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.
Meet Jasmine, an Aviation Security Officer turned Software Developer:
What did you do before the bootcamp?
Before attending the C# .NET bootcamp, I was in the process of deciding what new career path I should take. I had worked in aviation security for eight years, in addition to working as a freelance graphic designer. Most recently, I had the opportunity to attend a marketing program where I learned the process of developing marketing strategies through branding, SEO/SEM, in addition to other effective marketing techniques.
Why do you want to be a developer?
I am so fascinated by apps and websites! Having the ability to design and organize the functionality of a system that people use everyday is pretty exciting to me. I initially became familiar with coding while looking for jobs in graphic design. I noticed that many positions required coding experience, which I did not have. After doing a bit of research about coding, I decided to take a beginners course in HTML. I grew to thoroughly enjoy the class and found the process to be interesting. A friend of mine later told me about a coding bootcamp offered by Grand Circus. I attended a few Grand Circus workshops and even had the opportunity to meet some alumni. Hearing their stories inspired me and led me to see Grand Circus as a great avenue to enter the tech industry.
What does being awarded this scholarship meant to you and your community?
This scholarship is life changing for me. I know that the tech industry in Detroit is growing exponentially and I want to be a part of this growing community, but without this scholarship it may not have been possible. My goal is to use the knowledge that I’ve obtained from this experience to both assist and hopefully inspire other Detroiters to learn the essential skills needed to thrive in the tech industry. I not only want to see our children learn these skills, but adults as well. I want adults to know it’s never too late to learn something new.
Poverty is prevalent in Detroit and gaining the necessary skills to enter the tech industry would be life changing for so many Detroiters. I dream of seeing the day when every Detroiter can thrive and display their God given gifts and not have to worry about having a place to live or struggling to find a school that will keep their children relevant when they’re ready to enter the workforce. I truly believe learning how to code can change all of that.
What was your bootcamp experience like?
When we take risks in life and step out on faith, our lives can produce change in the most peculiar ways. Being a student at Grand Circus and a DEVELOP(her) scholarship recipient did just that for me. Within a short 12 weeks I gained valuable skills that led to a new career, a new group of friends—that feel like family, and a deeper understanding of what it means to believe in me!
Simply put, Grand Circus changed my life forever! Looking back, I remember the many peaks and countless valleys I experienced during my time in the C# .NET bootcamp, but I am proud to say that “I Made It!”
While at Grand Circus I learned about various coding techniques and technologies, in addition to soft skills, but it wasn’t solely my effort that got me through this journey. Through the guidance of instructors who were not only knowledgeable, but cared about the success of every student, staff members who often offered words of encouragement, my family, my friends, fellow classmates—who felt like fellow soldiers in the trenches with me—and a lot of prayer, I was able to complete my journey at Grand Circus. My experience reminded of the old African proverb that states
“It takes a village to raise a child” and although it’s been quite some time since my adolescent years, I find that this wisdom still holds true in my adult life. No matter what I’ve faced in life, I find that it’s best not to face most challenges alone. Grand Circus reminded me that no one is self-made. We are all influenced by many people throughout our lives and they all contribute to our success in some special way. Don’t get me wrong, I had to put in my fair share of effort, too! However, I know that I received priceless help along the way.
How has the coding bootcamp helped you transition into a tech career?
At Grand Circus I learned the importance of making connections and making it my business to be a part of the tech community, and I’m telling you…it works! Not to mention applying to every job you can find…lol! Not even two weeks after completing the bootcamp, I received a call that changed my world. I was offered a position as a Junior Developer at United Shore, I was not only filled with excitement, but confident that the skills I learned at Grand Circus have given me a strong foundation to move forward as a developer.
What advice would you give to others considering a coding bootcamp?
To those of you out there that are doubting whether you can walk this path, know that your thoughts are powerful and with them your world can be changed for the better, I know this because that is my testimony. I stepped out on faith every day during my time at Grand Circus and now I challenge you to do the same.