Wyncode is licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education and accepts the GI Bill. With over 650+ graduates and more than 315+ hiring partners (and counting), Wyncode has an expansive footprint throughout the Miami tech community and beyond. Joining the Wynfam has the added bonus of being immersed in the South Florida tech and entrepreneurial community through partnerships and programming. Plus, full-time program graduates receive Wyncode’s lifetime career support.
Recent Wyncode Reviews: Rating 4.67
Recent Wyncode News
- Become a Developer at these 33 Summer Coding Bootcamps!
- New Year, New Career? Learning to Code in 2019!
- July 2018 Coding Bootcamp Podcast
- Digital Marketing
In PersonPart Time4 Hours/week10 Weeks
Digital marketing skills can help build your career in any field. Maybe you’re already a savvy marketer looking to strengthen your knowledge and skills, or you’re in a position that would benefit from understanding the basic principles of digital marketing. Our digital marketing course will get you on the path to becoming a digital marketer with a performance and content mindset, plus a focus on generating actionable insights from data analytics.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- Available through Climb Credit
- Women In Tech & Military scholarships available
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
- Start Date
- August 12, 2019
- Class size
- Financing available through Climb Credit
- Women In Tech & Military scholarships available
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
- Pre-work for enrolled students
- Placement Test
More Start DatesAugust 12, 2019 - MiamiApply by August 9, 2019
Are you looking to change your life? Wyncode’s full stack web development immersive is a great place to start. In ten weeks you’ll complete 350 hours of staffed learning, write 5,000 lines of code, and graduate as a full stack web developer. When this full time course ends, Wyncode’s legendary job support will help you until you find the programming job of your dreams. We have over 500 alumni who have been hired at over 250 hiring partners and counting, our Wynfam network is extensive!
- Start Date
- June 17, 2019
- Class size
- Available through Climb Credit & Skills Fund
- Women In Tech & Military scholarships are available.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
- Pre-work for enrolled students
- Placement Test
More Start DatesJune 17, 2019 - MiamiApply by May 31, 2019September 30, 2019 - MiamiApply by September 13, 2019
Any designer can create something pretty, but only a few can create a design that is user friendly. A product designer is one of the most in demand jobs in technology today. Our 10 week full time UX/UI Immersive will take you from beginner to Product Designer. The program will teach you to understand users, communicate through design, shape the user journey, utilize UX frameworks, build through collaborative discovery and like all Wyncode programs further enhance your skill set with professional development. Our UX/UI Immersive receives the same lifetime legendary job support as our Full Stack Web Development course. With the ongoing demand for website optimization and mobile applications, these are the type of designers that are in high demand right now. As a leader in education, Wyncode is a training hub for world class UX/UI design.
- Start Date
- June 17, 2019
- Class size
- Financing available through our partners at Climb Credit
- Tuition Plans
- Wyncode offers different financing alternatives. Please ask our admissions team for more details.
- Women In Tech & Military Scholarship Available
- Minimum Skill Level
- Designed for beginners with a creative side or background - but no previous experience necessary.
- Prep Work
- Pre-work is assigned to enrolled students
- Placement Test
More Start DatesJune 17, 2019 - MiamiApply by June 7, 2019September 16, 2019 - MiamiApply by September 6, 2019
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Coming to Wyncode is one of the best decisions I have ever made. As a prior military man, I can truly say that Wyncode Academy is a boot camp, and if you are not prepared you will not make it through the course.
The course difficulty for Wyncode functions like a slope with the difficulty peaking in the middle, before starting to ease back down. Once you get back week 5, it starts to get easier, with the final 2 weeks being the easiest.
Overall, the course was great. The instructors were awesome. The level of difficulty is very high. The sense of comradery and social networking was priceless.
Final Advice: Imposter syndrome is very real and there will be times you feel you are not good enough or perhaps you do not belong there. Just remember everyone starts at different levels. There were students who had Computer science and web development degrees. And to a lesser extent, we had a few students who were already web developers. Remember, the course is geared towards beginners, so rather than worry about everyone else, focus on improving your knowledge and skills. Believe me, even the people you may think are having an easy time with the course are also struggling.
I decided to come to Wyncode on December 28th, for a cohort that started January 22nd. To say this was an impulsive move is an understatement. The community, teachers, assistants, and classmates have been an invaluable addition to my life. I truly feel that I am making a positive move forward in my life. I'd recommend Wyncode to anyone, it was an amazing experience. The friends you'll make here will truly last a lifetime.
Thank you Andy, Don, Izzy, Angel, Bria, and finally Jo and Juha for putting together an amazing program.
I've recently attended the Full Stack Web Development Bootcamp, and have nothing but the best things to say about Wyncode. Staff is extremely knowledgeable and everyone from founders to assistants are genuinely interested in your success. It is very demanding and although it seems that it is not for everyone, they do try to put you in the best of your game and will help you in every step of the way.... put in your time and effort and you will not be disappointed.
Wyncode was everything I expected plus MORE. Andy is the best coding instructor I have ever had. I learned more in my 10 weeks at Wyncode than I did as an undergraduate who completed a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering. I'm excited to share that I am 100% confident I will be an asset to any company from here on out. Wyncode was life transforming. Before coming here, I really considered not pursuing a field in tech because of how difficult the tech interviews were. Wyncode has given me a new family, lifelong friends, a lifelong network and invaluable skills that I hope to repay to future Wyncoders by lending them a hand when they need mentoring and job references.
I really like the way the main instructor explained new material, suggested how to make improvements and how to succeed. I also like stand-ups because you can see that everyone has particular obstacles and I felt s great support after them. The job support team plays a very important role after you graduate.
Wyncode is worth the investment. From day one, I received guidance and support from the staff. The culture there is one of inclusion and encouragement. The curriculum is challenging, but you will leave with the confidence that you need to break into the tech industry.
When I tell people that I'm a programmer, I often tell them that they could be programmers, too. And their response is typically some variation of "Nah, I'm not cut out for that stuff. I couldn’t do it."
This perception of programming as some esoteric craft, inaccessible to the common folk— a self-defeating outlook —is a notion that Wyncode actively works to destroy.
Wyncode’s teaching philosophy posits that the only limits that exist on your ability to learn, grow, and achieve, are the limits that you place there yourself.
I attended Wyncode as a business student and former journalist. Programming and computer science were the furthest things from my established skillset, I promise.
But I learned. I learned from Auston, an instructor who was entirely self-taught and yet is an absolute master in his own right.
I learned from an incredible group of teaching assistants who knew the subject matter thoroughly and would never leave you without imparting some new, valuable piece of knowledge. And when needed, the non-technical staff provided motivation, moral support, and structural comfort.
I learned how to build full-stack applications and to write and speak code, the language of computers and the World Wide Web, the language of all the miracles of the modern age that we take for granted. These are very valuable skills.
If it were up to me, I’d put a Wyncode in every neighborhood.
A few things:
- It’s not easy. It’s called a boot camp for a reason. Expect to completely lose ten weeks of your life – and expect a few very long nights. Weekends are fair game, too. “Wynbase” may become your home away from home for a bit (just try to keep your clothes on).
- You’ll note that some people pick it up faster than others. That’s okay. Just practice.
- Career services are offered in perpetuity after graduation. Fun fact: you paid for that, whether you take advantage or not.
- Scholarships and financing are available.
- You’ll learn a few non-technical skills. Public speaking, modern (Agile) project management practices, interviewing, resume/portfolio building, social media.
One last thing - if you think you're "not cut out" for programming, please understand that life is a constant stream of new experiences and new information. Learning is not an objective, it is a fundamental necessity of your humanity.
I believe that some of the most successful people in this world have actively chosen what they want to learn and experience. I believe we all make these choices, whether we’re aware of them or not.
I implore you to choose wisely.
I decided to become a developer in 2018 to further my career in music and technology. I did a lot of research and found Wyncode Academy to be the friendlist, most community oriented coding bootcamp in Miami. The education I recieved at Wyncode to become a full stack developer was amazing. I took the 10 week full time course, and found a job as a developer within a few months of graduating. The best part for me was the job support that I got after I graduated. They helped me become prepared for the job search and interviews, and helped find a job for me. I highly reoccoemend joining the Wyncode family and feel like they have a lot of support from the education side to the job placement side. There were plenty of teachers and TA's to help, as well as the alumni of Wyncode which I am now proudly a part of. If you want to become a developer, even with no previous experience, Wyncode can prepare you for that journey.
Before coming to Wyncode, I worked at a non-profit. I chose Wyncode because I felt welcome at events such as Pitch Night, workshops, and Portfolio Night. At these events, it was very easy to strike up a conversation with someone and talk to them about their experience. They always had such positive things to say about Wyncode and even let me know about scholarship opportunities. After completing the application process, I joined Cohort 5 of Wyncode's UX/UI Immersive Boot Camp this January. My colleagues are very supportive and our instructor Gessica Tortolano is nothing short of amazing. Furthermore, the Wyncode commnity is extremely supportive, especially the instructors and teaching staff. It is hard work but there is assitance available throughout the process.
I will say that the evironment at Wyncode was asewome. The staff themselves were all amazing individuals. My situation and circumstances were I admit unsual for the typical student. In the end they decided to dismiss me from the program. to state the character of the organization, they offered my a refund. the terms of the agreement they offered was that I couldn't post an honest review of my time at Wyncode. I was told that it was there right as an organization to control the opinion of others about there organization. So first off dont believe all of the reviews you see about this program. My intial thoughts were that this was an awesome program and that it was an amazing program. I f you feel like an outsider and dont know if you will fit in to this evironment. I suggest you look elsewhere. It's common knowledge and a running joke that you spend so much time in the space that it's seems like a cult. I can attest that it isn't, it requires alot of har work to complete the program. However the reference does also apply to the quality of individual that they allow to complete tthe program. From my experience is your not the quality of individual that meets there standard the will find a way to terminate you from the program. They statistics the claim are becuase the curate the results. I had both a very positive and very negative experience at Wyncode.
The materials are put together by previous students which is a both intriuging but honestly it need alot more work before it ready to be considered a cirriculum.
If your a college grad looking to switch careers this is a great program. However, if you are working a dead end job and want to swtich careers and have a better life i would avoid this program at all costs
Response From: Francis Martinez of Wyncode
- Wyncode does not promise any kind of starting salary for junior developers upon graduating. Through Wyntalent we support the career path of all of our students in whichever role or for any opportunity that works best for them.
- Teaching Assistants are not taken into consideration in our placement rate - which is audited by a third party provider, before being published.
- In 2017, Wyncode Academy achieved a 90% job placement rate.
There were many schools offering the coding expirience, and through talking with alumni and reviews online Wyncode was the best option to take. I enjoyed the teaching and curriculum was given, also the support was genuine and all the staff actually cared about my learning. Another thing I enjoyed was the people who joined. We were all on the same page and wanted to be the best we could be, not only with learning to code well but just giving all that we could. When being around like minded indiviuals it's really a boost for moral.
I attended this course 10 weeks ago. I had very little knowledge of code and how to write in certain languages. I am excited to have achieved and accomplished so much in the last 10 weeks. Trade schools such as Wyncode provide all the tools necessary to succeed, however, it is your responsibility to hustle. Go out there and show what you're worth in order to get what you're worth.
Learn to be comfortable at being uncomfortable. Put in the hours and you'll reap the rewards that this school has to offer.
I had a fantastic experience at Wyncode academy. The curriculum is designed around building real working projects and getting your hands dirty. For someone with very little modern coding experience (I'd only built a few HTML sites in the days of AOL & dialup), it was somewhat jarring to dive in head first, and my brain felt like a fried egg at first. As you progress through the course, though, it all starts to click. All in all, I would say that it was appropriately grueling in the best way. The instructors are brilliant and teaching assistants are knowledgable and always readily available to help you wrap your head around some of the more difficult concepts. The space is open 24 hours a day for current students who may want to hang around and code all night, as it can sometimes be distracting to work at home.
The highlight, however, is the amazing post-graduation career support. I have heard from graduates of other bootcamps that they learned a lot, but after graduation they were sent out into the industry with a pat on the back and very little assistance. Wyncode has a phenomenal network of hiring partners in South Florida (and a few abroad) who have hired many of their graduates, and that list continues to grow. The career support team is also very attentive and dedicated to help every graduate that is looking for work.
One last note is that Wyncode truly does feel like a tight-knit community or, perhaps, a family (at the risk of sounding overly sentimental). You will undoubtedly meet the founders of Wyncode during your time there, and they will help you with advice and even reaching out to employers on your behalf. All in all, this was a great experience and more personal than some of the bigger bootcamp "franchises" that open up shop all over the world.
I just finished the 10 week Fulll Stack Web Development course and it was an amazing experience! I can't believe how much I learned in such a short amount of time. When they say full time, they're talking on the low end. Clear your schedule for the 10 weeks because you will eat, sleep, and breathe coding. This is without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was 100% worth it, and the Wynfam connections you make are worth the price alone. If you're looking for something that will push and improve you, you're looking at the right place. Can't recommend it hightly enough!
* These outcomes are not audited by Course Report. In some cases, data is audited by a third party.
Wyncode has an acceptance rate of 12%, of which 85% of accepted students enroll in a course. Of the students who enroll at Wyncode, 94% graduate. 72% are hired in technical roles within 120 days and report an average income of $51,592.
