Advice on Holding a Good Remote Presentation

Keep Your Audience Close no Matter How Far Away They Are The ability to present an informative, engaging, and generally good remote presentation is no longer an optional skill for tech professionals. In a pre-remote working world, remote presentations were undoubtedly part of the tech landscape. But they tended to be the exception rather than the rule. Now, when large in-person meetings or conferences are few and far between, tech workers who give presentations need to make sure they have their ducks in a row. Here are four tips for tech workers that can help turn a good remote presentation into one that will have folks applauding from their home offices: Check Your Tech in Advance You may be ready to deliver the most powerful presentation ever with slides that will knock people out of their socks. But all of that work proves worthless if you or your technology faceplant at the start. Not only will people find it frustrating and unprofessional, but a tech meltdown will throw you off your game and take your focus away from the substance of your presentation. Make sure you understand the platform you’re using. If the site is new and unfamiliar, do a test run of your presentation to colleagues or family members to work out the kinks. Check your volume level and confirm that folks can see your slides. Know how the basics of screen-sharing, chat, and other features work. Ensure you have any needed plug-ins and double-check the link you sent out with your invite. It doesn’t bode well for a tech employee to not know how to use their own tech! See Their Faces By this point, we all know that despite our best efforts and the wonders of videoconferencing technology, remote interactions are not the same as face-to-face ones. But one reason we prefer face-to-face is precisely because of the face. Think about any in-person speech or presentation you’ve given. You can see whether the audience seems bored, confused, restless, or asleep while you speak. You can then make course corrections accordingly. But during most remote presentations, the star of the show has their camera on the whole time while all the attendees remain unseen. Sometimes, this is due to necessity; having 100 tiny faces on your screen will not add much value and will clutter the screen and cause distraction. However, if you have a relatively small group of fellow tech workers, asking folks to turn on their cameras can help you gauge your audience’s interest, increase engagement, and facilitate more of a dialogue. Even though not everyone may take you up on your offer, even seeing a couple of faces can make you more effective and comfortable and ensure you hold a good remote presentation. Related: Tips To Keep Your Remote Team Engaged In Their Tech Job Make Sure Your Surroundings Are Quasi-Professional During remote working, we’ve all become used to seeing where and how people live or at least get a picture of the room they use for their Zoom calls. Make sure that what appears behind you isn’t distracting, cluttered, or embarrassing. Your audience may not expect you to recreate a shiny and sleek conference room, but they don’t want to see dirty dishes stacked in a sink either. If you’re a virtual background kind of person, keep it professional and minimalist. Also, set up lighting that’s bright but not too glaring, which illuminates your face from the front. Natural light tends to work best. And be careful to avoid loud background noises. If you’re set up somewhere with background noises outside of your control, invest in a headset so your audience hears only you and not the beeping of the delivery truck outside backing up. You Can’t Have a Good Remote Presentation Without Practice We all have been Zooming long enough to know our own ticks and tendencies. You may be someone who can’t stop looking at themselves on the screen. Maybe you’re one who thinks (consciously or otherwise) that they need to shout for people to hear them over the internet. In addition to checking your tech, check yourself. Record a dry-run if you can and watch how you come across. Do you seem confident? Are you slouching, moving around excessively, mumbling, or fidgeting? Are you smiling and friendly or wearing a blank expression? Once you see how others see you, you can make the tweaks and improvements to ensure you are the person you want to be on camera to your fellow tech workers. 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 find and nail your dream job in the tech sphere. Read More on Technical Job Staffing Get Your Resume Noticed by Technical Hiring Managers 4 Ways to Promote the Professional Growth of Tech Employees How to Stay Connected to Employees When Working From Home  

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4 Ways to Promote the Professional Growth of Tech Employees

