Posts about Grand Circus

From Recruiter to Back-End Developer, Meet Milliza

March 23, 2017

Meet Milliza!Milliza joined the Grand Circus family as a Java coding bootcamp student in October 2016. While still in
bootcamp, Milliza was offered a position at
United Shore as part of their Developer-X program, where she is currently undergoing training in .NET alongside 18 fellow Grand Circus alums, including five of her classmates and graduates from previous Java, DEVELOP(her) and .NET (C#) cohorts. While we miss having Milliza in the space, it’s great to know that she’s surrounded by so many familiar faces!

Read on to learn more about Milliza’s journey from a tech talent recruiter, to a developer herself. (more…)

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.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Career Fair Booth

  1. Know Your Audience

Give your career fair booth a boost with these helpful tipsMore often than not, each individual event is catering to a different skill set or experience level. While looking for an Executive-Level position, you probably aren’t going to find your most qualified candidate at a college event, right? Similarly, attending industry-specific fairs are a great way to target a specific skill set, as well as networking with people from companies you could potentially work with in the future.

Before committing to a career fair booth, do your research on what type of candidates will be there. Ask the organizers questions about what to expect, any specifics you should be aware of and insights on previously hosted events at the location. Catering your message, booth and conversations to the audience will help you more effectively attract the right candidates.

  1.  Leverage Your Network

Once you have registered to represent your company at a career fair, the work has only just begun. If your intention is to meet motivated candidates, broadcasting your planned presence at an event can ensure attendees will be looking specifically for you. While the organizers are inevitably marketing the career fair to boost registrations, sharing posts across your own social networks will only serve to increase the number of attendees seeking you out on the big day. Companies who leverage their own network tend to get significantly more attention at the event, both from organic traffic of event attendees and also people seeking out Your Business Inc.

  1. Choose Your Team Wisely

Give your career fair booth a boost with these helpful tipsThere is not a one-size-fits-all approach to properly staffing your table. Are you signed up for a career fair focused on increasing the number of women or minorities in tech? Consider that your company’s representatives should not be entirely composed of white males. Is the event aimed at recent graduates? A group of enthusiastic, younger employees might draw more potential candidates to come learn more about your company – just because Jerry has been in charge of handling job fairs since the Reagan administration doesn’t necessarily mean he is the right person to send every time.

Be sure that your team is fully informed about your company’s open positions, the responsibilities of that role and any future openings that may be in the pipeline. If they aren’t the hiring manager, ensure they understand the process and how to relay important information to the right team members after the event.

  1. Stand Out In A Crowd

Since you aren’t likely to be the only company in your field represented at a career-focused event, differentiating yourself is a key to getting attendees stopping at your table. Arrive early so you have ample time to set up and take a walk around the room to see setups from other companies.

The appearance of your booth is very important to attract the candidates you’re looking for. Create an inviting environment and be sure to smile. Career fairs can be intimidating for job seekers; make them feel comfortable approaching you. A tasteful sign, big enough to be noticed –– but not so large as to be a physical obstacle –– can make a big difference.  Simple tablecloths can also give your booth a nice look.

Make sure your booth stands out from the crowd!

If possible, creative swag can also draw a crowd –– for example, while pens and stickers have become a bit of a standard offering, items like wind-up toy robots or USB thumb drives not only make attendees seek you out, but also keep your company fresh in their memory for weeks to come. Don’t have any swag yet? Take a look around the career fair at what other companies have to chim up some ideas, and find ways to incorporate unique swag at future events. Some companies even offer giveaways at their table to further entice candidates to come by. (Need swag or printed materials? Some of our favorite companies include Porter Media Group, Discount Mugs, Corporate Specialities, Sticker Mule and Let Love Rule.)