Job Seeking Graduates Placed:
After 120 days
Notes & Caveats:
Our latest on Wyncode
Oh Summer, one of the best seasons of the year! While it’s a time to relax, bask in the sun, and plan trips with family and friends, summer is also an awesome time to learn. If you’re a current student, teacher, or professional looking to learn to code, a summer bootcamp is a great opportunity to learn to code in a short time frame. Various coding bootcamps that offer summer courses to help you launch a new career in tech. Check out the following courses to help you #learntocode this Summer 2019.Continue Reading →
Is learning to code on your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions List? It should be! The average coding bootcamp graduate gets a job in tech and sees a 49% salary lift. A coding bootcamp could be just what you need to make a fresh start in 2019 as a developer, so we’ve compiled a list of 18 full-time, part-time, in-person and online coding bootcamps which have upcoming cohorts starting in January and February 2019. Most of these coding courses have approaching application deadlines, so submit yours quickly if you want to get a head start in 2019!Continue Reading →
What happened in the world of coding bootcamps in July 2018? In our latest news roundup we look at the fascinating merger of two prominent bootcamps, an exciting fundraise for a bootcamp which focuses on apprenticeships, and a settlement worth $1 million. We also delve into the college versus coding bootcamp debate, celebrate lots of successful bootcamp graduates, and look at the proliferation of coding bootcamps in up-and-coming tech areas. Finally we look at new, innovative ways to finance bootcamp (and the potential for predatory behavior in them), and what the job market is looking like for grads right now. Read this blog post or listen to our podcast!Continue Reading →
If you’re planning to take out a loan to pay for your coding bootcamp tuition, READ THIS FIRST. Borrowing money can be confusing and stressful, but there are a number of ways to make sure your debt doesn’t pile up more quickly than you were expecting. The team at Climb Credit, a student lender focused on career-building education, drew from their experience working with bootcamp students to put together this list of ways to be smart about your loan, and avoid accruing unmanageable debt by the time you graduate.Continue Reading →
We read a lot of news about coding bootcamps in May 2018, so we chose the most interesting pieces, and we’re rounding it all up for you in this blog post and podcast! We look at yet another coding bootcamp acquisition, share many wonderful success stories about coding bootcamp graduates, touch on some partnerships between bootcamps and companies, and discuss the role of coding bootcamps in the future of education and talent pipelines. We also chat about diversity in tech at coding bootcamps, and roundup all the new schools, courses, and campuses! Read the roundup below, or listen to the podcast!Continue Reading →
In our April 2018 technology bootcamp news roundup we saw four overarching trends – bootcamp acquisitions, employers putting their own employees through bootcamp, a continued debate between college vs bootcamp, and efforts to expand accessibility to coding education for underrepresented groups in tech. We also look at apprenticeships, the evolution of bootcamp curricula, life after bootcamp, and new bootcamps! Read the roundup below or listen to the podcast!Continue Reading →
Since launching as a coding bootcamp in 2014, and winning local awards, the team at Wyncode in Miami has grown their offerings and now teaches 4 different courses – Web Development, Front-End Web Development, UX/UI Design Fundamentals, and Digital Marketing. But who is teaching these Miami technology courses, and how much will you be able to learn from them? We asked 5 Wyncode instructors to tell us about their varied backgrounds, experience, and teaching styles. Plus they share their top tips for anyone embarking on a technology bootcamp!
Ed Toro, Web Development Instructor
My Background: I’ve been coding since middle school when I took some classes in the BASIC language on an Apple II. Then I went to MIT and coded a bunch more. I’ve been working as a developer since I graduated in 2003 and I’ve worked at too many companies to remember. The closest thing to teaching experience I had before Wyncode is public speaking training as a high school debater.
Why I joined Wyncode: Wyncode was the first coding bootcamp in Miami. I was the first full-time employee here in 2014. I wanted to support them because I kept hearing local tech companies complaining about a lack of talent. I helped build the curriculum, I taught the first course, and I’m still here four years later! I enjoy helping people and building the local tech ecosystem.
My teaching style: A combination of Rachel Maddow and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I like to tell a story about the history or context of a topic, then get to the facts. My goal is for the storytelling to act as glue to hold the facts in student’s heads. For example, I might say, “Remember that story about the poop emoji? That’s what we’ve got here.” I like talking about why things work the way they do, not just how they work.
To me, student success means... hearing about people who were homeless or down-on-their-luck who turned their lives around, people with young children at home suddenly finding themselves better able to support their families, and people with low self-esteem who are surprised to learn that they now have a skill that puts them in-demand.
Future goals for coding bootcamps: I’d like to see bootcamps become part of a non-profit/taxpayer-supported job training program to help people displaced by automation. And to be part of an education pipeline which includes bootcamp-style learning, colleges, apprenticeships, and ends at full-time job placement.
My advice to students: You don’t need to memorize everything to be a good coder. You just need to know where to find the information you need, and how to use it when you find it. You also need to know more than your boss or client.
Gessica Tortolano, UX/UI Instructor
My Background: I began my career in UX when the discipline first began, in the late 90s. I’ve worked in advertising and at digital product agencies with clients such as Google, the NBA, Carnival Cruise Lines and more. While living and working in Miami, I was involved in community initiatives that included two coding summer camps at the University of Miami. That is when I knew I enjoyed teaching people how UX design is something they could make a career out of.
Why I joined Wyncode: My goal is to not just teach students, but to truly immerse them, create real-world problem solvers and world-class designers right here in Miami. This hands-on approach fits well with the values of Wyncode.
My teaching style: I enjoy when the students are feeling their best, when they are engaged, challenged and interested. I myself enjoy the creation process, so I want my students to feel the adrenaline of solving problems and creating beautiful and delightful interfaces.
To me, student success means: On the fifth day of cohort 1, one student said, “I think I'm really going to like this job”. This was a tremendous moment, I felt a great sense of accomplishment, not for myself, but for the student. I’ve introduced many to the world of UX who have found great satisfaction in their job. It’s an amazing feeling when students now have a role they are passionate about. It’s important to love what you do, I really love what I do so I want that for others.
My advice to students: Act as if this is your dream job, and you will do fine.
Auston Bunsen, Web Development Instructor
My Background: I’m self-taught, with no formal education. Before Wyncode, I worked as a Developer, Senior Developer, founder, and CTO for some years. As a developer, I learned the practical skills necessary on the job, and tripped over my own feet as I went along. When I came into more senior and executive positions, I had the opportunity to develop new talent by coaching and teaching them languages they didn’t quite know when I hired them.
Why I joined Wyncode: I thought that it would be an enriching experience to help people learning how to code get their first job. Wyncode was the first coding bootcamp in Miami, so I felt they probably had the most knowledge about running a bootcamp. Second, I knew that they had hired Ed Toro, who I think is one of the smartest people working in Miami!
My teaching style: I’d describe my teaching style as “interrogative.” I constantly probe my students for understanding and ask questions to make sure they are comprehending the content. Lecturing is fine, but I prefer the scheduled slots of time we have for hackathons – sessions where we challenge the students to use what they learned and build something in a one to two-hour span.
Future goals for coding bootcamps: I’m a huge fan of the work being done by organizations like CIRR in releasing job outcomes data, so I applaud their efforts. Also, I think there is probably a wave of blockchain and/or cryptocurrency bootcamps in the works!
My advice to students: Spend 1 to 2 months coding on your own, even if it's just 5 hours a week before attending ANY bootcamp. It will give you the opportunity to ask much more informed questions in class, stay ahead of the curve, and improve your knowledge faster than your peers. All of my best students have paid lots of attention in class, worked hard and learned from their mistakes.
Chet Bortz, Front End Development Instructor
My Background: I’m self-taught. I began to tinker with HTML and Flash at age 12, took courses on BASIC, C++, and Java, and taught myself Perl and PHP in high school. I studied graphic design and front-end implementation in college and have a degree in Digital Media. I’ve been a Ruby engineer for 8 years, I briefly worked with Python, and have written more PHP than I can remember. I have worked as a consultant, a CTO, and VP of Engineering, and currently work as a software engineer for a healthcare startup named Healthify.
Why I joined Wyncode: I’ve always loved helping others, especially with learning new things and accomplishing what was once considered impossible. I believe everyone can write software, and that everyone already understands the basics. I chose Wyncode because the team puts emphasis on people more than numbers. Auston Bunsen and I grew up together, and have worked together many times. His involvement with Wyncode piqued my interest.
My teaching style: In my experience, mastery was only ever achieved through lab and practice. I like to have my students at their keyboards solving problems, early and often. Having them working on projects in class also allows me more 1-on-1 time with each student. When a student is stuck on a problem, I never provide the solution outright. I want to unblock them to enable them to figure it out. This is usually in the form of Socratic questioning about the problem, the logical flow of the attempted solution, or an encountered error message.
To me, student success means: The greatest success is that my students gain the confidence to continue on their new journey, realize they’re not alone, feel comfortable reaching out, can formulate opinions about technology and think of ways to improve it. It makes me so happy to witness a student have an “Aha!” moment in class, realizing they can apply what they just learned to an existing problem.
Future goals for the coding bootcamp model: I want to see more programs for youth in small towns, and I’m happy to help!
My advice to students: This isn’t a game of memorization. Ask questions early. Ask questions often. Focus on the concepts over the syntax, and you’ll set yourself up for success far beyond my class.
Mike Schott, Digital Marketing Instructor
My Background: I learned my digital marketing skills through reading, mentorship, being hands-on, asking questions and saying yes to everything thrown at me in my career. I’ve been doing digital marketing for 15 years in all types of environments ranging from corporate America, agency, and start-ups. I’ve worked with monthly budgets ranging from $500 to $1 million per month and have covered a wide range of strategies including direct response and branding.
Why I joined Wyncode: I love people and adding value to others. Giving back and impacting people’s lives is my “why.” The main reason I love teaching at Wyncode is because of the people it attracts. The culture that co-founders Juha and Jo have created for the employees and students is amazing and aligns with my own.
My teaching style: I’m an experiential teacher. I pair lectures with hands-on, step-by-step demonstrations. As part of my classes, I have the students craft their strategies and implement in a live environment. During the lecture I encourage students to stop me and ask questions, I hate rambling on without keeping the class interactive.
To me, student success means: Many students have had different types of success during and after my courses. Some have started their own marketing businesses, some increased their leads and revenue to the point they’ve fired their agency, and others have found jobs. One of my best cases were two students from the same cohort who started their own ad agency!
Future goals for the bootcamp model: I would like to see the bootcamp model grow in the subjects that are offered. I believe there is still a huge gap in the market for this type of education with other subjects. Where else can you learn coding, digital marketing, UX/UI in just a few weeks? The fact is that if you go to a regular university you would have to wait four years to test your skills in the market.
My advice to students: Get your hands dirty! My most successful students are the ones who, immediately after a lecture, implement the strategies and tactics and then come back with hundreds of questions. I love it when they ask questions non-stop!
Need an overview of coding bootcamp news in May? You’re in the right place! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we read about a number of insightful surveys about employers, programming languages, and learners. We read advice about choosing a bootcamp, learned about efforts to encourage women and veterans to learn to code, and heard about student experiences at bootcamp. Plus, we added a bunch of interesting new schools to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Here’s what we found ourselves reading and discussing in the Course Report office in February 2017! We found out the three most in-demand programming languages, we read about how coding could be the new blue collar job, and looked at how new schools are tweaking the bootcamp model to fit their communities. Plus, we hear about a cool app for NBA fans built by coding bootcamp graduates! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Today we're diving into a question that we get all the time – "How do you get the most out of your first job after a coding bootcamp?” We sat down with Miami-based Wyncode coding bootcamp alum, Jon Rose, who works at CareCloud and his supervisor, Ricardo Morales, to find the answers. CareCloud is a cloud-based electronic health records software company based in Miami which recently completed a $31.5 million Series C round of funding. Jon shares his experience looking for the perfect first job when he graduated from Wyncode, and Ricardo explains how bootcamp grads can stand out to employers, then continue to learn and grow.
Ricardo, tell us about CareCloud and your role there?
Ricardo: I'll give you the marketing pitch first: CareCloud was founded in 2009 with the goal to modernize the healthcare experience, both for physicians and for patients. We provide a modern platform that seeks to streamline the workflow and support effective patient engagement.
I think what attracts developers, and tech guys and bootcampers, is not that we are a healthcare company. It's that at our core, we are a software company. We're using cloud-based bleeding edge, open source technologies in an agile environment. At this point in South Florida, there are not a lot of companies doing that.
Jon was telling me that there are about 40 developers- that’s a pretty big engineering team at CareCloud.
Ricardo: It is pretty big, and we're actually expanding soon because we just closed on another round of funding.
Right – you recently raised a $30 million Series C. What does that mean to CareCloud?
Ricardo: First of all, it's not just the amount of money; it’s the quality of that capital. Although we're based in Miami, we're backed by venture capitalists from Silicon Valley. Some of those investors are Intel Capital, and Fortune 500 companies like First Data and PMC Financial Services. We are, in essence, a tech company.
With this money, we're poised for aggressive growth, so we're going to be scaling a team and our cloud-based platform. Of course, this translates into more hiring opportunities. We’ve got more to do, so we need more help.
Jon, thank you also for joining us! Can you tell us what you were doing before you came to Wyncode? Why did you choose to learn to code?
Jon: Sure. Before Wyncode I was a Component Engineer living in New Jersey, which means I spent a lot of time sourcing electronics components like resistors, capacitors, transistors and some larger assemblies in China and all over the world. I wasn't really happy with what I was doing. I wasn't enjoying it and I didn't feel any passion for it.
Even though my degree was in electrical engineering, I always really enjoyed computer engineering. I originally started a computer science degree, but after a particularly difficult Java course, I didn't think I was cut out to code. I kept at it for a few years trying to learn on my own. Finally I decided that I just had to go for it if I ever wanted to make it happen.
Why did you choose Wyncode in particular, and move from New Jersey to Miami?
Jon: It was a particularly brutal winter in New Jersey, and I was just done with the snow, and I knew I wanted to get somewhere warmer. I started looking around and saw some coding schools in South Florida and California.
I did a lot of research, and I found out that Wyncode was planning to get their hiring stats reviewed by a third party, which was a big deal to me. The other bootcamps were just posting job placement numbers, but the third-party review gave me confidence in Wyncode, so I decided to give them a call. I spoke with Diego, the admissions director at the time, and he convinced me of what Wyncode would do for me. They would be by my side and work with me until I found the job of my dreams, which they did.
Ricardo, there are a lot of coding bootcamps now. Why does CareCloud hire specifically from Wyncode?
Ricardo: For the record, we don't only hire from Wyncode, but we have had better success with Wyncode, and I believe there are multiple reasons for that. They have the first mover advantage, being the first coding bootcamp in Miami.
From the beginning, we started a great relationship with Juha and Johanna (the founders). We also know their lead instructor Ed Toro. Geeks know each other, so he was well-known by the rest of the CareCloud Ruby team. Because of this relationship, we've had an opportunity to influence their curriculum and give them advice on what they need to teach to be relevant at CareCloud. So when a Wyncoder graduates, they can start adding value on Day One.
We've also been part of Wyncode’s interview day (called Wynterviews) where the students get experience interviewing in practice runs. It gives us an advantage as employers because we get to meet the students ahead of time and get a preview of the candidates. We also participate in Pitch Day as judges so we have the opportunity to scout the candidates and maybe make a hire on the spot. In general, Wyncode has a really good reputation with us, with the Knight Foundation, and in the Miami tech community.
