Category: Insights (page 3 of 9)

Top Ten Tips for Writing Crime Fiction

By Caroline Green

Crime fiction is booming right now. If you have ever wondered if you could write for this thriving, thrilling genre, here are ten things you should know:

  1. Understand who you are writing for. Read widely within the genre and decide what type of crime fiction you love to read. (Frankly, if you don’t get excited about reading it, why do you want to write it?)
  2. But after you’ve read all those lovely books, don’t try and second guess the market. No one saw the likes of Girl On The Train. The most important thing is to know the genre but write what you want to write.
  3. Watch quality drama as well as reading books. Programmes such as Happy Valley or Line of Duty can teach budding crime writers a lot, despite being delivered via a different medium.
  4. Aim for living, breathing, characters, not cardboard cut-outs. If you are writing another alcoholic PI or police investigator make sure they are so well-rounded they could step right off the page. What is their back story? What made them who they are?
  5. Don’t be afraid to delve into your dark side. Your own imagination is more powerful – and has more twists – than all the CGI in the world. Tap into it and never shy away from those big, bold ideas that make you think, ‘Dare I…?’.
  6. The best twists don’t come hurtling out of nowhere. The really satisfying ones make such perfect sense, you can’t believe you didn’t see them coming.
  7. Remember that conflict is the engine of story-telling. Try to weave some form of conflict into every single scene, every conversation, every plot line.
  8. Think about the ‘why-dunnit’ and not just the ‘who’. The reason psychological thrillers have taken off so much – and helped cause that boom in sales – is that the psychology behind dark deeds makes for a gripping read.
  9. Vary your pace. Sometimes readers need space to breathe, and others they need to be sent hurtling towards the thrilling climax of your story.
  10. Let your setting do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to creating atmosphere. A creepy atmospheric setting can really help rachet up tension.

 

Caroline Green writes best-selling thrillers as Cass Green and teaches City’s Crime and Thriller Writing Short Course.

Book now for the autumn term, starting 3rd October 2023.

Novel Studio Showcase 2023

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

There’s nothing quite like listening to new writing talent and this year’s 2022/23 cohort of Novel Studio students held their own in a fantastic showcase event of their writing, reading their extracts with professional aplomb.

 

The evening began with an overview of the unbelievable list of published alumni including Novel Studio tutor, Kiare Ladner, Deepa Anappara, Hannah Begbie, Harriet Tyce, Elizabeth Chakrabarty, Attiyah Khan, Anna Mazzola and Greg Keen. Next year will also see alumna Lara Haworth’s debut, Monumenta, which will be published in June 2024 and just this week a new announcement about another alumna, Jo Cunningham, whose murder mystery, Death By Numbers, will be out with Constable in August 2024. The Novel Studio is incredibly proud of its alumni and their ongoing successes. You can find out even more about the alumni here.

 

2019 saw the introduction of the Novel Studio scholarship, generously funded by alumna Harriet Tyce. The scholarship provided a fully funded place for one successful applicant to the course from a low-income household. We’re immensely grateful to Harriet for this brilliant scheme which ran for the fourth time this year, and excited that The Book Edit will be continuing the scholarship for a fifth year for the 2023/24 Novel Studio cohort.

 

Alison Halsley

This year was a difficult one emotionally for students and staff. We were all devastated earlier this year when one of our treasured students, Alison Halsley, tragically died. Alison had a darkly comic sense of humour and her lively prose and personality has been missed in class and was missed at the showcase. This year’s showcase anthology is dedicated to her memory. She never failed to make us laugh with her work and we’re very sorry for her loss.

 

In spite of these difficult circumstances, the students managed to remain incredibly focussed and dedicated to their writing as the readings were soon to show.

 

Inspiring them on, we were lucky enough to hear from alumna, Lara Haworth, who joined the event to wish the students well with their ongoing careers, encouraging them to appreciate the nurture and support offered by the Novel Studio during and after the completion of the course. We couldn’t be happier for Lara and we will hold her to the invitation she made to all of the attendees to celebrate at the launch party of her debut in 2024.

Lara Haworth

Filled with Lara’s enthusiasm, the students’ readings kicked off to a fiery start with our first reader, Emily Shamma whose novel The Complicit, moves between London in 2010 and Oxford in the nineties, unravelling a darkly comic tale of love, damage and betrayal. Emily left us reeling from her character’s discovery of his car, burnt and marked by ominous graffiti on the wall behind it. An unnerving but dramatic opening for the talent to come.

