Focus Group Discussion – Code Camps – December 2017

Some common thoughts on Code Camps are that they’re focused and purposeful and can provide really good value once the base programming knowledge already exists.  In general, the perception is that they provide theory behind writing code; teach a bit more in depth knowledge and offer some hands on training.  The drawback?  Code camp graduates are lacking real world experience where they have a feedback loop.  One of our participants has attended a code camp (as a leader) and he states “the focus is not on learning or changing behavior, but to get the facts and strategy to pass an exam” which directly coincides with another CTO’s perception that “only so much theory can be applied when you are faced with deadlines, technology challenges and interpersonal challenges…”  Meaning, someone who already possesses real world experience could benefit more so from the training.

One participant brought my attention to another type of boot camp, outside of the coding world, for Project Management.  The PMP boot camp was 10-12 hours/day for 4 days that lead up to an exam on the 5th day.  Again, this person had some pretty significant experience under her belt already, but this particular boot camp enhanced her existing knowledge and provided her the opportunity to get deep into project management methodology.  Overall, a positive experience for her.

I think we can all agree, there are quality boot camps and not so quality boot camps.  Each camp differs in length, entry requirements and expectations in terms of participation and collaboration and completion.  It’s important as an employer to understand and maybe dig (or have your recruiter dig) a little bit deeper to find out what that particular boot camp has to offer.

I actually met with the Director of Grand Circus (code camp) a couple of weeks ago and learned a bit more about what they offer.  Grand Circus is new to GR in 2017; originated in Detroit in 2012 for corporate trainings and then transitioned to a boot camp in 2015.  Having been a recruiter in the tech industry for a while, it was interesting for me to hear more about their offerings.  I was undeniably educated during my visit with him.

At Grand Circus, the potential students must pass a “test” in order to get into the code camp.  Each individual must have some sort of coding knowledge in order to attend.  Someone like me?  Not a chance to get in!  8 weeks in length; 6 weeks of training and 2 weeks for a project.  If someone is not at a certain point in terms of learning after 6 weeks they will not move onto the project and will receive more training.  It’s very important for the leaders at GC to see their students graduate with a good knowledge base.  They offer a .NET (C#) boot camp and also a Front End boot camp.

One participant said it best, “boot camps have a place and a purpose”.

Paragon Parks Tour 2016 – #33 and #34 – Musketawa Trail and Grose Park

Musketawa Trail and Grose Park, #33 and #34. We traveled to the very NE corner of Ottawa County to visit these parks. The Musketawa Trail is a 26 mile trail/abandoned rail line that is great for running, biking and even snowmobiling in the winter. 10 miles of the trail goes through Ottawa County. Paved and 12 ft wide. Lovely! Grose Park was closed since it’s after November 1st, but it overlooks Crockery Lake, has some picnic shelters, a playground and a dock.


Paragon Parks Tour 2016 – #28 Eastmanville Farm

Eastmanville Farm is located on Leonard street just west of 68th avenue.  There is a lot of history here!  This is home of Ottawa County’s Poor farm  which providing housing and work for indigent residents. Now an Ottawa County Park, the site is a breathtaking array of rolling open fields, steeply sloped stream corridors, and 1367 feet of Grand River shoreline.  On site is also the cemetery where the “poor farm” were laid to rest.


Paragon Parks Tour 2016 – #27 Eastmanville Bayou

We checked out Eastmanville Bayou on 68th street, on the south side of the Grand River.  There are some great hiking trails here.  Eastmanville Bayou is on one side of the trail and the Grand is on the other.  This park has a great kayak/canoe launch if you decide to take the river by boat, some picnic tables and a covered shelter.


Paragon Parks Tour 2016 – #25 Riverside Park

Riverside Park is located in Robinson Township at the very end of N. Cedar Drive.  With nearly one mile of frontage along the south bank of the Grand River, this 64 acre park is the perfect place for picnicking, boating or fishing. The park includes a boat launch (fee required), picnic shelter, large pond with a barrier free fishing dock and over 1,000 feet of grassy picnic area along the riverbank. Fishing is allowed along the riverbank and from the edge of the pond.  There are some nice trails to hike out to the end of the peninsula, but be careful of the poison ivy.  It’s abundant!  Right now there are actually some goats in an area, penned in.  Apparently they EAT poison ivy!  Who knew?