When you've hired Wyncode student, what has stood out about those Wyncode students?
Ricardo: We do scout them out at hiring days, but they really go through the same vetting process that most of the other developers on our team go through. However, we know to set our expectations for a junior developer.
We know that a candidate from Wyncode is going to have junior tech skills, so we're looking for a lot of other soft skills. They need to be very motivated, to be problem solvers, and to be thinking outside the box and pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone all the time. Basically, we expect Wyncode candidates to be sponges of knowledge because that will be crucial when they're paired with somebody more experienced on our team.
Jon, coding bootcamps are not easy; Wyncode is not easy. How did you prepare for the first day of class and then digest all of that information at a pace that you needed to throughout the course?
Jon: Before starting Wyncode, we’re all assigned pre-work, which is certain courses we have to complete online, and setting up our development environment to get ready to start coding.
The first, and seemingly most obvious, thing is that you’ve got to actually do all that pre-work. It's very important that you get a taste of coding and the curriculum, and that you're a little bit more ready and prepared.
Once you start class at Wyncode, the most important thing you can do is just put your all into it. Realize that these 10 weeks are going to be your life.
Luckily for me, the first two weeks were mostly review because I had been trying to teach myself how to code for a while, but that didn't mean I ever left early. I would stay until 10 or 11pm every night; come in on weekends, do the projects and do a second version of the projects if I thought there was another interesting way to attack it. For me, the best way to absorb the material is to just keep doing new things and trying to expand on what we learned in class. It was those first two weeks of putting in the extra effort that really sets the tone for the rest of the bootcamp. I knew this was the level of effort required to get the most out of Wyncode.
The Wyncode team at their new campus launch party.
Jon, what were you looking for in your first job as a developer? Were you looking for a specific job title? Did you want to stay in Miami?
Jon: I really grew to love Miami for the two months I was here. I enjoyed the tech scene and the art scene here. Everything was just new and different for me coming from New Jersey. So a particular job title didn’t matter to me, but I was looking for a position that would allow me to code on Day One, which is luckily what I got at CareCloud.
On my first or second day, I was already assigned to a user story. I was working with a senior developer and working with a programming language that was brand new to me – I'd never seen ActionScript! That's exactly what I was looking for; a place to continue my education, learn brand new things and just trial by fire.
Did Wyncode help you figure out which companies to apply for?
Jon: Like Ricardo was saying, CareCloud had been holding interviews at Wyncode during the cohort (we call them Wynterviews). A couple of the CareCloud senior developers came and interviewed groups of Wyncode students at a time. I was also connected with a few other companies through this process, and the application process with CareCloud just worked out for me.
We do have a biweekly WynWork gathering where people who are looking for jobs can get together and share leads and discuss their techniques, and that's another path to finding a job.
Have you referred other Wyncode students to CareCloud?
Jon: We now have seven Wyncode grads currently working at CareCloud. I was able to give a little bit of input on each person. Everyone who works here, I thought was absolutely stellar in their cohort. And just recently I handed in a resume for someone who was looking to change from being an instructor at Wyncode to wanting to work full-time in web development, and he's working at CareCloud now and doing a fantastic job.
Ricardo, from your point of view, what does that interview process look like when you're recruiting bootcamp graduates?
Ricardo: We tweak the process slightly, but it's very similar to the main process that we use. We know that while these students are at Wyncode, during those weeks is very intense. Immediately after pitch day and graduation, we engage the candidates that we think have potential and then we send them a coding challenge. They actually have to write a little piece of software for that coding challenge that takes about one day. We're trying to see their creativity and making sure that their software works. Then we bring them in for an interview, where we talk about that challenge and why they wrote their code in a specific way. They'll get problem-solving questions and they might have to whiteboard, but we're not really looking for candidates who know a particular language like the back of their hand.
We do a panel interview, which for some is a little intimidating, but it shouldn't be! They're talking to three to five people at the same time, but it's not a firing squad. It gives the candidate an opportunity to know who they're going to work with, and meet different team leads. Sometimes, team leads are actually fighting for the candidates, so it's actually an advantage.
After onboarding seven new hires from Wyncode, what kind of training, onboarding programs do you have in place at CareCloud?
Ricardo: We assume that a new hire from Wyncode can already code somewhat. So the best way to learn is throwing them in the fire. We start with smaller User Stories that are typical maintenance items, like fixing little bugs so they can get their feet wet. We'll pair them with a developer so that they can ask questions and be coached.
We deploy to production constantly, and we work in two-week sprints. The good thing is whatever they're working on will probably be live in less than two weeks, and somebody will be using it. Which is actually very nice, right? A lot of developers will work on stuff that never sees the light of day, but they know that this is for real.
Are your new hires paired with a senior developer at CareCloud?
Ricardo: We want them to struggle a little bit so they can solve their own problems, but we don't leave them drowning. It's in our own interest that the projects they work on are good because they’re being pushed to production. So they're always free to ask for help- CareCloud has an open door policy.
Ricardo: We use some other languages too, but what Wyncode teaches matches most of our tech stack. We also focus on AWS products, Node.js, Scala, and a few other hot technologies right now. New hires will definitely have exposure to technologies that they've never used. Even if they’re working in Ruby, they're going to be working on parts of Ruby that they've never worked with before.
Jon, what specifically did the developers on your team at CareCloud do that brought you up to speed?
Jon: I got started on the Sustaining Engineering team, which meant that I was working on bugs that were already in production. By starting with researching those bugs, finding out why they exist and then coming up with fixes, I found myself in a ton of different parts of the app.
Since everyone is so helpful at CareCloud, I could go up to anyone and say, "Hey, can you help me with this? I'm really not sure what's going on." And they'll sit down and take their time and walk through with me what's going on. By starting with bugs, I got a taste of the whole product, so when I started working on new features, I realized that I had experience in those parts of the app.
Did you choose to focus on a specific technology or topic at Wyncode? Do you think it paid off?
Jon: Instead of focusing on a specific topic, I tried to mostly focus on the lesson of the day and the homework. I didn't know the right path to becoming a developer and I was trusting in Wyncode to guide me. I figured that the Wyncode team were the experts, so I just dived deep into whatever the lessons were. If anything, I focused a lot on Rails because I found myself more interested in the back end than the front end.
Ricardo, do you recommend that bootcamp grads learn something specific right after they attend their bootcamp?
Ricardo: The bootcamp never ends. The best advice I can give you is: never stop learning. You have to keep up with technology and be constantly learning. Just like being a doctor, there will always be new treatments and new diseases; it’s the same with tech.
Join the Slack channels. Be connected with the community. Read blogs. Try to be a sponge.
There are so many technologies out there, and there will always be value for one of them. If you become a good developer, you can always switch from one language to another. The trick is having a good foundation.
Jon, over the last two years, can you tell us about something that you've picked up on the job and how you picked that up?
Jon: A lot of the fundamentals between languages are the same. For object-oriented languages, the concepts are going to be the same across languages. MVC design patterns are going to be similar across different frameworks. Using that as your foundation, you can really pick up the syntax and the differences and the conventions for each framework.
We have access to a Codeschool account, which has some great tutorials. I picked up some React and some Angular from there. But for me, the best way to learn a new technology is to come up with a project, and then find the resources to help explain the parts that I don't know how to do.
Jon, do you have your own projects outside of CareCloud? Is that important to continuing to grow and learn as a developer?
Jon: I’m actually working on two projects currently, and I just finished up a third project last week. It's just another example of keep doing, keep learning. The good thing about working on your own project is when you start a new one you have to set up all the foundational work. Working at CareCloud, a lot of the user stories are already defined, and I just follow. But when I start my own project, I have to come up with my own user stories.
Using what I learn at Carecloud helps me to ensure that my project is better. By building out my project, I understand some of the decisions we've made internally here at CareCloud. It's like a back and forth of relationship.
Ricardo, how does somebody who starts from Wyncode at CareCloud know that they're doing well in their first three to six months?
Ricardo: We're an agile shop, so we do two-week sprints, just like everybody else. We deliver the stories that you set up to start with and we make sure that your bug ratio is acceptable. Everybody is going to have bugs- that's a given.
We’re also expecting you to make mistakes, especially in the beginning, and we coach you to ensure that you learn and don't keep repeating the same mistakes. If you’re not breaking anything, you're not trying hard enough.
What advice do you have for other employers who are considering hiring coding bootcamp grads generally or specifically from Wyncode?
Ricardo: When we started working with Wyncode, coding bootcamps were pretty new and we didn't know how it was going to work out. I can now say that it's been totally successful. What I would tell employers is that these coding bootcamp grads are diamonds in the rough. If you can see past that and see their potential can be, give them a shot!
You have to make sure you can mentor a coding bootcamp grad. And if you do, you can end up with really good, quality people on the team.
Jon, you are also working as a part-time teaching assistant in the evenings at Wyncode- why do you TA?
Jon: I found that teaching is the best way for me to understand. During my cohort, when I saw someone was struggling, I would help them right away because it confirmed my knowledge on the topic. Additionally, I would see their point of view and their perspective, something I maybe never thought of before. I learned from them as well.
Also, there are some areas that I don't have as much practice in. Through TA-ing, I get an opportunity to do some more practice. I also enjoy being with the community and watching people go from struggling with really basic stuff, to building Rails apps that just are frankly really impressive. I just like to watch their journey.
Jon, do you have advice for other bootcampers??
Jon: If I could change one thing about my time at Wyncode, I should have spoken more with my TA's- my teaching assistants. I took a very heads-down "I'm going to figure this out.” approach, and eventually I would get it. But I missed out on opportunities to speak to those who already understand the concepts and can maybe give me more insight and perspectives.
I definitely regret missing out on those opportunities. Luckily, since I’m now a TA, I get the benefit of what I missed out on. My only other advice is that this is called a bootcamp for a reason. The very best thing you can do is give it your all and just work as much as you can. I've seen a lot of people who struggled in the beginning, but stayed late every day, and they end up succeeding more than those who get it right away if they don't stay late and don't work hard.
Ricardo, CareCloud is hiring now, right? How can someone apply?
Ricardo: The best way is to look at our careers page on our website. If you're a Wyncode student, then it also helps if you email a Wyncode grad who now works at CareCloud to get a referral.
Thank you so much to Ricardo and Jon for joining us!
To learn more about Wyncode, check out Wyncode reviews on Course Report. Wyncode recently launched Wynbase, the first stand-alone code school campus in Miami’s vibrant Wynwood district, and announced $1 million of fundraising. Check out photos of Wynbase in the South Florida Business Journal.
It’s that time again! A time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end, and a time to plan for what the New Year has in store. While it may be easy to beat yourself up about certain unmet goals, one thing is for sure: you made it through another year! And we bet you accomplished more than you think. Maybe you finished your first Codecademy class, made a 30-day Github commit streak, or maybe you even took a bootcamp prep course – so let’s cheers to that! But if learning to code is still at the top of your Resolutions List, then taking the plunge into a coding bootcamp may be the best way to officially cross it off. We’ve compiled a list of stellar schools offering full-time, part-time, and online courses with start dates at the top of the year. Five of these bootcamps even have scholarship money ready to dish out to aspiring coders like you.Continue Reading →
In this series, we’re spotlighting coding bootcamps that have released Outcomes Reports. This week, we talk with Juha Mikkola, co-founder of Florida coding bootcamp Wyncode. Not only has Wyncode recently released a verified Outcomes Report, but they’ve also built an app (you’ll need to enter your email to use it) to help students navigate the data. Read our Q&A for detailed answers about how Wyncode calculates their 84% job placement rate (within 120 days of graduation), how their process differs from other schools, and why they’re calling on transparency in the bootcamp industry.
Tell us about your role at Wyncode.
Johanna and I are co-founders of Wyncode (and a husband/wife duo). Johanna works closely with our team to make sure that we’re executing well, and that students have everything they need. From a product side, she also makes sure that we’re continually iterating and innovating.
I’m more involved in the admissions and hiring sides. I oversee the process of finding and identifying great students, and then I oversee our Wynterviews, and bring hiring companies into Wyncode. Students get to know me the best after graduation, because I’m in close touch with our hiring partners.
Wyncode has always been outcomes-focused, but you’re now about to release your first Outcomes Report. Why now?
Outcomes have always been important to us. Since we first started in May 2014, we’ve been releasing our placement numbers periodically.
Also, as we’ve seen the industry grow, this effort is more important. There are very few schools making this effort, and we’ve always considered Wyncode to be quality-focused above all, so this is a way that we can show students they can trust and believe in our outcomes.
Wyncode was a founding member of NESTA- what happened there?
Earlier in 2015, as a founding member of NESTA, we wrote a letter to the President of the United States saying that we would make a commitment to demonstrate that we’re running Wyncode right. It was really cool to be a part of that process, but we realized that the process didn’t move quickly enough and eventually fell through. We hoped to report outcomes in aggregate as an industry, and that didn’t end up happening. But we didn’t want to move forward as an individual school too quickly, because we were still hopeful that it would happen as a group.
We have to give credit to the White House for igniting the process again. An article came out that questioned why schools weren’t fulfilling the commitment we made. Then we got an email from the White House asking about the status of the Outcomes Report. When the White House asks you for something, it’s a huge honor, but it also means we need to put the process in hyperdrive. It was a no-brainer for us to invest time, money, and resources into making this happen.
What is the methodology that went into creating Wyncode’s outcomes report?
We built it around the NESTA commitment letter, so the report fulfills those topics: completion rates, job placement, and average tuition. It’s a multiple step process. First, we already had data for our graduates, which we update as our students get jobs. We do WynWork meetings with students twice a week until they get a job, so when someone gets a job, we know about it immediately. Secondly, we’ve done verification campaigns, where we reach out to students via email, phone, and text message with the information that we have on file for them and ask them to correct or approve it. Third, once the auditors (an accounting firm) took over, they selected a significant sample size and emailed and mailed a formal letter to the students, and checked the data that we already had.
From this information, we calculated an 84% job placement rate in technical roles within 120 days. A technical role is defined as working as part of, or directly with, an engineering team.
What did that response rate end up being?
