Category Archives: Coding

Dressed to Code Fashion Hackathon

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Dressed to Code

Last weekend, General Assembly teamed up with Glamour magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to host Dressed to Code, a one-day fashion-themed hackathon.

Hosts Cindi Leive (Editor in Chief, Glamour) and Steven Kolb (CEO, CFDA) kicked off the morning with opening remarks about the intersection of fashion and tech. “A year ago, I didn’t even know what a hackathon was!” Kolb confessed.

The attendees — a mix of designers, web developers, and creative thinkers — formed teams and worked on their ideas until the 5:30 pm submission deadline. Representatives from API partners Facebook, Aviary, Gilt, Tumblr, Glamour, Foursquare, and SendGrid were available for support.

Unlike typical hackathons, which tend to draw a male-dominant crowd, over half of Dressed to Code’s participants were female.

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Project Spotlight: ProjectKick

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ProjectKick

What kinds of projects do General Assembly students work on in the classroom? We recently checked in with Web Development Immersive students Alina Guzman and Kevon Cheung to learn more about ProjectKick.

What is it?

ProjectKick is a data visualization app for Kickstarter projects. It displays data in three main ways — by city, category, and funding.

Where’d the idea come from?

We knew we wanted to create an app centered around communities and creativity. Kickstarter was a perfect topic because everyone’s curious about it these days, but no one knows anything about their data. There aren’t a lot of public statistics because they don’t have an API, so we wanted to find insightful trends and tell people about them.

How long did this project take you to complete?

Nine days, full-time.

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Where Are They Now? Carolina Garcia

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Carolina Garcia headshot

Meet Carolina Garcia, co-founder of Modabound, an online marketplace for college students to buy and sell fashion items. Along with co-founder Alexa Varsavsky, Carolina enrolled in GA’s Front-End Web Development course out of college, a year after they first launched Modabound. Carolina and Alexa are currently participating in the Techstars London accelerator program, with the goal of expanding to every college campus in America (and beyond!) Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Carolina Garcia (@modabound)
Occupation: Co-founder, Modabound

1. What inspired you to learn front-end web development? How has it helped you run your business?

We knew early on that starting a business as non-technical co-founders would be a challenge — we wanted to guide our developers better, and anticipated questions from investors down the road.

As co-founders with front-end skills, we are now able to project manage much more effectively. While we’re also able to contribute with code, the main benefit is being able to communicate our vision more clearly to our developers, having a better grasp of how long projects will take, and ultimately working more closely as a team.

2. What surprised you most about diving into web development?

I was surprised to learn how welcoming the developer community is. Developers love sharing. They talk a lot. They have boards. People are so open to helping each other out and solving problems together. We gained a great framework for understanding from GA’s Front-End Web Development Course, and from there I’ve been amazed by how much you can continue to learn by using the web as a resource.

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Summer 2013 Web Development Immersive Graduation & Reunion

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Last Tuesday night, we held our first joint graduation and alumni reunion for our Web Development Immersive (WDI) students. We admit that it’s a bit unusual — homecoming and graduation events are typically separated by several months and various weather conditions. But we think about education a little bit differently.

From “TA Phil” Lamplugh reflecting that “[being] able to say ‘this doesn’t work because you spelled restaurant wrong’ has been a daily highlight” and WDI Product Manager Mercedes Bent recounting stories from the graduating classes to GA co-founder Matt Brimer imploring students to “always keep [their] education in beta,” the theme of the night was really all about lifelong learning.

In his speech to graduates and alumni, Brimer noted that “Alumni has the connotation that you’re no longer involved. We never want you to leave the GA community.” It’s that mindset that drove the evening, as the ceremony was less about sending graduates off into the world or giving alumni the opportunity to reconnect with each other, and more about alumni welcoming students into the next stage of their education and into the network of WDI alumni.

The strength of that alumni network — less than one year from the first instance of WDI — was readily apparent through the night. Our alumni appreciated the opportunity to welcome new students in, but they didn’t need us to bring them together to stay in contact. It was clear that they had already done that on their own.

In his congratulatory remarks, Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis advised graduates to “brute force their way into the future” while mentioning that there’s never enough good developers in the world. Perhaps no point better illustrates the benefits of the WDI program. Not only are graduates embarking into an in-demand career, they’re doing so together — creating a powerful community of collaborative developers, learning enthusiasts, and most importantly, friends.