The Best Tech Employees Want to Learn and Do More If you want to make a solid investment in your technical staff’s sustained success, facilitating and promoting tech employees’ professional growth provides one of the best ways to do so. Employee growth is a solid investment because providing your workforce with opportunities to learn and do more will help you attract and retain top talent, thus reducing turnover and the expenses and headaches of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. Stagnation and boredom are insidious enemies for individuals like tech workers. People who thrive on new challenges and are intellectually curious can quickly lose their enthusiasm for a job that does not provide them with enough stimulation and opportunities for professional growth. Tech workers in Phoenix, Dallas, and nationwide who arrive in the morning knowing they may face something new and different, have a novel problem to solve, or engage in tasks that expand their skill set will look forward to coming into the office every day. Similarly, companies that provide tech employees with policies, programs, and opportunities focused on their ongoing professional growth will feel a sense of loyalty and gratitude to an employer clearly invested in their employees’ success. Here are four ways that companies can support the professional growth of tech employees: Share Knowledge Organize monthly lunch meetings or seminars where engineers and tech staff can learn a new skill or enhance their existing skillset. Allow your employees to suggest topics that they find the most relevant and interesting. Such seminars can focus on hard skills related to their job responsibilities or help them build their “soft skills,” such as communication or emotional intelligence. Monthly meetings can give tech workers a fantastic opportunity to expand their horizons and empower them with knowledge to help them throughout their careers. Encourage Attendance At Industry Conferences and Events When your tech employees attend events or conferences related to your business or their role, the knowledge and contacts they acquire benefit your company and the attendee alike. Not only will your technical staff gain valuable knowledge from presentations, panel discussions, and breakout sessions, but they will also learn from their fellow attendees. For employers, attendance at these confabs also increases your company’s profile and visibility—a true win-win. Mentorship, Coaching, and Development Programs Most tech employment managers understand that mentorship and coaching are highly effective ways of integrating newer workers into the workforce, showing them the ropes, and expanding their skill sets. But too many companies do so on an ad-hoc basis or forget about mentorship and coaching after an employee’s first few weeks on the job. Institutionalize and formalize a mentorship and coaching program to give employees the benefits that come from such relationships. Develop and implement a personalized development plan for each tech employee. Assign a senior member of your team to work with the employee to craft their individual plan, focusing on the areas and skills they would like to work on. Set goals and milestones for the plan and encourage each mentor and mentee pair to meet regularly to discuss progress and how things are going generally. Build a relationship that makes the employee feel comfortable asking questions or expressing their opinions or concerns without fear of negative consequences. Cross-Training to Promote The Professional Growth of Tech Employees The tech industry requires agility as well as the ability to understand the big picture. As good as a tech employee may be at their particular job, they may not fully grasp how their work impacts other departments or the company as a whole. Conversely, they may have no idea about how different parts of the company affect their responsibilities. Cross-departmental training programs are a great way to educate and inform tech employees about other aspects of your business while also facilitating better communication between different parts of your organization. Remote Work Collaboration Training The pandemic will end, but remote work for a large portion of the tech workforce will remain. The skills needed and tools used to ensure seamless collaboration between people who may be hundreds or thousands of miles apart are different than those used by co-workers who can simply walk down a hallway. Invest in training that can help remote colleagues share ideas, communicate, and master the technology that can bring them together. Plenty of remote collaboration courses are available online, and YouTube also has a vast variety of instructive videos on the subject. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting the Right Tech Talent With The Right Tech Companies The professional growth of tech employees is a value-added proposition for employers and employees alike. Employee growth makes for a better talent pool and helps companies attract and retain the highest-caliber employees. GTN Technical Staffing in Phoenix, Dallas, and nationwide connects the best tech workers to the best tech companies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Read More from GTN on Tech Job Staffing How to Provide Interview Training to Hiring Managers Ghosting Tech Job Candidates Can Destroy Your Reputation Advice on Holding a Good Remote Presentation

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Last Minute 2020 Holiday Gift Ideas for Remote Tech Employees

