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By Nikki Cabus

Techstrong supports diversity in tech; the next Engineer The Change scholarship recipient announced

Read Time 5 Minutes

Techstrong Group has teamed up with Boca Code once again to award another ‘Engineer the Change’ scholarship to help foster diversity in South Florida tech talent pool and empower individuals from underserved communities to develop the skills needed to succeed in the industry.

The scholarship is awarded twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Winners receive $10,000 each to put toward Boca Code’s Software Engineering Course. The 10-week intensive coding bootcamp combines theory and hands-on, project-based learning that prepares the students for a career in software engineering. Boca Code offers adults comprehensive training in software development using real projects for real companies to best prepare you for and help place you in a career in the tech industry.

Our Engineer The Change scholarship recipient for the Spring 2023 cohort is . . . Camila Sandoval!

Camila was born in Colombia, South America in a small town where tragedy struck her family early on. With the support of her grandmother who taught her English and her mother who instilled strong values and a love for mathematics, Camila was driven to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering where she took two programming classes that ignited her interest in coding. She then realized she wanted to dedicate her career to developing medical software. With few opportunities in Colombia in this field, she moved to South Florida, a state known for healthcare and innovation.

Moving to the United States presented several challenges, including a lack of connections, her degree not being recognized, and having to prioritize finding a job to cover my basic needs over prioritizing her education. She continued self-taught online bootcamps where she discovered Boca Code and the “Engineer the Change” scholarship opportunity. She knew this was her next step.

Camila has a great desire to help others and much of that stems from her own personal experiences. She believes these opportunities should be available to everyone no matter there background or circumstances.

Upon winning, Camila told South Florida Tech Hub, “As an immigrant, winning the Engineer the Change Scholarship means more than just having the financial support to achieve my goals. It also provides me with the opportunity to join an industry that transforms the world. I am grateful for the chance to contribute my unique perspective and inspire others who may be facing similar challenges.”

Congratulations, Camila, we are all rooting for you!

The Engineer the Change scholarships combine two goals that are core to Techstrong Group:

  1. Doing their part to make South Florida a world-class hub for the tech industry and
  2. Providing opportunities for individuals from underrepresented communities to acquire the skills they need for a successful career in tech.

Techstrong Group is a media company and the power source for people and technology accelerating understanding of technologies that drive business by serving the needs of IT leaders and practitioners with news, research, analysis, events, education, certifications and professional development. Their focus is digital transformation, DevOps, cybersecurity, cloud and cloud-native under brands such as Techstrong Media, Techstrong Associations, Techstrong Research, Techstrong Learning and Techstrong Live!

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Boca Code to support and empower talented individuals who are seeking opportunities for growth and have demonstrated a deep commitment to pursuing a career in IT,” said Alan Shimel, founder and CEO at Techstrong Group. The scholarship will be awarded to the most deserving student whose application shows a genuine interest in technology and demonstrates the potential to be a future leader.”

Research shows a staggering lack of diversity in STEM fields, most noticeably within computer and engineering positions. It is a glaring workforce disparity that requires both recognition and responsibility from those at the highest levels in the tech world to create a more diverse and equitable workforce.

To be eligible, applicants must be over the age of 18 and be part of an underrepresented community (i.e. women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans or other minority groups). To be considered, applicants will are required to submit an essay (minimum of 500 words in length) detailing how they can serve as a role model to other disadvantaged individuals hoping to acquire the skills to become successful tech workers and what type of career in the tech industry they are hoping to pursue.

While the idea is to help the South Florida tech community, applicants can apply from anywhere as long as their essay explains why they are coming to South Florida to launch their tech career.

Boca Code CEO Todd Albert told South Florida Tech Hub that ‘The scholarship has a huge impact because we have been able to help students that would otherwise not have been able to afford to attend. We’ve given 8 students the opportunity to change their lives and have a better future for them and their families.”

“Techstrong is an amazing partner and shares our passion for making the tech community even more diverse,” he continued.

“It is important to us that we seize every opportunity to help foster diversity and inclusivity within the tech industry, and the Engineer the Change scholarship is a great start to empowering disadvantaged minorities within the South Florida community to grow their technical skill set.”

