Resilient Coders: Social Justice Through Economic Empowerment

Resilient Coders, a nonprofit coding bootcamp, strives for social justice through economic empowerment —specifically through high-tech jobs. What does it take to turn that vision into real-world change? David Delmar Senties, Founder and Executive Director of the Boston-based organization, says it’s about making bootcamp graduates “impossible to ignore” and also establishing a graduate-to-jobs pipeline.

“Through our free coding bootcamp, we teach more than the technical skills they need to be impossible to ignore in the workforce – we present a path to economic resiliency. We work with populations that have been systematically marginalized because we see in these communities an untapped talent pool with the potential to drive the 21st-century economy.”, David Delmar Senties, Founder and Executive Director, Resilient Coders

The bootcamps train individuals from historically underrepresented populations for high-growth careers like software engineering, and connect them with jobs. Next year, the non-profit is expecting to have around 130 students.

The goal is to give these individuals the skills necessary to become indispensable members of the tech ecosystem. According to Delmar Sentíes, “We believe in the raw economic potential of an untapped talent pool.” 


An equitable economy equates to more readily available opportunities that enable upwards mobility for a greater range of people. Unfortunately, this level of economic evenness is hardly being achieved in today’s economy. The income gap is consistently increasing; since 1980, after accounting for inflation, pre-tax wages for the bottom 50% of earners have not budged. Meanwhile, wages for the top 1% has tripled. Resilient Coders is standing its ground on the front line of this battle, and is helping build a solution for the ever-growing conundrum.

“Communities of color face an uncertain economic future, creating an urgent need for equitable job opportunities that are resilient to changes in the labor market. National studies show that Black and Brown workers are overrepresented in low-paying, high-risk jobs that are most likely to be automated and are underrepresented in well-compensated, stable, and automation-resilient roles that White workers are ~50% more likely to hold. Jobs for Latinx workers face a 28% greater automation risk than those of White workers, and jobs for Black workers face an 18% higher risk.”  David Delmar Senties, Founder and Executive Director

Delmar Sentíes is a professional designer and interface developer with experience working for a multitude of award-winning startups, as well as established brands such as Starbucks, Coke, FedEx, and Pepsi.


Through their 20-week Resilient Coder bootcamps, the organization prepares students for pitching their final projects to prospective employers. The select cohort of young working adults, typically between the ages of 18-30, learn to code their own games and applications. Students come away with solid proficiency in HTML, well-crafted and responsive CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, React, Node, and MongoDB. In order to meet graduation requirements, students must build an application in JavaScript. Additionally, every student  needs to have procured, serviced, and invoiced their own freelance client. 

These bootcamps are designed to build and hone skills that directly translate to positions in tech. Almost all of the Resilient Coder’s alumni find work within weeks of having presented their final projects. Demo day, as it is called, is an opportunity for graduating students to showcase their skills for employee partner companies hiring software engineers. Here is the final project of Dashlin Sermeil, a recent graduate, who’s code encourages and improves communication between children and their caretakers using interactive design and data collection. 

Demo day isn’t the only way students find work, as the boot camp gives them the skills to find jobs on their own. 

Armored Things has been a proud supporter and partner of Resilient Coders. As a Boston-based startup, we appreciate the impact they continue to have on our local and global communities and share their vision for a high-tech community that prospers from the most diverse contributors and skill sets possible. We’re committed to building an inclusive community within our space. 

If you are looking to hire any of these positions, check out some of Resilient Coders recent graduates.  

Space Utilization: Clicker Studies vs. AI-Driven Software

At corporations and universities across the country, you can still find facility managers making space utilization decisions manually. That is, they are relying on clipboards and clickers, and often commission third-party reports on space occupancy and utilization. 

Facilities and Operations Managers are driving towards informed, fact-based decisions and looking for research conducted at their site to help determine how to reopen offices, libraries and laboratories after the COVID-19 shut down. There’s a growing realization that spaces should be designed with greater flexibility

This leaves them with an interesting choice: invest in one-time studies (which can cost up to $250k or greater depending on footprint and duration) through clicker-counting, or invest in a larger technology-driven space analysis. Either approach can identify target areas for improving utilization, benefit employee satisfaction and productivity, and result in significant real estate cost savings. 

Here’s a look into the pros and cons of clicker data studies vs technology-driven space analytics to help you decide which approach can help you achieve your goals for utilization or redesign. 


