Update: Kwaku is now a Media Technology Teacher at University Preparatory Academy Middle School.
It’s my pleasure to feature Kwaku Osei-Bonsu on our Student Spotlight blog segment. Originally, Kwaku is from Oak Park, but identifies Ghana as home since that is where the bulk of his heritage lies. He was a student in our February Front-End coding bootcamp, and quickly became an energetic member of our community.
First, I want to talk about this guy’s style. I didn’t know it was possible to go eight weeks without “outfit repeating” – major props. I had just started with Grand Circus as an Operations Coordinator when Kwaku began his Front-End cohort. His class was the first that I witnessed go through a bootcamp. I had already taken a quick liking to my new coworkers, but Kwaku’s magnetic and welcoming energy made me feel right at home with Grand Circus’ students as well. His intelligence, engaging personality and hustle led him directly to a Software Engineer position in Downtown Detroit.
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE THE BOOTCAMP, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE THE BOOTCAMP?
Prior to the bootcamp I was working in New York City as a Business Development Associate at a marketing firm. When I decided to take the bootcamp it was finally time for me to hone in on a skill that no job, industry (or the lack thereof) could take away from me. It would be something that was my own craft and that I could employ as both an art form and a lucrative venture.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
I am now a software engineer at Meridian Health Plan. I find myself learning something new each and every day and that, in and of itself, is both stimulating and challenging. I love it.
WHAT ARE YOU CAREER GOALS?
Ultimately, I look forward to creating applications that will change the world from a philanthropic standpoint.
There is just so much power in the dollar and all too often we see that power being used for personal gain rather than the betterment of our world. Secondly, I aim to educate as many young people of color about the possibilities surrounding tech. Growing up, tech was something that I was introduced to as a teenager. The Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) exposed me to various forms of engineering; IT being one of the many. This, however, is not a reality for many black and brown youth within the city limits and I want to bring that resource to life for as many disenfranchised people as possible.
WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST MOMENT DURING THE BOOTCAMP?
ANG. U. LAR. AngularJS was by far the hardest part of the bootcamp. Coding is like learning a language and within the bootcamp I depict the onslaught (yes, onslaught) of Angular as switching from Spanish to French, mid-semester. Oy vey.
WHAT WAS YOUR A-HA MOMENT DURING THE BOOTCAMP?
I can’t say that I really had one. One thing that truly stuck with me was that one is never done learning. While coding, you find that the more you uncover and learn, the more you realize that you don’t actually know. That is beautiful.
DURING THE BOOTCAMP, WHAT WAS YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM OUTSIDE OF CLASS?
During the bootcamp my significant other was a HUGE support system of mine.They acted as a shoulder, an ear, tissue, a corner and an ATM (lol) while I drudged through the 10 weeks of in-class experiences. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my parents as well. Leaving NYC was a huge decision for me and welcoming me back home was an even larger decision for them. There’s nothing like refilling an empty nest, but they did with open arms and hearts. Love them with all of my heart. I owe them everything.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE WITH GRAND CIRCUS?
Grand Circus has and will always be family to me. From the moment that I expressed interest in the program all the way to Demo Day, I felt an immense amount of support from the staff. Even the CEO, Damien, took the time out to personally email me about my interest in the program. That’s love.
DESCRIBE YOUR JOB HUNT PROCESS.
I appreciate Grand Circus for keeping it 100% real with me and all of the other bootcampers. It took 10 days short of 90 days to land my current role. Had I not been prepped for the “90-day job hunt” it’s quite possible that I would have “taken my ball and gone home,” working in business development again somewhere. I guess that I’d say that I’m thankful for perspective.
WHAT WAS YOUR BEST DETROIT DISCOVERY DURING YOUR BOOTCAMP?
Niki’s Pizza has half-off Wednesdays. There is NOTHING like a fresh deep-dish BBQ Chicken pizza from Niki’s at half-off. The discount even adds flavor.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A BOOTCAMP?
I would advise someone about to embark on a bootcamp to take each and every challenge seriously, but understand that you may not understand everything and that that is ok. Each and every role that you land will include training so aim to understand syntax and structure, practice frequently and ask LOTS of questions.
Are you interested in starting your tech career? Our 10-week coding bootcamps are the perfect gateway into finding a job you’ll love. 92% of job-seeking students earn a career in tech within 90 days of graduation.