Posts about Career

Women in Tech: DEVELOP(her) Scholarship and Bootcamp Field Notes

August 23, 2017

While there were dozens of men who invented, improved and created the first computers, women were an essential and fundamental part of the development of modern programming. Today women are a presence the tech industry sorely lacks and sorely needs.

Each of us is fighting a whirlwind of career and job challenges that are often hard to wrap our strengths around. Such challenges are particularly fundamental to the experiences of women in the workplace. Those challenges are further magnified by the minority gap in tech. The DEVELOP(her) scholarship is our way of being responsible stewards of the coding knowledge we have at Grand Circus. It’s a scholarship and bootcamp combo that are awarded to women who want to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors (Grace Hopper, anyone?).

The DEVELOP(her) recipients train in the coding skills necessary to launch careers in tech, and participate in the tech industry’s growth.

In celebration of women in tech, let’s take a look at the bootcamp field notes from last cohort’s DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipients. We’ll start with Lhea and Lydia, who completed the Java bootcamp.  

 

Lhea Copeland, Java Student
Mid-semester Field Notes

DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient

“Honey-child-let-me-tell-you, takingGrand Circus’ Java Bootcamp has been the best decision that I have ever made in my life.

The fact that it is the best decision of my life does not imply that it has been an easy experience. This life as a Black woman in tech has been, as Talib Kweli once said, a Beautiful Struggle.

During our first week of bootcamp, my classmates and I took a Soft Skills class on “The Impostor Syndrome”.  I realized immediately that I suffer from a severe case. The first week of bootcamp was intense because inside my head I wondered: what do my classmates think of Black folk? Do my classmates think I am as smart as them? Will anyone want to work with me? Does Grand Circus regret choosing me?

My fears, my imposter syndrome, were so strong that it sometimes distracted me from paying attention to my instructor.

And I realized, as a Black woman in tech, I will always be one of a very few Blacks. I will always be one of a very few women. This fear that I am not good enough, smart enough, skilled enoughor the fear that others will not SEE me as good enough, smart enough or skilled enoughis one that I must face. And I must face it soon.

Grand Circus has been a wonderful experience for me because I am learning more than just Java. I am learning how step outside of my comfort zone and present my code to an audience. I am learning how to assert myself in the presence of men, assert myself in the presence of whites. And, I am learning that I am not always right; my way is not always the best way. I am learning how to take feedback. I am learning how to take criticism.

Learning to be confident in myself and the code that I write has been the most challenging part of the bootcamp.

The most rewarding part has been getting over my “Imposter Syndrome”. Another woman who received a DEVELOP(her) scholarship told me that she loves my tweets and that she’s checked out my GitHub and she’s impressed with my code. That meant THE WORLD to me. My teachers told me that I have a good grasp of object oriented programming. That meant THE WORLD to me. During soft skills, I presented my elevator pitch to the entire cohort, all three bootcamps.

And they clapped. They were impressed.

After 4 weeks of bootcamp, I can finally say, I am smart enough. I am good enough. I deserve a seat at the table.

And I am so thankful to Grand Circus for giving me the opportunity to prove myself.

I am so thankful for how Grand Circus has changed my life.

Lydia Latocki, Java Student
Mid-bootcamp Field Notes

Midway mark: The bigger picture is not so fuzzy.
Midway through GC-Java Bootcamp and our secondary focus has been on gearing up for the job search and the interview process. I am seeing the bigger picture more clearly now in week five, which was not the case the second-week into this endeavor. During the earlier stages of bootcamp looking through job boards, my vision of career path and job placement were similar to walking into Namaste Flavours Indian Restaurant of Farmington during the lunch buffet, immediately taking in all the delicious aromas, previewing the buffet and not knowing what was inside any of the interesting colored dishes right in front of me. Where to start?? What if it is not as tasty as the one right next to it? Will it be too hot?? Not spicy enough?? Am I taking too long to decide while the restaurant fills with seasoned patronswill all the best goodies be gone before I take my portions?? What if I put too much on my plate??DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient

Fortunately, I love Indian cuisine and am not afraid to try pleasing aromatic dishes no matter how crazy they look initially. With the help of Cody Grant, GC Engagement Manager, pointing to a great article covering the variety of roles, skills needed and titles, I began to understand various job postings and company profiles more clearly. Many titles in the article did not match what is happening in Detroit, but the roles and skills are similar. I could more clearly match all the variety of topics we are touching on in Java Bootcamp to the day-to-day description of positions on job boards. This began to clarify the tech industry workflow and where I may fit in as an Entry-Level Java Developer.

The next few weeks will likely be stressful for me as I try to gain facetime with employers and they review my github entry-level code. The dominant fear from classmates has been focused on taking a “white board tech text” during interviews, where candidates are asked to solve problems without the help of an IDE auto filling code solutions. From past experience, I recognize the importance of talking to what I know and not embellishing beyond what I have learned so far. It is reassuring to know that everyone in the Tech field is still learning, and that my other qualifications will show value to an employer right away, due to experience with many types of internal and external stakeholders. Now I see that all Tech professionals are sowing the spicy seeds of a challenging and evolving career – and replanting all the time.