 

We left the dodgy North London back street for a tale of two friends in 2000s West England next as author Marc-Anthony Hurr read from his novel, The Millennials. The chat lit up with enthusiasm for Marc-Anthony’s description of childhood friendship and the dizzy descriptions of the onset of epilepsy.

We left love and friendship behind for the acerbic and dangerously anonymous world of social media where a desire for revenge allows an alter ego to take increasing control in the tangible world as Lana Younis read from her novel, Play The Long Game.

 

Lana’s discovery ringing in our ears, we headed to London’s future next, taking a psychic journey into Heidi Ng’s novel, Divination. The idea of a futuristic novel with its roots in the Oracle of Delphi excited us all and we were dazed by our trip into the psychic realm.

Abim Tayo read for us next, sharing an extract from his novel, Dancing in the Snow, set in Lagos. The audience was terrified by the childhood memory of a man shaking a car and smearing it with faeces. It certainly made us all excited to hear what would happen next.

 

Transporting us to the Bucharest Ring Road, we heard from Nico Bechis next as she read from her novel Horse With No Rider, introducing us to casual prostitution and the delights of swearing in Romanian. A haunting and eloquent portrait, we were all hooked.

 

We went from the transactional to the tender mesh of relationships forged in teenage years next as we heard Matthew Triggs read from his novel, ST16. A sentimental kiss in the swirl of light snowfall caught by the soft glow of the street lamps, held us all in unfulfilled longing.

Following the relationship theme, we found ourselves contemplating the possible political complexities of love in Monica Bathiya’s extract from her novel, Middle Ground, next. The subtle shifts of inner thought had us all wondering what would happen to Monica’s characters, whether there was real love between them and even then if it was enough to survive the complexities of post-pandemic Mumbai.

 

Taking us into the glamorous world of the celebrity and business elite next, Gayle Killilea threw us right into the middle of her fast-paced romantic thriller, The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants, as she shared her character Walter’s typical morning routine. The audience chat revealed a rather desperate desire for a night out with Walter, as long as he was paying.

 

We went from fast cars to a more sedate 60th in a pub garden next with Ben O’Donnell as he read from his novel, Sweet Caroline. A wonderfully pitched extract that gave us all Caroline was thinking whilst revealing so much more to the audience, we were left eager to find out what would happen to this seemingly happy family, sensing all was not as it seemed.

 

From family celebration to late night clubbing, we hit the dance floor with Marta Ramos next as she read from her novel, Spaghetti Meatballs. Filled with the energy and rush of youth, we couldn’t get enough of Marta’s extract and were sorry to see her character fall into bed, wishing instead we were speeding through the night on the back of a scooter.

 

Novel Studio Scholarship Winner Sonia Hope read next, taking us from the dance floor to the more sedately curated space of the Library, as she read from her novel, The Archivist. What would happen to these two characters whose first meeting was tinged with the awkwardness of intrigue and desire?

 

Taking us from one archive to another, we went headlong into the digital archive next with our final reader, Charles Williams. He read an extract from his novel, The London Project, giving us a filmic view into the first meeting of two lovers-to-be. Voyeuristic? Perhaps. But he reassured us that it was really ok to watch and listen, afterall, we needed to understand that these characters were all dead.

 

It was an enigmatic and poignant ending to a scintillating night of readings from some extremely talented writers. Thanking the students, the tutors Kiare Ladner and Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, and the Novel Studio Director, Emily Pedder, we also thanked the staff at City, particularly Josie Gleave and Robert Lastman. The audience was also thanked for their great contribution to the night.

 

What a fantastic showcase for the bestselling and prize-winning writers of the future. Go Novel Studio Cohort 2022/23!

And for anyone who wasn’t able to be there you can now watch a recording from the event HERE.

How to be a Rock Star – an interview with City’s Music Business Management tutor David Ambrose

From original bassist with Fleetwood Mac to signing Duran Duran, City’s Music Business Management tutor, David Ambrose, has had a stellar career.  We caught up with him to find out more!

You have had a fascinating life as both a musician and record company executive. When did you first become interested in music?

