Andreea Magdalina shares her recent experience from a day at General Assembly, doing a crash course for non-programmers in the basics of front end development. If you’re interested in learning more, click here

You probably heard it before. The way in which employers hire you has changed. A lot. Not only what they look at on your CV but how they do it as well. So how are you going to make sure they like what they see?

If you were lucky enough to grab their attention with your cover letter or introductory email, there’s no time to get too comfortable just yet. The ultimate test is yet to come. And I’m not talking about the job interview.

The next step for employers after they had a look (a very short look) at your CV is to scan your online identity. That’s right folks. They’ll go straight to Google Search, type in your name and eagerly wait for the next big thing to happen. Whether that’s going to get you in their office next day or in their black books, it’s up to you.

So how do you make sure Google returns only nice links on your name? Well, there is a lot you can do to optimize your Facebook profile for employershave a good Twitter profile or keep an active blog. But that’s a different story.

What I’m talking about here is taking your personal brand to a whole new level. Having a good online reputation is essential but there are a few things you can do to go big and stand out.

One of them is building your very own website. Yes, I know. It’s no easy task. But not as hard as you think either. With very little programming knowledge you can learn how to do it in less than a day.

This weekend I attended a crash course in HTML, CSS and JavaScript at General and I couldn’t leave my computer ever since. The team put aside a few hours this Saturday to teach us non-programmers the basics of front end development with the help of Devin Hunt who designed (cheers Devin!)

Here’s a little snippet of what I ended up with after less than 3 hours of work:

My very first online CV1

The vibe was very friendly, the teachers even more so and tell no one but we got a delicious lunch too!

So if you’re just like me and would like to learn how to get started on building your own portfolio then their courses are just the thing you need. From design to hardcore programming, there’s plenty to choose from in order to squeeze that extra skill in.

If you want to get really serious about this and you’re up for learning some back-end web dev we teamed up with General to bring you an intensive 10week course in Ruby on Rails – the programming language cool companies like Airbnb and Twitter use to build their websites. And because we know money is low when you’re young you get a special scholarship with a 50% discount! More details here.

Once you got the basics right there’s always room for improvement. And we put together a nice little list of resources to spruce you up in the world of software engineering.

Geek up and good luck!


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But wait, there’s more! Another great General Assembly course – THIS SATURDAY: User Experience and Wireframing.

Have an idea for a digital product that you don’t know what to do with? If you want to turn it into a real business strategy to show investors, designers or developers, you’re in luck. At General Assembly, we’re offering a User Experience and Wireframing Workshop this  Saturday that’s designed to help you do just that.

If you’ve never heard of user experience design and you think wireframing sounds like something you’d buy on Etsy, listen up.

User experience is all about the way that a site or application works, basically you’re trying to make your future users enjoy your ideas as much as possible.

You don’t have to be a designer, there’s nothing to do with colours, fonts or graphics! To know how to deliver a rich user experience, you have to think about a product in a logical way that will make sense to your users (and to your mum and dad!)

Our class starts off with a conversation around strategies. Should your business idea be a website or an app? And what business goals should you be prioritizing and what are the potential tech constraints?

With a more rounded idea, you’ll then dive into information architecture, which is a fancy way of saying: the organisation and core functionalities of your idea, and which features you should keep and which features you should drop.

After a deliciously prepared lunch (from Hummus Brothers), where you’ll decide what you want to create, you’ll begin making wireframes. Wireframes are like architecture blueprints for digital products and they’re a great way to explore concepts, brainstorm interactions and document your processes. They also make sure that your users achieve the goals that you want them to and understand your product before you start building them.

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