BUILDING MIAMI’S TECH ECOSYSTEM, ONE DEVELOPER AT A TIME

Year after year, Miami is solidifying its status as a major international tech hub. Companies from all around the world are opening offices in Miami, at the strategic nexus between US and Latin American markets. But Miami’s location isn’t the only reason for its budding popularity among tech companies. Florida is a business-friendly state, and in 2017, Miami claimed the title as the #1 hottest city in the US… for startup activity. The tropical climate is yet another factor attracting coders and tech companies. Sure, some people prefer the more temperate climes of Seattle and Silicon Valley. But many prefer to live and work where the culture is warm, the sand is hot, and the water is clear.

With Miami’s tech boom comes an urgent need for coders & developers. Growing companies need to be able to find solid tech talent, with the skills to further their missions and tackle their technological challenges. This is why it’s so important for educators and employers to develop close relationships, and collaborate with one another.

Building Miami’s Tech Ecosystem Through Hiring Partnerships

TechLaunch, for example, is a full stack web development program in Miami. TechLaunch has teamed up with companies throughout South Florida, to place its graduates into the jobs that most closely match their talents. Through these collaborations, or, as TechLaunch likes to call them, “hiring partnerships,” students are easily able to find good, productive, well-paying employment, and companies are quickly able to fill their job openings with solid tech talent.

These hiring partnerships have immediate, obvious, and direct impacts on the lives of the students and companies involved. In the bigger picture, though, collaborations like these are the roots of the Miami’s tech ecosystem. They are the building blocks of the tech hub that Miami is destined to become. While big, flashy news items like massive VC investments, international tech conferences, and monikers like “Silicon Beach” are capturing the public imagination, it is these small, fundamental connections that are building the Miami tech ecosystem, from the ground up.

From TechLaunch to LaunchCode

miami's tech ecosystem

Lilianne Cantillo studied software development in Cuba, but unfortunately, her skills and credentials didn’t carry over well to the Miami job market. After moving to Miami, Lily worked in the hospitality industry for five years. All the while, she knew in her heart that the world held more in store for her. After an exhaustive search, Lily decided to enroll at TechLaunch — a school that focuses not just on the academic aspects of education, but on actually helping students get jobs in the real-world Miami tech ecosystem.

Less than a year later, Ms. Cantillo got her first tech job, as an assistant instructor at LaunchCode. She seems to be integrating well into her new position.

“It has been an amazing experience, so far, being part of the LaunchCode team,” Lily wrote. “This is my first job in the field of software development. The beginnings are always the hardest part. But thanks to all the support that I’ve received from my instructors Victor and Randy at TechLaunch, and all the knowledge and skills that they’ve taught me, I was able to not only get hired here at LaunchCode but also to be good at my job! And for that, I will be always grateful.”

LaunchCode’s Florida Program Director Matt Mawhinney appears to be equally satisfied with the arrangement. “We’ve always been impressed with TechLaunch graduates,” Mawhinney said. “[We’ve] been very happy bringing Lily on-board as an instructor for LaunchCode.”

Starting at Starthub

miami's tech ecosystem

Eric Phillips went directly from studying JavaScript at TechLaunch to implementing JavaScript at Starthub.

Starthub is a Miami-based co-working space and accelerator that helps international companies put down roots in the United States. “Eric has been instrumental in getting our own web presence sharpened-up,” said Hector Rodriguez, Community Director at Starthub. According to Rodriguez, Eric has been helping “to attract more web visitors and increase our flow of conversions.”

But Eric has been doing far more than just working on StartHub’s corporate website. Within less than a month of arriving at Starthub, Eric was creating interactive JavaScript functionality for Starthub’s international clients. Most recently, Eric has been working on modernizing the website for Magic Xperience — a French augmented reality company that creates real-life holograms for kids to play with.

Eric seems to have found some purpose and fulfillment in his role at Starthub. He appreciates the opportunity to help international companies find their footing in the Miami tech ecosystem.

“Part of Starthub’s mission is providing a ‘soft-landing’ for established international companies to operate in the United States,” Eric explains. “As a developer, that means working with clients in varying industries, updating an existing and proven design for a new audience.”

Thanks to the efforts of people and organizations like Eric and Starthub (and, of course, a $150,000 grant from the Knight Foundation), Magic Xperience will soon be opening an AR exhibit at Miami’s Pérez Art Museum, and will be selling AR products through thousands of retailers worldwide.

Building Miami’s Tech Ecosystem… One Developer At A Time

If Miami will indeed become a major tech hub, it will be due to the efforts on the front lines. It will be due to the hard work of coders and developers like Eric Phillips and Lilianne Cantillo. It will be due to the visionary efforts of companies like Starthub and LaunchCode. And it will be due to the connections between them, created by schools, vocational institutes, and community organizations like TechLaunch.

Without partnerships, relationships, and collaborations like the ones that TechLaunch develops with companies throughout South Florida, Miami’s tech ecosystem would be far less fluid & efficient. Companies like LaunchCode and Starthub would have to spend a lot more money to find the talent they need. At the same time, coders like Lily and Eric would have to spend weeks, months, or even years, hunting for jobs, rather than applying and developing their new and valuable tech skills.

For these reasons, it’s vital that as we move forward together, as a community. We must forge and broaden the pathways through which students can become employees. We must encourage communication between educators and employers, if we wish to facilitate the growth of Miami’s tech ecosystem, and truly earn our place as the world’s next great tech hub.

To learn more about becoming a TechLaunch hiring partner or to learn more about becoming a student, check out techlaunch.io. Feel free to contact us any time, at info@techlaunch.io or (305) 783-3599!

2017-08-22T18:30:39+00:00