General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, providing award-winning, best-in-class instruction across data, design, business, and technology. We spoke with Seth Novick, Global Outcomes Manager, Career Coach Development, to get his insights on how to best utilize GA’s resources and classes to upskill and advance your career.
What tips do you have for people looking to upskill or make a career change? What resources does General Assembly offer for these individuals?
Whether you’re recently out of college or have years under your belt, it can be completely overwhelming to think about investing in new skills or changing your career at any time—especially when you’re grappling with so much uncertainty and change in the world (let alone trying to figure out what’s for dinner). Remember: You’re not alone in this. Tap into your network and start conversations with people who are in roles that intrigue you, or have started new career paths entirely. Lean into the imposter syndrome you might be feeling, ask lots of questions, and give yourself a long runway to gather stories and develop a point of view about the areas you’re interested in.
Here are some helpful resources we love:
- If you’re looking to get a foundation in a particular tech skill, our free, two-hour online intro classes are led by our expert instructors.
- Simon Sinek: The Golden Circle
- Simon Sinek | TEDxPuget Sound: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
- Ryan Rhoten: What is Your Career Thread?
- Adam Grant: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Give and TakeBrene Brown | TEDxHouston: The Power of Vulnerability
What are some good ways for people working in tech (or wanting to work in tech) to stay on top of industry trends? Any favorite resources?
It depends on what field you’re in, or what field you’re looking to get into. Here’s a helpful breakdown:
- For UX design, check out UX Collective, a channel on Medium that has fantastic curated stories on UX, visual, and product design.
- For data analytics: Looker is a popular business intelligence and data analytics tool that has pretty good blog too. SmartData Collective is a community site focusing on trends in business intelligence and data management. Tableau has a constantly updating gallery of interesting visualizations and a weekly community-driven event in which people create new visualizations from a new set of data.
- For data science: A really common go-to resource is the textbook An Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in R. It’s a good intro to data science and has a free PDF online. It provides the basis for a lot of the data science/machine learning people are expected to do on the job. Additionally, Twitter is a great resource where people share their data science-related knowledge, questions, and answers. Specifically, Caitlin Hudon, Chris Albon, Daniela Witten, Mara Averick, “Data Science Renee,” “EpiEllie” (Eleanor Murray) and Andrew Therriault are good follows.
- For coding and software engineering: Medium’s BetterProgramming channel has great advice for programmers and people who aspire to the field.
- For marketing: the Marketing Over Coffee podcast is a great survey of trends in the field.
- For product management: Suzanne Abate is a product management genius who we’ve also been fortunate to have as an instructor at GA. Her site 100 Product Managers is a great resource for anyone interested in turning big ideas into market-ready products.
- For general career development, the Harvard Business Review IdeaCast is a terrific podcast featuring leading thinkers in business and management. Also, WorkLife with Adam Grant: A TED Original Podcast.
Has GA introduced any new classes in response to COVID-19 and the impact it's had on our working world?
Absolutely. Since the pandemic began, we started Free Fridays, which offers our most popular paid workshops for free. Even though that wrapped up at the end of June, we’ve created many free online events—many run by career coaches—that aim to help attendees understand how they can adapt to our current world and keep developing their careers. These events range from how to balance mental health and wellness with work, how to lead and manage in chaotic times, and how to make the most of working remotely, to name a few. Check them out here.
Some people find it difficult to stay focused and engaged in an online learning environment. Any tips to help these individuals get the most out of virtual classes?
Keep an open mind! We have a very hands-on approach to learning online at GA—you don’t learn by listening, you learn by doing. We’ve been running online events and courses for years now, and have seen many students be surprised at how much engagement, camaraderie, and successful learning is possible in a remote environment. While it’s no substitute for doing a group whiteboard session or having an in-person chat with an instructor, becoming fluent in Slack, Zoom, and how to maximize your screen real estate can be game-changing. See what the GA online learning experience is like here. (For educators, we also have a free course, How to Teach Online.)
We loved the Free Fridays initiative! Are there any other opportunities for people to access GA training for free?
We have run several free events each week, including our popular two-hour intro classes led by our expert instructors in topics like coding, data analytics, UX design, Python, and digital marketing. We also have a free online course, Dash, which teaches you the basics of web development through projects you can do right in your browser. And we’re in the process of developing new free experiences to help people discover and hone their interests. At the end of the day, we’re big believers in that old saying that you can’t love what you don’t know.
GA X Vettery
Vettery is now the proud placement partner for GA’s Software Engineer, UX Designer, and Data Science Immersive Course Graduates, providing fast-tracked access to hundreds of employers. As part of the partnership, GA’s network of employers also join the Vettery platform. Learn more about the #VetteryXGA partnership here.