In today’s age where remote learning is the norm, many factors that once allowed people considering coding bootcamps to pick between different bootcamps may seem to fade into the background, making all remote bootcamps appear the same.
Factors like location, campus facilities, student meet-ups, and other in-person only components of a bootcamp are irrelevant when it comes to online programs. So, how does a prospective student distinguish between bootcamps and select the one that’s right for them?
Some bootcamps are still doing a lot to stand out as a remote option. Grand Circus is a great example of this. Born and bred in Detroit, Grand Circus has always focused on a strong community presence, treating its employees and students as a family, and making a home out of its campus location.
Grand Circus likes to say that its remote bootcamps are magic. From the way that Grand Circus demonstrates its commitment to diversity and emphasis on community in the digital world, it’s not hard to see that magic.
When You’re Here, You’re Family
Grand Circus has a motto that employees and students like to live by, which is when you’re at Grand Circus, you’re family. It means that when you’re a part of Grand Circus, you’re not just a number, you’re not just someone using a service, or checking a box so that you can level up. You’re part of a community that cares about one another. Grand Circus demonstrates that care in each step of its bootcamp.
Connection and Community
Part of how Grand Circus creates an intimate community as a bootcamp is that students often come to the program from a word of mouth reference. Someone they know and trust has had a great experience at the bootcamp, and they personally recommended it. That adds to the reputation of Grand Circus. It’s also not a big box bootcamp—it’s relatively intimate. Because of this, the instructors know each other well and care about the students on a personal, individual level.
Grand Circus’s motto goes into action through its nurture-based learning model. It provides a variety of resources, workshops, and attitudes woven into the bootcamp itself to address personal and emotional parts of working life. From discussing and confronting imposter syndrome to thinking about emotional intelligence and how it impacts your career, Grand Circus brings connection and honest discussion about the more personal aspects of building your career, into the mix. This is one of the ways it strives to treat students like family members of one collective.
Students of Grand Circus also receive a lot of support during and after the program. Instructors and peers are in frequent contact, and students have access to Technical Assistants that provide ongoing personalized support every step of the way.
Grand Circus is dedicated to making all of these factors work in the online world and has been working to incorporate them into its remote learning practices even before the pandemic made remote learning a requirement.
Its Director of Learning has a remote education certification and has been in the process of working on remote bootcamp programs pre-COVID. Grand Circus promises all the good vibes and all the good outcomes of an in-person bootcamp, provided accessibly and remotely. As they say, it’s the family vibes of their in-person classes, from the comfort of your living room.
Dedication to Diversity
An important part of being a family for Grand Circus is inclusivity and diversity. Having a family and community attitude towards a coding workshop means that everyone is welcome, and everyone who is a part of the family must feel comfortable, included, and looked after.
Grand Circus believes that the diversity of the tech community should reflect the diversity of the real world. To back up this belief, it runs many events and workshops aimed at people who might not have access to the tech world because of a variety of barriers to entry. Grand Circus will often go to different physical locations—like an LGBTQ+ run community space—and offer free intro coding lessons to help bridge the gap between the tech community and diverse groups who might want to be a part of the tech world.
There is also an emphasis on a diverse community and support for that community, once students are a part of Grand Circus. For instance, there are workshops offered for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ people on how to negotiate your salary.
There are also a variety of affinity groups that students can choose to be a part of, from the women’s group, mental health group, BIPOC group, LGBTQ+ group, and diverse learners group. These groups have slack channels in each cohort, meet every other week for an hour during lunch, and implement evening hangouts, happy hours, and get-togethers in a casual manner. Members from these groups often maintain connections after graduation—it’s a great place for alumni to meet new students, and vice versa.
These groups are structured as non-therapeutic, peer-led support groups as well as a place to socialize. All of them are attended to and led by members of their distinct communities. They’re a fun, informal way to de-stress, decompress, and share experiences with people who are having similar experiences. Groups meet over Zoom video.
