5 Steps to Getting Your First Job as a Web Developer

By

The truth is, no one is born with the coding skills a potential employer is seeking for tech job openings, and your resume doesn’t need to include a computer science degree. The good news is every web developer acquires the technical skills along the way that leads to their first job, and the path is not the same for everyone. With this dream tech job becoming a desired career path for many, you’ll want to have a proper outline. Below are my 5 steps to getting your first job as a web developer. 

1. Research and Visualize

If you came across this article because you were researching how to get a job as a web developer, guess what? You’re already immersed in the first step! Congratulations.

In one of my favorite business books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey outlines an easy-to-understand approach to attaining your goals — through conscious changes to your behavior and character. While all of his 7 habits are important, I want to point out habit 2 to you with regards to landing a web job: Begin with the end in mind.

In the book, Covey says that habit 2 is “based on imagination — the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes.” The idea is “based on the principle that all things are created twice,” he continues. “There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.”

In essence, he says that everything that we bring into reality in the future has its start somewhere before, in the mind. It could be an idea, a goal, or even a Google search; suddenly “it” becomes an outline, a map or a schedule, and slowly the first mental birth gives a subsequent existence to something physical.

When it comes to your career as a web developer, this means researching the steps you can take today in order for you to be confident and capable to start a new developer job in the future. That’s how I’d like you to approach this goal.

Do your research: The better you know the blueprint for what you want to build for your web career, the more motivated you’ll remain along the way. You’ll be able to track your progress toward a goal. And then visualize: See yourself follow the plan as you grow your skills and confidence and ultimately land your dream job.

Key Takeaways:

  • Read 3–5 different takes on how to become a web developer from tech and career blogs, YouTube, Quora, LinkedIn, etc.
  • From the different perspectives you’ve gained, what is common among them? What do they say you should learn for a web developer job? How do you acquire the skills that are suggested?
  • Make a step by step plan on how you can achieve the goal. Base it on your personal skills profile, schedule, timeline, resources, etc.
  • Visualize yourself 1, 3, or 5 years in the future while focusing on what’s doable today.

2. Learn the Skills

The bottom line is that a web developer job comes down to skills and execution. Employers — your future hiring managers and colleagues — will expect you to have certain technical skills and to execute them as required by the role, especially if you want to keep the job. While soft skills are important in any organization, in this job you’ll ultimately find yourself being put to the test through your tech experience and knowledge, and your goal is to let this fuel your productivity and success. 

When I started to learn web development, I realized I had a lot of new things to learn. Coming from an arts background in college but having a life-long fascination and familiarity with computers, I knew that my English writing would not directly translate to writing code. So what did I need to do? Thankfully I was in familiar territory; I had to learn to write and to learn new languages. That meant learning new writing syntax, structure, rules, etc. From the start, I learned HTML and CSS were the backbone of the web. HTML gives structure to every webpage’s content, and CSS provides the styling. Without those two, what would the web be? Would it be?

While I was working a full-time job that was not tech-related at the time, I made a schedule for myself: at least 3 times a week I would go to a learning space or coffee shop after work to learn HTML and CSS. Yes, I visited many spaces, libraries, and coffee shops. I drank a lot of needless coffee. I researched many topics. I stumbled and learned. One night, it could take me three hours to learn a simple concept which only became a rabbit hole to other related concepts. It never seemed to end and I only had so much time in one day.

In the long run, every hurdle mattered. Once I learned something a couple of times, I started to retain knowledge, and through practice, I put it to work.

Bonus Tip: One thing I always tell my web development students is this: find a project. It can be anything — start a website about your dog, your kids, your most recent vacation, Auntie Betsy, the weather — whatever. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even have to be public. Just create something.

Having a pet project, even simple ones as those mentioned above, will give you a needed end-goal. You’ll start to come across hurdles as you envision what content is needed, how the website should look, how to host it, and what design you want, such as fonts, colors, assets, user experience, template layout, etc. Guess what? Each of these web hurdles and design choices may become your three hour session at a learning space, but each obstacle will reward you with practice and knowledge.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn HTML and CSS. Interactive online platforms provide an excellent start, and they can be reinforced by coding bootcamps. If by chance you come from a graphic design background, you’ll enjoy CSS! You might soon see yourself as a web designer.
  • Learn how to write a simple HTML document from memory. The syntax will become engrained more thoroughly this way. Yes, type out the <html>, <head>, <title>, <body> and other common HTML content tags so that they become second nature. Learn how to integrate CSS into the document in-line, and through a linked stylesheet. Speaking confidently about the technical structure of an HTML + CSS page alone can help you score big in a job interview.
  • Explore JavaScript and front end web design, which will start molding you into a front end developer. What are the limits of HTML and CSS, and how does JavaScript help compliment them on the web? How can it improve your projects?
  • Explore dynamic websites to understand how a web application interacts with a database, and research different programming languages you can learn: JavaScript, Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, etc. What popular frameworks or content management systems can you explore to get started? Ultimately, this can lead to a full stack developer role.
  • Lastly, how do you get to be online given the framework or CMS? How does web hosting work? How do you deploy a web application?

3. Add to your Portfolio and Gain Experience

Once you’ve created one or two simple projects for yourself — as long as they provide a good dose of learning and experience — create something that you want to share publicly. Can’t think of anything? A personal blog or a professional resume website is a good start.

When you’ve created a website that you can share with others, get the word out. Add it to your social media profiles, including LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to market it, and of course, improve it as new ideas and content start to flow.

My first public web project was a short story fiction website. Because I came from an arts background, it was actually my interest in creative writing that brought me to tech. I had owned a web domain for a couple of years (the “idea”), but it wasn’t until I was determined to create my own website that I took the steps to build it.

