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!

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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;

BA1

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:

BA2

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.

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 communications@jumar-solutions.com

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 ComputerWeekly.com.  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.

Rogue recruiters: 8 things to consider before sending out your CV

by Denis Bayliss, Head of IT Recruitment Services, Jumar Solutions

denis pic

Denis Bayliss

We’re constantly being reminded about internet scams and identity theft.  We’ve all seen those bogus ‘click here to restore your internet banking’ emails – not to mention the famous ‘I’ve got £10m to send to a trusted friend’ scams.  But, if you’ve signed up to a number of recruitment websites, and you get a message from someone who claims to be a potential employer or recruitment agency, how readily would you send them your CV? Bear in mind that it’s a confidential document containing a whole host of personal data.  Okay, it’s not a bank statement but… Many of us just upload them, and wait for the job offers to pour in. Don’t we?

Recruitment contact tileThis blog post is about an unsolicited email which has become something of a talking point in the Jumar IT recruitment office.  It was received by a member of staff, who years ago had signed up with a legitimate online job board.  Having since found a position, he’d deactivated all the daily alerts from the job board to prevent the daily deluge into his inbox.  But recently, an email arrived from a ‘recruiter’, featuring his full name and a reference to the job board in question – and sent to a dedicated email address he only used for job hunting.  It even used his ‘official’ name of Andrew, rather than Andy which he uses on other non-job-related sites.

Reading the email, it didn’t take long to realise all was not legitimate.  We’ve included a redacted copy of it here…

Recruitment scam graphic

(We have redacted any names to protect any legitimate recruitment professionals who may go by the same name – and also the name of a legitimate, responsible recruitment website)

Not only does it not mention any company name, but it is badly written, uses a webmail account for replies and includes a rather unsophisticated response mechanism. But the sender seems to know the recipient’s name, email address and a job board he was registered on (although on such a popular job board, it’s quite likely that many recipients of spam would be registered).

It’s clearly some sort of scam – but it did provoke a discussion in the Jumar office as to just how careful one has to be when sending out confidential data. One of our members of staff recalls being phoned by a “headhunter” and giving out all manner of details without giving a second thought to who they were talking to or how they’d got their details. It turned out to be genuine – but was certainly something of a wake-up call. It’s prompted us to draw up a list of the top eight precautions you should take before you send your CV to a potential employer/recruitment agency that you’ve never heard of. The vast majority of recruiters are genuine, but scams generally can be convincing (unlike this one!) and are becoming more and more sophisticated.  Remember, just because someone has a website, doesn’t mean they’re not genuine. The big names, yes… you’ll have heard of – but what about the smaller ones?

8 points to consider before sending your CV

  1. Phone the recruiter/agency, and talk to them. Make sure you call a landline, and ask them about their company background. Get to know them. If you’re suspicious, or think they’re trying to hide something, proceed with caution.
  2. Will they only give you mobile numbers? If so, be suspicious.
  3. Do they have a genuine looking website, showing details of their current vacancies? If it is a holding page, or ‘under construction’, you may want to think again.
  4. Do they claim to be a member of a trade body like REC? Check with the body themselves.
  5. Are they on LinkedIn – and are they active on LinkedIn? Do they have a convincing social media presence?
  6. Do they use a ‘proper’ domain name or just a webmail (gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc) address? If you’re a legitimate company, why would you use a ‘personal’ email address? Beware of the ‘our email system is down at the moment so we’re using hotmail’ scam.
  7. Are you being asked to pay to register – or part with bank details? There is no reason any recruiter should do this.
  8. Do you feel you are being pressurised into disclosing information above and beyond that you would normally send in response to a job advertisement.

Any of the above should easily set alarm bells ringing but it’s amazing how one’s judgement can be clouded, especially if you’re frantically searching for a job. Everything above is common sense – and it’s hard to think that anyone can fall for it – but it clearly does happen. Please make sure you only work with responsible and genuine recruiters.  We’re happy to talk – and you’re more than welcome to visit us.

For more details about IT lifecycle jobs, please contact us on 0121 788 4550 or drop us a line here.