City, Grand Circus partner on coding boot camp


Greater Grand Rapids residents soon will be able to learn the necessary coding skills to enter the growing West Michigan tech industry.

The city of Grand Rapids and Grand Circus recently announced the launch of the Grand Circus Front-End After-Hours Bootcamp, which aims to provide individuals with the necessary skill set to enter the workforce as full-fledged, front-end software developers.

Grand Circus is a tech-training institute preparing individuals to launch careers in the growing technology field and has campuses in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

The After-Hours Bootcamp is held three evenings per week — Monday, Wednesday and Thursday — for 24 weeks beginning Oct. 24 through March 27. There are two additional weeks of at-home pre-work before entering the program.

Throughout the program, students will learn development using JavaScript — a dynamic programming language most commonly used to create interactivity in web pages and applications — and work with the city of Grand Rapids to develop unique applications for leveraging open-sourced city data.

“Being able to understand and develop code is one of the most beneficial and essential skill sets of our generation,” said Kelsey Perdue, program manager and assistant campus director at Grand Circus. “We are excited to partner with the city of Grand Rapids to bring the future of coding to our community as we revolutionize the way that we prepare individuals to enter the fast-growing technology field.”

Students will benefit from unique sessions led by city staff. Members of the information technology and innovation teams will cover such topics as coding for customer service, data collection and data quality. Students will receive an orientation to the city’s open-data portal and build their final student projects using city data.

Becky Jo Glover, city of Grand Rapids chief customer service and innovation officer, said the tech industry in West Michigan is growing rapidly, and Grand Circus is providing an avenue for the community to become engaged and trained in high-demand coding languages.

“Training programs such as the After-Hours Bootcamp help to make a positive impact on our community by providing our citizens with access to some of the highest-paying and sought-after careers,” Glover said.

Additionally, needs-based grants — provided through the Rising TIDE fund — are open to residents of the greater Grand Rapids area enrolled in the boot camp. Application requirements and other financing options are available at

Students will be provided with career service and job placement support throughout the boot camp and after graduation. Since 2014, Grand Circus has prepared more than 1,500 graduates to enter the workforce as software developers at more than 300 of the state’s fastest-growing companies. Grand Circus boot camp graduates make a median salary of $52,000 in their first entry-level tech position.

Boot camp dates

  • Aug. 23 – Early application period ends — discount of $1,000

  • Sept. 9 – Application period closes

  • Oct. 14 – Boot camp begins

  • March 27 – Boot camp ends

Interested participants apply for the boot camp at Applicants are invited to an in-person interview with the Grand Circus admissions team. Accepted applicants submit a nonrefundable deposit and receive mandatory pre-work.

Grand Circus also is hosting a free event Aug. 14 where attendees can learn how to earn a career in tech without a degree, as well as a free boot camp informational session Aug. 22.

Grand Circus was recognized as one of Crain’s 75 Places to Work in 2016 and operates one of 11 Google for Entrepreneur tech hubs — a partnership that provides technology, mentoring and connections to Michigan’s startup ecosystem.

The company also partnered with Facebook, Detroit at Work, TEKsystems and Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation to provide training and funding to eligible students for tech training. In Grand Rapids, Grand Circus is part of the Start Garden ecosystem.

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