About 10% of graduates didn’t respond with complete information. In cases where data was ambiguous, we were very conservative with their data. For example, if we have someone’s employer but don’t have a confirmed hire date, we counted them as employed “after 6 months.” We wanted to be safe and make sure we didn’t overstate anything. We also asked salary ranges, and took a median value of the range (instead of the top value). Those are little things that I think were the right thing to do, but made sure we weren’t overstating our outcomes.
Overall we had 194 enrolled students in the survey period (May 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015). Of those students, 188 graduated, and 168 were considered job seeking.
You’ve worked with the Commission of Independent Education within the Florida Department of Education in the past. Do they ask about or verify outcomes information? Is that good enough?
We’re licensed (not accredited) by the Commission of Independent Education, and they do actually verify outcomes. The information we report to them is already available (or may become available in the future) publically. However, the data they ask for is very top-level, and it isn’t specific to the bootcamp space. I wouldn’t say that being licensed by a regulatory agency means that your outcomes data is better. But licensing is important because there’s an oversight body that ensures things like the people you’re hiring are suitable to be teachers, that there’s an official refund policy, and a way to complain to state authorities etc. There are a lot of schools that see that process as being very burdensome, but for us, it’s really helped us define our processes. We have a publically available 33-page catalog that explains every process we have in place. Students are able to download that, and they may not read everything, but they do understand their rights if they want to leave after three weeks or if they get into a disagreement with someone at the school.
Some methodologies, like ReactorCore’s SSOM, consider documentation (ie. collecting offer letters) crucial. How important is documentation in this process?
We put more emphasis on the student’s response. When contacted by the accounting firm, the student signs a letter that verifies that all information is correct. We haven’t had a single case of students lying about placement, but we do have a verification process (which we built in January 2016) which is based on Title IV, which covers US Federal Financial Aid. Now when the student gets hired, the employer also gets a verification letter to sign.
Unlike Hack Reactor, we don’t count job offers as “placement.” We only count students as “placed” when they start a job.
When you did the official audit, were the results what you expected? Did anything stand out?
We knew where we stood even before the verified report. The difference is that we had to define the time period that we’re looking at, so the numbers we see are for a certain time period (2014-2015 combined). The bottom line numbers for us are 84% job placement within 120 days, and 97% placement overall.
What we’ve noticed in our market is that starting salaries are affected by cost of living. Our average starting salary is $46,216, which is lower than a school in San Francisco or NYC. But when you use the Cost of Living Calculator, that $46,216 is equal to $93,500 in New York and $72,500 in San Francisco.
Are there specific challenges as a coding bootcamp founder that you’ve faced in this process?
I wouldn’t say that this process is easy, but I think the main challenge is that other industries or educators are not doing this. I don’t see universities, colleges, or other vocational programs putting time and effort into publishing this data. So, I don’t think it’s a problem specific to bootcamps. I do think it’s an opportunity for our bootcamp industry. We’re calling on the rest of the industry to follow suit.
In addition to the Outcomes Report, Wyncode is releasing an app- tell us why!
We tried to make the app more interesting than an explanation of our data. We built an app that allows you to navigate data by gender, ethnic group, and pre-Wyncode education level. Future students can get a great idea of the types of outcomes students achieve based on their background.
We’ve also incorporated different frameworks into the app- our own Wyncode framework, Flatiron School’s framework, ReactorCore SSOM, and General Assembly’s Measuring What Matters framework. Each of these frameworks takes different assumptions, so students can see how our data performs under each framework.
When you look at data under different frameworks, does it have a significant effect on Wyncode’s data?
There are definitely differences. One difference is that we’re really proud of the number of entrepreneurs at Wyncode. We’ve always encouraged entrepreneurs and helped to build their companies (who will often hire other Wyncoders)! If you look at other frameworks, some don’t count entrepreneurs because that’s less of a focus at their program. Under those frameworks, it has a negative effect on our placement rate.
Some frameworks also don’t count graduates who are hired into full-time teaching roles in their own schools. I totally understand that when you’re a big school with dozens of instructors, that may make a difference. At Wyncode, we’re a full-time team of 14 people, so to get a job teaching at Wyncode is probably more competitive than some of our hiring partners. We count full-time instructors (obviously we don’t count part-time TAs).
On the other hand, some schools like Hack Reactor count offers rather than jobs; we believe that if you get an offer but don’t take the job, there are reasons for that decision.
Do you have plans to ascribe to one methodology, like Skills Fund is proposing?
We’ve been in talks with Skills Fund, but were unable to make it to the last in-person meeting in Austin. Once their framework gets finalized, we want to add it into our placement app so that users can see how our numbers fare under that framework. It’s something that we want to support, and I think agreement about one methodology is important, but my advice to students is not to get too caught up with percentage points. Instead, look at what is being reported and how.
Outcomes are important to this industry surviving on a whole. But for an individual student, why do you think students should be concerned with outcomes when they’re researching coding bootcamps?
I think that bootcamps are really cool because there is such a specific link between the skills that you learn and the outcomes that you see after a short, focused time period. The majority of bootcamp students are looking for that specific job, so your research should be focused on schools that can offer that outcome. Also, you have to research past students, the companies they work for, and the type of network your school has in the local community.
How do we access the app?
What’s one thing you’re excited about adding to the Wyncode Outcomes Report?
We’ll add 2016 stats as soon as they’re available, and at some point we may even consider making it real-time after every cohort.
If you're a college student, an incoming freshman, or a teacher with a summer break, you have tons of summer coding bootcamp options, as well as several code schools that continue their normal offerings in the summer months.Continue Reading →
Rita Rovira is the Director of Hiring Partnerships at Wyncode, a popular (and well-reviewed) coding bootcamp in South Florida, which was just nominated as Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal. We caught up with Rita between her packed schedule of Wynterviews and student one-on-ones to hear about the Wyncode commitment to future bootcampers, current students, and alumni. Plus, Rita talks about Wyncode’s requirements for hiring partners (hint: it’s all about infrastructure). This is a must-read for future Wyncoders, and also employers considering hiring developers from a coding bootcamp!
What was your background before Wyncode?
I’ve worked in the staffing industry for the past 12 years, and I was the VP of a technology staffing company answerQUEST. As a recruiter, I worked with senior, technical roles, but I started my relationship with Wyncode as a guest speaker. The lectures I gave were about market trends, resume writing, interview preparation and more. I absolutely loved working with the students. I was always impressed with the student body that was comprised of career changers, students fresh out of college and some joining straight from high school. The drive and commitment of the students to embark on a brand new career was always super impressive. Wyncode students realize they can embark on a career in technology without having to invest the time and money in a CS degree. I found myself volunteering and working evenings and weekends, helping Wyncoders with resumes.
Last summer, I had the privilege of emceeing the WIT (Women Innovation & Technology) summit at eMerge Americas, the largest tech conference in South Florida, and I realized that I wanted to do something more community facing that offered me more civic involvement. I realized I wanted to leave the staffing industry, but wasn’t sure how I was going to do that. During my last guest speaking event at Wyncode, I was casually chatting with Juha Mikkola, one of the co-founders of Wyncode and shared with him my pursuit of leaving the staffing industry. Immediately Juha invited me to speak with him as well as Johanna Mikkola, the other co-founder of Wyncode. When we met, Juha and Johanna presented me with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. They managed to craft the perfect role for me. The role would not only allow me to stay in a client facing role and assist companies with infrastructure decisions, but would also allow me to develop students and assist them in making the best decisions as it pertains to their next career move. It was literally a EUREKA moment for me.
What does it mean to be the Director of Hiring Partnerships at Wyncode?
There are two main parts of my job. First, I’m working with companies to ensure they have the infrastructure to be able to hire an entry-level developer, mentor them, and cultivate their learning. I also pursue new companies to join our hiring partner community.
The other half of my job is to teach business skills to Wyncoders. For the first six weeks of a cohort, I run one workshop per week, where I teach skills like LinkedIn and Twitter power using, networking, personal branding, marketing, resume writing and interview behaviors. We kick off each cohort with a “Why Workshop” to help students articulate why they embarked on the journey and we finish with a “What’s Next” workshop to help Wyncoders carve a successful path after their cohort finishes.
Do you have a careers and job placement team?
I’m a one-woman team right now (however, I do have support from the team and Juha and I work in tandem), but we’ll build out a hiring partnership team as we expand. Wyncode just expanded to our third location, which is very exciting. We’re now in Miami, Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. The great part is that while each campus is unique, they are all within 45 minutes of each other, so we share a lot of the same hiring partner network, and it isn’t unusual for core hiring partners to hire from all three campuses.
Do you notice a difference in hiring between those three Wyncode markets?
Not a huge difference; as South Florida is really one market. Our flagship campus is in The LAB Miami, which is located in Wynwood, the heart of the Miami startup scenes. Ft. Lauderdale tends to attract larger companies that are prominent in Broward. Miami Beach is an emerging tech scene and one that Course Report profiled well in the Miami Beach campus spotlight. All campuses are unique but not in a way that impacts placement.
Do you suggest that Wyncoders highlight their past lives and careers in the job search?
In cases where Wyncoders come into the program as a career switcher with a past career, I always help students craft their story. For example, a Wyncoder who was a teacher can describe how they’re able to communicate technical aspects of the apps they will work on to C-level executives. Someone with a finance background can show that they know how certain tech projects will impact revenue. We have also had cases where Wyncoders are hired by companies directly in their former field, for example someone who worked with point of sale systems can now work as a developer to make those systems or someone with a real estate background can develop real estate apps.
We have also worked with a students that don’t have job experience. Some students come straight out of high school or drop out of college and really don’t have a ton of career experience. They may be waiting tables, working as a concierge and still figuring out their career. I’ll help them focus on that future trajectory and how to portray their drive, ambition, and passion for technology to future employers.
Do you see ageism in the tech industry? Do you have experience placing very young or older students in developer jobs?
I talk to potential students during the application process who have this question all the time. The beautiful thing about the tech space is that it’s a creative space and comprised of solution-driven individuals. I don’t see age as an issue. There is a gender gap, but as more women are exposed to this opportunity, we’re seeing those numbers rise. We also just announced that for the June cohorts, we are increasing our scholarship for women coders from $500 to $1000 to promote more women to learn to code. When it comes to age, I don’t think it matters if you’re 18 or 65, it’s what you bring to the table.
To provide a few examples, we had a student basically fresh from high school, who completed half a year of college and realized it was not for him. He’s young and presents as a young-looking candidate but he worked extremely hard, won Pitch Day and is technically brilliant. He completed a 7-day code challenge in 32 hours. He took an internship with CareCloud, killed it, and was just extended a permanent offer.
We also had a Wyncoder in his late 40’s, with a family who sold a business. He worked extremely hard during the cohort, and in the placement process afterwards. Every challenge an employer would throw at him, he would finish and go the extra mile. He ended up learning C#, while building a demo app for Ultimate Software. They offered him a job, but he ended up taking another offer from Kipu Systems, where he’s working today. At our Ft. Lauderdale campus, we recently had a gentleman in his 60s who had been an entrepreneur and worked with hardware. He was very concerned about ageism; but his hard work paid off and he had two offers when he completed the cohort.
I caught you in the middle of one-on-ones today. Tell us about those meetings and why they’re important.
One-on-ones are a time where I get to know students more deeply outside of the cohort. I’ll ask them about their concerns and obstacles finding a job. This is where concerns about age, imposter syndrome, and job market come up. Sometimes a student is just nervous about being an introvert. These meetings show me the areas of opportunity that I have to work on with each student.
Then we go over preferred employment options. Whether that’s a company who we invited in to Wynterview, or a company the student met at a Wyncode networking event, or just a company they heard about in the market – I like to know the companies students are interested in so I can pursue them on the student’s behalf and try to get them a warm introduction.
Then we set goals with the student. I want to establish their commitment to finding a job, so we make sure their resume is uploaded on various sites, ensure they have advanced searches and news alerts saved, pull up their GitHub to look at their commits and make sure they’re working on an advanced coding project, and plan for the next weeks of the job search.
When is the right time for a bootcamp student to start sending out applications?
We do a resume workshop during Week 5 so that they’re ready for Wynterviews, which are in Weeks 6, 7, 8 and 9.
I don’t encourage students to interview externally until they’ve completed the program. Their Pitch Day is on a Thursday and on Friday they can start applying; but we don’t want students to get dragged into a technical interview that they’re not ready for. Our curriculum is extremely robust and we’re learning until the very end of the class. It’s important to me that the students are prepared for technical questions, so I recommend that they start applying immediately after completion.
We also have a pretty awesome app that Wyncode students built called Interque, that crowd sources answers to common technical interview questions they have seen across South Florida tech. This is something students begin using in Weeks 8 and 9 to prepare for upcoming interviews. Interque is free for anyone to sign up.
Do you find yourself helping students negotiate salary?
Students know that I have one rule only: you can never ever accept an offer without speaking to me first. It’s important to me because, like in any industry, it’s easy to take advantage of someone who is brand new to the market and industry.
My goal is to always ensure the students are paid fairly and have the best offer for them.
Tell us about those Wynterviews – which companies are invited? Do companies pay a referral fee or a hiring fee when they hire a Wyncoder?
Zero fees. Wyncode wants to feed the tech ecosystem in Florida and beyond. We want to eliminate gaps between our students and hiring partners, not create them. The companies that hire Wyncoders are important partners for us to validate what we are teaching, so we ask that instead of fees they provide feedback so we can continually improve our product.
Wynterviews are invite-only. As we work with companies and they tell us about opportunities, we invite that company, providing they have an opening, to come meet with our students via a Wynterview. First, the companies present to the entire group and tell them more about what their company does. It’s a roundtable interview with the students’ split into their final project groups. They meet with hiring partners for 15-25 minutes each, getting a combination of technical and cultural questions. Afterwards, I sit down with those hiring partners and have a discussion about which students stood out and who they want to invite for a second interview in-house.
I also see those conversations as a huge opportunity for feedback. If a student did poorly, we want to help that student in the future and give them an opportunity to practice interview skills. They can also lead to Wyncoders being hired even before Pitch Day, something we obviously get really excited about. That’s what Watsco Ventures did when they hired four Wyncoders who were profiled on Course Report.
Finally, since we have Wyncoders who have been working at their companies for over a year, we are seeing companies sending their Wyncoders to conduct the Wynterviews and suggest who they should bring in for second interviews – something really cool that we did not anticipate when we created Wynterviews.
