Wyncoders on the Road to Provide One Million Trucking Jobs
Written by Jocelyn Caster on 15th November 2016, 12:03 PM
Entrepreneurship is key to building a strong tech scene in Miami, and Wyncode is proud that grads have created multiple startups contributing to the growth of this sector. Learning to code has empowered these individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to take the leap into tech entrepreneurship. With two-thirds of new jobs being created by companies under five years old, it’s crucial for those around us to dream big and help build Miami’s companies of tomorrow.
That said, the impact Wyncoders are making reaches well beyond Miami. Four members of the core team of New Jersey-based FindATruckerJob.com (FATJ.com), Alex McKeown, Michael Nahabedian, Frank Ortiz, and Alex Diaz, are graduates of Wyncode.
Wyncode is a great place to meet other like-minded and ambitious individuals. In fact, these four came together because of their participation in Wyncode. Frank was a part of Cohort 1 and a TA for Cohort 3. Mike and Alex McKeown were members of Cohort 3 and admit that Frank was their favorite TA. Alex Diaz was a member of cohort 5. Together, they head the technical team for a company that, by 2017, will have distributed more than one million jobs for more than 100 clients. Additionally, the website was recently named one of the Top Job Sites according to Jobs2Careers.com.
In light of this recent recognition, we wanted to talk to Wyncoder Alex McKeown about his journey into entrepreneurship and how he looks back on his time in Wyncode’s coding bootcamp.
J: Congrats on being named one of the top job sites according to Jobs2Careers.com! I saw that FATJ.com will have distributed more than one million jobs for more than 100 clients since inception. That is incredible! How did you know there was such a large market for your site when you were building it?
A: At Wyncode, Mike and I created a job matching application called trigr. While we were finishing our presentation for Wyncode’s Pitch Day, we were introduced to an investor who took interest in our idea. He already had two people in New Jersey who were working on an interesting project for trucker jobs, but they were stalled due to their limited technical abilities. They were outsourcing the tech aspects of the site overseas and both the design and functionality of the site needed considerable work. The investor offered to fund our final project if we agreed to take over the technical operations of the trucking site. We quickly came in and redesigned everything with the skills we learned at Wyncode.
The employment market for the trucking industry is one of the most competitive in North America. There is a huge demand for and low supply of truck drivers. Given the nature of the job and its specialized licenses, there are many unique requirements for truck driver job postings that differ from other types of job postings. For example, when posting a job for a truck driver, you need to reach a large geographic area (often nationally) because these truckers are on the road all the time. Unlike you and me, they are not sitting in an office, and they need to access job postings while on the road.
J: What are your biggest strengths & struggles working as a team?
A: There are ten of us now, so we’re a much bigger team than when we started. Communication has become a real strength of ours. We have offices in Red Bank, NJ and Miami, FL, which has caused us to learn how to leverage project management and messaging tools to maintain open communication and increase productivity.
Our struggles have to do with our growth, which of course is a net positive. However, dividing responsibilities into proper buckets can be a challenge, because people are still wearing multiple hats and doing different things without adhering to proper job descriptions. We are working on figuring out who is the right person to take on each responsibility, so that our team can work seamlessly together. Additionally, we spend a considerable amount of time defining our long term roadmap and the resources needed to achieve those goals to allow us build the organization efficiently and maximize the strengths of our team members through our continued growth.
J: Where is FindATruckerJob.com’s biggest opportunity for growth?
A: Recently, we added a mobile-first online application experience to FATJ.com. Given the mobile nature of the trucking profession, over 60% of candidates use a mobile device to search for jobs on FATJ.com. Surprisingly, no job sites have adequately addressed the needs of the mobile, trucking candidates. We have built a mobile-first, long-form application that simplifies the experience for truck drivers and increases the application completion rates to benefit the employers. You don’t get much more “mobile” than a truck driver, so we see this being very significant. We think it’s a huge opportunity for the company.
J: What asset do you feel that you gained the most from in the Web Immersive program in helping your business? What part of the program might have most contributed to your success thus far?
A: Number one: the people. Wyncode is unique by being the first coding school in the area and serving a high demand need. Wyncode is so good at making its students part of the Miami startup and tech community, which is really on the upswing. That kind of feeling of belonging was really important.
It would have been easy for students to go and take safer jobs [than ours], but the entrepreneurial spirit is really passed onto the students by Wyncode who are then willing to take risks. It’s a forward-looking mentality required of those working for startups, the spirit of creativity that is expressed in a startup instead of finding a safe job at a tech company in the area. Wyncoders are more prepared than anyone to follow that intuition.
“It would have been easy for students to go and take safer jobs [than ours], but the entrepreneurial spirit is really passed onto the students by Wyncode.”
It’s been a long time since the first Wyncode startup was created. Throughout Wyncode’s short history, a few startups arising from graduates have won awards and grown into successful businesses, such as MyStyleBox. We are so proud of FATJ.com for joining this growing number of Wyncode startups and for finding a niche that needed total revolutionizing.
Wyncode loves staying involved with student founders. We plan on continuing to support these Wyncode founders, as we have done for years.
If you are interested in meeting entrepreneurial-minded individuals to start a company with in Miami, consider applying to Wyncode’s Web Immersive! The next cohort starts January 9th, and applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis.