The idea of getting back in a classroom setting can be daunting, but the Grand Circus learning team works hard to make sure the classroom can be a successful and positive environment for each bootcamp student. Many of our students are changing their careers and will need time to adjust being back in the classroom.
The days are broken up into multiple sections in order to keep the material interesting and allow students to have a hands-on experience. Everyone learns differently and with different styles, the learning team works to cater towards each style. In education it is recognized that there are seven learning styles, the graphic below helps explain each of these. Support from instructors, TAs, program managers and the Grand Circus staff can be found at every stage!
Elements of the Classroom
Knowing that not everyone learns the same way, the classroom learning is broken up into different sections, Learn New Things, Labs and Demos.
Learn New Things
- Here, the instructor teaches the concepts and demonstrates code examples for the class.
- The class is then given exercises that reflect the material and give them practice either pair-programming or white-boarding with a partner.
- Labs are assigned daily to give the students real-life, applicable practice to master the concepts.
- The instructor or TA grade labs each week and to give the students feedback on their progress and to help them further improve their skills as developers.
- Students demo their labs and other projects in front of their classmates often. This gives the students the practice talking about their code and their development process so that when it comes time to explain their code to employers or teammates, it’s a smooth and seamless transition.
- The culmination of this demo practice at bootcamp is Demo Day, when students have the opportunity to present their projects to employers! These final projects are worked on in groups over the last few weeks of bootcamp and give students a final piece of work to add to their portfolios.
Grand Circus takes a holistic approach to career services to support both job seekers and career changers. These services are not generally what you would learn in school, and include the ability to sell yourself, act with confidence and grow your individualized network. Services throughout bootcamp include Weekly Soft Skill Sessions, Career One-on-Ones, Tech Wednesday & Coffee with Cody, Resume & LinkedIn Edits, Mock Interviews, Company Info Sessions, and Demo Day.
Weekly Soft Skill sessions help students excel in non-technical aspects of the job search process. Soft skills differentiate candidates in the interview process and in the workforce. These sessions include lessons and discussions on Imposter Syndrome, Career Exploration, Job Search Strategy, Resumes and LinkedIn, Interview Prep, and Professionalism.
Culture is a huge part of the Grand Circus experience, it’s what separates our community from the rest. A quick glimpse of this is evident in the fact that during the bootcamps, our staff works hard to check in with students and their well-being and progress. Program Managers regularly meet one-on-one with students to check-in and make sure they are on track, but also to receive any emotional or motivational support they may need as well. Instructors and Teaching Assistants also have regular one-on-ones with their students. Beyond the classroom, our staff works to create a fun, inclusive, learning environment that fosters community. Affinity groups as well as community building activities and icebreakers are common practices at Grand Circus. Our culture positively impacts our students on a daily basis, we invite you to dive deeper into our culture in our When You’re Here, You’re Family: The Culture of Grand Circus blog.
We asked some of our alumni what their bootcamp experience was like and how they felt on a day-to-day basis, here are some of their responses.
-Chandler Keyes, Junior Fullstack Software Developer | Interaction Gaming
My day-to-day bootcamp experience consisted of a lot of coding and learning. Each day we’d complete coding exercises and learn new programming concepts through lectures. After we were taught something new, we were given the chance to code on our own and work with our classmates to solve a problem/exercise. At the end of the day, we were given the chance to ask any questions to our instructor or get after-school help. Working as hard as we did each day allowed us to build our soft-skills and become great programmers!
-Sam Mazzola, Software Developer | United Shore
Our typical day-to-day started with a demo based on your homework from the night before, so you can see how someone else solved the same problem as you. Followed by a lesson/lecture in the morning most of the time not coding (at least in the beginning) I loved that Dr. K did this so that we could really focus on the key concepts. In the afternoon we had an exercise/lab based off of what you had learned that day. I loved that because it helped reinforce what you learned and then applied it as code. We had time to work with our instructor, TA and peers and normally we had homework due the next morning.