As a coding bootcamp, what does Wyncode look for in Employer Partners?
More than anything, it’s infrastructure. There must be core senior developers at the company who can be paired with Wyncoders, so that they can mentor them, do code reviews, and can cultivate them as developers.
When a company wants to hire from Wyncode, my first question is “What does your tech team look like?” If your company only has a CTO, then in most cases, it won’t be a great fit for our students.
Do you have an ongoing relationship with employers? Do they have any influence over the Wyncode curriculum?
We send out two surveys. One is to hear how I can make it easier for employers to hire our students. Things that come up are more Wynterviews, the structure of follow-up interviews, things like our Pitch Day pre-mixer where Hiring Partners can meet Wyncoders before the crowd gets too large at Pitch Day.
The second survey goes out to hiring partners who have hired students. After the summer cohort, during Wyncode’s 6-week long break, our team comes together to review that survey. We want to know everything from “What would be most beneficial for that Wyncoder to have known prior to their first day?” to “After three months, in what areas could your Wyncode be stronger?” Then Sean Sellek, our Product Developer, Ed Toro, our lead instructor in Wynwood and our SCRUM Master of the curriculum, and the rest of the full-time teaching team can implement that into our curriculum. We also make sure to take into account student feedback from daily stand-ups which are technical blockers the students faced that day as well as weekly retrospectives, all of which is logged in apps we have built for internal use. Ed and the team will only implement changes that are backed up by data!
How important is it for employers to get involved with Wyncode early on? What advice do you have for employers who don’t know where to start?
The best way to get involved with Wyncode is to get in touch with us and set up a meeting at one of our campus. Fill out information to become a Hiring Partner. Something to also consider is that you may have something to offer Wyncode students beyond a hiring perspective. Employers can make great guest speakers; they come to Friends & Family night to see what our students have to offer and help them prepare for Pitch Day. Many developers that hire Wyncoders also work for us as part-time Teaching Assistants. Employers can and regularly do come to our classrooms and we love it when they see how packed they are with talent, and how our students are putting in 13 to 14 hour days.
Coming from a staffing background, do you suggest that bootcamp grads go down the “recruiting route?”
Locally in Florida, I absolutely advise students avoid recruiters. To be honest, right now, bootcampers are not “fee-eligible.” Meaning that a recruiter can’t charge employers to hire a Wyncode graduate, because they have free access to our talent pool! It’s almost silly for a student to invest time working with a recruiter when they’ll probably find that they’re not as qualified as they need to be to absorb a mid-level or senior role.
That said, we do see a trend in this marketplace. There is a drought of true senior-level developers particularly in our market. We often help connect senior developers in our market with companies looking, because when they hire someone senior, they will often bring in two to three more junior developers on board to learn from them. Also, because of this drought, over the past four to five months, some recruiters are being asked for junior developers meaning we are seeing more of them at our pitch days. Funnily enough we have had several recruiters join Wyncode recently and learn to code – which has proven to be a great career path for them, as they already know what employers are looking for!
Generally, a student’s best bet is to work with us to go directly to a company, simply because it’s lower cost to the company to hire a student without that middle man, because we don’t have any fees. This means a Wyncoder is more likely to get better compensation and not be passed over.
Across the board, startups are our biggest hiring partners, and that has to do with the open-source technology we teach. These companies are often smaller and tend to not work with recruiters anyway.
How has Wyncode thought about reporting student outcomes?
We discuss this on a weekly basis. Internally, we track graduation, hiring dates, role type (developer, hybrid, non-technical), company type (startup, enterprise), industry, and how a job was sourced. We’re working on a self-imposed audit of that data that we’ll publish in the coming months. It’s on the horizon and something we can’t wait to do.
Right now, we have 90% placement within 90 days, but that goes all the way back to our first cohort. For example, more recently one cohort in Miami reached 93% within 90 days.
How does your job continue after a Wyncode student graduates?
We’re big on post-grad support. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I lead hour-long workshops called WynWork at Miami and Fort Lauderdale for alumni. That can be previous or current cohorts. We talk about goals for the week, what they’re working on, where they’ve interviewed, any blockers. I’ll give them info on new companies who are looking to hire. We will discuss anything from Imposter Syndrome to Block Scheduling to Job Applications to Followups. That’s support that they have forever and ever. We love helping Wyncoders find their second and third jobs, not just their first!
Want to learn more about the companies that hire from Wyncode? Check out this blog profiling some of the top companies that hire from Wyncode.
We’ve picked five cities which are up-and-coming in the tech scene and have a great range of coding bootcamp options. When you think of coding bootcamps you might first think of cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Austin. But those aren’t your only options. There are now bootcamps in almost 100 cities across the U.S.
How much do coding bootcamps cost? From students looking for free coding bootcamps to those wondering if an $18,000 bootcamp is worth it, we understand that cost is important to future bootcampers! While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,906, bootcamp tuition can range from $9,000 to $21,000, and some coding bootcamps have deferred tuition. So how do you decide what to budget for? Here, we break down the costs of coding bootcamps from around the USA.
You've heard of household bootcamps like Hack Reactor, General Assembly, and Flatiron School – but have you noticed universities that offer coding bootcamps? Universities have now been partnering with coding bootcamps since 2016, but these university coding bootcamps aren't all the same! Research your options below and find out which coding bootcamps offer college credit, which are part-time to accommodate your schedule, and read our tips for choosing the best university coding bootcamp for you.
These are partnerships where a coding bootcamp either offers classes on the university campus, taught by the bootcamp’s own professors, or students can study at the coding bootcamp campus but get college credit. Some of these partnerships also allow students to use the GI Bill to pay for coding bootcamp tuition.Continue Reading →
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:
- Iterate & innovate
- Hustle the extra mile
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.
More than 1000 coding bootcamp graduates entered our sweepstakes competition to win an Apple Watch just by leaving a review for their school on Course Report. The lucky winner was Lenard from Wyncode! We caught up with him to find out a bit about his coding bootcamp experience.
Check out Lenard’s review here, and be sure to look out for our next review sweepstakes!Continue Reading →
2015 was another huge year for coding bootcamps, and the team at Course Report had a blast covering it. We've seen acquisitions, attention from the White House, a focus on accessibility and new schools launching weekly in cities from San Fran to Sydney. As we connect with bootcamp alumni all over the world, success stories continue to emerge and it makes us so excited to see the future of bootcamps unfold. But we can't head into the New Year without reflecting on some of the greatest accomplishments of 2015, so read on for our top picks!Continue Reading →
We hear this question all the time: “Sure. People can get jobs after bootcamp, but do they get second jobs, third jobs? Can they have fulfilling careers in web development?” Which is why we were so excited to talk with Walter and Julie, who both graduated from Wyncode over a year ago and are building successful careers at MD Live and Udacity. We chat with Julie and Walter about everyone from their experiences at Wyncode to what they include on their LinkedIns to their growing careers as developers.Continue Reading →
Today we’re joined by three bootcampers who went to Wyncode in Miami and their hiring manager at their company Watsco. We’re joined by Carmen, Sermin and Spencer. We’re going to learn what they were doing before they went to Wyncode, their experience at Wyncode and their job search. We’re going to hear from Ivan Rapin-Smith at Watsco Ventures about why they chose to hire from Wyncode and what it’s like to work with developers after a bootcamp.
Liz: Could everyone give us a quick intro — tell us your name, what you do at Watsco.
Carmen: My name is Carmen. I do product management and I'm also a scrummaster. I used to be in scrum marketing and went to Wyncode to learn Ruby and HTML.
Fermin: I worked in finance before Wyncode and now I'm a developer here at Watsco.
Spencer: I’m Spencer, I was fresh out of college with a brain and cognitive science degree. I did music on YouTube. I ended up going to Wyncode to get back into programming. That's how I ended up at Watsco as a web developer.
Liz: I love this variety of backgrounds because it shows that there isn’t a clear-cut background to attending a bootcamp or becoming a developer. Ivan, tell us your job at Watsco and what does Watsco do?
Ivan: My name is Ivan Rapin-Smith, I run Watsco Ventures. Watsco Ventures is the startup incubator and corporate venture capital fund of Watsco. Watsco is a public company based in Miami; we're the biggest distributor of air conditioning products. According to the NY stock exchange, Watsco currently does 4 billion dollars in revenue. Our group, Watsco Ventures, looks at how we can innovate in our space either by building our own in-house startups or by investing in startups that have a strategic value to us.
Liz: For the students here, what was your goal in doing a bootcamp? Did everybody go to Wyncode with their goal graduating and getting a job as a junior developer?
Carmen: I definitely had the goal to learn and get a job afterwards. It worked really great.
Fermin: In my case, I learned programming on my own because I wanted to go into finance. I wanted to accelerate the learning process so that's why I set to join Wyncode and get a job.
Spencer: Mine is a bit similar. I was at a dead end and ended up back in Miami unsure of what to do next. I did a bit of programming in college; I wanted to get back into it and see if that would take me to a job and it did.
Liz: You all learned Ruby on Rails at Wyncode. Did you only look for Rails jobs once you were in the job search process?
Spencer: Our situation was a bit unique in that we were offered jobs before the boot camp was done. We got offers in the last week. Had I done more extensive searching —the language wouldn't have mattered much, especially as a junior dev. It's really just about your ability to learn and pick up technologies.
Carmen: Wyncode gave us the opportunity to meet employers and hiring partners, so that's how we ended up working here. But, once you learn one language it's easier to adopt any language from what I’ve heard. I only know Ruby. Here at Watsco ventures, these guys have done well with different languages.
Fermin: We work with PHP, so the last time I used Ruby was at Wyncode.
Liz: When did you graduate from Wyncode?
Carmen: We all graduated in mid-March.
Liz: Carmen, you mentioned being put in front of a lot of hiring partners throughout the class? Tell us about how you got exposure to employers.
Carmen: A few weeks into the bootcamp, we started meeting with employers weekly. The hiring partners come in and meet everybody. This has been an extremely valuable experience from a bootcamp. I know a lot of bootcamps don't offer this, but for me it was great.
Liz: Ivan how did you get connected with Wyncode to begin with?
Ivan: I met Juha and Jo (of Wyncode) before I was at Watsco. I was running an accelerator in Miami called Venture Hire, so I knew of Wyncode. I introduced a company that I was advising to Wyncode and they hired their first Wyncoders. So I‘d had experience with the process of hiring bootcampers before joining Watsco. At Watsco, one of my missions is to build a team of developers for Watsco Ventures. Wyncode was kind of a natural source for me to go to for junior developers.
At the bootcamp, we did a talk about Watsco and Watsco Ventures because nobody knows Watsco here in Miami. Watsco Ventures was about four months old when we went to the interviews at Wyncode, so we tried to create some excitement about what we were doing and we met 18 Wyncoders. We went for culture fit because we knew anybody who graduated from Wyncode would have the technical skills to get started with us. But we were looking for people who we felt good about, who we knew would fit in well from a culture point of view and that's what we did.
We went to the “Wynterviews,” we made job offers, four accepted. One of them didn't accept only because she was accepted at an MIT program she wanted to go to, so we on-boarded all four them and it's been great.
Liz: It's very forward thinking to consider a boot camp as a source for talent, I think it's awesome. How else do you hire developers? Do you use recruiters?
Ivan: Yes, absolutely. At Watsco, the traditional way of hiring is through recruiters. I do a lot of networking to keep a finger on the pulse —to know who's doing what, who's new in town, who's moving or thinking of moving. I love the bootcamps because it's a new source of talent. It's different because you don't go through HR because if it's HR they'll say "Oh, he's not a computer science grad." We don't want to think like that. We know that's not a good indicator for a good candidate. It's more about attitude and the desire for learning and wanting to get into the trade.
If somebody had a hunger and passion like Fermin to self-learn and go through a boot camp— I'd rather have 10 of them than 5 lazy uninspired computer science grads.
Liz: Did you meet the 5 people that you extended offers to at the Wynterviews?
Ivan: The Wynterviews are interesting. We went to Wyncode and did a little pitch about Watsco Ventures, we saw smiling faces. Then we had 15-minute conversations with groups of three so we could ask questions and get a good feel for personality. It was good because we got to see a lot of people in a short period of time. After those Wynterviews, we already had 6 to7 people we liked. We talked to Juha, Jo and the TAs about the people on our shortlist and their technical skills. One afternoon was enough for us to say "Okay, there's five people here, we'd love to have them work with us."
They had info sheets and headshots, I like the process, it was very effective.
Liz: So Spencer and Fermin, from your point of view, were the Wynterviews technical?
Fermin: Like Ivan said, really that was an interview to get to know people and they gave us a chance to ask them questions. I had no idea what Watsco did or that it even existed and so it was very good to see what they were expecting of us and what we’d do on the job.
They wanted to know our background and weren’t just going through a checklist process.
Liz: Did you walk through your final projects or just show your technical abilities?
Spencer: We were just starting our final projects so we only talked about how we were going to approach it.
Ivan: We did go to demo day so we saw all the students present their projects.
Liz: It's cool to hear that there's a long relationship; you meet the students, you get to present what your company does, you see demo day; it's not like you're just seeing 1 time at the end of the program.
Ivan: We actually also invited them to Watsco and Watsco Ventures. We wanted them to feel what they were getting themselves into, not just a nice talk about how wonderful we are. We wanted them to meet the rest of the team and see where their workspace would be, so they'd get a bit more feel about what Watsco was and where we were and what we were doing.
Carmen: That's where we got our technical exercises as well.
Liz: Carmen, did you go into it wanting to take a product management role, a scrum master role?
Carmen: I love programming, I still do it on the weekends for special projects. But I also love the management aspect of it. Having Wyncode and this programming bootcamp as a background for a role as product manager and scrum master really helps. From the very beginning, I was open to doing other things.
Ivan: When we went into interviews, we weren't necessarily looking for a scrum master. When we interviewed Carmen we thought, “she would be an amazing scrum master,” so we just hired her. And we said straight away “this is the role we have for you and we'd like you to do extra training” because she has the maturity, the leadership skills and it felt like a natural fit for us.
Liz: Tell us what a scrum master is.
Carmen: They taught us about Agile at Wyncode, and Watsco Ventures is very much Agile-oriented. In Agile they use this program called scrum, which has a scrum master that is kind of like the liaison between the business side of things and the developer side of things. It's working with the business to get all the requirements ready for the developers, so they’ll know exactly what to do.
