Posts about Grand Circus News
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.
Over the last six years, Grand Circus has worked closely with the tech community to train and graduate more than 1,500 students. Our community, offerings and collaborations with the tech industry have grown exponentially in this time, and so has our commitment to ensuring these opportunities are obtainable for anyone interested in them.
As of our last outcomes report, nearly 90% of students have successfully earned careers in tech. We’re now working with more than 300 employers, supporting their growth by training Michigan’s newest tech talent. We are successful because our students are successful, and because we work together to create a meaningful community.
This year, our journey continues as we work toward improvements for our 2020 workshops and bootcamps — encouraging even more individuals to invest in yourself. If you want to become a developer, you can do this, and we’re here to help. We’re excited to share some of the projects we’re working on to better serve the GC family.
Always Evolving. Always Growing. Working to Improve Your Career Outcomes.
The tech industry moves fast, and that means our team, curriculum updates and offerings need to evolve quickly as well. We’re currently working on several updates to better prepare students for our bootcamps and life after graduation.
Some of the improvements we’re working on:
In 2018, we rebuilt our evening and weekend workshops to ensure we were providing a path that properly supported students interested in joining a coding bootcamp. For many in our community, the idea of earning a career in tech seems like an impossible feat. We know that anyone can be a developer, but some start the journey with zero coding knowledge and little clarity on how to begin.
Throughout the last year, we’ve worked closely with our workshop instructors (Hey GC alum!), students and bootcamp staff to understand where we can make improvements and provide an even better path into a coding bootcamp.
Our learning materials, slides, projects and classroom structures are getting an overhaul for our Fundamentals of Web Development, Intro to Front-End Development and Intro to Back-End Development workshops. Now, students will have the opportunity to more thoroughly engage in hands-on exercises, gain a better understanding of the differences between each programming language and have access to new resources that will help them in their path to earning a career in tech. These workshop updates will allow more students to get exposure to opportunities throughout the industry and increase the accessibility of our bootcamps.
Once a student has been accepted into a bootcamp and pays their deposit, they receive Unit 1. Unit 1 is an opportunity for them to start learning programming before in-class instruction begins, build small projects with the support of tutorials, and get a better feel for the pace and type of training they’ll get exposed to throughout the bootcamp. This work is done at home and takes about two weeks.
Revamping this curriculum will improve students’ readiness for the bootcamp by providing more coding practice and increased interactivity. Because students come from a range of backgrounds, we strive to ensure everyone starts day one with similar programming skill sets so we can quickly train them in new materials. Everything included in our Unit 1 will be reworked and these improvements will support our goal of getting students fully immersed in the GC learning experience — even before in-person classes start.
Everyone learns differently, and we strive to create a classroom experience that reflects those needs. We’re constantly evolving our learning materials, resources and classroom support.
One big project our team is working on is video content to cover various bootcamp lessons, rather than solely relying on instructor-led sessions. These videos allow students to rewatch content as necessary and engage with lectures at their own pace. Additionally, reducing the instructors’ lecture time gives them more flexibility and availability to provide one-on-one coaching and support as students work through hands-on projects. This content can also be used after graduation should individuals need a refresher.
The growth of our graduates shouldn’t stop once they earn their first entry-level tech position. Our Career Services team works to equip students with the knowledge to not only earn their first position, but to evolve and grow their careers — through new positions and raises — with the support of valuable resources and knowledge.
New sessions and support resources have been crafted to train students in becoming self-aware job seekers. After spending time to better understand the students’ mindset, then surveying employers, we’ve rebuilt our Career Services to cover the topics that teach the soft skills that matter the most to local employers and have the biggest impact on the career search. We’ll now have more group activities, increased planned discussions and new lessons that will help students build valuable job-seeking habits.
We’re always making improvements, and you can, too!
Anyone Can be a Developer
Our goal is to ensure a career in tech is accessible to everyone. We recognize that there are many paths to learn programming — independent study through online and printed resources, a Computer Science Degree or by joining a coding bootcamp. We also recognize that a wide range of individuals are interested in this career path, many of whom don’t have any technical background. Throughout our six years, we’ve seen firsthand the transformations possible with the support of a coding bootcamp. There is no one “right path” in learning to code. It’s all about determining what’s right for you.
Coding bootcamps are a big time and financial investment. When compared to the alternatives, however, they are often the most efficient and effective path into the industry. And for our graduates, they’ve been a gateway to endless career opportunities.
Worried that you don’t have what it takes to earn a career in tech? Many of our students experience Imposter Syndrome, the feeling of self-doubt, and most begin with very little technical experience. Our constant evolution of resources and trainings is creating more opportunity for those seeking a sustainable career in one of the nation’s fastest growing industries. We’re excited to expose even more to these opportunities and support them as they invest in their futures.
