Posts about Grand Circus News
Joining a coding bootcamp is often a life-changing experience for students. Bootcamps go beyond teaching the technical knowledge necessary to work as developers. Our programs help students learn about Imposter Syndrome, how to learn difficult concepts, the power of networking and so much more. Getting to know those who already work in tech can create a powerful support system for bootcamp students, and Grand Circus is thankful for the alumni who continue to support Michigan’s next generation of programmers.
Meet Jessa, from GIS Technician to Software Developer
Jessa graduated from our Front-End After-Hours bootcamp in June 2019, and has been busy supporting incoming students ever since. Always looking for new ways to empower future developers, Jessa is heavily involved in our workshops, the Grand Circus alumni ambassador board, and the community to encourage others to explore tech career opportunities.
What did you do before the bootcamp, and why did you decide to take the bootcamp?
Before bootcamp, I had obtained a BA in Geography and worked as a GIS Technician at a government agency. GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems, and although it sounds technical, I did not have any background in Computer Science. In my position, I basically collected data and made maps on the computer. After 3 years of working with GIS data, I wanted to move forward from collecting data and start making GIS data more accessible for my community. The answer was software development. I became curious about ideas such as using front-end development to visualize GIS data and how GIS data could power web applications. I realized my career would benefit from integrating software development with my GIS skills.
How did you prepare for the bootcamp?
Before a bootcamp begins, students are given Unit 1 Pre-Work, and included in the pre-work were slides with helpful resources. I utilized that information and found more resources on my own. I also reached out to a friend for help and went to one of the tech hours that was hosted by Grand Circus. The pre-work helped me get oriented to what was expected of me, and I felt very accomplished by completing the project without any prior class time.
What was your hardest moment during the bootcamp?
The quarterly assessments/tests were tough for me. I first viewed the tests like a test I wanted to get an A on. But I came to realize it wasn’t about the grade, it was about what I had learned. Bootcamp is a course with obstacles (literally and figuratively). If an obstacle trips you up, you don’t fail, you’re still on the course, and you keep moving forward. And in a Grand Circus bootcamp, you move forward because you know you learned something you knew nothing about a week two prior.
During the bootcamp, what was your support system outside of class?
I was fortunate enough to take the bootcamp along with my partner Mike. We rode to work together, went to class together, and studied together. Mike and I were able to hold study sessions at our house to work with our classmates on group projects. He was a great source of support for me. I am so proud of what we accomplished. And now we both work as developers!
Can you tell us about your final project experience? What did you build and how was it working with a new team?
My final project team was great. There were 4 of us (all the other groups were teams of 3) so the main struggle we faced was dividing up the work. I was so proud of everything we accomplished in the end. Our app was called Hello World and it used 4 different APIs (APIs are big collections of data). Hello World’s purpose was to be a translation buddy for a traveler on a vacation or business trip. The user could look up the country they were traveling to, and the app would give them quick access to common phrases such as “Thank You,” “Where is the front desk?” and “I need help.” Hello World also had a listen button next to each translation in case the user couldn’t pronounce it.
How do you feel you combatted Imposter Syndrome? Did you have doubts before/during the bootcamp?
The feeling of imposter syndrome has always haunted me. I was so impressed that imposter syndrome was a topic we covered in bootcamp, and what I learned greatly helped with my confidence. For me, combatting Imposter Syndrome is first, having a growth mindset, and second, about rooting myself in the reality of my hard work and accomplishments. Then when I start second-guessing myself, I take a moment to remind myself that YES I have the skills to be successful as a developer and YES I deserve to be respected as one. This was so important for me to learn as a POC and woman in tech.
How would you describe your overall experience with Grand Circus?
I had an incredible experience. It was tough, but I would do it all over again. The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming on Demo Day. Also, I still am friends with my teachers and some of my classmates. The community GC provides outside of class is incredible too. GC keeps all the alum in the loop when there are events and jobs. I really appreciate all the work they do to keep us connected.
Did you have any misconceptions about the tech industry before joining the bootcamp?
