Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Embracing the Art of Code: Wyncode Celebrates Fifth ‘Pitch Day’

naples-herald-dot-logo-20x20 (1)Wyncode, School of Code, is one of the nation’s first recognized coding schools. Through a course of nine weeks, this intense institution brings their students from zero to 100 and completely ready to take on jobs in their professional field. In fact, roughly 92% of their students have found jobs in their field within three months of their graduation – a night designed to showcase themselves, and the work they’ve created, dubbed Pitch Day.

It all began when co-founders Juha and Johanna Mikkola decided to start change in Miami and its tech community. As both came from the sports industry, Juha being an entrepreneur and Johanna a director of the National Hockey League, the two began to research deeply into how the industry could be enhanced, improved, and evolved.

Juha and Johanna Mikkola.  Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.
Juha and Johanna Mikkola. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.

Seeking the next step in their careers and a new challenge, the two looked into the tech community around the nation. They ended up in Miami not only because they love the area, but because it’s on everyone’s map. Not only is the bustling city full of activity, it also provided them a great opportunity to create the change they sought. With more research, Juha and Johanna were able to reach the unofficial heads of the tech community in Miami, The Knight Foundation, and now operate out of a collaborative space, The Lab Miami.

“Juha ultimately decided to enroll in Bitmaker Studios in Toronto…Throughout the whole program, each night we would debrief on the things he was doing and we kept talking about how there were a few key things that we felt were missing. One of them was soft skills development; things like communication, presentation negotiation. The other piece of it was immersing you into a community – networking with potential hiring partners, business contacts,” said Johanna in an interview.

One of the key goals of Wyncode is to provide the whole experience of coding – not just the education of the art itself, but the skills in order to be able to sell oneself and function in the professional world. This kind of education is unique; Juha and Johanna use a system inspired by Agile, a means of accountability and communication in professional situations.

Each Friday, dubbed Retrospective, students are required to stand up and speak about what they’ve done during the week, as well as what has and hasn’t worked for them as part of Wyncode. This system allows Wyncode to make changes to their methods more quickly and evolve slowly, rather than change drastically over a period of time.

It’s also a great way for their students, in classes of 15 – 20, to practice the soft skills they’re learning and prepare themselves for their project presentations, Pitch Day. These projects aren’t done alone; students gather into groups of two or three and spread out the job within themselves. Some took on all parts equally, others took on the jobs of front-end coding (HTML and CSS – mostly for aesthetics), back-end coding (working with the databases and base of the web apps), and other tasks.

The teams are part of Wycode’s main course, Web Development Immersive; this isn’t the only course Wyncode offers, but Pitch Day is exclusive to these students.

Preparation for the presentation event begins roughly a month in advance. The most recent event, “Cinco de Pitch Day,” was entirely prepared by Campus Director, Diego Lugo.

Diego Lugo. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.
Diego Lugo. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.

“We’re really grateful that The Lab Miami has been awesome in helping us make this a successful event every single time…I think the biggest part of the Pitch Day event is that everything happens in a very short amount of time.”

A “very short amount of time” isn’t far off as Lugo continued, “We really only have half an hour to transform the entire lab.”

He’s correct. In order for the event to be completely seamless, each aspect from the bar to the smallest details must be carefully planned and executed within a very strict timeline. For the last event, roughly 200 people RSVP’d via MeetUp and The Lab Miami was anything but empty.

Filled to the brim and almost out the doors, Pitch Day started the night off with several inspirational speeches about its beginning, the journey, and their future with their students. Featuring 19 students, the fifth cohort of Wyncode gave seven pitches on new web applications inspired by problems in their lives, communities, and globally. Where none of the ideas were truly ground breaking, they offered simple solutions to annoyances we face every day.


Taryn Kein, Kyra Fillmore,  and Marilu Kernon. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.
Taryn Kein, Kyra Fillmore, and Marilu Kernon. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.

 Created by Kyra Fillmore, Taryn Kein, and Marilu Kernon, this web application is geared to be the remedy to the plague of “Sharenting.” According to their presentation, 68% of parents feel that “Sharenting” is a risk to their child’s privacy and 52% feel that their children will be embarrassed in the future. It’s a private place to post pictures, stories, and momentos of children, pets, family, and more. With abilities to tag and share with specific friends and family members via email invitation, the trio eventually hopes to add the option to print, as well as a mobile application.

Therapy on Demand

Marvin Lusky, Jan Ding and Gabriel Noboa. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.
Marvin Lusky, Jan Ding and Gabriel Noboa. Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.

After a survey of many therapists, Gabriel Noboa, Marvin Lusky, and Jan Ding found a surprising fact about modern therapy. There is a disconnect between patient and therapist, be it through patients not coming into appointments, or the idea that mental health is a taboo topic Therapy on Demand is their solution. This new web app offers a booking system to create appointments, live audio and video chat through Open Talk, as well as a texting option for communication. The idea is to make more therapy accessible to people around the world, regardless of social stigmas or a life on-the-go. For now, the application is completely free until monetization is implemented.


Tired of not being able to find a good field to play soccer in with your friends? Manuel Villamizar and Carlos Socorro are bringing you a new option. Because many fields these days are rather archaic in the sense that they log appointments via pen and paper, it means that the only way to truly book a time to play is by phone, when the field is open. Squad-Up offers a different means of booking. Fields can sign up for Squad-Up, list their hours and available slots – players go onto Squad-Up, find their field, and can book their appointments quickly and easily. The site even offers a way to enter credit card information so you can spend more time playing, and less time setting up.


Maximo Rosario and Joshua Echeverri might just be the newest office heroes with their web application. CoffeeBreak is a web and mobile app that acts as a coffee delivery system. Simply put in your personal and payment information, shoot out your order to your nearest coffee shop, and a delivery boy will come running with your freshly brewed cup. The only bad part is that it isn’t actually real – but we caffeine addicts can dream, right?


As the world changes, we’re slowly becoming more and more ecologically friendly and aware – and this is incredibly important. As each second passes, hundreds of tons of food are being wasted and our Earth is slowly becoming barren. This is where FoodNag comes in by Michael Finocchario, Ian Mackinnon, and Daniel Schur. FoodNag is currently a web only application, but the goal is to keep track of the food you buy and use to lessen the amount of food wasted. Simply input the items you buy the day you buy them and when they’re about to expire, FoodNag will send you an email “nagging” you to use your food. As an added bonus, the app will even send you a recipe!


Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.
Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.

Similar to the idea of Squad-up, OutNix is a web app that allows you to book sports – but not to play. From the minds of Alexis Diaz, Griffin Markay, and Sean Consentino, OutNix is related to all the local bars where you like to watch your games, and instead of having to call ten bars to find your favorite, go straight to this app and save yourself the trouble. Search by game or by bar and be on your way. This team is also one of the very first at Wyncode to fundraise; they came to Pitch Night having raised roughly $50000.


Welcome to the new IMDB – of music. Kevin Ridge, Steven Worley, and Amy Dusek have complied one large database of all of your favorite artists complete with bios, discography, and more. Happen to find that your favorite artist isn’t on there? There’s even a creation tool to add them to the site.

In addition to a $1000 grand prize, Wyncode has changed up their tradition just slightly. Winners from the previous cohort have always come in to hand down the prize to the newest winners but this time decided to give the winners a little token which will continue to be handed down the line. The developers of OutNix were the winners of this cohort and received bright green custom “Wyncode Winner” jerseys.

Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.
Photo by Aiden Strawhun/© Naples Herald.

Wyncode isn’t just located in Miami either; not too long ago they opened a physical location in Fort Lauderdale and are expecting to have their first cohort’s Pitch Day within the next few weeks. You can also find them online at their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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