Unlike other code schools where students work on dummy projects, Boca Code partners with real companies to give our students real life resume-worthy projects to work on that not only build their portfolio, but give them meaningful experiences. Their curriculum is designed by professional educators and senior developers.

Additionally, scholarship winners are featured in the ‘Engineering the Change’ video series, produced by Techstrong Group, which follows the recipients on their journey to become software engineers. From the highs to the lows, you can get a view into what these software engineering students are facing.

Additional Resources

By Nikki Cabus

Layoffs? Why NOW is the time to hire.

Read Time 2 Minutes

Companies across the country continue to struggle with the continued impacts of COVID-19 and a looming recession. Recent South Florida headlines include significant layoffs from employers such as REEF, Convey Health, Papa, and more. Despite layoffs and hiring freezes, company leaders still need to have great teams to support their growth.

The wave of recent layoffs however, has provided a unique opportunity for companies that are well positioned for growth: the market is flooded with great talent. Now is the time to hire.

Historically, some industries still do fairly well during recessions, or even thrive. These are often industries where demand is insensitive to changes in prices and incomes and the volume of consumer demand is stable or even elevated. Technology is one of them and a part of almost every industry sector imaginable.

Some are holding on to their talent, while others turn to improved wages and more flexibility to counter the voluntary quits. With the complexity of hiring in the current economy, hiring managers should also implement sustainable hiring practices – especially in the tech industry – where companies are constantly competing for developers, designers and other digital professionals.

Despite the news, the hiring boom is still on. 

Sustainable recruiting strategies are the best way for companies to attract and retain top talent. As organizations grow, the need for a sustainable workforce continues to grow with them. To find the right talent, companies must first know what they’re looking for, priorities, and long-term goals.

With the complexity of hiring, businesses should be aware of a few key trends in sustainable hiring. The current candidate market sees a subtle misunderstanding between the employer and the job seeker. Many job seekers, especially in the tech industry, are becoming picky about choosing their employer. This is mainly reflected in the high layoff rates in the past months.

CLICK HERE to learn the top five tips to implementing sustainable recruiting strategies.


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By Nikki Cabus

IronHack launches new FemTech movement

Read Time 3 Minutes

Only 19% of STEM graduates are women, 25% of computing roles are held by women, and 50% of women said they have experienced gender discrimination at work. Sadly, it’s nothing new – tech lacks women. IronHack has decided to do something about it. Hence, the FemTech Movement was created.

IronHack believes that everyone should have an opportunity to build a fulfilling career regardless of their background and previous experience with tech. They are convinced that by depriving itself of female talent, the Tech sector is missing out on major technological innovations and they want to do their part by inspiring more women to join tech jobs. They are on a mission to empower women professionals to shape the future of female tech, create visibility in the tech gender gap, and provide access to education for women trying to break into tech.

Ironhack is a leading Global Tech School that offers individuals intensive courses in Web Development, UI/UX Design, and Data Analytics. The curriculum is designed for those looking to re-skill and build careers in the tech sector. In addition to their D2C programs, they offer enterprise tech training solutions aimed at educating diverse teams on the latest technology skills.

“The gender gap in technology is larger today than it was in the mid-80s. To make matters worse, the overall talent gap is growing at a pace that will leave us with over 85 million unfilled jobs by 2030. In tech alone, the US could lose out on $162 billion worth of revenues annually unless it finds more high-tech workers. Without a focus on training diverse talent, especially women, we will almost certainly not be able to meet the talent needs of the global economy,” Karina DuQuesne, IronHack’s GM US, VP, People and General Counsel told Tech Hub.

“While raising awareness to the barriers faced by underserved groups is critical, little is going to change without action. The program will also include support from our community and corporate partners, whose participation is paramount to creating systemic and long lasting change within the tech industry.”