The tech industry had always seemed uninviting to me. The stereotypes of ‘programmer’ that are played out in TV shows and in movies never resonated with me. I had never thought “that’s what I want to be,” or “that’s where I belong,” when I saw those characters. When I started going to tech events in Grand Rapids, especially those hosted by Grand Circus, I met other women and POC who were in love with what they did. The idea of ‘programmer’ came into a new light for me: it was about being a problem solver, being able to see patterns and connections, and about building something while learning along the way.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on an incredible project that will help people in Kent County during the pandemic affecting us right now. My team at Mallowfields and I wanted to answer the question, “Where can I get food?” We started reaching out to local non-profits and ended up making a connection with the Kent County Emergency Task Force. With their help and the help of other organizations, we collected a ton of data and built the site https://helpkent.org within about a week. At this website, a user can view an interactive web map of food sites, see the details about the location, and find out where they can get food if they are in need. The site went live earlier this week and we are moving in the direction to get it translated into Spanish and also have more resourceful information beyond food access sites.
What’s next for your career in tech?
For me, the next step is continuing to learn. I have set a goal for myself to become a full-stack developer within the next 4 years. My team at Mallowfields is very supportive of my goal, and I am learning through working, by being mentored by my team, and through online resources.
Many roles in the tech industry recently transitioned to working remotely as we work to flatten-the-curve for COVID-19. How has the transition to working remotely been for you?
While the transition to working remotely was technically and physically easy, emotionally it was not. The stress of the pandemic has definitely been a challenge when trying to stay focused and feel productive.
At first, thinking it was a temporary transition, I had my work station set up on an ironing board and cardboard boxes (not the best work environment). But I was prepared for virtual meetings and communicating with my team in new ways because my company already used resources like Teams and Zoom.
Once I realized it was going to be a more permanent situation, I got a better set up with a desk and a chair that was better on my back. This new space feels like I’m ‘at work.’
The most important thing is learning to be patient with myself, and understanding that it is OKAY to not be my most productive during a pandemic.
Are there any skills that you learned in the bootcamp that have helped you adapt to working remotely?
By preparing me to be strategic and creative while problem-solving, Grand Circus helped establish the skill of facing new challenges with confidence. Instead of being stunted by the fear of failing, I face this new way of working with more composure because I know myself: I know that I am still learning and that I will make mistakes along the way, and that that is okay.
Can you tell us a little about your involvement with Grand Circus workshops?
I have been involved in GC workshops both as a host and guest. About a year or so I signed up for a bootcamp, I went to an Intro to Coding workshop. It was my first introduction to coding. The class was full of others who were just as curious as I was, so I felt very comfortable. Now, after graduating from the Front-End Bootcamp, I have been the teacher assistant and teacher for several Intro to Coding Workshops. Each one has been different in place and size, but all have harbored the same inclusive environment that is needed for those who are curious and learning something for the first time.
What piece of advice would you give to someone about to embark on a bootcamp?
First, get connected with a Grand Circus grad and pick their brain. Ask them about their experience. Also, ask them about their favorite free online resource. Then, try out that online resource.
The next step I would suggest would be to go to a GC event. Grand Circus hosts a lot of free events around the city (and remotely!) including an Intro to Coding workshop. I know that I also went to a Women in Tech happy hour they hosted. I met others, learned their stories, expressed my curiosity in learning and changing my career. I found a skill I wanted to learn more about and I found a community that I wanted to be part of. That’s how it all came together for me.
Do you have any advice for prospective students that are nervous about learning remotely?
I would highly advise these two things: one, create an environment for yourself that is conducive to learning, and two, set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Having the right space and committing to a routine will be your key to success.
Before the bootcamp starts, I suggest taking the Learning to Learn course on Coursera.org (it’s free). You will learn so much about your learning style and get great tips on how to tackle learning something new.
Thank you Jessa for taking the time to share your bootcamp experience with us!
The journey into a tech career is unique for everyone. Graduates come from a wide range of industries and career goals for each person are different. There is a place for everyone in this industry. Whether you want to work at a large corporation or the startup scene is more your style — there are a ton of opportunities to fit your professional dreams.
Many prospective students are concerned that a career in this industry isn’t possible for them — maybe they don’t have a lot of professional experience, they lack a college degree or perhaps it’s because they struggle with Imposter Syndrome. The reality, though, is that if you put in the hard work and are passionate about technology, you can absolutely find a career you’ll love. Just ask our alumni!
It’s important to be realistic about the time commitment necessary to make this career change. Incoming bootcamp students often need to make several lifestyle changes to support themselves until they find their first tech position. From financing the time off work to child care, many of life’s responsibilities might require a little extra help for this duration.
How Quickly Do Coding Bootcamp Grads Earn Careers in Tech?
Nearly 90% of Grand Circus graduates earn a career in tech within six months of graduation. The professional backgrounds of students don’t typically impact how quickly they earn a new career. It’s their dedication to the job search and diligence in following our Career Service team’s recommendations that often what quickens this transition.
