Posts about Grand Circus

From Property Manager to Developer, Meet Shug

June 21, 2017

Meet Front-End alum, Shug!Students in each coding bootcamp come from an array of backgrounds, professions and life experience. This classroom composition creates a supportive environment for all of our students, and allows the uniqueness of each student really shine. I’m excited to be doing this blog feature on Shugmi Shumunov, a graduate of our Front-End cohort of August 2016. Shug’s outgoing personality and infectious smile shined as he worked through coding exercises, labs and projects. No matter how challenging the coding bootcamp became, Shug always worked hard and had a positive attitude. He was always willing to help, volunteered much of his time to support others, and did it all with passion and excitement. I had the delight of working with him at Detroit Startup Week, and have enjoyed watching his career grow and flourish.  (more…)

Meet the 2017 DEVELOP(her) Scholarship Recipients!

June 1, 2017

DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipientsThe tech industry should reflect the the diversity of our community. It’s a core value that Grand Circus stands behind in everything we do. With just 26% of computing jobs being filled by women, we’re always looking for creative solutions to the problem.

Last year, we were proud to launch our inaugural DEVELOP(her) coding bootcamp. It gave 19 women an opportunity at free tech training and assisted them in finding a career after graduation. This year, we were proud to award our first round of DEVELOP(her) scholarships, which provides full-tuition funding to a select number of ladies and can be used toward our full-time coding bootcamps.

Four amazingly talented women looking to make an impact in the tech industry were awarded this opportunity. As they continue to tackle their coding bootcamps, we wanted to share their journeys as they develop the skills they need for an exciting new career in tech! In order to learn more about their experiences and motivations for taking a coding bootcamp, we caught up with our scholars for the first installment of our DEVELOP(her) Scholarship Spotlight.

Meet the 2017 DEVELOP(her) Scholarship Recipients

Lhea J. Copeland

What did you do before the bootcamp?

DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient I, Lhea J. Copeland (@LheaJLove), am a poet-novelist-philosopher-mother and now, a developer. I earned a Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. I spent ten years working in fundraising, sales and marketing for Nature, AT&T, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Sphinx Organization, Inc. In 2014, I earned a Project Management (PMP) certification.

I always wanted to become a developer, a Black-Girls-Code-er, a Women-in-Tech-programmer, because I love science and technology. And let’s face it, I love “the internets.”

Why do you want to become a developer?

I have been blogging quite actively since the 1990s, and I have decided that it is time to be more than a user, more than a content creator. It’s time to create; it’s time to build.

What does being awarded the scholarship mean to you and your community?

My goal is to help end the educational gap and the technological gap between Black folks and the world. I can help break the school-to-prison pipeline. Being awarded the DEVELOP(her) scholarship means that I can be a part of the solution. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to change the world.

Lydia Latocki

What did you do before the bootcamp?

DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient Prior to Grand Circus Java Bootcamp, I earned a BFA from College for Creative Studies, and worked on the Creative side of local advertising agencies. Most recently, I specialized in helping small businesses develop marketing strategies to grow their customer base and implemented various print and online solutions, including SEO/SEM solutions.

Why did you want to join a coding bootcamp?

I am incredibly honored to be selected as a DEVELOP(her) Scholarship recipient for the April 2017 Java Bootcamp series.  Since its inception in 2013, I have watched GC grow, attended several workshops and found the training model more realistic for me personally than going back to school full time.

What does being awarded the scholarship mean to you and your community?

This scholarship is my enabler. Being a part of this dedicated, intense environment, centered on teaching and helping students be successful is truly a gift. To be surrounded by knowledgeable teachers and GC graduates, the GC staff, and eager students who also want to be a part of the change offers a boost and support system I could not experience from independent online learning. I’m ready and excited to participate in this program to advance Women in Technology!

Theresa Skoniecsny

DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient What did you do before the bootcamp?

After spending over a decade in corporate America, I learned a wealth of business administration talents and developed a superior interpersonal skill set. While working within a large organization, I was grateful to a valuable resource within the group improving cultural, environmental and/or social-ecosystems goals. These experiences have significantly led to my relentless passion and appreciation around community enriching opportunities.

Why do you want to become a developer?

After assisting management with building a user-friendly database and improving customer satisfaction, I was obsessed with process improvement, development and resolving problems. I realized my common-sense approach, attention to detail and determination to find the root-cause along with the flow of operations kept nagging at me. Both my intellect, as well as my passion to engage with others was not satisfied with the status-quo. The critical skills desired within the workforce need cultivated and require daily execution. A satisfying career involves risk, persistence and passion. I will forever push myself to my limits, grow within my professional bandwidth and dedicate my talents to improve others experiences using technological equipment or services. Becoming a developer will maximize my personal and professional attributes, while connecting to me the community and organizations I want to passionately serve.

