When I came to Atlanta in May after finishing undergrad, I knew I was looking for my next challenge. Moving from a small city with two stoplights, to the warmhearted college town of Tuscaloosa, and then to a city with multiple professional sports teams was definitely an adjustment. With a great-sized city comes countless opportunities to learn and explore, and Atlanta definitely doesn’t disappoint. With a love for innovation and new ideas, I knew that I wanted to immerse myself in the startup and tech culture of Atlanta. Conveniently located in my own backyard, I was able to find learning opportunities at General Assembly, an educational community located at Ponce City Market in Old Fourth Ward.
General Assembly’s mission is simple: to transform thinkers into creators through education and opportunities in technology, business, and design. Since its inception in New York City in 2011, General Assembly (GA) has expanded to 15 locations worldwide, offering full-time and part-time courses, classes and workshops, special events, as well as online courses. Instructors are well-known members of the community, including influencers and business leaders.
GA is centered around the culture it creates. The loft-style space has an open area featuring large windows and a beer tap, as well as individual classrooms, allowing for a variety of networking and teaching opportunities. Beginning with those who greet you as you walk in, you meet and interact with people who are passionate about what they do and care about sharing their knowledge with others.
A look inside General Assembly ATL’s unique space at Ponce City Market
While in Atlanta, I’ve had the chance to attend 3 classes and events at GA. Ranging from special topics in social media to learning about the startup community, each opportunity varied in caliber and key takeaways. GA offers a lot free events and classes, but many one-time night classes cost $30. When you put it in perspective, you’re gaining access to a wealth of knowledge from industry leaders for such little cost. For a college student on a budget, I still see this as money well-spent. Full-time and part-time courses also range in pricing depending on the length of the course. Below, you’ll get a look into some of the curriculum and experiences GA provides.
Growing Your Business With Social Media
- You should create a social media marketing plan based on your business’ core strengths and your audience’s unique needs, NOT 100% reliant on platform features.
- If you create great content, you can sit back and let your fans promote for you.
- Use email marketing to stay top-of-mind.
- 3 Step Strategy to Social Media Marketing: Attract –> Engage –> Sell
More About LYFE Marketing: LYFE Marketing is a social media marketing and management company that was founded in 2011 by students at Georgia State University. The company looks to add value to and educate businesses through social media, resulting in an ROI that’s through the roof. LYFE Marketing has served over 100 businesses in the Atlanta metro area.
Members of the LYFE Marketing Team at GA (Photo from Instagram @lyfemarketing)
SOCIAL MEDIA CLUB ATL: Late night with social media
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Speakers: Ryan Oliver and Michelle Adinolfi of Twitter, Allen King of Pinterest, and Jason Dominy of the Dalton Agency
Cost: $20 Early Bird Ticket, $35 at the door, FREE for Paid Members of SMCATL
Event Style: Seminar, Audience Interaction, Networking
- New Twitter technologies such as autoplay videos, Twitter cards and Vine influencers are changing the way brands interact with their target audience.
- 90% of Twitter’s video views occur on mobile devices, pushing many advertisers to utilize mobile video.
- Pinterest has begun testing new animated pins in addition to their promoted pins.
- 30% of the Pinterest audience is male. The female audience isn’t the only one marketers should be paying attention to.
More About Social Media Club ATL: As one of 300 chapters worldwide, Social Media Club ATL connects industry professionals to expand digital media literacy, promote new technologies and trends, and start a conversation about social media best practices. This event also featured a Social Media Jeopardy! with members of various Atlanta ad agencies that created a fun and engaging way to interact with those in attendance. I even learned the ghost of Snapchat has a name — Ghostface Chillah. SMCATL hopes to do more events like this in the future. Click here for membership details.
Members of local agencies playing Social Media Jeopardy! (Photo from Twitter @22squared)
HOW TO LAND A JOB AT A STARTUP
Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Speakers: Kevin Sandlin of Atlanta Tech Blogs, Susan Echterhoff of Salesfusion, Gerald Stover of Ionic Security, and Andy Pittman of Pindrop Security
Event Style: Panel Interview
- Startups don’t always hire you for your current skills. They also want to see your willingness to learn and try new things.
- It’s not all about the money. If you believe in the product or service you’re selling, you’ll love your job a lot more.
- Startups are looking for GRIT. They want to see that you’re passionate about what you do and willing to put in hard work to reach your goals.
- One of the best ways to stand out as a startup applicant is to not only tell them what you’ve done, but SHOW them what you’ve done.
Attendees networking with panelists after the startup course
What’s so special about GA ATL?
Sure, your friends at work may think it’s weird that you’re skipping happy hour to go to a night class, but I promise it’s worth it. GA provides you will the skills you need to advance your career and explore topics and skills that you’re interested in brushing up on or learning from scratch. While I’m no tech guru myself, GA also offers courses like Front End-Web Development, Data Science, and Introduction to Xcode. They can even help you learn Photoshop or build your portfolio. Whatever your skill level, GA offers a personalized approach to education that fuels individuals’ passions and curiosities.
Ponce City Market is an exciting place to be! Conveniently located on Ponce de Leon Avenue with access to the BeltLine, this fully renovated Sears, Roebuck & Company building is drawing a lot of attention to the area. Not only is this the home of GA ATL, but a West Elm just opened, and they’re working on building a food hall with 17 market stalls with various offerings that are expected to open later this year. Twitter is even opening a new office in the building to be closer to major brands like The Home Depot and The Coca-Cola Company.
There are other options for coding schools in Atlanta, however GA offers a great location, plenty of parking, and an unmatched community culture. With frequent happy hours on Fridays to meet, mingle, and enjoy free local beer, GA is definitely looking to connect marketers and influencers in a fun and engaging way. As previously mentioned, GA also provides classes and events across various business and creative topics, so it serves as a one-stop shop for your educational needs.
To learn more about General Assembly, visit their website and browse their course offerings and syllabi by location. There’s bound to be a topic that interests you!