutely brilliant in their field but couldn’t actually teach to save their life. The mentor you want needs to be able to share their knowledge effectively. They also should be someone whose style and approach you find appealing or wish to emulate. Try to find a mentor who shares your values and interests, both inside the tech industry and in their other endeavors. The mentor-mentee relationship is one that combines the professional with the personal. Don’t discount the importance of the latter when it comes to selecting a mentor. Keep Things Casual Very few tech professionals become mentors at first sight. Explicitly asking someone to be your mentor at your first meeting is like asking someone to marry you on a first date. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask your potential mentor questions or explore how they may be a good fit. But let things progress casually. Establish trust and a comfort level and build upon that. Find the Right Mentor by Finding the Right Tech Company with GTN Technical Staffing When the top technology companies need top talent who possess the IT skills in demand this year and in the years that follow, they turn to GTN Technical Staffing. We can help new programmers like you connect with those employers starting right now. Contact us today to learn how we can help you move forward in your IT career by finding the right company with the right people to be your next mentor. Read More by GTN Technical Staffing What Makes a Software Engineer Stay in a New Job? Advice on Holding a Good Remote Presentation 4 Ways to Promote the Professional Growth of Tech Employees

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What Is the Best Career Advice for New Programmers?

Do’s and Don’ts for Technology Industry Newbies There is no shortage of career advice for new programmers. Family, friends, colleagues, the barista you see every morning at Starbucks – all of them want to see you succeed and mean well when they tell you what you should do to move forward in your programming career. Some of that advice can be spot on, while other suggestions may not be terribly helpful. But since all of us at GTN Technical Consulting make it our mission to help programmers and IT professionals get the job they want, we thought we’d give our two cents with career advice for new programmers. Get a Mentor – Somewhere Else Starting your programming career is like the beginning of a long journey to a place you’ve never been before. So, you’ll find it helpful to have an experienced guide who can show you the way and help you avoid the pitfalls that could slow you down or throw your career off track. Connecting with a mentor at your current company is absolutely something you should try to do. A mentor can show you the specific ropes of your workplace, help you understand the interpersonal dynamics of your superiors, and assist you in developing your technical skills. In addition to a mentor in your office, you’ll want to find a programmer, software engineer or technology professional on the outside who can give you guidance as well. Their perspective may be more objective and unbiased, and you can speak more freely about subjects that would be problematic if you shared them internally. Ask Questions One of the keys to success, at any point in your career, is knowing what you don’t know. And when you’re just starting out in programming, no matter how excellent your education was, you’ll discover a ton you don’t know. How do you learn what you don’t know? You ask questions. And any technology company worth its salt should recognize that asking questions shows strength, not weakness. Being inquisitive shows that you want to expand your knowledge base and become better at your job. Finding and asking questions reveals that you would rather get things right when you start a project rather than winging it and getting it wrong because you didn’t reach out for needed information. Speak Up and Contribute Similarly, don’t let your status as a newbie prevent you from speaking up if you think you have something positive to contribute. Many folks just starting out are understandably reluctant to talk in meetings, make suggestions, or otherwise share their views because they are afraid of embarrassing themselves. But you can’t win if you don’t play, as they say. Your good idea may, in fact, be a good idea. But that idea will be one that nobody ever knows about if you don’t open your mouth. Speaking up shows that you are engaged and that you want to actively participate in your team’s or company’s success. Prepare for upcoming meetings by doing the kind of research that increases the odds that your contribution will be well-received. Cut Yourself Some Slack You’re going to make a mistake. No matter how much of a code-slinger you may be, something, sometime, somehow will go wrong. And when you’re just beginning your career, that can be sooner than later. But the true measure of your character and abilities proves not in the mistakes you make; it’s how you respond to them. Take responsibility. Don’t panic. Let your supervisors know about the error, have a plan for fixing your blunder, or ask for guidance as to how best to do so. You can let yourself be upset with yourself or embarrassed, but don’t dwell on your mistakes. Use them as an opportunity to learn and avoid similar problems going forward. And remember that your superiors and more senior colleagues were once newbies just like you, and they made mistakes just like you will. Our Last Piece of Career Advice for New Programmers? Contact GTN Technical Staffing Today When the top technology companies need top talent who possess the IT skills in demand this year and in the years that follow, they turn to GTN Technical Staffing. We can help new programmers like you connect with those employers starting right now. Contact us today to learn how we can help you move forward in your IT career by finding the right company right now Read More Career Advice from GTN Technical Staffing Top Ten IT Skills in Demand Right Now Get Your Resume Noticed by Technical Hiring Managers How to Find a Mentor to Help Advance Your High-Tech Career

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Top 10 IT Skills in Demand Right Now

Here’s What You Should Have in Your IT Toolbox in 2021 The IT skills in demand ten years ago – five years ago, even – are not necessarily the same skills that will make you a sought-after technology professional today. Advances should come as no surprise in an industry where unrelenting transformative change is the standard operating procedure. Therefore, enhancing and expanding skillsets should be the standard operating procedure for IT professionals as well. The ability to keep pace with evolving technology and changing roles is what separates those who will see their careers propelled forward and those who stagnate in inertia. If you want to make yourself the most marketable IT professional you can be, consider building your competence and experience in these 10 IT skills in demand right now: 1. Artificial Intelligence Skills The number of products, systems, and industries integrating and relying upon artificial intelligence (AI) is growing exponentially. IT professionals should develop their knowledge of data engineering and the programming languages, including natural language processing (NLP), that form the foundation of AI. 2. Cloud Computing Skills Cloud computing was seeing steady and significant growth for years before the events of 2020. The expansion of remote work and the need to reduce capital expenses that it caused, only further cemented cloud computing’s place at the center of business operations across industries. IT pros should arm themselves with essential cloud computing skills, such as configuration, deployment, security for cloud services, management, and troubleshooting. 3. Machine Learning Skills To grow their machine learning skill set, technology professionals should focus on the fundamentals behind machine learning and finding patterns in data, including software engineering, system design, computer science fundamentals, and programming. 4. Data Science Skills Data is everything. But data only has value if organizations can interpret, organize, understand, and use that information in ways that facilitate change and create better services and products. Hence, the ability to decipher raw data and transform it into usable, comprehensible feedback proves absolutely essential. Learning to work with SAS, R, Python, and other programming languages are data science skills that will serve IT professionals well. 5. Cybersecurity Skills Every day it seems the news contains a story about yet another hack, data breach, ransomware attack, or other cybersecurity failures. Having cybersecurity skills in your toolbox, such as risk assessment, identification, management, and remediation can make you a valuable commodity as organizations spend more time and effort building their defenses against these existential threats. 6. Big Data Skills Big data enables companies to analyze vast amounts of information so they can make optimal business decisions. Big data-related IT skills in demand this year include effective problem-solving skills, data handling proficiency, and an understanding of programming languages. 7. Soft Skills Technical aptitude is indispensable for technology professionals, but so too are the skills that facilitate collaboration, teamwork, and a positive working environment. Building your “soft skills” and emotional intelligence can make you even more effective and impactful when you deploy your prodigious technical knowledge. Empathy, active listening, adaptability, and well-developed communication skills are of increasing importance to tech job employers as they evaluate candidates. 8. Data Analytics Skills An IT pro well-versed in data analytics can examine raw data and reach conclusions that enable companies to get better business results. As a top IT skill in demand in 2021, data analytics skills include those that apply to other items on this list, such as machine learning, SQL, and language programming. 9. Mobile Application Skills Companies increasingly use mobile app solutions to expand their customer reach and foster enduring consumer relationships and loyalty. Understanding application programming interface (API) development platforms and cross-platform app development frameworks enable IT professionals to help organizations develop mobile apps. 10.   Virtual Reality Skills According to many industry analysts, virtual reality (VR) is primed for explosive growth in the next five years. Software engineering skills and working knowledge of 3D tools and sound can help technical professionals play a role in this expanding sector. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting IT Skills in Demand With the Companies that Need Them When the top technology companies need top talent who possess the IT skills in demand this year and in the years that follow, they turn to GTN Technical Staffing. We can help IT professionals like you connect with those employers starting right now. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get the technology career you want and deserve. We strive to help both individuals and employers find the best fit, and we are ready to help you today! Read More from GTN Technical Staffing You Don’t Need a Recruiter The Future of Computer Science What Are the Expected Trends in Tech Employee Relocation?

