James became a part of the General Assembly community after taking our Programming for Non-Programmers course in London. Shortly after, he moved to New York City to participate in our Web Development Immersive.
What were you doing before taking our Web Development Immersive?
Financial services. I’ve been a business analyst, an oil trader, and the head of sales for an e-commerce startup in London.
When I moved back to New York, I ran business development for Tansler, a reverse auction site for vacation rentals. Hey, puzzle nerds, did you notice that Tansler is an anagram for rentals? Fast Company called us “Priceline Meets Airbnb.”
How’d you get to GA?
I was in a rut and looking for change. While in London, I took the Programming for Non-Programmers class, and then followed that up with the Web Development Immersive (WDI). I moved back to New York and joined Tansler, which was based in the GA co-working space.
What’s it like making the switch from finance to education?
It’s all in the family. My mom was a guidance counselor and my dad was an American History teacher for thirty-five years.
You’ve just started. Anything you want to share about how you see your role at GA?
I’m looking forward to connecting GA with the largest and most prestigious companies in America — and being able to contribute to whatever digital transformation is going on out there.
I’m grateful for the chance. It’s not an ordinary, everyday mission.
What advice do you have for fellow alumni who are thinking about changing careers?
Every journey starts with a single step. It feels crippling if you don’t feel you have control over your destiny. Part of switching streams is just getting over the fear. I think that if you take stock of your network, you’ll find that most people are receptive and helpful. Start small: One email, one coffee date; and if you need to retrain, one class.
To wrap up, we ask everyone a silly question: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Eavesdropping in restaurants (he says, leaning in).
Take control over your career. Explore classes and workshops at General Assembly.
Susan Soriano is a graduate from General Assembly’s Digital Marketing course and an Alumni Story Writer.