Liz: You learned Agile methodology at Wyncode, but then skilled up when you started as an actual scrum master?
Liz: It’s a huge deal for bootcamp grads to know that they’ll have a strong team, mentorship and the ability to ramp up at a company after a bootcamp. Can you tell us what your first month was like? How did you adjust to your new roles in the tech world?
Spencer: The night before I started working, I freaked out—I don't know anything, nine weeks is not enough, I'm going to fail—you know, the Imposter Syndrome. But then I got here, I started on a Tuesday – and I said, “I've actually seen this before, I know how to do it.” As that week went along I started feeling like "Okay, I know how to do this or at least some of it," so I didn't feel useless, like I'm not just wasting time trying to learn here.
Then there was a new language so it takes some getting used to but after a while it went really well and also the environment is really good, very supportive and a lot of collaboration, so I'm thankful for that.
Liz: Do you have more senior developers on the team that you're able to learn with?
Spencer: Yes, and they're amazing coders and people. They're really helpful and cheerful and fun, so I don’t dread asking them a question. It's like, “Hey, let’s work together and let’s solve this.”
Liz: You mentioned you're working in PHP now, so what has that transition been like? You've learned a completely different language.
Spencer: I’ve just been learning it on the go. Once you understand the concepts, it's not that hard. If you’re applying to other jobs and they use a language you don’t know, apply anyway.
Ivan: When you're doing interviews with a hiring partner don't criticize any language because who knows, that may be the language they're using!
Liz: Ivan, Do you approach mentoring or that initial training and that ramp up period differently for bootcampers than you would for an experienced developer? I think that's a huge responsibility that companies have to take on. How do you approach that?
Ivan: When we talked with our CTO about hiring Wyncoders, we created a policy that we won't hire a Wyncoder unless there is one senior developer that will be working with them. On the one hand, we hire Wyncoders and the starting salary is very competitive. The downside is you're going to spend time developing their skills. You know it's going to be a slower process. The competitive compensation actually works if you're willing to put the time in getting them to the level of senior developers.
We want to make sure as we hire more Wyncoders, it’s linked with hiring more senior developers. I think that's the only way it works. You can't expect a Wyncoder to come in and say, “Here's the requirements and now go do some code.” That just does not work. So having a support system, that's very important.
We have a product leader that makes sure that the seniors and the juniors work together and shifts them around. It’s important to have somebody who has built software and understands teams and how to mix them and how to organize.
Carmen: As a student, I was very interested in what type of environment we were getting into. You’re coming out of a bootcamp, you’re not a CS major, and you want that role model figure that’s not going to hold your hand but at least teach you the way.
As your career advances, you still want a person that’s willing to help and teach you the way. So it’s just as important for the student as it is for the company.
Liz: Can you tell us about projects that you're working on right now? We know you're working in PHP, we know you're working for Watsco but nerd out and tell us what you're working on.
Spencer: With the economy moving towards an on-demand economy, we're building a platform to match consumers with service providers, so a core application and then some applications that feed into that.
Ivan: It's cool for us because Watsco is a B2B company, but this is one of our B2C initiatives, so it's super strategic for us. This is building a consumer facing product which also has a technician facing component. It has a mobile application and several web applications, so it's a pretty complex but exciting product for us. It's a totally new business model with technology built from the ground up.
As a Wyncoder you can also be hired to work on existing products. In this case, when they arrived, there was nothing. There was not a line of code, so they just started with the team and built it from scratch, which I think was a fun way to get started.
Liz: What's the feedback loop like with Wyncode? Ivan, from your perspective, are you able to influence future curriculum changes if you notice something that graduates aren't proficient in? And from the Wyncoders’ perspective, were you able to give feedback when you were done with the program and throughout?
Ivan: After the Wynterviews, after the demo days and after the first hires, there’s a questionnaire. They are pretty committed about feedback. If I don’t answer an email, they’ll text me and if I don’t text them, they’ll stand on my doorstep. They really do their utmost to provide feedback and yes, we have provided feedback on the content.
For example, we thought, with all due respect, that some of the projects the Wyncoders were working on were not very interesting. So some feedback we gave was to have a hiring partner outline an ideal product and have the Wyncoders work on that. There is a process in which a hiring partner can suggest an idea and Wyncoders that like the idea can work on that product. There's also new initiatives like continuous development programs, which are short classes on different topics to maintain the learning process. I like that about Wyncoders. They don’t just place students and forget about them. They are very engaged with us, even informally, we go to events together and talk. It’s very core to the way they work, gathering feedback, tweaking and modifying things that they feel are worth improving.
Fermin: Spencer and I are teaching assistants at Wyncode, so it's coming full circle. Testing is a huge part of software development and we felt that we didn't really cover it and that was my biggest struggle in the beginning. I went back to Wyncode and told them that they need to stress testing and now they do it from the get go.
Carmen: From a non-technical point of view, this is why we started the women of Wyncode group. In my class we were only four girls and now I think there’s about 10 women. It's a good sign for Miami and the whole tech scene to see more women involved.
Liz: Carmen, have you stayed involved? I'm always curious for a woman who transition after going to a bootcamp because bootcamps on average are closer to 50-50 than the traditional tech world, which is like 10%. What's been your experience transitioning into the world of tech as a woman? Have you found it to be a welcoming sector?
Carmen: For me it’s been great. Again, it's part of the environment at Watsco, everybody's great. I have no issues with any of the guys, it's actually a lot of fun. In general, we hear a lot about discrimination in the tech world, but we didn't experience it here. But going back to the bootcamp at Wyncode, you also have to think why is there so little interest? It's more of a culture thing in general. As far as other women in the workplace that I know, everybody's having a blast. No one has had any issues.
Liz: Ivan, are there plans to hire from Wyncode in the future? This was your first round of Wyncode hires right?
Ivan: Yes, it’s been an amazing experience for us. As we start new products in 2016 we will definitely want to hire more.
Liz: We hear some skepticism from old school developers and old school hiring managers who won't hire from bootcamps. What is your advice?
Ivan: There's one thing people should remember, that there's a difference between a computer science engineer and a developer. They are two different trades and I think with modern frameworks you can learn development without a computer science background, Fermin and Spencer are perfect examples of this. It all comes down to being productive. Are you contributing to building a product that solves a problem? If the answer is yes, it doesn't matter what your background is. It does become more complex as you go into architecture-type products and designing for scale; you have to leverage your experience and your background with a computer science engineer.
But for developers, I'm excited that it doesn't have to be the classical path of maths, a computer science degree and then a developer job. There's hundreds of thousands of people who are self-teaching and going to bootcamps and Wyncoders is an example of this.
Our Wyncoder grads are building a product which is being used by consumers and tech professionals every day. This is not some side product, we're spending millions of dollars on this product and they're contributing.
I will say to hiring managers, look beyond the resume; what do you want? You want people who build great products. Wyncoders are the proof, they can build great products as long as you have a senior support system that has the management experience to make sure that the product development process is clear. It's changing. A lot of people who build teams see it that way too.
Liz: Wyncoders, any advice to bootcampers who are about to graduate about how to choose their first company? I know we’ve heard don't rule out any languages and look for companies with a one-to-one ration between senior and junior developers.
Spencer: After a bootcamp it's important to look for culture fit. Ivan talked about this. You have a lot to learn, so it's more important that you're in an environment where you can overcome the insecurities of not knowing a lot to become a valuable team member.
Do your best to get a feel for the people. If you have an onsite interview, try to set up meetings with some of the developers, because it’s important to figuring it out if you'll like it there or not.
Liz: Any other advice before we wrap up?
Fermin: Culture is important and you don't necessarily need it to be one senior developer to one junior developer, it wasn't exactly one-to-one here. You're going to get stuck. You definitely need to be in a place where making a mistake is okay in and developers are willing to collaborate and work together. Even if you have a lot of senior devs, if they don’t help you, it’s not going to work. It comes back to culture and that's really important.
Carmen: My advice is to forget about imposter syndrome. Everybody feels it at every level. You come out of bootcamp and you think you're competing against a computer science major—that person interviewing probably has imposter syndrome or had it when they were starting out, so it's all about learning. You're always going to be learning; whether it's a new language or a new technology, you're always going to feel like you need to know more. So forget about that and be comfortable with what you know at the moment.
Ivan: Two more things. If you go on an interview don’t ask the employer what their working hours are – red flag! For us that means that you want to do a side project or are perhgaps not looking for a 9 to 5 job? It’s the worst question ever, don’t ask that question.
A second piece of advice is you’re choosing a trade and you all know the 10,000 hours rule, so don’t stop at what you do for the product, right? Carmen, without us asking him had an idea for a little schedule app, and he built it on his own time and presented it to us. We were like, “Wow!” Just work on your trade, don’t do other stuff. If you want to dabble in another language, make time to do it after hours, because that’s the only way.
When you build something in your spare time, it says something about commitment and willingness to learn. I think that’s something we’ve seen with our Wyncoders here, which is why we love them.
Carmen: Find a company that values that.
The July News Roundup is your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the coding bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
Patients turn to MDLIVE for on-demand healthcare, and MDLIVE turns to Wyncode for stellar Ruby on Rails developer talent in Florida. Enter Bryan and Darin, the Chief Solutions Officer and Chief Technology Officer, respectively, at MDLIVE, who have hired several Wyncoders and plan to hire more. We talk to Bryan and Darin about what they look for in new hires, the diverse benefits of having non-technical degrees on a development team, and the mentorship cycle at MDLIVE.
Tell us about MDLIVE and your roles there.
Bryan: I’ve been the Chief Technology Officer at MDLIVE for two years, and recently moved into a new Chief Solutions Officer role and now work on mergers & acquisitions as we acquire smaller technology companies and strategic partnerships with companies like Microsoft and Walgreens.
Darin: I’m the Chief Technology Officer, and joined about 6 months ago. I’m responsible for the team that builds out and maintains the technology solutions and infrastructure to provide virtual care through our apps and web portal.
MDLIVE provides virtual care, an opportunity for you to see a doctor within minutes over the phone, using your tablet or your web browser, and get a prescription if warranted. Patients love it from a convenience perspective, because they can be seen by a doctor without sit in a waiting room surrounded by sick people.
How large is the dev team now?
Darin: Just under a hundred people.
Bryan: We have Windows mobile developers, iOS, Android, web devs, back-end team, database, system administrators, everything you can think of. We’re always hiring for different roles.
How did you get connected with Wyncode?
Bryan: I go to a lot of startup events in the south Florida area. I ran into Juha and we started talking; eventually, I gave a presentation on MDLIVE and what we do to the Wyncode class. Wyncode teaches Ruby and we happen to be a Ruby shop. It seemed to work out and it was a good synergy.
Did you meet students during the program?
Bryan: Yes, we did that presentation during the class to give some perspective on a company in south Florida. I talked about what a Chief Solutions Officer does, what MDLIVE does and the types of roles that we’re looking for.
Afterwards we did a Q&A, and there were a couple of guys who spoke up and had some great questions. Darin and I have been back there a few times doing “Wynterviews.” We try and go to the pitch days and demo days and participate.
Other than hiring from Wyncode, how do you usually hire developers? What are you looking for when you’re looking for a new hire?
Darin: We use the typical channels like social media and job hunter sites. We also use some recruiting firms to help us attract talent. What we’re looking for first is a self-starter, someone who can deal with some ambiguity, but is driven and wants to grow. With our incredibly rapid pace of growth at the company, we need people who are ready to change, adapt, and grow as the company does. We want people who are high energy and are independent thinkers.
What roles have you hired Wyncoders for at MDLIVE?
Darin: We’ve been hiring Ruby developers at a junior level. They go through the cycle of being mentored and growing into senior developers and then they can mentor the next group of folks we bring on. That’s the cycle that we’re hoping to have with Wyncode.
How many developers have you hired from Wyncode so far?
Darin: We’ve hired 6.
Bryan: I think we’ve almost hired one person from each cohort that they’ve graduated.
Do you have advice for future bootcamp grads on how to stand out and get hired?
Bryan: I would say don’t be shy when you do get a chance to meet with an employer. Don’t be afraid to come shake our hands and introduce yourself. Also follow up properly!
Darin: Do something that shows initiative. That can be as simple as researching MDLIVE and demonstrating an understanding.
Bryan: Download the app and create an account. That’s a simple thing!
Darin: We have developers here now who came from Wyncode, and who from the very start have been deeply involved in researching and understanding how to advance and improve Ruby on Rails code. They’re starting out as juniors doing the most simplistic coding, but they’re also looking at the techniques and skills that are required to improve our overall code base, which is fantastic.
Have the final projects that you’ve seen at a demo day had an impact on who you’ve hired? Does someone need to have a killer final project to get the job?
Bryan: I got to judge on one of those panels, and while those projects do have an impact on our decision, I don’t think it’s a critical component to the hiring factor. I like to see the effort and how the students interact with each other as they’re talking and pitching.
Have you worked with any bootcamps other than Wyncode?
Bryan: Not at this time. There are a few others that have spoken to us. Wyncode just opened their Fort Lauderdale classroom too, so we’re excited to see if we can hire somebody who lives a bit closer.
Has it ever been a concern for you that new hires from Wyncode don’t have a traditional CS degree?
Bryan: Some of the students we’ve hired have had degrees in Economics or English before they went to Wyncode. The majority of the senior developers on our team do have an engineering or computer science degree, but ultimately, it doesn’t scare me to hire a Wyncoder. We put new hired on a 90 day trial period and if they’re knocking it out of the park then I want to keep them on and continue with them. We haven’t had to let anybody go, so I think we’re doing a good job hiring!
Darin: Having that mix of “left brain” and “right brain” engineers is a very very good thing. Having folks that have degrees in other areas and go through a bootcamp is very valuable for us. I think that adds to the depth, diversity and strength of the team.
You talked about the mentorship cycle, can you tell us a bit more about that? How do you make sure people ramp up?
Darin: Our VP of Architecture is our most senior developer, and he is a formal mentor who works with new hires on an ongoing basis to make sure that they have work that is helping them to progress. Beyond that, we pair-program day-to-day. That means that the junior developer is paired up with the more senior developer, in most cases offshore.
We are also getting more formal and consistent with code reviews and having both our juniors and seniors do reviews and both being active in providing feedback as code gets checked back into a production environment. We expect our juniors to provide value in pair-programming as well.