Foremost, I plan to keep my eye on the prize: Entry-Level Java Development employment within a team of enlightened Technologists solving problems and making cool tools that improve tasks and possibly bring knowledge to users through simple functionality. That will be akin to a scoop of Anjeer Badam for the close of lunch – the amazing fig and roasted almond ice cream. Yumm. 

 

Want to learn more about these powerful ladies? Read our first blog in the DEVELOP(her) series: Meet the 2017 DEVELOP(her) Scholarship Recipients! And stay tuned as we continue to follow their journey in starting new career in tech.

If you’re a women in tech, and are looking for support you can check out some of our other blog posts. Or, keep an eye on our calendar for future events catered to women.

 

Don’t Sweat The Stress: How To Thrive In The Workplace

May 4, 2017

Work can be stressful. Use these tips to help keep things under control.From meetings to deadlines and projects that pop up out of the blue, life in the workplace can sometimes get a little stressful. Even if you’re working your dream job, there can be times when the evil anxiety monster sneaks up and makes your day to day a little more difficult. But if you feel like your job can be stressful from time to time, you’re not alone. In a survey by stress.org, 40% of workers say their jobs are at least moderately stressful with 25% reporting their career to be the most stressful aspect of their life. While our jobs can be a source of satisfaction and accomplishment, they can also seem a tad overwhelming if not managed correctly.

To help you manage those stress levels, we’ve surveyed our team to figure out what they recommend to stay level headed.

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7 Steps for Career Fair Success

March 29, 2017

While on the hunt for a new position, attending a career fair can be an incredibly valuable use of your time. However, as with any aspects of searching for a job, preparation is the key!

Career fairs can be busy – and sometimes overwhelming – events. There are often dozens of companies vying for your attention and numerous other candidates interested in positions just as you are. It’s important to make the most of your time there and use the opportunity to effectively engage with the companies you’d like to work with. Having been a part of many career fairs, we’ve compiled a list of what helps candidates stand.

7 Steps for Career Fair Success

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5 Ways to Maximize Your Career Fair Booth

March 17, 2017

As the local tech industry experiences the sixth largest imbalance between the supply and demand for skilled workers, finding the right candidate can be a daunting task! There are a number of approaches to take, but one of the most tried and true is participation in a career fair. We have compiled a few tips to ensure your own success the next time you are tasked with manning the table for a few hours. (more…)

How to (Not) Land A Job: Our Top Interview No-Nos

March 14, 2017

Congratulations! Your resume and initial screening have impressed the company recruiters and you’re one step closer to that dream job you’ve had your eye on for the last few months. Now all that stands between you and the position is the all-important, but sometimes intimidating, in-person interview. (more…)

Is a Coding Bootcamp Right For You? 9 Signs It Is!

December 27, 2016

At Grand Circus, our students not only learn the technical skills they need to earn great developer jobs, they also gain the soft skills needed to land and excel in new positions. With more than 600 developers trained in our programs, we know what it takes to turn your tech career dreams into reality.

But look, we get it. Making the decision to join a bootcamp can be a tough one. That’s why we sat down with our staff, students and alumni to investigate the top 9 signs that a coding bootcamp is right for you!

9 Signs a Coding Bootcamp is Right for You

1. A career in tech is something you’ve always dreamed of but you’ve never really known where to start.

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How To Interview For Your Dream Job In Tech

October 7, 2016

A large part of what we do during our coding bootcamps is to prepare our students for “life after.” From a technical standpoint, our students have to be solid. On day one on the job, they need to be a contributing member of their development team. But in order to actually land their dream job in tech, they also have to interview well. So, what are you employers looking for? What aspects of an interview can help folks stand out from other candidates?

Here are some things we coach our students on that’s helped them land jobs at companies throughout Michigan:

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5 Michigan Companies that use .NET

August 4, 2016

 

At Grand Circus, we know that people want to know where they’ll be able to use their skills once the bootcamp is over. One of the awesome things about learning .NET at Grand Circus is that there are lots of local companies that use this framework every day right in our own neighborhood. Here’s a brief sample of a few companies that use .NET where bootcamp graduates could possibly work.

Quicken Loans

Located just down the road from Grand Circus, Quicken Loans is an online mortgage lender that employs hundreds of developers. Quicken Loans was recently listed as one of the top 5 places to work in America by Forbes. The company has a large development team, so there are tons of seasoned developers to learn from as bootcamp graduates grow in their careers. Dozens of Grand Circus alumni currently work for Quicken Loans in a variety of positions—everything from interns to software developers!

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How to Mingle (Not) Like a Five Year Old

July 27, 2016

One of my many roles at Grand Circus was Director of Marketing and Admissions. This meant it was my job to create ways for people to learn more about Grand Circus, our work and ultimately decide if a coding bootcamp was right for them. So about a year and a half ago, I started organizing Open Houses where Grand Circus staff and former students would answer questions, tour people around our space and introduce people to our community.

Here’s the thing that I noticed during these Open Houses: people are awkward—everyone, even staff at Grand Circus! (more…)

Do Coding Bootcamp Students Get Jobs?

June 6, 2016

Great question! And the answer is yes, Grand Circus Bootcamp students do get jobs.

During the bootcamp, we tell students to start their job hunt when they’re half way through. This way, they can have interviews locked down during the bootcamp and can schedule more for right after they graduate. Many of our students have signed offer letters before they graduate!

Students in Class Learning

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