Photo by Maria Vanessa Moreno. Tap to see at full size.

On Tuesday, Anitra and I attended the graduation ceremony for the latest LaunchCode CodeCamp cohort, a class made up entirely of women. It was an immersive “coding boot camp”-style course that they attended for 14 weeks, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., where they learned programming in Java and Python. With the effort and time required, it’s a commitment that the students couldn’t take lightly. We’ve met a good number of the women in the class, and we were happy to attend the ceremony!

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

The goal of the 14-week program is to teach its students how to code, but more importantly, how to think like a computer programmer. The curriculum comprises these four phases:

  1. Programming fundamentals: An introduction to the concepts of programming, using Python (a good choice, in my opinion). The idea is to set up the students with the building blocks that every programmer needs.
  2. Universal web: A look at the foundations of a modern web application, as well as languages, frameworks, and other tools used in web development.
  3. Java deep dive: Hibernate and Spring MVC. The fact that they were made to use frameworks that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole and a hazmat suit speaks volumes about the dedication and capabilities of these women.
  4. Portfolio project: After all of the above, they spent the last few weeks of the program working on a project to showcase what they’ve learned and what they can do.

Here‘s local news coverage of the event:

LaunchCode is an unusual coding school: It’s a non-profit that provides its courses free of charge. Their goal is to help people enter the field of technology by providing them with what they need to do so: accessible training and job placements in paid apprenticeships.

LaunchCode was founded by Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of the payment processing company Square. Square started in McKelvey’s hometown of St. Louis, but he moved it to Silicon Valley when he couldn’t find enough talent at home. LaunchCode started as his to help people from his hometown find work in technology. It has expanded from St. Louis to four other U.S. metros, including Tampa Bay.

Here are the photos I took at the event:

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Jill St. Thomas, Executive Director of Tech Tampa Bay, gave an inspirational commencement address. She reminded us that women make up slightly more than half of the workforce, yet are underrepresented in many areas that define modern life and society, including technology and leadership. Rather than emulate men, she said that women should embrace that they are different from men and play to those strengths.

The students were given an opportunity to speak for a couple of minutes to talk about their experiences during the 14 weeks. They told stories that will be familiar to you when you think of the first time you encountered programming, look back on your first serious project, or if you’ve ever been in a group with a strong sense of camaraderie.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

Congratulations to the graduating class!

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see at full size.

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Tomorrow — Wednesday, January 15 — is the very first Share your mobile app with others meetup! It takes place at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Temple Terrace (at the corner of E Fowler and 56th), and it’s for anyone who:

  • Wants to show their mobile app to other locals, or
  • Wants to see mobile apps written by locals. That’s right, you don’t have to be a developer to attend!

From the meetup page:

Network with other inspired entrepreneurs/developers/app lovers about experiences whether it’s:

  1. App ideas
  2. Hiring developers
  3. Learning to code
  4. App marketing/advertising
  5. Comparing journeys
  6. Creating a team

I am personally not a developer but have an IT background and have hired app developers of my own and would love to share my experience with others.

I’ll be there with a couple of apps to show, and to see who else is doing mobile development in town. I’ll also answer any questions that people may have about mobile development.

The meetup page says that they’ll set up on the long island table in the middle of Fuzzy’s (pictured above). I’ll see you there!

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Leaked Samsung Galaxy S20 photo showing the back of the new phone

XDA Developers has released what is purportedly a leaked photo of one of the next Samsung Galaxy phones, shown above. The series is expected to go under the name “S20”, with the phone above being the Galaxy S20+.

The version number of the Galaxy phones have generally followed the iPhone’s, which is probably why they’re leaping from 10 to 20 (in case you’d forgotten, the current flagship iPhone is the 11).

While Samsung’s leap in version numbers is a big one, the concept of a version number leap is nothing new. Those of us who were working in the industry in the ’90s may remember Macromedia Freehand’s leap from version 5 to 7, completely bypassing 6, back in 1996. This was a response to Adobe Illustrator 6:

Jumping version numbers is easy compared to actual hardware changes, but Samsung are doing it anyway, with a fourth camera to counter the iPhone 11’s three. It reminds me of this Onion article which became real:

I’ll close this article with the early contender for the title of “Sticker of the Year”:


Every week, dedicated individuals and organizations in around the Tampa Bay do more than just their “day jobs”. They get involved in events where they share their knowledge, make connections and friends, and gather together to build strong tech, entrepreneur, and nerd communities. That’s why I do this every week: I put together a list of tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events to make sure that they can be found and you can attend them!

Here’s what’s happening in Tampa Bay this week!

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exceptions of Tampa iOS Meetup and Coders, Creatives and Craft Beer — both of which I run — most of this information comes from, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, January 13

Tuesday, January 14

Wednesday, January 15

Thursday, January 16

Friday, January 17

Saturday, January 18

Sunday, January 19

Do you have an upcoming event that you’d like to see on this list?

If you know of an upcoming event that you think should appear on this list, please let me know!

Join the mailing list!

If you’d like to get this list in your email inbox every week, enter your email address below. You’ll only be emailed once a week, and the email will contain this list, plus links to any interesting news, upcoming events, and tech articles.

Join the Tampa Bay Tech Events list and always be informed of what’s coming up in Tampa Bay!


A delightful find while researching my new industry

by Joey deVilla on January 10, 2020

Lately, I’ve spent lunch reading up on the industry in which in work:

Tap the photo to see it at full size.

Before you say “Wait a minute — don’t you work in the software/mobile app/IT industry?”, let me make it clear. I work in the beverage alcohol industry; I just happen to do that work with software.

While flipping through the pages, looking for the Using Narrative to Win on Menus article, I stumbled across this full-page ad:

Tap the photo to see it at full size.

It’s a full-page ad for Lilypad, which is the name of both the company I work for and the beverage alcohol software suite it produces, which includes the mobile app, which I work on. I’ve worked on all sorts of software before, but never for something that has its own full-page ad in an industry magazine.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Food meets startups in this Startup Grind X Lakeland meetup! Moderator Alyssia Totten will lead this conversation about growing pains, taking risks, and scaling a food business. The guest will be Andy Brown, founder of Eat Pizza — “The best frozen pizza you’ve ever had” — and he’ll talk about his journey of going scratch to scale.

Some background info

Just the facts


If you’ve heard of Docker but don’t quite know what it is or why it’s used, check out this upcoming online seminar that Tampa Bay cybersecurity company Threat Angler is putting on this Friday:

This event will provide you with an intro level understanding of containers and how to work with containers using the Docker platform. All skill levels are welcome, but the target audience is those who have no prior exposure to Docker. We look forward to the opportunity to share this knowledge with you!

The webinar happens on Friday, January 10, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.. You’ll need Zoom to access it.