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10 Powerful Zoom Meeting Phrases That Make People Like You

Real Ways to Get Others On Your Side When Meeting Virtually When it comes to the art of coming across well during a Zoom meeting, don’t discount the importance of Zoom meeting phrases. As we all have gotten used to interacting with colleagues through a screen, we’ve spent a lot of time perfecting our backgrounds, optimizing our lighting, and mastering the fashion trick of wearing sweatpants or pajama bottoms while looking dapper up top. But if you want to make the folks on the other end of your webcam like you, the words you say can be much more important than what score you get on “Room Rater.” Zoom Meeting Phrases Can Be Your On-Screen Go-To When we meet in person, we have many ways to get on others’ good side—a firm handshake, eye contact, body language, etc. But on screen, likability rests much more heavily on verbal cues and communication. Having some go-to comments can come in handy and increase dialogue and connection between you and other tech worker attendees. The best part of deploying powerful Zoom meeting phrases: you can have them at the ready without the need to memorize them! You can scribble them on Post-It Notes or list them on a document you can look at on your screen without anyone being the wiser. While you shouldn’t hesitate to come up with your own Zoom meeting phrases, here are ten suggestions that can make you the star of your laptop screen and help you hold good remote presentations. “What do you think?” People appreciate when others value their input and opinion. Listening to their thoughts makes them feel respected and relevant. Whatever the topic at hand, asking other people on the call what they think will get you on their good side. “My apologies for interrupting. Please continue.” One of the more frustrating elements of conference calls and Zoom meetings is people’s tendency to talk over each other, even when they have no intention of interrupting. When that happens, you can show others respect by apologizing for any such missteps and inviting them to keep speaking. “What can I do to help?” A friend in need is a friend indeed. If someone on the call seems to be struggling with a task or concept or feels overwhelmed by the amount of work on their plate, offering to assist them will generate a ton of goodwill. Allow your fellow tech employees to tell you what they think would help most, but then feel free to make your own suggestions as to how to make their life better. “Thanks for being here.” Zoom fatigue has proven very real. All of us are more than ready to be done with isolation. And while we understand that virtual work meetings are necessary until the world gets back to in-person work, that doesn’t mean we are thrilled to be once again staring at boxes full of faces. If you are the host of a Zoom meeting, be sure to express your understanding of these feelings and your appreciation to everyone for showing up and participating. “Please and thank you.” These are the magic words IRL, and they have the same effect on the screen. Common courtesy engenders good feelings and provides another way of showing respect to your fellow technical employees. “Tell me more about that.” If you want to show interest in what someone is saying, there’s no better way to do so than asking them to say more. An open-ended invitation to keep on sharing will make others feel valued and important. “You did a great job on ____.” Everyone likes and appreciates a compliment. Positive reinforcement and recognition of achievement always generate good feelings about the person dispensing the praise. “Why don’t you go ahead and take this one.” Even if you are the font of wisdom or the focus of a meeting, throwing a question directed to you over to one of your colleagues shows that you trust them and want to give them their moment to shine. “Can you repeat that?” Whether because of crosstalk or a technical glitch, we often miss things others say in a Zoom meeting, even if you are paying the utmost attention. Don’t hesitate in such situations to ask the person to repeat what they said. Asking someone to repeat themselves demonstrates that you want to know what they have to contribute. “I appreciate that.” When people do or say something nice for a colleague, they may do so for altruistic and selfless reasons. But that doesn’t mean they don’t expect acknowledgement or appreciation for their efforts. Be sure to express your thanks for what others have done for you or your organization. Remote or Otherwise, Great Tech Opportunities Don’t Just Present Themselves. GTN Can Help You Find Them. Companies are hiring, and your dream IT position is out there, no matter where you are. GTN Technical Staffing has earned a reputation throughout the tech industry for connecting the right talent to the right companies. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you land your next opportunity. More to Read on Technical Job Staffing How Can a Programmer Build Influence When First Starting Their Career?  Top 10 IT Skills in Demand Right Now You Don’t Need a Recruiter 

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How Can a Programmer Build Influence When First Starting Their Career?

It’s a Long Way to the Top, But Programmers Who Build Influence Get There Quicker A programmer who wants to become a sought-after talent who can write their own ticket is a programmer who builds influence. Establishing yourself as someone others in your company or industry turn to for inspiration, wisdom, and guidance proves to be no small endeavor. Building your reputation at your tech company takes time, commitment, savvy, and, of course, the technical skills and abilities needed for success in software or systems development. But when a programmer builds influence starting at the beginning of their career, it can make the journey from newbie to leader a much shorter one. What Does it Mean for a Programmer to Build Influence? Influence in your programming career is an intangible yet identifiable quality. Influence means that others listen to what you have to say, and that your co-workers respect your input and insights and act on them. This authority means that your voice, opinions, and talents matter to those you work for and with, as well as to the broader circle of individuals in your industry. Why Should a Programmer Build Influence? Simply put, influence equates to power. When your influence extends throughout your department, your company, and your industry, that impact puts you in the driver’s seat of your career. Others, including prospective tech recruiters and employers, will seek you out because so many others value and appreciate you. When you feel like and are at the bottom of the ladder at the beginning of your career, it can be hard to see how you move from looking up to others to others looking up to you. But by developing and practicing some fundamental skills and practices, your influence will steadily grow. Here are four ways a programmer can build influence early in their careers. Build Your Communications Skills You could have a game-changing and revolutionary concept, or even a modest but helpful suggestion, but if you can’t communicate effectively, your ideas will remain just that – ideas. If you want people to listen to you – an indispensable element of influence – you need to know how to speak to them. Just as important, you need to learn how to truly listen to others. This dialogue, this exchange of information, and the respect that comes from treating people with respect can be the foundation of building your influence and increasing your effectiveness and marketability throughout your techcareer. Be Consistent and Reliable At the start of your career, you are an unknown quality. Sure, your resume lists your impressive skills and background, and you aced your interview to get the job. But until you prove that you are dependable, that you will do what you say and mean what you say, you are unlikely to receive the increasing responsibilities that can advance your career. Focus on executing your responsibilities effectively and on time. Be reliable, over and over and over again. Consistency and reliability will build trust, and trust builds respect. If people doubt your word or commitment, you may still become an influence; it’s just that you will become a bad one. Add Your Two Cents You may be new, but that does not mean you have nothing to add to the conversation. Don’t be afraid to inject yourself into discussions and provide your opinions. Overcome any fear of embarrassment or rejection and put yourself out there. Joining conversations will allow others to get to know who you are and what you have to offer. People don’t ascend to positions of influence and leadership by being timid and staying quiet. Demonstrate Your Commitment to Professional Growth One of the best things you can do to build influence early in your tech career comes from consistently expanding your knowledge base and improving your skills. You aren’t much of an expert now, but as you broaden your horizons day after day, year after year, you can become one. Immerse yourself in programming generally or your role specifically by regularly attending industry conferences, enrolling in classes or specialized programs, or assuming leadership roles in professional organizations. Share what you’ve learned with your colleagues and superiors. Blog or write about the information and insights you acquire. These are public and visible signs of your determination and commitment to your programming tech career and your employer. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting Top Tech Talent With the Top Tech Companies Becoming an influencer in the programming field can enhance your opportunities and make you a more attractive candidate for leading tech companies in need of top-flight programming talent. GTN Technical Staffing in Phoenix, Dallas, and nationwide can help connect you with those employers starting today. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get the programming career you want and deserve. Read More on Tech Job Staffing Benefits Remote Tech Employees Should Seek in Their Next Role How to Handle the “Desired Salary Question” Like a Boss How to Get What You Want: Tech Salary Negotiations 101

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Get Your Resume Noticed by Technical Hiring Managers

