Cyber security – the stamp of approval

cyberCyber security is never far from the news, and as an organisation which specialises in enterprise-wide application development and modernisation projects, we are delighted to announced that we have achieved the ‘Cyber Essentials‘ standard.

It’s a Government-backed scheme which shows that we are following a range of controls to prevent cyber security incidents.

Certification involved an in-depth independent audit of the our IT systems to make sure we were complying with best practice which protects us and our clients against common cyber-attacks.  This was backed up too, with a vulnerability test, and certification lasts for 12 months.

As a business, we see it as a really positive move, and if you’re considering getting certified, we’d be happy to share our thoughts on the process with you.  While we’re here, if you ‘re looking for application development or IT recruitment services, we’d be happy to help with that too!


The evolution of the Business Analyst: Are you prepared?

Helen LawJumar’s Helen Law looks at the future of the role of Business Analyst, and how Agile methods are re-shaping the traditional definition of a BA.

The onward march of Agile methodologies through the majority of IT-related business is inevitable. But it seems one job role in particular is experiencing a greater need for evolution than others. Business Analysts are seeing their day-to-day remit slowly changing, both due to natural evolution and specifically by elements directly linked to the world of Agile. In this blog, we’ll look at the reason for this, as well as analysing the scale of the problem. As for the solution, we have our opinion, but would love to hear your thoughts.

Jumar has been “doing Agile” properly for many years – both in our software development division, where we prefer to adopt agile working when appropriate, and in our IT and Business Change recruitment division where we have seen organisations increasingly adopting (or claiming to adopt) Agile techniques.

So, what’s the deal?

In Agile environments, the relationship between the Business Analyst and Project Owner is key, but we are now starting to see a convergence of these two roles, with increasing crossover between them. That crossover, however, seems to benefit the Project Owner to the detriment of the Business Analyst, with more of the BA’s role being lost to their project owning counterpart.

Consider each individually;


The above is a traditional description of how the two roles operate.

However, in an Agile environment, the role of Business Analyst is not as clearly defined, and we are beginning to see the liaison between stakeholders, being absorbed more and more into the Project Owner’s role.

It is still a vital part of the Business Analyst’s remit, but it is starting to leave a gap in what is required of a BA.

This erosion is a symptom of the Agile environment, but it doesn’t end there.  Gradual, ‘evolutionary’ changes are seeing more and more of a Business Analyst’s stakeholder management activity being absorbed by technical roles such as architects:


This begs the question: if the Project Owner and Architect are liaising more with the business and the end users, what now is the specialist focus for the Business Analyst?

Reassuringly, we don’t predict Business Analysts becoming a redundant part of the process. The role is simply evolving, and becoming increasingly Project Management based. Business Analysts will be required to take on more responsibility for the ‘end profitability’ for the project, and to adopt a more specialist remit to help manage the user stories, backlogs and iterations. But this in undeniably having an effect on the BA, who finds themself in the middle of this shift of responsibility.

Get involved

This is where we’d like to hear your views. How crucial do you think the position of Business Analyst will be within Agile projects? Particularly over the last twelve months, we’ve identified that candidates who are most successful in Business Analyst roles, are those who have broadened their horizons to take on areas including risk management, scheduling and planning. Do you think that this level of up-skilling could be the key to keeping your Business Analysis career on track?

Is it the case that as Agile continues to become more prevalent, Business Analysts who don’t embrace the concept, risk getting left behind? Do you agree – or is this an alarmist stance? If you’re a Business Analyst, have you found yourself having to bolster your Agile credentials? Have you found it necessary to read up on scrums, sprints and backlogs – as well as learning the terminology and language?

While there is no simple answer to this, it is obvious that there is an ongoing change to the role of BA. Do let us know how you think it will pan out.

Agile resources

In addition, Jumar has produced two brief YouTube videos, focusing on companies who claim to “do Agile” but who, actually, don’t. This will make interesting viewing to all those involved in Agile projects. Especially, as we’ve seen in this blog, even if an employer only adopts some of the concepts of agile, the impact on certain roles – especially the Business Analyst – could be significant.

Are you really being Agile – YouTube video – Part 1

Are you really being Agile – YouTube video – Part 2

More information

If you would like to discuss this, or any other aspect of IT and Business Change recruitment please call Jumar Solutions on 0121 788 4550 or 0161 684 2305 or email us.