While I enjoyed writing and publishing short stories, through the project, I continued learning about web publishing, platforms and upkeep. I was public about my project and in time I had guest writers’ content on my site, and family and friends reading it. Before I knew it, I had family and friends asking me if I knew how to make a website. “Oh, you’re opening a business and want to know if I can help with the website? I’d love to”, I’d say.

At first, I built websites for family and friends, and then used that experience to get the attention of third-degree references. Ultimately, I started to freelance and gained contract work. I created professional business websites for small businesses and individuals. In the span of two years, I had decent freelancing experience, a nice group of samples from my creations, professional references, and the confidence to apply to full-time opportunities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Put to practice what you’ve learned. If you haven’t already, purchase your first domain. Choose a CMS or framework to get started.
  • Host and publish content, improve it, maintain it, and share it.
  • Add the site to your social media profiles, in the links or projects section.
  • Be open to freelance work with friends and family. Help someone improve their website. Provide web advice and guidance. Work on making someone else’s dreams come true through your new web skills.
  • Let one project breed the next. You’ll be amazed how many people and businesses need help online. After a handful of contract projects, you can start considering yourself a freelance junior web developer.

4. Be Part of a Community

Depending on the languages, frameworks, or CMS you choose to work with, be part of that community. Your presence can be digital and physical. Subscribe to pertinent tech blogs and tutorial websites on the subject to stay fresh; join online communities of tech professionals where you can learn and give help (e.g. Stack Overflow, WordPress.org); join an offline meet-up; attend a conference, coding bootcamp, and hackathon. This community experience will improve your coding skills, allow you to network, increase your chances of more freelance projects, and make you look more experienced to a potential employer.

Because I knew very little at first, I initially gravitated toward WordPress — an open source CMS. While I wasn’t programming at first, I learned the fundamentals of a front-end developer (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and then back-end languages such as PHP and SQL. I subscribed to WordPress blogs, joined WordPress.org where I participated in forums, took tutorial after tutorial, listened to tech podcasts, and attended WordPress events. All of this helped me during the job search for not only freelance clients but also my first web development job. My first job ultimately included leading the development of event websites for a health industry corporation, and soon after, I also started to teach WordPress to others!

If you decide to start making simple websites with a CMS that is not open source, such as Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix, that’s fine too. As long as you can practice HTML and CSS at first, it will springboard you into other challenges. Eventually, I gravitated toward PHP, Python and related frameworks, and I became involved in those communities as well.

Key Takeaways:

  • Where are those who use your CMS or programming language hanging out? Developers tend to find each other online in forums, blogs and community websites. Join, say hello, and start to learn and contribute.
  • Be open to offline interaction. Look up events near you, or travel if you need to. While developers do enjoy their desks, events are very common. Programming does not have to be a solo experience.

5. Think Like a Recruiter

At this point, feel confident that you’re a junior or experienced web developer candidate for any potential employer, depending on the amount of freelancing you’ve done. Hiring managers will be interested because you have a solid working knowledge of how to make websites, you’ve built your own projects, you’ve helped create or improve others’ sites, and your community involvement shows you’re eager and motivated.

The next thing you’ll want to do is place yourself in the shoes of a recruiter. Whether it’s an in-house recruiter seeking talent for their tech company, or a staffing agency’s tech recruiter looking to find candidates for clients, your resume will not get to the hiring manager unless it first attracts a recruiter.

I landed my first web job through the help of a staffing agency’s tech recruiter who thought I’d be a good fit for a client. After a contract period, I was converted to a full-time employee. You’ll find that this is a common and realistic route.

In your resume, use keywords to be specific about the programming languages you’ve learned, including related frameworks, dependencies, tools, and software. When tech industry recruiters are looking at your resume, they want to make sure they won’t be wasting the hiring manager’s time with someone who doesn’t have specific experience in what’s required. Keywords are also how recruiters will find you.

Be open to templates. Recruiters are open to creative templates and designs as long as the content is strong. Use services such as Canva to find interesting layouts. Don’t forget to add the time you worked as a freelancer, your web links and projects, and any related education you’ve completed. Create different drafts of your resume, and get others’ opinions.

Maintain consistency across job boards and social profiles. Create a profile on 2-5 job boards. LinkedIn should go without saying — make sure the verbiage used on LinkedIn matches what you’ll send a recruiter or hiring manager on your resume. Keep thinking keywords. Consider joining other job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, or Monster, which are general job boards that recruiters frequent, or even tech-focused ones such as Hired, StackOverflow, or GitHub.

Be active online. Share others’ content and consider creating content of your own, such as videos, articles, and podcasts.

On the job boards, select that you’re open to being contacted by recruiters, but be subtle. Be open to a junior web developer job. Stay attentive and courteous even to opportunities that don’t align with your expectations: you never know which recruiter or employer may be the right match now or down the line.

The Opportunity is Yours

When you land a call or an in-person interview, be honest about what you know and don’t know, and be confident about what you can bring to the table. Always come prepared.

Once you have an interview, the opportunity is yours. There’s one thing left to do: ace the interview with the belief that you can walk through that door of what was once a visualization.

Learn Front-End Web Development Online

How to Get a Job in Tech

By

Shifting careers to move into a fast-growing field like technology can be a smart investment in your long-term professional success. The hardest question for most career changers is not whether to make a change — it’s where to begin. This is especially true if you are considering entering a field you’re unfamiliar with.

Luckily, the path to getting a job in tech with little to no experience can be a simple and direct one if you follow a few basic steps.

