ITPalooza to return with hiring fair, expo, talks

The expo area was a hub of activity at ITPalooza at Nova Southeastern University in 2014. This year’s event is Dec. 3.
The expo area was a hub of activity at ITPalooza at Nova Southeastern University in 2014. This year’s event is Dec. 3. Miami Herald

Are you looking for tech talent for your business? Do you want to find out who is hiring or learn more about the tech community? It will all be in one place.

More than 2,500 IT professionals, corporate executives, tech entrepreneurs and students are expected to turn out for a day of learning and networking at ITPalooza on Dec. 3 at Nova Southeastern University.

The fourth annual event will offer a hiring fair, IT Expo, an after-party and nine education tracks on subjects such as agile technology, cybersecurity, women in IT, the Internet of Things, professional development and the startup lifecycle, among others. “This is a great opportunity for the IT community to gain critical knowledge, make new contacts or explore new career opportunities,” said Rick Sebaly, event leader and vice president of the South Florida Technology Alliance. “It will be a day of learning and a night of celebration and networking.”

A big focus of the event is the hiring fair and educational sessions on technologies and trends. In conjunction with the upcoming event, ITPalooza co-founder Alex Funkhouser administered an online survey of 200 South Florida-based chief information officers and IT professionals.

With the virtualization of many IT jobs, local employers must now compete for talent with companies from higher-paying regions, the survey showed.

“Companies based in Silicon Valley and New York are paying 25 percent salary premiums to hire local South Florida talent – and they are remote work jobs. We’re in a candidate-driven market and local companies must pay more than ever to hire tech talent,” said Funkhouser, CEO of the tech-focused staffing firm SherlockTalent.

For example, a web application developer in South Florida makes about $110,000, but in Silicon Valley, $140,000. A network security engineer makes about $115,000 in South Florida but his or her counterpart working for a Boston-based company commands $145,000.

The survey showed high demand for mobile application software developers, network security engineers and now, in its infancy, virtual reality and augmented reality software developers. “There is also high demand for chief information officers from larger corporations and tech startups,” said Funkhouser.

There could be plenty of matchmaking going on: About 37 percent of respondents said their companies are hiring new IT personnel, while 33 percent said they are considering new hires. About 65 percent of IT professionals surveyed said they are seeking new career opportunities or are unsure.

The homegrown event that involves more than a dozen tech organizations is hosted by NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing and will be held in the Carl DeSantis Building at 3301 College Ave. in Davie. Admission is $35, which will be reduced to $20 if attendees bring at least one unwrapped toy or free with two toys, to be donated to Toys for Tots. Register online at at or on Eventbrite. Student tickets are $10.

Since its inception, ITPalooza has raised more than $125,000 in cash and toys for various South Florida non-profits including Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ STEM Advisory Board, The Stockdale Foundation, Marine’s Toys for Tots and others. Last year, about 2,000 people attended the event.

On Friday, AT&T and ITPalooza will host a two-day hackathon at NUS for software developers, engineers and students interested in gaining additional skills in software and mobile application development.

Nancy Dahlberg