Posts about Meet Our Alumni
Currently at United Shore as a Software Developer I, Samantha Mazzola enrolled in Grand Circus after working in the marketing field. Samantha has a bright and infectious warm personality, which made her stand out at Grand Circus, even earning her the DEVELOP(her) scholarship. Samantha encountered and overcame many obstacles during bootcamp, through her perseverance and willingness to learn. Samantha is passionate, focused, warm and a pleasure to have in the GC community. We’re excited to share her story with you!
Meet Samantha, Digital Marketer Turned Developer
What were you doing before your Grand Circus Bootcamp?
Prior to my GC bootcamp, I was working as a Senior Digital Marketer focusing on paid social campaigns for automotive OEMs. I graduated from MSU with a Advertising degree, and explored different facets of my degree in employment. But regardless of company, client or role, I was unfulfilled and so unhappy. I regretted my major, feeling stuck with no other options and could never leave my line of work. (more…)
Now a Software Developer at Magic Wrighter, Adam Tasma came to Grand Circus after working in retail. Adam is now an engaged alum with Grand Circus, but stuck out to us even before he was a bootcamper! Adam made a point to prepare himself for the challenges of a bootcamp, through learning as much as he could before starting the class; one of the many reasons we want to share his story and best advice for future bootcamp students. Adam is very persistent and purposeful and the epitome of being calm, cool and collected. To connect with Adam, visit him here. We were recently able to catch up with Adam and talk more about his experience!
From Retail Associate to Software Developer, Meet Adam
What brought you to Grand Circus?
At Grand Circus, we’re committed to ensuring the diversity of the tech industry is reflective of our communities. We’re proud to work with organizations like TekSystems and Michigan Council of Women in Technology to empower more women to earn careers in tech through our DEVELOP(her) scholarship.
This year, we had the honor of awarding 10 coding bootcamp students with the DEVELOP(her) scholarship. These women come from a range of backgrounds and experience levels, but all shared in their ambition to earn a career in tech.
Coming to us with a background in graphic design and aviation security, Jasmine’s love of technology drove her to pursue a new career. Not only has this scholarship helped her earn a new career at United Shore, it’s also empowering her to think of creatively on how she can pass this new knowledge on to the community. We’re so proud of everything she’s already accomplished since graduating the bootcamp, and continue watching her inspiring journey in her new career. (more…)
Coding bootcamps are designed to train you in the skills necessary to become a software developer. But, what happens after the program is over, graduation is done and you’re on the search for your new career?
Bootcamp: it’s a marathon, it’s a long-haul flight, it’s an intellectual feat. And once you’re done, it’s easy to become dizzy with the amount of free time and flexibility your schedule now has. While rest is certainly well-needed, it’s important not to let your new skills slide. This is, after all, the beginning of your journey.
We sought advice from alumni on how to best use your time post-bootcamp time: How to keep learning and keep growing as developer.
A single mom looking for ways to make life for her family better, Tori was drawn to tech by notoriously flexible schedules and the lack of need for formal computer science training.
Tori graduated from the C# .NET Bootcamp in June of 2017, and has since landed an internship that lead to a full-time position at BrainGu. In this position, she has helped the company accomplish two “firsts:” the hire of a junior-level developer and a woman. Tori has also supported the Grand Circus Grand Rapids campus as the Teaching Assistant for the previous C# .NET bootcamp, and we love that she’s now coworking so close to our classroom. Keep reading for more tidbits on her bootcamp and employment experiences, and how Grand Circus can help you make a career change, too! (more…)
Update: Michael’s career in tech continues to grow. He’s now a Scrum Master at Owens Corning!
Working as an acquisition manager, Michael Riley saw firsthand the rapid growth the tech industry has to offer. Michael worked closely with technical teams to recruit developers, and got a behind-the-scenes view at what companies look for when hiring new tech talent. After nearly a decade on the recruitment side of the industry, Michael was ready to transition his career and become a developer himself.
Michael knew there were great opportunities for software developers, but at first – he wasn’t confident that he had it what it takes to be a programmer. “I took the Intro to Coding workshop to break my fear of learning to code. I found that it was vital to convince myself that I could be successful in coding and overcoming something I thought I couldn’t understand,” Michael explained. Nowadays, you can find Michael volunteering at our Intro to Coding Workshops, offering support to coding newbies and sharing stories about the development projects he’s working on.
Meet Michael, A Java Bootcamp Graduate
Finding a path into tech that is right for YOU is so important to your long-term success in the industry. One of the most popular questions we get asked is “Is a college degree necessary to become a software developer?” In short – no, a college degree is not necessary. For Lanna, a graduate of our C# .NET coding bootcamp, she knew that earning a college degree was important to her but to earn a career in tech – she wanted the hands-on experience a coding bootcamp could provide.
Lanna’s joined our C# .NET coding bootcamp in June 2017. Since then, she’s become an empowering member of the GC community – providing support to new students as they begin exploring code, offering guidance as grads start the job hunt and volunteering her time at various tech events. Let’s hear her story! (more…)
Update: Naomi is still loving her job as a Junior Software Engineer at Meridian
At GC, we get the privilege to watch our students go from little-to-no coding experience to software engineers. No matter what your educational or professional background – a career in programming is possible! We’re excited to continue growing our partnerships with employers who are actively hiring entry-level programmers.
Working with Meridian Health Plan has given us the opportunity to train students and support them as they earn new careers. Last year we launched our Meridian Bootcamp Powered By Grand Circus. We worked with Detroit at Work to provide full scholarships for eligible Detroiters. Today, we introduce you to Naomi Black, a graduate of our partnership. (more…)
Update: Colton is now a Software Engineer at Intrepid Control Systems
Our students have always come from a diverse set of backgrounds, but this was a first! Colton was a student in our October 2016 Java Bootcamp cohort who changed his career from deckhand in Charlevoix to developer.
Even though Colton graduated back in December 2016, he continues to stay involved with the Grand Circus community and is a great resource for current students or those thinking about joining a coding bootcamp. Continue reading for insights on his bootcamp experience, how Grand Circus can help you make a career change too, and why Colton landed a job before graduation! (more…)
Update: Melanie is now an Associate Software Developer at Credit Acceptance.
When Melanie Myers decided to switch careers she made sure that everything added up before taking the plunge. That’s because she was an accountant!
Her attention to detail throughout the Java bootcamp labs made it clear that she has a knack for attention to detail. She always worked hard to figure things out on her own first, but also had the courage to ask for help when necessary. As with any intensive learning environment, Melanie also had a few setbacks along the way but she persevered and now has a fulfilling career as a developer.