How to Rise Above a Sea of Other Candidates Before you can receive a job offer, before you even get an interview, you first need to get your resume noticed. The technical hiring managers who serve as the gatekeepers for your career journey must sift through scores or hundreds of resumes and cover letters to determine which candidates are worthy of a closer inspection. If your Curriculum vitae (CV) looks like the one above it in the pile, the one below it, and all of the other ones, it will quickly make its way to the circular file (or “Delete” key). If you want to have any chance of making it to the next stage in the screening process, your resume needs to be something special. It must distinguish you from all of the other faceless yet talented tech professionals trying to score the same gig. Your credentials, education, experience, and job history are what they are, but how you describe them and how you present yourself on a resume and, when applicable, your cover letter lies within your hands right now. Here are four ways to get your resume noticed and get yourself closer to your dream tech job. To Get Your Resume Noticed, Start at the Top All of those bullet points in your resume are important. The bullet sections are where you convey the nuts and bolts of your talents, skills, and experience. But bullet points and laundry lists don’t tell a story. They don’t say anything about who you are, what you’re looking for professionally, or what makes you unique. A good tech resume will start with the paper equivalent of the “elevator pitch.” That is, a brief statement that provides a frame and context for all of the details that follow. Just like an article or blog post, your resume should start with a powerful “hook” that will intrigue the hiring manager and persuade them to keep reading. Craft a brief, forward-looking narrative about who you are and where you want your tech career to go that complements the backward-looking descriptions of your qualifications and work experience. Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description Too many tech job seekers take a “set it and forget it” approach to their resume. They prepare a single resume that they robotically send out in response to every tech job listing, never modifying, reorganizing, or tailoring it to match the specifics of a job’s requirements or desired skill sets. Think of your existing resume as a foundation for multiple resumes, each of which should include or emphasize the specific qualities, experience, skills, and talents described in each individual job description. Resume tailoring could mean adding or deleting certain bullet points, or moving them to more prominent positions on your resume to match what the employer believes to be the essential attributes for the job. Additionally, many tech companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to screen resumes before the hiring manager even sees them. AI programs look for matches between keywords and descriptors in the job listings and these same terms in responsive resumes. By including these critical terms where appropriate in your resume, you decrease the chances of a robot deciding that you’re not worth the hiring manager’s time. Numbers Can Speak Louder than Words Yes, you need good descriptive language and active verbs to tell a compelling tale of your experience and accomplishments. But what is more impressive: “Met project deadlines most of the time,” or, “Met 95% of all project deadlines”? Numbers and statistics that quantify the extent of your awesomeness take things out of the realm of self-flattery and into the world of cold, hard facts. If you have statistics that can tell the tale of your achievements, use them. Think Outside the Desk You have lots of work experience relevant to the position. You’ve described in great detail your information technology achievements, your tech projects, and your work skills. But you are more than your job. Many of the components that define you as a person are experiences, accomplishments, and interests beyond those in your career. By including relevant and impressive non-work experience in your resume – such as educational pursuits or volunteer activities – you can paint a more vibrant picture of yourself as a candidate and provide more reasons for a reviewer to give you a second look. Get Your Resume Noticed by the Best Tech Companies. Contact GTN Technical Staffing Today Whether you are looking for a permanent position,  temporary, or contract-based work in the tech industry, GTN Technical Staffing can help you get your resume noticed. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find and nail your desired job. Read More on Technical Job Staffing Tech Staffing: The Most Oddball Interview Questions to Expect in 2021 What Is the Best Career Advice for New Programmers? How Can Personality Tests Can Help Improve Your Job Interviewing Skills

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Benefits Remote Tech Employees Should Seek in their Next Role

The pandemic has completely upended the tech industry, changing the way we live and work. While work-from-home policies have become common across all industries, the nature of the tech sphere makes remote work even more prevalent. An overwhelming majority of tech professionals believe these work arrangements are here to stay, which is why the most forward-thinking tech companies are already making changes to accommodate their staff. With many companies now operating remotely, job seekers may now have access to a broader range of job opportunities that aren’t confined to specific cities. As a tech professional looking for work during the pandemic, there are certain benefits you should seek to ensure you’re provided with the resources necessary to perform your job effectively from anywhere. As you consider your job prospects, here are four crucial benefits to look for: Wellness Benefits As tech workers continue to adjust to remote work, there’s no surprise that they’ve experienced adverse effects of the pandemic like increased levels of stress, burnout, and sleep troubles. As it may be difficult for employees to deliver if they feel isolated, stressed, or unhealthy, you should accept a position at a company that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of its employees. Employers often support their workforce’s health and happiness by offering perks like digital wellness hubs and virtual fitness classes, or by encouraging employees to tend to their physical, mental, and even financial health. They may also provide an employee assistance program (EAP) to help employees address personal and work-related problems. Based on your specific situation, you should inquire about a company’s wellness offerings to ensure your needs are adequately met. Technology Stipends When working from home, you won’t have access to the same standard equipment that’s provided in an office setting. To keep operations running smoothly, IT companies must ensure their employees have the necessary infrastructure and equipment to be most productive at home. To do this, some employers offer equipment or technology stipends, which can be used to purchase tools and equipment like a monitor, standing desk, mouse and keyboard, or any other technology you may need to perform your job. Stipends are offered as a one-time payment or paid out on an annual, quarterly, or monthly basis. Providing stipends gives employees the freedom to choose their equipment and personalize their at-home work setup, so they’re able to work most effectively. Before accepting your next job, be sure to ask what type of financial assistance they are able to offer to ensure you have access to the necessary tools and technology. Housing Accommodations More than 10 million Americans have expressed their plans to move as work-from-home arrangements continue to become permanent realities for many companies. Some IT professionals are taking advantage of these new work conditions by relocating to more comfortable and/or affordable homes. With positions no longer bound to specific geographic locations, you have the freedom to move wherever you please. However, moving can be a complicated and costly process. If you’re planning to move around the same time that you start a new job, you should ask about any assistance your employer can provide. They may offer help with moving costs, travel, or job placement for spouses. They may also be able to provide you with resources to help alleviate the cost and stress of relocating, such as local guides or information on affordable home financing choices like FHA loans. Some companies may even offer housing grants, depending on where you are planning to move. Benefits like these are even more impactful and attractive right now, as many individuals and families are experiencing the adverse financial effects of COVID. Training and Continuing Education Opportunities IT professionals are knowledge-hungry by nature and the tech landscape is constantly changing. Savvy tech managers understand that encouraging knowledge sharing and offering ongoing learning opportunities are great ways to not only help employees advance in their careers but also help their bottom line. Educational offerings like webinars, certification programs, and virtual lunch-and-learns can boost engagement, as well as help employees sharpen their skill sets and perform their jobs better. Continuing education could also come in the form of a mentorship program. A mentor can help you get acclimated to a new workplace quicker, decrease your learning curve, and help you build an internal network by introducing you to more colleagues. A structured virtual mentorship program can also provide a more engaging onboarding and work experience, so you can hit the ground running in your new role. GTN Technical Staffing: Helping You Find Your Next Tech Role The IT landscape and working conditions are changing quickly, and businesses are responding. If you’re on the hunt for your next IT position during these unprecedented times, we understand it may be hard to know exactly what to look for. GTN Technical Staffing can help find the right personal and professional fit for you. Contact us to learn how we can assist you in finding your ideal tech role.

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How to Ease Employee Concerns About Returning to Work