As you prepare for the career fair booth, do your research on other companies that will be represented. Many event organizers will publish this information in the invite, promotional materials or are willing to share it with you directly. Learn about the companies if you aren’t already familiar with them, and be able to speak on what makes your company different

  1. Be Honest About Policies

While engaging in conversation with job fair attendees, transparency is key. If you are having a productive discussion with an attendee, yet your company currently has a hiring freeze in place, making note of that is important. The last thing you want is for an interesting future candidate to have a negative impression of your business due to a lack of clarity. Additionally, should your hiring process have specific barriers to entry, such as firm educational requirements, make sure to mention this where possible. While you don’t want to give away any classified material, making sure that you are not wasting your own time or that of an interested party ensures a productive event for all!

Now that you are armed with extra pointers, it’s time to put them to work! We regularly host Tech Career Fairs, sign up for our newsletter or check out our Career Fairs page to see what our next one is scheduled for.  

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…)

Why Cowork at Grand Circus? Just Ask ellell & co!

March 10, 2017

Leeann Drees and Laura Eagin of ellell & co. joined the Grand Circus coworking family in Summer 2016. To say it’s been a treat to have them in our space is an understatement! While monthly massages certainly keep them excited to come in on Fridays, Leeann and Laura have both been super involved in the Grand Circus community and are a great addition to the Detroit’s Madison technology Block. Read on to find out more about friends founding a company together and how Detroit has fostered its growth. (more…)

5 Reasons You Should Learn C#

February 27, 2017

Our lead instructor, Kamel Rushaidat, Ph.D., shares insights on why he loves C# and why others should learn the programing language. If you are looking for an explanation of what C# is, hop over to our blog 10 Things to Know About the .NET Programming Language.

One question that comes mind when people are trying to learn programming for the first time is “What language should I start learning first?” There are a lot of options out there, and we teach a few tracks in our coding bootcamps, but I think that C# would have been my very first choice if it has been around when I started to learn coding.

Since its introduction back in 2000, C# has been gaining a lot popularity, although it is fairly new when compared to other popular programming languages ––– such as Java and C++. I have been using C# since its introduction, and I really enjoy coding with it. I have used it to develop many web, mobile and desktop applications.

Here are my top 5 Reasons on why you Should Learn C#:

1. It’s Easy to Start With

If you choose C# as your first programming language, you can pick up a lot of concepts easily enough. Setting up a hello project is very intuitive. As one of the most popular programming languages, you will have a ton of material on the internet that can help you resolve problems and errors in your code (keep reading to learn more about this). This can be extremely helpful if you just started to learn a new programming language. Plus, Visual Studio (which you use to write C# – see point #3!) is an amazingly powerful and incredibly helpful tool. If you already know Java, C or C++, C# will be fairly easy to learn, as many of the basic program structures and statements are similar.

2. The Ability to Develop Many Kinds of Apps on Several Operating Systems

Through many years, I developed many apps using C#, such as web, desktop, mobile, robot (Lego Mindstorms) applications as well as games (Unity) and REST APIs. C# can be your one-stop shop for all of those applications, so you won’t need to learn a new language to develop a different kinds of applications. This means it has a lot of practicality when developing.

3. Large Availability of Powerful Development Tools

One of the biggest selling points of .NET(C#) is that Microsoft provides a wide suite of powerful tools that can help programmers develop better programs. The most important of all of those tools is by far Visual Studio. Visual Studio is a very powerful and rich Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides a wide set of tools to support program development, testing and debugging, performance analysis, version control, deployment, and much more. Visual Studio is a beginning programmer’s best friend.

4. Microsoft has Your Back!

Microsoft is constantly adding new features to the language. Microsoft also provided support for seamless integration with other Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft SQL server, cloud computing, Azure dep
loyment and many more. Having these features makes the language more versatile, easy to learn and increases its usability.Reasons You Should Learn C Sharp

5. Popularity

If you Google “the most popular programming languages,” C# will be most certainly be one of the top five most commonly used languages. This means that you will find many resources, books, tutorials, videos and more to help you learn C#. Microsoft has a training website, Microsoft’s Virtual Academy, that offers many courses for beginner developers. Other popular sites that provide tutorials include Pluralsight,, and Complete C# Tutorial.