A Rough Year, But a Whole New World of Gift Ideas for Remote Tech Employees Coming up with holiday gift ideas for remote tech employees will be a little different this year.  For folks who used to spend their days in offices and cubicles, the adjustment to working from home was a dramatic and disruptive transition. But the location change is also one that opens up a whole new world of gift-giving opportunities, as remote employees enhance their home office infrastructure and environment to make themselves more comfortable, focused, and productive. As you make your holiday list for all of the good tech boys and girls in your workplace, here are six suggestions for what to put in their stockings. Fun Do-Not-Disturb Signs When you share your home office in Dallas, Phoenix, and nationwide with a homeschool, a home daycare center, a home cafeteria, and your significant other’s home office, interruptions are hard to avoid. But alerting your kids and other housemates that they need to keep away while you’re in that Zoom meeting or just focusing on your work can minimize the unwanted distractions. Look online for fun and creative “Do-Not-Disturb” signs that tech employees can hang on their door or outside their workspace to keep others at bay. Headset and Webcam Upgrades as Gift Ideas for Remote Tech Employees When virtual meetings and teleconferences were fewer and farther between, employees could get away with subpar microphones, speakers, and webcams. Now that their ability to clearly and effectively communicate with colleagues relies almost entirely on these vital tech accessories, providing workers with higher-quality upgrades is a win for them as well as for your company overall. Bring the Breakroom to Them Being the excellent information technology employer you are, you know doubt stock your breakroom with the finest coffee, tea, and other beverages to keep your workforce energized, happy, and productive. While folks may not be able to gather around the watercooler when they work from home, you can still ensure your tech employees have beverages and snacks to help them make it through the day. Consider buying them artisan coffee, healthy and gourmet snacks, and accouterments like a cool mug or water bottle they can keep at their desk. Enhance Their Desk Like most employees, tech workers like to add personal touches to their office workspaces and desks, whether pictures of loved ones, souvenirs and mementos, or fun pen caddies and other accessories. Now they may need the desk basics they may have taken for granted when their employers provided such things. A new desk lamp, desk or wall calendar, file organizer, or wireless charger are all welcome additions to a home workspace. If you want to splurge, think about buying a new monitor as a gift idea for remote tech employees. Bring Some Nature Home One of the best and simplest gift ideas for remote tech employees in Dallas, Phoenix, and across the nation comes from nature. Smaller, easy to care for plants can do wonders for a workspace and bring a sense of well-being to those who otherwise spend most of their time staring at a screen. Not only do plants purify the air, but a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology concluded that a houseplant in the workplace can increase worker productivity by 15 percent. The Gift of Wellness 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. Gifts that encourage remote tech employees to keep themselves in shape will help keep your business in shape as well. Wellness gift ideas for remote tech employees include gym memberships, gift certificates for fitness or yoga classes, fitness trackers, or exercise equipment. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting the Best Tech Employees With the Best Companies All Year Long During the holidays and throughout the year, GTN Technical Staffing connects the country’s best tech companies with top tech talent. Our recruiting teams are specialized, certified, and have endured rigorous technical boot camps and ongoing required educational courses and meetups. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your technical staffing needs. Read More from GTN Technical Staffing How to Stay Connected with Colleagues When Working from Home Remote Work: Wellness for Tech Employees Working from Home How to Provide Interview Training to Hiring Managers

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What Makes Software Engineers Stay in a New Job?

Hopping Off the Job-Hopping Train: Help Software Engineers Stay in a New Job Why do software engineers stay in a new job when so many of their colleagues move on so quickly? Compared to workers in other sectors of the economy, software engineers tend to have much shorter tenures at the companies they work for. One survey of large tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area found that almost half of software engineers left their employers within two years compared to other professions in which workers stayed with their companies for approximately 4.2 years. While many tech employers have accepted high turnover in their software engineering corps as a fact of life, they would still prefer to keep high-performing folks on the team as long as they can. Keeping good employees longer is beneficial because recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires proves a costly and time-consuming process. As such, companies need to understand what makes software engineers stay in a new job once they arrive. Here are four reasons why these talented individuals will stay with an employer rather than looking ahead to their next gig. Competitive Salaries Can Make Software Engineers Stay in a New Job Software engineers have been, are, and are likely to remain in high demand. The best among them will catch the eye of the best tech recruiters and other employers who will make affirmative overtures to lure them away from their current jobs even if they weren’t necessarily looking for new opportunities. Everything else being equal, the simplest way to get someone to leave their present position is to offer them more money. Even without an offer, software engineers are aware of what the market will pay for their skills and talents. Employees are more likely to stay put if they know there aren’t necessarily greener pastures awaiting them. Recognition and Acknowledgement Money is a great motivator for software engineers, but it’s not the only one. People don’t like being taken for granted or feeling like their hard work goes unnoticed. Given the high turnover in the industry, shiny new hires can frequently become the focus of attention, leaving longer-tenured engineers to toil in obscurity. Engineers who feel valued, who receive positive reinforcement, accolades, or acknowledgment for their efforts and accomplishments, will feel much more satisfied in their roles. That satisfaction will not only make them more likely to stick around, it will likely increase performance and productivity as well. Growth and Challenges Boredom and stagnation are insidious enemies for individuals like software engineers. People who are intellectually curious and crave new challenges can quickly lose their enthusiasm in a position that does not provide them with enough stimulation and opportunities for growth. Software engineers who come into work knowing they may face something different, have a new problem to solve, or engage in tasks that expand their skillset will continue to look forward to coming into work the next day, and the day after that. Similarly, companies that provide software engineers with policies and programs focused on their continued professional growth and allow them to build influence will feel a sense of loyalty and gratitude to an employer clearly invested in their employees’ success. Teamwork and Values Nobody wants to work with or for jerks. Nobody wants to attend meetings or collaborate on projects with people who are unpleasant to be around. And nobody wants to be at a company that has or allows a toxic work environment. All the money in the world may not be enough for individuals who dread their colleagues, bosses, and their workplace in general. Conversely, companies that create a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose and that take affirmative steps to build a positive company culture will find that they develop a workforce that is happy, motivated, and committed. It can be much harder for a software engineer to pick up and leave a place for which they have a legitimate fondness. GTN Technical Staffing: Connecting The Right Tech Talent With The Right Tech Companies 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. As the leader in technical staffing, we are sure to find the right fit for you. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate an ever-changing tech employment landscape. Read More on Tech Job Recruiting Information Technology Virtual Interviewing in a Post-Pandemic World 6 Tips for Acing a Video Technical Job Interview How to Get What You Want: Salary Negotiations 101  