 

David Ambrose (DA) I was studying Greek at school when I first heard Elvis Presley. It was a wonderful noise. Later my parents asked which instrument I wanted to play and I picked the bass guitar. I started playing the blues. When I left school I went to Byam Shaw Art School (now part of St. Martin’s) where I met Ray Davies (of The Kinks) and a guy called Pete Barden. Pete asked if I wanted to form a band. Rod Stewart was the singer and Mick Fleetwood was also in the band. We were called The Shotgun Express and we signed to EMI. Peter Green joined too and we recorded in Abbey Road Studio 2. We even had a minor hit with a song called Flamingo. I then left the band and joined the Jeff Beck group with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. After that I toured extensively with Cat Stevens. And then, in 1965, Mick Fleetwood asked if I wanted to join a new band, with Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. It was called Fleetwood Mac. I played with them for a bit but I left soon after for difficult financial reasons. It’s a big regret of mine. After that I had some time with Arthur Brown writing some of the Galactic Zoo Dossier and a short time with King Crimson.

 

Why did you decide to move away from playing music to the business side of music?

DA I did lots of touring with various musicians but, ultimately, I felt I wasn’t a good enough musician to be playing with some of the people I was playing with. I’d also had enough of Prog Rock! I began by starting a picture company, which did very well and enabled me to go and work for EMI. Being a musician also helped.

 

How did you get into the industry?

 

DA My dad organised an interview for me at EMI. My father was a formidable figure—Emeritus Professor of Bio Physics, and also a religious lay preacher. I landed the job at EMI in music publishing and was put in a room without windows on Denmark Street. I even had to bring my own tape recorder. But it went well. I had a good relationship with Ian McClintock, who was the A&R man there, and I was soon promoted to catalogue UK publishing.

I worked with Terry Slater and together we signed The Vapours, Tom Robinson, Kate Bush, ACDC, and Paul Young. Later on I made friends with Malcolm McClaren and signed the Sex Pistols. But I got into trouble for that as the Sex Pistols weren’t seen as a band EMI wanted to be associated with. They demoted me and I lost my department and had to climb the greasy pole for the next two years. Luckily, I hit gold when I signed Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I then went over to EMI records with Terry Slater, where we were tasked with sorting things out. We dumped a few acts and signed some big ones, the biggest being Duran Duran. I went to see them play in Birmingham and I just knew. They were the real deal. I later became the Managing Director for MCA records, now Universal, where I signed Transvision Vamp, amongst other acts.

Bass Line

What has been the most memorable part of your career?

DA Being in a sixties band. And being in Madison Square Gardens with Duran Duran, with thousands of screaming fans, when a record executive turned to me and said ‘These guys are the next Beatles.’ That was something.

 

What would you differently if you could do it all over again?

DA My only regret is not staying with Fleetwood Mac

 

How has the industry changed since you first started?

DA The internet. It’s much harder for new acts to break through. They have to tour like nuts to make a fan base. Artists like Adele and Ed Sheeran make money from downloads because they have such a strong fan base. I think the whole royalty rates needs a restructure for new bands.

 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to break into the industry now?

 

David’s memoir, How to be a Rock Star

DA If you’re interested in music publishing or A&R, get yourself down to venues like the Dublin Castle or the latest trendy clubs. Get to know the fraternity, network. You just might find there’s a job going and you get a break. There are also graduate training schemes it’s worth keeping an eye out for. If you want to get into marketing, spend time as a runner in an ad agency.

 

And finally, you have written a memoir about your life in music. What was the experience of writing it like?

 

DA I’d never written before but a friend thought I had a story. I wrote the book with Lesley Ann Jones. I told her stories and she wrote them down and shaped them. I really enjoyed the experience. We’d meet up in places like the Chelsea Arts Club or the BFI and I’d talk over my time in the industry.

 

Thank you so much, David.

 

For anyone interested in reading more about David’s fascinating life, his memoir is available HERE.

 

David’s next Music Business short course will run at City from January 2023. Click HERE to register your interest.

 

City Writes Summer 2023 Event Competition Winners Announced

We’re delighted to share the winners of this term’s City Writes Competition who will be reading their work alongside the fantastic, Emma Grae at 7pm on the 5th July, on Zoom. You can register to come along and listen to them here.

 

This term’s winners are:

 Helen Ferguson for ‘My Grandmother’s Piano’, an extract from her translation memoir.

Helen Ferguson

Helen is a translator of Russian and German. Her first piece of writing was published in the Lighthouse Literary Journal. She completed The Novel Studio in 2020 and is now working on a translator memoir under the mentorship of Megan Bradbury.

Richard Hastings

Richard Hastings for ‘Jumble’, an extract from his novel-in-progress.

