Empowering Women In Tech: Sabio Grads Break Barriers
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Hear from our panel of industry experts, their journey into tech, and more about Sabio!
Hear from our panel of industry experts, their journey into tech, and more about Sabio!
It’s no secret that the number of women in tech has grown dramatically in the past decade, but how much has really changed? Sabio grads Haley, Selva & Lia reflect on what their job life has been after graduating and how going to Sabio helped them get there. They offer words of support and advice to other women, and most importantly talk about how Sabio taught them how to advocate for themselves, a skill they feel invaluable to their work/life experience.
Check out the interview:
Sa: Hi everyone, thank you for coming to Sabio's Women in Tech Seminar, I'm Sassy Mohen, I will be your host.
I've been working freelance with Sabio for five years on their social media and commercials, and it's such a privilege to meet other brilliant women in this field, and learn everything about their careers. So why don't we start with you guys introducing yourselves?
H: Hi everyone, my name is Haley Stamp. I actually currently work for Sabio as a software engineer. I’ve been with Sabio for almost two years now and have been loving it so far.
S: Hi, my name is Selva Miranda, I have been working with Sabio for about a year. I also went through the bootcamp. Currently, I’m a software engineer and also one of their lead instructors.
L: Hey, my name is Lia Archuleta, I graduated from Sabio in May of 2022. I got hired at Booz-Allen in June of 2022, been with them since. My current job team is developing a mobile application for the Air Force. That's originally what I wanted to get into with Google applications when I started in tech, and here I am.
Sa: Thank you all. So I'm going to start with, tell us what you did prior to tech?
H: Right before I did the bootcamp I was actually sort of in tech already. I was at a startup for a delivery service app. Before that I actually worked at Playboy for three years as a personal assistant and then moved up to being a research editor. So basically through my career path, I’d become a jack of all trades. I was tired of having positions where I didn't have a specific skill that was utilized daily and I was being pulled in a lot of directions. Ultimately, I wasn't really happy at the startup. I was talking with my fiancé who had already gone through Sabio about six years prior, and she absolutely loved it. I’d coded a little bit before and been watching her code for years, so I thought it was the perfect time to transition. I joined Sabio Coding Bootcamp and never looked back. It’s been great, coding is logical and creative so it’s fantastic to bring both of those things together.
S: I was in the nonprofit industry and had actually graduated with an education degree. It turned out not to be what I wanted to continue doing, so I was trying to figure out what it is I actually wanted to do next. I ended up working for a law firm and was getting ready to go to law school and take the LSAT. One of the attorney’s who I had become good friends with came to me one day and said, “You should really get into coding.” And I was like, “Okay, random.” And he said, “I think you’d like it.” I looked up ‘women coding’ and saw that Sabio was actually holding a panel three blocks away from where I worked. So, I thought, “okay, let me go check this out.” I met Liliana there and was like, “Well, this is interesting.” I took a couple of online classes, turned out I liked it, and I transitioned! This was in 2017 and I haven’t looked back since.
L: Before Sabio, I was kind of all over the place. I had just left the military, decided to go back to school, and I got my AA. While I was in school, I was working part time for this real estate agent and ended up moving into a project management position for him. I loved it, I was working with a team, I was creative problem solving, had a leadership role, all these boxes were checked. For some reason though, it was just missing that thing that I just loved. My husband ended up, he was military at the time, so we moved down to San Diego and I was still kind of wandering, not really sure where I should be. Pandemic hit, did a lot of self reflection, asked myself what did I used to enjoy doing just to do it? I remember, I used to spend a significant amount of time on the CSS & HTML side of Myspace. I would get my page all lined up and making sure my background matched my song at the time and really loved getting lost in that world. So I thought, "Y'know let me pick that up again." I started doing some digging and came across Sabio. Sabio Coding Bootcamp was ranked number one bootcamp for various reasons and I knew that I wanted to be part of the best of the best. Sabio checked that off for me.
Sa: Fantastic! Knowing what all of your jobs are now, I was curious how you got to that point and what was it for you when you started this new career path, that really was this “Aha” moment?
H: For me, I remember when I was going through Sabio’s PreWork, I really wanted it to be this perfect thing. I was so anxious for it to click and to actually get an ‘a-ha,’ moment, which ended up stressing me out. But, once I started the bootcamp, I just kept pushing through. I knew that the technical aspect of problem solving in coding was something that interested me, so I would figure it out eventually. And also, waking up every day, working from 9 to 9 at Sabio, and then realizing that I didn’t mind waking up every day to do that and was actually kind of excited to do it, that was my first real, ‘a-ha’ moment. Then, everything started connecting together, we built our first little web page, started designing it, and I could make it myself. That was a huge moment to realize. My happiness just continued through the whole thing, even though it’s a super stressful program.
