Author Archives: Laura Leebove

About Laura Leebove

Laura Leebove is a senior copywriter at General Assembly. Her writing has been published in Billboard Magazine, Men's Journal, The Billfold, Village Voice, and more. She lives in Brooklyn.

Inside the U.S. Defense Department’s New Tech Startup (P.S. They’re Hiring)

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Defense Digital Service Eric Fanning Army Chris Lynch

Former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning (left) announces the creation of the Army Digital Service at a recent event at General Assembly’s NYC headquarters, alongside Defense Digital Service Director Chris Lynch and journalist Jeff Jarvis. Photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy Crisp.

National security and cybersecurity are growing concerns for many Americans, especially as talk of hacking and digital espionage dominate headlines and rattle daily life. Protecting the country and developing tools to keep citizens safe are top priorities for the U.S. government, and, in recent years, it has turned to top tech talent to rapidly innovate, problem solve, and find security vulnerabilities. This is particularly true within the Department of Defense, whose progress its staffers admit has been slowed down by outdated tools and processes that lag behind private tech companies’ capabilities.

That’s where Defense Digital Service (DDS) comes in. Since launching in late 2015, the program — a branch of the government’s tech startup, U.S. Digital Service (USDS) — has worked on projects involving cybersecurity, veterans’ medical records, cutting-edge GPS systems, and more. DDS’ cybersecurity initiatives Hack the Pentagon and Hack the Army (known as bug bounties) invited civilian hackers to search for vulnerabilities within five public-facing government websites, then rewarded them in cash for their findings.

Now the Army has its own dedicated team called Army Digital Service, which launched in December. Continuing the pioneering work of DDS, it will leverage tech expertise to solve inefficiencies related to Army recruiting, veteran affairs, and more. Earlier this month, Air Force Digital Service launched as well, and the team’s agenda is currently in the works.

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John Rossman on How the Internet of Things Transforms Businesses

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Amazon Way on IoT John Rossman Interview

Author and tech-industry veteran John Rossman, whose new book takes a deep dive into the Internet of Things.

When it comes to enhancing customer experiences and improving business operations, the future lies in the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is the ability to take an analog or physical capability and create a digital version of that experience. For example, the Nest thermostat helps lower energy costs by using sensors and your phone’s location to adjust the temperature when you leave the house. Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator allows you to order groceries from FreshDirect right from its door.

From a business standpoint, IoT technology allows for smarter, data-driven models that enable higher efficiency and better outcomes. From a consumer standpoint, it can transform the way we think about some of our most routine daily actions. IoT technology requires elements of data science and analytics, product management, and user experience — and because of this, it’s a cross-functional industry with tons of opportunity for growth.

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John Rossman on How Amazon Harnesses the Internet of Things to Be Relentless (Book Excerpt)

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The Amazon Way on IoT John Rossman

John Rossman’s new book, The Amazon Way on IoT.

Amazon has long been at the forefront of emerging technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is no exception. IoT technology, which allows objects to send and receive data through internet connectivity, is changing the way we interact with everyday objects. For example, you can control your air conditioner through a mobile app or track your health stats through a wristband.

On the consumer side, Amazon introduced the Dash Button, which allows customers to reorder an item with the touch of a standalone button. For businesses, the eCommerce giant launched AWS IoT, a platform for developers to build, manage, and analyze their own IoT devices.

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A Year in Review Part 2: Diversity, Access, and Social Impact

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General Assembly Social Good Black Girls Code Workplace Diversity

This year we partnered with Black Girls Code to increase access to STEM education. Photo courtesy of Black Girls Code.

With a mission to close the global skills gap and help people pursue work they love, General Assembly strives to create opportunities that impact a vast range of communities.

This year, we were proud to voice our support for access to education and inclusive hiring in the media. We spoke out about promoting computer science education through the Computer Science for All Initiative, and released a white paper on skills-based hiring. We partnered with many innovative organizations to make a difference in the tech sector, launching new campaigns and programs to promote equality in startup funding, champion computer science education for kids, help New Yorkers get well-paying data jobs, and much more.