Richard had a successful career in TV (BBC, ITV, C4) before the City Novel Writing and Longer Works short course in summer 2021 inspired him to embark on a major life change. He left the television industry and returned to university (after a 31-year gap!) to take the First Novel MA at St. Mary’s University, London, graduating in Spring 2023 with distinction. Richard is currently working on the third draft of his first novel, which he is hoping to submit to literary agents (sometime!) in the Autumn.

Kate Henderson

Kate Henderson for her story ‘What Happened at Judith’s’.

Kate is an alumna of the Certificate in Novel Writing (now The Novel Studio) and Writers’ Workshop. Growing up in quiet streets in towns where nothing much happened, her writing likes to ask what might be going on unseen next door, or across the way, and casts an eye on the unexpected in the seemingly everyday. Her novel-in-progress, All We Have to Go On is set in a luxury retreat for the cryogenically frozen and follows an artist as she tries to remember who she is and comply with her rehabilitation in a world where she can’t be sure she’s safe.

Kate works in professional services and lives in Surrey with her partner and daughters.

Camille Poole

Camille Poole for her story, ‘Brown Male’.

Camille found her way to City Writes through the Introduction to Copywriting course. She works for a Milton Keynes’ based community charity whilst drafting her WIP, a new adult novel which explores themes of othering and generational curses.

Emily Shamma for ‘Kate’, an extract from her novel-in-progress,

Emily Shamma

Emily is a City periodical journalism and Novel Studio graduate. A former Vogue Talent Contest winner, she started her career as a fashion journalist, before moving into business journalism. Following this, Emily worked in the City, then as a Director at Tesco for seventeen years. But her passion has always been writing, and she now writes creatively for pleasure—alongside running her own business, navigating a hectic London family life, and stoking a serious restaurant, theatre and gallery addiction.

Lana Younis for an extract from her novel-in-progress, Play The Long Game.

Lana, a proud native of Yorkshire and coincidentally born on National Yorkshire Day, embarked on her writing journey during her rebellious teenage years. In 2022, she embraced her passion by enrolling on the Novel Writing and Longer Works course at City University. She swiftly joined The Novel Studio to explore the realms of literary dark humour. Her debut novel, Play The Long Game, serves as a testament to her love for writing unreliable narrators and morally ambiguous characters driven by their relentless pursuit of personal gain.

Lana Younis

These talented authors will all be reading their winning pieces on the 5th July over Z  oom at 7pm. Register here to join them and hear from prize-winning alumna, Emma Grae. From revenge through carefully preserved mementos all the way to the casually observed affairs of the neighbours, City Writes Summer Event 2023 promises to have you on the edge of your seat. We can’t wait to see you there.

Why You Should Learn Arabic – Top Tips from our Arabic tutor Ahmed El-Shareif

Arabic tutor Ahmed El-Shareif

City Short Courses has a dynamic range of online language courses, which are a great way to immerse yourself in a foreign language. We cover everything from French to Japanese, Italian to Korean. With over 422 millions speakers worldwide, demand for fluent Arabic speakers is on the rise. We caught up with City’s Arabic tutor, Ahmed El-Shareif to find out more about this fascinating language and his approach to teaching.

  1. Please tell us about yourself

My name is Ahmed El-Shareif and I am a native Arabic speaker from Egypt. I got my First Master of Arts in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from SOAS, University of London in 2012. I am currently finishing my second  MA in academic practice at City, University of London. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a qualified external examiner and an External Examiner for Pearson Education, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and other government establishments.

I am also interested in the development of Arabic teaching, and I am always looking for new ways to improve my teaching methods. I design and run training courses for the development of Arabic teachers abroad and in the UK and I am a member of several professional organisations and regularly attend conferences and workshops. For example, I have attended several workshops in Texas, USA and Spain. I am a member of the British Association of Teachers of Arabic (BATA).

I am passionate about teaching Arabic and I believe that it is an important language to learn. I am committed to providing my students with a high-quality education that will help them achieve their language learning goals.

2. What do you teach at City?

I currently teach Arabic at City, University of London’s School of Languages (Bayes Business School & LGPModules) and for their evening online short courses. I have previously taught at Suffolk College, Westminster University, International House London, Kings College London and SOAS.

3. Why do you think it’s important to learn Arabic?

Arabic is a major world language. It is the official language of 22 countries, and it is spoken by over 420 million people worldwide. This makes it an important language for business, diplomacy, and travel.

