Detroit’s tech industry is booming — most recently making headlines in Forbes and Fortune magazine as the next Silicon Valley. Detroit currently makes up 14.8% of advanced industry jobs in the United States and this rapid industry growth is showing no signs of slowing down.

In Metro Detroit, there were more than 9,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college graduates in 2015. An additional 32,000 professionals are currently employed in the computer systems design sector alone.

Detroit’s tech industry is only going to keep growing, and the landscape of the future is being groomed and shaped by leaders like Grand Circus.

Who is Grand Circus?

Grand Circus invited Trademark Productions (TM) to speak to students in downtown Detroit about day-to-day life after graduation. TM’s Creative Director, Tyler Fraser and Front End Developer, Marina Strang spoke to a class learning JavaScript. After graduating from Grand Circus last year, Marina was able to provide students a first-hand experience of what they could expect in “the real world”.

“Grand Circus is a 10 week bootcamp that runs from 9:00am – 5:00pm every day. You can choose between front end, .net, Java, or occasionally even take an IOS class. I took the front end class where we learned Angular/Angular JS, HTML, CSS, NODE, JS, Gulp (we use that now at TM), and SASS.

Each day you learn a new topic in class. You have both group and personal assignments where you review your work the following class period. You work in pairs a lot in order to prepare you for pair work when you begin your career.

Grand Circus is a huge immersion into development and it truly gives you a great base for programming.” – Marina Strang, TM Front End Developer

Grand Circus is incredibly invested in bringing up the next generation of Detroiters destined to be tomorrow’s developers. In addition to their boot camps, they’re also passionate about investing in the tech talent in Detroit, as well as the entrepreneurs changing its future.

What Questions Did Students Ask?

I have an SEO/Copywriting background, does that help in a web development career?

Absolutely. TM is an SEO-first company, it’s what we’re known for. Many people don’t realize how many other components go in to becoming not only a great web development agency but a great developer. Our copywriting team works tirelessly to write the best content for client’s websites and our marketing team is constantly scanning to ensure our client’s SEO is up to par with our own high standards.

As a developer, you’re invaluable if you’re a hybrid. Even if you were once an Account or Project Manager, every bit of experience you bring to the table is going to make you that much more valuable.

What’s the most important thing to know when starting to work at an agency?

Learning the systems each agency chooses to use is paramount. When Marina was at Grand Circus, she used Terminal/GIT. However, when she started working at TM, she switched quickly to SourceTree. She additionally immersed herself in learning CSS and HTML.

It isn’t only about your coding knowledge when you begin in the workforce. Each agency is going to do things a little differently and no matter what your background, there’s going to be a learning curve.

What’s something you wish you knew more of when you left Grand Circus?

Definitely CSS. You can never, ever know enough CSS. And even if you think you know it, you definitely don’t. You’re always going to be learning, always going to be bettering yourself and your knowledge base. Technology moves too fast and platforms change so quickly — you’ll need to prepare yourself for a lifetime of learning.

What’s working at TM like?

Being very family oriented, TM is like a second family. Many of us spend a lot of time here during the week so we’ve tried to make it a home-away-from-home. We want our work life to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, which is why we have flex time. Employees can work from home or their location of choice one day per week. It’s a great way to get out of the office for a refresh and a change of scenery, but many people don’t use all of their flex time because they’re having too much fun in the office!

It’s important to know that agency life is always exciting and changing every day. You could work on 12 things at once, or one project. Our doors are open from 9:00am – 6:00pm, but if a client has an emergency, we will even fix things in the middle of the night for them.

We work hard to give clients the best product possible and create what they truly want. We don’t sell projects in the highest price point and not the lowest price point- we sell projects exactly where they make sense.

Learn more about Grand Circus HERE.

Learn more about careers at Trademark Productions HERE.

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