Some Students Are Hired Before They Graduate
Support from our Career Services team starts well before graduation. We provide guidance on resume writing, LinkedIn updating, interviewing and more to ensure graduates are comfortable with real-world hiring practices. Our team talks with each student about their personal interests, short- and long-term career goals, and technical abilities. This helps us work collaboratively to evaluate career opportunities and support them in their search while they’re still in the bootcamp. In many cases, students meet their future employers at a company visit or demo day hosted by our team.
“I earned a job at Tyler Technologies about 3 ½ weeks before I finished bootcamp. I actually never applied to the job I got; I got it through contacts I met at Grand Circus. The career services had great advice about how many jobs to apply for and other soft skills. I actually had 3 more interviews lined up when I got my current position.”
– Kristy Currier, 2019 C# .NET After-Hours Grad, Software Developer at Tyler Technologies
“I was hired by United Shore before I graduated the bootcamp. I’d been interviewing with them a week or two before graduation and got my offer a few days later, so I was really lucky.”
– James J Burger, 2017 Java, Developer 1 at Dominos
“I had two employment offers before graduating. Each company offered competitive compensation and benefits worth bragging about. I, however, chose to align myself with a mission and not an organization. With doing that, I conceived Bearly Articulating.”
– Jeannette Washington, 2017 Java Grad, Chief Academic Officer
The Work Continues After Graduation
Leading up to graduation, most students have a strong momentum going with the career search. Demo Day provides them with an opportunity to meet local employers, showcase what they’ve learned in the bootcamp, and further evaluate job opportunities. From there, we recommend every graduate follow up with their new contacts, continue following our career-search advice, and dedicate themselves full time to finding a new job.
“I was hired at Oplogic 53 days after graduation… It’s okay if you don’t get the job before bootcamp or two weeks after you graduate… Be patient and focus on yourself.”
– George Almonte, 2019 Front-End After-Hours Grad, Development Support Intern at Oplogic
“I was fortunate enough to find employment at United Shore pretty much right out of my bootcamp. I will say that the first week out of the program was my hottest week ever. I think I went to four in-person interviews and had multiple calls and emails. I made securing a job my new full-time job.”
– Samantha Mazzola, 2018 C# .NET Grad, Software Developer at United Shore
“I was hired within two months of graduation at PCE systems, a company that makes mental health software.”
– Travis Brindley, 2017 Java Grad, Full Stack Software Engineer at Ford Motor Company
“After graduation, I got my first internship as a Front-End intern one month after bootcamp. Two months later, I got hired at Hello World as an Associate Software Engineer.”
– Chandler Keyes, 2017 Java Grad, Fullstack Software Developer at Interaction Gaming
It Doesn’t Happen Right Away for Everyone
More than 60% of graduates find their new careers within 60 days. Career support continues even after that for grads that might take longer than that. Whether it’s answering questions about a company’s culture or continued resume advice, our team regularly connects with alumni to ensure they have everything they need to be successful.
“I got a job with GE Digital three months after graduation. My advice to graduates is to be selective and really look for a place that offers the most benefits.”
– Shanita Scott, 2016 Front-End Graduate, TEALSK12 Regional Manager
“I was hired at Perficient in December of 2017, started January of 2018. It took about 3 months of interviewing before I got my job.”
– Michael Gleeson, 2017 Java Grad, Software Quality Assurance Analyst at Detroit Labs
“I started working with Nexient 8 months after I graduated. The Grand Circus team motivated me to keep going and never give up. Pressure will come, how you handle it makes the individual. ”
– Jonah Wooten, 2018 Java Grad, Developer II at Nexient
For many of our students, making a complete career change can happen in less than a year. From zero coding experience to earning that first position, we support students throughout each step in their career transition. We offer free and affordable workshops to help students get acquainted with programming, Info Sessions to answer any of your questions, and several other events to connect you to the tech community.
We wake up every day hoping we’re closer to reopening our campus but we’re not there yet. The best we can do is keep the community’s well being at the center of our decision making.
How we’re building our plans
We wake up every day hoping we’re closer to reopening our campus but we’re not there yet. The best we can do is keep the community’s well being at the center of our decision making. We continue to follow and monitor guidance from the CDC and the State of Michigan for when we can safely re-open. On May 7, Governor Whitmer released guidance called the Safe Start program which breaks down the stages of returning to work and what needs to be true to advance to the next stage. Live instruction (and a possible return to campus) is in Stage 5.
