career development Tag Archives - General Assembly Blog

Top 5 Coding Languages to Learn in 2023

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The tech industry is booming, and the demand for programmers is increasing every year. There are 26.9 million software developers globally, according to a recent Global Developer Population and Demographic Study. This number is projected to increase to 27.7 million in 2023 and 28.7 million in 2024. 

The world is moving fast, and there are many job openings for coders in 2023. There are many reasons why coding powers the world. The main use cases of coding include software development, data analytics, data science, web development, mobile app development and big data.

If you want to get involved in this exciting field, it’s essential that you learn how to code. But with so many different programming languages out there, where should you start? This blog will look at the top five coding languages that are most widely used today and why they’re so important.

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The 5 Most In-Demand Tech Skills to Learn in 2023

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As companies increasingly hire for skills, not degrees, there is more opportunity than ever to break into tech or grow your career off the traditional beaten path. Major companies like Google, Delta, Mastercard and Bank of America have shifted to skills-based hiring. However, you might be asking: what exactly are those skills companies are hiring for? 

We spoke to General Assembly instructors and tech professionals at Uber and Doordash to uncover the top skills they see hiring managers looking for in 2023, whether you want to switch careers or land that promotion. Here are the 5 skills you should learn to take your career to the next level this year.

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How to Make a Career Change From Accounting to Tech: The Ultimate Guide

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Calling all bored accountants. 

If you’re feeling unengaged at work and ready for a change, you’re not alone. 

According to The CPA Journal, turnover rates at large firms saw a significant increase in 2019, reaching almost 19%  — which is an 18% increase from the previous year. In fact, in some cases, the journal found turnover rates as high as 30%.  

Given the changes taking place in the industry, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise. 

Like so many other industries, accounting is significantly impacted by new technology — from an increase in automation to new software entering the field — technology has changed the shape of the industry and the roles within it.

This article walks through why accountants are leaving their field, tech roles to consider, and three steps to get started on your career transition journey. 

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EMPOWERING AUSTRALIANS WITH FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR CAREERS IN TECH

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The tech space is constantly changing and evolving. This is why it is such an exciting, challenging, and rewarding industry to work in. In this day and age, the key to a successful career in tech is to be equipped with the most relevant tech skills and to embrace lifelong learning, and be as curious and inquisitive as possible. 

According to the Tech Council of Australia, the Australian Government and the Australian tech sector have a shared commitment to create 1.2 million tech jobs in Australia by 2030. It is then forecasted that Australia will need to employ an additional 653,000 tech workers to meet this goal by the end of the decade. This is great news for those who want to transition into a tech career. It also means that the demand for tech courses has increased as people are looking for efficient modes of learning to be a part of this transformation. 

However, financial constraints can often get in the way of people receiving a quality education in their desired field, thus, limiting their potential to excel. In an economy where knowledge is power, how then can we make this knowledge more accessible to aspiring students? 

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5 Ways to Actively Conquer Career-Changing Fear

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Are you reconsidering your career path?

The thought of taking on a whole new career can be terrifying—especially when it requires that you take a few steps backward to get there. Feelings of self-doubt are normal as you go from expert to student again, working hard to learn the new skills that will help you transition to a more fulfilling career.

Doing work you are passionate about is worth the hard work it takes to get there. With mindfulness and mental health practices, you can squash the very normal feelings of fear and doubt that come along with change. 

We’ll walk you through five helpful ways to conquer the fear of career transition and provide actionable steps to help you feel confident and prepared for whatever is next in your career journey.

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New Year, Same Career? 3 Ways to Get Started on Your Career Change Before the Ball Drops

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When it comes to the New Year, it’s well known as a time of renewal and new beginnings. Famously “out with the old and in with the new” is something we often remind ourselves of as we come closer to the end of a year. 

Amongst many other things, New Year’s Day is a celebration of having survived another 365 days, the period by which we keep a chronological record of our personal and professional lives. Your New Year’s resolutions may represent a deep need for you to exert some control over the future because we all know how dreadfully unpredictable the future may be. 

With a fresh new year, it may be time for a fresh new career. With 2023 just around the corner, you may be prompted to leave behind your old job and consider a new exciting career you will truly love. 

Keep reading to learn how you can leave your career change doubts behind in 2022 and start the New Year with a bang. 

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Despite The Recession A Tech Career Transition is a Good Move in Singapore

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The current landscape of the tech job market in Singapore is thriving. Despite the widespread layoffs at tech companies like Meta, Twitter, Amazon, and Shopee, Singapore’s tech talent market remains a job-seeker market. According to The Straits Times, vacancies have been on the rise since last year, noted the Ministry of Manpower, with the ratio of jobs to unemployed persons rising to 2.42 in March – the highest since 1998.

