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Pivoting to evolve the tech community in Delaware

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Desa Burton, Executive Director of Zip Code Wilmington

The Delaware Business Times recently profiled a couple who pivoted their lives to attend Year Up in search for a brighter future for their child. They saw the opportunity to grow and evolve their lives. This is at the core of what we need to be doing for Delaware in order to thrive in a tremendously fast-paced global tech world. Tech talent is truly abundant in Delaware, and the time to develop that talent is now.

Software is eating the world, and data is drowning it

The world has changed over the years, thanks to the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Google. Other companies, like financial tech companies, are learning from their successes. Software and data are the most important assets within companies because of the competitive advantage it gives business leaders to make quick, profitable decisions. Billions of transactions happen daily, and when extracted, cleaned, moved, and analyzed, the data which results from these transactions gives the business valuable information to compete.

The need for data engineers

Machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics feed on data. Not just any data, but data which has been harvested, cleaned, stored, analyzed and leveraged. The chief architects of these systems are data scientists ““ highly skilled mathematicians and programmers. Data scientists are not able to do this work alone. Data scientists need data engineers and data analysts to help accomplish this work. Data engineers and data analysts help data scientists perform at peak efficiency. Without them, a critical piece of the data team is missing.

This year, data science and analytics job openings are projected to grow by nearly 15% with 364,000 job listings expected, according to a report by Burning Glass Technologies, BHEF and IBM. What’s more, when these jobs open, they often remain unfilled longer than other tech positions, signaling that it is much harder for companies to find qualified data engineering candidates.

The need for this talent is critical and coding bootcamps, like Zip Code Wilmington, are uniquely designed to “tech-up” skilled and unskilled workers to become data engineers and data analysts by offering expedited 12-week training programs in data engineering and analytics to keep up with rapid tech demands, societal changes and talent supply.

Pivoting in Delaware

Tech Impact, in its report “Delaware Thriving: The Case for Investment on Delaware’s Talent Pipeline,” points to an urgent need for highly- skilled talent in Delaware, including data analytics. Based upon this data, and its corporate partners’ requests to develop this talent, Zip Code Wilmington is now ready to launch its new Data Engineering and Analytics program.

Zip Code Wilmington’s new Data Engineering and Analytics program gives Delaware the ability to pivot into the data analytics industry in a big way. The first cohort begins in March and will run independently from, but concurrently alongside, Zip Code’s existing Java software developer training program.

The Zip Code Wilmington program provides students in-depth knowledge in data engineering methods and processes, database setup, R programming and Python through its 12-week program. The additional programming expands Zip Code Wilmington’s offerings to include a broader spectrum toward developing tech talent with software programmers and data engineers.

Just as tech talent and candidates need to be amenable to pivoting in the skills they are versed in, so do the organizations that offer them a new start. As a thriving tech community, Delaware’s businesses ““ large and small, its tech talent and educational institutions ““ public and private, need to come together to raise the tide for all”¦especially in the sea of data engineering and analytics.


Desa Burton is executive director of Zip Code Wilmington.

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