062: Juha Mikkola (Wyncode Academy)

Juha Mikkola on Innovation City

“Companies need to realize you might not have those years of experience or that traditional degree, but if you can do the job…you should get the job.” — Juha Mikkola

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Juha Mikkola, Co-Founder at Wyncode Academy. Founded in 2014, Wyncode is one of the top coding schools in the country with over 600 graduates and a 91% job placement rate in more than 250 companies worldwide. Juha was born in Finland and moved to the U.S. to pursue his goal of owning his own company. He landed in Miami to be a part of the booming South Florida entrepreneur and tech ecosystem. Juha sits down with us to talk about his entrepreneurial journey, starting Wyncode with his wife, creating a more diversified environment for your company, and tackling the supply problem in the technology industry.

They discuss:

  • Growing up in Finland and his time living in Florida as a child
  • The small market in Finland and having to wait for things like movies, internet, etc.
  • Wanting to move back to the United States to start a company
  • Landing in Miami to be part of growing the South Florida entrepreneur and tech ecosystem.
  • Starting Wyncode Academy with his wife Johanna
  • The Academy’s 600+ graduates with a 91% job placement rate
    • Over 600 web developers, UX/UI designers & digital marketers have graduated from their South Florida campus
  • Over 250 companies have hired developers and product designers from Wyncode, (ranging from local startups to Amazon, GE Digital, Udacity and Magic Leap)
  • His invitation to the White House after the Academy’s first year of operation
    • “The placement outcome is what’s most important, and that we shouldn’t just say a number. We should give the stats to back it up.”
    • Wrote a letter to President Obama, saying/asking to to do this (visit/convention/gathering) every year.
  • Learning from people and companies you associate with everyday
  • First entrepreneur project importing floorball equipment
  • The importance of building strong relationships
  • Learning about coding school and getting excited about the opportunity it brought
  • Using previous experience to become more successful
  • Choosing the Miami market for his project
    • “The talent is here, you just have to look for it with a different lens.”
  • How companies look at degrees and work experience vs. Wyncode Academy looking at peoples cognitive ability and what motivates them
  • The importance of diversity and different trains of thought from their incoming students
  • The supply problem at university level due to the high demand
  • The Academy’s ten week programs
    • There are not many programs in the industry that can get students ready fast enough
    • Over a million open developer jobs around the US
  • The challenge of finding people who have the dedication and finances to take the 10 weeks off for the program
  • Being creative in creating and offering scholarships to help people overcome those challenges
  • Gender parity
    • $1.4 million self-funded scholarship program to get the school to 50/50 men and women by 2020.
  • Getting a first hire in the door and immersed in the culture
  • One of the core values is “Hustle”
  • Teaching CSS, HTML, Javascript, React, Ruby and Ruby on Rails
  • Corporate world shift…every company is trying to be a tech company these days
  • Partnered with a company in Sweden: Academic Work
  • Hope in the future, companies start paying for their employees to attend the school
  • Wyncode Academy’s big picture:
    • Become the source for vetted technology talent in South Florida and beyond
    • Wanting to continue changing the fabric of the community
  • Free coding bootcamp coming up