Tag Archives: alumni stories

5 Career Changers Who Will Inspire You to Take the Leap

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Change is inevitable. More specifically, career changes are inevitable. Especially in today’s job market, where the median tenure for the average employee is continuing to decrease. Our lifestyle goals and career aspirations are constantly in flux, but changes are scary. It’s easy to stay in a comfortable, unsatisfying position. The harder and braver thing to do is to take a leap of faith and pursue a career that actually excites you.

At General Assembly, it’s our mission to prepare you for this monumental change through skills training, a growing alumni network of over 25,000 alumni, and outcomes support for our full-time students. Take it from these five career-changing alumni: if you have that nagging feeling in your gut that you’re ready for a change at work, it’s time to reinvent yourself. We’re here to help.

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From Electronic DJ to Systems Architect for NASA: How One Alum is Crafting Her Dream Career

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General Assembly alumni Jade
Jade Johnson is a recent grad of User Experience Design Immersive at General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus, where she met “a crew of like-minded thinkers.” After graduating from GA, she briefly worked for NASA as a systems architect. Now, she is living in Berlin and pursuing her career in UX Design. Jade’s love for user experience has helped her build a rewarding career around her artist lifestyle.
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A University Sophomore Discovers His Passion For Entrepreneurship at GA’s Business Accelerator

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Introducing a new kind of alumnus to the General Assembly community. Boris Shou completed the 2015 Business Accelerator Programwhile working hard on his undergraduate degree. 

Last year, GA teamed up with Colgate University for the first ever Business Accelerator Program, now the Tech Intensive. A one-week immersive experience for undergraduates, the program covered the startup world’s most in-demand skills with hands-on lessons and visits from industry experts.

Inspired, Boris put his learnings into starting his own venture. He and a friend are developing an online language learning platform where language enthusiasts can practice speaking with one another. Although it’s a “simple website” so far, the product is complete with a problem to solve and a target user group.

As one of the program’s alumni, Boris talks about his unique student experience, the projects he pitched, and his entrepreneurial goals for life after graduation.

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Students Help Beer App Barly Find a Smooth Finish

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Craft beer rating app, Barly, recently released new features that shift the focus from simple ratings to smart recommendations that learn your taste in beer over time. The founding team at Barly started as a group of musicians who appreciate a frosty beverage, but after one fateful round of drinks, they realized that most beer menus are hard to decipher for the casual beer drinker. Nick Norton, Craig Vermeyen, Mike Weil, and Hunter Knight moved quickly to create an app, sourcing expertise to get their idea off the ground, including help from UXDI students at General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus.

Students in the User Experience Design Immersive work on client projects as part of the curriculum to gain real world experience using their new skills. Aaron Barnes, Samantha Burke, and Ken Sugai were assigned to work with the app.

For Barly CEO Nick Norton, it was an easy decision to go with the students at General Assembly. “They were great. Sam, Aaron, and Ken put in so much work over a short period, and were clearly excited to be working on this project,” he said.

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Meet Lady Mafia: Two Female Makers on a Mission to Change the World

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Gaby Ruiz-Funes Sarah Bump Lady Mafia

For Gaby Ruiz-Funes and Sarah Bump, learning web development was not just a pathway to a new career, but a creative spark that would lead them to start a movement. Since graduating, the pair has led the charge of creating a network of individuals comprising the Lady Mafia project. Together, they highlight women and men who are agents of change and who make the world a better place through their hard work and innovation.

Sarah came from a marketing background and Gaby was working as an industrial engineer before enrolling in General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive course in Chicago. “I was a little lost,” Sarah said. “I knew I didn’t want to stay in that field, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do instead.” Gaby was already intrigued by web development but realized she needed a structured environment to learn brand-new skills. “As an engineer I was trained to be able to create the things that were in my imagination,” Gaby said. “It felt frustrating to be limited on the web and I wanted the tools that would help me create the apps and websites that I imagined, especially those I hoped would help make a positive impact on the world.”

When the two met during their course, they started a friendship that would become the basis for their project — Lady Mafia, a website that aims to catalog humans who are “moving the earth.” We caught up with Gaby and Sarah to learn more about their experience as the super-cool founders of the Lady Mafia movement.

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