I’m fresh off the General Assembly boat, and couldn’t feel happier about my experience.
GA offers a great array of fresh, focused career-building courses on web development (front- and back-end), user experience (UX) design, as well as iOS development, data analytics and digital marketing.
What class did I take, why did I do this, and what did I learn?
First, some background. GA had been highly recommended by a former boss, who decided to refocus her career on UX Design. She enrolled in GA’s 3-month UX Design Immersive, and after graduation swiftly landed a dream job designing web and mobile user experiences at a major U.S. home furnishings-and-decor retailer. I could not be more proud of her. And she totally inspired me to dive back in to the deep end of the learning pool.
My plan was to follow her lead into UX Design. Most of my learning in this area has been self-taught, and I felt this was what I needed most to take my digital workspace design to the next level. But at the info session I learned about GA’s 50-hour Product Management course, and signed up immediately.
From the course description:
Skills & Tools
- Guide a product through its lifecycle via lean methodologies like Agile, market research, UX, and financial modeling.
- Create a product roadmap, business model canvas, MVP, key metrics, personas, wireframing, and a stakeholder management plan.
The Big Picture
- Grow capable of launching viable, market‐ready products that anticipate user needs by making tough decisions and working with stakeholders.
In essence, the Product Management course teaches you strategy and the big themes for taking a product from idea to market. This totally applied to the ideas that shaped and inspired my digital workspace at Comedy Central. The promise of this class was help me understand everything I’d already been doing, and show me how to do it better. Precisely what the doctor ordered.
So for the next two and a half months I attended class two nights a week and got everything I had hoped for, and more. Week after week our coursework progressively came together with sustained momentum until we’d hit all the key points — customer development, validating minimum viable product, business canvases, market research, wireframing and storyboards, competitive analysis, working with developers, scrum methodology, and many more.
As a Product Manager, the arc of development from concept to through implementation is on your shoulders. It’s a heavy burden!
So thanks, General Assembly, for such a thoroughly planned and mind-altering course. And thanks Natasha Awasthi for being such a smart and inspiring teacher. I should also mention my classmates, who were each balancing school with careers, and brought their smarts, inquisitiveness and humor to the class. We were all there to learn, and many of my fellow students are now my friends that I plan to keep in touch with for a long time to come.
No joke: Not since grad school have I had such a mind-expanding learning experience!