Posts about Careers in Tech

There are Many Paths into Tech. Which is Right for You?

August 20, 2019

Careers in tech are among the fastest growing in the nation. All industries are the tech industry  –– from health care to banking, virtually all companies need tech talent. This results in a ton of career opportunities in a wide range of fields, and software development skills continue to be one of the nations’ most in demand talents. 

Let’s look at the industry by the numbers: 

  • Career opportunities for Software Developers will grow 24% by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • 4 of LinkedIn’s ‘Top 10 Most Promising Jobs’ require software development skills 
  • Software Developer is the #1 “Best Job,’ according to U.S. News 
  • Application Software Developers are among the highest paying positions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 

It’s not difficult to see why so many people  have made the transition to a career in tech. Companies have an increased need for these skills, career options are plentiful, salaries consistently grow and there are many options for how you establish your career. 

What are the different paths to earning a career in tech? 

There are three paths to a tech career: earning a computer science degree, self-taught or joining a coding bootcamp. Which is right for you is dependent on your preference, budget, desired timeline and the path’s efficiency. Let’s take a look at the options, advantages and disadvantages:

Infographic: Computer Science Degree vs. Coding Bootcamp

Computer Science Degree

Traditionally, software developers earned a Bachelor’s in Computer Science to jumpstart their tech career. While there are many great CS degree programs, most lack the practical lessons graduates need to solidify a career –– such as a coding portfolio. Colleges move slowly with long approval processes for new curriculum, and technology moves fast; this creates outdated lessons and a disjointed experience from what graduates will experience in the real world. With fast-moving technology, the job market also transitions quickly –– requiring guidance and clarity around opportunities. Many university career advisors are managing career goals of hundreds of students, and often lack meaningful real-world industry insights.  According to one study, college advisors might support as many as 1,200 students, with the national average at a 375-to-one ratio. 

Additionally, earning a CS degree requires several general education credits that aren’t directly applicable to the work you’ll do after graduation and rarely cover topics like soft skills or networking with employers. In fact, some CS graduates go on to gain these technical and soft skills through other mediums, such as a coding bootcamp. 

Big companies, such as Google, have increasingly recognized that this path is no longer necessary to earn a position. There’s a new understanding that an individual’s skills and ability to contribute to the company’s objectives are more important than a grade point average. For companies that do require a degree, many simply don’t care if it’s in CS or something else entirely.


This is a path of self-led study using a variety of free and paid resources such as Udemy. This variety gives you some flexibility in finding which is right for your preferred structure. It also allows you to learn and explore your interests at your own pace.

While there are some advantages to being a self-taught developer, this route can be a challenging way to earn a career in tech for two key reasons: 1. Soft skills are just as important in the job hunt as technical abilities and 2. Your career search is only as strong as your network. Making meaningful connections with companies and understanding exactly what they’re looking for is vital to helping ensure they eventually hire you. Unfortunately, the self-taught path does not provide a built-in network of hiring companies and does not provide you the needed career coaching to landing your first programming job. 

Coding Bootcamp

Within the last ten years, numerous coding bootcamps have been established throughout the nation to create an efficient, effective path into tech. This path is for individuals looking for a meaningful education that will properly support their hard work and dedication to the career. Everything learned is directly applicable to the career search and the technical abilities the job will require. This is a great option for students passionate about the industry who are also incredibly dedicated to getting there quickly. Bootcamps create a concentrated, fast-past learning environment, packed with information and valuable insights. Many bootcamps include both the soft and technical skills necessary and offer a variety of scheduling options (such as our Full Time and After Hours programs). 

Keep in mind, not all coding bootcamps are created equal and ample research to establish one’s credibility and outcomes is important. Because the demand for tech talent is high and there’s currently no regulation on the coding bootcamp industry, new programs arise frequently. Students should review Outcomes Reports, talk to alumni and understand the bootcamp’s Employer Network

Why is a coding bootcamp might be the best option for you! 

Coding bootcamps create a unique learning experience that often invites students from a wide range of backgrounds to learn collaboratively. A single classroom might include individuals who previously worked as baristas, bankers, teachers, psychologists and beyond –– some with college degrees, many without. In fact, nearly 47% of Grand Circus graduates join program with less than a four-year degree. No matter where students are before the bootcamp, everyone gets a fair opportunity to needed to earn their dream tech job. The hard work and hustle throughout the program and after graduation matter far more than prior degrees or professions. 

A few Grand Circus stats: 

  • Graduates make a median salary of $52,000 in their first entry-level tech career 
  • 89.1% of full-time bootcampers earn careers in tech 
  • Every year, the salaries of alumni increases, with 2015 graduates making an average of $83,514
  • More than 300 employers hire Grand Circus grads 

[Read more in our Outcomes Report

How to Prepare for a Coding Bootcamp 

We understand that not everyone comes from a background with technical knowledge. In fact, only one in four high schools has computer-programming curriculum. For some, it’s intimidating to start learning a new skill and might be confusing to navigate the path. We want to ensure everyone has accessibility to the opportunities throughout tech; that’s why we’ve created workshops to help individuals prepare for coding bootcamp and get a better understanding of what coding is all about.   

If you’re just getting started, these are a great way to explore if coding is right for you –– check out our guide: Step by Step: Becoming A Coding Bootcamp Student. No matter where you’re starting from, this path can help you prepare for a coding bootcamp and expose you to the opportunities throughout the tech industry.