What does being awarded the scholarship mean to me and my community?

I dream of bringing big data from “up in the clouds” to ground level. While improving hands-on capabilities, personal significance and social re-connection capabilities, I feel my imagination and connections within the community can create something big. Being awarded the DEVELOP(her) scholarship is a true honor. With this privilege, I am devoted and sincerely devoted to encouraging others, bridging demographic divides, improving diverse initiatives, and further educating or empowering women, youth, the elderly, or any other segment. With sincere appreciation to Grand Circus and Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation for selecting me, I am eager to dive in and develop.

Shathar Campbell

What did you do before the bootcamp?DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient

Before entering the bootcamp, I was working as an office manager at an IT Support company. I was handling the administrative duties for the office, a role I have played for several years at a few offices. I always enjoyed the companies I worked for but I felt like I wasn’t tapping into my potential. Since being an office manager means handling so many miscellaneous tasks, I worried I would never be able to have a skill I could be an expert at.

Why do you want to be a developer?

I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for 5 years and lived in the heart of Silicon Valley. I saw the high demand of IT jobs there and how everyone working in the IT field came from different walks of life. It made me curious so I started to code online and looked into coding bootcamps. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to enroll in a costly bootcamp there, and although I enjoyed coding, I had to focus on being able to take care of my children first.

What does being awarded the scholarship mean to you and your community?

Being awarded this scholarship is such an incredible opportunity. I can finally pursue my dream of becoming a developer and put my needs/wants first! To be able to have a job I enjoy and provide for my family in a field that is always on demand is such an amazing feeling. I want to show my Chaldean community that it’s okay to venture out and pursue a career other than what your parents recommend/politely insist! I hope I can be a good resource for my community and show them that tech is a great field to be in.

What an fantastic group! Check back in the coming weeks as our DEVELOP(her) scholars share more of their bootcamp adventures!


Find The Right Bootcamp For You

May 16, 2017

With more than 10,700 jobs added in the last year, Michigan’s tech industry is booming. If you’ve ever dreamed about taking a coding bootcamp and pursuing a career as a web developer, then now is the perfect time to take the first step. But how do you get started?

Having trained more than 650 developers, our staff has a lot of experience when it comes to helping people find the right program to fit their personal experience and professional goals. Just like programming languages, no two bootcamps are the same. It is important that you choose a program that is going to give you the best return on your investment. So if you’re looking to start a new career in tech this year, we have a few pointers from our staff. (more…)

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, 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.

Luckily, our team at Grand Circus knows a thing or two about balancing work responsibilities with all the other craziness that happens in life. We sat down with a few members of our team and here are some of their top tips for lessening the stress of day-to-day job responsibilities.

6 Tips To Help You De-Stress Your Work Day

Anna, Program ManagerKnowing that I’ll get through it. If I feel the wave of stress approaching, I turn my attention elsewhere (going for a walk, running, reading, etc.). I just take the 10 minutes that I need and let nothing else matter in order to allow myself to gain more perspective on the situation. 
Perspective. is. everything.”

– Anna Farr, Program Manager


Josh, Program Manager“Make a point to leave your desk and take a five-minute walk at least twice a day, and use the time to clear your mind and think about non-work things.”

– Josh Sheppard, Program Manager



Will, Marketing Intern“Make to-do lists that you can use to monitor your progress throughout the day. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you cross off a task and a sense of satisfaction when you’ve completed everything you set out to at the end of the day.”

– William Sexton, Marketing Intern



David Wolverton“To limit distractions and keep myself on task in unstructured situations, I sometimes use the Pomodoro Technique, a simple time-management system that you can learn about online.

Another tip: At the end of the day, take a look back and celebrate the things you have achieved or done well. This can be helpful if you tend constantly to dwell on the what you still have to do or where you fell short.”

– David Wolverton, Instructor


Peter, Instructor
“Get regular exercise–even though it means giving up some time, it pays huge dividends in energy and attitude.”

– Peter Guenther, Instructor



Tricia, Operations Manager“It’s important to remember to walk away from your computer. Whether this is for a stretch break (the developer life can be tough on the neck and shoulders!), to re-up on coffee, because you’re stuck on a problem or go on a walk around the block because your brain is hitting its limit.”

– Tricia Haslinger, Community Manager


Hopefully these tips can help you better balance the ups and downs of your workday and make even the stressful of weeks a bit more manageable. With the right amount of planning and the occasional coffee break, you’ll be ready to tackle anything!

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…)