In the span of four months, Tatiana Morris went from a new student at Wyncode Academy to a junior developer at Magic Leap.She was one of three women hired at a hackathon-style hiring event hosted by Wyntalent, the Miami coding school’s consulting arm that links local technology companies with junior- and senior-level talent from its pool of graduates.
Magic Leap tapped Wyntalent earlier this year, prior to launching its very first product, as it needed to bolster its web development staff. Wyntalent then reached out to more than 200 people from Wyncode’s pool of 600 graduates to participate in the invite-only event at Magic Leap’s Plantation headquarters. The attendees were competing for three contract positions.
Morris couldn’t reveal the project she created to get noticed by Magic Leap, but believes her persistence may have landed her the job, because she kept working on it after the hiring event ended.
“I definitely didn’t give up, and maybe that’s what did it,” said Morris, who started the 10-week Wyncode program in March and was hired by Magic Leap in late July.
Magic Leap and Wyncode had taken about a month to hammer out the details of the event. The first partnership of its kind for the companies, it included a meet- and-greet with Magic Leap staff for the participants.
“It was our pilot toward trying out this type of event,” said Carl Osterman, director of engineering for Magic Leap. “This was an expedited way to evaluate talent …. They knew there was an opportunity on the table, but it wasn’t a guarantee for landing the position.”
There was a follow-up interview process that reviewed whether the three women were cultural fits. Hiring local, diverse professionals is a priority for Magic Leap, Osterman said. Magic Leap also hired former Wyncode students Khristina Sheer and Ashley Ginsburg from the coding challenge.
Morris, who previously managed a news and technology website about video games, said her colleagues are “a great mix of people.”
”[The diversity] is healthier here than some of the other tech companies I’ve worked with,” she added.
Magic Leap is among the most prominent technology companies in South Florida, having raised $2.3 billion from high-profile investors such as Google and Alibaba since its 2011 founding. Its augmented reality technology was released to developers on Aug. 8. The company has not said when its first product, the Magic Leap One, will be available for consumers.
“It’s cool to be aligned with Magic Leap on the importance of hiring local talent, and that the top three performers from the hackathon were female,” said Juha Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode Academy. “When you’re talking about making South Florida a competitive tech ecosystem, you can’t do it without companies believing in that vision.”
Osterman said the hiring event with Wyncode was a successful one, and there may be another in the future.
Earlier this year, Wyncode launched Wyntalent to connect its graduates with South Florida technology companies that are seeking experienced workers to lead projects or fill positions. Wyntalent was paid for providing Magic Leap with talent for the coding competition.
“Carl’s team was incredible and created an awesome challenge,” Mikkola said. “Even people who weren’t selected as finalists left with positive feelings about the company and an understanding of Magic Leap’s mission. It was awesome to be part of it.”