Johanna and Juha Mikkola were happy living in Toronto. Johanna was working for the National Hockey League while Juha had his own e-commerce business. The Mikkolas are Finnish and moved to Canada in 2001.
Yet, the couple said they felt unfulfilled. They wanted to work on something together that was meaningful to the both of them, but they were unsure what that looked like or how to get there.
“[Juha] went to a coding bootcamp in Toronto and when he saw the positive impact it opened up for people, that was the spark,” Johanna said. “Not only did we know we wanted to work together, but what ecosystem could we go to that is also really exciting for us personally and also the lifestyle we want to have and do meaningful work.”
That’s how they decided to create Wyncode, a coding academy school based in Wynwood.
After spending some time in a coffee shop with a hard copy map of the U.S., the couple discussed cities that were on the forefront of technology, innovation, and start ups.
They had circled Los Angeles, Austin and Miami.
Johanna and Juha ultimately decided on the South Florida neighborhood where they had vacationed years before. They were attracted to the creativity and vibrancy, which they felt could inspire their coding and product design students.
Since Wyncode opened its doors in 2014, the school has graduated 700 students and has a 90 percent job placement rate. The majority of graduates still work in South Florida today, Johanna said. They’ve also launched Wyntalent, a consulting agency to help employers find technologists in South Florida.
“We’re one of three schools in the country that does a transparency audit on our outcomes,” Johanna said. “We measure our success on the success of our graduates and one of the key things that drives that is that they have skills that the market needs.”
The Mikkolas grew up learning about the American Dream, but they say that in Miami, they got to live their own.
“I always feel very fortunate and lucky to be here, working and getting to do the work that I do,” Johanna said.
Learn more about Wyncode and their program offerings.