Coming Back to the Office Often Comes With Anxiety and Worry As 2020 recedes into the rearview mirror, businesses that ask their workforce to return to the office may need to address a variety of employee concerns. While employers face plenty of logistical and practical challenges when it comes to restarting their regular in-office operations, management should not overlook the worries and anxiety that many of their employees may be experiencing. Workers who have spent the better part of a year working from home may feel uneasy about coming back to a workplace in which they may be in close quarters with colleagues, customers, or clients. How can employers acknowledge these employee concerns and take affirmative steps to ease them? Here are three steps companies can take to help their workforce feel more comfortable and confident about returning to the office: Maintain a Safe Workplace Keeping the workplace safe is the most fundamental employer responsibility relating to reopening, and addresses the most relevant employee concerns. Employers should follow all federal and state laws, executive orders, and other rules and limitations established by local and state governments and public health authorities regarding indoor spaces and employee safety. As a general matter, employers and employees can turn to the guidance provided by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for basic information about workplace safety. The CDC guidance includes detailed suggestions as well as general policies and protocols, including: Conducting regular employee health checks Conducting a workplace hazard assessment Encouraging employees to work from home if they are not feeling well Implementing policies and practices for improving cleanliness and hygiene Improving building ventilation systems A survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that the biggest employee concerns for workplace safety upon reopening largely mirror the CDC’s guidance. Specifically, employees want their employers to: Extensively clean and sanitize workspaces (55%) Encourage sick employees to stay home and implement flexible sick leave policies (52%) Promote personal hygiene (40%) Provide personal protective equipment (33%) Open, Honest, and Frequent Communication About Employee Concerns Employees want to know what is going on at the companies they work for. Employees who receive consistent updates from their companies are more likely to have positive views of their employers and are more inclined to look forward to going back to work. Ignorance is not, in fact, bliss. Therefore, employers should establish a communications plan specifically focused on workplace safety. This includes encouraging employees to respect each other’s personal space,  advising employees about their family and medical leave rights, and encouraging workers to share their concerns or questions without fear of reprisal. Tell employees about all you are doing to keep them safe and ask them if they have any other suggestions that would help ease their concerns. By enabling honest, two-way communication, company leaders can turn safety awareness into an opportunity to strengthen their corporate culture, enhance employee engagement, and increase long-term productivity and loyalty. Resources to Help Employees With the Challenges of Returning to Work The impact of the Government mandating stay-at-home orders on our collective mental health is undeniable. Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health issues are on the rise as we all try to cope with the fear, isolation, and uncertainty that continue to cloud our lives. Returning to a changed workplace after months at home can only add to these feelings. Employers can address this concern by emphasizing the importance of mental health in employee communications. Create a supportive and non-judgmental environment that encourages employees to reach out for help without worrying about how it may look or whether it will have a negative impact on their career. Provide them with ways of obtaining the assistance they need, and promote discussion and support groups that can connect remote employees who may feel lonely and isolated from their colleagues. GTN Technical Staffing: Helping You Navigate Recruiting and Hiring in the Tech Sector GTN Technical Staffing provides creative and scalable staffing solutions encompassing SOW, staff augmentation, and direct hire placement for Fortune 2000 companies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech talent landscape. Read More on Employee Wellness Remote Work: Wellness For Tech Employees Working From Home 4 Ways To Promote The Professional Growth Of Tech Employees Benefits of a Self-Insurance Insurance Plan

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Tips To Keep Your Remote Team Engaged In Their Tech Job

Keeping Your Workforce In The Game When They Work Out Of The Office When so much of teamwork involves a team actually working together, it can be an imposing challenge to keep a remote team engaged in their tech jobs. It is much easier for tech workers to stay motivated, encouraged, inspired, and productive when they spend their work hours surrounded by people who are all pulling together towards a common goal. But when colleagues are miles apart, communicate intermittently, and miss out on the day-to-day, face-to-face interactions that create connection and camaraderie, it takes leadership, planning, and effort to keep a remote team engaged. Here are four tips to help managers and leaders encourage tech worker engagement when working from home. Ease Up On The Zoom Meetings Companies often turn to Zoom and similar video conferencing platforms to communicate, hold meetings or host virtual happy hours in their efforts to replicate real-life employee interaction. But over time, many high tech workers begin to experience “Zoom fatigue.” According to Monster, 69 percent of employees reported experiencing burnout while working from home, and a lot of that burnout was due to too many virtual get-togethers. Rather than encouraging engagement, endless virtual meetings can make employees dread the next invitation that summons them to yet another hour of tedium. Reconsider how, why, and when you turn to Zoom meetings when other communication methods may be just as effective. For example, Slack is an excellent tool that can keep a team connected. If meetings or presentations are a must, try to keep them as short as possible. A recent Prezi/Harris survey recommends keeping Zoom meetings to an average length of 18 minutes as an effective way to keep remote teams engaged and not distracted. Also, consider “asynchronous” meetings that employees can tune into when it suits them. Create A Culture Of Connection Tech workers, like almost everyone, feed off the energy of those around them. When no one’s around, that energy may not be either. But a team’s spirit comes from more than just working together on a project or getting their paycheck from the same company. A team’s engagement and cohesion are products of their connection as human beings. While emails, Slack messages, or Zoom meetings may be no substitute for real, in-person, three-dimensional interaction, companies can take steps to create a culture of connection for employees who don’t get to hang out in the breakroom or grab drinks after work. Employers can create a sense of community among remote colleagues by encouraging them to share and discuss what’s going on in their lives other than their jobs. Establish safe spaces for them to discuss their families, plans for the weekend, small victories, or shared experiences. Offer encouragement and support and make it clear that you care about them as people, not just as employees. And never underestimate the power of appreciation. Making sure your employees know that you are aware of their accomplishments and contributions goes a long way to keeping employees engaged. Bring Out Their Competitive Spirit Most people love a little competition, and everyone loves winning. Harness your workforce’s competitive spirit by arranging virtual games and challenges. For instance, trivia contents are easy to set up using Zoom, Slack or similar platforms. Some professional trivia companies that usually host pub trivia contests also offer the same thing virtually for businesses. Colleagues can compete individually or in teams. A quick google search for “remote trivia company” delivers a plethora of websites to choose from that will fit your company culture. Wellness challenges have also proven to be an effective strategy for encouraging healthy habits and engaging employees in healthy competition. Keep Your Remote Team Engaged By Asking Them What They Need Effective communication is not a one-way street. While it is critical that companies keep their workforce informed about what’s going on, it is equally important that employees keep their employers abreast of their concerns or needs. Ask your tech employees for feedback on just about anything and everything, and make it clear that there are no stupid questions or wrong answers. When workers know that their employer is truly listening to them – and acting in response to what they say – they will be more loyal, committed, and engaged in their jobs. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting Tech Workers and Tech Companies No Matter Where They Are No matter what role you play in the tech industry or the kind of position you’re looking for, GTN Technical Staffing can help connect you to the job you want. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Read More on How to Keep Your Remote Team Engaged How to Ease Employee Concerns About Returning to Work 4 Boundaries Remote Tech Workers Need to Set Between Home and Work Time How to Stay Connected with Colleagues When Working From Home

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4 Boundaries Remote Tech Workers Need to Set Between Home and Work Time

It’s Not Business. It’s Not Personal. It’s Both When You’re Setting Boundaries as a Remote Tech Worker. When your office exists in the same place as your bedroom, kitchen, laundry room, and living room, the boundaries remote tech workers need to set between home and work time can be critical to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For all of its upsides, remote work presents many challenges for tech workers who can unhealthily and unproductively blur the line between their personal and professional lives. Boundaries remote tech workers in Dallas, Phoenix, and across the nation establish between these two worlds serve many purposes. Such limits prevent their job obligations from following them 24 hours a day. They help employees make time for self-care and wellness. They ensure that spouses, kids, friends, and family get undivided attention and time needed for strong and healthy relationships. And boundaries also help keep employees focused, productive, and engaged during those hours they are on the clock. Here are four boundaries remote tech works should incorporate into their work from home lifestyle. Remote Tech Workers Boundaries: Have a Workplace to Go To Perhaps the best way to separate work from home is to do so physically. Whatever the size of your home or its layout, find one dedicated room or area that you claim as your workspace. Let those you live with know that when you’re there, you’re on the job and they should treat you as such. Hang a “Do-Not-Disturb” sign on the door or the back of your chair to remind folks to leave you alone. To the extent you can, keep your workspace away from where people frequently congregate, such as the kitchen. Set up a desk as you would in your office or cubicle and use the space exclusively for work. Have a Daily “Commute” You’d be hard-pressed to find a remote worker who misses being stuck in traffic or shoehorned into a crowded commuter train to get to and from their office. But for many people, that time allowed them to catch up on the news, listen to their favorite podcast, read a few pages in a novel, or just zone out. It was time that marked the transition from home to work and vice versa, allowing folks to psych up and wind down. Now that your commute consists of a staircase or a hallway, find a way to recreate that mental transition. Go for a brisk walk at the start of the day and when you clock out. Read or listen to things that bring you happiness, inspiration, or enrichment. Drive to a nearby coffee kiosk, grab a coffee and call a co-worker and chat casually about non-work stuff. Dress Up Or Dress Down. Just Get Dressed. When the work dress code changes from business professional to entirely your own, feel free to take advantage of it. If you prefer to work in sweats, shorts, yoga pants, hoodies, and t-shirts, do so. But you can make that all-important transition between work and home more real just by getting dressed in the morning rather than starting work in what you wore to bed. Of course, you’ll want to have a dress shirt or blouse at the ready for those Zoom meetings, even if you’re wearing shorts out of camera range. You don’t want to become another Zoom meeting wardrobe fail on the internet! Clock In and Clock Out Of all the boundaries remote tech workers establish, distinguishing between work hours and personal time can be the hardest. When technology allows superiors, coworkers, clients, and others to reach you 24/7, it is up to you to draw a line in the sand as to when and whether to read or respond. When there’s always more work to do and your desk and computer are only steps away, it requires discipline to keep your job from taking over your life. If your Dallas, Phoenix, or nationwide company expects you to work and be available during specific hours, do so. If you can work when you like, do so. But whenever that time you set for work ends, turn off your computer, silence your work email, text, or Slack alerts, and direct your attention to the rest of your life. And make sure to still take a lunch break! It can be tempting to work through lunch and eat at your desk, but just as you’re required to take a lunch break at the office, do so at home as well. That hour mental shut off will do more for your productivity than working through it. The Boundaries Remote Tech Workers Put Up Shouldn’t Include Limits on Their Opportunities Whether you are a talented tech professional working from home or you spend your days in an office, GTN Technical Staffing can help connect you to the job you want. Contact us today to learn how we can help you move your career forward, no matter where you work today. Read More on Technical Job Staffing How to Handle the “Desired Salary Question” Like a Boss Remote Work: Wellness for Tech Employees Working From Home Tips to Keep Your Remote Team Engaged in Their Tech Job