If you’re interested in joining this network of alumni, learn more about WDI.

True Coding Stories: Nicky Hughes

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Nicky Hughes, WDI Alumni

Meet Nicky Hughes, graduate of General Assembly’s 12-week Web Development Immersive (WDI) program who recently landed a job as a Rails developer at a startup. It is now a family affair — Nicky’s husband was so inspired, that he just enrolled in WDI too. – Mercedes Bent, General Assembly

Eight months ago, I was an architect in Sydney, Australia. After a three-month crash course in web development from General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program in New York City, I’m now proud to call myself a Rails developer, with a full-time job back in my hometown at a tech startup called Tapestry.

Coding and web development weren’t new to me. In high school, I studied coding in Visual Basic, but those skills got tucked away in a corner of my memory as I concentrated my energies on a career in architecture.

Originally viewing it solely as a resource that could come in handy at my current job, I started teaching myself Ruby. However, as I got into it, I quickly began to recall the love for coding I developed in high school, and made the decision to leave architecture in pursuit of a career in web development. In order to do this, I’d need a more comprehensive and structured curriculum than simply learning on my own, so I applied for WDI, traveled across the globe to New York City, and set out to write a blog about the experience called, Nicky on Rails.

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Where Are They Now? Brooks Swinnerton

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Brooks Swinnerton headshot

Meet Brooks Swinnerton, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 10-week Back-End Web Development course. We sat down with Brooks to find out what inspired him to learn to code, what he’s done with his new skills, and why he returned to GA to pay it forward. Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Brooks Swinnerton (@bswinnerton)
Occupation: Systems Administrator, New York University; Teaching Assistant, General Assembly

1. What inspired you to learn back-end web development?

Whenever I ran into a problem or inefficiency, I found myself thinking, “There should be an easier way to do X.” When I couldn’t find a solution, my next thought would be, “I wish I could just create it”. That’s why I decided to learn Ruby on Rails — I wanted the knowledge and power to simplify my life.

Now with these skills, I no longer have to “wish” for a solution; I can create it. I have the freedom to drive the product to exactly where I want it to go, right down to the buttons.

2. What’s something exciting you’ve done with your new Ruby on Rails skills?

Back in March I participated in a five-day event called The Startup Bus. The goal was to build a startup on a bus and launch it 1,800 miles later at SXSW. I applied completely on a whim, and a week later found myself boarding a bus in Union Square with 30 strangers. I took this time to work on my startup idea, Readin.gs. We worked on the bus for 13 hours a day, slept very little and fueled up at Walmarts along the way. It was an insane experience, but made some incredible like-minded friends by the end of the trip.

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Getting to Know You: David Fisher

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David-Fisher

Current Role: Cofounder and Trustee, Awesome Foundation
Twitter: @tibbon
Personal website: www.awesomefoundation.org

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. While Greensboro isn’t known for its tech scene, I was able to take several computer and programming-related classes in high school which helped me to get a handful of internships and entry level positions at a pretty young age. My father always helped nudge me toward working with computers, starting with buying a Commodore 64 for the house in the mid 80’s.

2. What did you study?

I went to Berklee College of Music and received my degree in Music Business Management. It might seem like a bit of a strange path, but I was always trying to position myself at the intersection of music and technology.

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5 Steps for Getting Started Designing and Building a Website

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Keep your goals in sight. You’ve made your resolutions — we want to help you keep them (at least the ones that aren’t food related). That’s why we’ve put together five simple things you can do to get started with Front-End Web Development.

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5 Steps for Getting Started Coding a Web App

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Keep your goals in sight. You’ve made your resolutions — we want to help you keep them (at least the ones that aren’t food related). That’s why we’ve put together five simple things you can do to get started in Back-End Web Development using Ruby on Rails.

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What Is: Back-End Web Development

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matt-jording

Matt Jording is a software developer and an Instructor at General Assembly (with a great mustache).

Name: Matt Jording (@mjording)
Occupation: Software Developer

1. In 140 characters or less, what is back-end web development?

It’s the structure that allows information to be shared across accounts or people. It’s the glue that binds the internet together.

2. If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be ______?

If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be the root system. It’s the component that provides the energy (food and water, in this instance) that powers the plant and enables it to grow.

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