This post was developed in collaboration with Wyncode, as part of SwitchUp's 'City Spotlight' series. Learn more about Wyncode on their SwitchUp reviews page.
As the tech ecosystem in South Florida continues to expand, conversations seem to circle back to the same focal point: why Miami? There’s no denying that the 305 has a past. What began as a sunny, sandy, sought after playground for the rich and famous evolved into an era of Scarface, Cocaine Cowboys, and Miami Vice. Nearly fifty years later, where do we stand now?
Take a look beyond the glitz and glamour of South Beach and you will find communities rich in diversity, and booming with technology and entrepreneurship. Miami is the strategic capital of the Americas, bridging Brazil and Spanish-speaking Latin America (LatAm) to the United States. Not only is Miami’s population diverse, it is motivated.
The hustle in the Miami tech community is palpable, and we’re not the only ones who have noticed. According to the Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index of Startup Activity, South Florida is No. 1 in the U.S. for startup activity. In response, the pillars of Silicon Valley are putting down roots. Google, Twitter, Facebook, Uber, Lyft and Vice have all joined the Miami tech ecosystem. When you take into account new investors, entrepreneurs, conferences, tech ed and incubator spaces it’s easy to see that the Miami tech community is burgeoning.
While our ecosystem continues to develop and grow, it is still young and filled with opportunity. Attracting talent from outside of Miami has not been a challenge, some may even say that it’s an easy sell. Miami is a launch pad for selling to both LatAm and the U.S. market with a favorable position catering to the U.S. Hispanic demographic. The quality of life is rich with art, culture, food, nightlife, beaches, and miles of coastline for outdoor activities. After all, Florida is the Sunshine State for a reason. Whether for work, play, or both Miami is conveniently situated for travel to Europe, LatAM, NYC, Boston and San Francisco.
Gessica Tortolano is a perfect example of how the city attracts talent. She returned home to South Florida after nearly twenty years in Boston and Silicon Valley building and leading User Experience (UX) teams for Google, Facebook, Gap and Samsung among others. Gessica brings her prowess to Miami tech as the Head Instructor of a UX/UI immersive eight week program with Miami’s very own Wyncode Academy. Gessica believes that Miami’s creative and diverse culture makes it fertile ground for world - class product design. Gessica is looking forward to nurturing a new generation of product designers, and helping to build an ecosystem rich with designers who practice true product development.
Let’s take a look at Wyncode Academy. Wyncode is the first coding boot camp licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education and the first to have a brick and mortar campus. They’ve also won awards every year since their inception in 2014. Wyncode believes in promoting programming literacy using a disruptive education model. They strive to teach practical and relevant coding skills to equip their developers with the tools necessary to succeed. Wyncode focuses not only on coding skills but also the business and leadership skills that developers need to thrive.
Wyncode’s HQ, fondly referred to as “Wynbase,” is located in the blossoming Wynwood Arts District. At Wynbase students are surrounded by like-minded, motivated and inspirational individuals who want to make a change. When they need a break, they’re in the epicenter of South Florida’s creative startup ecosystem. They’re just steps away from what Vogue magazine named one of the fifteen coolest neighborhoods in the world. It’s not just a boot camp, it’s an experience.
Becoming a full stack web developer in ten weeks is a feat by itself. How does it translate to real world job placement and security?
Wyncode works with Morrison, Brown, Argiz, & Farra to review their graduation and job placement numbers. With a dedicated Director of Hiring Partnerships overseeing projects like Wynwork, Wynterviews, and the incorporation of soft skills into the curriculum, job support at Wyncode is not taken lightly.
Wynwork is a twice weekly meeting for all Wyncode graduates to get assistance in their job search. The meeting is open to Wyncoders for life, whether they are looking for their first job or their fifth. At each meeting, open job roles are presented, along with individuals at the companies that are Wyncode grads or Wyncode contacts, who can help with the hiring process. Other items covered are building a strong resume, learning to present projects effectively, networking, and discussing open source contributions.
Wynterviews happen during the cohort and are group interviews where students share the portfolios they’ve built throughout the program with hiring partners. A typical cohort will have two to three Wynterviews, which often leads to Wyncoders being hired before the cohort even ends. Wyncode also hosts networking events where developers can showcase their work and mingle with the local tech community, such as Facebook Developer Circles.
Students past and present have coined the term “Wynfam” to describe the growing Wyncode network. With over 550 alumni and more than 220 hiring partners the environment is ripe with opportunity. Wyncode’s top five hiring partners include MDLIVE, CareCloud, Kipu Systems, Watsco and TRIM.
Wyncode’s 2016 job placement report has been released. In 2016, Wyncode had a graduation rate of 95% and 21% of graduates were female. Of the 138 graduated who were considered job seeking, 91% obtained work within 120 days. Out of those employed, a whopping 93% landed technical roles. Out of Wyncoders who reported salaries, the average was $50,550 which is up 6.4% from 2014-15. The full report can be requested here.
Technology is disrupting every industry. Whether you want to start your own tech company or work within the technology sector, learning to code in South Florida will open doors. By joining the Wynfam, you’ll receive the training to succeed and make an impact in your chosen business or career whether in South Florida or beyond.