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How to Stay Connected With Colleagues When Working From Home

Stay Connected with Colleagues: Technology Can Keep Us Together While We’re Apart When your desk sits feet away from a coworker, when you say “Hi” to folks passing in the hallway, or when you spend time eating lunch together or grabbing after-work drinks, it’s easy to stay connected with colleagues. But when a workforce works from home, maintaining the team cohesion that is so essential to a company’s success and employees’ job satisfaction can be a daunting task. For all of the awfulness that 2020 has brought, we can at least be grateful that we live in a time when technology allows us to have ongoing communication and connection between employees who work miles or time zones apart. Leveraging that technology in positive and creative ways is the key to helping employees stay connected with colleagues. Here are five ways that businesses can keep their workers in Dallas, Phoenix, and nationwide together while they are apart. Virtual Coffee Breaks to Stay Connected with Colleagues For many folks, grabbing that first cup of coffee in the office breakroom is essential for starting their workday. But it’s not just the caffeine that helps people get going. It’s the interactions with coworkers who get to catch up while they’re brewing their java or toasting their bagel. Employers may want to set up a video chatroom link for employees to join in the morning before hunkering down for work. Those five or ten minutes spent shooting the breeze or sharing a laugh can be as energizing as a triple espresso. Virtual Happy Hours Relaxing with coworkers for after-work cocktails at the end of a long day or week is one of the many joys that the pandemic has put a damper on. But just because there’s no bartender pouring drinks doesn’t mean that colleagues can’t hang out and relax together over their favorite adult beverages. Whether it’s in a big Zoom group or just two coworkers getting together virtually, a virtual happy hour can create an excellent way for people to stay connected with colleagues in an informal, casual setting. Host Virtual Fitness and Wellness Classes Staying healthy and fit – both physically and mentally – has been one of the bigger challenges of working from home. But a workforce’s well-being directly impacts a company’s performance, and therefore, companies should take affirmative steps to encourage wellness. Host classes, seminars, and workshops focused on employee wellness. Bring in nutritionists, trainers, and mental health experts to discuss the challenges employees face. Offer fitness classes accessible to employees of all abilities, and host virtual cooking classes featuring healthy and nutritious meal ideas. Bring Out the Competitive Spirit Most folks love games, competition, and winning. That’s why “gamification” became such a business buzzword. Leverage a workforce’s competitive spirit by setting up virtual games and challenges. Trivia contents are popular and easy to put together using Zoom or Slack or similar platforms. Some professional trivia companies that usually host pub trivia contests have transitioned to doing the same thing virtually for businesses. Colleagues can compete individually or in teams. Wellness challenges have proven to be an effective strategy for encouraging healthy habits and reducing illness among employees. Establish and promote a variety of wellness and fitness challenges, with workers reporting their accomplishments and receiving rewards for participating or winning a given competition. These challenges can include: Walking/steps challenges Nutrition and diet challenges Mindfulness and mental health challenges Healthy habit challenges Sleep challenges Stay Connected With Colleagues by Connecting the Kids Grown-ups aren’t the only ones feeling isolated from their colleagues during the pandemic. Kids miss their schoolmates as they learn from home while their parents try to get work done in the next room. Many folks have had the embarrassing experience of an unwanted cameo appearance from one of their children during a videoconference or virtual meeting. Why not welcome them once in a while by connecting them with colleagues’ kids. If a meeting wraps up early, ask other participants if their kids want to chat with your kids and make new friends. GTN Technical Staffing Connects the Right Tech Employees With the Right Tech Companies No matter what role you play in the tech industry or the kind of position you’re looking for, GTN Technical Staffing in Dallas, Phoenix, and nationwide can help connect you to the job you want. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Read More on Technical Job Recruiting How to Provide Interview Training to Hiring Managers What Are the Expected Trends in Tech Employee Relocation? 4 Boundaries Remote Tech Workers Need to Set Between Home and Work Time

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Remote Work: Wellness for Tech Employees Working from Home

Staying Healthy While Staying Home: Wellness for Tech Employees Of the multitude of challenges that tech companies in Dallas, Phoenix, and nationwide face as they navigate the current pandemic, ensuring wellness for tech employees may not seem like a high priority item. But maintaining the health and well-being of an IT company’s workforce, especially as more employees work from home, has a direct impact on the bottom line. Sick days and lost hours, reduced productivity, increased healthcare costs, and diminished employee job satisfaction – all of these can cost companies millions of dollars each year. For tech employees who work from home, staying mentally and physically fit can be a tall order. No more walking to the office or even just down the hallway to chat with coworkers. Lockdowns and social distancing limit gym access. A beckoning kitchen full of snacks. The stress of the pandemic and isolation from friends and colleagues increasing feelings of anxiety and depression. Notwithstanding these impediments, maintaining a sense of wellness for tech employees who work from home does not have to be difficult. Here are four ways companies can help their homebound IT professionals stay happy and healthy. Wellness for Tech Employees with a Remote Health and Well-Being Hub Leverage the tools and technology that facilitate remote work to encourage wellness activities and provide health resources to your workforce. Create a shared folder in Google Drive or establish a Slack channel focused on health and well-being. Provide links to exercise and nutrition videos and articles, share healthy recipes and exercise tips, and allow employees to post their own wellness ideas. Host Virtual Fitness and Wellness Classes Yes, we all experience “Zoom fatigue” from time to time. But that doesn’t change the reality that virtual meetings are essential to maintain connection and communication among a remote workforce. Host classes, seminars, and workshops focused on wellness for tech employees. Bring in nutritionists, trainers, and mental health experts to discuss the challenges employees face and provide tips and guidance for workers who may be struggling to stay fit and healthy. Offer fitness classes accessible to employees of all abilities, and host virtual cooking classes featuring nutritious meal ideas. Establish Fitness and Wellness Challenges Tech workers love games, competition, and winning. The “gamification” of wellness has proven to be an effective strategy for encouraging healthy habits and reducing illness among high tech employees. Establish and promote a variety of wellness and fitness challenges with workers reporting their accomplishments and receiving rewards for participating or winning a given competition. These challenges can include: Walking/step challenges Nutrition and diet challenges Mindfulness and mental health challenges Healthy habit challenges Sleep challenges Promote Mental Health Awareness and Provide Mental Health Resources Recent research reveals that the pandemic has taken a devastating toll on our collective mental health, with skyrocketing rates of depression, substance abuse, and related problems. Tech employees in Dallas and across the country who work from home need to recognize, understand, and acknowledge common emotional and psychological issues and adopt approaches to deal with them in a productive and healthy way. Emphasize the importance of mental health and create an environment that encourages employees to reach out for help without worrying about how it may look or whether seeking help will have a negative impact on their job. Provide them with resources for obtaining the help they need, and promote discussion and support groups that can connect remote employees who may feel lonely and isolated from the team. The U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has a terrific workplace health wellness resource center that employers and employees alike can use to reduce risks, improve quality of life, and promote wellness for tech employees working from home. Wellness for Tech Employees Starts with Getting the Right Job. GTN Technical Staffing Can Help No matter what role you play in the tech industry or the kind of position you’re looking for, GTN Technical Staffing can help connect you to the job you want. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Read More on Technical Staffing How to Stay Connected With Colleagues When Working From Home How Will COVID-19 Shape Recruiting and Hiring in the Tech Sector 6 Tips for Acing a Video Technical Job Interview