Lock in your 2019 Tuition Pricing
Great things are happening at Grand Circus, and we want you to be a part of it! We know that financing is often one of the biggest challenges in joining a coding bootcamp; that’s why it’s important to us that we work directly with our community as we prepare for these big 2020 improvements.
Starting with our January 2020 bootcamps, the cost of tuition will be $11,750. If you’re working toward becoming a coding bootcamp student any time next year, now is your time to save on tuition. If you pay a deposit for any 2020 coding bootcamp by October 15, 2019 – you’ll automatically lock in our 2019 tuition pricing of $9,750.
Making careers in tech accessible continues to be a top priority for us. Starting with 2020 bootcamps, our Diversity scholarship will now cover $1,750 of the tuition price and is automatically applied to anyone that qualified.
We kicked off our first partnership with the City of Grand Rapids almost exactly a year ago. That partnership was designed to grow Grand Rapids’ tech talent by increasing our outreach to arm folks with basic coding skills and knowledge of technology careers. Since May 2018, the Rising TIDE project has trained nearly 500 people in basic coding skills. This program has made it possible for many to continue with advanced training and start a new career in technology.
Timing is Everything
Over the last year the City of Grand Rapids established its first Office of Innovation. This team is tasked with testing new technologies and ways to deliver services to the community, updating and improving their open-sourced data portal, and working with external stakeholders to improve local and regional issues.
This got us thinking. A new office committed to service delivery and partnerships, our community’s interest in coding skills and careers as evidenced by the success of Rising TIDE, and the positive reception we have with employers made us think we could do more together to prepare local talent for new careers in tech. The first exploration meeting with City officials was alive with energy and possibility – and the Grand Circus Front-End After-Hours Bootcamp in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids was born.
A Bootcamp for All
This bootcamp teaches Front-End programming with an After-Hours schedule. It was important to us and the city that working adults could access this training. It meets in the evenings from 6:30 – 10pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from October 2019 – March 2020. Students will also receive career services to successfully prepare for and execute their job search.
We talked a lot about barriers to training in our initial meetings. Luckily, the Rising TIDE Grants are available to residents with financial need. They offset the cost of bootcamp tuition and provide stipends for things like loaner laptops, transportation needs and childcare assistance.
Grand Circus provides a number of pre-bootcamp workshops to help folks prepare for the bootcamp application process — and are required to be eligible for grant funding. The first, Intro to Coding Workshops, are designed for people curious about code but have little to no experience. Our more advanced workshops build upon the basics to help students learn more advanced concepts and experience coding web pages from scratch.
Students in the Front-End After-Hours Bootcamp in partnership with the City will enjoy three other unique program aspects.
Special Bootcamp Features
#1 Use Open-Sourced Data to Build Projects
Employers tell us that they want to see student projects that center around real-world business cases as much as possible. Students in this Front-End After-Hours Bootcamp will build a final project using data collected by the City to solve a real world problem while showing off their coding skills.
#2 Interact with SmartZone Businesses
It’s important for all of our bootcamp students to interact with diverse employers. Through employer panels, bootcamp students will interact with companies in the City’s SmartZone, a specially designated zone that contains high-tech high-growth businesses. Students will benefit by hearing directly from experienced industry professionals and forming relationships during the bootcamp experience.
#3 Learn from City Employees
Most people don’t think of city government when they think of technology and innovation. However, the City has robust customer service responsibilities, many of which utilize a combination of software and hardware. Employees from the City’s information technology and innovation departments will give students unique insight on relevant topics like coding for the customer experience, quality data, data collection, governance structure and more.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to start a career in tech, join us on Wednesday, August 14th for our event ”How to Earn a Career in Tech without a Degree.” Then, join us for a special Info Session with the City of Grand Rapids to hear about the types of data they collect and see a student project demo. Register for the August 22nd Info Session here.
Throughout Grand Circus’ six years, we’ve had students from a range of backgrounds join coding bootcamps. One profession that consistently does well in our programs is teachers. These individuals come to us with a growth mindset, adaptability, excitement and passion for tech, and readiness to help others in their cohort.
Spencer is a great example of such success. He’s such an avid learner, he’s even taken two coding bootcamps to continue advancing his skills – even after he found employment in tech! Spencer is now a Software Engineer at Ford Motor Company and continues to remain involved in the Grand Circus community. He’s taught several of our free and weekend workshops – helping others begin their journeys into tech.
From High School Math Teacher to Software Engineer, Meet Spencer
Before Grand Circus
What did you do before coming to Grand Circus?
I was a high school math teacher.
What brought you to Grand Circus?
A desire to learn coding to transition into a developer career.
What attracted you to tech, specifically being a developer?
I enjoy how empowered I feel when working as a developer. It is an extremely satisfying experience to dream up and design something, and then bring it into existence. Each day I feel like I get to solve meaningful and interesting problems that demand creativity and energy.