Undoubtedly, tech workers are still very much in demand as businesses of all facets work to build their digital infrastructure. However, with the rising demand for tech talent, Singapore has experienced a decline in qualified tech workers. 

Picking up essential future-proof tech skills will expand your horizons for exciting career changes like pivoting into tech and allow you to thrive professionally. Moreover, becoming familiar with technical skills can only improve the quality of life given that technology is at the core of the innovation ecosystem, encompassing 94% of Singapore’s government services.

This blog will give you more information on Singapore’s tech ecosystem, the type of tech jobs that are in demand and how to land your first tech job quickly.

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Is Switching Careers a Good Idea? 8 Truths About Changing Your Career

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As the holiday season approaches, many are taking the time to reflect on the past year. And some are even taking some much-needed time to slow down and unplug from work. Times like these are helpful in taking stock of the status quo and potentially even igniting change.

It’s a great time to ask yourself questions like: 

  • Are you looking forward to ramping up again in January? Or is going back to work making your stomach turn?
  • Is your job allowing you to take the vacation time you deserve? Or are boundaries between personal life and work life too blurred? 

These may lead you to consider much bigger questions like: 

  • Do you want to stay in your current job? Or is switching careers a good idea? 

We spend a lot of our time at work, and feeling uninspired or bored isn’t the only consequence of sticking with a job you hate. In fact, there can be dire repercussions, including risk of illness, lack of sleep, poor mental health, and stress —  just to name a few. 

For these reasons and more, making an intentional change to your professional journey can be immensely rewarding. As you reflect on your situation and consider your options, here are eight things to keep in mind for your career change journey. 

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Filling the Gap Between Learning & Engagement

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid and forced transformation of many businesses. Plans that companies previously anticipated rolling out over many years have been decided and implemented in weeks.  

Amid this rapid change where many are scrambling to adapt, leaders should ask themselves what other “five-year plans” should fastrack to keep pace with these critical business plans. One of the plans that companies should evaluate is talent development: how can businesses develop strategic plans to meet the needs of their rapidly evolving businesses?   

Creating talent development work isn’t as easy as providing online learning to employees. Our Marketing Standards board members met recently and uncovered an unexpected commonality. While all of them are making learning available to their employees, the primary area for improvement on their employee engagement surveys continues to be upskilling. This revelation brought on a layered conversation about the common challenges employers face when it comes to engaging employees in training and development — especially when these pieces of training are online. So, what’s causing the disconnect between desire and action on upskilling employees, and most importantly, what can leaders do about it?   

Understanding the Disconnect

Upskilling is urgent for employers — especially for newer professionals who aren’t going to be satisfied in their jobs if there are no learning (or advancement) opportunities. Employees don’t merely want a job; they want to work for companies they can learn from and grow within; employees wish to build careers.  

In a Deloitte survey, 90% of employees said their organizations were redesigning jobs. The World Economic Forum reported that more than half of all its employees would require reskilling or upskilling to address the digital skills gaps driven by changing job requirements over the next three years.  

For many reasons like these, our board members agree that it’s an employer’s responsibility to make learning available and an integrated part of the employee experience.  

So, what’s getting in the way of learning — from the employee perspective?  

Two big factors are time and incentive. Many employees feel like there’s not enough time during the workday to take the training accessible to them. Others don’t prioritize upskilling because although they want new and updated skills, there is no extrinsic motivator for learning them. One of the clearest opportunities for extrinsic motivation often isn’t clearly connected to training: it’s the idea that training and skills are requisite expectations for the job or performance. The right jobs motivate all of us.  

Possible Solutions

Providing employees with upskilling opportunities signals to them that they are valued and that they have a future within their workplace organization. However, offering a training program isn’t enough — the implementation of these programs must be intentional, structured, and relevant. During our conversation, board members came up with tips that can help companies foster a learning-positive workplace. These tips include:  

1. Partner With Leadership to Allocate Time During the Workday

Big roadblocks employees face: blocking time to make learning important and creating company-wide time blocks, like “No Meetings Fridays,” to provide designated time for employee upskilling. Making these time blocks company-wide is critical. If some teams aren’t participating in it, they’ll throw a meeting on the calendar that conflicts with the learning time. At that point, you’ve lost the consistent open time and original initiative purpose you’re trying to create for your team.   

2. Extrinsic Incentives: Compelling Rewards

Extrinsic incentives are tangible motivators that can encourage employees to take an upskilling training course. Offering incentives gives employees a clear prize at the end of their experience, plus an added incentive to complete learning by a particular due date. This specific incentive is a nice touch from board member Gretchen Saegh (CMO of L’Oréal USA), who plans on rewarding “the best re-scorer” of the CM1 assessment with being “CMO for the day.” These empowering incentives give employees a sense of purpose, a structured career path, and long-term vision, giving them valuable real-world experiences and advice that can be difficult to get elsewhere.  