Many companies use C# to develop applications, such as Quicken Loans, Domino’s Pizza, Sears, NBC news website and many more. (Learn more about this in our blog 5 Companies that use .NET)

I hope that those reasons are enough to convince you to start learning C#! See you on! ☺

Creating The New You: How To Stick To Your Goals All Year Round

February 24, 2017

The hardest part of any New Year’s resolution is sticking with it. As 2017 rolls along, it might be tempting to start slacking on that fitness routine you committed to back in January or begin skimping on your monthly financial savings goals. Luckily, with the help of some industry experts (and members of our team), attendants of our recent New Year, New Career Speaker Series learned some helpful tips, tricks and strategies to stick with their resolutions all year long. (more…)

Our Grand Rapids expansion continues

February 3, 2017

2017 is already off to an exciting start. In December, we wrapped up our first Grand Rapids .NET(C#) Bootcamp and now our team is gearing up for our second full-time .NET(C#) Bootcamp. The bootcamp starts on March 20, with final applications due February 24. (For those who apply by February 16, you’ll save $1,000).

As we continue expanding our tech offerings throughout West Michigan, we’re thrilled to be meeting some great thought leaders and collaborating with the growing tech community.

For our second Grand Rapids cohort, we excited to be calling Start Garden our home. This beautiful space is where our Grand Rapids Campus Director, John Rumery, is working, and we’ll continue to add staff at this location over the next few weeks. (Check it out, we’re hiring!) Additionally, students of our upcoming cohort will get to enjoy everything Start Garden has to offer, including a great downtown location, common working areas and an awesome classroom. Start Garden has createstart garden in grand rapidsd a beautifully collaborative working environment, and we’re lucky to have their support as we prepare for our next class.

“Compared to something like a four-year degree program in computer science, we see Grand Circus as rapidly expanding the available talent in the area,” said Paul Moore, Communication Director at Start Garden. “More importantly, it lowers the barrier for women and minorities whom may have desired a career in coding, but may have struggled for one reason or another to make a multi-year degree fit within the cultural and financial realities of their lives.

What have we been up to thus far?

Starting a career in tech can be scary. We get it. Our team has helped hundreds of individuals make the transition into this industry, and it’s important that everyone has the opportunity to get acquainted with what it takes to be a programer.

To lessen this fear and help folks learn the basics of coding, we’ve hosted five Free Intro to Coding Workshops throughout West Michigan. Our gracious hosts at locations like Blue35, Varnum Law and Spectrum Health have helped us introduce more than 100 individuals to the basics of coding. We’re looking forward to hosting additional workshops and community javascript workshop in Grand Rapids Michigan

We’ve also had the privilege of attending some great community events, and we’re excited to be a part of Grand Rapids great, growing tech community. As we continue to meet so many of our new neighbors, we know that listening to those already working in the industry is very important for our long-term success.

We’ve established a number of blossoming relationships with companies and organizations in the Grand Rapids area including company visits from Blue Medora, Springthrough and RecruIT. Many of these companies are already supporting our staff and alumni as we work to increase the tech talent pool.

“Grand Circus fills a niche by generating a new pool of people looking for jobs, many of whom already have the interpersonal skills we’re looking for,” said Rick Pocklington, Principle Software Developer from Blue Medora. “We’re excited to partner with Grand Circus to find more talented professionals moving into the software industry. We’ve been growing rapidly over the last several years, and expect to continue growing and hiring.”

What’s next for Grand Circus in Grand Rapids

Our team is dedicated to making careers in tech accessible to anyone. This mission will continue in West Michigan in a variety of ways.

Join us February 15 at LINC UP for our next Intro to Coding workshop. The three-hour workshop gives you an idea of what it takes to be a programmer through hands-on exercises. You’ll even get the chance to meet some of the Grand Circus team! (Hurry, seats are limited!)

