Detroit’s Grand Circus Boot Camp to Address Shortage of Android Developers


Mobile apps may be sprouting up everywhere, but finding a developer to build those apps isn’t always easy.

“There just aren’t that many people who have had the time to learn (about Android development) or to get work experience with it. iOS development is also a rare skill, says Derek Turner, vice president of operations at Grand Circus, a business incubation, training, and co-working lab in Detroit’s Broderick Tower.  “The market is really short-armed.”

To address the talent gap, Grand Circus will kick off its first intensive boot camp designed to provide students a work-ready understanding of Java and Android development. The eight-week course will be group-project heavy, with the instructor serving more as a facilitator.

“The students are going to be working in groups just like they would in the workplace, so they’ll be getting that kind of experience in addition to the instruction,” Turner says.

He says demand for Android developers is coming from two main pathways: mobile development shops and larger companies that have in-house IT teams developing internal apps that relate to their specific business.

While Turner won’t name names, Grand Circus has connected with local companies that are on the lookout for Android developers, some of which will be meeting with students over the course of the boot camp.

“We can’t guarantee that students will get a job, but we do facilitate relationships,” Turner says. “We can have (companies) come in and meet with the students during lunch, so they’re developing relationships before they’re even done (with the program). It’s not just a cold interview, it’s another conversation on top of many.”

What’s more, the intensive course is at no cost thanks to funding provided through third-party providers. “This is a huge opportunity for Detroit residents. We’ve already gotten a lot of interest, so it’s going to be a highly selective program.”

The course, to be held Monday through Friday, from Oct. 27 to Dec. 12, is recommended for applicants who have learned a coding language and used it in a professional setting. The deadline to apply is Sunday.

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