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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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Benefits of a Self-Insured Insurance Plan

Insurance: A Love/Hate Relationship Insurance. We all love it and we all hate it. It’s a necessary evil that is a pain to deal with until it saves the day at the doctor’s offices. At times, it may feel like you have very few choices but GTN has found a unique way to expand its employees options. These days, the benefits a company offers could be a selling point to get the best people for your company.  Every family and household is unique so finding a plan that optimizes flexibility is the best way to make the benefits you offer a key part of your hiring operation.    What makes it different  At GTN, we offer our employees insurance through a Self-insured medical plan. You may be thinking that this is just a glorified way of saying we offer no insurance benefits, and our employees are on their own. Quite on the contrary, in fact, self-insured medical plans are a way for companies to provide flexible coverage to its employees. GTN utilizes the Cigna PPO, or Preferred Provider Organization and a third party administrator helps facilitate the insurance proceedings with Cigna.    We are part owner of a captive Insurance company, which allows us to help our employees find the best care for the most cost effective price, without all the red tape that traditional insurance companies put into place.    Why it works GTN was looking for ways to make insurance more flexible for each of our employees. We understood that each individual and family has unique needs and by including this in our incentive packages we are more competitive in hiring.     Benefits Something that is a hassle for everyone in insurance is communicating a common knowledge of which doctors are in network. While there is a group of in-network providers, our employees are allowed to see who ever they want. Providers not within the Cigna PPO network won’t be covered the same and may include additional costs to the patient.  But this flexibility is something that we as a company and as individuals value.   While it may take some time to get things sorted out with the office, Co-pays are often lower than most. In one example from one of our employees, an x-ray and doctors visit went from $284 to $58 dollars. That’s an impressive savings that proves how your own employees may benefit from this. Because this plan is not as conventional as other insurances, it may take a little more work on the patients end to ensure the coverage is used to its fullest potential. In the example used earlier, the doctor’s office had to call BPA in order to work out the Proper co-pay. If this little bit of extra work, doesn’t scare your employees or office administrator the savings and flexibility will be worth it.    Pros Cons Provides coverage flexibility Premiums/Coverage  Co-Pays are lower Some Doctors offices are confused by the third party administration No deductibles for specific services Not all services, such as acupuncture or weight loss programs, are covered Prescriptions are covered The patient is responsible for covering the difference if brand name prescriptions is prefered You don’t need a referral to see a specialist The service may not be covered   Your Options Above is a list of some things your office should consider before making a switch. Of course it’s not comprehensive, but if it seems intriguing, you should give self-insured plans a closer look. As part of the Cigna family, the items above are only examples of what your company could benefit from they are not universal offerings.    Why It Matters With all that being said, it is important to remember the benefits you offer can be an important component of attracting and retaining top talent. When your compensation packages make the employees feel truly valued, it is easier to keep them away from poaching competitors     

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