If you’re already familiar with coding and ready to learn more about our programs, we have an event for that, too! We’re hosting a Bootcamp Info Session at Start Garden on February 13 (Update: Stay updated on our next Info Session in Grand Rapids!). This event will give you an overview of how a coding bootcamp can help you earn a career in tech. You’ll also have the opportunity to tour the space and What happens after Bootcamp graduation?ask any questions you have about the program. Curious about what a coding bootcamp is? This is the perfect opportunity to find out. The info session begins at 6pm.

We’ve been able to partner with a local community organization that is able to offer funding for full scholarship for select eligible students. Additionally, MichiganWorks! continues to offer potential funds for bootcamp students throughout the state of Michigan and in Grand Rapids specifically. Grand Circus also has awesome financing partners and diversity scholarships.

The Grand Circus Grand Rapids team is growing. We’ve hired our Campus Director, John Rumery. John Rumery is lifelong resident of West Michigan. His work experience includes international sales, higher education, journalism, event planning, startups and competitive barbecue.  He’s been very involved in the Grand Rapids community, including Startup Weekends, collegiate pitch competitions and Odyssey of the Mind coach, and helps organize a variety of tech events in the city. He is also the host of a bi-monthly show on community radio, WYCE 88.1fm.

How can Your Business Become a Grand Circus Hiring Partner?

Grand Circus has current hiring partners in Detroit that have branches and locations in Grand Rapids including TEKSystems, Brooksource and many more. As we grow the tech talent throughout the state, we’re always looking for new businesses to hire our students.

Is your business located in the tri-state area? You can sign up to become a hiring partner for free by checking out this page on our website. Grand Circus is training hundreds of developers in 2017 in our Detroit and Grand Rapids campuses. Hire local, find great talent quick and grow your development team now!

Our Dedication to the Next Coding Bootcamp Cohort

We’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons during our first Grand Rapids bootcamp and are excited to take those insights to make this next cohort even better. We’ve taken our model from Detroit and adjusted it to meet the local needs in West Michigan.

Our .NET(C#) Bootcamp Graduates are excited about their journey as developers and are working hard to establish their new careers in the tech industry. We’re thrilled to be a part of their journey!

The team in Grand Rapids is also growing! We will be bringing on a full-time Program Manager and .NET Instructor over the next month.


Startup Spotlight: PhotoUp

January 19, 2017

Check out our feature on PhotoUp!

The saying is true: a picture IS worth a thousand words. That’s why Grand Rapids area company PhotoUp
knows how important images are to a company’s brand and public perception. Founded in 2012, the business provides photo editing solutions to help real estate photographers deliver stunning images that capture the attention of customers. With a team in Grand Rapids and an additional editing team in the Philippines, PhotoUp has experienced substantial growth since it was founded and looks forward to continuing its success in the future.

In order to learn more about the business and the role Grand Rapids plays in its success, we caught up with PhotoUp VP of Marketing, Devon Higgins.       (more…)

How to Start Your New Year Off Right

January 10, 2017

2017 is here and with it comes a host of new challenges, new connections and new opportunities. But in the midst of all the holiday craziness, it can be easy to lose sight of the goals and resolutions you’ve set for yourself in the New Year. So how can you start working toward your plans?

We’re glad you asked! In order to gain some insight on resolution strategies, we asked our team to share some important first steps we all can take toward a healthy and productive New Year. Here are some of their tips:


What to Expect After the Grand Circus Coding Bootcamp

January 4, 2017

Taking a coding bootcamp can be scary; that’s why it’s so important to us that we provide the resources students need to be successful in their long-term careers. Student support from Grand Circus doesn’t end after you graduate and receive your certificate of completion. The support continues as you begin the job search, once you receive a job offer and throughout your entire career. We’re lucky to have many Grand Circus alums come back even after working in the field for over a year to participate in events, sit on panels and mentor current bootcamp students.