Extrinsic Incentives: Executive Messaging on Expectations

Source: https://learning.linkedin.com/resources/workplace-learning-report

When employees see their managers endorsing upskilling, and also see the executive team pushing for the same thing, it speaks volumes about the value of upskilling within that organization and the expectations around completing tasks and initiatives surrounding it. The bottom line is that upskilling gains immediate credibility when employees see it supported by leadership. A message from the CEO and executive team is imperative when it comes to setting the tone for a company, as a message from “the top” can have a ripple effect throughout the organization.   

Getting employees to translate the desire-to-action key values of online learning is particularly pertinent as more employers look for efficient and effective ways to train their employees remotely via online training providers. It’s a new world, and there’s no magic bullet, hidden secrets, and there are certainly no shortcuts. The right online training is thoughtful and methodical: it considers human behavior, personal motivations, and leadership alignment + support to get online training to occur and resonate for employees — from entry-level positions to the C-suite.  

Finally, there’s the process of trial and error. Although initiatives often start with the strongest and best of intentions, the most successful training results adapt and fluctuate over time. No plan is flawless right out of the gate — however well-planned or well-intended.  

Learning is always a journey.

To learn more about how General Assembly can help guide your company’s talent transformation, check out our enterprise marketing solutions.

6 Tips on How to Get a Job at a Startup

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How to narrow your focus, get a leg up on the competition, and look like the most prepared person in the room.

A job-search thesis is a great tool to tell people what you’re looking for in a job.

The following is an adapted excerpt from How to Get a Job at a Startup, an exclusive General Assembly eBook by startup founder and former GA leader Matt Cynamon.

Working for a startup company can be one of the most challenging, exhilarating, sometimes heartbreaking, and oftentimes fulfilling journeys of your life. But wanting in and breaking into this competitive industry are two different things. Landing an opportunity at a startup is about more than luck. There are terms to learn, steps to take, and a skill set to grow from to make you a candidate who stands out from an established crowd.

Whether you’re a recent college graduate, someone with 10 years of executive-level experience, recently completed a career accelerator program, or are just making a jump from a more traditional work background, there is a pathway to a dream job at a startup for everyone. While there’s no foolproof method for landing a job, we’ve compiled six proven tips that can help you narrow your focus, get a leg up on the competition, and look like the most prepared person in the room.

1. People can get you further than job boards.

One of the nice surprises about the startup businesses is how supportive and helpful some of the people are. In every city, leaders in grassroots startup communities host events, give educational talks, make introductions, and offer advice. These individuals can serve as your early guides as you start out on your journey.

If you’re just breaking into the startup world, you may not have a strong network to draw upon. That’s OK. Go to events, meet people, and listen. As a new entrant into the community you might feel like you have little to offer in return, but one of the biggest favors you can do for someone is just ask them questions about their work. Don’t be too forceful, but where appropriate, invite people for a coffee. It may seem intuitive, but being generally interested in others and what they do will help you foster relationships that aren’t only valuable, but fulfilling.

When it comes time for you to start applying, warm introductions from someone within the community will go much further than a resume submitted on a job board. Founders often cite hiring as the biggest obstacle to successfully growing their company. It’s a timely and difficult process that they love to circumvent with a nice, warm introduction to top talent (aka you).

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to get introductions is assuming that if people don’t get back to you, hope is lost. Be prepared for repeated failure. Ninety percent of people will say they want to help you. Ten percent actually will. Why most people don’t follow through is due to a variety of factors, but just know it’s rarely about you. If you go into every conversation with this attitude, you will more easily be able to sustain your energy when your inbox sounds like crickets.

2. Polish your elevator pitch with a job-search thesis.

We’re living in an age of self-driving cars, private spaceships, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, on-demand everything — and startups often lie at the center of these innovations. It’s completely normal for someone starting on their journey to want to be a part of all of it. While you will encounter many people who are willing to help you in your job hunt, you need to make it easy for them to do so. To that end, nothing will get you further than clarity and focus.

When you tell people what you are looking for, you want them to think, “I know who you should talk to.” The easiest way to get there is to distill what you’re looking for into three distinct points. We call this a job-search thesis.

The best job-search thesis will contain:

  • Your desired company size.
  • Your preferred industry.
  • Your desired role.

For example, if you can tell someone at a cocktail party, “I want to work as a product manager at post-Series A company in the fashion industry,” there’s a good chance they’ll remember you the next time they hear about a PM role at a company that makes smart athletic gear. Speaking about yourself with that level of specificity will instantly make connections in the mind of whomever you find yourself talking to.