Learning Arabic can help you understand Arab culture. Arabic is a rich and complex language that is closely tied to the culture of the Middle East. By learning Arabic, you can gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating culture.

Learning Arabic can open up new career opportunities. There is a growing demand for Arabic speakers in many industries, including business, government, and education. By learning Arabic, you can make yourself more competitive in the job market.

Learning Arabic can also be a rewarding experience. Arabic is a beautiful and challenging language to learn. The process of learning Arabic can be a rewarding experience that will enrich your life in many ways.

City University is a great place to learn Arabic. The university has a strong Arabic program with experienced and qualified lecturers. The university also offers a variety of Arabic courses to meet the needs of students of all levels.

4. What are your top three tips for learning Arabic?

  • Set goals. What do you want to achieve by learning Arabic? Do you want to be able to read and write Arabic, or do you want to be able to speak and understand Arabic? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start to develop a plan to reach your goals.
  • Find a learning method that works for you. There are many ways to learn Arabic. Some people prefer to take classes, while others prefer to learn independently. There are also many different resources available, such as books, apps, and websites. Experiment with different methods and resources until you find one that you enjoy and that helps you learn effectively.
  • Be patient. Learning a new language takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep practicing and you will eventually reach your goals.

Here are some additional tips that may help you learn Arabic:

  • Immerse yourself in the language. One of the best ways to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. This means surrounding yourself with the language as much as possible. You can do this by watching Arabic movies and TV shows, listening to Arabic music, and reading Arabic books and articles.
  • Find a language partner. A language partner is someone who is fluent in Arabic and who is willing to help you practice speaking and understanding the language. You can find language partners online or through local language schools and community centres.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes when they are learning a new language. The important thing is to not let this discourage you. Just keep practicing and you will eventually get better.

5. Why would you recommend learning Arabic ?

Business: Arabic is the official language of many countries in the Middle East, which is a region with a growing economy. By learning Arabic, you can open up new business opportunities for yourself and your company.

Diplomacy: Arabic is the language of Islam, and it is spoken by many people in the Middle East. By learning Arabic, you can improve your understanding of the Middle East and its culture, which can be helpful in a diplomatic career.

Travel: Arabic is spoken in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East. By learning Arabic, you can make your travels to these regions more enjoyable and easier. 22 countries speak Arabic.

Education: Arabic is the language of many important works of literature, philosophy, and science. By learning Arabic, you can gain access to this vast body of knowledge.

Personal enrichment: Learning a new language can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Arabic is a beautiful and challenging language to learn, and the process of learning it can help you to grow as a person.

The Quran was revealed in Arabic, so it is important to learn the language in order to understand it fully. However, at the moment City only offers Modern Standard Arabic (MSN)  which is spoken and understood by all.

Thank you so much, Ahmed!

To find out more about learning Arabic at City, visit our course page HERE.

For all City’s language short courses visit our home page HERE.

And for all our short online courses visit HERE.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming: What It Is And How It Can Improve The Way We Do Business

by Helena Dias

I bet if you were told that you could train your mind and connect with others, without saying a single word, you wouldn’t believe it.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP—simply put, an ‘Instruction manual for the mind’—doesn’t teach us how to read or control minds. Instead it teaches us how to deal with our own emotions and how to build rapport with others. Through a simple set of tools, you can improve the way you see yourself and others and, in turn, the way people see and interact with you.

Background

Therapeutic Intervention?

I first came across NLP when I was battling anxiety and Nyctophobia—fear of the dark. I’d tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, yoga and meditation. All helped, but only for a short period, after which the negative feelings would always come back. A friend suggested I try hypnotherapy and I started seeing a therapist that combined hypnotherapy with NLP. After the session he would give me techniques to practice on my own and for the first time I felt empowered and in charge of my own recovery process.

Seeing the results in myself led me to start my own NLP practitioner journey with the aim of helping others.

NLP was developed in the 1970s in California by psychologist Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder. They believed it was possible to combine techniques from different forms of therapy and self-help practices to create a tool kit for the mind.

Take our fight or flight response. It was designed to aid survival in dangerous or threatening situations, and yet most of us are no longer in constant contact with danger. We become fearful of something going wrong even when we have no proof that it will go wrong. We develop phobias of things that can’t really harm us, and we create ideas and thoughts in our brain to counter these phobias, manifesting anxiety, stress and fears in physical form. NLP teaches us to use our brain power in a way that can dismantle these ideas and thoughts and impact us more positively.

