Transition to a tech career. It’s good for your future and Miami’s | Opinion

Wyncode Academy, above, is partnering with General Assembly to help local residents pursue tech careers.
Wyncode Academy, above, is partnering with General Assembly to help local residents pursue tech careers. Wyncode

As technology brings new levels of wealth to America’s largest cities, other regional hubs have found themselves lacking the skilled talent they need to keep pace. While there is a growing need for digital skills in today’s workforce, the supply of technology professionals is simply not matching up.

So, what’s Miami got to do with it?

In 2018, Miami’s technology sector contributed more than $22 billion to the economy in 2018, with tech-related job postings increasing by 130 percent to more than 43,000 openings. With local tech workers making an annual salary that is 79 percent higher than Florida’s statewide average, training adults in today’s most in-demand job skills will be key to transforming the community into a top-tier U.S. labor market. By focusing on digital skills like coding, data science, digital marketing, product management and user experience (UX) design, we can ensure that Miami will be active and employed for years to come.

You might be thinking: “I could never work in tech,” “I’m too old,” “I didn’t go to college,” “I skipped that class,” “That’s for computer nerds,” “I’m not a millennial,” “I’m scared of math.”

But with the right tools and support, one’s move into a tech career is closer than ever imagined. Career transitions are daunting, but they’re not impossible. Here’s what you need to consider:

There are a number of pathways to learning tech skills

According to Course Report, the coding bootcamp market will grow by 29 percent in 2019, with 23,043 individuals set to graduate in languages like Javascript, Python, PHP, and more. We’ve seen a drastic increase in where and why these programs are launching: Corporate training bootcamps have launched in Florida, Texas, California, and beyond with funding from employers in desperate need of skilled tech workers.

To help fuel the development of local talent in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, companies like ours, General Assembly and Wyncode, are partnering to provide untapped communities of local workers and businesses with today’s most sought-after technical skills.

Students will able to choose from a range of formats and modalities to help them best achieve their goals, including learning in person with Wyncode or online and on-demand with General Assembly. Candidates will have the flexibility to keep their daytime commitments while transforming their careers with evening and weekend training.

The best part? These courses often take 12 weeks or less to complete.

Financing your career doesn’t have to be out of pocket

On average, a 12-week, career-changing program costs $15,000 per student. Alternatively, students can take one-week accelerated courses that average $3,950, as well as workshops and events led by industry professionals that cost roughly $25 each.

However, paying for these programs doesn’t have to be directly out of pocket. Coding bootcamps, tech education providers, and vocational schools are increasingly offering loans, installment payments and the choice to pay back tuition only after you land a job in your field. Scholarship opportunities for women and underrepresented communities, as well as funds from the G.I. Bill for veterans, can also cut down costs for these immersive training programs.

Through GA’s Catalyst program, students fund their tuition in exchange for a percentage of their future income for an agreed-upon period of time. Graduates pay 10 percent of their income over 48 months and they start paying only once they are hired for a job paying at least $40,000 annually.

Your HR manager might be on board

Roughly half of General Assembly’s part-time students are funded by employers who want their employees trained by our experts. Dozens of Fortune 100 companies — and hundreds of other businesses worldwide — are willing to make the financial commitment to train their talent around work hours, whether that’s on-site at your current job, online, or on campus.

Wyncode has launched Wyntalent, a vetted technology talent service. Wyntalent leverages Wyncode’s 700+ graduate network to find individuals with the skill sets that local Miami hiring partners are looking for. Through direct-placement services, contractors, consultants and staff augmentation, Wyntalent helps companies tap into Wyncode’s network that includes juniors or experienced developers with more than five years of experience. This lifetime support for Wyncode graduates helps throughout their tech careers, whether it’s their first job or their fifth.

In 2018, Wyncode trained 211 students and successfully graduated 90 percent of them. Out of those 211, 161 were considered job-seeking students, and 93 percent of those recent graduates were placed within organizations in South Florida. The average salary for each? $52,669 a year.

Wyncode has developed hiring partnerships with 350 companies in South Florida while GA helps the community of recent graduates thrive with a specialized, full-time team that gets students jobs, partnerships, and collaborations with more than 2,500 innovative employers.

There are dozens of Miami-based events and workshops you can attend before committing to full-time, immersive programs. These programs are often designed to help you start applying technical skills in your everyday lives and focus on various subjects, industries, ideas, and disciplines. You can attend these before having to choose what is best for you and your interests.

The bottom line: The path to economic revitalization starts with education. By building a digitally literate workforce and establishing distinctive industry strengths, tech companies will continue to expand into new and emerging markets. By making big bets on Miami’s workers and investing in regional workforce development, local employers and policymakers have the opportunity to turn Miami into a national player in the new American economy.

Cari Perez is community manager at General Assembly, a source for training, staffing and career transitions. Juha Mikkola is founder of Wyncode, which trains emerging tech talent.