My favorite product managers are quietly powerful. Every day they take small steps that move their teams and business forward in a meaningful way. But they do it without a lot of hoopla, taking a confident yet unassuming approach.
After all, product managers have a lot on their plate every day. They are responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for their product. It is a big responsibility that requires facilitating and collaborating with many different teams — both internal and external — without the formal authority to manage those teams. It requires a unique mix of humility and strength.
However, that quiet power does not mean leading product is easy. I realized early on that the daily life of a product manager is unpredictable, hectic, and sometimes very tough.
Today, General Assembly is making a couple of big announcements.
First, we have closed on our company’s first acquisition — Canadian tech and design career accelerator, Bitmaker. We’ve known the folks at Bitmaker for a long time and I’ve been incredibly impressed with the way their CEO, Andrew Mawer, has built his Toronto-based organization. I’ve watched him lead his team and grow their community to become Canada’s largest career accelerator, and I’m so excited to have them be part of GA as we continue to pursue our long-term vision around education-to-employment.
As a bonus upside, we now also have the option of moving to Canada if Trump wins the U.S. election. 🙂
Second, we are announcing the largest expansion of our campus footprint in GA’s history — we are increasing our number of campuses by over 60%. Our ongoing mission is to impact people’s careers and more broadly solve the talent needs of employers everywhere. We see big opportunities to leverage our burgeoning online communities and audiences with new campuses that are closer to the biggest pockets of potential students, just outside of traditional urban hotspots more commonly associated with the tech sector.
At General Assembly, we pride ourselves on empowering those around us to find greater well-being in their daily lives, both in the classroom and beyond. At times, this growth can be inspired by something as simple as a healthy meal.
On a recent Tuesday, our team at GA NYC skipped its usual weekly Team Lunch — where we share a meal and learn about each other’s work — to help feed fellow New Yorkers in need.
For the second year running, team members swapped hairnets for funny hats, stacking up more than 500 sandwiches for the New York Common Pantry (NYCP). The nonprofit’s mission: “to reduce hunger throughout New York City while promoting dignity and self-sufficiency.”
When General Assembly students graduate from their course — whether it’s user experience design or data science — it’s always exciting (and sometimes surprising) to see the range of products and passions that actualize as a result. In the case of Nathan Maas,a Web Development Immersive alumnus of GA Seattle, the product was an idea called pennypost. The passion? Connecting the world with homemade digital postcards that are easy to send and share.
Nathan—who took a range of night classes in product management, front-end development, and data science at GA before choosing WDI—developed a web (and soon-to-be iPhone) app, pennypost, which was inspired by his travels to nearly fifty countries across the globe. Though he bought postcards everywhere he went with the intention of sending them home, constraints like time, postage, and tracking down mailing addresses, meant he never actually sent them. An idea was born.
Embracing your professional development or pursuing a career change can seem daunting, tedious and, at times, impossible. We often measure success by comparing ourselves to those around us, instead of focusing on our own qualities.
The reality is that there are many paths forward, and each person has a unique approach to finding theirs. Your success is the byproduct of a process of trial and error, your own experiments, and the practice of learning along the way.
Jen Glantz and Francesco Marconi’s paths have been anything but similar. While both live in New York City, one is an entrepreneur and the other works at The Associated Press. They, along with many others, started pursuing a career change while feeling lost. They asked themselves, “What should I do with my life? Why am I working here? Am I in the right place?”
As they found their answers, they came to share the belief that true fulfillment comes when you start focusing on building the “best version of yourself.”
Last week, General Assembly packed the house — both at our New York headquarters and online — for a conversation with Hillary for America’s digital strategy team. The evening focused on considering the campaign as a startup, and the conversation highlighted digital marketing lessons that strategists and entrepreneurs can use to build a responsive team.
Steph Hannon, chief technology officer, Teddy Goff, chief digital strategist, and Sara Solow, domestic policy advisor, had a lively discussion with General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz about the realities of building tech for a startup that, as Goff noted, is “designed to go out of business in 18 months.”
As the tech sector continues to top employment charts with the highest number of job openings, you may be wondering how you can land one for yourself. Many people leverage web development and data science skills to transition into a tech career. But, in this high-demand, highly competitive field, user experience (UX) design know-how can be a powerful asset. In the past five years alone, jobs requiring UX skills increased by 15% with an average advertised salary of $99,177 USD. The UX industry is exploding.
Wondering how top pros navigate the UX universe? General Assembly has enlisted talented leaders to share their knowledge and insight during its Design In Motion global event series. Held at GA campuses around the world, these panels offer an inside look at design strategy through the eyes of experts, and answer the question on everyone’s mind: How do you become a UX designer?
How do user experience (UX) designers think? What does the thought process look like from initial challenge to user-friendly solution? What if you could just peek inside the brain of a UX designer and watch the gears turn?
Join us for a Design In Motion panel event happening at your local General Assembly campus. Until the end of June, we’ll gather the leading minds of UX and product design to discuss design strategy. You’ll be able to see the design thinking process in action as industry experts walk through the design challenge they’ve been tasked with—whether it’s revamping a flight search app or thinking up a genius digital experience for the Rio Olympics.
We asked some our guests from a wide range of backgrounds about their unique paths to building memorable experiences, where they find design inspiration, and what advice they’d offer to aspiring designers.
Every spring, Memorial Day gives Americans the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen who have given their lives for our country. What began as “Decoration Day” in the aftermath of the Civil War was renamed Memorial Day during World War II as an opportunity to honor all Americans who died in military service. It became an official national holiday in 1971.
As a veteran myself, I’m keenly aware of the importance of recognizing those who gave their lives for our country. Today, our armed forces numbers over 1.3 million service members across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The sacrifices made by military personnel in our current active military operations are enormous — 52,345 lives lost. You can read some of their stories, and reflect on the sacrifices they’ve made for our country, on the Washington Post’s powerful and heartbreaking Faces of the Fallen site.
Keval Baxi is the CEO and Chairman of Codal, a UX Design, Web & Mobile application development agency based in Chicago. Below, he shares his thoughts on hiring at General Assembly, why he uses General Assembly as a talent pipeline for his company, and tips for graduates on how to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.
You can almost always find someone from my company, Codal, attending one of the “Meet & Hire” events at General Assembly’s Chicago campus. As an agency that has grown at a consistently high pace over the last few years, we are always looking out for additional talent to join our team. It can often be very challenging to find quality candidates for interviews, but we’ve had a lot of success with hiring at General Assembly — especially at Meet & Hire events. We’ve put together several aspects of GA that have brought our company value and advice for new grads about getting hired.