Interview With Juha Mikkola of Wyncode Academy

Wyncode Academy is a coding bootcamp located in Miami, FL, that addresses the shortage of developers by teaching the basics that programmers need to know to understand advanced concepts like blockchain development. I recently caught up with Wyncode Academy’s Juha Mikkola for this interview.

Heidi: Thanks for joining us today, Juha. How you doing?

Juha Mikkola: Great, great. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Heidi: So, I understand that the blockchain industry has been growing so fast that the number of qualified developers hasn’t kept up. What’s your opinion of this?

Juha: Well, I mean, I think that’s definitely the case. I think blockchain development is, you know, it’s definitely a fast-growing area, but I think it’s also really hot right now. A lot of people are talking about it and I don’t think we’ve really seen even all of the potential use cases to start appearing yet for blockchain development.

The thing that we’ve seen is that there’s obviously a lot of startups that have interest in this area, but we’re also seeing traditional companies, whether they’re finance related or not, starting to look at ways to either incorporate blockchain into what they’re doing or them looking at ways to do fundraising through issuing initial coin offerings and things like that.

So, it’s definitely something that I think there’s a lot of buzz about it. We’ve seen some really great examples here. We’re a coding school, so we’re teaching people how to program. We’ve seen some great examples of people who have really taken the skills, the development skills, and applied those to blockchain development and have done really well with that.

Heidi: What do you see as some good ways for businesses to attract talented new space and for developers to brush up their skills?

Juha: Well, I mean, I think obviously there’s a lot of different ways to get involved with blockchain development. One of the key things has been kind of the Ethereum ecosystem that people have really used around smart contracts and all that development is done in solidity and at the end of the day, when I talk to some of our grads who have made their way into that field, at the end of the day, coding is coding, and if they have really good fundamentals of what they’ve learned through our program, they’ve really been able to take that and apply it into blockchain development.

You know, one of the comments I got is it looks a lot like JavaScript, so it was very familiar for them, and we also teach Ruby, which is an object-oriented programming language with NBC Framework, so that’s really given some great background for these developers, too.

We’ve seen actually a group of WinCoders who created their own company that’s now advising on a bunch of cryptocurrency-related fundraising initiatives that Miami tech companies are doing.

So, I think the limits of this are only—you can only imagine how far this is going to go in the next little while, as more companies actually get involved and use this for actual business cases.

Heidi: Right. I understand that Wyncode Academy is training new blockchain developers. What inspired you to create this program?

Juha: Basically we’ve been teaching coding for four years and we have over 500 graduates, mostly in the South Florida area, but working all around the world as well. What we’ve always focused on is like teaching people how to learn and how to really have very solid programming fundamentals coming out of a ten-week program.

The background of the individuals who come in our program are really widely varied. You have people who may have done some computer science in college, all the way to people who may have worked service industry jobs before. What we really look for is motivation, passion, and cognitive kind of problem-solving skills. If you have those, we know that we can give you those fundamentals.

Our real goal is that once you finished the program, you can decide what you find the most interesting. The fact that we’re seeing people very excited about cryptocurrency, I think is getting them into realizing coding is the way that I can really contribute and be a part of this field. Seeing our graduates go into that is awesome.

Even though it’s not a, let’s say a limited thing to being like we’re only teaching blockchain development, that’s what you’re going to do after the course, the fact of what we’re teaching is giving people that opportunity to go down that path. And that’s awesome, it keeps people’s options open, too, if they want to be a web developer for a different type of vertical or different type of startup in the future, they can. But we’ve definitely seen this increasing interest in blockchain growing all the time.

Heidi: Awesome. That’s all the questions I had. Anything you want to add to this?

Juha: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s just a really exciting time to be involved in technology in general, but I’d say anything blockchain-related, the opportunities that are out there, especially when it comes to actual roles and blockchain development roles, it’s so in its infancy that I think it’s an amazing time to get involved.

Just an example of technology changing and if you have that skillset, you can find incredible opportunities in a field that interests you. I think it’s great that people are looking at this field and opportunity. Maybe getting initially interested either through investing or whatever other tools they might have, but to realize that you can actually develop amazing tools that have practical value using blockchain, we’re going to see a lot more of those and hopefully a lot more people getting interested in the coding side of it.

Heidi: Awesome. Thanks.

Juha: Cool. Thank you very much, really appreciate it. If you have any other questions, let me know, please.

Heidi: Oh, I will. Bye.