This project aims to provide access to tech education to at least 250 women globally, including 50 in Miami. In addition, Ironhack committed to host at least five special events in Miami specifically for Women in Technology between September 2022 and August 2023 with local partners such as eMerge Americas, MediaQuery, Everymundo, Tribal Scale, Bootup and South Florida Tech Hub. Lastly, in conjunction with education training, Ironhack will launch a Female mentoring program for all Ironhack students and Alumni, pairing each with successful technology professionals in the local community. With these metrics, we hope to increase the number of female students globally  by 30% and further develop the local community of FemTech professionals.

To learn more, visit

By Nikki Cabus

Two South Florida locations chosen for Mark Cuban’s AI Bootcamp for high school students

Read Time 3 Minutes

Two South Florida counties have been chosen for Mark Cuban’s Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp for high school students: Miami-Dade and Palm Beach county. They are two of the 30 camps being held across the United States this Fall season attracting over 600 high school students grades 9th – 12th.

Florida Power and Light will host the no cost AI bootcamp in Palm Beach County at the beautiful FPL Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach which is an FPL Eco-Discovery Center. The program will be targeted at high school students and introduce underserved students in grades 9 through 12 to basic AI concepts and skills. The Miami location will be hosted by Argo AI at Miami Dade College’s AI Center located in North Campus. Both bootcamps will be held over four consecutive Saturdays starting on October 22nd and ending on November 12th.

“‘FPL is proud to serve as the host company for Mark Cuban’s AI Boot Camp for students who would otherwise not have exposure to programs in STEM. Our corporate culture is focused on giving back to the communities where we live and work. We are intentional about supporting and building thriving communities for the next generation. We hope students will be inspired to pursue careers in STEM right here in South Florida,” said Grace Kurian, Executive Director of Information Technology- Nuclear at NextEra Energy, Inc. NextEra Energy owns FPL, which is the largest vertically integrated rate-regulated electric utility in the United States.

Founded by Mark Cuban in 2019, the AI Bootcamp initiative has hosted free AI bootcamps for students across several US cities, including Dallas, Pasadena, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Atlantic City to name a few. The Mark Cuban Foundation has impacted 450+ students to date and has a goal to have 1,000 students graduate from AI Bootcamps Program in 2023. These two South Florida bootcamps are the first in the region.

A Wall Street Journal article read, “Mr. Cuban’s focus on AI comes as technologists and academics attempt to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion issues within AI and the technology industry. Women and minorities are underrepresented in artificial intelligence, and experts say that’s a problem that could contribute to algorithmic bias.”

“I saw the impact of PCs. Then I saw the impact of local area networks. Then I saw the impact of wide area networks. Then I saw the impact of the Internet. Then I saw the impact of mobile. Then I saw the impact of wireless. Now I’m seeing the impact of artificial intelligence. And it dwarfs any of those things,” says Mark Cuban. “One of my goals is to really go out and find the superstars. There are so many there that are under-appreciated and don’t have access to resources.”

Aimed to increase AI literacy and understanding in students from underserved communities, the high schools students do not need any prior experience with computer science, programming, or robotics to apply and attend.

Throughout the AI Bootcamp, students will learn what artificial intelligence is and is not, where they already interact with AI in their own lives, and the ethical implications of AI systems including but not limited to TikTok recommendations, smart home assistants, facial recognition, and self-driving cars to name a few. Students will benefit from volunteer mentor instructors who are knowledgeable about data science and able to help students quickly understand material normally taught at a collegiate level.

As part of the 5-hour curriculum, students also get to work in Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, each day to build their own AI applications related to Chatbots, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing.

The Mark Cuban Foundation provides the bootcamp’s curriculum materials, trains volunteer mentors, and recruits
and selects local students to attend camp. In addition, the Mark Cuban Foundation and each host company, Florida Power & Light and Argo, work together to provide food, transportation, and access to laptops for students at no cost throughout the duration of Bootcamp.

Applications are now open at The deadline to apply is Thursday, September 1st, 2022.

Techstrong supports diversity in tech; the next Engineer The Change scholarship recipient announced
Layoffs? Why NOW is the time to hire.
IronHack launches new FemTech movement
Two South Florida locations chosen for Mark Cuban’s AI Bootcamp for high school students