What was your bootcamp experience like?
My bootcamp was a really rewarding experience. Under the tutelage of David and Adam, I built the confidence and foundational skills I needed in order to transition into a developer role. I enjoyed the mix of quizzes, projects, and group exercises that I encountered. I think Adam and David did a great job scaffolding the content and hitting on the key concepts that I have encountered day after day in my new role.
What advice would you give new bootcamp students?
I would say work your hardest and stay curious. Success isn’t about learning everything, but rather building habits and skills that you will employ to conquer challenges as they come.
How do you feel you combatted Imposter Syndrome? Did you have doubts before/during bootcamp?
I try to focus on just being better everyday. As time has gone on it has been easier to let go of this fear of not knowing everything and to instead grow more confident in my ability to tackle new problems as they come. My doubts largely centered around the worry that I needed to have some sort of Computer Science credentials or knowledge in order to be successful.
What was the most unexpected part of bootcamp?
I think the most unexpected part was the myriad of people coming from so many different backgrounds. I think this makes the program unique and speaks volumes to how literally anyone could be successful through a bootcamp if becoming a developer is something that inspires them.
Did you have challenges in bootcamp you weren’t anticipating?
I took a lot of time in considering a bootcamp and the path I wanted to take, so a lot of the challenges I experienced were ones I anticipated. However, you don’t know what you don’t know, and sometimes it took longer than I wanted to pick up a new idea or concept.
What resources are the most helpful / were the most helpful in your coding journey?
I think the projects were the most helpful teaching resource employed. Nothing can replace just getting into a project and gaining experience. Working with others was also extremely helpful because it exposed me to other ways of thinking and solving problems.
Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself to do either before or during bootcamp?
I would actually tell myself to consider back-end development more openly. Over the last few years I have found myself excited more by and drifting ever further towards working on and building APIs, servers, and programs that fall into this realm.
How has your transition been into your career? How did GC help you?
Sometimes when you’re looking for a job, it can feel like success is all around you but somehow just beyond your reach. We’ve worked with over 1,000 graduates to secure employment in tech, so we’ve got some data to share to say hey – you aren’t alone.
And remember our favorite fast fact – you only need one “yes” to land a job. Keep up the good work, friends!
It sucks hearing “no” when you’re looking for a new job. The “nos” can feel so deeply frustrating after you put it all out there in your interview. Then, stack onto that overwhelming feeling the fact that other people seem to get one job offer after another job offer? Now that rejection is starting to feel personal. Have you started to feel like the job market is out to get you? That those glowing stats about a booming tech economy were all false flags?
Stop it right there! You’re falling into a common trap of the job search – the victim mentality! This mindset can have crushing consequences toward success in our job searches – and we want to help you course correct.
What is victim mindset or victim mentality?
A victim mindset, or victim mentality, is the belief that the world is out to get you, that good things aren’t, won’t, or can’t come your way, and that there is little for you to control in your circumstance. Frequently, victim mentality will create blanket statements around the success of others to highlight the difference between that and their apparent failure. It can often sound like reading negative intentions from neutral feedback, developing deep explanations for why things are happening without definitive proof, or gaining relief from receiving empathy from others instead of from positive outcomes.
It can kill a job hunt by turning an otherwise stellar candidate into a forlorn, frustrated human who’s either unwilling to take risks – or who’s taking all the wrong ones. To employers, a victim mindset is representative of a lack of self-awareness, a lack of personal responsibility, and a general negativity that could hurt overall workplace culture. Victim mindset can be so pervasive in job hunts that Glassdoor even has this great blog about it. A few things we’ve heard graduates send up the flag of victim mentality?
- “I didn’t have as much experience coming in before bootcamp, so I won’t be able to find a job.”
- “I’ve applied to 200 jobs, I should really have an offer by now! Everyone else does.”
- “I had 10 years of experience in my field before this, I should have to take an entry level position.”
- “I don’t have a degree, and everyone else who has a job right now has a degree, so I can’t get a job.”
Hear those common themes of generalities and a lack of personal control over individual circumstance? Us too. Bad news? Employers can hear it too – and they really don’t like it. Given the choice between a happy, positive, capable candidate and a capable candidate who sounds like they’re blaming others, they’ll take the positive one.
Good news? Fighting victim mindset takes the power from others and gives it back to YOU!
You’re a powerful human being doing something incredible – you took huge strides to change your individual circumstances by leaving something known to embrace the possibility of something better. You are in control of a lot more of your circumstances than you may remember right now.
How can you fight it?
If you find yourself slipping into this others-based mentality, there are a few ways to fight it and put yourself back in the driver’s seat.
Challenge Thoughts of Blame and Judgement
Victim mentality is simply that – a mental state. Challenge your own thought process by going on a judgement purge – stop blaming others for 48 hours. This isn’t to say that others aren’t involved in your issues, but to put yourself back in control. A quick tip to counteract the tendency to blame others – look at yourself in the mirror and ask (regardless of how you feel):
“What is my role in the situation?”
