Posts about Bootcamp Advice

A Day in the Life of a Coding Bootcamp Student

May 21, 2019

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

  • 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.

Demos

  • 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.

Career Services

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.  

Soft Skills

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.  

To explore more on our Career Services, check it out here.  

Culture

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.

Alumni Wisdom

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.


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!

-Chandler Keyes, Junior Fullstack Software Developer | Interaction Gaming


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.

-Sam Mazzola, Software Developer | United Shore

Tips for Filling out a Coding Bootcamp Application

March 7, 2019

Are you wondering how to make your application stand out?  Curious what our Admissions team looks for? Our hope is this blog can send you in the right direction in creating the best application possible!  

Our coding bootcamps prepare students for a complete career change into tech.  Many of our students start in entry-level Software Developer roles after graduation.  Our bootcamps cover lessons in both technical skills as well as career search prep, through our career services team. We’ll explore three different ways to ensure you’re leaving the best impression in your application process: Preparation, Logistics and Things to Consider.

Grand Circus’ Tips to Complete an Awesome Coding Bootcamp Application

Preparing to Apply

From the beginning to the end of your journey, taking bootcamp seriously is imperative.  This journey starts before you even apply! In applications, we look for students that have taken the time to put themselves on the right path to be a successful bootcamp student. When preparing to fill out your application responses, think about these questions and how you can incorporate the answers into your application:

  • Why is Grand Circus a good fit for you?
  • What characteristics and traits make you a good fit for a coding bootcamp?
  • What inspires you to have a career in tech?
  • Are you passionate about learning to code?  What is your reasoning for wanting to attend a bootcamp?  If coding is not something you believe you’re truly passionate about, you must consider if you will be happy in a career in technology.  
  • Have you had any coding experience (of any kind!)? If not, you might want to consider taking one of our free classes or a workshop with us. Although they aren’t required to apply, it’s a great step in preparing!

Other ways to prepare include doing your research on Grand Circus and Coding Bootcamps, our blog is a great place to start!  

Taking a free class or workshop first to get a feel for our classroom.  Taking a class with us can help you to understand the Grand Circus learning environment and if coding is right for you.  Getting a feel for our classroom can also help you determine if a Full Time Bootcamp or After Hours Bootcamp is best for you.  Full Time Bootcamps run are 12 weeks long, Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm, After Hours Bootcamps run for 26 weeks, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday, 6:30pm – 10pm.  Both bootcamps cover the same amount of content, After Hours tends to be a better option for those who hope to keep their current full-time positions while attending a bootcamp.

Logistics of the Coding Bootcamp Application

The details matter!  Although it might not seem like it, small things like spelling, grammar and using complete sentences can impact your application.  Small details will help the first impression our application team has of you. A few small tips that will make a huge difference:

  • Take your time, don’t rush through the process and think about your answers carefully.
  • Fill out the application on a desktop or laptop, rather than a mobile device.
  • Have someone review it and read it over, it’s always helpful to have an extra set of eyes before you press submit!

Things to Consider before a Coding Bootcamp

Becoming a bootcamp student can be a big adjustment and major time commitment, thinking through these questions can help determine if you’re ready to apply.  Bootcamps take a lot of work beyond the walls of the classroom, so there are logistics to consider to make this possible.

  • What will you do if your application is accepted?  At this time, you should start to think about life planning, financing, career options and beyond.  Think about how your life is going to change while attending a bootcamp with us, what obstacles might you have to overcome?  
  • This is our very first impression of you as a student.  Often times short answers with little to no details cannot provide us enough information to begin to get to know you.  Think about how you can portray who you are in the application, what is going to make you a good student at Grand Circus?
  • Have you had coding experience?  If so, make sure that’s portrayed in the application.

We’re looking forward to reading your awesome applications!  If you have any questions, reach out to us at Info@GrandCircus.co

Programming Languages: Which Should I Learn?

December 5, 2018

Interested in learning to code? Determining which of the many languages to learn can be challenging, but we’re here to help!

For our potential career changing students: we encourage making a list of companies you ideally would like to work for and research what language they hire for.  However, once you learn one language, it’s easier to learn others!

Front-End vs. Back-End (Java & C# .NET)

Below, two of our staff members share their experiences to give you a better sense of what type of projects are involved with both front-end and back-end.  (more…)

Mastering the Coding Bootcamp Interview

November 20, 2018

You’ve done it. After weeks of careful research and planning you’ve finally completed your application to a coding bootcamp and taken the next step on your journey to a career in tech. But as you finally build up the courage to hit submit, you can’t help but think: “what’s next?”

While the application is an important part of gaining admission into a coding bootcamp, it is just one step in a larger process that allows tech training companies like Grand Circus to get to know you as a person, a professional and a student. With the application complete, it’s time for you to start thinking about thinking about the next important step: the interview. (more…)

Alumni Wisdom Series: What to do After a Coding Bootcamp

September 19, 2018

Coding bootcamps are designed to train you in the skills necessary to become a software developer. But, what happens after the program is over, graduation is done and you’re on the search for your new career?

Bootcamp: it’s a marathon, it’s a long-haul flight, it’s an intellectual feat. And once you’re done, it’s easy to become dizzy with the amount of free time and flexibility your schedule now has. While rest is certainly well-needed, it’s important not to let your new skills slide. This is, after all, the beginning of your journey.

We sought advice from alumni on how to best use your time post-bootcamp time: How to keep learning and keep growing as developer.

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Alumni Wisdom Series: Our Favorite Coding Resources

September 4, 2018

Whether you’re new to programming or already working in tech, coding resources to continue your growth are vital. A coding bootcamp is a great learning experience, but your growth as a programmer should always continue. Learning new skills after graduation is essential, both on the job and independently. There are a world of free and affordable resources available to developers just like you. Here are a few alumni favorites!

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Alumni Wisdom Series: Feeling Like a Fraud? Tips to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

July 20, 2018

It’s easy to feel intimidated, even when you’ve demonstrated success. A feeling of “I don’t belong” or “I’m not good enough to be here.” This feeling has a name—imposter syndrome, and it makes it hard for people to really own their successes. Imposter syndrome is common among even the most successful people, including Grand Circus alumni. Even wildly successful celebrities, like Tom Hanks and Tina Fey, have expressed feeling of self-doubt. 

Throughout coding bootcamps, we talk a lot about imposter syndrome, having a growth mindset and the importance of understanding that you do belong here, you are good enough and you can do it.

Here’s their best advice for combating imposter syndrome and embracing the skills and abilities you have.

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Alumni Wisdom Series: Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Coding Bootcamp

July 17, 2018

You’re gearing up for bootcamp—you’ve taken classes, passed unit one and made sure your technical bases are covered. But, have you thought about how to prepare for life outside of bootcamp as well?

Joining a coding bootcamp is a big commitment, but one worth the time and financial investment. It requires support from others, solid organization and some preparation that you might not be thinking about.

Never fear! We have the wisdom of Grand Circus alumni (and one program manager) en masse to share with you. They’ve gone through a bootcamp and can share their best advice for not just finishing a bootcamp, but being your best self, the whole time. (more…)