I was super lucky and got hired right out of the bootcamp. My first job was actually kind of a half hybrid engineering, half working for Sabio’s reboot program. We worked with people who had previously been incarcerated and were getting into coding. That helped me a lot too. Having just graduated, but then getting to help students as well, that helped me learn. Plus, it’s rewarding because you get to help people do literally what you just did. So I think to get to where I am today, being full-time, moving up to being a team leader, it’s just been a great journey and the whole thing in a sense has been a big, ‘a-ha,’ I love this and I’m good at it.
S: After I graduated in 2017, I started immediately working for an automotive company. I actually suffered a lot from imposter syndrome, so I feel like my, ‘a-ha,’ moment didn’t really click until recently, as weird as that is.
After being with that company for 4-years, I took some time off to have my child. As I started getting ready to get back out there, Liliana contacted me and I ended up working with Sabio at first just as an instructor, and then as a team lead. Now that I get to work with the Phase II part of the program, it’s making me realize how much I actually do know. Being able to lead these students through the curriculum and objectively seeing their ‘a-ha’s’ click made my ‘a-ha’s click too. It starts off with us taking them from front end to back end and they’re immediately lost and confused. Most of them say, “I don’t really know how this connects yet.” And I always say, “Trust the process. Trust the process.” And then at the end when they finally get to connect their front end with the back and see everything working together, and see that they created it all on their own, I love seeing their expression. I feel like it helps me see my own personal validation in that I know what it is I’m doing.
In general, I feel like it’s especially nerve wracking being a woman and going into this field. At my previous job, I was the only woman working for the company. It was a very unique experience for me, also coming from the nonprofit world which is a more female dominated field. The truth is, it was a hard transition. But it’s such a unique opportunity to get to work with Sabio because I have my education degree. I’m able to mesh both that skillset and my experience in tech.
L: Sabio really opened up my eyes to the different ways that I was limiting myself. A big one was, how much money can I make in this world? And previously before Sabio, my idea for my ceiling salary is not my floor. For me that was a big, ‘a-ha,’ woah!
I also think that it was not seeing people in places like this that looked like me, whether it be a female or person of color was another big moment for me. Making room for myself to belong in those types of rooms, and knowing I belong in those types of rooms is huge. Transitioning that mindset to my position now. Originally the job description was very short, it just said ‘must know react native.” And coming out of Sabio, I knew what react was. So I thought it sounds similar, right? I did a bit of homework and just applied. That was one of the things Sabio gave me the courage to do, just apply. You’re already at no, let’s see if we can get to a yes. I just applied and they reached out. I had this confidence behind me that even though I didn’t specifically know this thing, I know that I can teach myself how to do it. When I got the email saying ‘you’re a mobile app developer,’ I almost cried. I remember thinking, “I’m doing it.” I’m doing all of these things that I never thought I would be in the room to do. That was the moment for me.
Sa: What advantages have you found as being a woman in tech? What disadvantages have you found and how have you overcome that?
H: When I started at Sabio, we had four or five engineers. Three of them, including myself, were women. So that to start was amazing. Also, my fiancé had already been working as an engineer for six years, but just got her first job working as a female engineer a year ago.
I think in terms of advantages, I think that being a woman, I might be more empathetic and understanding, especially as the lead on the team right now. I feel like I’m able to talk with developers on the team and help them out in a different way than a male manager might. At Sabio, I’ve been lucky because there are a lot of women around me, so I haven’t yet had to really experience some of the tough disadvantages. I know there are many, but it’s been great at Sabio.
S: So like I said, right after graduating from Sabio, I got hired at this automotive company where I was the only woman in the group. I know we’re supposed to talk about the good first, but I want to go into the bad to transition to the good…
I think it can definitely get to you, right? It’s good to have a woman at the table, but that doesn’t mean it’s also not really difficult to stay there and hold your ground. In the beginning, it definitely got to me mentally. But now, transitioning out of that job into working at Sabio, I think just being a woman of color and being here, that’s one of the good parts. Now I get to not only lead students, but these students are seeing me. They’re seeing that I’m leading through this and I’m a woman leading the Phase II part of the program. There are so many women leading here at Sabio and I know it’s inspirational to others, because I know it would have been inspirational for me to see. I mean, that’s part of the reason I joined Sabio in the first place. I went to the ‘Women Code,’ panel, saw that Liliana was a co-founder and I thought that was really cool.
Another thing is I think there’s this pressure sometimes for women to portray themselves in a more masculine way. Like, being part of the “bro club.” And that’s something I’ve recently stepped away from. For example, when I’m teaching students, I utilize the pink pen on paper, right? It’s small things like that, but I do it on purpose. You can be feminine and be taken seriously. Those two things don’t have to be separated. You can be whoever it is that you are, and you still deserve respect, you still deserve to be listened to, and you have something to say. All of these things are valid because you have the experience, the knowledge. You went through the program. It’s great to have another perspective on the table.
