Category Archives: Career Development

Salary Strategy: Tips From a Hostage Negotiator

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Chris Voss Never Split the Difference Book

The tech industry is nothing if not competitive. As startups, mom-and-pop shops, and Fortune 500 companies fight for top talent, developers, designers, data scientists, and more find themselves in a mad dash to get in the door.

Once they’re there, an offer may be a testament to their technical skills. However, the true mettle of one’s professional prowess lies in securing the salary you want. When you’re in the throes of negotiating for that number, don’t sell yourself short. Instead, ask yourself: What would Chris Voss do?

During his 24 years in the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Voss used expert verbal and psychological tactics to defuse and control more than 150 international hostage cases. Many of the high-stakes situations were a matter of life or death — with rescues ranging from military contractors captured in Colombia to journalists kidnapped in Iraq and Gaza.

Now, he empowers people with valuable negotiation strategies to contend with tough professional and personal circumstances. As the founder and CEO of the consulting firm The Black Swan Group, he advises Fortune 500 companies through their most challenging negotiations. And in his book, the illuminating Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, he reveals how powerful language, a “pleasant persistence,” empathy, and listening can give you an edge in getting a promotion, buying a car, consulting with a partner, and beyond.

In this book excerpt, learn Voss’s concrete tips for turning an employer into an ally and negotiating your next salary.

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How to Break Into a Digital Marketing Career

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Digital Marketing Career: How to Land a Job

With digital media surpassing TV as the largest channel for ad spending in 2016, digital marketers are more important than ever. Through clever concepts, smart storytelling, and a keen understanding of audience behavior through analytics, these data-driven brand specialists move business forward through strategic email, paid search, social media, and beyond.

Recent data from General Assembly’s Credentials division — which helps companies determine the capabilities of team members and potential hires through assessments and more — suggests that digital marketing is an open playing field for anyone who can acquire the skills needed to succeed.

But once you have the skills, how do you land the gig?

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How to Fail as a Web Developer

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Coding & Programming Errors: How to Stay Calm

Three months into my first job out of college, as a web developer at a financial reporting company, I wiped out every single one of my company’s client records in one command. I had uploaded a script meant to eliminate one client, but quickly realized that it removed all of them and I couldn’t get the records back. (This was in the early 2000s, when it was less common to work locally before sending code to your live website.) I went into full-on crisis mode and started getting my resume ready, resigned to the fact that I was going to be fired. I was even Googling to see if I could be sued for what I had done.

Thankfully, a tech manager saved the day by telling me about the company’s nightly database backup and we quickly fixed most of the problem. But until that moment, I was sweating bullets.

As a web developer, you’re going to fail — often, and sometimes in huge ways — whether you’re a newbie or a veteran (see this recent mishap at GitLab.com, for example). But messing up doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, when it does happen, staying calm is key because panic can cloud your judgement and force you to make rash decisions.

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Looking to grow your executive network? Here’s what I’ve learned over 15 years.

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Executive Networking Tips Strategy

Don’t be afraid to take risks, like introducing yourself to someone — in person — on a whim.

I still remember the early days of networking, before LinkedIn existed to help organize your professional life. When you’re fresh out of college, networking typically means going to happy hours, checking in with former classmates, and keeping in touch with mentors from your summer internships. But it’s the people who decide to go above and beyond college or corporate happy hours — with creative approaches to introductions — who can really stand out.

After you’ve been in the workforce for 15-plus years like I have, your networking strategy needs to evolve to place you in front of the right senior executives at innovative, cutting-edge companies. Remember that you are your own best publicist and it’s OK to be forward, ambitious, and scrappy to open the right doors. Don’t be afraid to take risks like introducing yourself to someone — in person — on a whim. Don’t hide behind LinkedIn connections online. Instead, create real, long-lasting relationships that will connect you with the biggest opportunities of your life.

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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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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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FinTech Experts Share Insights on the Future of Finance

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Fintech Innovation Panel

Finance-industry experts from BlackRock, Blockchain, HSBC, BNY Mellon, and Coindesk spoke at our Future of Finance panel on December 7. Photo by Kait Ebinger.

The world of financial technology, also known as FinTech, is pushing the boundaries of how people exchange money — impacting everyone from mammoth banking institutions to individual consumers. On December 7, four finance luminaries joined us at General Assembly’s NYC headquarters for The Future of Finance, an intimate panel discussion exploring innovations in the financial sector.

The universal takeaway: Companies and leaders who aren’t paying attention to FinTech’s breakthroughs will be left in the wake of a revolution that is transforming a traditionally rigid industry into an agile economy driven by technological advances and open collaboration.

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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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Measuring What Matters: General Assembly’s First Student Outcomes Report

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ga_outcomes-email-blog

Since founding General Assembly in 2011, I’ve heard some incredible stories from our students and graduates. One of my favorites is about Jerome Hardaway. Jerome came to GA after five years in the United States Air Force. He dreamed of tackling persistent diversity gaps in the technology sector by breaking down barriers for other veterans and people of color.

In 2014, with the help of General Assembly’s Opportunity Fund scholarship, Jerome began one of our full-time Web Development Immersive courses. After graduation, he had the opportunity to pitch President Obama at the first-ever White House Demo Day and has launched a nonprofit in Nashville, Vets Who Code, which helps veterans navigate the transition to civilian life through
technology skills training.

Exceptional stories like Jerome’s embody GA’s mission of “empowering people to pursue the work they love.” It’s a mission that motivates our instructional designers, faculty, mentors, and career coaches. It also inspired the development of an open source reporting framework which defined GA’s approach to measuring student outcomes and now, our first report with verified student outcomes metrics.

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