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A Year In Review, Part 1: New Campuses, Courses, and Corporate Training

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General Assembly Campus Expansion 2016

General Assembly students at our NYC campus.

Let’s get straight to the point: 2016 has been huge for General Assembly. We’ve expanded our global community into new cities and launched beautiful, new campuses in locations where we’re already thriving. Our catalog of full-time Immersive programs grew exponentially, with four new courses that are transforming graduates’ careers in competitive tech fields around the globe. We also released our first audited student outcomes report, a detailed read that takes a close look at our Immersive graduates’ key demographics and job placement success rates. (Spoiler alert: they’re great.)

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Tim Ferriss and How to Develop Mental Toughness: Lessons From 7 Titans

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Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans book

Tim Ferriss, bestselling author and entrepreneur.

Committing to a major life change can be scary, especially when it comes to your career — but inspiration from those who have made their way to the top can go a long way in overcoming obstacles and leveling up. Through his bestselling self-help book The 4-Hour Workweek, massively popular podcast The Tim Ferriss Show, and more, entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss has helped thousands of people design lives and careers they love.

Throughout his work, Ferriss has gleaned motivational insight from leaders in business, sports, entertainment, and the military, homing in on the habits, mentalities, and strategies they use to excel. He’s compiled some of his best learnings from those conversations into a new book, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.

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InVision on Creating GA’s User Experience Design Course

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UX Design Invision General Assembly IBM

A user experience design student at General Assembly student works on a user flow.

There have never been more opportunities for user experience designers: In 2015, U.S. companies posted nearly 30,000 openings for user experience roles — up 15% from 2011 — at an average salary of $99,177.

The market demands top-quality talent, and training toward industry needs has never been more vital. At General Assembly, we accomplish this by partnering with industry powerhouses like IBM Design and prototyping platform InVision to build curriculums that directly serve the needs of companies while empowering individuals with relevant skills. Our full-time User Experience Design Immersive leverages our partners’ expertise across market and content to ensure the most effective learning experience available in the field. The numbers prove it: 99% of GA’s Immersive grads get hired in their fields within 180 days of starting their job search.

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How to Break Into Web Development

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What Is Web Development General Assembly Mike Dang

Learning to code is the ultimate career-booster, whether you’re looking to elevate your current skill set or make it your full-time work. Having web development skills can land you a job in nearly any industry, including tech startups, financial services, media, and beyond.

Coding knowledge is power — whether you’re an independent business owner, creative professional, or simply someone with an interest in the web. When you know how to code, you can build your own website and have full control over your web presence. If you work regularly with your company’s web team, you’ll be able to speak their language and improve communication — and you’ll be able to make some changes yourself instead of calling on them to do it.

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Behind the Scenes With GA’s Chalk Artist + New Boston Campus

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General Assembly Chalk Murals Obama NYC Casey Opstad

Chalk artist Casey Opstad with his mural of President Barack Obama at GA’s New York City headquarters.

When you set foot in any of General Assembly’s campuses around the globe, one of the first things you’ll notice is the prominence of chalk art. Each campus has vivid murals of local innovators, from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in New York, to early computer programmer Ada Lovelace in London, to civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta.

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User Experience Design Impacts Everyone — But What Is It?

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What is user experience design General Assembly

People often associate the term “user experience design” with visual design or the design of a digital interface, like a website or mobile app. But the truth is, user experience (UX) design is bigger than that, and it’s used across every industry, from software, to business, to schools, and beyond.

Successful UX design is why shopping on Amazon is addictive, ride-sharing apps like Uber are thriving, and binge watching TV shows from any number of services has become the best way to spend a weekend indoors — skillful UX design has made it insanely easy to do. Even physical spaces are impacted by UX design: Think strategic layouts of department stores with enticing buys at every turn or the always-moving checkout lines at Trader Joe’s.

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