3. Got experience? Great. Not so much? Then make it.

If you are moving into the startup world from a career in a different industry or type of role, make sure to play up your relevant experience. If you feel like your job title really doesn’t translate to the position for which you’re applying, break apart the components of your current role into the factors that would be relevant at a startup. For example, if you were a lawyer then you likely have strong attention to detail, analytical problem-solving skills, an ability to explain complex problems to many stakeholders, a strong work ethic, and a history of achievement. These are all things startup founders would want out of product management. This exercise is especially important for more senior individuals trying to move into the startup world.

Of course, you don’t have to rely only on your previous experience — the best candidates never do. Fortunately, the rules around experience have shifted and there are ways for you to start developing skills within a given field even if you’ve never worked in that field before.

Even opening an account on Medium.com and writing commentary on the industry you’re interested in can go a long way. Coupling this level of initiative with your previous (or nonexistent) work experience is the best way to demonstrate your talents and potential. In addition to gaining relevant skills that will assist you in a new role, you’ll appear to be both passionate about the subject matter and a knowledgeable self-starter who practices it in your spare time.

Let’s say you’re really interested in doing digital marketing for a fashion tech company. For less than $50 you can start running Facebook advertisements for a friend’s T-shirt website, cultivating skills in running paid social media campaigns. If you want to do UX design for an eCommerce startup, you can publish a series of UX critiques about popular eCommerce sites on a blog. Engineers rarely depend on resumes alone anymore; they demonstrate their experience by publishing their code to GitHub. 

4. Do your homework. Then, do some more.

With a solid network, clear thesis, and foundation of experience, it’s only a matter of time before you start landing interviews. Most recruiters will tell you at this point to spend 12 hours preparing for an interview. We think that’s child’s play. You aren’t interviewing to be a cog in a massive corporate machine. You are being assessed on whether the founder or manager would bet the future of their budding company on you. Make them comfortable — and confident in you — by being the most prepared person in the room.

Find founders on Twitter, LinkedIn, or in the blogosphere and consume every bit of content you can find. The information you’ll find there is priceless because you will gain a deep understanding of how founders think and feel about the world. You can even head to Facebook and see if you have any mutual friends. Does all of this seem a little overboard? Perhaps, but startups expect a different level of commitment than many traditional careers. So if this sounds like a lot, you’ll be in for a big surprise once the job begins.

5. Play the numbers game. Ask metrics-driven questions.

In an interview with a startup, you really have three goal goals: 1) Clearly communicate why you’re capable of doing the job, 2) be the most passionate person in the room, and 3) ask the best questions. You certainly should ask standard interview questions, like “What makes someone successful in this role?” or “What will the first 90 days look like?” But what you really want to do in the interview is discover the metrics the company cares most about.

Sure, a company’s public brand may be all about changing the world, but we can guarantee that every night before they go to bed and every morning after they wake up, the person interviewing you is checking a dashboard with a handful of key metrics, such as cost to acquire a customer, lifetime value of a customer, net promoter score, or churn. When they leave your interview, they’ll probably check it again.

Metrics dictate performance, and in the uncertain conditions in which startups live, having insight into how well the business is doing is essential for a small team that has a lot of impact.

When you go into your interview, don’t be afraid to ask:

  • What metrics are you checking daily?
  • What metrics are you checking weekly?
  • What metrics are you checking monthly?
  • What do you see as the biggest levers for improving those metrics?
  • How are you doing against your goals?
  • How can this role help you get there faster?

The answer to those questions will give you everything you need to know to position yourself as the best fit for the job. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing job and learn in the interview that high product churn is keeping the founder up at night, you can follow up with an email with three ideas on how the company can immediately improve retention.

6. Pay attention to startup funding cycles.

Fundraising impacts everything about a startup, and understanding it can also serve as a huge advantage for you in your job hunt. When you read that a startup raised $15 million, it’s safe to assume it isn’t looking for a safe, high-yielding savings account to put it in. The company is going to put almost every cent to work by increasing marketing, improving the product, and, most importantly building the team it needs to take the business to the next level. There is literally no time when the ground is more fertile for you to land a job than immediately after a startup raises money. So it’s on you to stay on top of the news.

TechCrunch is an excellent resource for keeping up with fundraising news. The site will report on just about every dollar raised in the startup world. If you’re interested in a particular company, set up Google Alerts so you can be the first to know whenever a new round of funding comes in. If you want to be ahead of the curve, AngelList has a directory of all startups looking to raise their first round of funding. It’s also an excellent job board.

These tips are just a start — for more expert insight, download our free guide, How to Get a Job at a Startup. Discover firsthand tips on how to break into a startup career, clear up confusing industry jargon, and learn about important resources that will aid you on your journey. Good luck!