interview Tag Archives - General Assembly Blog

What Is Front-End Web Development?

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Name: Nick Schaden (@nschaden)
Occupation: Web Designer/Developer

1. In 140 characters or less, what is front-end web development, from your experience?

A mix of programming and layout that powers the visuals and interactions of the web.

2. If a website were a house, front-end web development would be ______?

Front end development would be the pretty exterior that gives the house character, or the host that invites guests in and makes them feel at home.

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How Data Maps Reveal Inequality and Equity in Atlanta

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Housing Map of Atlanta provided by Neighborhood Nexus.

Map of Atlanta provided by Neighborhood Nexus.

Mapping the communities of tomorrow requires a hard look at the topographies of today. Mike Carnathan, project director at Neighborhood Nexus, synthesizes big data into visual stories that chart the social, political, and economic conditions across the city of Atlanta. Part data miner, part cultural cartographer, Carnathan creates demographic maps that local leaders, advocates, and everyday citizens use to help understand and change their lives.

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5 Questions You’ll Be Asked In Your Next Digital Marketing Interview

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The landscape of digital marketing continues to change at a rapid pace, and for all the right reasons. Employers are gaining a stronger understanding of what are now considered “basic” digital marketing skills that any candidate should have, and the knowledge and skills that will set you apart from the rest of the pack. For example, just being able to use the various tools of the trade is now the new level playing field. It’s expected. However, what you can do with the data that you gain using those tools will set you apart.

At your next interview for a digital marketing position, you can demonstrate that your knowledge and skills are above the rest by being prepared to answer these five questions.

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Where Are They Now? Brooks Swinnerton

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Brooks Swinnerton headshot

Meet Brooks Swinnerton, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 10-week Back-End Web Development course. We sat down with Brooks to find out what inspired him to learn to code, what he’s done with his new skills, and why he returned to GA to pay it forward. Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Brooks Swinnerton (@bswinnerton)
Occupation: Systems Administrator, New York University; Teaching Assistant, General Assembly

1. What inspired you to learn back-end web development?

Whenever I ran into a problem or inefficiency, I found myself thinking, “There should be an easier way to do X.” When I couldn’t find a solution, my next thought would be, “I wish I could just create it”. That’s why I decided to learn Ruby on Rails — I wanted the knowledge and power to simplify my life.

Now with these skills, I no longer have to “wish” for a solution; I can create it. I have the freedom to drive the product to exactly where I want it to go, right down to the buttons.

2. What’s something exciting you’ve done with your new Ruby on Rails skills?

Back in March I participated in a five-day event called The Startup Bus. The goal was to build a startup on a bus and launch it 1,800 miles later at SXSW. I applied completely on a whim, and a week later found myself boarding a bus in Union Square with 30 strangers. I took this time to work on my startup idea, Readin.gs. We worked on the bus for 13 hours a day, slept very little and fueled up at Walmarts along the way. It was an insane experience, but made some incredible like-minded friends by the end of the trip.

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Where Are They Now? Kate Zasada

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Kate Zasada headshot

Meet Kate Zasada, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 12-week User Experience Design course. She’s come a long way in the nine months since she first started learning at GA, and has quite a bit to show for it, including a new job at Shapeways, the world’s leading 3D printing marketplace and community. Mollie McCormick, General Assembly

Name: Kate Zasada (@kzasada)
Occupation: Product Manager, Shapeways

1. Did you have a specific moment when you decided that you wanted to do user experience (UX) design?

I was feeling a little lost in my career and took a bunch of classes across a wide array of disciplines at General Assembly (GA). One Sunday morning, I decided to take a half-day UX design workshop. I remember it being 8 am, raining, and just really crappy outside — but I was on the edge of my seat with excitement. I thought, “What we’re discussing is jiving 100% with how I feel, these people understand me! This is what I should be doing with my life.”

2. How did learning UX design help you in your career?

Even though my title isn’t “UX designer,” I am doing more UX design as part of my job as Product Manager (PM) at Shapeways. After all, many decisions PMs make directly influence a product’s UX. Like the UX and Interaction Designers I work with, I also ask myself “What do our users want?”, then work with my team to create solutions to address their needs.

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What Is: Data Science

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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.

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What Is: Digital Brand Strategy

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Faris Yakob is an award winning strategist, creative director, writer, public speaker and self-proclaimed geek.

Name: Faris Yakob (@faris)
Occupation: Strategist, Creative Director, Public Speaker, Writer. (Formerly Chief Innovation Officer of MDC Partners and founder of Spies and Assassins, a creative technology agency)

1. In 140 characters or less, what is Digital Brand Strategy?

How to deploy finite assets, budget, behavior & brand, to achieve predetermined business objectives, w/ digital platforms & customers.

2. What problem is a digital brand strategist solving? Why are they sitting at the table?

Strategy shouldn’t be fragmented into endless fractal versions of itself. All strategy is holistic, the direction of the whole towards the objectives of the whole.

Brand strategy, then, is a subset of strategy already, which takes business strategy and looks at how to best leverage the key intangible asset of the company – its brand.

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Product Management Explained by Hunter Walk

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Hunter Walk

Hunter Walk

Name: Hunter Walk (@hunterwalk)
Occupation: Former Director of Product Management at Google (previously Director at Linden Lab, New Product Development at Mattel)

1. In 140 characters or less, what is Product Management?

Building. Communicating. Helping. Simplifying. Collaborating. (Sometimes) Crying. Leading.

2. Lets step away from digital for a second. Pretend the product you are producing is a watch. What are the types of questions a product manager would ask? What would some of your responsibilities be?

The goals of Product Management are the same whether you’re shipping websites or watches — it’s helping a team build a product that’s loved by the community.

On day one, I’d ask:

  • What watches are we making today and who’s purchasing them?
  • Who is the customer for this new watch and what are their needs (telling time, fashion, accuracy, reliability/durability, etc.)
  • Is there a cross-functional team already working on this product? If not, let’s develop one.

Some of the product manager’s responsibilities would include:

  • Ensuring everyone working on the project understands who the customer is, and what the product objectives are
  • Making sure the team is properly resourced to achieve its goals. Does every work item have a clear owner?
  • Managing a design and approval process that drives collaboration and cross-functional input, but doesn’t bog down into census-driven groupthink

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What Is: User Acquisition Marketing

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Name: Anna Lindow (@AnnaLindow)
Occupation: General Manager – Campus, General Assembly

1. In 140 characters or less, what is user acquisition marketing?

The science that complements the art of building an audience and a brand. A quantitative approach to marketing with a specific goal of gaining customers.

2. If a website were a for-sale house, user acquisition marketing would be ______?

The real estate agent. A very data-savvy real estate agent.

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What Is: Back-End Web Development

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matt-jording

Matt Jording is a software developer and an Instructor at General Assembly (with a great mustache).

Name: Matt Jording (@mjording)
Occupation: Software Developer

1. In 140 characters or less, what is back-end web development?

It’s the structure that allows information to be shared across accounts or people. It’s the glue that binds the internet together.

2. If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be ______?

If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be the root system. It’s the component that provides the energy (food and water, in this instance) that powers the plant and enables it to grow.

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