All July bootcamps will start in our remote classrooms and operate remotely until it is safe (no sooner than Stage 5) at which point we will consider adding an in-person option for the Detroit campus. As we said when we first went remote, we’ll return once zero risk is established.
More learning options
Even when it is safe to resume some activities, many people will want to continue to learn remotely. We’ve built our plans to support as many people as we can.
- Starting in July, we’re pleased to offer all of our language tracks remotely: Front-End, C# .NET, and Java.
- After-hours cohorts will also be remote. As always, after-hours bootcamps will recieve the same technical training, support, and job-search help as our full-time students.
- In October, if we’re at stage 5 and zero risk has been established, we will offer two in-person Detroit cohorts: Full-Time C# .NET and Full-Time Front-End.
We hope this graphic helps outline options that may be right for you.
A couple notes:
- Optional in-person return for July refers to Grand Circus’ consideration of offering an in-person option for our campus in Detroit. It’s not a guarantee.
- Our October plan assumes we are at Stage 5 and we recognize the situation will continue to evolve
With these additions, we’re able to reach more humans across our state and help put them on the path to an amazing career in tech.
Keeping you safe and healthy on campus
For those who are eager to return to campus, we’ve been working hard on our plans to keep you safe and healthy when we can return. Everything from newer and stronger cleaning protocols, how we handle shared spaces, reconfiguring our shared and classroom spaces for proper distancing, augmented scheduling, and more. Stay tuned for further announcements on our campus plan.
Our Path Forward
In the meantime, we’ve added a remote option to our application for July and October cohorts for those who would like to start their journey.
We look forward to keeping you informed as we move forward as a community.
Sending you all a virtual hug. We’re rooting for you.
We believe that the tech community should reflect the diversity of our community.
Since we first opened our doors in 2013, we’ve helped hundreds of women learn to code and break into the tech industry. We’re committed to the belief that everyone should have access to a tech career. And we live it. We’ve offered Grand Circus-funded partial scholarships, hosted events and meetups, and helped break down barriers to a career in tech in Michigan through programs like Develop(HER).
We’re excited to announce our partnership with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to continue this important work. Together, Grand Circus and NCWIT are helping women, genderqueer, and non-binary individuals start their careers in tech.
NCWIT will fund the full cost of tuition for any 2020 Grand Circus bootcamp including our full-time and after-hours options. With the help of NCWIT and this generous funding, we are improving access to anyone who may have not seen themselves in tech to start a career in this industry.
Women make up 47% of the workforce, but only 25% of the tech industry.
How to Qualify for a Full Scholarship
Individuals in Michigan who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary may be eligible for the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Michigan Digital Skills Pilot Program. This is a full scholarship generously underwritten by NCWIT. If you’re re-entering the workforce with interest in a computing/technology career; considering changing careers with a new career in computing/technology; already in a technical computing role but wish to advance their career with additional digital skills you may be eligible. Applicants must meet NCWIT application requirements and Grand Circus requirements.
How to Apply for Your Fully-Funded Bootcamp
- Submit your Bootcamp Application: We’d like to get to know where you are at and how a bootcamp supports your goals
- Submit your application to be considered for NCWIT funding: Select your desired language and program at Grand Circus
You’ll notice many of the questions are the same across both applications so make sure to write your responses first so you can submit to both applications. Applicants need to meet NCWIT criteria and Grand Circus criteria but rest assured, both are designed to ensure we’re helping folks like you meet your goal of a new tech career.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 1,240 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase the influential and meaningful participation of girls and women—at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability status—in the field of computing, particularly in terms of innovation and development. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more here.
Last Updated May 19, 2020
Who couldn’t use a little Grand News right now?
During times like these, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and miss the grand things happening around us. As Fred Rogers so eloquently and simply said “Look for the helpers. You will always find people that are helping.”
The team at Grand Circus is full of optimists. People who choose to see the glass half full. People committed to supporting our students no matter what. We’ve noticed amazing stories in our community of companies and individuals supporting one another: from employers hiring grads right out of bootcamp, to organizations connecting with companies to bridge the digital divide, we’re here for it.
Grand News in Detroit:
- 51,000 Detroit Students get laptops through a generous program funded by many of our employer partners including DTE Energy, Quicken Loans, and General Motors.
- Startup Detroit Virtual Happy Hour is growing strong! Led by Purpose Jobs (Formerly Re:Purpose) and often sponsored by Detroit Venture Partners*, this is now Detroit’s largest virtual happy hour and we’re always glad to be there.
