Category Archives: #LifeAtGA

Bridging the Gap: Can Student Aid Help More Learners Acquire Skills for the New Economy?

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When our co-founders launched General Assembly in 2011, they didn’t set out to start an education company – let alone, an entirely new category of education. To put things in perspective, at the end of 2013, GA had served just over 5,000 students. By the end of this year, over 20,000 students will have completed our programs in technology, business, data, and design.

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SOLA/HACK! A Design Hackathon for Change in South LA

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“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker

SOLA/HACK was a design hackathon I organized, hosted by General Assembly’s downtown L.A. campus. Participants included current students and alumni from General Assembly and USC. The objective of the hackathon was to apply design thinking and UX design principles to issues specific to the South L.A. community, with an eye toward how appropriate uses of technology could be used to help address social, economic, and environmental problems. While technology can be a powerful tool for change (think of the crucial role of cell phones during the Arab Spring uprising), it was stressed that there is not an easy techno-fix to every social problem. So participants were encouraged to look beyond just apps or websites and employ systems-based thinking on their solutions.

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GA alum Advocates Importance of UX Design in Cambodia

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Since graduating from GA DC’s first UXDI course last year summer, Nina has honed her skills with freelance gigs, one of them at a big political consulting firm. When Nina wasn’t freelancing or leading a Code for America chapter, she made time for Visual Design this spring. Since her second GA graduation, she’s been exploring the nonprofit space by working with the Asia Foundation. After her work in Cambodia, Nina is considering other ways she can share the value of good UX in DC and beyond.

Keep up with Nina on Twitter @nbaliga1.

What were you doing before you came to GA?

I was a freelance UX designer and digital strategist. Prior to doing freelance UX, I was working at several digital marketing agencies as a project manager/account manager/digital strategist.

What did you choose to take a course with us?

I wanted to develop my portfolio to make myself more marketable. I also wanted to leverage the GA network to make more contacts to increase my number of freelance gigs.

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Instructor Stories: Faz Besharatian Inspires Students to Work as a Team in UXDI

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Faz (top row second from the left) with his UXDI students at General Assembly.

After several years designing for nonprofits and companies, Faz decided to make a go of freelancing full-time. After almost three years of choosing his own projects and clients, Faz committed to teaching the first UXDI course at General Assembly DC. He’s taught almost every UXDI cohort since.

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NYC Becomes a More Talented Tech Hub Thanks to New CTO, Minerva Tantoco

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It was a Tuesday morning deep in Lower Manhattan, steps away from the World Trade Center and City Hall. While suits swarmed the sidewalks on their way to offices in the sky, we made our way to LMHQ, which hosts events and allows space for coworking.

Fellow startup folks filled the main room, chatting, exchanging cards, drinking coffee, and taking pictures of the whiteboard art. It seemed exactly like the kind of place where Techweek New York would kick off, with none-other than a CTO as the featured speaker. But this wasn’t the kind of CTO the startup crowd is used to hearing — it was Minerva Tantoco, the very first CTO for the government of the City of New York.

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“Let Dreams Evolve,” A Conversation with Kristian Nairn of Game of Thrones

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Fans of Kristian Nairn, known for playing the well-loved character of Hodor on the TV phenomenon, Game of Thrones, may be surprised to know that he’s enjoyed a thriving DJ career for the past two decades. His latest, and perhaps most notable, set being Rave of Thrones—an epic dance party that brings together die-hard Game of Thrones fans and music lovers from around the world.

We caught up with Nairn backstage at the Hard Rock cafe, right before he played a rowdy crowd of ravers and cosplay enthusiasts at this year’s Comic Con in New York City.

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Bridging the Diversity Gap in Tech, One Student at a Time

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Toptal developers are providing mentorship to Opporunity Fund fellows from around the world.

The White House estimates that there are half a million tech jobs available in the U.S. alone, meanwhile more than 5% of the U.S. population remains unemployed. There aren’t enough skilled professionals to assume these roles, and despite thousands of people learning to code, the tech workforce continues to be fairly homogenous.

Our society can only benefit from having a variety of people pursue work in tech. A more diverse workforce means more innovative ideas and stronger solutions. That’s why fellowships like General Assembly’s Opportunity Fund are working to make tech education more accessible to underrepresented groups like women, people of color, veterans, and individuals from low-income backgrounds. Students can apply for scholarships and support for our full-time, career-changing programs in either web development or user experience design.

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Celebrating All Things Made in Chicago

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WDI students celebrating their first day of class at GA Chicago!

General Assembly Chicago is turning one! To celebrate we’ve partnered with Time Out Chicago to host “Made in Chicago,” a week honoring the local innovators and trends that make The Windy City second to none—from food and comedy to sports and media to tech and entrepreneurship. Kick things off with our birthday party on November 5th, and enjoy our incredible lineup of free events, panel discussions, and classes running until November 17th. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with our hashtag #MadeinCHI.

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5 Companies Using Data for Social Impact

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Can data improve the future of our humanity? You better believe it. “Big data” is more than just big businesses. Every day, social impact groups are finding new and creative ways to act upon the information that they’re generating. They’re using data to surface new information, uncover underserved communities, and track performance over time. Here are 5 very different organizations that are using data, in new and creative ways, to improve the lives of people around them:

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Series D and Looking Forward

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General Assembly started as a small project in the heart of NYC—we set out to build a community of entrepreneurs and creators in our city’s burgeoning ecosystem. I’m in awe of the evolution we’ve seen take place—in 5 years we’ve become a global organization, now equipping tens of thousands of students with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.

At this time of great debate around the future of higher education and workforce development, our worldwide team has succeeded in creating and scaling a model solely focused on bridging education to employment. But we are even more ambitious about our future goals: To make a visible dent in the skills gap, clearly connecting education and employment to show an ROI positive model of higher education, and build our alumni community into one of the most powerful professional networks in the world.

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