Posts about Other

10 Things to Know About the .NET Framework

July 22, 2019

If you are considering becoming a .NET developer through our .NET (C#) Development Bootcamp, here are 10 things to know about the language you should know before you embark on our bootcamp:

1. I heard that .NET was only for Windows or PC users. Is that true?

Not anymore! Thanks to .NET Core, a set of tools consisting of the runtime, library and compiler components, you can create apps that run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. .NET Core runtime, libraries, and compiler are all open source on GitHub and are taking contributions. (more…)

Job Search Trap: Victim Mindset

April 18, 2019

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.

Get real.

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.

What Are You Building? Project Ideas for GC Alumni

April 1, 2019

When you’re learning how to code, at Grand Circus, we like to say that the most important thing in your control is the hours you put in for fingers-to-keyboard problem solving. Usually, this is where a lot of students and alum alike will nod in my direction and say “yeah, but WHAT should we be typing for all these hours” as in…give me a project to do.

Well, well, well….the day has come. Project ideas galore, coming your way:

Stuff to Get Practice Hours In:

These projects might not make it all the way to a portfolio site or be highlighted on your GitHub account for employers, but if you need more practice thinking through your problem-solving strategies, this is a good place to start.

  • Find a problem in your daily routine and solve it through code. Pretend you’re programming a robot to do that thing. Bonus points for adding in some audio that plays in a spooky 2001 A Space Odyssey kind of way.
  • What was the worst/hardest part of your last job? Improve it with code.
  • Build tic-tac-toe.
  • Build Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.
  • What’s your favorite app? Rebuild it just to see if you can.
  • Are you into Fantasy sports? Use some APIs to build the site for your league this year (even if it doesn’t get used).
  • Are you into D&D? Make an app to help your Dungeon Master keep track of all the things!
  • Make your own application for flashcards so you can study (or give it to someone so they can enter their own data and study themselves).
  • Build a Cypher to encode top secret messages!

Silly Things to Have Some Fun:

These projects might be a little funky or a little out there, but will give you an opportunity to break up the serious code monotony. They probably won’t make it to a portfolio site or be highlighted to employers, but will give you a chance to stretch those coding skills in a lighter direction.

  • Make a character generator for your favorite show.
  • Remember that game Bop-It? Make a code version of it that users can interact with. Bonus points if you can have multiple users play against one another.
  • Do you remember how in Space Jam the ultimate basketball players from various teams played against the MonStars? What if you used an API that pulled in sports player information and built a fantasy league to let users play against the MonStars? And based on certain information from that API and which players you chose, your likelihood to beat or lose to the MonStars changed? Just sayin’….
  • Make an application for karaoke-at-home – complete with scrolling text, playable audio, and the ability to choose your dream song. Make is spicy with some sort of challenge built in – maybe a song randomizer? Maybe text only and no backup tunes? Maybe tunes and only 50% of the text? Spicy!
  • Horoscopes are cool. What if you made a horoscope generator? Or a “best horoscope finder” that let you sift through several horoscopes until you found the one you liked the best?
  • Remember e-cards? What if you made an e-card generator that celebrated all those fake holidays (like National Pizza Day) and you could customize it with random pictures and actually send it to a friend?

Alright, buckle down now: The Good Stuff:

Beefy project starters that, built right and built well, could make it to your portfolio or GitHub for sharing with employers.

  • Rebuild your final project with a different framework.
  • Rebuild your final project with no framework. (WHAT?!?!)
  • Find a non-profit and solve a problem for them through code.
  • Contribute to something open sourced.

If this still wasn’t enough and you’re hankering for another jump – some more places to get those practice hours in:

Start Learning to Code for Free with Grand Circus

March 26, 2019

This blog post was guest written by Amanda Littleton, a digital marketer in Greater Grand Rapids.   

If you’ve been hesitant to learn code because you thought courses would be like stepping onto the set of Silicon Valley, then set that fear aside. There are no coding sprints where everyone in the room is frantically writing JavaScript against the clock. Grand Circus offers a free workshop that offers an encouraging learning environment for beginners. There’s no judgement, competition or intimidation at all.

At the Grand Circus Intro to Coding Workshop, staff does a great job of providing a relaxed atmosphere that makes beginners feel comfortable and equipped to learn. Regardless of experience, anyone that attends this workshop will walk away with knowing the fundamentals of code. (more…)

Introduction to GitHub (Video Series)

July 31, 2018

If you’re excited to be a programmer, you’ll need to know how to use version control.

Don’t know what version control is? Check out this blog post to learn more.

You’ll also want to learn the latest and greatest tools available to make you a more effective developer. Git and GitHub have transformed web-development workflow and made it a lot easier to collaborate. (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…)

Why Learn Programming?

March 14, 2018

Yasmine Grand Circus

Yasmine, a Junior JavaScript Instructor, shares her insights on why it’s important to learn programming

As a developer, I often get the question: “Why programming?”

During my days as a teacher, I rarely looked at a computer during the day, let alone actually use one to solve my daily problems. I found I was encouraging my students to be creative and make things every day, while not having the skills or ability myself to do the same.

When I became a programmer, I was finally able to gain the skills to be able to create things that tangibly solve problems people run into on a daily basis. Being able to create something from nothing is why I became a programmer, but there are many more reasons why someone should consider the career. Here are my top three reasons why you should! (more…)

For Women in Tech, Mentors Make All the Difference

March 6, 2018

For those not historically included in the tech industry – specifically, women and people of color – mentors that look like them are important factors for individual success. Seeing people who look like you have successful careers in your field can be remarkable and inspiring – it’s proof that success in the tech industry is possible for all women. (more…)

Meet our Grand Rapids DEVELOP(her) Graduates

December 14, 2017

women in techWith just 25% of computer programming jobs held by women, the tech industry has a lot of work to do to create equal opportunities. Grand Circus is committed to changing this narrative. In 2016, we launched our DEVELOP(her) program to equip women with the skills and resources they need to start a career in tech. Coupling our tech training with funding and support from amazing community partners, we’ve launched this initiative in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Flint by providing full scholarships to select women interested taking our coding bootcamps.

This fall, our first cohort in Grand Rapids launched, and we’re proud to have graduated eleven amazing women. Here’s a little about their journey: (more…)

Metro Detroit Companies Using Unity3D

December 4, 2017

Michigan’s augmented and virtual reality industry has a ton going on. The industry is changing the way we engage with customers, train manufacturing employers, interact with cars and so much more. We caught up with some of our friends in the industry to talk about what they’ve been working on. As we approach the early application deadline for our Unity3D bootcamp, we want students to get a real understanding of what’s possible with this technology. Check out this amazing work:

Five Michigan Companies Developing in Unity

Chameleon Power

Project by Chameleon Power

Chameleon Power specializes in using visualization software for businesses and consumers in manufacturers and retailers. From web tools to mobile apps, the company offers an array of services to companies such as Angie’s List, Empire Today, The Home Depot and more.  (more…)