- Our friends at Southfield-based Altimetrik partnered with Henry Ford Health System and the City of Detroit to bring onsite COVID-19 testing to senior facilities and other vulnerable populations in the Detroit area. The effort will provide 10,000 onsite COVID-19 tests to the city’s more than 126 nursing homes and senior assisted living facilities.
Grand News in Grand Rapids:
- Our friends at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan continue to do amazing work supporting members of the Grand Rapids community with direct resources
- One of our partners co-located out of Start Garden, Michigan House Creative, has a Thursday afternoon Happy Hour that celebrates and supports the creative community, especially musicians and artists, throughout Michigan.
- Be the Bridge GR highlights the grassroots efforts in the community and is full of stories of people helping people.
- La Lucha Fund provides financial resources directly to undocumented and mixed status families in Kent County who are not eligible for unemployment, CARES Act relief, or other government support.
- Our brewery friends and partners of our Learn to Code in Beer City free coding event series are brewing up hand sanitizer these days.
Grand News for our graduates:
Our hiring partners are still hiring! Companies across Michigan still need amazing new team members. Software development remains one of the most stable and accessible fields.
Grand News for prospective students:
- Grand Circus is excited to announce a new full scholarship generously underwritten by NCWIT. The scholarship is another example of our commitment to supporting diversity and representation in tech and we’re honored that NCWIT selected us as their Michigan bootcamp partner. Individuals in Michigan who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary may be eligible this fully-funded scholarship. If you know anyone who may qualify, we’d love to connect them with this amazing resource.
- 50% scholarships are available for those affected by COVID-19 through the Community Relief Scholarship. This program is funded by Grand Circus and we’re hoping to offer it to as many students as we can.
We’ll update this as we get tales of more Grand News!
Have some grand news to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added!
Here at Grand Circus, we’ve creatively embraced chaos and change since our start. It’s one of our core values, and our dedication to doing that is even stronger in these unprecedented times. We want our community to know – we’re in this together.
We’re working alongside each of you to connect resources, people and ideas.
A lot has happened in the last few weeks and is likely to keep happening for some time. This is an update on the many things the GC team has been working on to continue supporting you.
To those thinking about joining bootcamp, and joining tech
We recognize many people are painfully affected by COVID-19, and now seems like an even more uncertain time to make a career shift. Making a career change can be scary no matter what’s happening in the rest of the world. If you’re looking for a sustainable career, the tech industry can provide you with a wide range of great opportunities. It’s our mission to connect students throughout Michigan with employers, and help you improve your quality of life through bootcamp. Right now, this mission couldn’t be more relevant.
In light of Governor Whitmer’s executive order and maintaining the safety of our community, we have decided to announce that our Q2 April 2020 Full-Time and After-Hours bootcamps will be fully remote until the COVID-19 virus has been controlled to a safe level.
For months, our teams have been training to launch a remote bootcamp model and are ready to support you in this transition. We understand this shift may feel uneasy for some prospective students. We assure you that the Grand Circus family-first, community experience provided in our in-person bootcamps will continue with the remote model.
“Instructors are trained and already executing the remote bootcamp model. We’re excited and grateful to be able to offer this model to prospective students, during the current outbreak,” explained Peter Guenther, Director of Learning. “It’s a great way to practice the remote work that developers already experience on a daily basis.”
How to Grow: Free and Accessible Introductory Workshops
We’re excited to offer remote free and low-cost introductory workshops that have helped hundreds of bootcamp students jumpstart their journey into tech. The need for social distancing won’t stop our dedication to your learning.
“We care about your safety, and we aren’t giving up on your career goals! Free remote intro to coding workshops are now available, as well as remote introductory workshops to Front-End, Java, and C#,” explained Patti Wheeler, Grand Circus Events & Workshop Manager. “We believe anyone can be a developer, and that means you. Live workshops are still supporting your educational and growth journey. You don’t have to give up or go it alone.”
Register for upcoming dates:
“Every prospective students’ story is different, and each financial need is unique. We’ve crafted several options and want to provide a solution that makes sense for you.” Ian Washington, Director of Admissions.
New Financial Support
For prospective students that need financial support to help with the cost of bootcamp tuition, we’ve created new options and have been working diligently with our finance partners to increase financial support wherever possible.
