General Assembly: Web Development Immersive

Some exciting news. I've been accepted onto the Fall 2013 cohort of General Assembly's Web Development Immersive program in San Francisco. I've been considering a career change to software engineering for a while now but it's finally actually happening!

General Assembly is a global technology, entrepreneurship and design academy. They run classes in New York, Boston, San Francisco, LA, London, Berlin, Hong Kong and Sydney, but I was specifically keen on SF because that's still where most of the big, exciting stuff is happening in tech. (I also rather fell in love with the city after visiting in July.)

Getting in

The interview process for GA was fun. You fill out an initial online application which asks questions to determine things like your background, your interest in the course and any programming experience you have already.

Then there was a phone screen where we talked through the same set of questions, as well as practical things like whether I was able to devote enough time and energy to an intensive program (you basically can't have any other commitments – it's pretty much put your life on hold for 12 weeks).

The next stage was some pre-admit work, which consisted of a tutorial on HTML & CSS, followed by a project to build an 'about me' page. Luckily I already knew HTML & CSS, so I used this as a chance to try out some new features I hadn't really played with yet.

The final stage of the process was a longer Skype call about how I tackled the pre-admit task. They were particularly interested in any problems I ran into, and how I solved them. We chatted a bit about the technical side of the syllabus (I'm keen to make sure I learn the fundamentals of programming, not just how to make web apps with a framework) and also the social community they're hoping to build around the program. I like how much focus they seem to put on building a class of nice, collaborative, interesting people.

Why GA?

Their global reach and experience definitely appealed. There are a handful of other intensive bootcamp-style courses around, but GA is the only one I know of that's a truly global community. I really like the idea that you can visit any of the cities where they run the course, pop in and meet people who've studied the exact same program as you.

Their focus also seems pretty well aligned with my interests and experience. Coming from a creative marketing and advertising background, I'm particularly interested in learning to build consumer-facing products: stuff that's well thought out, beautifully designed, a pleasure to use and genuinely useful to people.

So my flight's all booked for September 22nd, and I'm busy having fun with the pre-work and learning as much Ruby as I can before the program starts.