Instructions for students beginning General Assembly's WDI program in Boston
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Web Development Immersive Orientation

Welcome to Web Development Immersive

We are super excited to have you as part of our flagship program here at General Assembly! This README will provide all the information you will need to be successfully oriented into the Web Development Immersive Program.

Before we get started

Please be sure that your computer is up-to-date with the most recent version of your operating system.


Please upgrade to the latest version of macOS, Sierra (10.12).

Windows or Linux

General Assembly no longer officially supports Windows or Linux in immersive programs. If you have a Windows or a Linux machine, you should contact your Immersive Producer. Instructors may provide support for these operating systems at their own discretion.

If you are on a Windows machine, you must set up your computer to dual-boot Linux Ubuntu before you can get started. Running a VM will not do!

Table of Contents


Orientation is a very packed, busy day for everyone involved! The day will begin promptly at 9:00am and will run until 5:00pm, and is split into two parts: Orientation and Install-fest.

Time Event
9:00am Opening and Team Introductions
9:15am Icebreakers
10:00am Alumni Panel
10:30am Break / Equipment Audit
10:40am Consultant Panel Q&A
11:15am Program Roadmap
11:30am Expectations & Policies
12:00pm Workspace Culture
12:15pm Campus Staff Introductions
12:30pm Lunch
1:30pm Operations Presentation
1:45pm Outcomes Presentation
2:00pm Installfest
5:00pm Wrap up and Celebration

Times and Events are subject to change

Consultant Team Introductions

Throughout the Web Development Immersive program, you will have a dedicated team of Consultants provide you with training, support and direction. During this portion of Orientation you can expect to learn:

  • Names of the consultant team members
  • How long they have been with General Assembly
  • What they were doing prior to General Assembly
  • Learn an interesting fact or guilty pleasure from each
  • Learn their favorite applications and why


During this portion of orientation, we will begin to break the 'ice' and get to know eachother a bit better!

Two Truths and a Lie

Here's how to play:

  • Write 3 interesting facts on the lined side of a 3x5 index card
  • Two of the facts are true and one of the facts will be a lie
  • Keep in mind that the lie should be believable like a truth and the truths could be lies
  • Cards are collected, shuffled and passed back out
  • 'Johnny' starts and reads the facts on the card he holds
  • 'Johnny' has 2 guesses to identify the person whose card he's holding
  • After 2 guess, if 'Johnny' is not correct, 'Jane' shares that it's her card
  • 'Johnny' now has 2 guesses to try and pick the fact that is the lie
  • 'Johnny' highlights which fact is the lie and 'Jane' on blank side of the index card
  • 'Jane' goes next and reads the facts on the card she holds
  • This continues until everyone has played!

Alumni Panel

Let's be honest, deciding to make the life changing decision to enroll in this full-time immersive program, most likely came with some questions and possible doubt. This portion of orientation will give you the opportunity to hear from alumni from past Web Development Immersive programs. You can expect to hear:

  • Names of each alumni panelist and what they were doing before WDI
  • What the alumni do now after successfully completing the program
  • What their experience was like in WDI
  • What some the challenges were that they faced during their cohorts
  • What was something they wish they knew at the start of the program
  • Open the floor up for questions

Example questions to ask:

  • What do you wish someone had told you? Would you have believed it?
  • How long was the gap in time between learning something and feeling comfortable using it?
  • What is your learning process on-the-job?
  • How important were the projects for your learning and comfort?
  • What was it like day-to-day and week-to-week during the program?
  • How did you convince someone that you can do the job even though you don't have experience?
  • What was your highest level of education? Did your degree matter?

Consultant Q&A

You just heard from various WDI alumni, now is your opportunity to ask the Consultant team questions you'd like answered. From each Consultant, you can expect to hear:

  • More about their background and journey
  • How they began their careers in web development
  • The biggest challenge they had in starting their careers
  • Projects they've worked on

Here are some example questions you should ask:

  • What do you believe the key to success is in this program?
  • What is your personality and communication style?
  • How do I keep a positive attitude when things seem impossible?
  • Any words of wisdom before we begin this journey?

Program Roadmap

Web Development Immersive is split into 4 main units. Below you'll find a high level breakdown of what you can expect in each unit:


  • Learn programming fundamentals with JavaScript and practice using basic development tools
  • Use HTML and CSS to construct a single page application, and use JS and jQuery to interact with them through the DOM. Use AJAX to communicate with an API
  • Project 1 : Build in-browser game utilizing a backend API


  • Revisit programming fundamentals with Ruby, and take our first steps into Rails
  • Learn about using SQL databases and persisting data in Rails
  • Practice building Rails back-ends that integrate into client-side apps via an API
  • Project 2 : Build your first full-stack application


  • Explore building an API in JavaScript using Node.js and Express
  • Explore a non-relational database, MongoDB, and integrate it into Express using the Mongoose Object-Document Mapper. Use Express middleware to add new features to an Express apps
  • Project 3 : Build your second full-stack application as a group


  • Learn about a client-side JavaScript framework, Ember.js, and learn how to add it on top of an API
  • Capstone Project : Build a full-stack application that will serve as your main portfolio piece


Time of Day Event
9:00am - 9:30am Diagnostic
9:30am - 12:00pm Training Bloc
12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm - 4:00pm Training/Workshop
4:00pm - 5:00pm 1-on-1 / Workshop
5:00pm - 10:00pm Practice/Study

Expectations & Policies

We take great pride in our Web Development Immersive program! A main reason why our program is so successful is due to very clear expectations and policies we have in place. You will find these below.

