Introducing the Grand Circus Academy

Demo day, student presentation

What is the problem we’re trying to solve?

There will be more than 1 million unfilled computer programming positions by 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Michigan’s tech industry is booming, however, a talent shortage remains a major hindrance to growth. Grand Circus’ vision is to close this talent gap for employers.

A technology training institute founded in Detroit, Grand Circus opened in 2013 and has trained more 1,500 developers. These graduates have landed new tech careers at over 300 companies.

Our mission: to make a career in technology accessible to all our immersive coding bootcamp students. We believe that anyone can be a developer if they have the tenacity, hustle, and commitment. Through this training, we’re working to fix the talent shortage Michigan is facing.

A little background on Grand Circus and our community:

Of our graduating daytime students, 89.1% are successfully landing new careers in tech within 120 days of graduation. The diversity of our classrooms is also something we’re proud of; 33% of our students are women and nearly 30% are underrepresented minorities in tech. [Learn more about these numbers in our Outcomes Report]

Man writing on whiteboard
A member of our Employer Network giving us feedback at our March 2018 Demo Day

Our Employer Network includes companies of all sizes, all finding value in adding Grand Circus grads to their teams. Some of these companies include Rocket Mortgage, Accenture, Meridian, DTE Energy, Jacapps, Ford, Pillar, Amrock (previously Title Source), GE, AMBR Detroit and over 300 others.

Grand Circus’ daytime coding bootcamps are 12-weeks long and run every quarter. The bootcamps focus on coding languages that reflect the job market surrounding that campus: Java, C#/.NET, JavaScript. The bootcamps are structured around projects and real-world experiences to mimic what it is like as a software developer on the job.

Now back to the problem we’re trying to solve…

We understand that hiring a daytime developer requires significant investment in time and money.

How much does it cost to hire a developer on average?

It can cost a company anywhere from $4,325 and $41,111 to hire a developer, according to a study done through Okay, that’s a wide range, but still, it’s a lot of money! If you choose to use a recruiter, your costs to bring in a new hire can be on average $20,698 (that can be 20% of a developers salary). Once you factor in costs of time spent (i.e. interviewing, reviewing resumes, phone calls, etc.) a new employee can cost upwards of $31,970 on average when recruiters are involved.

We know most of our employer network uses their own in-house recruiters, HR reps and people operations folks. Costs can still be pretty high, on average around 12% of an average salary (around $11,290). Once you throw in those extra costs like interviewing, it can jump to $22,562.

How does employee turnover affect your business?

The same study through references the Center for American Progress and states that turnover can cost a company between 10 and 30 percent of an employees salary on average.

According to a Stackoverflow Talent study at any given time 62% of developers are open to getting a new job, and we know they have plenty of options to consider.

Employment opportunities for Software Developers is projected to increase 24% from 2016 to 2026, according to the  

Chandra speaking
Chandra, a C# .NET Bootcamp Graduate presenting at our March 2018 Demo Day.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nation’s job market will grow a 7% during this time, illustrating how much more quickly careers in tech are growing than our economy as a whole. This means software developers have a ton of options when deciding where they want to work.  

Companies that have open reqs typically don’t have a ton of time or resources to wait around to find a new employee. And we know that managers need to hire someone, like, yesterday.

It’s because of these challenges that we’re introducing the Grand Circus Academy.

What is the Grand Circus Academy?

The Academy is an opportunity for employers to access  tech talent without having to fully commit upfront to a daytime, salaried employee, Grand Circus handles all of that.

  • You commit to a six-month Academy employee contract
  • Grand Circus handles the cost of employment (taxes, healthcare, etc.)
  • You can ramp up/down for projects
  • Test out a new model for developing entry-level talent
  • Convert to daytime employee(s) at the end of six-months if you choose

Grand Circus vets, trains and helps you select the best possible candidate for your team, culture and projects. Our team works directly with you to determine your needs, and will assist in setting up interviews with developers that will best support your company’s growth.

A Case Study

GC Grads posing in front of window
Accenture now employs 7 coding bootcamp grads: Matt, Kevin, Stephanie, and Carlos. Since this blog was written, Accenture has hired TechHire Java Bootcamp Grad, David, and Front-End Grads D’Lorean and Kristi.

Accenture’s Digital Practice, located in downtown Detroit, hired three Grand Circus graduates through the Academy in September 2017. After six months of on-site work,  those three candidates earned daytime employment on Accenture’s Digital Practice Team.

In March 2018 Accenture hired two more Grand Circus Graduates to join through the Academy in their downtown office. We’re also working closely with other local employers to hire graduates of our bootcamps that begin in July.

What are the benefits for the employees of the Academy?

  • Mentorship for the Academy employee to help with their professional and technical progress
  • Access to free workshops in the evenings and weekends at Grand Circus for continual education
  • Continual engagement with the Grand Circus community through meetups, events, workshops and ongoing opportunities to volunteer with Tech Thursdays and Intro to Coding Workshops .