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Make Your IT Career Recession-Proof the Proper Way

What You Need to Do to Ride the Storm Out Along with social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing, making your career recession-proof is an essential element of protecting yourself during these uncertain times. Even before the pandemic, many economists saw a recession looming right around the corner. Now, aided by COVID-19, the recession has arrived with a vengeance, with the economy shedding millions of jobs a week, countless companies shutting their doors, and whole industries undergoing dramatic changes in the way they do business. Individuals in the IT industry are not immune from this economic fallout, even those who have yet to face furloughs or downsizing. But just as tech companies plan ahead for uncharted waters, so too should tech professionals. Planning means taking proactive, creative, and sometimes uncomfortable steps that can help you ride this storm out as well as any others the future may bring. Here are four things tech workers can do to make their IT career recession-proof the proper way. 1. Raise Your Profile to Keep Your Tech Career Recession-Proof Even if you consider yourself something of an introvert, as many IT folks do, now is not the time to keep to yourself. Instead, make this the time to build connections, increase your networking activity, and expand your circle of professional relationships. Engage with colleagues both within and outside of your current organization, either directly or through social media. Contribute to conversations and dialogue about relevant topics and issues. Participate in webinars and other professional education programs, including acting as a panelist, speaker, or presenter yourself. Make sure your LinkedIn profile and other aspects of your online presence put you in the best light and contain the most up-to-date information about your career and achievements. 2. Make Yourself Uncomfortable When things are going swimmingly, it’s understandable to want to stay in your comfort zone. Why rock the boat? But when the sailing becomes rough and you find yourself and your career battered by strong economic headwinds, getting out of your comfort zone may be the thing that keeps you afloat. (My apologies if all those sailing metaphors made you queasy.) Going outside your comfort zone can mean many things. You can expand your skill sets and explore opportunities that you may not have considered under normal circumstances. If you are out of work, use that found time to stay abreast of the latest developments in technology and the industry. Even outside of the professional context, trying bold, new activities that push and test you can give you the confidence to do the same in your career. 3. Be Agile and Open to Change People tend to be creatures of habit, even in the always-changing world of IT. But now the world itself has changed in ways that seemed almost unimaginable just a short time ago. You need to recognize that the way you’ve done things, the way all of your training and experience told you how to do your job, may not make as much sense anymore Tech companies are rapidly redefining roles and responsibilities. You need to understand what drives these changes and educate yourself as to the direction the industry is heading to keep your career recession-proof. That means building yourself a business mindset, alongside your well-developed technical one. Stay up to date on industry news and get a sense of the big picture that frames your corner of the IT world. 4. Be Ready for New Opportunities that Can Make Your Career Recession-Proof If you are fortunate enough to still be working at the IT position you had before the pandemic struck, you could just count your blessings, keep your head down, and do your job. But doing that will leave you vulnerable and unprepared if and when the economic fallout from the pandemic and the recession falls on you. Keep an eye on top IT recruiting sites, job boards, and company career pages to get a sense of who is hiring and what positions are open. Be prepared to pounce on new opportunities by keeping your resume fresh and ready to send at a moment’s notice. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting the Right Tech Talent With the Right Tech Companies Whether you are looking for a permanent position or temporary, contract-based work in the tech industry, GTN Technical Staffing can help connect you to the job you want. In boom times, as well as times of economic uncertainty, we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Contact us to speak with a tech recruiter today to learn more. Read More on Tech Job Tips Will Taking Contract Work Hurt My Career and Chances at a Corporate Job Later?  6 Tips for Acing a Video Technical Job Interview You Don’t Need a Recruiter

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Will Taking Contract Work Hurt My Career and Chances at a Corporate Job Later?

In the Gig Economy, Contract Work Isn’t the Red Flag It Used to Be As many tech workers spend months or years on temporary or contract gigs, whether out of economic necessity or personal choice, they may ask themselves, “Will contract work hurt my career?” Meaning, will doing what you need to do or prefer to do to make a living in the tech sector today damage your prospects for permanent, steady, corporate employment tomorrow? While every employer works differently and will take their own approach to evaluating a candidate’s work history, contract work is no longer the red flag it may have been in decades past. In reality, most folks making hiring decisions understand that the world has changed. Hiring managers and tech recruiters know that contract work in the “gig economy” is no longer an outlier or a sign that a candidate is somehow “less than” just because they work on a contract basis. That said, employers do want to see certain qualities in the people they hire for essential roles. Therefore, extended periods or multiple stints of contract work may be called into question. So, you ask, “will taking contract work hurt my career in the tech sector?” So long as you have a compelling and understandable explanation for working temporary or short-term gigs and can demonstrate talent, commitment, and consistency as through lines in your work history, such work should not hurt your chances for a long-term corporate job Contract Work Probably Won’t Hurt Your Career – Especially Now As is the case in almost every other sector of the economy, tech companies increasingly rely on contract workers as a core part of their business model rather than as a way to fill in talent gaps here and there. It isn’t unusual for a company to have more temp workers than full-time salaried staff. Google, for example, employs more than 130,000 people on a contract or temp basis. That exceeds its 123,000 full-time employees. Many companies even incorporate a contract work option in their job search function. Given that tech companies are in constant need of talented contract workers, they are unlikely to see such work as unusual when it appears on an applicant’s resume. They know that top-notch programmers and others take temp gigs because temporary contracts often pay extremely well while offering exciting or interesting challenges. Contract work may only become more acute given the instability and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. When long-term planning becomes more difficult, short-term hiring becomes a way to address immediate needs without making lengthy commitments that could backfire if economic conditions worsen. Companies Recognize the Appeal or Necessity of Contract Work Tech companies recognize that the economic conditions that gave rise to the “gig economy” play a significant role in why so many people in the industry take on temp work. But they also understand that other factors may make contract work either a necessity or an appealing option at certain junctures in a person’s career. Perhaps someone needed to take care of an ill family member and needed the flexibility that comes with a contract position. Maybe a new parent took some time away from their full-time career to raise their children but still wanted to keep their skills fresh and remain connected to their chosen profession. As employers are now more generally attuned to issues of work-life balance and career paths that don’t always follow a straight line, they also will get how contract work fits into these paradigms. “Will Contract Work Hurt My Career?” Not If You Can Prove You Have the Goods Historically, hiring managers saw “job hopping” as a potential sign that a candidate either lacked the commitment to stay in a job or had issues that led to their frequent and repeated departures from positions. But such transitions are simply part of the deal in contract work. Projects end. New opportunities arise. Moving from one gig to another is more just the ebb and flow of being a contractor than a sign of wanderlust or incompetence. When a tech interviewer asks about your time doing contract work, explain why you took the position and why you (or the project) moved on. With those issues out of the way, the focus will turn to the substantive work you performed and how the experiences contribute to your qualifications for the open position. Whether you are moving on from a term gig or a corporate job, you still need to show that you have the goods. The quality of temporary work you performed proves just as important as it would be in a long-term job, and the people you worked for or with on a contract project can still provide you with positive references. Finally, remember that in almost all circumstances, a period of contract work on your resume is better than a period of no work at all. Companies would rather hire someone who demonstrates a solid work ethic and commitment to building their skill set than someone who sat around for months doing nothing. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting Talented Tech Workers to the Industry’s Best Jobs Whether you are looking for temporary, contract-based work or a permanent position in the tech industry, GTN Technical Staffing can help connect you to the job you want. We are a leading technical staffing solutions company, encompassing SOW, staff augmentation, and direct hiring placement for Fortune 2000 companies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Read More on Technical Job Hiring 6 Tips for Acing a Video Technical Job Interview Get Your Resume Noticed by Technical Hiring Managers Contract or Permanent Work? Here’s How to Decide