1. Develop a Growth Mindset

First, keep in mind that your perspective can determine how successful your career change process will be. It’s worth taking some time at the start to get into the right frame of mind. If you’re looking to get a tech job, the key is to develop a growth mindset

Having a growth mindset simply means believing that new skills can be learned and mastered. No one was born knowing how to write code or build web applications! Everyone, no matter how naturally talented, was a beginner once. Every app or device you use was created by a team of people who had to learn and practice new skills on their way to creating something awesome.

You’ve been a beginner in the past too, and have learned all kinds of complex things, from typing or riding a bike to playing an instrument or making a work presentation. So give yourself space to learn, regardless of your age or experience.

In tech, progress never stops. There will always be a new tool or programming language to master. Just know that every new program that you get under your belt will make it easier to master the next one, whenever it pops up.

2. Know Why You’re Making a Change

Why do you want to get a job in tech? It could be that you’re curious about how things work and the code that makes it all happen. Maybe you’ve grown up with digital devices and can’t imagine life without them. Or, perhaps you’re looking for a stable career that will allow you to better provide for yourself and your family. You may have wanted to move into a tech career for a while, and the timing finally seems right to make the change.

There are no wrong answers here. The important part is to have a vision you can go back to on rough days to remind yourself why you want to be a tech professional, and give yourself a motivational boost of energy to keep going.

3. Name Your Goal

The key to this part of getting your tech dream job is to be clear about where you want to end up once you learn the ropes. There are all kinds of exciting job opportunities in tech, and one or more are sure to be a great fit for you.

If you’re a creative problem-solver, a web developer or software developer position might spark your interest. If you’re interested in something more concrete, software engineer or data engineer roles could be where you will excel. Do you enjoy finding patterns and connecting dots? You may be exactly the person a tech company needs as their new data scientist. Interested in solving mysteries? Cybersecurity could be the field for you.

As you become more familiar with the responsibilities of these roles, you can also begin to narrow down your preferred type of workplace. A deeply resourced multinational enterprise company can be just as satisfying as a career destination as a scrappy innovative startup in a field you really love. Choose what makes the most sense for you and your reasons for setting the goal identified in step 2.

4. Start Right Where You Are

Now you know where you’re going; the next step is to map the route to get there. The good news is, you don’t need an MBA or any other formal degree to be successful in your new tech career. You don’t even need to have a technology job to start getting tech experience!

In fact, you may be able to start getting tech experience at your current job. Consider volunteering to help update a small business’ website, interview shoppers about your store’s app, or shadow someone in your IT department as they troubleshoot a problem. Information you get from these “practice” opportunities can help you decide what new skills you want or need. Check with your HR team to see if your company offers tuition reimbursement or any upskilling or reskilling programs that you may qualify for.

There is an abundance of virtual training possibilities for those who prefer a self-study program. From free YouTube videos to paid options like Coursera and LinkedIn Learning, there’s no shortage these days of convenient and affordable ways to master new skills at home and at your own pace.

Interested in learning alongside a team? Consider participating in a hackathon as a subject matter expert on an issue close to your heart, and watch up close as tech professionals work together over a fast-paced weekend to build a solution to a pressing problem. Or reach out and pick up some projects through Catchafire or a local site like LendaHand and start building your emerging tech skills while helping make the world a better place.

Learn better in a classroom with live instruction? Reputable companies like General Assembly and CompTIA offer a variety of programs designed specifically for adult learners, and with schedules and topic areas crafted to meet both your needs and the demands of a hot job market. Programs are offered both online and, where permitted, in person on campus. Financial aid and payment plans are often available for students who qualify; there’s no need to take on crushing amounts of debt for a conventional four-year degree when a rigorous 12-week bootcamp can give you the skills, tools, and support you need to be a competitive tech job candidate.

5.  Connect with Community

How are you supposed to find your first tech job when as many as 70% of job openings are not advertised? With a strong network, you can hear about those “hidden” jobs before other candidates do.

Networking doesn’t need to be a negative experience. Consider it a way of learning about your new industry and community by connecting with human beings who were once in your shoes. Most people enjoy helping people the way they were helped on their journey. As long as you treat people with kindness and respect, and not simply as a means to an end, you’ll begin to grow your reputation as a smart and curious person who would be a pleasure to work with.

Online communities can be as powerful for networking as in-person events. With so many networking events happening virtually, you can connect with hiring managers, tech recruiters, and other potential employers from Silicon Valley to New York City and beyond, often for free. Check out sites like Meetup and search for the topics that interest you; from Python to Ruby to HTML, there’s a meetup to meet your needs.

You’re seeking ways to connect with tech industry professionals as someone new to the field and eager to learn. So polish that resume, post it on job boards, read a few articles on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, and put yourself out there. Once you start writing code, even if it’s for a class project, share it on Github. Leverage social media to connect with future colleagues and maybe even find a mentor.

Volunteering and being of service is both a great way to learn and a great way to meet new colleagues in the tech industry. Consider joining a professional association or two, even if you are just starting out. Get involved in Slack channels, LinkedIn conversations, Twitter feeds, and attend a few conferences, whether they’re virtual or in-person.

Initiative, curiosity, kindness, and hard work will set you apart as a strong interview candidate for your first tech job. The more tech talent you begin to have in your circle, the more likely it is that you’ll begin hearing about relevant job openings — and your new friend may even be able to get your application directly to a hiring manager.

Conclusion

You can land your first tech job with no experience as long as you’ve done the right research and preparation beforehand, and are willing to put in the time and effort to master new skills. A commitment to lifelong learning and a clear idea of what you want to do and where will help ensure your success, no matter how you choose to study. Take the time to consider free and paid training options, in-person and remote programs, and volunteer opportunities as you design your learning plan. And, start connecting with your future employers and colleagues early through networking and social media. A new career is waiting for you — take your first step toward it today.