Helen Law is an experienced Recruitment Consultant at Jumar Solutions, based in the company’s North of England office.

Leading the national news – Jumar shares apprenticeships experience

We’ve been in the news today.

Jumar was invited to take part in a feature on youth unemployment on the BBC News Channel this afternoon: the lead story on the 3pm bulletin.

Jumar’s newest recruit, apprentice Natalie Ball, interviewed about her experiences in taking an an apprenticeship with the company – one of a number of options available to her after leaving school.

NB BBC News crop

Natalie, who is part of Jumar’s admin team, told the BBC that while university was an option for her, the fact she could learn real-life situations, while getting paid, was a much more attractive route.  She also said that it gave her valuable transferrable skills for the future.

AH BBC News crop 2Marketing Manager, Andy Holmes, also told of how Jumar had taken on many apprentices over the years who brought enthusiasm, commitment and loyalty to the company , resulting in a much lower staff turnover rate.

This whole culture stems from Jumar’s Managing Director, Wendy Merricks.  Wendy, who left school with very few qualifications, runs the non-profit organisation, Starfish ( which motivates young people into a career in industry by forging closer links with schools, colleges – and ultimately students.

For more information, please contact Jumar Solutions on 0121 788 4550.

Why should I take on a work experience student?

To understand the benefit to you as a company, you simply have to understand the benefit to the student you take on.

Experience highlighted in blue

Last week, we had the pleasure of playing host to Nicholas Gould, a year 10 student from the nearby Heart of England School. Jumar regularly takes on work experience placements, as well as working with local schools to help inspire pupils into a career in technology.

Nicholas – an aspiring IT expert – worked with one of our developers on a specially designed project, allowing him to absorb the various aspects of work life and a career in IT. We asked Nicholas to summarise his week (which we’ve shared below), but one particular paragraph really stood out:

“In my opinion employers should make a bigger effort to try and speak to students at secondary school. Even just spending an afternoon talking to pupils can make a massive difference to their choice in career. At some point these very students will enter working life and speaking to an employer can make a huge difference.”

This goes to reinforce Jumar’s ethos (and that of our Managing Director’s charity, Starfish) that engaging with students is vital in helping them make sound career choices and to plan their future with confidence.


Jumar runs a series of events at local schools and organises work experience placements, as well as taking on apprentices in various roles. This ethos is something that MD, Wendy Merricks strongly recommends business leaders to adopt, and is always happy discuss the benefits it has brought to Jumar. It’s very simple: you get out what you put in. Jumar has grown significantly over recent years, and working with school leavers has been an integral part of that.

For now, we’ll let Nicholas, sum up by describing his week with us, in the hope that more businesses are encouraged to do the same. We’ve made only minor changes to his summary for brevity and context…

“I found out about the Jumar work experience project when I was finishing my second year in secondary school. Jumar Solutions came into my school and explained who they were and what they did. I was given a small folder containing details of both Jumar Solutions as a company and of how jobs in IT actually function. I kept this folder because I knew this was the sort of place I would like to work. So when the opportunity to do work experience came up I quickly applied to Jumar Solutions who replied positively.

When I arrived at the business for my first day I was given a quick tour and briefed with the health and safety. I was then introduced to one of Jumar’s IT Developers who explained that she didn’t want this to be a boring experience and asked what I was interested in doing. We decided on doing a project for the week. This meant I was always engaged on one task or another.

Another thing I liked was the freedom that I was given. I was given my own computer system to use for the week and even allocated my own desk. This meant that the whole experience was both relaxed and beneficial.

The staff at Jumar Solutions are another reason that I had such a fantastic time. Everyone was always so upbeat and were all equipped with a great sense of humour. For the four days that I had the pleasure of spending at the business there seemed never seemed a dull moment.

During the week I have witnessed first-hand all the benefits of work experience – especially how good it can look on your CV if you find the right placement. It also gets you prepared for team exercises. Until you actually work in a team as part of a company you sometimes fail to realize the importance of the job you are completing.

The highlight from this opportunity was definitely the way in which the experience was conducted. I liked the fact that I was very involved and allowed a real experience as to how this area of the IT market works.”

