Posts about Grand Circus News

Emotional Intelligence 101: Impacting Your Job Search

March 1, 2019

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: Announcing a Free Workshop Series

February 11, 2019

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.

learn_beer_citySo 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…)

Grand Rapids: Meet our New Instructors!

February 1, 2019

Grand Rapids first Front-End After-Hours in 2019 will be taught by two amazing and talented developers; Lisa Lemons and B.J. Clark. Working together, Lisa and B.J. will each teach different sections of the After-Hours bootcamp, which includes 24 weeks on in-class instruction plus two weeks of at-home Unit 1.

Not only will students benefit from learning front-end development from two different perspectives of  working professionals, they will also have two mentors to help guide, motivate, inspire and support after graduation.

Welcome to the family Lisa and B.J.!  Get to know them better with this Q & A:  (more…)

Announcing our Partnership with Seamless IoT

January 25, 2019

Since opening the Grand Rapids campus in 2017, the Grand Circus team has been focused on talent development for local employers: providing students with the technical and soft skills that West Michigan employers need to effectively grow their businesses.

At the same time we are always looking for opportunities to support and partner with organizations that provides technology, mentoring and connections to West Michigan’s startup ecosystem.  

partnership_seamless_logoIn the fall of 2018, we began discussing the potential to partner on a pilot program with an amazing organization that also shares space with us at Start Garden: Seamless IoT.   

Seamless IoT is a consortium of enterprise partners and scouts around the world that looks to identify entrepreneurs working on cross-sector innovations and then connecting and providing access to a greater ecosystem of innovation.

“As we continue to fuel West Michigan’s tech pipeline, we need partners like Seamless and Start Garden to connect our graduates to area employers,” said Damien Rocchi, CEO of Grand Circus.

The partnership idea was simple:

Seamless has a very entrepreneurial and innovation driven organization with multiple enterprise partners working on technical solutions to real world problems.

Grand Circus has a cohort of smart, curious, tenacious students learning not only how to code but also exploring the breadth of careers in tech.

It became a clear collaboration to partner and provide Grand Circus bootcamp students exposure to real-world innovation on coding projects currently being worked on in Grand Rapids. As a result, Seamless could help mentor and observe the next generation of talented Junior Developers- and perhaps get new, diverse insights from their projects.

The end result is our April 2019 C# .NET Bootcamp, in partnership with Seamless IoT.   

This partnership builds local knowledge and technical capacity critical to supporting our activities and making West Michigan a leader in innovation,” said Mike Morin, Director of Seamless IoT.

Through the partnership, students will receive training in C# .NET and soft skills. In addition, students  will be provided with invaluable experience in next-generation innovation and an introduction to companies at the forefront of bringing global innovative solutions to Grand Rapids.  Students will demonstrate projects at Demo Day and be provided interviews with the Seamless consortium members such as Priority Health, Amway, Steelcase, Whirlpool, Faurecia, BISSELL and Mercy Health.


This new partnership aligns perfectly with the Grand Circus mission. We believe anyone can earn a career in tech.  We also exist to serve our employer network and help them source the talent they need to grow their organizations. Partnering with Seamless IoT will give students a unique experience that will only help them on their career journey into tech.

Let’s roll. Apply by March 1 for a $1,000 discount on tuition.


Google Recruiters’ Tips for Job Seekers: Resumes & LinkedIn

October 13, 2018

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

Job-Seeking Tips from Google Recruiters

Your Resume Should be Evolving


Announcing our Rising TIDE Project

August 29, 2018

This blog post was written by Kelsey Perdue, our Grand Rapids Assistant Campus Director.

I believe that solid, rewarding careers make for happier people, stronger families and better communities. And I believe these kinds of careers should be accessible to everyone, regardless of background. I joined Grand Circus in 2017 because they believe the same thing, and are successfully helping people start rewarding careers in tech — a fast-growing industry with in-demand, high satisfaction, high pay roles. The industry’s growth is so great that there’s a talent shortage: there will be 1 million unfilled, needed programming roles by 2020. Still, even if you’re not in tech you may know there is a concerning lack of diversity in the industry. Not everyone is involved or benefitting from these great opportunities. With major challenges come huge opportunities, and Grand Circus and I are excitedly working to address both.