Scholarships and Financial Accessibility
The Grand Circus Diversity Scholarship grants anyone who identifies as a woman, Black+, Lantinx, LGBTQ+, Native American+, or is a Veteran with an automatic $1,750 scholarship. For those who live in Michigan, the NCWIT Full and Partial Scholarships for Women and Gender Non-Conforming will cover the cost of the bootcamp for successful applicants.
For those struggling to figure out how to pay for bootcamp, Ian K Washington, the Director of Admissions, and his admissions team is available and ready to talk with prospective students about how to plan a career change.
What You’ll Learn at Grand Circus
Schedule: Full-Time, After Hours (Part-Time)
Duration: 14 weeks full-time, 28 weeks part-time
The curriculum begins with students learning web development fundamentals. The core skills students will learn are HTML, CSS, Command Line, Git/Github, and Responsive Web Development using Flexbox.
You’ll then learn to work with data and back-end technologies, learning the ins and outs of REST APIs, JSON, Express, Handlebars, SQL, PostgreSQL, NoSQL, MongoDB, Modern web architecture, cloud hosting, and serverless.
By the time the program wraps up, students will have a portfolio project that they will be able to show to hiring managers to articulate and demonstrate their capabilities, as well as the communication tools to describe what they’re capable of. In the program’s concluding section, students will work in a group to create a web application following an Agile software development process. This will give students real-world experience and soft skills, in addition to being a demonstration of technical skills.
By the end of bootcamp, you’ll have a portfolio project that you can share with hiring managers and the skills to describe your work. Following an Agile software development process, you’ll work in a group to create a web application using the skills you developed. During your project, you get real-world experience not only with the technical aspects of building an application but with the career skills required to collaborate with a team.
Schedule: Full-Time, After Hours (Part-Time)
Duration: 14 weeks full-time, 28 weeks part-time
The C#.net track is where students will learn to confront big picture problems, work with large sets of information, and come up with solutions to interesting problems. They’ll learn an in-demand language and framework. It’s for students who are excited about research and have a critical eye for data.
The course begins with coding fundamentals, where students will learn C#, Visual Studio, Console applications, Core coding concepts like loops, conditionals, data types, and methods Debugging and Logging.
Students will next learn .NET and advanced concepts of object-oriented programming, using .NET, NuGet, Package Manager, File I/O, Algorithms, Data Structures, and Test-Driven Development (TDD).
The course then moves on to working with data and developing back-end technology and building front-ends for interactive web apps.
Finally, the boot camp culminates in a group project, which puts technical skills to practical use, teaching soft skills, and allowing students to leave with proof of their knowledge to show future hiring managers.
The Grand Circus Alumni Experience
Grand Circus offers Career Services to students which extends beyond graduates landing their first job. But first, the Career Services Grand Circus offers begins during the boot camp itself.
Interwoven with the Grand Circus bootcamp curriculum, students will also take workshops on imposter syndrome where they’ll learn to identify self-doubt, come to realize that it’s something that many people go through, even successful developers deep into their careers. Students will also learn to give and receive constructive feedback in a way that’s productive and genuine.
Interview prep is another part of Career Services that’s integrated into the bootcamp. Students will learn that the trick to overcoming interview fear and nervousness is practice and preparation. A career coach will train students to succeed in behavioral and technical interviews employers use and will participate in several mock interviews.
The career services Grand Circus offers connect students with prospective employers during the bootcamp itself. They also offer one on one resume help, curate student portfolios, and there is a student portal that showcases students’ final group projects to employers.
Grand Circus knows that the ultimate point of taking a bootcamp is to land a great job, and the career services program is there to remind students that their career is long, and you don’t have to master everything about coding languages in order to get an entry-level job. You can keep improving over time, while employed. This is one of the reasons why Grand Circus’s career support lasts your whole career once graduating. As they say, once you’re family, you’re always family.
Could You Be A Part of the Grand Circus Family?
If you’re looking for a bootcamp that is as much of a community as it is a place to learn, Grand Circus is a unique opportunity for you. Home-grown in Detroit, with deep roots and a family attitude, the have-your-back bootcamp is now available to anyone, anywhere. An exciting opportunity for those outside Detroit to participate in a bootcamp that will ride for its students and graduates in the long run.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.