Learning to code is the ultimate career-booster, whether you’re looking to elevate your current skill set or make it your full-time work. Having web development skills can land you a job in nearly any industry, including tech startups, financial services, media, and beyond.
Coding knowledge is power — whether you’re an independent business owner, creative professional, or simply someone with an interest in the web. When you know how to code, you can build your own website and have full control over your web presence. If you work regularly with your company’s web team, you’ll be able to speak their language and improve communication — and you’ll be able to make some changes yourself instead of calling on them to do it.
Design Thinking is the latest competitive advantage for businesses across a wide range of industries: tech, education, retail and even aerospace. Design Thinking (DT) has received extensive coverage in major publications like Harvard Business Review and the New York Times. Relatively old stalwarts in the area like IDEO and Frog focus on design as a consultancy service. Companies like General Assembly offer training to everyone from large foundations to Fortune 500s. Other large corporations, like Capital One and Fidelity, are building in-house design teams that can both design and teach others throughout the organization to design.
Natasha (bottom, farthest left) with her Product Management students.
Like any self-respecting teenager, I had vowed to be different from my elders. My mother and her three sisters have glittering careers in education. After ten years in tech, I now practice the craft my younger version was adamant to avoid: I moonlight as an instructor at General Assembly.
This side-gig, that started as mild experiment, has become a full-blown passion. I have been at our New York campus every month since I joined the instructional team a year ago. Below is a round-up of 12 lessons I learned from 12 months of preaching product management to five classes.
When we first met Patrick, he was a student in our Data Science class. Since then, he’s taken on roles as a teaching assistant and lead instructor. He recently landed his dream job working as a data scientist for Oscar Health. Here’s his story in his own words.
Problem solving and the fast-paced nature of the field. These were strong pulls for me to jump into the development world, but the force that convinced me to stay was of a different angle. From open source projects on Github to community help support via Stack Overflow, the willingness of developers to grow and learn together represents the culture of constant learning and sharing.
One of our most exciting initiatives of 2014 has been creating a series of “How to Teach” workshops for the broader tech community. While GA is well known for what we teach, what many people might not know is how much time we spend training our instructors and talking with them about how to teach. In fact, we have staff members and instructional coaches whose sole job it is to help train and support our instructors.
Current Role: Cofounder and Trustee, Awesome Foundation
Personal website: www.awesomefoundation.org
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. While Greensboro isn’t known for its tech scene, I was able to take several computer and programming-related classes in high school which helped me to get a handful of internships and entry level positions at a pretty young age. My father always helped nudge me toward working with computers, starting with buying a Commodore 64 for the house in the mid 80’s.
2. What did you study?
I went to Berklee College of Music and received my degree in Music Business Management. It might seem like a bit of a strange path, but I was always trying to position myself at the intersection of music and technology.
Name: Thomson Nguyen (@itsthomson)
Occupation: I’m the Lead Data Scientist at Causes. I’m also a Visiting Scholar at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences at NYU.
1. In 140 characters or less, what is Data Science?
Data science is the art of using data to create products, obtain actionable insights, and communicate decisions to non-technical people.
2. What are some practical applications of data science?
Most recommendation engines you see on a shopping sites use machine learning and data science. Any data visualization you thought was cool in the last year or so was probably the result of hacking together data. In short, we use data science to help us discover new bands, secure our mobile phones, and ultimately tell a clear story from large, unclear amounts of data.
Current Role: President/CEO at Kaizor Innovation, Instructor for User Experience Design at GA
Personal website: www.kaizor.com
1. When did you first get into UX design?
I’ve been a designer for 18 years. I first started learning about “UX” when I was still studying at Carnegie Mellon in the early 90’s. The term UX actually did not even exist back then. It was called GUI (Graphical User Interface) or just Interface Design. Those were the days when Photoshop only had one layer and the first websites were gray background with a huge jpeg on Mosaic browsers. (Post 80’s and 90’s won’t know what I’m talking about!)
2. What is “UX”?
User Experience means many things to many people even among industry practitioners. Some people understand User Experience as web interfaces, however UX is really much wider than that. The scope of UX can be every single interaction the user has with a company. In my view, UX is actually a work process and cultural change in organizations that focuses on the end-user.