Our Top Resources for Negotiating a Raise or Promotion

March 13, 2019

What’s more daunting than a career change into a new industry? Not much, except maybe the sneaking suspicion that you have earned a raise – and you’re not sure how to go about getting it! With raises and general financial talk often being a bit taboo, we know finding good, reliable information can be difficult. Is this someone’s opinion, or does it really actually work?

Well, we’re happy to say that we’ve scoured the internet for our four most useful resources for negotiating a raise. Take a look: (more…)

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence, Improve Your Job Search

March 4, 2019

The thing about searching for a job is that it’s a ton of work, right?  Now, add all of the interpersonal work – small talk at the front desk before an interview, phone screens, in-person interviews, a networking event, checking in with your accountability partner, another interview, another networking event…there are a lot of interactions and opportunities to make a huge impact (or worse – a mistaken flop!). (more…)

Alumni Wisdom Series: Dispelling Tech Industry Misconceptions

October 30, 2018

Breaking into tech: it’s no small thing. Bootcamp is a great way to prepare for that first job as a developer, but as the saying goes, the more you know, the more you don’t know. In other words—there’s always more to learn!

Our most successful coding bootcamp students are those who do their research about the industry before joining the program. Even with such research, though, there can be things you think you know about the industry that are simply not true or can be misleading. It’s important to hear from those throughout the industry to truly understand their experiences. As such, here are some tasty tidbits of insight from Grand Circus alumni on what life is really like working in the tech industry.


Google Recruiters’ Tips for Job Seekers: Resumes & LinkedIn

October 13, 2018

Google was on site to have their recruiters give their best advice to job seekers during our first Women in Tech Symposium.  Women and men from metro Detroit gathered to hear different speakers and workshops on a wide range of topics. In my final year at U of M, I cannot help but think about all that I need to do to make my job search as successful as possible.  In this blog, I am going to take you through some of the highlights and most important tips from “the Googlers.”

Job-Seeking Tips from Google Recruiters

Your Resume Should be Evolving


Career Services at Grand Circus

August 28, 2018

career fair, career servicesIt is no secret that there is a severe tech talent shortage in the ever expanding Michigan market. Grand Circus’ mission is to close this talent gap for employers, beginning with our Career Services.    

So, you’ve decided to take the next step in your career by starting a bootcamp at Grand Circus. How do you know that this will be the right move towards a successful career in tech?


Meet Cody Grant, Company Engagement Manager


A Complete Resource Guide to a Career in Technology

July 31, 2018

Are you looking to get into a career in technology?

Since opening our doors in 2013, Grand Circus has trained over 1,500+ people from all types of backgrounds as they push forward to a career in technology.

After graduating, we maintain one of the best placement rates in the country as 89.1% get jobs in technology at one of 300+ companies in our employer network.

We also recognize that there is so much that goes into this life-changing decision. So we put together this resource guide to help you no matter if you have never written a line of code or are about to join us for our next coding bootcamp.

In this post, we have organized resources that were created over the years to help you along your journey to becoming a developer.

6 Topics You will Find in This Post:


5 Misconceptions About Hiring a Coding Bootcamp Graduate

July 23, 2018

The most daunting challenge for companies today – acquiring and retaining skilled talent. We are in the middle of a digital transformation with companies from all industries investing more in technology.

According to a report by PWC titled The Talent Challenge, “HR has much to prove” with 66% of CEOs surveyed stating that they felt their HR team is not well-prepared to capitalize on current transformational trends.  

Add in immigration challenges, the small amount of computer science degrees graduating each year in comparison to the number of technology-related job openings and you can see why executives and HR alike across the US are worried about how they will meet these business challenges.

With the demand for technology hires accelerating, coding bootcamps are increasingly the solution for talent acquisitions teams across the country. In fact, over 250 tech companies have hired a Grand Circus bootcamp graduate in the Great Lakes area, including Quicken Loans, Meridian, Spectrum Health, GE Digital, Herman Miller, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, GM, Ford, Fathead, Ally Financial, Autobooks, United Shore and many more. (more…)

How to Earn a Career in Tech

April 25, 2018

The tech industry is growing rapidly. By 2024, careers in computer-programming will increase by 27%. That’s four times more growth than the job market as a whole, according to the U.S. Labor of Bureau Statistics. Careers in software development are also among the highest paying, with local coding bootcamp grads making an average salary of $50,000 in entry-level positions.

This translates to a lot of career opportunities. If you’re looking for a career change, want to get back into the workforce or are just starting your professional journey – the tech industry has a place for you! (more…)

Why Learn Programming?

March 14, 2018

Yasmine Grand Circus

Yasmine, a Junior JavaScript Instructor, shares her insights on why it’s important to learn programming

As a developer, I often get the question: “Why programming?”

During my days as a teacher, I rarely looked at a computer during the day, let alone actually use one to solve my daily problems. I found I was encouraging my students to be creative and make things every day, while not having the skills or ability myself to do the same.

When I became a programmer, I was finally able to gain the skills to be able to create things that tangibly solve problems people run into on a daily basis. Being able to create something from nothing is why I became a programmer, but there are many more reasons why someone should consider the career. Here are my top three reasons why you should! (more…)