Explore Our Online Programs

How You Can Afford a GA Course

By

We believe every student should be able to invest in new tech skills — without worrying about obstructive costs and financial challenges. From zero-interest loans to deferred payments and scholarships, you’ve got options to help you afford learning at GA — no matter your financial situation.

Our friends at Climb have created a quiz to help you discover your best solution:

Are Coding Jobs Boring?

By

When you think about a new career in coding, what comes to mind? Do you imagine working behind the scenes at a movie studio or fashion house? The deep satisfaction of improving a life-saving medical device? The systems and engineering mindset needed to build the dashboard controls for a new smart car? 

Maybe you’re thinking of a workplace where projects are different every day, like an ad agency building websites for global brands. You may even have an app idea that could really change the landscape, if only you knew how to make it. Whatever you think a coding career might be, you’re probably right — unless you think it’s boring.

Of course, every job has its boring moments, as well as stressful ones. The good news is, once you become a proficient coder, you can begin to explore and decide on the types of coding projects that will help you thrive for years in your new career. The idea is to choose a career path that’s the right fit for your particular working style.

The variety of industries that hire programmers and developers is endless, from the energy industry to retail operations to manufacturing to social causes. The software your dentist uses to view your x-rays; the app that you use to order takeout; the computer in your car that lets you know your coolant is low; the playlist that syncs your phone to your home audio system — all of these cool innovations were made possible by teams of professional coders.

Remember, writing code is not the only programming skill out there. The individuals who built those solutions to everyday challenges have lots of different titles, from web developer to mobile developer to software engineer, or even data scientist. All of them work with code in their own ways and have their own career paths, with their own obstacles and rewards. With so many career options that stem from a shared set of programming skills, the last thing the coding field could be called is boring. The real question is, is coding the right fit for you?

Do you like learning new things?

Neuroscience reveals that our brains have something in common with technology: neither our brains nor tech are fixed, but are instead constantly changing and evolving.

Experienced senior developers are constantly studying to learn new coding skills, as new programming languages like Python become widely used, and new applications are found for existing fields like machine learning

Fortunately, you don’t need a computer science degree to start a new career programming career. Many coders and developers are self-taught, using free or low-cost resources available at their local libraries or online such as Stack Overflow. Some seek out learning opportunities at their current jobs, like volunteering to help maintain a business website or install a new database. Still others invest in themselves by signing up for a coding bootcamp with live instruction, real-time code critiques, and built-in networking opportunities.

In the end, the programmers who are most successful in this field are the ones who continuously upskill and stay current with new developments in tech. What does this mean for you? It means that a demonstrated commitment to lifelong learning and a growth mindset can be the key characteristic that sets you apart from other candidates for that first junior developer job!

Are you good at solving puzzles?

Can’t get enough of jigsaw puzzles, riddles, and crosswords? Your ability to quickly see patterns and solutions where others do not is a quality that could serve you very well in a software development or computer programming career. Successful engineers and developers have a great eye for detail, an essential skill in a field where a single misplaced bit of punctuation can stop an elite billion-user app dead in its tracks.

Is it stressful? Not for you, because you thrive on pursuing solutions when others have given up, and find it deeply rewarding to help a team resolve wicked issues that no one could fix alone. Every bug is an interesting coding challenge, and every update a chance to make something good into something even better.

Are you a musician?

If you think composing and arranging music is fun, you’re likely to find programming to be fun as well, and a good fit for your skills. Studies show that playing music can help people learn more quickly and create more elegant and creative solutions to complex problems. Trained musicians and successful coders tend to share certain core competencies: a good memory for details, the ability to sort and prioritize an incredible amount of information, and the skill to recognize and tweak patterns. A musician with programming skills can be a great team asset, proficient in both creativity and code. There are even coding courses and workshops designed especially for musicians. Who knew?

Every musician understands the importance of practicing scales before you play your first concerto. In a line of work like programming, a great way to learn is to practice writing bits of code over and over, then begin to string those bits together in sequence until you’ve composed something wonderful and new.


Consider what makes you thrive in a workplace. There will be stressful days and boring days in whatever field you choose, and to stand out in any field requires hard work. But if finding patterns, solving puzzles, or taking small perfect bits and then using them to craft something larger and much more complex sounds enjoyable to you, buckle up — a new programming career may be exactly the path that’s meant for you.

Learn Software Engineering Online

Client Projects From Our UX Design Immersive Grads

By

Every graduate of our User Experience Design Immersive career accelerator gets the opportunity to work with a real-world client that’s looking to solve a particular consumer problem. The experience gives students a chance to apply the UX design process to real life, as well as invaluable insights and impactful results that they can use to stand out in their job searches.

Here are a few of our instructors’ favorites.


Helping a City’s Communities Thrive

The client: City + County of San Francisco

The challenge: San Francisco’s Community Ambassadors are the bridge between city individuals and city services. In addition to the great things that they do for the city and its people, they have to log every single thing they do. The city teamed up with UXDI students to enhance the Ambassadors’ day-to-day mobile experience and improve data collection.

See the Project

Creating Easier Access to Birth Control

The client: Pandia Health, a startup that provides a convenient, affordable way to get birth control.

The challenge: The client came to GA students with three areas to work on: a new homepage, a design for a forum-like question and answer page, and their onboarding process, which includes an online form for prescriptions.

See the Project

Solving the Bra Problem Once and For All

The client: Posture Wings is a startup athletic bra manufacturer producing patented garments that are bio-mechanically engineered to reverse poor posture.

The challenge: When Posture Wings’s flagship product sold out, they worked with UXDI students to quickly set up an e-commerce site that would support a second production run.

See the Project

Making Traffic Less Miserable for Radio Listeners

The client: nēdl, an app that lets radio listeners search live broadcasts as easily as they search the internet — by keywords.

