Miami-based coding school 4Geeks is breaking down the barriers to becoming a software developer

By Riley Kaminer

You’ve seen it all over the news: the mass layoffs at big tech firms, affecting more than 21,000 US-based workers so far in 2023. But if we zoom out a bit, the market for software developer talent is still weighted heavily in workers’ favor. Government statistics show around 163,000 software developer jobs open in the US at the moment, with a projected growth of 25% between 2021 and 2031 – five times the average across all industries.

Miami-based Marcelo Ricigliano is helping South Floridians hope on these trends and change their lives. Ricigliano is the CEO of coding school 4Geeks Academy, which aims to lower the barrier to entry to tech jobs.

Ricigliano painted a positive picture of the opportunities still present in the tech space. “In December, we had our best month ever,” he said, in terms of graduates receiving job offers. At least when it comes to junior talent, Ricigliano told Refresh Miami that he hasn’t seen the talent markets slow down at all. Most of these jobs are remote, and they come from a mix of tech companies and traditional companies that are hiring for tech roles.

Now, Ricigliano is laser focused on expanding access to 4Geeks’ programming. The school has established a relationship with Clark University that enables underemployed and unemployed students to receive a $4,000 grant to study at 4Geeks – no commitments or repayments needed. 

What’s more, Ricigliano has also inked a deal to pay employers 50% of students’ salaries for the first three months of their work, up to $5,000 per employee. That de-risks the prospect of hiring talent for employers, helping South Florida companies in the process.

“We want to continue to be a top quality bootcamp with a reasonable fee,” said Ricigliano. He noted that, particularly across 4Geeks’ Latin American locations, the school is only able to work with around 3-5% of people that are interested in their programs. 

In Miami, Ricigliano has collaborated with United Way to expand access to underrepresented Miamians through a $25 million donation from MacKenzie Scott. This program will allow students to take the course for free and pay it back once they have secured a job. They will also receive a $400 a week stipend to help students get by while on the course. 

4Geeks’ three most popular programs are their entry level software development course, their data science course, and their artificial intelligence and machine learning course. For AI/ML, Ricigliano reports a 100% placement rate. “If you want to get a job as an AI engineer, you’ll get a job,” he said, due to the massive shortage of talent in the space.

Since launching its first program in 2016, 3,500 students have graduated from 4Geeks’ programs. The school has an international footprint, with offices across the US, Latin America, and Europe. Its 120 instructors teach both online and in-person. And Ricigliano has his sights on more expansion, with imminent plans to open 4Geeks’ doors in Canada and Germany.

4Geeks co-founders Marcelo Ricigliano and Alejandro Sanchez. 


Riley Kaminer