Do you have a good feedback loop with Wyncode? Are you able to suggest changes to the curriculum?
Bryan: I’ve been back to Wyncode a few times and had conversations with Juha and some of the other teachers. I suggested that they brush up on simple database things and some objected oriented material. Wyncode have been working with us to restructure some of those lessons. I definitely feel there is an open door. They always send out a quick survey after we hire.
Would you hire from Wyncode again in the future?
Darin: We’re making an offer on Monday, so yes!
When Palm Beach-based startup Cloud Logistics was ready to build their in-house development team, they connected with Ruby on Rails bootcamp Wyncode to hire fresh technical talent (they've now hired 4 Wyncode graduates). We talk to Ben Williams, a key executive at Cloud Logistics, about building a supportive environment for new hires, participating in "Wynterviews," and what his team looks for in a junior developer.
Tell us about Cloud Logistics and your role there.
Cloud Logistics is a transportation management software company for logistics and supply chain industries. The software is a business to business software solution that provides tracking and booking of shipments on various types of transportation.
I wear a lot of different hats at Cloud Logistics. I do HR, accounting, and office management.
How large is the development team right now?
In-house, we have six developers. We have used some offshore development for the past couple of years for financial reasons. And while they are great developers, there are various little things that add up to a lot of strategic business issues, which is why we started building our in-house team.
How do you find in-house talent in Florida?
We had a serious problem doing that because we could not locate talent. That’s not to say that we couldn’t go to a headhunter and pay an astronomical sum of money, but as a startup, that is a last resort.
Even if money were not an issue, the level of talent that you get from recruiters is still sort of a crapshoot. You don’t really know what you’re going to get until the talent is in-house and you’ve spent time training them on your software and your system. By working with Wyncode, we get developers who start with a significant amount of training and raw talent.
How did you get connected with Wyncode?
One of our developers heard about “a bootcamp in Miami” and told me to look into it in February. We knew about bootcamps in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, but those seemed out of reach geographically. I did some research online and I talked to Juha and Johanna (Wyncode’s founders), and they were exactly what we needed when we needed it. The timing was impeccable. It could not have turned out better for us.
Had you ever worked with other bootcamps to hire developers?
We did reach out to others, but they had lot of hiring partners in their area. I had two bootcamps in particular, one in San Francisco and one in Chicago, tell me point blank, “Look our students are not going to leave the area. Everyone here is very committed to being here. They’re not going to want to make the leap and move to the Miami area.”
What is the employer agreement that you have with Wyncode? Do you pay to be part of the network?
We pay nothing. Wyncode is thrilled to have a hiring partner because their goal is placement.
How many developers have you hired from Wyncode?
We hired three immediately. I went through a process called ‘Wynterviews,’ which is really great. About 6 weeks into the program, I got to sit down with students, ask questions, and based on that, I kept track of certain students. When their cohort was over, I attended their Pitch Day, where they develop a product and pitch it to the community. I followed up with students that I had been tracking and we hired one of those students, who was just outstanding.
Were you looking for hard technical skills, or a good culture fit for Cloud?
I was really trying to see if there would be a good culture fit. But at the same time, the students had just completed their first big project when we did Wynterviews, so they could show off their skills. A lot of my questions were focused on teamwork because in software, teamwork is everything.
Did their teamwork and collaboration skills fit well with the way that Cloud already operates?
Yes. Our team at the time was small, and we were just getting into Agile Methodology. For us, we wanted them to bring Agile culture and mindset into our in-house team, and Wyncode teaches that.
What are the roles that you’ve hired Wyncode graduates for?
We hire them as junior developers with the understanding that the sky is the limit. Depending on how they adapt to our environment and the product itself, there is room to be promoted. Once they’re hired and they come on the job, after two or three weeks the true colors come out and you can see who really steps up their game and who really dives in and adapts. That’s part of the natural process.
What technology stack is Cloud built on?
It is built on Ruby on Rails, which was important when we were looking at Wyncode.
Have you noticed with the Wyncode students that you’ve hired that they’ve been able to adapt and been strong additions to the team, or what have you noticed?
I can say honestly that they’re all strong additions to the team. There are stronger additions, and some of them are stronger additions than others. I would say out of four, two of them are simply amazing rockstars, and the other two struggled a little bit to keep up, but we expect that.
How do you help those hires who are struggling to ramp up?
We have senior developers, one in particular, who is mentoring all of them and spending a lot of time working with them. Our tech lead is also sort of a senior senior developer. He spends an extraordinary amount of time with them as well.
When we see them struggling, we pull them aside and give them reassurance and support- it’s going to take some time to adapt and gain the confidence that we know is there underneath the surface. It’s a process and we’re on the journey with them too.
Has there been a good feedback loop with Wyncode?
Yes. When we first started working with Wyncode, there was one employee who I was really on the fence about. This person wasn’t extremely prepared in the interview, but I could tell based on our conversation that the work and the quality would be really good. I met with Johanna and even with Ed Toro, who is the head instructor. He said, “Give it time and let’s see how it works out and trust that you made the right decision.” He was absolutely right. The employee rose to the top very fast, came in with his head down, learned as much as possible and built skills overnight. It was pretty amazing.
I like that you pointed out getting to talk to Ed and Johanna as a contrast to using recruiting firms who might have the person’s resume vs. having access to Wyncode who has worked with them for several months.
That was huge because Ed worked with these students on their projects and their decision making and how they went about solving problems. They were able to confide in him and he could steer them. It was a huge opportunity to talk to him and get his feedback from behind the scenes. That was tremendously helpful.
From your perspective as a hiring manager, has it ever been a concern to you that these students don’t have a traditional computer science degree?
I interviewed people with Computer Science degrees who I was not as impressed as I was with some Wyncoders who had no or little work experience and no education directly in computer science. I think it’s the way society is evolving and I love that we’re changing in that direction. Welcome to the future!
Welcome to the April News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
(updated April 2018)
Slide across the roof of the General Lee, we’re heading south of the Mason-Dixon to check out the best coding bootcamps in the southern United States. There are some fantastic code schools from the Carolinas to Georgia and all the way to Texas, and we’re covering them all. Talk about Southern Hospitality!Continue Reading →
What makes for the ideal coding bootcamp student? Experience? Perserverence? Natural Skill? We've compiled advice from instructors and founders at top programming bootcamps like gSchool, Dev Bootcamp, Wyncode, and Fullstack Academy- aka the folks making admissions decisions every day. Read on for the 8 qualities that bootcamps tell us they look for in potential applicants. [As of December 8, 2017, Dev Bootcamp will no longer be operating.]Continue Reading →
Walter Latimer dropped out of college but was hungry for more education- when he found Wyncode in his hometown of Miami, he jumped at the opportunity to learn Ruby on Rails. We talk about the main instructor and TAs at Wyncode, how he landed a dream job at CareCloud, a practice management software company for doctors, and how Walter is keeping up with his classmates through WynAlum.
What were you doing before you started at Wyncode?
I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then jumped around universities for a while before dropping out of school, partly for financial reasons and partly because I was frustrated with the higher education system. While I was in school, I found myself making portfolio sites for myself and my friends. I had already done some HTML and CSS on my own as a kid.
After leaving school, I turned to Treehouse and Code School and was self-teaching for a while. I did some of freelancing, doing some front-end projects for artist friends and galleries. I wasn’t supporting myself doing it, though.
There’s only so much you can do on your own before you need that mentorship or instruction, but I knew I didn’t want to go back to college. I’d been looking into some bootcamps in San Francisco because I hadn’t heard about Wyncode at the time. By chance I happened to learn about Wyncode about 2 weeks before they started and I jumped on the opportunity.
So you did take a couple of computer science classes going to college.
I went into Wyncode knowing the basics, yes.
Did you feel like that helped you?
Did you end up applying to any of the bootcamps in San Francisco?
I did; I applied to App Academy. I was accepted. I may still end up going, because Wyncode was such a positive experience and I’d love another opportunity to focus exclusively on learning.
So you got accepted to App Academy, and App Academy is free until you get placed in a job. What made you choose Wyncode over App Academy?
For me, the biggest consideration was Wyncode’s hiring partners. The Miami tech scene is considerably smaller than San Francisco’s, but there is a huge community push to grow it. Miami having a coding bootcamp is a big step for the city, so nearly every large tech company down here has expressed support and interest in hiring graduates.
Wyncode is located in the LAB, a coworking space home to lots of cool startups and freelancers, so we were constantly able to immerse ourselves in Miami’s startup scene.
Another important factor was cost. While App Academy is “free”, there were relocation costs to San Francisco that I would have incurred had I gone. Wyncode was biking distance from my house, in the fabulous Wynwood arts district, so it was a no-brainer for me, especially when unable to work during that time.
What was the application like?
I was in the first cohort, so the process for me was simple. I filled out a form with contact information, and interviewed with the founders a few days later. Paid my deposit a few days after that. Now that the third cohort is beginning and traction has picked up, I know they’ve gotten more selective. Nothing too intense, though.
Was the interview technical or did you feel like it was more of a culture fit?
It was both. They were definitely trying to get a feel for why I was taking the course; whether I wanted to be a junior developer or if I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship because they do have a big focus on entrepreneurship there. Most importantly they wanted to get a feel for how committed we were to learning to code.
Did you want to go down the Junior Dev path or down the Entrepreneurship path?
I was one of the youngest there. I was 21 when I started the program. I eventually would like to pursue entrepreneurship in education technology and the arts but I also recognize the benefit in letting my new skills marinate. So I was looking for a job as a junior developer.
What was your cohort like? Did you find a lot of diversity in age, race, gender?
I was pleasantly surprised. Like I said, I was one of the youngest, and we had people into their forties there, too. Being queer, diversity is important to me. What I found was a group of students who were representative of Miami’s demographics, and not a lopsided straight-white-male to everyone else ratio. One of the cofounders is female, and she is always pushing for diversity in the program.
Did you feel like everyone was on a similar level and able to learn together or did you feel there were people in different stages of learning?
The first cohort is especially tricky because it was a first time for all of us. A few students realized early on that they either weren’t cut out for this or they weren’t willing to commit as much time as Wyncode was demanding of us. That did slow us down a bit at the beginning, but it was one of the risks of being part of their first run.
Overall, we moved at a pretty quick pace and on top of that, they had plenty of breakout sessions. They did a really good job of pivoting for the people moving at a faster pace.
Who were your instructors?
Ed Toro was our main instructor. He was phenomenal; he was born to teach. I still go to him when I need life advice. Then we had a rotating TA team. TAs would come and go depending on their jobs at the moment. We had nearly 10 TAs over the course of the program, and I would say 3 of them were there nearly every day. Once every week or two, one of the TAs would lead a special topics lecture. The rotating TAs was great because we’d have more perspectives from people currently employed in the field we were studying.
What did a typical day look like?
We;’d start with standups in the morning, have a lecture, break for lunch, and then review the homework from two days ago. Every so often we’d do a code review when someone wrote some code exceptionally well, and then we’d either have a breakout session or work on our current assignments with TA time.
The first few weeks were fundamentals, and we got into projects later in the program. We built a few games in Ruby, a portfolio website once we got into front-end territory, and a smaller app in groups once we had gotten into Rails before we got into our final projects.
Were the final projects as a group or were they in teams or individually?
It was optional, and I chose to work in a group. I came in with an ambitious project already in mind, so I knew a team would be the smartest option.
What was it?
I wanted to build a learning management system for Wyncode to be able to use for future cohorts. Sure enough, they used it for their second cohort!
Did you ever experience burnout during the class?
No, if anything I wanted to keep going. There was a steady supply of free beer and energy drinks, so I was always just cracked out enough to function.
What are you up to today? Where are you working? What does your job entail?
I got hired at CareCloud two weeks after our final pitch day. CareCloud is one of the largest practice management systems in the country for doctors. I spend my days doing exactly what I was doing at Wyncode, but at a higher level and with a bit more pressure.
What’s your position?
I’m an Engineering Intern, making more than in any other job I’ve had.
How did you get the job?
CareCloud was one of the hiring partners with Wyncode. My current manager was on the judging panel of our final pitch day so I got approached by them after our final pitches. I felt like Hilary Duff in that movie where she gets scouted and she’s famous all of a sudden.
Did you feel like Wyncode prepared you to start that job in the real world?
Yeah; I mean there’s only so much you can expect anybody to learn in 9 weeks. I’m not going to leave expecting to be a seasoned veteran or anything. But Wyncode did a great job of not only teaching us technical fundamentals, but some best business practices like Agile and Scrum, which I use at CareCloud daily. When I started my job, I didn’t have to adjust to the culture because I was already used to it. All I had to adjust to was the learning curve for the advanced things they’re throwing at me.
What languages do you use on a day to day? Is it Ruby on Rails?
What has the alumni network been like for you?
Incredible! I’ve made some wonderful friends through Wyncode. We’re in the process of writing bylaws to WynAlum, our alumni association. As our graduate count rises, it’s important for us to keep a solid network to tap into. You never know when one of our grads is going to hire another of our grads. Programs like Wyncode are new forms of disruptive education, and they attract creative, ambitious, and inspiring people, so why wouldn’t I want to stay close with them?
After attending Bitmaker Labs in Toronto, Juha Mikkola was convinced that a coding bootcamp was exactly what the Miami tech scene needed. He and Johanna Mikkola launched Wyncode in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood, emphasizing programming as well as entrepreneurship. We talk with Johanna and Juha about what they learned from their first cohort, what they look for in a Wyncode instructor, and their ideal applicant.
What went into the decision to start Wyncode?
Juha: For me, starting a code school was a really direct inspiration. I’ve always been a really avid user of technology and actively involved with the front end stuff on websites and then running e-commerce sites since 2002 when I started my own business. I was really excited about computers but never really understood what was happening under the hood and how you create things. That always bugged me. As I hit my early thirties and I decided to do something about it and I really got motivated to learn coding- I chose a code school instead of a MBA or a Comp Sci course in university for 4 years to learn coding skills.
I enrolled in Bitmaker Labs in Toronto, Canada. I loved their program; it was really cool and in downtown Toronto, where I was living at the time. They got a lot of great press. It was just really cool to see the format that they employed, learn from the instructors that they had and also see the success that my classmates had afterwards.