In most cases, you’ll see that you have the power to choose your response. Will you hold a grudge? Will you take accountability for the things that you can change? Dig in to this LifeHacker article for more details on embracing a Creator Mindset.
Action: For every job worry woe that you feel yourself placing blame elsewhere, ask “what is my role in the situation?” to create some ownership over the situation.
(re)Embrace Growth Mindset
Remember that every failure, frustration or obstacle is, in fact, a learning opportunity. How many times were you overwhelmed or challenged by something before you mastered it? (Chances are – a ton.) It’s super normal to need to practice your elevator pitch and your interview responses. Interviewing is a skill set – even if it seems like it’s just talking and answering questions. If you haven’t practiced (and failed, and grown from) interviews, then you haven’t been growing in this arena.
Action: Find a friend to mock interview you for a 45 minute time period. Get feedback, and do it again.
What about the best that could happen?
Sometimes, when we’re stuck in a victim mentality, we’re stuck in a perpetual worst-case scenario. We’re so stuck in a negative “what if” spiral that we avoid the work of finding work so we don’t have to feel bad. Think: “I don’t have enough experience like this role wants so I won’t apply because they’ll definitely reject me.” But what about the best case scenario? You have 70% of the experience they want, you apply, they think you’re great…and you get the job offer. How great would that be? But it can’t happen if you don’t apply.
Action: Reframe your negative thoughts to a “best-case scenario” and take action from that mindspace.
Action over inaction, every time.
You can spend time focusing on what’s going wrong, or you can spend time taking action to make things go right. Feeling down because that recruiter didn’t call you back? Send them an email to get back in front of them. Feeling upset because you didn’t get the job offer? Ask your interviewer for feedback. Frustrated you didn’t ace the technical interview? Tackle it again with a friend to help you identify where you went wrong. Taking action puts you back in control.
Action: Identify the last three things that made you feel powerless in your job search and take one step that puts you back in the driver seat for each.
How much time have you really and truly put toward finding a new job, and all that entails? When you go to meetups, are you creating genuine connections, or hanging with a familiar face at the snack table? Are you creating thoughtful, tailored responses to applications, or copying and pasting from job to job? Only you can know the answer to how much effort you’re truly putting in – and don’t lie to yourself! Put more attention to the area where you feel you’re putting in the least amount of effort – and try different things to see what works best!
Action: Create a SMART goal to accomplish by the end of the week that’s tailored to the area where you need to increase your effort.
Victim mindset isn’t a sign that you’re a bad person or that there’s something wrong with you. It’s merely a thought process to notice, name, and then take steps to change. Hopefully this post has helped you identify a few ways victim mindset could be affecting you, and will help you take positive steps in the future.
Everyone knows that “Workplace Culture” is all the rage these days. Culture is a buzzword used to apply to businesses and their values, attitudes and more –– describing the overall experience an employee would be expecting when coming into the work environment.
However, “culture” is a little bit different when it comes to a bootcamp program like Grand Circus. This culture that has been established and shaped over the years at Grand Circus, and has kept more than just employees in mind. Students are part of this culture as well, adding to the dynamic ecosystem of Grand Circus that makes this experience unique. Having a strong, supportive culture that allows the students to understand that they are part of something unique helps them through the demanding aspects of the bootcamp program. (more…)
What’s more daunting than a career change into a new industry? Not much, except maybe the sneaking suspicion that you have earned a raise – and you’re not sure how to go about getting it! With raises and general financial talk often being a bit taboo, we know finding good, reliable information can be difficult. Is this someone’s opinion, or does it really actually work?
Well, we’re happy to say that we’ve scoured the internet for our four most useful resources for negotiating a raise. Take a look: (more…)
So many things go into your job search – not the least of which is how you present yourself and how you interact with others. For many, this can be the most daunting part of looking for a new job – it’s not honing the skills that’s scary, it’s wondering whether or not you nailed the interview (or, fearing the 100 ways you didn’t!). At Grand Circus, we want to help folks get BETTER at all of the things that could help them change a career, and we know that improving emotional intelligence is a great way to improve your overall career search success. (more…)
Learn to Code. In Beer City USA!
Grand Circus is serious about our core values. It’s part of our interview process for new employees and contractors. We share them with prospective students during Info Sessions and our Intro to Coding workshops. During our bootcamp orientation we make sure all students understand what our values are and how important they are throughout the bootcamp.
Our core values also drive our community partnerships and outreach.
For example, one our values is: OF THE PEOPLE. We know every neighborhood is different, so we work hard to adapt to what matters locally.
So in West Michigan, what is one of the quintessential industries and products that really matter? Hint: It’s two words and cold?
Answer: Craft Beer. (more…)