First and foremost, to be successful in this program, it is imperative that you understand what a Growth Mindset is and have one!

Growth Mindset Chart


Growth Mindset

MUST WATCH The power of belief: Mindset & Success

Please Note : The goal of the program is not to produce working code, working code is a by-product of the goal. The goal of the program is to learn how to create working code.


  • Diagnostics will be given regularly, and are designed to reflect recently-covered material
  • These diagnostics scores will not impact your completion; they are a tool for you and us to gauge your comprehension of the material
  • Don't stress out about these diagnostics, and don't obsess over the results


  • Practice will be assigned semi-regularly, and will be assessed in terms of:

    • Code quality (e.g. indentation, good comments, readability, etc.)
    • Functionality (Does it run correctly? Is it robust? Is it efficient?)
  • However, as important as doing your practice work is, remember that the most important thing is what you're learning.


  • We will treat you like adults and expect you to behave like adults.
  • Disagreements with other students should be resolved on your own.
  • As with every rule, there are exceptions. If any student is behaving in a way that is disrespectful and/or dangerous towards their fellow developers, that should be brought to the producer's attention immediately. Similarly, any issues that involved consultants should be brought to the producer's attention immediately
  • Please see the 'Code of Conduct' portion of your student enrollment agreement if you have questions about this


  • We will do our best to train you with everything we can in the time we have. However, the ultimate responsibility for what you learn lies with YOU.
  • If you're having trouble with material, ask questions. See our consultants outside of class. Find extra tutorials online.
  • If you're ahead, ask for more work!


Late arrivals and Early departures

  • If you arrive after 9:00am you are late. Any training missed is your responsibility to make up.
  • If you are not present at the beginning of afternoon announcements, or if you leave before 5:00pm, you will accrue one early departure.
  • If your late arrivals and early departures exceed 5, you will not successfully complete the program.


  • If you miss more than 3 days regardless of reason, you will not successfully complete the program

  • If you know of a planned absence(s), please contact a producer ASAP

Successful Completion Requirements

  • Program Attendance
  • Successful completion of ALL projects
  • Submission of all Assignments
  • Outcomes Programming Attendance
  • Outcomes Programming Participation

Rewards for Successful Completion

  • Post-graduation outcomes support
  • Participation in the Meet & Hire
  • Letter and Certificate of Completion
  • Participation in semi-annual Graduation Celebration
  • You may also request a reference or recommendation from Consultants

Workspace Culture

Break into groups of three or four. In your group, discuss and outline your expectations of each other as colleagues. Then, we'll share what each group has discussed and record a social contract.

Most groups of developers come up with something like the following:

  • Respect is mutually given, not earned; follow Wheaton's Law
  • Be an open communicator; do not disengage when working in a group, and practice active listening.
  • Be open to constructive feedback; when giving feedback, be specific.
  • Take others' intent into account; follow Hanlon's Razor.
  • Be collaborative, share freely, and respect others' abilities and preferences.
  • Maintain a growth mindset and a good attitude.
  • Ask lots of questions, but do your due diligence!
  • Leave outside stress and your ego at the door.
  • Foster a space where it safe to fail and learn from mistakes.
  • Have fun!

Staff Introductions

Majority of your experiences in the program workspace will have you interact with the consultants, production, outcomes and operations teams. However, there are additional departments working hard, behind the scenes, to ensure your experience along with that of future programs are the best they possibly can be.

This portion will allow you to meet some additional friendly faces that you will see around campus. This includes:

  • Senior Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Partnerships
  • Classes, Events & Workshops
  • Admissions
  • Product
  • Other Immersive Programs Teams


We want to ensure that you have the best experience possible during your time in WDI! One of the key components to ensure outstanding student experiences is our Operations team.

Who makes up our Operations team? Our Campus Commander and Front-Lines staff.

The Operations team is responsible for so many crucial parts of our campus and programs, that we cannot list them all, but here are several things you could go to them for:

  • Adjusting the temperature of the workspace
  • Conference room bookings
  • Printing
  • Office supplies
  • Loaner computer
  • And many more!


One of the most valuable resources and benefits from participating in an Immersive Program at General Assembly is our Outcomes Team. Upon successful completion of the Web Development Immersive Program, you will have access to this great resource! During this segment, you will have a chance to hear from you Outcomes Producer and to get a high level snapshot of what you can expect for Outcomes throughout the course.

You will have much more information provided during your first Outcomes Programming session, so do not worry if every question you have is not answered during this segment!



  1. All content is licensed under a CC­BY­NC­SA 4.0 license.
  2. All software code is licensed under GNU GPLv3. For commercial use or alternative licensing, please contact