How NLP benefits individuals

NLP can increase our self-worth and confidence leading to better communication, influence, and leadership skills. It works by changing the way we talk (linguistic) to, and about, ourselves (neuro-brain).

In NLP the use of the word “don’t” is discouraged. It is based on the belief that our brains find it difficult to process negative statements. We respond better when we think about the things we want to happen, rather than those we don’t.

For example, you could approach the following situation in two ways:

Negative: I’m prepared, therefore I won’t fail this presentation.

Positive: I’m prepared, therefore I will give a great presentation.

To negate a fear, first we must think of that fear and make it more present in our mind. For example, if I tell you to not think of a blue tree you first need to think of the blue tree to tell your brain to not think of it. If we can visualise our success instead, we present ourselves in a more confident way, leading others to trust us.

How NLP benefits our dealings with others:

Body Talks?

When we consider that 93% of our communication is non-verbal, it makes sense to pay attention both to our own body language and others’, and use our observations to help build rapport.

When we meet people for the first time, we may have the feeling that we’ve met them before. We feel comfortable around them. NLP teaches us to label this experience body language matching or mirroring.

We can then use those labels and knowledge to connect and build rapport with others. For example, if you are in a meeting and you want to connect with the person you are presenting to, observe their body language and try mirroring it by moving your hands at a similar speed, smiling, or leaning in the same direction as the other person. The idea is that this will bring us towards the other person’s world and help them feel more comfortable and more open to connect with us.

We can also use other people’s body language to help us determine the words we choose. For example, through eye patterns we can determine which ‘sense’ is more dominant for that person, and how they might be thinking. NLP classifies these senses into Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic.

When we are asked questions, we go to our brain “draws” to pick the information before we answer. Even though the action might take less than a second, after a few questions it becomes easier to identify which ‘sense’ the other person is using and adapt our language to better connect.

Connecting the Dots

A person who often looks down to the left when asked a question would be classed in NLP terms as more kinaesthetic, i.e. they are more connected to feelings and actions. When describing something to that person we may get better results if we talk about how an experience made us feel: ‘I came out of the house and I felt the sun on my face.’

By using language that others identify with we manage to connect and go into their world, leaving them more open to what we have to say.

 

In conclusion

NLP can produce results almost instantly but to see long-term benefits it requires practice.

The beauty of it is that we can come back to it at any time and any place. It helps us understand ourselves, be more confident and calmer under pressure. The more in control of our emotions we are the more we can connect with others.

Our Writing for Business and Copywriting courses include the opportunity for students to pitch and be published on our blog. This week’s blog was pitched and written by Writing for Business student Helena Dias. Helena is a Conference Organiser for UNISON and has been working in events for more than ten years. She is currently training to become an NLP practitioner with Toby and Kate McCartney.

For more on all our writing courses visit our home page HERE.

What Are the Most Useful Skills for Adapting to AI?

Intelligent life?

 

Technology is advancing so rapidly, it can sometimes feel bewildering, especially when thinking about what the future jobs market might look like. How do we ensure we keep pace and equip ourselves to adapt to the change? Read on for the subjects that could help you future-proof your career in the AI frontier.

Become an Expert in Data Analysis

Data has become supremely valuable, not least for its importance in training AI. Gaining expertise in data analysis is a smart way to stand out in the jobs market, and stay relevant. City has a range of courses designed to help you gain knowledge of, and insight into, data analysis. From Introduction to Data Analytics and Machine Learning with Python to our new Spreadsheet Data Analysis and Automation with Python  or Introduction to R for Data Analysis, our short courses in data analysis will give you a head start in this rapidly changing landscape.

Codebreaking

Colour coded

Sometimes known as programming, coding is essential for anyone wanting to work effectively with AI. City has a great range of short coding courses in all the major programming languages. Take our courses in C/C++, or the ever-popular Python short courses. You can also learn JavaScript or Java, used by 42.9% and 37.8% of web developers respectively working in artificial intelligence or machine learning, according to a recent survey by Evans Data Corporation.

Softly, Softly

It’s not all about technical skills. Working with AI requires soft skills too, from communication to creativity. Our short courses in Presentation SkillsEffective Communication and Stoicism will improve your interpersonal skills, while our vibrant range of  writing courses will kickstart your creativity. Adaptability is also a key soft skill, vital for coping with the pace of technology change; our highly interactive Leadership and Management course will sharpen your team-leading skills and ensure you get the most from your teams.

