MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With laptops open and pen to paper, more than a dozen high school junior and senior girls are learning to write software code at a special seminar in downtown Miami.
It’s called “Girls Who Code” and it’s sponsored, in part, by South Florida’s growing tech industry.
Seventeen year old Shahrine Islam of Fort Lauderdale is one of the students.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me,” said Islalm.
Aysha Habbaba of Pinecrest also sees great things in her future with the knowledge she’s gaining there.
“I honestly know that me, a Syrian-American muslim girl who’s 17 years old, can sit at a computer and, with the right knowledge, can do anything the CEO of Google can,” said said.
A few miles north in Wynwood, young professionals in their early 20’s are also learning new computer languages. They’ve each paid $9000 to participate in “Wyncode.” This camp focuses on the language called ruby on rails.
“Twitter was built on ruby on rails, so was Airbnb and Groupon,” said Wyncode co-founder Johanna Mikkola. “Software is a major part of what’s happening in business, so learning how to code and understanding that technology will absolutely give you a competitive edge.”
Bryan Perez, 25, is one of Wyncode’s first 14 students.
“I would compare coding to higher level algebra. if you’ve done some of that, it’s kind of the same frame of thinking,” he said. “I’m expecting this to be the launch of my career.”
When Perez and the others complete the course, they have the potential to walk into a entry level job commanding upwards of $60,000, said Wyncode co-founder Juha Mikkola.
“Here in Miami, there’s a big demand. A lot of people are having to relocate from other cities to do it.”
E-Builder of Plantation is one company looking to hire young people who can code.
“We can’t fill the positions we have here fast enough,” said E-Builder President Ron Antevy. “A great software developer, a coder, is extremely hard to find.”
Sean Kelley was among the room full of applicants who visited E-Builder last month looking for a job.
“South Florida and California are the two biggest coding places in the world right now,” he said. “I’d really love to get my foot in the door on this.”
Carecloud is a Miami based company which uses young talent to digitize medical records. Ricardo Morales, the company’s Director of Engineering, looks to courses like Wyncode to fill open positions.
“We think they have the potential to provide us with a lot of great candidates that can join our ranks,” he said.
In fact, Carecloud is offering a $5,000 signing bonus to Wyncode graduates.
“They could actually walk out of that program and start adding value day one,” said Morales.
Back downtown at “Girls Who Code,” Islam beams with excitement and intelligence of a young woman ready to take over the tech world.
“This is a path that hasn’t been walked by very many women,” she said. “Learning to code is empowering.”