“Community relief is our main priority, we’re looking for as many innovative ways to help as we can,” said Damien Rocchi, Grand Circus CEO. “Right now, remote workshops to help you get ready for a tech career, the community relief scholarship and removing the deposit barrier are the primary ways we’re removing barriers to a career in tech.”
Community Relief Scholarship
This scholarship covers half of bootcamp tuition for anyone whose job or livelihood is threatened due to the recent outbreak. We consider you our family, and family sticks together in times of need. When you apply for bootcamp, you can elect to be considered for this scholarship.
“We’re working with individuals to find out what you need financially and technically, and how we can help you. For April and July bootcamps, the financial assistance is here for anyone who wants it,” explained Ian Washington, Director of Admissions. “Have patience with us getting back to you as we are fielding a lot of requests right now, but please do reach out if you have any challenges that you think will prevent you from using a bootcamp to your advantage. We are pulling out all the stops to make sure there aren’t any barriers between you and getting into tech”
Rising TIDE Grant
For prospective students considering a Grand Rapids bootcamp, the Rising TIDE grant is available for those meeting certain requirements.
“We’re grateful to be able to offer bootcamps to those in need. Between the Community Relief and Rising TIDE scholarships, you can get your bootcamp covered,” said John Rumery, Grand Circus Grand Rapids Campus Director. “We do believe that anyone can be a developer, and that the tech community should be as diverse as our at home communities. We welcome all walks of life and backgrounds into our bootcamp, and hope you make use of the alumni support system here.”
Extended loan options
Our team has been working closely with various partners to ensure finances are not a barrier for incoming students. Because so many prospective students are temporarily without employment, our partners at CLIMB have increased the living expense stipend. Learn more about these new changes and ongoing options on our Finance page.
“We’re gonna come out on the other end of this better than we were before,” Jason Scott, 2016 Java Graduate
Your continued dedication to the next generation of programmers have empowered us to make rapid changes to better serve our growing family. We thank you for that.
Some of you have been busy setting up new home offices, upskilling on telecommunication systems and adjusting to remote life. Others were already working in this capacity. One of the great parts of the tech industry is its flexibility, adaptability and resilience. Our graduates continue to show us what’s possible and that employers are still eager to grow and support their teams.
If you’re a GC grad adjusting to remote life, post a picture on social with #DesksOfGC and let us know how you’re doing!
To the entire Grand Circus family
Our community has already strengthened as we collaborate on ways to support each other. We thank everyone who has stepped up and asked how they can help. From previous instructors to community partners, we appreciate the outreach and are excited to work alongside you as we make new strides to grow the tech industry.
Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Tacos and Tuesdays. Grand Circus and SEAMLESS.
Grand Circus and SEAMLESS are thrilled to announce we’ve again partnered. Students will work on a unique, real-world development project using City of Grand Rapids data during the April 2020 bootcamp which is now accepting applications.
SEAMLESS is a consortium of enterprise partners, scouts, startups, public and philanthropic entities who are all solving real-world problems with innovative tech. Last year our April bootcamp students joined SEAMLESS to develop an air quality app that parsed a stream of data from more than a dozen sensors placed around Grand Rapids.
Students in the C# .NET full-time, and after-hours Front-End bootcamps, will work with and learn from the SEAMLESS team and several members of the SEAMLESS consortium like Amway, Steelcase, Whirlpool, Faurecia, Emergent Holdings, BISSELL and Mercy Health. Applications are open for the April C# .NET & After-Hours Front-End SEAMLESS cohort.
What does this mean for C# .NET and After-Hours Front-End April 2020 bootcamp students (you)?
April C# .NET, and After-Hours Front-End bootcamps will work with and learn from the SEAMLESS team to identify innovative solutions to real-world problems their team is working on. Students will then apply the tech skills they learn in bootcamp to build web apps that address these problems. This hands-on experience gives students unmatched portfolio-building projects, professional connections at SEAMLESS and the City.
Perhaps best of all, students will help solve real-world challenges in the Grand Rapids community!
How do Grand Circus students get real-world development experience in bootcamp?
Last year, the spring 2019 SEAMLESS-partnered bootcamp used a City dataset to build an air quality application. The students worked with data from Long-Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) air quality sensors.
Check out this excerpt from Rapid Growth Media featuring our students’ awesome work from the past SEAMLESS bootcamp:
[One team] developed software that finds the healthiest walking path between two points in the city based on where the ozone (O3) and particulate readings are lowest.
