Meredith Allen, Author at General Assembly Blog

What is a Data Scientist?


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What makes a job sexy? Money, power, sex appeal? To us, finding a job you love, that is totally in demand (read: people want you), is what’s sexy. With that definition, there is no sexier job these days than….data scientist.

According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. This data comes from all sorts of places; social media, e-mail, purchase transactions, digital photos and videos, and log data (data extracted from web servers), just to name a few. This data is too large and complex to handle with traditional means of data management, and data scientists are the individuals who know what to do with it.

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Can You Learn Creativity? The Answer Might Surprise You



Creativity is a trait that is as much desired as it is admired. Many of us wish we were more creative — that we had the creative “spark” that allowed Picasso to paint Les Desmoiselles D’Avignon or Paul McCartney to write “Hey Jude.” And we as individuals aren’t the only ones who find value in creativity; today, businesses are taking note too. In a 2010 IBM global survey of more than 1500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, creativity was selected as the most crucial factor for future success. That’s right — the most crucial factor, above hard work, discipline, integrity, or vision.

Related Story: The Secret to Being Happy, Healthy, and More Productive at Work

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7 User Experience Designers You Should Be Following on Twitter


User experience designers to follow on Twitter

User experience design — the practice of enhancing the usability, functionality, and aesthetic value of a website or product — is a growing industry. And as such, the online community of user experience designers and those interested in UX design is growing too. A simple Twitter search for UX designers yields thousands of results, and while you might learn something from following a few at random, you’ll get the most out of following the designers who will keep your finger on the pulse with industry news and resources, informed insights, and thoughtful conversation.

So just who are those designers? We’ve chosen 7 of the best to follow now.

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Essential Reading: 5 Must-Read User Experience Design Books


user experience design books

When you visit a website that is useful, intuitive, and easy-on-the-eyes, you have a user experience designer to thank. UX designers are the individuals behind the scenes making sure that your experience on a website is a good one — that you aren’t turned off by lack of accessibility, poor design, or functionality hiccups.

It’s a big job, and many rookie UX designers feel intimidated by all of the responsibility. But it’s also a fun and creative job, and with the right training and tools you’ll feel confident taking on any design challenge that comes your way.

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Get Organized With The Best Free Calendar Apps For Mobile


Image courtesy of Dafne Cholet on Flickr

Image courtesy of Dafne Cholet on Flick

Wall calendars and paper planners are out; agendas that fit in the palm of your hand are in. Calendar apps are not only less clunky than traditional means of scheduling, they also offer loads of features to keep you on task and on time.

If you head over to the app store on your mobile device and type in “calendar,” you’re going to come up with a lot of results. In fact, I just tried it, and my phone gave me 2,199 options — eek. You could spend all day going through each app one by one, but if you want to maintain your sanity, you should probably just take our advice and try one of the calendar apps below. These are some of the best of the best, the crème de la crème, and after finding your favorite you may wish you had more commitments to fill it up (may I suggest yoga?)

Without further adieu, here are 4 of the best free calendar apps for your mobile device.

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So Happy Together: How to Work With Your Friends (And Stay Friends)


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Apple. Microsoft. Twitter. Hewlett-Packard. These aren’t just some of the biggest names in tech, they are also examples of successful businesses that were founded (and grown) by close friends.

Of course, not every business dreamed up by friends survives, and working with your pals isn’t always a walk in the park (though Steve Wozniak, who founded Apple with friend Steve Jobs might disagree; he’s said that the pair “never, ever had a face-to-face fight or argument”).

If you’re thinking about starting a business with a friend, you’ll want to give the matter some serious consideration before saying “I do”–after all, many experts have likened the relationship to a marriage. And if you’re already sharing a cubicle wall with your BFF, there are steps you can take to preserve your friendship and get the job done at the same time.

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The Secret To Being Happy, Healthy, and More Productive at Work


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Image courtesy of Moyan Brenn on Flickr

I used to be bad at taking breaks. I would sit down at my computer every day around 8am and not come up for air until 1pm or later. I think part of the issue was that, as a freelance writer, I am my own boss — and for many years, I was an unforgiving one; a taskmaster, you might say. Not only did I force myself to fix my eyes on a glowing screen for too many hours at a time, I also expected myself to respond to emails within half hour of their arrival, say “yes” to every assignment (even if I was overbooked), and put the needs of others before the needs of myself. Continue reading

What Open Source Thinking Can Do For You (And You, And You)


open source image

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a hilariously titled blog post that his company would be removing all of its patents “in the spirit of the open source movement.” And it’s a movement indeed. More and more companies are making the switch to open source thinking, embracing a philosophy of quality and innovation through sharing.

So just what is open source, and what can it do for you and your business?

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What It’s Worth: The Essentials of Product Pricing


Intro to pricing strategy imagePricing a product is a highly important yet deceptively tricky task. Highly important because it can determine how well your product performs on the market, thus laying the foundation for your business’s success. Deceptively tricky because while you might think you have enough experience as a consumer to come up with an appropriate number, the truth is that pricing a product requires a lot more than market comparisons and a hunch.

So what does it take to figure out your product’s worth? Let’s take a look.

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The Top 5 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs



Image courtesy of CC Search.

Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or already running one, you’ve probably looked at entrepreneurs who have found success and wondered, “How did they do it?” Of course, there’s no simple answer to that question; every path to success is different. But despite those different paths, it is possible to identify some common habits shared by successful founders.

From rap moguls to titans of agriculture—see how many of the below habits you share, and how many you need to embrace in order to reach your goals. Continue reading