This content was created by Girlboss in partnership with General Assembly.
It’s impossible to look at Dimity Jones’ resume and not be impressed. The Brooklyn-based creative director has worked for some of the biggest food and beverage media brands you can think of like Food & Wine, Bon Appétit and Martha Stewart.
But you don’t have to be working in media to know that it’s a difficult time for the industry. Jones was struggling to find opportunities in her field, so she decided to make the leap to freelancing and began to build a strong client base. Quickly, she realized something had to change if she was going to be able to earn a steady income doing the work she loved—especially with her only child heading off to college. “I knew I had the time and inclination to make a change,” Jones said. “And for that to happen, I needed to up my skill set. It seemed like the perfect time to re-educate myself.”
That’s why Jones enrolled in a 12-week bootcamp with General Assembly, where more than 40,000 alumni from full-time and part-time courses have acquired the skills they need to make a career change or advance their careers in the fastest-growing tech roles, like coding, data and UX (user experience) design. Through the program, Jones was able to build upon the robust skills she already had, while learning new ones that enabled her to navigate a more digital-forward industry. Now, she’s working as the creative director for meal-delivery service CookUnity.
How did she do it? Read on to learn more about Jones’ story.
On figuring out her new choice path
“I started looking at jobs I wanted on LinkedIn—dream jobs that also aligned with my skills and experience—and I noticed I was missing mobile and web knowledge. I realized that adding UX/UI to my solid food experience might put me in the top pool of candidates. It’s important to look at what you have achieved, then align that with an actual job title so you can see what you are missing.”
On getting started with General Assembly
“I did a thorough search of colleges and certificates, and I loved the ‘outcomes’ assistance that GA offered. I also liked the remote option because to compete in the real workforce, you have to be deft at things like Slack and Notion, and I thought that a full-time remote course would set me up with remote skills.”
On the bootcamp process
“I found the structure very helpful. Even though I was much older than most of the students, I felt included and welcomed by the instructors. Soon, the other students realized I had all this experience that they wanted to tap into and benefit from. By the end, everyone wanted to be in my group. It was a big deal for me to go back to school, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it work or even pull it off. But the process was very fulfilling.”
On the key takeaways from the bootcamp
“I learned so much about job applications. The outcome skills are invaluable when applying for jobs—it really is a check-box system. Did you put your resume through the ATS (applicant tracking system) scanner? If yes, then you might make it through; if no, then you are wasting your time. Did you rewrite your LinkedIn profile correctly? No? Then no hiring manager will find you. Without the outcomes-focused career coaching, despite all my other skills, I’m sure I would have never gotten a job. The application process is brutal!”
On finding a new job
“After graduation, sometimes I felt hopeful, and sometimes I felt completely broken and at a loss. I had moments of real panic and wondered if I’d ever work again. But working with a career coach from GA was amazing—I cannot recommend it enough. She really offered me timely, smart advice. Now, I’m the creative director of CookUnity. I started off on a contract, and after four weeks, they offered me a full-time job. Don’t be afraid to take a contract. Once you are in there, you really see if a job or company works for you, and they can see if you work for them. If you’re there doing the job, why would they take the time to look elsewhere?”
On using her new skills throughout the rest of her career
“Learning how to work remotely and navigate the job application process was invaluable. Plus, the actual skills of UX/UI really changed my life and gave me the chance at even having a second career. My child is in college, and now I’m able to support his education by having a stable income—something I never had when I was freelance. GA totally saved my life.”
On the advice she’d give to anyone who wants to take their next career step
“Don’t just take a class willy-nilly. Look at the skills you have, find the dream job you want, then look at what you lack and add skills accordingly. I think it’s important to point out that you might not be able to have much income coming in because the bootcamp really is a full-time job. Afterwards, remember that the job-finding process will take time, so having a part-time job (for financial support) as you look for a full-time job in your field may be helpful.”
Find out how you can make a career change with one of General Assembly’s immersive bootcamps by hopping on a call with an Admissions Specialist. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have about finding the right bootcamp, understanding what the learning experience is like, what to expect after graduation, and more so you can feel confident in your decision to break into a tech career.