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Hot Coffee Here: A Look At Contract Java Developer Opportunities

contract java developer

Why Java?  As a source for companies and job seekers around the world, it doesn’t take much for us to keep tabs on the jobs that we see in the highest demand. One of the most consistently demanded jobs is contracted Java developers. It’s for this reason that we wanted to give you an inside look at why we believe this job is so highly sought after.  Stick with Java Coffee Java and computing Java actually do have something in common. Have you ever heard the old saying: if it ain’t broke, dont fix it?   In a world of fancy energy drinks, coffee is the classic that works for everyone. Java as a programming platform in many ways is universal. It may not be the fanciest, but it gets the job done. The greatest component for Java’s survival in the marketplace is its compatibility. It has been around so long due to its relative uniformity across all systems. While it may not be the most efficient type of programming, the coding language provides flexibility. Whether the code was written 25 years ago when the computing platform was first used or 25 min ago, it runs the same. In a world of rapidly changing technology, that kind of reliability is hard to find and hard to beat.  The Java Job Market Much of the opportunity we see for this skill is contract work, each job requiring something a little different. Most contract jobs span anywhere from 4-8 months in length. We find that the longer a programmer works with a client the greater the chance of rehire and follow up in the future. Being skilled in this department provides ample opportunity now and later down the road.  Being the Best Barista While Java often gets written off as the older language, updates are being made often so that it can do all the same things that other programming languages do. Staying up to date with each update is crucial. While many of the updates seem to be incremental, being fluent in each update can be a differentiator in contract work, as the people you are appealing to often are not as versed as you in the language.  Java Spring 5.0 Framework supports a wide variety of applications and could be helpful in solving several client scenarios. Spring focuses on the “plumbing” of enterprise applications so that teams can focus on application-level business logic, without unnecessary ties to specific deployment environments. The innovation was brought about nearly 17  years ago, but recent changes have made it more user friendly and more helpful across a variety of platforms.  It would also be helpful to master the art of creating Android apps with Java. With mobile app downloads reaching nearly 20 billion a quarter, providing a piece of this market share to your clients would pose as a benefit. For more opportunities and other industry advice, visit us to discuss your future career today. Also, keep tabs on our job list, we are constantly updating it with your next project.   

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You Don’t Need a Recruiter

With today’s technology there are online job boards that allow you to search all day and night for a job that interests you. Many of them will even notify you when they think they have one you would be interested in. Sounds perfect, right? And in the technology world, no one needs to tell you how well a computer can think like a human. It’s okay to laugh at that last statement because you know better than anyone that even the smartest technology boils down to a series of numbers. While technology has taken over many aspects of our world, and continues to improve everyday, there are some things that just require human contact.  Computers need someone at the helm telling them what to do–it’s simply the way the world works. Relationships A recruiter will take time to understand what you want out of a career. Often recruiters know the right questions to ask to make you think through what you truly want.  You may think you want to shift gears completely and take on an entirely new occupation.  However, maybe your desire to change jobs has less to do with what you are doing and more to do with the company and culture you are doing it for.  The impact your work community has on your daily satisfaction can not be understated.  Disliking your boss or coworkers can easily translate into disliking everything about work, including your duties and responsibilities.  Consider finding a job at an organization that is more aligned with your values and character traits. This may be achievable by changing the size of the company you work for. While there is not a blanketing list of characteristics that every big company has, nor a list for smaller ones, there’s no doubt that the culture does change with size.  A recruiter, especially one who has been in the area and field for some time,  knows and understands the reputation of the companies around them.  Many companies do exit interviews. For many recruiters, the initial interview with you will cover a multitude of the same topics as the company exit interview.  For example, you may be asked why you left, what you liked about your position, compared to what you didn’t particularly enjoy. All of these, and many more, paint a picture of a company, providing the recruiter insider information on what working for that particular company looks like. What may not have worked out for one person, may be perfect for another. What a Recruiter Needs A great recruiter wants to understand what a candidate wants and needs for career satisfaction, compensation and what is needed to maintain balance within the candidate’s family. However, he can only understand what you allow him to. There is no possible way that being 100% transparent with your recruiter could hurt you. He wants both you and the client to be successful together, and the more he knows the better.  Even if you are just exploring your options and haven’t quite decided to jump ship yet tell him that. It may change the tone of the meeting to more of a pros and cons discussion. While if you are dead set on leaving, the recruiter won’t waste your time convincing you to stay or negotiate pay.  Recruiters are in the business of efficiency. The goal is to save you the time, energy, and hassle of the exhaustive process of job hunting as well as to have a sounding board for what your next career step could be. At the end of the day transparency helps them help you.  Reputation If you think of recruiting from a business perspective, a recruiter has done a job well done when they have a satisfied customer, the same as you.  The finished product is your satisfying career.  A word from our recruiters: “A great recruiter wants the candidate to achieve long-term success in the role he/she is placed, because that is how clients judge the recruiter. We want our clients to be happy. Happy employees do amazing work.” So you may think that you don’t need a recruiter or that you can explore your options all alone. And that may be true. But when something comes up at work that you don’t know how to handle, you go down the hall to the guy who is an expert because he knows how to handle it. When working on a project, everyone on the team has a task and a job. No one tries to handle the whole thing by themselves (or maybe they do and that’s why you want to leave).  Recruiters are in the business of you. They are on your team and they want to help you. So rely on your team. You could do it yourself, but you will likely have a better finished product, or in this case, career,  if you use your team.   

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Do I Stay or Do I Go?

Have you ever contemplated quitting your job for something better? Are you having those thoughts now?  If you’re wondering if the grass is greener in neighboring pastures, know that you are not alone. Nearly half of all employees have contemplated leaving their current place of work according to the Society of Human Resource Management.  Reasons for Leaving Wanting a change of scenery can be for any number of reasons.  A common reason employees leave a company is simply because “the company isn’t doing well.” Rumors such as these can swirl fast around the water cooler and our recruiters have often seen that they are simply not true. Try to find some real evidence of this before you jump ship solely for this reason. One reason that can be hard to argue with is compensation. If you feel your time with the company and your talent should be yielding a higher pay, finding a job where you feel more appreciated may be a good idea. There are still few things to consider before jumping ship though. Lastly, if you are contemplating leaving your job, and co-workers seem to be high on the list of reasons for doing so, know this: You are not tattle telling or bailing for petty reasons. Coworkers can be like annoying office siblings and your frustrations are valid.  Managers also play a big role in determining company culture and the daily work dynamics. 1 in 3 say their manager doesn’t know how to lead them and nearly the same amount of people say that “their manager doesn’t encourage a culture of open and transparent communication”.  Co-worker tension is a problem for many Americans, which becomes a drain on company culture. 3 out of 10 employees will even site poor workplace culture as a reason they are irritable at home.  Decisions, Decisions It’s a strategic decision to make yourself the most valuable team member as possible, making you an asset to your current company and a valuable hire elsewhere. This can be done in a number of ways, such as sharpening your technical skill set and being a productive team member throughout projects.  Many companies you interview with will take a careful look at your work history. You will want something to show for it. This means you should have both technical and soft skills that were gained at each place of work, proving that your time at your previous employer was well spent. Soft skills can be anything from honed leadership to astute problem solving skills. You should try to understand other programs, or use the program you are an expert in, to add different strategic advantages to your toolbelt of skills. These, as well as obtaining new certifications are highly valuable in the job market. It is also important that you have specific examples to back such claims up. It’s not bragging on yourself, especially if the interviewer asked!  You will want to give them a reason why you are worth more to their company than you were to your old company. If you are looking to move up the ladder, increase your pay, or work in a more competitive or desirable position, your tenure should prove that you have what it takes.   Show Me The Money The company that could make you feel more appreciated could be the one you currently work for. While negotiating your pay can be difficult, it may be well worth your time as well as your company’s. The cost of hiring and training a new employee is very high.  There are also monetary costs, like consulting with a hiring agency or paying to post a job to a job board. Additionally, the loss in production from losing you can put added pressure on other coworkers, leading to poor quality and, potentially, loss of customers.  In many cases increasing your pay to keep you on board may be more cost efficient than onboarding a new employee.  Especially in a highly technical field, the training and certifications necessary to be an expert in a specific position can be very costly and take time to obtain. Time and money are two resources companies don’t like to waste.  Don’t Let History Repeat Itself Too Often Before you move on to a new job make sure it is one that you are confident you will like. Even if you have savings it is wise to have a job before you leave your current one unless there is a serious issue for leaving. This will help you take the right job to enhance your career, not simply be pressured into finding a job. This is a crucial part of your career because if your job history reads like a who’s who of the industry, employers may be wary of hiring you. While moving on from one job to the next is simply the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, the chapters can accumulate into a novel, or even worse a series.  Your past tells a story and it is very possible that you will be asked why you left, so be thoughtful as to why you are leaving and how you have improved in your time at your last job.  Considering whether or not it’s time for you to move on from your current place of employment can be a big step, but carefully considering your options will allow you to feel like your decision is a sound one. Know that the answer is not always black and white, and you may have more options than you realize. So, be patient and look for something that will satisfy both you and your career long term.   