Every third-party clicker partner will work with you to set standards around tracking frequency, observable spaces, duration of study, and expected outcomes. They are ideal for understanding top-level space utilization around how your conference rooms, private offices, or desk spaces are utilized. This may shed light on where you need to increase collaborative spaces, what departments are prime for transitioning to a hot-desking strategy, and the average number of people in a meeting room. 

Studies can surface “signs of life” data, meaning that someone was in conference room A on floor 3 once on Tuesday and never again. They can tell you that, on average, huddle spaces are utilized at X% during core business hours. These are essentially bed checks, telling you that someone was in the space during working business hours. This static snapshot of your conference rooms and office spaces can provide an essential window into how your space is being utilized. 

As with anything, this approach has a few hang-ups. These studies are manual and become quickly outdated. For example, a clicker-study pre-COVID became irrelevant over the last year and a half and will have to be repeated any time policies or employee preferences change. 

Experts in workplace design agree that manual counts lack the precision required to meet the transformational needs of today’s office space. Workplace Design Magazine points to meeting fatigue encouraging workers to be on the move on average every 45 minutes, meaning that once an hour checks can miss key utilization insights. Bringing people into the equation will leave room for some human error as well as disrupting the normal flow of your employee’s workday. The clicker-counter becomes the elephant in the room. This can cause your employees to skew your data, feeling bound to their seats. Not to mention there’s a seasonality to office attendance that might cause clicker study data to be time-bound and require repeat studies.

Finally, because the data isn’t connected to other types of data, for example meeting room scheduling tools, what you have is occupancy counts without context. That context becomes a driver in terms of what to change in order to maximize your space.


There are a number of automated ways to source people-counting data. From sensors to Wi-Fi, video, and RFID cards, the greater number of channels through which you can capture traffic flow within your space, the more accurate your picture becomes. This data, when surfaced through dashboards, and alerts can bring your space analytics into sharp focus without disrupting the productivity of your workers.  

With a continual source of data, you can look for patterns over weeks, months, and even years. If your redesign team can see shifts from historical data, they can design with transformational flexibility in mind, building in elements like movable partitions, retracting roofs, or shady trees. 

Moreover, data can be overlaid on a spatial representation of your space, giving you a bird’s eye view of your campus. This view allows you to better visualize and create a full picture of how your building, floor, or office space is being used over time. It can help you understand bottlenecks or popular egresses. Are people congregating in the hall between meetings waiting for a room to become available? How can you transform that popular loitering space to better serve employee needs? A full-venue view can uncover these areas for optimization. 

This means making predictions is simpler—the guesswork is taken out with predictive modeling. Machine learning is able to become more effective the more data it has, and it can help predict things like whether a new lease will be utilized to capacity


Some occupancy counting and space analytics software require extensive sensor installations while others don’t. The initial deployment of software-only solutions to capture real-time data and make predictions (without big CapEx investments) often are far lower cost than clicker studies commissioned from third parties for a large campus or venue space. For example, one large corporation exploring space utilization solutions this year reported spending $250k twice annually for 2-week clicker studies—paying more for 4-weeks of data than the annual license fee for software! 

AI software-only solutions can be optimized regularly, allowing you to adjust the granularity of data you’re capturing. The continuous nature of data capture and storage provides for historical analysis which feeds occupancy predictions. Overwhelmingly they surface more actionable, accurate data than a manual occupancy counting service. 

Regardless of how you source data to modernize your workspace, designing a complex, flexible workspace that inspires and engages your employees is the key to unlocking productivity, maximizing real estate ROI and planning for the future of your business.

Look for a vendor like Armored Things whose powerful machine learning platform surfaces anonymized data that your team can take action upon right away. Because we ingest data from a multitude of existing sources and connect to scheduling applications and other business driving tools, we’re able to give you a contextualized, comprehensive view of your space 365 days a year. Your venue, campus, or office is likely already set up to surface data around its usage and Armored Things can help you tap into these existing sources without heavy financial and implementation burdens. 

5 Questions Employees Are Asking Around Office Reopening Policies

As the effects of the COVID19 pandemic continue to be felt deep into 2021, companies are still wrestling with the problems of reopening. Thousands of companies abandoned their physical offices in the first couple of months of the pandemic, despite many thinking about their office reopening in a few weeks or a few months. People were shocked to think we’d be out past the first September. With buildings empty, many companies even considered selling or leasing out their space but there was no one to rent the space to. That space, however, is ready to be put back to use. As employees plan their return to their respective physical offices, they should be considering a set of questions regarding the safety of their workplace.


For employees, the fear around returning to the workplace safely may have less to do with the office itself, and more with their means of getting there. In major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston, commuters rely heavily on mass transit. During the peak of the pandemic, Time described public transport like buses and trains for COVID19 as ‘apocalyptic’. Some passengers don’t use masks, and bus drivers can sometimes ignore capacity limits, leading to potentially dangerous overcrowding. Even if masks are worn and drivers are mindful of occupancy limits, it’s very understandable to still feel uneasy about using public transportation. In response to this concern, companies like Freemark Financial are given employees stipends for Ubers and Lyfts to ensure their employees are comfortable with their means of transportation. The question of whether ‘I have to come to the office’ is more often than not situational, and dependent on policies already in place at your company. 


Naturally, companies have begun to adopt a hybrid or flexible work model for their employees. These models are only gaining popularity, and according to GoodHire, 85% of Americans said they would prefer to apply for a job that guaranteed remote or hybrid working arrangements.

Understanding the difference between these two models is very important. A hybrid office allows employees to choose which days of the week they want to be in person, and which they want to remain at home. The hybrid model is particularly useful for limiting the total number of employees in the office at a given time. This number can be based on previously established occupancy thresholds determined by space occupancy data. Hybrid is still 9:00 to 5:00, whereas a flexible model has more lenient, less concrete hours. The flexible model allows an employee to step away from the office to tend to other manners. Leaving work at 3:00 to pick up your kids from school, for example, would be part of a flexible schedule.


If your company is allowing employees in person, there should be multiple measures in place to ensure their health and security. Your office can guarantee this is done safely and efficiently using AI and crowd management solutions. People counting software and occupancy heatmaps can be used to track overall capacity in different rooms. Real-time alerting can highlight whether a space is getting too crowded, or an entire floor is at capacity. Knowing that a hotspot is forming is extremely powerful for facilities staff, and making sure your employees are comfortable when they are in person. Sanitation schedules become smarter after seeing typical flow throughout a building, and security schedules can be more efficient after reviewing space use for events on the calendar. Employees don’t only fear their workspace, but equally their colleagues. A Deloitte survey confirmed that 91% of employees are concerned about masks, 89% social distancing, and 56% daily health confirmation. In order to maintain safety, 84% of employees surveyed would prefer some combination of the following protocols: 

  • Masks for all employees in the office.
  • Only being allowed back in the office with proof of a vaccine.
  • Capacity limits on the number of people allowed in the office.
  • Daily sanitizing of all workplace surfaces.

It’s only natural that employees will be hesitant about returning in person after so long, so having sound safety precautions in place is a must. 


It is very likely that your office space, and your own personal space, will look far different than it did before the pandemic. Facility managers should be prepared to repurpose and adapt space in order to maintain social distancing and safety for employees. In the new flexible workplace, companies are starting to use hot-desking– a system that limits the number of desks in the office space. This means multiple employees will use the same physical workstations at different points in the day in order to limit contact and maximize space. For more on hot-desking and maximizing your space, check out our space utilization blog.


If your team is curious, don’t leave them asking; talk about how your organization will help them navigate a new type of work. This question has divided many CEO’s, and is again dependent on your company’s policies. Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of the New York commercial-real-estate company SquareFoot, told The Atlantic, “I believe that work is better when most of the people are in the office most of the time together”. Wasserstrum would go on to say, “if somebody didn’t believe in the value of an office at least one day a week, they probably shouldn’t be at the company anyway”. Studying the efficiency of work from home is not a new concept. In 2010, Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC Davis, interviewed 39 managers concerning their views on in-person and remote. The study found that there was a strong belief amongst managers that if you really wanted to move up in the company, you had to be in the office, and be seen in the office. This included coming in early and staying late in order to be noticed by management. If you are concerned about job security because of your work-from-home status, voicing these concerns to an advisor could be the best course of action. 

These are just five frequently asked reopening questions your employees may be wondering about. They certainly have others. The best thing that you as a leader in your organization can do is proactively communicate policies, implement safeguards around the spread of diseases, and ease their fears with as much guidance and assistance as possible.