The challenge: Nadav Markel, a UXDI graduate in Los Angeles, worked to help nēdl grow its user base, as it was missing out on a large segment of the radio listening market: car drivers. He also set out to help make nēdl more safe to use while driving.

See the Project

Six People Strategies for Successful Digital Transformation

By

Even before the twists and turns caused by COVID-19, digital transformation was top-of-mind for today’s business leaders. Companies everywhere are reimagining their workforces and doubling down on digital capabilities and systems with an accelerated timeline. 

But success isn’t guaranteed. 

In fact, 75% of digital transformations fail to generate returns that exceed the original investment1. Why? Because companies often fall into the trap of focusing on systems rather than people. Leading companies recognize that, in order for their digital transformations to work, employees need the structure, mindset, skills, and vocabulary to support and drive new strategies — from senior leadership to those on the front lines.

Through collaborations with global organizations like L’Oréal, Booz Allen Hamilton, Guardian, and many more, we have identified our top six people-first strategies for driving success in digital transformation. We first published this list in 2018 and have refreshed them to meet this moment. Despite rapid market evolution, they still ring true.

1. Create a Leadership Agenda for Change

Given the far-reaching implications of a successful digital transformation — especially in 2020 — it’s critical to have full leadership support and encouragement from the top. To translate theory into action:

  1. State a bold goal simply and repeatedly. Adopt a simple-but-bold vision for the future, and frame every key milestone — including company updates, staffing shifts, new launches, and training initiatives — in the context of how it is impacting that goal.
  2. Hold an executive sponsor accountable and give them access and authority. This C-suite member must take responsibility to carry initiatives forward and make the organizational changes necessary to bring your goal to life. 
  3. Campaign internally and externally. Reinforce transformation goals by developing talking points and slogans that are easy to grasp and remember. By building a reputation as a tech-forward employer, your company can attract the right tech talent and create an internal culture that motivates employees to drive initiatives forward.

2. Embrace Agility & Uncertainty

Agility is key to success when undertaking digital transformations. Gone are the days of three-to-five-year strategy cycles and two-to-three-year product and marketing innovation plans. Today’s technologies and consumer needs change faster than historical business roadmaps can deliver. 

Winners in this environment learn to adapt and adjust, finding digital equivalents to the traditional processes that guided business thinking and development in the past. This is as much a mindset shift as it is a physical shift in work, as — at least for the short-term — face-to-face consumer interactions have been largely replaced by virtual consumer encounters. 

Take Procter & Gamble, which recognized this need and established P&G Ventures to create new, innovative direct-to-consumer brands. “The disruption of DTC was biting on our heels. How consumers are discovering new brands is different than how we grew up. [P&G Ventures] gives us a more nimble, agile way to get closer to the consumer,”2 Leigh Radford, the initiative’s vice president and general manager, said. P&G Ventures brought us on to offer capability training in digital marketing disciplines, including Facebook and social media marketing, eCommerce strategy, and marketing analytics. As a result, most of its product design and brand creative is done in-house, and leaders across all levels and functions know how to remain close to the customer.

3. Organize Around the Consumer 

The consumer and customer must be at the center of any successful digital transformation. This is the only way to stay grounded in the reality of the market and resist the urge to chase every new trend or platform.

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand your consumers — their tastes, habits, ways of communicating, and pathways to purchase. Leading companies implement tools such as journey mapping, personas, and user research to learn about consumer needs. Then, assess the best way to organize and address your findings through different departments such as product development, marketing, and sales. 

Finally, allow for new injections of people, ideas, and technology within your organization to incorporate new abilities, approaches, and ideas. We’ll explore this further in Strategy 6.

4. Measure & Reward Based on Metrics

Digital transformations often fail to take HR into account, particularly when it comes to managing employee performance against executing on these goals. This is often a severe blocker to real change — if people’s personal goals, compensation, and motivators aren’t aligned with the organization’s, there’s unlikely to be much positive impact.

Update performance management tools to reflect the business metrics and desired behaviors that matter to individual roles, and track the metrics that employee efforts can directly impact. We recommend using “micro-metrics” such as:

  1. Number of digital media A/B tests executed per month to monitor the company’s embrace of experimentation.
  2. Time-to-deployment for new products to measure hours saved by using new coding applications such as React libraries.
  3. Number and scale of manual data processes automated to measure efficiency gains from using Python instead of Excel.

You can further support employees by describing key behaviors and competencies that will help them achieve success.

5. Bring Data to Every Conversation

We believe strongly in “data-driven people strategy.” In practice, this means that hiring, development, and team structure are all underpinned by robust assessments, and the resulting data helps to understand and pinpoint each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. 

GA assessments are built in partnership with top industry executives on our Standards Boards who help define excellence in their fields. By designing and deploying practical skills assessments, we provide employers with a clear and consistent understanding of their teams’ abilities in key high-demand domains, including marketing, data, and tech.

Collecting this data can shape a variety of goals, including benchmarking existing talent against the industry, evaluating job applicants, designing learning paths for employees, and making decisions about organizational structure. 

6. Invest in a Culture of Lifelong Learning

Given the speed at which change is taking place, our recommendation is simple: Companies need to invest in learning, both at the institutional and individual levels. Leaders not only need to embrace new technologies but also build digital mindsets at all levels of the organization to power new ways of working.

Keep in mind: Talent with in-demand skills is not only scarce and expensive but also difficult to retain, so companies cannot rely on “buying” talent alone3. Prioritizing up- and reskilling is a necessary measure in order to transform teams and organizations for the future. “Building” talent through training programs is often a more efficient route to acquire these skills versus searching for them externally. What’s more, research suggests that education is among the most-valued benefits for modern employees, boosting retention, engagement, and loyalty.

