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Alumni Success Stories: From Public Relations to UX Design

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Megan Cruickshank Portrait. UXDI GA Sydney.

Meet Megan Cruickshank🧑‍🎓, a proud GA User Experience Design graduate and now a successful Designer. Find out why she made the decision to join General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI). She shared with us her learning journey, how she prepared for the course and what the transition to a new industry was like for her.

What were you doing before you came to GA?

I started my career in public relations and social media before I realised that what I wanted to be doing was more holistic problem solving – it never made sense to me to spend huge budgets to market products that (sometimes) were flawed! I felt like I was solving the wrong problem. 

What did you enjoy most about your course? 

I loved how practical the course was in replicating real working conditions – completing projects within constraints, rather than only learning UX within a perfect world. Susan was an amazing instructor and my biggest learning was how to trust my gut, learn the rules, and how to break them. I’m still friends with many of my fellow students even now and appreciated meeting new people who shared the same passion as me. 

What are you doing now professionally? 

I work as a Service & Strategic Designer at a Design Studio in Melbourne now – my favourite thing is always working on different projects and different problems – every day is so different. Personally I also love working as a generalist designer so I get to flex different muscles all the time and continue to learn constantly. 

What advice do you have for individuals who are looking to change careers?

Lean on your past experience and the soft skills you already have as much as you can, especially if like me, you don’t have any previous “design” experience on paper. Think about all of the things you can offer that other designers can’t and what your own unique value proposition is! Get good with telling your brand story to anyone who will listen.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

You get out of the course what you put in. Go above and beyond, listen to your instructors and career coaches. Everyone is here to help you win – the only person standing in your way is YOU! Decide you’re passionate about it and go all in. 

Feeling inspired to start your own path as a UX designer? Check out GA’s part-time and full-time UX design courses and introductory workshops. 

3 mistakes you’re making when setting DEI goals…and how to avoid them

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When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), top global businesses are struggling to bridge the gap between aspirations and actions. They know building a truly inclusive work culture is essential when it comes to social expectations, political trends, and board and shareholder demands. But business leaders also understand the direct correlation between a strong DEI program and attracting–to retain–top diverse talent. So, many businesses have stated their goals and started working toward them. They have established employee resource groups. They have appointed an array of DEI executives. They have made public pledges to elevate diverse employees to the C-Suite level. They have set a timeline for building a more diverse workforce. In short, they have taken the first–and very necessary–steps.

While society is committed to advancing DEI in the workplace, logic and statistics show there is still much work to do–from ensuring better diverse representation to more equitable compensation. Only 4% of companies employ a female chair and a meager 3.2% of executive or senior-level managers at Fortune 500 companies are Black. When you dig into pay disparities, the statistics are even more disconcerting. For every dollar a white male employee makes, Black employees make 62 cents, and Latina employees just 54 cents. The facts, while stark, are hardly surprising. Businesses have been talking about building a more diverse workforce for years, but–for the most part–they have been stuck in neutral, spinning their well-intentioned wheels.

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Don’t Let These 5 Career Change Myths Hold You Back

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How old were you when you chose your career path? 

Likely it was some time in your early 20s — when you chose your university or college major, started looking for full time work, or maybe just felt societal pressure to make a decision about what career you wanted to pursue. 

Whenever it was, you’re likely a different person then you were at that age. You know more, there are new career options and your interests might have changed altogether. People evolve, and it’s okay for your career to evolve with you. 

But a big change comes with obstacles, both internally and externally. 

“I’m not good enough”

 â€śIt’s financially impossible” 

“I don’t have the right connections”

…these are some of the lies we tell ourselves that get in the way of making a positive change. We get it, change is scary and hard. But you know what’s more scary? Staying in a job you don’t like. That’s why it’s time to put those anxieties aside.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through some common career change myths and actionable steps to help you overcome your fears.

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Your complete guide for getting a tech job without a degree

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Working in tech means good pay, flexibility, and a chance to solve big problems and advance The tech industry also has a reputation for an having an “it” factor. Known for hip offices, perks, and collegiate atmospheres, it can seem from the outside like a party you aren’t invited to. 

Especially if you never went to college.  

We’re here with some good news: the exclusivity is ending. According to research by LinkedIn, 72% of employers think that bootcamp graduates are just as prepared and likely to be high performers as candidates with computer science degrees. Another 12% think that bootcamp grads are more prepared and more likely to succeed than traditional job candidates.

Yes, you can find a job in tech without a degree. We’ll tell you how. 