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Contract or Permanent Work? Here’s How to Decide.

In recent years the growth of non-traditional modes of working has grown greatly, many of which are fueled by silicon valley industries. According to the New York Times the occupation of contract or temporary work has grown by 9.4 million from 2005-2015. While some of those numbers are due to transportation networking companies like Lyft or Uber, the increase in this occupation style can not be ignored. Have you been considering a job change? Understanding the components of each type of work is important to understand what would suit you best. Both job types have unique advantages and disadvantages that when applied to your life could be ideal. Below are some things to consider when debating what type of work you want to do. Contract Work         Permanent Work Depending on your personality, your unique relationship with your coworkers in both modes of occupation can enhance your job experience. If you are the type of person who hears your significant other tell you about a dinner with the new neighbors on Friday night and you mumble something under your breath before saying yes  – meeting new people may not be your thing. Being a contracted worker requires you to interact and meet new people – in fact, it’s a key component of your job. On the other hand, with permanent work, you are able to be as ingrained (or unplugged) as you want to be with your coworkers and the company culture within the bounds of what your company requires of course. Some team building activities are unavoidable. In both occupation types there is ample opportunity to become a problem solver for your company. Let’s face it, most people don’t understand the technicalities of your job.  In fact, they don’t have a clue. When you work for a company day in and day out you have the opportunity to be the go-to-guy for solving problems. When a coworker has a problem or a task, he knows what is within your realm of expertise and can come directly to you for your help. However that also opens up the opportunity to pigeonholed to a task or even simply keeping up with database or website maintenance. This varies drastically from company to company, so this would be something to inquire about in a job interview. As a contracted worker you are able to come into a business and act as a change catalyst for solving problems. If a company is contracting out to you it is asking to do something that no one within the company can handle. Many offices are subject to “normal thinking,” meaning that they tend to subconsciously handle situations the same way over and over again and fail to think outside of the box. They find a normal way of doing things and stick to it. As a contracted worker you have the ability to take the blinders off and a present new way to handle a variety of situations. Now that we have established some of the working conditions of both jobs let’s take a look at some of the logistics. If you have kids there are pros and cons to both forms of employment. As a parent having flexibility in your schedule can be a huge factor in your job satisfaction. The ability to be there when your kids need to be picked up, dropped off, etc., is something that is hard to put a monetary value on. As a contracted worker, you often have more options in dictating your schedule than most permanent workers do. This factor makes contracted employment very conducive to a family lifestyle. If you are the primary breadwinner, stashing away retirement, or supplying healthcare benefits for your household then you will need to do some more planning as a contractor. These are important perks for any job, but the level of necessity varies from household to household. The type of work you do will most likely be better compensated with contract work, meaning you will get paid more for doing the same thing a permanent worker would do. It just does not provide the benefits that permanent work does, so you have to provide those on your own. Your daily commute is something that you should consider. There is not a hard-fast rule with either one of the options because each varies greatly on the job itself- it doesn’t matter if it’s contracted or permanent. While your commute may vary depending on the job you take, when you need to be in the office may be one of the things you can negotiate with your contract for both types of work. This is one-way permanent work mirrors the tendencies of contracted work, it just depends on the job. Really the only difference in commute is that with a contracted job, the commute will vary job to job and permanent will provide a consistent commute.  However as a contractor you are expected to have to make long commutes sometimes if that is what the available job requires. All of these components are things that should be considered when contemplating what form of work is most conducive to the lifestyle you strive to live. Everyone’s situation is different and what they are comfortable with varies too. No matter what, you should seek to find a job that is both functional and provides you with the job satisfaction you want. If you would like to explore your options, click here to see what opportunities GTN Technical Staffing can help you find. New York Times Article Quoted

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Is Your Technical Recruiter Any Good?

How to Prepare for a Technical IT Job Interview

The Importance of  Technical Recruiters When you are looking for a new launching point in your IT career, it is important to find a technical recruiter who understands your values and priorities. Whether you already have a job and are looking for a change or are actively seeking a new gig, you need to be on the same page. When you invest in a technology recruiter, you are making an investment not only in yourself but investing a trust that they will help you find that next big step in your career. That isn’t something that should be taken lightly so vetting your technical recruiter is an important step in the job-seeking process. The Power of a Good IT Tech Recruiter Good recruiters at the best information technology staffing agencies will expand your horizons. You should be presented with opportunities that you didn’t know were even there, or ones that you didn’t think you were eligible for. It is important that you do sufficient research yourself so that you know what opportunities interest you most. But a technical recruiter who is well versed in the industry should be able to provide you with more personalized job opportunities, that your own searches haven’t produced. The applications of your skills and strategy should be tailored to each unique IT job opportunity that you are qualified for within the industry A key reason for using a technical recruiting firm is to find possibilities that you otherwise wouldn’t know about. There are a variety of reasons why this could be useful for you. If you are currently working, it can be difficult to juggle your job, a job search, and your everyday life. With all of this going on, there is no way you can scour every tech job opportunity to find the one that is best for you. Let a tech recruiter take one of those off your plate. When employers need to fill a position, there is no rule book that discusses how they are to communicate that job opening to the world. Most of our technical recruiters have been in this industry for years. So we have developed relationships with a variety of different companies, which gives us the advantage of the knowledge of job opportunities before they are posted on a job board. Characteristics of a Good Tech Recruiters Employment Status Before you commit to a technical recruiter, you should ask questions about his own experiences, much like an interview. Check to see how long he or she has been with the technical recruiting company and the information technology industry. If there is little experience under either one of these categories, he or she probably isn’t the best choice as your recruiter. For example, GTN recruiters have a deep knowledge of the technology industry, therefore they understand how your strengths can play into making you the perfect candidate for a company. Also, it’s ideal to have at least 3 years of experience and upwards of 10 is excellent. This time in the technical recruiting industry means more contacts and more valuable expertise that can be applied to your job search. Time with the company is important too. A high turnover rate within an organization may be a red flag of poor processes. Numbers Don’t Lie If you work in technology, you understand the power and certainty that reports can supply. If you want to understand the efficiency of a process, you run the numbers to assess the production. Now, apply the same logic to assessing a prospective technical recruiting agency, by asking how many successful placements have been made in the last month and in the last year. A productive number would be 3 placements a month per recruiter. This number allows for each recruiter to have a vested relationship with you, the client while finding opportunities in a timely fashion. Action Items When you leave your first meeting with your new tech recruiter you should have a clear understanding of what you should be expecting. Meaning,  you should have a timeline with detailed expectations of what will take place by that date. Action plans that are vague lead to unreliable recruiting efforts.  In this initial meeting, there should be an in-depth interview to understand your skill sets, aspirations, weaknesses and previous work experience so that your job opportunities can be successfully catered to you. This way, the recruiter can also make sure that the resume you are giving prospective employers is the best representation of you. You shouldn’t feel like you need to hide anything or over embellish to your recruiter, being completely honest is the best way to ensure that he or she fully comprehends your abilities. Time is of the Essence Since this is your career we are talking about, you should feel as though there is a sense of urgency in your plan. If you feel as though you have a strictly 8-5 recruiter, you may have the wrong guy (or girl). A tech recruiter who is willing to work late nights, early mornings, or even on the weekends is one who is truly committed to you. You should be in constant communication about any possible leads, including incongruities an opportunity has with things that are important to you. For example, if a job is in a different location or has a different payment structure than what you were expecting, a good recruiter should bring these issues to light. Your Tech Recruiter is Long Term Relationship This point of communication does not end once you have been placed either. A good recruiter will stay in touch, even after finding you a job, to ensure you are still satisfied with it. This allows him or her to stay up to date with your experiences and even recommend new opportunities to you that he thinks you would enjoy. That way if you ever become dissatisfied with your employment again, you have a relationship with someone who fully understands your experiences and can find you the next great job…

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