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Boot camp to train for high-tech jobs

“It is critical for us to expand our tech workforce"
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Posted at 5:34 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 12:19:04-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “It’s hard to find a company that doesn't need tech talent,” remarked Sarah Tanbakuchi, president & CEO, TechBuffalo.

Data analytics is one of the hottest career paths across the U.S. with a very competitive entry-level pay range, locally about $45,000 to $60,000 a year.

"30 years old — I found I love corporate America. 20 years old I would have never done this. You couldn't have paid me,” declared Jah Jah Quarles.

Jah Jah Quarles has a new data job at M&T Bank.

Quarles of Buffalo made a recent major career change.

After serving as a New York State Correction officer for seven years he decided he wanted a job in the high-tech field.

“I was really interested in getting into tech in general, just because I saw it as the future,” Quarles noted. “I had no clue. I had never heard of data, to be honest with you until I heard about this program."

That's when Quarles found out about a 12-week intensive learning program, the Data Analytics Boot Camp at Buffalo's Tech Academy inside Seneca One Tower.

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Inside Buffalo's Tech Academy at Seneca One Tower.

Quarles is now a data specialist at M&T Bank.

But he wasn't alone in his drastic career switch. 36-year-old Frank Scimia was also a former prison guard for 14 years.

“It was scary at first because I made such a drastic turn — going from corrections to tech is a big leap,” Scimia reflected.

And he leaped into a job as an Enterprise Data Specialist at M&T.

Frank Scimia talks about changing careers to high tech.

“So this was a great opportunity and a second chance at life and to get into something that I really wanted to be in,” Scimia noted.

Both Scimia and Quarles were the first of 19-graduates who attended the ‘first-of-its-kind’ boot camp to gain new skills for a tech career.

“It is critical for us to expand our tech workforce,” Tanbkuchi replied.

Tanbakuchi says students do not need a tech background or college degree to attend the boot camp.

Sarah Tanbakuchi, president & CEO, TechBuffalo.

“And to understand that every technologist, every analyst, doesn't need that typical four-year degree but that you can be trained on these skills in 12-week programs,” explained Tanbkuchi.

M&T, Moog, ACV Auction, Highemark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Rich Products all partnering to make the Data Analytics Boot Camp possible.

And the outcome created some very happy new data employees.

Inside M&T's high tech hub.

“It’s just a totally different environment complete culture shock,” Scimia responded.

“There's no words for it. There's a feeling that you just got — like one day — ah,” reflected Quarles.