Thomas Malone, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and director of its Center for Collective Intelligence, told Deloitte that: “Many decisions in a company are made by communities — a kind of informal consensus involving community norms. If you want to accomplish almost anything in the world and if you’re realistic about it, you need to be thinking about how to work with [collective community intelligence] to achieve whatever you want.”4

As you build a culture of learning, the foundation of digital transformations, it’s essential that everyone — from the CEO to individual contributors — is involved.

Learn more about how General Assembly can help guide your company’s talent transformation.

Explore Data Solutions           Explore Tech Solutions

                      Explore Marketing Solutions

1PwC Front-Office Transformation, Walking the Talk: We prioritize people over technology, and you should, too, June 2018
2Forbes, Big Firms Can’t Innovate: How P&G Ventures Is Dispelling The Myth, April 2019
3Josh Bersin, Rethinking the Build vs. Buy Approach To to Talent, October 2019
4Deloitte, Superminds: How humans and machines can work together, January 2019

Go For Gold: GA & Adecco Group Announce Team USA Scholarships Through The Ace Program

By and

General Assembly and the Adecco Group are excited to announce a partnership with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Career and Education (ACE) program. We are sponsoring 10 part-time, full scholarships for current and retired Team USA members. Athletes will work with us to choose a part-time course — free of charge — that best meets their career goals, gaining in-demand skills like data analytics, digital marketing, software engineering, and more sustainable career paths. 

The ACE program, with the support of donors and organizations like the Adecco Group and DeVry University, serves and empowers active and retired Team USA athletes in their pursuit of personal, educational, and professional success.

As the first students get their feet wet in the first few weeks of classes, we’ll be sharing their athlete-to-student journeys on our pages for inspiration — we are confident you will want to get to know them better!

Introducing Alina Urs

Alina Urs is a professional athlete and fitness coach currently residing in Los Angeles, California. Originally from Romania, she was on the Romanian national kayak team and won over 70+ national and international medals. She also represented Team USA at world championships and the Pan American Games. She began training clients professionally in Europe and continued training clients when she moved to New York City, where she worked at Equinox for 10 years as both a top-performing coach and fitness manager.

Alina holds a bachelor’s degree in sports/physical education and psychology. She is also a certified health coach and medical exercise specialist with a focus on immune system health.

Get 2030-Ready With our Free Festival of Learning

By

We are excited to launch The 2030 Movement — a week-long festival of free workshops and panel events focused on coding, data, design, marketing, and career development — in effort to build a better world through tech by 2030. 

Whether you’re looking to dive deeper into data, code your way into a new career, or simply make meaningful professional connections, our robust lineup of  workshops and panel events offers something for everyone . Discover what’s coming up!

Monday, September 14: Career-Proof Skills of 2030

Hear from thought leaders and industry experts about how you can stay in demand in your career — no matter what 2030 throws at you.

  • Morning Motivation: Goal Setting for 2030 8–9 a.m. SGT | 10–11 a.m. AEST
  • Success in the Digital Age: 9–10 a.m. SGT | 11 a.m.–12 p.m. AEST
  • Job Hunting in the Virtual World: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 1–2 p.m. AEST
  • Courageous Conversations: 1–2 p.m. SGT | 3–4 p.m. AEST
  • Employable in 2030: Closing the Skills Gap: 5–6:30 p.m. SGT | 7–8:30 p.m. AEST

Tuesday, September 15: Staying Human

As industries begin to lean on technology more and more, learn how you can stay in touch with the personal, human side of business.

  • Morning Motivation: HIIT with lululemon 8–9 a.m. SGT | 10–11 a.m. AEST
  • Driving Better Decisions With Data: 9–11 a.m. SGT | 11 a.m.–1 p.m. AEST
  • Designing a More Human Future: 10 a.m.–11 a.m. SGT | 12–1 p.m. AEST
  • Building Relationships in the Digital Age: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 1–2 p.m. AEST
  • Inclusive Design for a Digital World: 12–1 p.m. SGT | 2–3 p.m. AEST
  • Elevating Customer Experiences With Applied Design Thinking: 1–3 p.m. SGT | 3–5 p.m. AEST
  • Man vs. Machine: The Ethics of Cybersecurity: 5–6 p.m. SGT | 7–8 p.m. AEST

Wednesday, September 16: Sustainability and Ethics

What’s good for business can also be good for the planet. Find out how you can make a positive global impact before 2030!

  • Morning Motivation: Big Dance Energy! 8–9 a.m. SGT | 10–11 a.m. AEST
  • EcoTech: How to Save the World by 2030: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 1–2 p.m. AEST
  • Smart Cities Shaping the Future: 12–1 p.m. SGT | 2–3 p.m. AEST
  • From Lab to Table: The Future of Food: 2–3 p.m. SGT | 4–5 p.m. AEST
  • How to Make a Profit and Impact: 4–5:30 p.m. SGT | 6–7:30 p.m. AEST

Thursday, September 17: Emerging Tech and Industries

A whole new era of tech is dawning on us. What exactly can we expect industries and businesses to look like in 2030?

  • Morning Motivation: Yoga with lululemon 8–9 a.m. SGT | 10–11 a.m. AEST
  • So You Want to Be a Coder?: 9–11 a.m. SGT | 11 a.m.–1 p.m. AEST
  • Transport Yourself to 2030: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 1–2 p.m. AEST
  • 2030-Proof: Demystifying Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: 12–2 p.m. SGT | 2–4 p.m. AEST
  • Tech Trends: Fad vs. Future: 6–7 p.m. SGT | 8–9 p.m. AEST

Friday, September 18: Wellness and Resilience

We know you’re ready to trailblaze into 2030, but that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of your own well-being. Let’s talk self-care, self-love and self-satisfaction.

