Category Archives: Coding

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 This is particularly true within the Department of Defense, whose progress its staffers admit has been slowed down by outdated tools and processes that lag behind private tech companies’ capabilities.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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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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Our Network Just Got A Lot Bigger

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Teaching and learning at General Assembly

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.

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.

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From Phone to Mailbox: General Assembly Grads Reinvent the Traditional Postcard with Pennypost

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Send a postcard from your phone with pennypost

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.

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How Learning to Code Helped Me Grow as a Recruiter

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Learning to code

One of the best perks of working at General Assembly is that employees can take any part-time class or workshop for free. Last year, I took General Assembly’s Backend Web Development Course (BEWD) to learn how to code. As someone who works in Talent Acquisition at General Assembly, I thought this would be valuable so I could better understand our product offering. I also figured it would be easier to interview technical candidates if I understood the lingo.

Next week, I’m attending the Greenhouse Open, a three-day gathering of talent acquisition and HR professionals in San Francisco from May 25-27.  I am really looking forward to the “Programming for Recruiters” workshop with Michael Bouffard, VP of Engineering at Greenhouse, on Friday, May 27. I think every recruiter, especially one who speaks with engineers on a regular basis, should understand programming basics. As I prepare to attend Greenhouse Open next week, I’m reflecting on my experience taking BEWD and how it’s been helpful in my day to day role recruiting talent, as well as managing our systems and tools.

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GA Alumni Reimagines the Ticket Buying Experience: What’s the Rukkus About?

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rob-wyant-rukkus-1

Meet Rob Wyant, a General Assembly graduate whose latest work as lead iOS developer for Rukkus has brought virtual reality into the ticket-buying experience. Before Rukkus, Rob founded his own startup, Yapper, while in business school. During that time, he used General Assembly’s workshops to help him build confidence when discussing the technical aspects of his company. In 2014, he moved beyond workshops and graduated from GA’s first iOS Mobile Development course at our Washington, D.C. campus.

Aside from what he learned at GA, Rob is a self-taught programmer and is involved with NYC Swift Guild, a meetup for GA students. He says that none of what he’s accomplished with Yapper and Rukkus would have been possible without taking a GA course. “I tell that to anyone who’ll listen as often as I can!”

We connected with Rob to learn more about his journey with mobile development.

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Build Your First Watson Application in 4 Steps with this API

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App General Assembly

For as long as I can remember, technology has had a major influence on my life. Growing up as a child, my parents recall stories of me sitting down at our large clunky PC with floppy disk storage and learning new words on Encyclopedia Encarta. I received my first laptop at in the 4th grade. Since then, my daily life has been “connected.”

My journey learning to code began with my first course on an online education platform. Starting with JavaScript, a scripting language for web-based programming, I traversed through the modules starting first with the basics of defining a variable (e.g. var x = “Hello World”), moving on to primitive data structures such as arrays (e.g. var y = [1,2,3]), and eventually Object Oriented Programming.

Shortly after, I enrolled in my first computer science course at Emory University as part of my mathematics curriculum. Although this course focused heavily on Java, a coding language full of new-to-me syntax and functions, the fundamentals of programming translated seamlessly and I quickly picked up the language. By understanding the fundamental basics of coding, I wielded the power to work to create a cognitive application.

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Measuring What Matters: GA’s Approach to Measuring Student Outcomes

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General Assembly Measures Student Outcomes

General Assembly was founded on the principle that first and foremost, education is an investment. Students invest their time, money, and passions with us, and we have a duty to help them earn a return on that investment, both in the short and long run.

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