Keep it Safe

AI systems often deal with sensitive data and are vulnerable to cyber attacks. It’s important for businesses and individuals to understand the risks involved, and learn how best to mitigate them. City’s Cybersecurity Fundamentals short course provides a great foundation in the cyber security domains of networking, security engineering, risk management, incident response, governance control and legal practicalities.

Get Developing

Web development is an important skill in working with AI. From visualising AI outputs, to integrating AI with other systems, being skilled in web development will ensure you can utilise AI models in the most powerful ways. City’s short course in web development will teach you how to install Bootstrap and how to use its key components most effectively. Our Building Websites short course will enable you to plan, design, develop and publish a website that adheres to current industry standards and best practices, while our PHP course is best suited for back-end web development and can be embedded into HTML.

Storytelling

Turn the Page

As technology advances, it becomes more important than ever to differentiate what makes us human. Storytelling is one of our oldest skills, and remains an integral part of our lives. City’s short creative writing courses are designed to help you understand how stories are built, how they’re written and how they can be edited. Try our introduction to creative writing course or learn how to craft non-fiction with our Narrative Non-Fiction or Memoir Writing course.  For our full range, visit our home page HERE.

 

For all City’s short courses visit our home page HERE.

Top Nine Courses to Help you Develop your Digital Skills

The digital revolution is well and truly under way, and it’s transforming the way we live, and work. According to the World Economic Forum’s report on the future of jobs, 97 million high-skilled jobs will be created by 2025, and almost all will require strong digital skills. From reducing the digital skills gap, to fostering innovation and increasing productivity, it’s now more important than ever for employees to acquire digital skills, and for employers to invest in those skills for their teams. Read on for City’s top nine courses to help you develop your digital skills and remain competitive within today’s ever changing jobs market.

1.Introduction to Data Analytics and Machine Learning with Python

The fields of data analytics and machine learning are vast and fast expanding. By leveraging the most widely used Python libraries, this short online evening course will give you the foundations to enable you to get a junior position as a data analyst and/or machine learning engineer.

2.Creating Mobile Apps with Android

There’s An App For That

There’s an app for that. City’s Android app developer short course gives you a comprehensive understanding of the Android development platform and the skills required to develop and publish your own applications. By the end of thecourse you will have created your own Android app which you can publish in Google Play.

3.Digital Marketing Fundamentals

Spread The Word

Digital platforms have become the primary medium for marketing and it’s now essential for all marketers to have good digital knowledge. Our short course will equip you with the principle digital skills required to ensure you know how to maximise your marketing across websites, social media and digital advertising..

4.Writing for the Web and Digital Media

Being able to write effectively for digital will give you the edge so you can attract, and keep, the attention of your online audience and successfully present written content. The course also covers editing and proof-reading skills, best practice for titles and subheadings, blogging, editorial planning, content marketing and SEO.

5.Building Websites with HTML5 and CSS3

Having your own online presence is fast becoming an essential in today’s jobs market. City’s short course will teach you how to plan, design, develop and publish your own fully functional website which adheres to current industry standards and best practices.

6.Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Cybercrime is a growing global menace costing companies millions in lost revenue each year. This online short course will ground you in the essential cyber security practices, such as networking, security engineering, risk management, incident response, governance control and legal practicalities.

Securing Cyberspace?

7.Photoshop: An Introduction

Being able to create and manipulate a digital image can increase your productivity and enhance your workflow. On this short online courseyou’ll be given a comprehensive overview of Photoshop—the industry’s most flexible photo editing software—and learn the fundamentals of digital imaging, including how to make your own digital creations.

8.Digital Filmmaking: An Introduction

The digital revolution has transformed the way films can be made. On this short course, led by an award-winning film director, producer and screenwriter, you’ll be guided through the processes of making a short film. You’ll also develop a good understanding of the creative interconnection between writing, shooting and editing.

9.Introduction to Branding

Aimed at entrepreneurs, small business owners, communications and marketing professionals or anyone interested in learning how to communicate their brand more effectively, this short course will explore a full introduction to making your online brand a success—from online brand strategy to writing on-brand social media messaging and digital marketing.

For more on our short courses provision, visit our home page HERE.

On Brand

Or come along to our virtual Open Evening next week on 28 March to talk to one of our coordinators where you can also try out a free taster course.  Register HERE.

