Since opening their first Florida coding bootcamp in 2014, the team at Wyncode has expanded from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and most recently announced their newest campus in Miami Beach! We sat down with the Wyncode Miami Beach team to learn all about the classroom setup at WeWork, the instructor team (led by Auston Bunsen), and how Miami Beach is crushing as a tech town.
This is your third campus- why did Wyncode want to launch a campus in Miami Beach?
Wyncode originally launched in Wynwood, a neighborhood Vogue magazine recently picked as one of the 15 coolest in the world. We then expanded to Fort Lauderdale, to an area known as FATvillage, or the Flagler Arts and Technology village, which is an up and coming creative district in the city. At Wyncode the content and surroundings are important elements of the experience. This location made sense because we believe that learning to code is more than just having the best instructors, curriculum and hiring partner network. Doing so in an inspirational and exciting setting that will drive you towards creative thinking and achievement is why we chose Miami Beach.
Miami Beach fits this mold because it’s an incredible setting, with a unique energy and a touch of neon. Considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and with WeWork opening up their awesome building just steps from the beach, we knew we found our next home.
Miami and Miami Beach as cities are well poised for success when it comes to developing into a strong tech hub. It has one of the most diverse populations in the country and is considered by many to be the strategic capital of the Americas, binding Brazil and Spanish-speaking Latin America (LatAm) to the U.S. market.In addition to the LatAm connection, South Florida has a huge healthcare industry (and many awesome healthcare startups like Wyncode hiring partners CareCloud, MDLIVE and Kipu Systems), lots of opportunities in logistics and tourism and of course it’s also home to the mysterious Magic Leap, that is currently raising a $827 million C round of funding.
What is the tech scene like in Miami Beach? What types of companies are hiring developers?
The tech scene in Miami Beach is growing quickly and with Miami just over the bridge, it’s hard to separate the two. Specifically on the beach, Wyncode hiring partners Rokk3rLabs have had the most success, and they have just announced a $200 million raise for their growing portfolio of tech companies.
The largest tech conference in Miami, eMerge Americas, takes place on Miami Beach and is two days of summits, stimulating keynotes, startup competitions, networking events in Miami’s most iconic venues, and more. Manny Medina, the founder of the conference, sold his company for $1.2 billion to Verizon and is Miami’s version of the PayPal mafia, going on to start eMerge and a tech-focused fund. His team led by Xavier Gonzalez and Jansen Pennock have been big supporters of Wyncode and last year we were asked to curate the education technology panel at the conference.
The future for tech startups in the area looks awesome. Miami is now the second most entrepreneurial city in the U.S., with the highest startup density in the country at 247.6 startups per 100,000 people, according to the Kauffman Index. Miami’s privileged proximity to New York, often considered New York's sixth borough, will allow this emerging ecosystem to consolidate its position as an entrepreneurial hub with the arrival of more accelerators and VC funds.
Recently, Juan Lopez Salaberry of 500 Startups wrote an article for TechCrunch titled The Miami Tech Scene is Heating Up. In the article, he does a great job summarizing what’s happening in Miami right now and what we have to look forward to. We’ve been lucky to have Juan at Wyncode critiquing final projects for students and helping them prepare for Pitch Day.
How will the feel of the campus be different from other Wyncode campuses?
Both of Wyncode’s existing campus’ have their own personalities. This is a function of having unique spaces (more about that below) and a really dedicated and passionate staff that puts their own touch on the environment.
That said, we take pride in our ability to maintain a consistent culture, and all of this is based on our core values:
We also make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for Wyncoders from each campus to hang out with each other. Whether it’s alumni barbeques, chatting with each other on our Slack which is open to all Wyncoders, or supporting each other by attending the Pitch Days at each other's location, Wyncoders define what it means to be family. In fact we have a name for it, the #WynFam
One of the things we take the most pride in is the reviews we have on Course Report. Wyncode had the most reviews of any code school in the nation in 2015 and both of our campuses are rated equally highly. This is a great sign,in that despite the two campuses having their distinct personalities and teams, the culture remains consistent.
How close is it to the beach – could students take their laptop down there for a change of scenery?
Wyncode is intensive and will take up the majority of your time, but you can’t code all day and night. When you’re ready to take a break, it’s nice when the beach is literally walking distance from the WeWork building. WeWork has even put in change rooms on each floor, so if students want to have a dip in the Atlantic, it’s so easy to do.
Miami Beach is also about a lot more than just the beach. There’s so much cool stuff happening in the area. Some of our favorite spots to check out are The Standard, a wellness spa on the bay that’s a huge hangout for locals, Panther Coffee, with the best coffee in the Sunshine State and Jugofresh, the spot for juices and amazing vegan meals. Some great places to grab a bite include Books & Books, MyCeviche, founded by fellow Endeavor entrepreneurs Roger Duarte and Sam Gorenstein and Maoz is right outside. For a fancier meal, check out The Continental, Full Bloom and Toronto-based Byblos. For drinks, there’s always South Beach or then check out the Broken Shaker for a casual, locals vibe. Just outside of WeWork is the Lincoln Road Mall, one of the coolest outdoor shopping malls in the world.
Remember though, if you decide to head to the beach, be careful not to get sand in your laptop!
Why does Wyncode host courses at co-working spaces? What kinds of amenities do students have access to as part of the WeWork network?
Learning to code is about much more than just sitting in front of your computer. It’s about having an inspirational, exciting space that will drive you to be your best -- day in and day out. You should also be surrounded by like minded individuals who share your passion for technology and using it as a tool to not just change your own life, but making a dent in the universe.
The right co-working space needs to be vibrant with entrepreneurial energy and have innovative and cool companies present. More on that later. Students will not only get immersed in the technical and academic environment, but also the tech ecosystem that is around them. Many times students end up getting hired by these companies or running into a future co-founder for their own tech startup.
WeWork on Lincoln Road has all this and more. The space is nothing short of incredible and is a place that we are proud to call home, right alongside our other two campuses, Wynwood at The LAB Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in General Provision. We also love the team at WeWork, led by Anna Prisse, they are really an extension of our family and are committed to making sure Wyncoders have an incredible experience while they are with us. Wyncoders are considered full WeWork members so they have all the perks that regular members do.
How big is the campus? How many students can you teach at one time?
The first cohort at Wyncode’s Miami Beach campus is launching with a maximum of ten students. We want to focus on quality first -- and that means making sure we get everything right starting with this cohort. Our entire teaching and operations staff has been really active in making sure that the Miami Beach team -- led by Auston and Bianca, more on them below -- will hit the ground running. For future cohorts, as the quality of the campus becomes clear and will be in line with Wyncode’s standard, we’re open to expanding the student number up to a maximum of 30 Wyncoders per cohort.
How many instructors are there for the first class and who are they? Are they from Miami Beach?
We also have a full time Campus Director on site, Bianca Monaco, who is a Teach for America alumni and is going to be an incredible asset for our team. We’ll have several part-time teaching assistants complementing Auston and Bianca to make sure that the experience in Miami Beach is second to none for the Wyncoders there.
For a complete beginner in Miami Beach, what are your favorite meetups to get introduced to the tech scene?
We love meetups and definitely recommend that those looking into the local tech scene attend as many as possible! We place a lot of value on Wyncoders being a part of and helping build the community, which is a reason coworking spaces like WeWork make sense, as they are already a hub for lots of great meetups. For example, just this week, there are two awesome events happening in WeWork. First, our friend Jason Ibarra from Startup Grind is hosting an event with Brandon Timinsky of GasNinjas, a Miami-based fuel delivery app that was a top 5 Uber finalist in Uber’s UberPitch competition. Then Brian Breslin and Maria Derchi of Refresh Miami, the largest tech related meetup in the Southeast and a Wyncode partner, are hosting a Women in Tech event featuring Mary Biggins, Co-Founder of ClassPass. Mary recently made the move to Miami to build a new startup and has already hired three Wyncoders for her team. For coding meetups, there are several within a close drive to the beach, including the Miami Ruby Brigade (hosted by Bryce Kerley and Josef Diago, both part time instructors at Wyncode and our lead instructor Ed Toro) and Code for Miami. There are many others and we recommend checking Meetup and joining the Miami Startup Digest!
Do Wyncode alumni ever get jobs with companies based in a WeWork?
WeWork opened up less than 6 months ago in Miami Beach. The space is essentially brand new! What’s really cool is that that there is already a strong sense of tech community developing in and around the space.
Several Wyncoders work in the building! Arielle Gruman has joined Pim De Witte and his team at Whitespell building UpFit, which brings high quality and personalized fitness content straight to your phone. Pim started his first successful tech company at age 14 and one of his projects was acquired by Google. Hector Garcia from our first cohort worked at NightPro, building nightclub venue management software. Another startup in the building is Outnix, which finds the best bars near you to watch and experience live sports. Outnix got its start as a Wyncode student project through our WynTank pitch competition where companies can pitch their app ideas to our students and they will build them the MVP.
In addition to these companies, there are several other awesome tech organizations and startups located in WeWork - while we can’t mention them all, the fact that Refresh Miami is in the house is super cool and we love what the guys at Yodel are doing, with their iPhone app that makes messaging more like talking face-to-face.