[Another team] concentrated on calculating air quality measurements at the address level, using complex mathematics to weigh and blend the readings from the 16 different sensors around the city. Incorporating the vectors of weather forecasts, the app can extrapolate those air quality readings over the course of a week or more.Rapid Growth Media
Coming up in March, our current class of bootcamp students will be demoing their projects using more real-world data at Demo Day.
Grand Circus is West Michigan’s only coding bootcamp offering accelerated coding education. Both SEAMLESS and Grand Circus are deeply connected with the West Michigan tech ecosystem. Most importantly, both organizations are committed to growing tech talent to support growth in the region.
Want to learn more?
Are you talking yourself out of joining bootcamp because of thoughts like “I could never learn that” or “I’m not smart enough to be a developer” or “I’m so bad at math!”?
We’re here to tell you:
These thoughts and feelings are so common.
So many incoming bootcamp students feel like they don’t have the right background or skillset to start a successful tech career. These are feelings that many of our students (and people generally!) have when trying something new. It is called Imposter Syndrome and read on for some tips to overcome it.
What’s Imposter Syndrome?
It’s the imaginary feeling that you’re not good enough, but everyone around you is. You feel that you will be “found out” as not capable enough. At Grand Circus, from the very start you’re given the resources and support to combat these feelings including career mentorship, program managers and a team of instructors and teaching assistants.
Our graduates came from a wide range of professions; customer service, teaching, finance, retail, marketing and beyond. You belong in tech, no matter where you come from!
4 tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
- Write an “I DID” list: Like a to-do list, reflect on some moments in your life that you faced self doubt and how you overcame that to reach your goals.
- Focus on your progress: Even by inquiring about Bootcamp, you’ve already made the step so many people are afraid to. Think back to when you inquired and what you’ve done thus far to decide if this could be the right move for you.
- Attend an on-campus info session: Meet alumni who have been in your shoes and chat with our friendly admissions team in Grand Rapids or Detroit. We have a few coming up this week – save your seat.
- Read more about scholarships: We believe the tech industry should reflect our community and we’re proud to offer a Diversity Scholarship to incoming students of underrepresented backgrounds, consideration for a Develop(HER) partial scholarship for women, and consideration for the Rising Tide grant for Grand Rapids residents. (In your application, indicate you’d like to be considered for scholarships). People of all backgrounds come to Grand Circus, and these are some ways we can support them.
We believe anyone can be a developer, and have designed a program that not only supports students as they get their first job in tech, but equips them with knowledge that will be used well beyond that first, entry-level position in the industry.
The goal of our coding bootcamps is to ensure every graduate is career ready. We combine technical training with career services to prepare students for both the career search, which starts during the bootcamp, and the job they’ll earn after graduation. Our curriculum is constantly evolving to match the ever-changing needs of the tech industry, and we’ve made significant additions to our non-technical training and career readiness programming to best prepare graduates for careers after bootcamp.
New and Improved Career Services: Our Approach
Grand Circus’ career services lead to incredible outcomes because we built the curriculum with a design-thinking approach that focuses on andragogy (adult education), and specifically to build students’ skills to meet hiring manager expectations.
We started by deeply understanding incoming student needs — fears, anxieties and future dreams while diving into a career-change accelerator that is a coding bootcamp. Next, we surveyed a diverse set of employers to understand which character traits and interpersonal skills can show immediate contributions to a team. These surveys included insights from hiring managers, HR professionals and savvy technical recruiters to cover a range of recruitment methods and ensure we’re teaching skills that matter the most during their hiring processes.
Once we collected the data, we brought together our career services team with learning leaders to create meaningful workshops that teach students effective job-seeking techniques, what it’s like to work on a team, and how to build successful career habits that students will use before and after graduation.
With these new sessions, there is an increased focus on interviewing practices, in-person communication skills and individualized self-assessment. This ensures students can understand actions that won’t result in their desired career outcomes and allow them to course correct with solutions.
The major goal of improving our career-readiness training was to create self-aware job seekers who, at any given moment, could assess whether their own actions were leading them towards or away from their established career goals.
By focusing on creating job-ready individuals, we transitioned to more impactful sessions that equip students with job-seeking knowledge they’ll use to earn their first career in tech and will continue to serve them as they transition to future jobs. These new lessons increase the amount of planned discussions and draw on leading industry research.
Career-Readiness Curriculum: Some of Our New Offerings
Imposter Syndrome & Feedback Workshop
Many students come into a coding bootcamp with the feeling of “I don’t belong” or “I’m not good enough to work in tech.” Changing careers is challenging and so much of it is having the right mindset for the transition. In this session, we highlight ways to identify imposter syndrome and how to reduce chronic self-doubt.