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4 Ways to Evolve Your Hiring that Pay Dividends – Even During the Great Resignation

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Across this series, we’ve examined the opportunities that the Great Resignation opens up for businesses — from sustainable cultures to value-aligned employee loyalty, this Great Realignment enables a variety of corrections to the old, flawed ways in which we’ve worked. 

Recruiting is no different. In this post, we’ll discuss how leaders can take a fresh approach to talent to fill their open headcount with skilled and loyal new talent.

Competition for Talent is Fierce. And broken.

The world of work has evolved dramatically in recent years, but recruiting practices have not kept up. As resignations outpace hiring, leaders continue to scratch their heads, wondering why they can’t fill their open roles. The answer is simple: they insist on fighting over a pool of talent that is too small. 

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Have You Considered Exploring a UX Design Career?

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Did you know that UX designers are one of the most in-demand talents in technology today? With 87% of hiring managers saying that acquiring UX designers is a top priority. Even top job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor have ranked UX design as the fifth most in-demand role in tech. 

But is a UX design career the right fit for you? To find out, keep reading. 

WHAT IS UX DESIGN? 

The origin of user experience (UX) was first defined by Don Norman, Co-Founder of the Nielson Norman Group, in the 1990s. According to Norman, “user experience encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” 

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The Evolution Of Marketing Skills Ebook: Why Marketing Has Always Been About Change and Learning

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Marketing is moving at a blistering pace. In the past two decades, digital technologies have supercharged the industry’s evolution and propelled it into a moment as rife with challenges as it is with opportunity. 

Today, businesses and marketers are in a never-ending race to catch up with a flood of new channels and a growing set of tools. All while fielding a crowded market and swaying consumer needs. The dizzying pace of change in an industry that’s becoming increasingly digitized and data-driven is swelling skills gaps and leaving many on the verge of falling behind

The good news? Change is not new to marketing. It’s what defines it. Marketing’s evolution can be chronicled through disruptions and innovations. And marketers have long thrived on their ability to adapt on the fly and leverage new mediums, trends, and technologies to move forward and push the envelope.

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LOWER THE BARRIER TO ENTRY: 4 WAYS TO ATTRACT MORE DIVERSE JUNIOR TECH TALENT

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If we’ve learned anything from the “Great Resignation,” it’s that today’s workforce is fed up with the status quo. Beyond the ongoing flexibility debate over work-from-anywhere or work-from-the-office, today’s talent is laser-focused on diversity. Motivated by purpose alongside (and perhaps even more so than) money, today’s tech talent is tired of companies who say that diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and empowering team cultures are important to them. They want to see the specific and tangible benchmarks in place to measure a company’s DEI progress.

If businesses want to attract more diverse junior tech talent, they need to move beyond talking the diversity talk, to walking the inclusion walk. The good news? Building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce isn’t only good for a company’s reputation, it’s good for a company’s bottom line. In a recent McKinsey study, one-third of companies that improved DEI efforts over the past five years are now financially outperforming their industry peers. 

Considering that the US Labor Department reported in March that there were 2 positions open for every employee, diversifying the workforce isn’t only vital at the recruitment level of talent management, but crucial for employee retention overall. One of the top reasons employees have cited for leaving their jobs is a company’s failure to fulfill promises to improve DEI efforts. There’s a veritable chasm between employer perception and employee reality when it comes to cultivating workplace culture. Just look at the Accenture study which found that while 68% of leaders felt they created an empowering team culture, only 36% of employees agreed with them.

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What Jobs Can You Get After a Coding Bootcamp? 4 Tech Career Options

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So, you want to do a coding bootcamp, but you’re unsure of the career opportunities post-graduation. Here is your ultimate guide to where a coding bootcamp can take you, how a coding bootcamp works, hot tips from GA’s coding bootcamp graduates, and much more. 

What is a Coding Bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp can also be described as a concentrated course that teaches the essential skills and real-world coding acumen in a short-term intensive and often immersive education program. 

The history of the coding bootcamp began in 2011 when a forward-thinking tech company offered a five-month free developer training with a job guarantee for those who finished the program. Eleven years later, the popularity of coding bootcamps has exploded as the demand for employment of software developers and engineers is projected to rise by 22% between 2020 and 2030. 

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DATA ANALYTICS VS DATA SCIENCE: WHICH CAREER IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

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First and foremost, it’s critical to understand the difference between data analytics and data science. To do so, let’s take a look at a definition of both.

According to Northeastern University, data analysis involves answering questions generated for better business decision-making. It uses existing information to uncover actionable data and focuses on specific areas with specific goals. 

On the other hand, data science focuses on discovering new questions that you might not have realized needed answering to drive business innovation. Keep reading for an in-depth overview of both disciplines to decide which career path would better suit your career aspirations.

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