The Bitmaker class was 40 students, which is a pretty big class and I have been watching everybody interview, get positions and some have moved onto to their second positions already. That said, as an entrepreneur, being a Junior Web Developor wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do but being a part of the class and seeing how it worked got me really excited and validated the concept for me.
That really served as our inspiration to start Wyncode. Johanna and I starting talking about what I liked and also where I felt the program could be improved, and we came to the same conclusion that teaching core business skills as well as coding was so important. When you look at some of the people graduating from code schools or the stereotypical programmers type, one of the big pieces of feedback we get from their employers is that people are not necessarily in tune with the business side of things. In today’s workplace, developers have to be able to communicate their thoughts, present effectively, work well in groups and lead their teams effectively if they want to move to more senior positions. Johanna really brings the expertise there as a corporate management professional. We of course focus on the core programming skills, which are taught by Edward Toro, a MIT grad and veteran of six startups, including one that went public.
Is Wyncode in the middle of the second cohort now?
Johanna: We’re just wrapping up week seven of the second cohort. We had 14 students in the first cohort and we have 14 in this one as well. This is out of well over 100 applicants. For our October cohort we already have 15 people confirmed and we have a hard cutoff at 20 students per cohort to maintain a best-in-class instructor to student ratio.
Are you still the only coding boot camp in Miami?
Johanna: We’re still the only coding bootcamp that’s operating in Miami and Florida for that matter. We have heard that we have some friends joining us soon, which is a good sign for Florida’s tech ecosystem.
There are a few starting up in Tampa and Orlando.
Juha: Yeah, we have heard that a couple of locations are launching this fall. We’re proud to say that we came into the market first to set up a physical location and we’re also excited to see that there’s interest in other areas in the state of Florida as well. As Johanna said, it’s a good sign for the tech ecosystem.
Johanna: We want to make sure our curriculum is continually evolving to be better and we feel a key component is making sure the skills are ones that local hiring partners are looking for. We work very closely with companies to iterate on the curriculum and focus on various skills that the local market is demanding. Combining that with a business skills education and a series of awesome guest speakers, up to two a week, we want our grads to be able to ramp up quickly and get a job as soon as they finish the course. So far we are on the right track with a 93% placement rate from the first cohort.
How does Wyncode fit in with the Miami community?
Johanna: We’re really active in the community and want to make it stronger. Juha and I have been community leaders in various capacities as long as we can both remember. We loved the idea of coming to Miami as it really represented an opportunity where you could help build a burgeoning tech community.
We’re supporting lots of local groups that are here like Code for Miami, Refresh Miami and StartUp Grind for example. We have worked with Code Fever and CodeNow to help teach kids to code. Start ups in the ecosystem that are close friends include Live Ninja, CareCloud, MDLive, Rokk3r Labs, Learner Nation and many others; they’re all really fantastic and supportive which we love.
Companies tell us time and time again that the entry level developer talent is really missing in Miami so if we can address that need, we hope we can help the community get stronger!
How did that first cohort go? Did you find things that you changed for the second cohort?
Johanna: We don’t just iterate between cohorts, we try to change things as the cohort is going on to meet the needs of the students. Every cohort is going to have a different dynamic so we strive to be as agile as possible.
We also iterate to meet the needs of our partners and new hiring partners as they come on, making sure we’re incorporating their technologies and even including some specific projects or APIs to get our students experience with those platforms.
Perhaps the biggest thing we learned from the first cohort is setting the right expectations for an intensive bootcamp and having a robust orientation to set up the second cohort for success early on. The new class is really focused and determined and we are expecting big things.
Wyncode has a class in Spanish, is that right?
We fell Miami is a great market to launch something like this because of its position as a hub for Latin Americans. We’d love to help train developers who may take skills back to Latin America, where there really isn’t a code school culture yet, or they may create start ups that focus on issues faced by Latin Americans.
Can we talk about that logistically? How do you teach a class in Ruby in Spanish? Isn’t Ruby a very English centric language?
Juha: It is; you’re absolutely right about that and it’s one of the reasons Ruby is so cool. Even if we are teaching it in a different language, students will code in English. A non-native English speaker will be able to learn the context around what they are doing at a deeper level if the teaching around the coding is done in their native language.
Our curriculum is much more than just coding -- something that our head instructor Edward has brought in that we love is that a lot of the more difficult concepts are first explained in a historical context around an important figure that helped bring the concept to the mainstream. This helps the person learning the concept remember it since it’s more than just code. Hearing this type of stories in your native language will be awesome for those that speak limited English. Of course, we’ll also bring in Spanish language guest speakers, like entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs and hiring partners to talk about their successes and challenges.
Our goal is being able to get people to that level where they’re proficient in coding and understanding what they’re doing, regardless of whether their native language is English or Spanish.
Who are the students who are part of the Wyncode cohort? Are they technical or are they complete beginners? What does the ideal applicant look like to you?
Juha: We have a wide range of applicants. Our averages age right now is early 20s to mid-30s, though we’ve had students in their 40s as well.
People really come from varied backgrounds. Generally, it’s people who are doing this instead of college and university as a way to kick-start their careers into programming; those people tried to teach themselves and found that it’s not something that works for their learning style. They may have also tried to learn on their own and done well but then had trouble finding a job as they have not been integrated into the tech ecosystem, which we really pride ourselves on helping our students with.
Then we have the career-changers who have been working professionals for a few years and have established themselves but they either have an idea for something that they want to build or they want to transition to startups as a web developer. Those people tend to move up company ranks very quickly because they have great work experience already combined with their new coding skills.
What surprised us a little bit in a positive way is how entrepreneurial Miami is. The city ranks tops in the Kauffman Foundation’s listing of entrepreneurial city in the country. There are a lot of people coming in with an idea who are willing to take a risk on a new idea. They’re using the course as a way to learn the skills to build a MVP. We put a lot of emphasis on the pitch at the end of the course as we feel it helps these students and also those looking to work somewhere, at it rounds out their business skills.
We actually have the students go out and prepare a whole presentation around the app that they’ve built. We had 180 people at the first event, in a room that basically had capacity for 80; so we were really excited to see the response from the community. The judges at the event picked the top student and he got a job at Rokk3r Labs starting the next day!
It’s always cool to talk to schools who are very supportive of the entrepreneurship mindset and people who want to start their own businesses, in addition to people who want to get jobs.
Juha: For sure! We don’t think they are mutually exclusive. We have seen people who have a very specific idea to build an MVP do it and then go work somewhere for a couple of years to get that job experience before they feel ready to go out on their own. On the other hand, some students looking for a career as a Junior Web Developer may get excited about the entrepreneurial spirits of the guest speakers and do their own thing.
We are definitely welcoming of entrepreneurs, perhaps more than some traditional code schools because of my background and Miami’s nature. Jo and I are both very entrepreneurial so we definitely want to support that type of student as much as we do somebody who’s looking to make a career out of coding.
We are based out of The LAB Miami, which is Miami’s first co-working space filled with cutting edge start ups, so that also feeds into the daily excitement that our students feel coming into class every.
How can someone stand out during the application and interview process? How do you prove that you are ready for Wyncode and ready to take this step?
Juha: That’s a great question. There’s a lot of things we look for. One of the main things is that you have tried to learn on your own. It’s very important, even if you haven’t been successful to the point of making a career out of it yet; the fact that you tried to learn to code is really important as it demonstrates your desire for it. We can help put together the complete package.
Another thing that we look for is what the student’s expectations are. No matter what your background is, the whole group is moving towards a common goal and that’s learning the skills to build a full stack web application. We really push this path from day one and ending with our pitch day.
We want to make sure that we get the feel from our applicants that they’re ready to put whatever else they’re doing on the back burner to focus on coding for 9 weeks.
It’s a huge commitment but we find that students who make the commitment are succesful. We have found it helpful that we are based in the middle of Wynwood, which is a very artistic and inspirational area with incredible street art, great food, craft coffee, art galleries and much more around us. We want people to come here and be inspired every day to put in the time and change in their lives.
From our end, we’re constantly striving to build an environment that really motivates people to do whatever it takes; and that trickles into our application process. We’re looking for people who have a strong desire and are ready to go and put their heads down to do something really special with their lives.
Did everybody in the first cohort graduate or did anybody have to drop out?
Juha: Everybody completed the course. We had one student who was very entrepreneurial and actually ended up going to work on his own project before the pitch day.
What’s different about our course from a couple of other schools is that we have a two-week period after the 9 weeks where our students are welcomed back in our space. We have instructors and TAs there so they can continue working on their applications. They can come in and talk to us about how to prep for interviews. They can even do their interviews in our space if they want to, with potential hiring partners.
We really want to support them and it works out to be more like an 11-week course than 9 weeks. This is because one of the things I felt from my experience, is that is all ends pretty abruptly. You go from this intense experience to all of a sudden, there’s a new class in the space and you don’t really know what do with yourself. So we wanted to make that transition as smooth for people as possible.
And even today, we have some of our alumni coming back to the space almost everyday. After a long day at their new job, they’re coming in to talk to the current students. We just had a student step up and start the Wyncode alumni association and we’re going to do a hackathon where all the students work on a platform that the first cohort built to manage our code school. It’s really exciting; we want to build a community that’s just reinforcing and building on itself and helping build the Miami tech ecosystem at the same time.
So cool! I love that students wanted to contribute to the alumni association.
Juha: It’s an awesome story. The student really taking the lead didn’t go to university, so he considers Wyncode his alma mater, a place where he can give back and make a difference, and I know students like him are and his classmates are going to help build something amazing. It’s really cool to see people respond this way to the course and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Are most of your graduates staying in Miami and in Florida or did any of them get jobs outside of the city or the state?
Johanna: We are definitely focused on the Miami area and our hiring partners are concentrated in South Florida. We were really fortunate that everybody who went into the work force and got jobs did stay in South Florida. We had people interview as far as San Francisco and elsewhere in Florida, like Orlando. But all of them landed as junior developers in and around the Miami area.
Do the students all come from Miami?
Juha: The student that came from the farthest away in the first cohort was from Tampa, so they made the move to Miami. We’ve had global applicants at this stage but that was the furthest student in the first cohort.
Is there anything else that you want to add that we didn’t touch on?
Juha: I think one thing that’s worth mentioning is the experience of our teaching team. We wanted to have a fulltime instructor right away who has been a senior developer in the working world in Miami. We’re very lucky with Ed also being a passionate and skilled teacher and MIT grad so he’s got that theoretical background as well. We were really excited about making him a core member of the team when we started.
Our TA team is really diverse. We have people who are self-taught all the way to a University of Miami computer science professor who helps out in his spare time. He understands and sees the value in the code school concept and how he can implement some of that into more traditional education.
There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in terms of the teaching team, and we hope all of our students find somebody who teaches in a way they can really understand. We definitely value that a lot and we look look to the teaching team to help us iterate the curriculum and as much as we do look at the contribution of our hiring partners. The TAs in particular can help make sure we’re always on the cutting edge as they are working full time in the field outside of teaching at Wyncode.
We’re basically trying to get constant feedback on the educational model and the curriculum so we can make it really effective and in line with what employers want.
Johanna: The last thing is that we have a really exceptional ratio of students to teachers. That’s something that we’re really big on as well, in addition to having those senior developers involved in shaping the local climate here.
What is your teacher:student ratio?
Johanna: 1 to 4 or 5, depending on the day. We find that it makes a big difference in the learning process. And really, when it comes down to it, the reason people come to a boot camps is so that they have the instructor at their fingertips and we want to make sure that’s the case at Wyncode.
José David Mártinez-Rubio is currently a student at Wyncode, the 12-week programming bootcamp in Miami. While he has been tech savvy since college, Jose decided he needed an in-person learning experience. We talk to Jose about his application process, diversity in his class, and how he pushed through when he found himself stuck.
What were you doing before you started at Wyncode?
I graduted with a BFA in Arts & Technology and a minor in Art History from University of Florida ( New World School of the Arts). I was/am 3D Modeler with Graphic Design and Video-Editing / Post Production skills.
Did you have a technical background before you applied?
At UF (New World School of the Arts) I learned about Web Design and I did some codecademy on my spare time. Python specifically.
Why did you choose Wyncode? Did you apply to any other bootcamps?
I've been looking for a learning solution that took me beyond the available online resources that although great, cannot replace the learning experience of being in person. What was interesting about Wyncode was the overall environment and values that it practices. Wyncode is wholeheartedly invested in helping the community and creating competent coders in the Miami scene. They believe in coding and that everyone can learn. Especially at a time where learning how to code is quintessential.
What was the application and interview process like?
The application process was pretty efficient. Juha and Johanna (the founders) make sure that you have the right expectations from the start, they review your own personal goals and of course take into account any previous computer science knowledge/training you've had. In the end, however, they want engaged people who are willing to take the commitment to learn how to code.
What is your cohort like? Did you find diversity in age, race, gender etc?
My experience in the cohort was eye-opening. Not only because of the shift in paradigm on regards of the mental process that programmers thrive in, but also due to the diverse backgrounds of my peers. Some have had their own businesses, some had never even gone to school and then there's Craig; who is a chef and basically a bad-ass at programming.
Who are your instructors? What is the teaching style like and how does it work with your learning style?
Ed Toro, MIT grad and the nicest guy you'll ever meet, is our main instructor. Not only is he knowledgeable but he is able to explain rather abstract concepts in very concrete ways. He works hard to ensure that we're getting the material. My particular learning style is rather funny. Going through art school I had to be comfortable with basically all types of learning styles. Fortunately for me, Wyncode makes sure students are engaged in a myriad of ways. Lectures, one on one lessons, homework, projects, speakers from diverse industries, etc.
Did you ever experience burnout? How did you push through it?
It's a very demanding curriculum and there were some sleepless nights, but unlike other institutions you don't feel like just a number. In the end, the support provided by the Wyncode community is possitive and focused. If we ever have problems with lessons or we're not getting the material as expected they'll move heaven and earth to make sure we have what we need.
Can you tell us about a time when you were challenged in the class? How did you succeed?
My biggest challenge used to be certain concepts. Particularly Big-O notation which--to keep the story short--is a way to measure the efficiency of a program (comparing time and resources consumed). It was difficult, and there were lots of "quick questions" given to Ed and our instructors, but they stayed with me through the process. Sometimes re-framing the problem provides a fresh perspective and lifts the veil of confusion.
Tell us about a project you're proud of that you made during Wyncode.