  • Morning Motivation: Strength Class with lululemon: 8–9 a.m. SGT | 10–11 a.m. AEST
  • Getting to Happy: 9–10 a.m. SGT | 11 a.m.–12 p.m. AEST
  • Find Your Financial Zen: 10 a.m.–11 a.m. SGT | 12–1 p.m. AEST
  • Building Resilience in Your Career: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 1–2 p.m. AEST
  • Productivity in the Age of Distraction: 12–1 p.m. SGT | 2–3 p.m. AEST

Saturday, September 19: Rising Stars

Arm yourself with the skills needed and hear from professionals who’ve made the switch to the startup and tech industry.

  • Morning Motivation: HIIT with lululemon 8–9 a.m. SGT | 10–11 a.m. AEST
  • The 2030 Social Media Playbook for Start-Ups: 9–11 a.m. SGT | 11 a.m.–1 p.m. AEST
  • The Ultimate 2030 Product Management Guide for Beginners: 10 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 12–2 p.m. AEST
  • How to Land a Job at a Tech Startup: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. SGT | 1–2 p.m. AEST
  • Women Funders and Founders: 12–1 p.m. SGT | 2–3 p.m. AEST

Be 2030-ready. Join The Movement. 

Six Steps To Getting Your First Job In Digital Marketing

By

Are you a recent college grad or in search of a new career path in digital marketing? Landing your first entry-level digital marketing job with no experience can seem challenging, especially during a pandemic.

With the consumption of digital media on the rise, companies are opening up digital marketing opportunities to keep up with everyday online communication and content creation, changing the way we communicate and do business. It’s time to be opportunistic and creative in these challenging times to take charge of our careers!

Not sure how to get a job in digital marketing or where to begin? Here is a step by step guide in how to start your career in digital marketing from the safety and comfort of your own home. 

1. Know Your Desired Role

Do your research on what your ideal digital marketing job or role might be. If you look up, “What kinds of jobs are there in digital marketing?”, you’ll find lots of resources on current digital marketing roles. Start by reading job descriptions and understanding the different roles that are available. Once you get a sense of what’s out there, start narrowing down roles to certain categories that you gravitate to such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, digital marketer, marketing manager, digital marketing specialist, social media marketing, social media ads manager, and more. Once you get a list of the types of digital marketing roles you prefer, expand your search to different industries. Have you ever wanted a career as a digital marketer in the sports industry? What about a social media manager in the fashion space? Get to know the types of digital marketing job opportunities that are available in the industries that interest you most.

2. Know the Latest Trends

Digital marketing is ever-evolving. With new algorithms, features, and platforms emerging, the needs of the industry vary and continue to shift. Keep up with your areas of interest by engaging on the platforms weekly (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads Manager, Mailchimp). You can also stay current by attending virtual workshops, taking online courses, and subscribing to newsletters that provide up to date announcements on your platforms of interest.

3. Learn the Skills

Getting your start in digital marketing requires your investment of time and resources. There are a ton of free resources online via newsletters, blogs, articles, social media, as well as masterclasses and workshops that companies like Shopify, General Assembly, and Later are offering during this time to enrich our communities and help individuals develop new skill sets. Longer, more in-depth certification courses can help you build, practice, and retain your new skills. Additionally, certification helps you stand out to other digital marketers who may be experienced but not certified. 

4. Create an Online Presence

Prepare yourself for your future marketing job and test out your new digital marketing skills on yourself! Create your own social media accounts and showcase your content marketing skills with creative original content, running ads, and linking your accounts to websites you’ve set up or newsletters you’ve started. Hone in on the areas that you’ve expressed interest in when you were doing your career exploration research. Show people what you are capable of in digital marketing within your prospective industry. An online presence will help your prospective employer get to know you as a candidate as well as your passions and interests, which is incredibly helpful to the hiring process.

5. Build Your Experience

By this point, you may have completed certification, honed in on specific skills, and created an online presence. Now it’s time to build your digital marketing experience. Reach out to friends, family, classmates, colleagues or cold email individuals to offer your recently acquired digital marketing skills for their projects. Volunteer your skills to local small businesses or organizations you align with who could use help with creating a digital presence, content marketing, getting started on social media platforms, or keeping up with communication during this particular time of crisis. Build up your confidence as you practice your skills. As you become comfortable, transition to taking on paid clients that can help you build your portfolio as you start applying for a long-term digital marketing role.

6. Create a Network

It’s important to get your name out there online. Do your research on where to find your online community. For instance, if you identify as a woman in digital marketing, find Facebook groups centered around Women in Digital Marketing, join and connect with the members in the group. Be open about your current job search and ask for advice. Members of groups and forums are more than willing to help you in your journey. Get your introduction to the digital marketing world by asking industry professionals for one-on-one career development sessions. This will help build your network while learning about the various possibilities out there for you. Join a variety of virtual meetups, panels, and workshops. Get your name out there, offer your services, gain a list of experts, and connect with them. Have your cover letter, resume, social media handles, and portfolio ready to share.

Get ready to learn, and to be resourceful and entrepreneurial. Don’t be afraid to reach out, cold email, and ask for mentorship and guidance during this time. There’s a warm community of digital marketers out there willing to help you get your start in digital marketing.

Learn Digital Marketing Online

5 Steps to Getting Your First Job in Software Engineering

By

Unsure how to get a software engineering job or where to start? Landing your first job as a software engineer can seem like an intimidating milestone to reach. It feels even harder when you don’t have a computer science background and you’re transitioning from another field, especially one that you’ve worked years to develop a career in. Feelings of uncertainty come in many forms. Your inner dialog may sound like this:

“My resumé isn’t compelling enough to get a job in this new field.”
“I’m a beginner all over again, and I don’t know enough to do this well.”
“If I start over, I’m afraid I’ll fail.”
“I feel like an imposter trying to get a job in something I know so little about.”

If these are some of the thoughts you’ve had when considering a career change, you’re not alone. These are fears that most of my students have expressed in my 5 years teaching at General Assembly, and they are totally logical fears to have. Fortunately, there are clear steps you can take and definitive questions you can answer for yourself which will keep you on a path to landing a great first job in software engineering. They are:

  1. Figure out what kind of software engineering interests you.
  2. Learn the basics.
  3. Build projects.
  4. Begin applying for software engineering positions.
  5. Learn from your interviews.

1. Decide what kind of programmer you want to start out as.

You’ve decided to take the plunge into software engineering, but did you know there are many different kinds of software developers? Jobs in programming run everywhere from front-end engineering (on the design side), back-end engineering (on the server side), to security engineering, DevOps, and testing automation!

Those are some of the more common types that most companies will need to hire for, so the question isn’t, “What kind of engineer do you want to be?”, it’s “what kind of engineer do you want to start out as?” This distinction is important because you should try to work for a company that gets you going with a clear set of roles and responsibilities, but also fosters an environment that will allow you to try out other types of work too. Some of the best software developers I’ve worked with were at one point doing a completely different set of tasks at the start of their career.

So, what interests you the most?

2. Learn the basics of software development.

It goes without saying that you’ll want to acquire some knowledge in computer programming before sending out a bunch of job applications. But where to start? There are a ton of great resources out there, but I’ll outline what I think is a great approach for most people to get a good start in programming knowledge:

  1. Take some classes. Whether it’s through one of General Assembly’s coding courses, a highly rated video course on Udemy, or a coding bootcamp, it’s important to get some experience learning from an industry professional. It’s also good to be able to collaborate with other students doing a similar career change.
  2. Read a lot. The learning doesn’t stop after taking some short-form classes. After you’ve mastered the basics of programming, you’ll be able to effectively self-teach too. Get some good programming literature! Here’s a list of some great books for beginners.

You’ll want to focus your learning on the basics of programming and computer science. Key areas to educate yourself on should include:

  • Programming fundamentals: Variables, conditionals, loops, functions, etc.
  • Design patterns: How programs are structured to be maintainable and easy to reason about.
  • Popular frameworks (such as React, Angular, Express, Rails etc.) are a plus because they provide transferable skills while giving you a competitive edge by staying current. However, it’s still super important to base your education on the fundamentals of programming. A good drummer won’t learn how to play fancy fills without first learning the rudiments, and software development is no different!

3. Build, build, build!

Always have a project to work on. Apply the skills you’re learning by practicing on real-world projects. For example, if you’re reading a tutorial on how to build a user interface with React, try building your own portfolio website using React. You’ll be doing two great things for your career at the same time:

  1. Practicing and honing transferable skills.
  2. Building your software engineering portfolio with actual case studies and proofs of concept.

4. Start applying for jobs.

Software developer job openings are constantly being posted as new companies are founded, existing companies expand, and established companies evolve. When it comes to startups vs. established companies, there are some significant differences you’ll likely come across. For instance, a new startup might have more employee perks, such as flexible time off, but might also demand more weekend hours put in. On the other hand, an older established company might provide a more clearly defined set of roles and responsibilities and a better structure for employee growth.

It’s ultimately different from company to company, but the pattern I’ve seen lately is that startups provide more incentives to apply, with more initial flexibility for the employee. Keep in mind though that startups are by nature less likely to succeed long-term.

5. Use every interview as a learning experience.

You’ll start to land interviews comprised of multiple stages that will vary slightly by company but typically look something like this:

  1. Initial interview with a recruiter or hiring manager that’s usually less technical
  2. A more technical second interview with an engineer on the team, where they’ll get to know your current skill set
  3. Meeting with more members of the team which will usually include a code challenge of some sort
  4. Final interview with a company leader which hopefully includes an offer!

It’s important to remember a few things during the interview process. First of all, most modern tech companies want to hire you, not just your skills. They don’t want to just hear you rattle off a bunch of technical terms that make it sounds like you’re more experienced than you are. They want to know about you, your passions, your curiosity, your drive to learn, and your drive to grow with the company. None of those things are strictly reliant on 10+ years of experience like the job postings might say. While there is a base level of skill that is required, you’ll want the company to know that you are a good long-term fit; that you can become the software engineer that you want to be with them.

Every interview you take will be a culture fit test. Be a nice person, be curious, ask questions.

The technical part of the interview is often the scariest. During the technical interview or code challenge, sometimes you’ll have to write code by hand on a white board with people watching. It can be terrifying unless you really think about the actual purpose of the technical interview. What’s important to remember when prepping for the code challenge is that it’s designed to be hard. A well-crafted code challenge is not meant to be completed in short order. Rather, it’s meant to give the interviewer deeper insight on your current skill set as well as your ability to speak about how you navigate through a problem you’ve been tasked with solving. If you were able to finish the code challenge too easily, the company would have no idea where your skills max out at.

When engaging in a code challenge, the interviewer wants to understand your thought process for problem solving; how you might approach going from the prompt to the solution and the reasoning behind it. For a good code challenge, they want to see your journey through the problem. Of course, you do need to learn the basic fundamentals of programming to even begin a code challenge, but you’ll get to a point where you can at least show the interviewer how you’re framing the problem and coming up with a potential solution. Every interview is a learning experience.Keep these tips in mind. You’ll get better at the process, and you’ll eventually land that software engineering job where your new career will really begin!

Learn Software Engineering Online