Tips to help master the Art of Public Speaking

Ever been asked to make a public speech? Perhaps your best friend wants you to give a speech at his wedding. Or your boss wants you to present to the team. Just the thought of standing up in front of others can be daunting and may activate a fight or flight response. Rather than run for the hills, read on for our top seven tips and tricks for how to calm your nerves and deliver a great public speech.

  1. Preparation – Research, research, research. Make sure you know your topic inside out. Tailor your speech to your audience and try to prepare for any questions that might arise.
  2. Keep it Simple – Practice your speech by reading aloud, even recording yourself to analyse your delivery and body language. If you stumble over your words or struggle to take a breath, it may mean that your sentences are too long and over-complicated. Avoid technical jargon and keep your message clear and concise. Less is definitely more.
  3. Connect with your Audience – Start by grounding yourself in the moment, feet firmly placed on the floor. Breathe deeply into your diaphragm. Look up and out into the audience. Make eye contact, even if just with one person. This will help you to deliver your message more powerfully and effectively.
  4. Use the Power of Storytelling – Stories persuade. They arouse a reader’s energy and emotions. They’re how we make sense of the world, and they’re how we best remember. Make sure your speech includes stories that illustrate your message and keep the audience engaged.

    Persuade me

  5. Don’t Forget to Smile – All joking aside, humour can break the ice and help to relax an audience, making them more receptive to the message you’re trying to convey.

    Smile!

  6. Visualise – pictures can be a very effective way to enhance your speech. Powerpoint is your friend here, but heed marketing guru Seth Godin’s advice and don’t just use slides to repeat what you’re saying. Instead ‘create slides that demonstrate, with emotional proof, that what you’re saying is true not just accurate.’ For example, Godin suggests, if you’re making a speech about pollution, use an image of dead birds to powerfully underline your argument.
  7. Be Authentic – this is possibly the hardest tip to action but also the most important. Bringing your whole self to a speech – think Brene Brown’s vulnerability – can be key to communicating your message and resonating with your audience. Try Phil Stutz’s (see Jonah Hill’s Netflix documentary for more on Stutz and his ground-breaking ‘tools’) tool for cultivating what he calls Inner Authority to help bring your authentic self to the table.

    Jonah Hill and Phil Stutz

 

For more on the art of public speaking, why not try our Presentation Skills short course with Karen Glossop, our new Stoicism – becoming the best version of you short course, or our Effective Communication short course.

 

For more on our Business and Management short courses visit our home page HERE.

 

For all our short courses, visit our home page HERE.

 

Or come along to our Open Evening on March 28. It’s all online, so you can join from the comfort of your home. There are free tasters in Leadership and Management amongst others. Or you can simply speak to our Business Coordinator and Head of Short Courses, William Richardson, to see which course would be the best fit for you.

 

Open Evening 28 March

Attendance is free but you’ll need to register HERE.

The top five computing languages – what they are and why you need to learn them

Computing languages are essential for anyone looking to work in today’s growing technology. But with new languages being developed every day it can be difficult to keep up to date and decide which to learn.

Read on for the top five computing languages you should be learning now, and why…

Speaking my language?

  1. Python – Python is still the number one computing language, and for good reason. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in many different fields, from machine learning to data science and web development. It’s also easier to learn than some of the other languages due to its unique structure and syntax. Plus there are a ton of resources for those new to the language.
  2. JavascriptJavascript is a front-end language used to create interactive web applications. If you are looking to work in web development or mobile app development, this is the language for you.
  3. JavaJava is a back-end language used in many large corporations. Employers value the versatility and security of Java and it’s an excellent language to learn to improve your job prospects.
  4. PHP/MySQLPHP/MySQL is a widely used open-source scripting language especially suited for back-end web development. It can be embedded into HTML and is very popular within the industry. PHP has been used to create many websites, including Facebook, Wikipedia, Slack, Etsy and WordPress.
  5. C and C++C and C++ are languages often used in game development and system programming. They are both very powerful and can be challenging to learn, but invaluable for anyone looking to progress within the technology industry.

Improve your prospects

If you’d like to find out more about learning a computing language and how it can open up your job prospects and ability to progress within the technology industry, come along to our Open Evening on March 28. It’s all online, so you can join from the comfort of your home. There are free tasters available for Python and Database Design, or you can simply speak to our Computing Coordinator to see which course would be the best fit for you. Register HERE.

Open Evening March 28th 2023

For our full range of Computing Courses, visit our home page HERE.

 

Or visit our main short course home page HERE for all the subject we offer.

 

 

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