Software developer job advert – with a twist

IT job adverts do tend to blend into one another after a time, with LinkedIn especially awash with a plethora of career opportunities.

So, we thought we’d try a different approach with a number of roles we are recruiting for at Jumar.

Our IT recruitment team provides a tailored service to place IT and business change professionals in roles across the UK from our offices in the West Midlands and The North.

We have multiple roles available in… well, take our challenge…

Clipart challenge graphic 1If you think you fit the bill, please contact us on 0121 788 4550 / 0161 633 2711 or email

Great minds think alike – Our IT jobs predictions reflected in study

Earlier this week, we bought you our predictions surrounding technology recruitment in 2013 – and in particular, the rise in demand for big data roles.  You can read our original blog, by Helen Law, here.

CW article

Interestingly, Helen’s thoughts seem to have been reflected in this interesting article on  It quotes a study which indicates “big data jobs in general are [forecast] to increase 92% by 2017“.

Jumar is continuing to see this trend reflected, as mentioned in our earlier post – and its good to see that these predictions reflected in the wider IT media.

If you’d like to talk to us about big data jobs or any other aspect of IT jobs or recruitment, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0121 788 4550 (Midlands office) or 0161 633 2711 (North West Office).

Jumar provides IT resourcing and recruitment solutions across the UK and internationally.

Technology and IT recruitment trends for 2013

Helen LawAs the country freezes in the current arctic conditions (few days of snow, anyway), Jumar’s recruitment consultant, Helen Law, looks at what’s hot in world of IT recruitment – and investigates what trends are likely to only get hotter throughout 2013.

Let’s start with the buzzwords doing the rounds on the net and in the blogosphere. You don’t have to search far to find topics like Social Media, Video Conferencing, Mobility, Big Data and Data Analytics.

Big data, Data Analytics, Network Administrators, Data Security Analysts, Business Process Organisation, Business Process Re-engineering, JAVA, .NETOur team of IT recruitment consultants has already started to see a marked increase in demand for Big Data and Data Analytics roles, and this rise is something we can only see continuing throughout 2013. With many companies becoming more and more ecommerce-centric, it goes without saying that the current high demand for role surrounding data collection and data security, will only continue to rise significantly.

Buzzword though it is, we find many of our clients won’t actually use the phrase ‘Big Data’. We are tending to find that clients are approaching us with requirements for Database Administrators and the like – but preferably those who have worked with considerable or complex data sets. A ready-made pool of suitable ‘Big Data’ candidates doesn’t really exist, so we find this is where Jumar can add value. It is important for us to get to know, and understand, our candidates so we can select those only who have the correct skills and mindsets for such a role. This isn’t easy (otherwise everyone would do it!) but we have seen that with the right approach to candidate selection, there is more than enough available expertise – and it’s not just confined to London.

Big Data – the bigger the better!

Here in the North West (we cover the UK from offices in Birmingham and Manchester) we have a great example of a client whose business is data-driven, and we have successfully placed several candidates in big data roles. This shows that such roles are not just the preserve of the capital – and neither are those suitable to fill them.

In addition, we also expect demand to be high, but constant, in roles like JAVA and .NET Developers. Jumar placed many clients in this type of role last year, and we predict that this high demand will be sustained.

What else?

On another note, Business Process Optimization and Business Process Re-engineering skills are becoming more popular as companies overhaul their outdated technologies. Businesses are finding that they have to streamline, take a look at their systems, and consider cost savings rather than making redundancies. We have one large client who was informed that their systems would no longer be supported and took the strategic decision to re-write and re-spec them, following ten years of sustained change within the business.

Recruitment contact tile

There is an assumption in cases like this that we are just talking about IT systems. This is not the case, as we are finding an increasing number of organisations who, as part of such a process, are looking at whether they have the correct management structure in place to underpin such a change.

Jumar’s IT solutions arm also provides tailor-made IT modernization and migration capabilities, supported by the recruitment division’s capabilities (including our trademark Flexible Managed Service offering) to ensure that clients have the right combination of expertise and staff to support them in these circumstances.

So, what are your thoughts on IT recruitment trends for 2013? Feel free to share them by commenting below – or get in touch. We’d love to hear your thoughts.