Over the last six years, Grand Circus has worked closely with the tech community to train and graduate more than 1,500 students. Our community, offerings and collaborations with the tech industry have grown exponentially in this time, and so has our commitment to ensuring these opportunities are obtainable for anyone interested in them.
As of our last outcomes report, nearly 90% of students have successfully earned careers in tech. We’re now working with more than 300 employers, supporting their growth by training Michigan’s newest tech talent. We are successful because our students are successful, and because we work together to create a meaningful community.
This year, our journey continues as we work toward improvements for our 2020 workshops and bootcamps — encouraging even more individuals to invest in yourself. If you want to become a developer, you can do this, and we’re here to help. We’re excited to share some of the projects we’re working on to better serve the GC family.
Our learning materials, slides, projects and classroom structures are getting an overhaul for our Fundamentals of Web Development, Intro to Front-End Development and Intro to Back-End Development workshops. Now, students will have the opportunity to more thoroughly engage in hands-on exercises, gain a better understanding of the differences between each programming language and have access to new resources that will help them in their path to earning a career in tech. These workshop updates will allow more students to get exposure to opportunities throughout the industry and increase the accessibility of our bootcamps.
Always Evolving. Always Growing. Working to Improve Your Career Outcomes.
The tech industry moves fast, and that means our team, curriculum updates and offerings need to evolve quickly as well. We’re currently working on several updates to better prepare students for our bootcamps and life after graduation.
Some of the improvements we’re working on:
In 2018, we rebuilt our evening and weekend workshops to ensure we were providing a path that properly supported students interested in joining a coding bootcamp. For many in our community, the idea of earning a career in tech seems like an impossible feat. We know that anyone can be a developer, but some start the journey with zero coding knowledge and little clarity on how to begin.
Throughout the last year, we’ve worked closely with our workshop instructors (Hey GC alum!), students and bootcamp staff to understand where we can make improvements and provide an even better path into a coding bootcamp.
Once a student has been accepted into a bootcamp and pays their deposit, they receive Unit 1. Unit 1 is an opportunity for them to start learning programming before in-class instruction begins, build small projects with the support of tutorials, and get a better feel for the pace and type of training they’ll get exposed to throughout the bootcamp. This work is done at home and takes about two weeks.
Revamping this curriculum will improve students’ readiness for the bootcamp by providing more coding practice and increased interactivity. Because students come from a range of backgrounds, we strive to ensure everyone starts day one with similar programming skill sets so we can quickly train them in new materials. Everything included in our Unit 1 will be reworked and these improvements will support our goal of getting students fully immersed in the GC learning experience — even before in-person classes start.
Everyone learns differently, and we strive to create a classroom experience that reflects those needs. We’re constantly evolving our learning materials, resources and classroom support.
One big project our team is working on is video content to cover various bootcamp lessons, rather than solely relying on instructor-led sessions. These videos allow students to rewatch content as necessary and engage with lectures at their own pace. Additionally, reducing the instructors’ lecture time gives them more flexibility and availability to provide one-on-one coaching and support as students work through hands-on projects. This content can also be used after graduation should individuals need a refresher.
The growth of our graduates shouldn’t stop once they earn their first entry-level tech position. Our Career Services team works to equip students with the knowledge to not only earn their first position, but to evolve and grow their careers — through new positions and raises — with the support of valuable resources and knowledge.
New sessions and support resources have been crafted to train students in becoming self-aware job seekers. After spending time to better understand the students’ mindset, then surveying employers, we’ve rebuilt our Career Services to cover the topics that teach the soft skills that matter the most to local employers and have the biggest impact on the career search. We’ll now have more group activities, increased planned discussions and new lessons that will help students build valuable job-seeking habits.
We’re always making improvements, and you can, too!
Anyone Can be a Developer
Our goal is to ensure a career in tech is accessible to everyone. We recognize that there are many paths to learn programming — independent study through online and printed resources, a Computer Science Degree or by joining a coding bootcamp. We also recognize that a wide range of individuals are interested in this career path, many of whom don’t have any technical background. Throughout our six years, we’ve seen firsthand the transformations possible with the support of a coding bootcamp. There is no one “right path” in learning to code. It’s all about determining what’s right for you.
Coding bootcamps are a big time and financial investment. When compared to the alternatives, however, they are often the most efficient and effective path into the industry. And for our graduates, they’ve been a gateway to endless career opportunities.
Worried that you don’t have what it takes to earn a career in tech? Many of our students experience Imposter Syndrome, the feeling of self-doubt, and most begin with very little technical experience. Our constant evolution of resources and trainings is creating more opportunity for those seeking a sustainable career in one of the nation’s fastest growing industries. We’re excited to expose even more to these opportunities and support them as they invest in their futures.