Tag Archives: interview

Where Are They Now? Chloe Stinetorf

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Alumni Spotlight: Chloe Stinetorf

Meet Chloe, recent graduate of our 12-week User Experience Design course, and founder of Chloe Doughy, a cookie dough delivery business in New York City.

1. What led you to learn user experience (UX) design?

I previously worked as a product manager at Christie’s auction house, responsible for the design and development of christies.com and their mobile apps. My product management role at Christie’s was very UX-focused, but I wanted to have a broader understanding of UX principles, best practices and deliverables.

2. Tell us more about your most recent UX design project.

I recently launched a DIY baking company called Chloe Doughy that delivers ready-to-bake monthly cookie dough projects. The first version of the Chloe Doughy website was a simple Rails app. I took GA’s 12-week UX Design course to take my idea and prototype to the next level, starting with creating personas and ending with designing userflows and wireframes. I’ve since launched the latest version of Chloe Doughy using my work from the course.

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Where Are They Now? Carolina Garcia

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Carolina Garcia headshot

Meet Carolina Garcia, co-founder of Modabound, an online marketplace for college students to buy and sell fashion items. Along with co-founder Alexa Varsavsky, Carolina enrolled in GA’s Front-End Web Development course out of college, a year after they first launched Modabound. Carolina and Alexa are currently participating in the Techstars London accelerator program, with the goal of expanding to every college campus in America (and beyond!) Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Carolina Garcia (@modabound)
Occupation: Co-founder, Modabound

1. What inspired you to learn front-end web development? How has it helped you run your business?

We knew early on that starting a business as non-technical co-founders would be a challenge — we wanted to guide our developers better, and anticipated questions from investors down the road.

As co-founders with front-end skills, we are now able to project manage much more effectively. While we’re also able to contribute with code, the main benefit is being able to communicate our vision more clearly to our developers, having a better grasp of how long projects will take, and ultimately working more closely as a team.

2. What surprised you most about diving into web development?

I was surprised to learn how welcoming the developer community is. Developers love sharing. They talk a lot. They have boards. People are so open to helping each other out and solving problems together. We gained a great framework for understanding from GA’s Front-End Web Development Course, and from there I’ve been amazed by how much you can continue to learn by using the web as a resource.

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True Coding Stories: Nicky Hughes

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Nicky Hughes, WDI Alumni

Meet Nicky Hughes, graduate of General Assembly’s 12-week Web Development Immersive (WDI) program who recently landed a job as a Rails developer at a startup. It is now a family affair — Nicky’s husband was so inspired, that he just enrolled in WDI too. – Mercedes Bent, General Assembly

Eight months ago, I was an architect in Sydney, Australia. After a three-month crash course in web development from General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program in New York City, I’m now proud to call myself a Rails developer, with a full-time job back in my hometown at a tech startup called Tapestry.

Coding and web development weren’t new to me. In high school, I studied coding in Visual Basic, but those skills got tucked away in a corner of my memory as I concentrated my energies on a career in architecture.

Originally viewing it solely as a resource that could come in handy at my current job, I started teaching myself Ruby. However, as I got into it, I quickly began to recall the love for coding I developed in high school, and made the decision to leave architecture in pursuit of a career in web development. In order to do this, I’d need a more comprehensive and structured curriculum than simply learning on my own, so I applied for WDI, traveled across the globe to New York City, and set out to write a blog about the experience called, Nicky on Rails.

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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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Getting to Know You: David Fisher

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David-Fisher

Current Role: Cofounder and Trustee, Awesome Foundation
Twitter: @tibbon
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.

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What Is: Data Science

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thomson

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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Getting to Know You: Elaine Ann

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Current Role: President/CEO at Kaizor Innovation, Instructor for User Experience Design at GA
Twitter: @kaizorBUZZ
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.

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What Is: Digital Brand Strategy

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FARIS-Yakob-Pic1

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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What Is: User Experience Design

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BlogImage_LukeMiller (1)Name: Luke Miller (@younglucas)

Occupation: UXDI Instructor, General Assembly

1. In 140 characters or less, what is user experience (UX) design?

UXD shapes how you feel while interacting with something. It is shaped by the look, language and feedback of a system across platforms.

2. If a website were a ______, UX design would be ______?

I like this breakfast cereal metaphor.

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