A little about my background and experience:

In college, I changed my major five times. I didn’t know what my career options were or which path was the best fit for me. When I met or saw someone I liked and learned what they did, I would consider that career as an option to look into. Kelsey Persue discusses the Rising TIDE project and why it's importantThat’s what got me interested in law, political science, research and finally led me to education. This is the case for many people when deciding their career path.

When leading a classroom of students or participating as one, exposure to jobs was a consistent theme in discussions about workforce development — no matter what grade or age. When I talked to my 6th grade students about the challenges of being an NFL player or the importance of janitorial work, they began to think about their options in a new way. Their eyes were just as curious as mine were when I was a college student. Choosing your career path is an important decision. It’s extremely important to know what job options exist, the reality of the work and where one might thrive. It takes more than just job knowledge, though, to confidently make that choice. Seeing people who look like you or share a similar background occupying and succeeding in those spaces is just as critical.

At Grand Circus, I’ve seen many of our students struggle with something called Imposter Syndrome. This is true for a lot of professionals. When you’re a high achiever you often don’t think you’re good enough – despite proof of your successes. I’ve found this feeling especially strong amongst those from underrepresented groups. They face the possibility of being the first women or only African American, for example, on their team. This comes on top of the natural worries and angst that come with being new on a team or in a career. That’s why it’s important for everyone to “see themselves” and be supported in entering these spaces.

Project Rising TIDE was birthed from this need for exposure, representation and mentorship in tech. Our initiative has four key goals: to expose people to careers in the fast growing technology industry; to be intentional and hold ourselves accountable to being inclusive of different journeys and diverse people; and to break down barriers to education opportunities in coding.  

Over the next two years, we will reach 1,000 people through Grand Circus’ introductory and advanced coding trainings. Our goal is for half of those people to be in underrepresented groups in tech. Half of our introductory trainings will be held at community locations. We know it’s important to be close to where people live, work and play. But going to people isn’t enough. We are also providing childcare, transportation and equipment assistance so anyone can join. Lastly, we hired a new team member who is knowledgeable about the community, relationship building and equity. SheThey will work with local agencies and individuals to provide information and support to carry this project to success.

We’re happily investing two years, thousands of dollars and a lot of work into seeing what difference we can make in people’s lives and the local tech community as a whole. What makes this project even cooler? The City of Grand Rapids is a partner on this project and elements of Rising TIDE are possible thanks to a SmartZone contract. Two years from now, more of Grand Rapids will know about the opportunities that exist in tech. Companies will have a stronger, more diverse talent pool to drive their growth. And we want you to be part of this. We host free workshops every month that we’d love to meet you at, so you can learn about tech for yourself. Bring a friend with you, too. You never know. Once you try it, you just might find the career you love.

Alumni Wisdom Series: Feeling Like a Fraud? Tips to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

July 20, 2018

It’s easy to feel intimidated, even when you’ve demonstrated success. A feeling of “I don’t belong” or “I’m not good enough to be here.” This feeling has a name—imposter syndrome, and it makes it hard for people to really own their successes. Imposter syndrome is common among even the most successful people, including Grand Circus alumni. Even wildly successful celebrities, like Tom Hanks and Tina Fey, have expressed feeling of self-doubt. 

Throughout coding bootcamps, we talk a lot about imposter syndrome, having a growth mindset and the importance of understanding that you do belong here, you are good enough and you can do it.

Here’s their best advice for combating imposter syndrome and embracing the skills and abilities you have.


Grand Circus 2017 Outcomes Report

June 26, 2018

Curious what life after a coding bootcamp looks like? Or who Grand Circus students are? We’re excited to introduce you to our 2017 Outcomes Report that includes more on that!

Since 2015, Grand Circus has released an outcomes report that outlines how soon after graduation our students are finding their first careers in IT,  graduates’ salary information as well as demographics. We believe in transparency – for our alumni as well as current and future students alongside the broader tech community. (more…)

Making a Career in Tech Accessible to All. July 2018 Scholarships

May 22, 2018

2018 has already been a busy year for Grand Circus From graduating our 1,000th coding bootcamp student to extending our full-time bootcamps and even launching a new After-Hour Bootcamp,  our team has been working on some major improvements to ensure a career in tech is accessible to everyone. We’ve also been working behind the scenes on some big goals and announcements that will further support our community and their ability to thrive in the tech industry. We recognize that the goal for the majority of our graduates is to land a new career in tech. Because of this, we’ve worked even harder in recent months to connect with more employers and dig deeper on their needs when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. (more…)