As technology-based careers continue to grow, one online school has found the key to keeping your skills relevant and ahead of the curve.
A four-yearuniversitydegree no longer assures a successful career. As technology advances in all fields, workers arebeingchallenged to find ways to learn new skills. How can they keep up and stand out in today’s rapidly evolving workplace? This is where a place likeGeneral Assemblycan help. Founded in 2011, the company’s online and campus-based courses and workshops assists students in gaining technical training in three popular and growing markets: technology, business, and design. Through courses like visual design and mobile development students canexpand their skills—and stay on top of their game.
With 14 locations worldwide and more than 1,000 students graduating from courses monthly, General Assembly has proved to be an accessible and efficient way for anyone to gain important, timely training in an easy-to-follow, low-commitment format. General Manager of Campus Education and Operations Anna Lindow spoke to The Venture on how job-seekers can stay on top of new technologies and identify the tools they need to benefit them in their careers.
Get Ahead of the Curve
By identifying business trends and adapting appropriately, skill-seekers can get in on the ground level of growing fields. “In today’s design, technology, and business climate, industries change,” says Lindow. “We need to be teaching [students] skills that will help them in the job market today.”
Skills such as coding, digital marketing and product management are no longer niche specialties — but important growing trends that are increasingly common in the modern workplace.
According to Lindow, paying close attention to these trends and adapting is one way for people to ensure they are choosing a skill or education that will benefit them in the long run. Take for example Android development—a field that has seen a 204% increase in job growth since 2012. General Assembly quickly discovered that despite the high demand for employees in the field, their network of prospective employers had trouble filling these jobs—many of which offered an average $100k salary. They quickly introduced an immersive, 12-week course to train hopeful Android developers with the skills needed to enter—and be competitive in—the emerging industry of Android programming.
Learn From Those in the Know
The world of technology is evolving and subjects such as web development, user experience design and iOS development are not only complex, but also constantly changing. That’s why it’s important for students to learn from—and create relationships with—those who are applying these skills in their everyday life.
Many of the educators at General Assembly are leaders in their respective industries and still work in the field. “The way we go about deciding what topics to cover is by really working with the industry to determine what the most in-demand skills are and then allowing that to inform what we teach,” Lindow says. “We take staying currently seriously.”
According to former GA student Kali Swenson, these types of credentials and mentorship gave her confidence to tackle the sometimes difficult technological learning curve in order to learn topical and beneficial skills.
“I trusted [my instructor] and his advice because of his personal experience,” Swenson told the General Assembly blog. “He wasn’t speaking on a strictly theoretical level, but from real web design experience. Plus, I felt more accountable for my work because it didn’t just exist in an online vacuum–there was someone I had to share it with.”
Never Sit Back
But in the rapidly growing world of technology-based careers, it’s not just gaining a new skill that will help—it’s constantly striving to obtain more. According to Lindow, keeping up with updating trends is half the battle.
“We believe [it] is an ongoing process throughout your entire career and it’s not necessarily a destination that you arrive at that means you never have to continue to change and evolve,” Lindow says.
Maintaining fluency in technology is a tenet at GA. Many of the school’s alumni return to re-enroll in additional courses, and GA also encourages its educators to participate in courses and workshops, at no cost, to ensure their ability to work with the most updated technology and ideas.
“Our students come back to learn new skill sets and we think that’s a sign of strength and success for people to continue to develop themselves and to become more well rounded professionals over time,” Lindow says.
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