Students also learn the most effective ways to give and receive professional feedback and practice these new skills one on one. This helps students gain a new confidence as they grow their careers and work alongside diverse teams.
Career Inspiration and Exploration
Students learn how to plan, search and execute the career-search process with custom Grand Circus resources that provide motivation and the necessary accountability in the job search. Students gain a tactical understanding of how to build positive habits, score future goals and navigate the best job boards online.
Standing out to employers often starts with a resume or LinkedIn profile, and we help students elevate both. This session teaches students how to craft a professional online presence with LinkedIn, using its magical potential — from appropriate profile photos, summary, experience, skills and endorsements, to finding groups and companies. Our hiring tips to help students perform a social media audit and polish their technical resumes.
Interview Prep and Mock Interviews
Interviewing for a tech position typically includes both behavioral and technical elements. We expose students to both styles, giving them several opportunities to prepare and practice for the experience.
Our interview prep sessions teach students to become an interview “STAR” by learning about the interview process, the dos and don’ts of communication, nonverbal cues and the STAR method (Situation or Task, Action you took, Results you achieved). Our team covers best-practice strategies for technical and behavioral interviews, and works alongside students to develop a story-telling approach and create rapport with interviewers.
Additional Career Services Resources:
As students work through the career search, our team continues to be a resource throughout each step by answering questions, making employer introductions and providing individualized feedback. Some of the other ways we support students include:
Career One-on-One Sessions
These weekly, private coaching sessions are designed to clarify career goals and deliver on career-assistance needs. Students can ask questions privately and dive deeper into their own personal career ambitions. During the first session, we co-create a plan that is curated for their career success during and after bootcamp. After the first session, each 1:1 session also contains a theme or prompt to keep the job search progressing for each individual.
Resume & LinkedIn Work
Following our Employable You session, students begin building their technical resumes. They get access to a complete Grand Circus resource guide with best practices on how to craft their profile into one that will stand out to hiring managers. With more structured opportunities for resume review, students get personalized feedback and gain a clearer understanding of what employers are looking for.
Company Info Sessions
Each bootcamp, we feature a variety of employers to talk about their hiring process, work environment and answer any questions. After the presentation, students get the opportunity to network with employers and explore if their openings are a right fit for their career goals.
Earning a career in tech takes a lot of dedication, hard work and investment from our students. Before joining a coding bootcamp, however, it’s important that students understand the necessary commitment and prepare themselves for the hard work ahead. The investment in learning should provide a new appreciation for the level of difficult work that you complete, and a greater understanding in how to teach yourself new technical skills, whilst having a toolkit to tackle your job search.
We believe that anyone can be a developer, and our career services team is always identifying new ways to support that. We’re excited for these new sessions to support incoming students as they explore exciting tech opportunities.
It’s here! The 2018 Outcomes Report.
We’re excited to present to you the Grand Circus 2018 Outcomes Report.
At Grand Circus we know that joining a coding bootcamp is a big time and financial commitment. Transparency is important to us and future students. To help ensure incoming students understand the opportunities available with the support of our coding bootcamps, we spend an incredible amount of time gathering the data, fact checking, reviewing and editing to ensure that what we present to the public is accurate. We’re thrilled to share more data this year, including outcomes from our first 26-week After-Hours Bootcamp that graduated in December 2018 as well as education background information for our graduates.
Other data highlights include:
- From 2017 to 2018, the number of students trained increased by 35%
- Despite the significant increase in trained students, we maintained a strong graduation rate of 89.2%.
- In addition, more students landed technical roles and hiring happened faster! The total graduate employment jumped to 89.1% (from 87.2% in 2017)
- 45% of grads landed jobs within 30 days of graduation, compared to 31% in 2017.
2018 year was another strong year of growth for Grand Circus. We trained more locally hired entry-level software developers than any other program in the state. These graduates join a community of 1,500+ alumni and 300+ employers — the largest tech community of its kind in Michigan. Since the 2017 Outcomes Report, Grand Circus has delivered significant impact across Michigan. Among the highlights, we:
- Improved student outcomes while significantly increasing the number of students trained
- Implemented substantial upgrades to our curriculum
- Extended our already deep network of employer partners
- Increased access to a tech career for more Michiganders and deepened our support of underrepresented groups
- Continued to strengthen our partnership with Facebook
Take a look inside of the Outcomes Report to dig deeper into the details behind these highlights.