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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.