L: I'm going to piggyback off of Selva here. In that, I’ve also struggled with finding the line of being able to be myself in these male-dominated fields. And even wondering, what does that mean? What does that look like? It’s little things like, how many exclamation points am I going to put in this email today? That is very much a woman thing and comes from a lot of different places. But, I’ve intentionally come down from that. I realized, I don’t need to sound nice over my emails, which is an interesting thing to think about as a woman, because I don’t think men even begin to think about those things. It’s an advantage and a disadvantage.
All of this is an advantage in the sense that we’re very self aware, which can lead to a lot of good things, a lot of self-improvement. It leads to conversations like this, which is awesome. The disadvantage is, it can be exhausting. Managing yourself like that all the time. And, I think that’s one of the greatest things about places like Sabio, this panel, is just seeing other people that look like you. Seeing people who represent you in these spaces. Liliana was also a big push for me to come to Sabio. She’s a Latina woman and she’s CEO. Like, let’s go! I’m on board all day. I love that energy and to surround myself with it was a big draw for me.
Sa: That is so true, everyone here I feel like said many things that I can completely empathize with and have had first hand experience with myself. And that leads me to this next question, What did Sabio give you as a woman in tech and why would you tell other women that Sabio is a bootcamp that will not just foster them as a tech entrepreneur or in their new career, but really foster them as a woman in tech?
H: There’s a huge emphasis at Sabio for women to join the team. We’ve got panels like this, scholarships and mentors for women. Like I said, coming onto the team, it was small at first, but it was mostly women on the engineering team at Sabio. This was really important to me because my manager was a woman. There were some really experienced women on the team that I could connect with and learn from, message them directly with my questions and get advice and hear about their experience. And of course, their experience is going to be much different than a man’s in this industry.
Sabio gave me a real leg up and a more positive view of my future in the industry. I know that even at my next job, if I’m in a room with mostly men, I know there are other people out there like me and I would just need to push through. I feel very fortunate to be here right now though. Like Selva said, I really hope I am able to help inspire other women in the program to keep going through it, because they can look up and see women that have made it out of the program that are succeeding and enjoying it.
S: Same as Haley, like, we’re here, right? We’re at Sabio. We’re always willing to help and I think Sabio does a great job at emphasizing that.
I also want to touch on this, I’m a single parent right now. I think one of the reasons I’m so happy at Sabio, and I’ve also noticed this within the bootcamp itself, is that it’s a company that understands people have lives outside of their careers. Especially when you’re a parent. There are things that you have to take into consideration. You are responsible for another human being, and being at a company that understands that, doesn’t make that punishable and respects that is huge. That takes a huge weight off of any parent, but I mean, typically most of that responsibility falls onto the woman. So I think having that aspect of Sabio is also incredibly important. I’ve had this experience with students myself where someone comes to me and is like, “My kid is sick and I don't know what I'm going to do and I have an assessment." And I'm like, "Okay, breath. I understand. We'll figure it out." It just takes such a weight off your shoulders.
L: I want to touch on something that Haley said. Being able to reach out to different instructors and the fact that they’re women. For me that came in the form of being able to reach out to alumni that were women. Being able to reach out to Liliana, who is just very accessible and everyone coming from Sabio in general is very approachable.
I’ve found that throughout my career, whether it was military or otherwise, I always found myself searching for a mentor to help me come up with a formula to put myself in the shoes that “they’re” in. And the disadvantage of being in a male-dominated field is the formula works for men, but is going to look different for a woman. So, one of the best things about the community at Sabio is that there are so many approachable and accessible women that I can ask these questions to.
Sabio has alumni that work at big companies, small companies, all amazing companies. And, I can reach out to any one of them with my questions. Seeing Sabio help all these women get into powerful and successful positions is huge. Positions where they are happy and making a difference. I’m able to reach out and touch that. It’s really had a big impact on me.
Sa: What would you recommend to a woman or man or anyone who's interested in getting into tech or joining Sabio? What would be your actionable recommendation that you’d give?
H: First, I would say, do some coding practice. Whether it’s the initial work you can start with at Sabio or through codecademy. You can just start playing around and see if it’s something you can see yourself doing. And then, once you make that decision to go with this path, I think that it’s really easy to get discouraged. You know, I had never seriously coded before, and I think especially being a woman, having imposter syndrome, when you come into a bootcamp, at least I had the impression that a lot of people there were probably going to already have backgrounds in coding and know more than I do. I assumed they’d been interested in this for years and I was the only one who had never touched it before so I would fall behind immediately. Which just wasn’t the case.
I feel like men especially can pull off that confidence that makes you think that they know it more. So, just because someone seems like they know more than you do, doesn’t mean they actually do. So, if you’re going down this path, just keep pushing. It will click eventually. It clicks at different times for everybody, but there’s usually a moment where it finally dawns on you and you understand why something is happening and how it works. Don’t give up. Just push through. If it’s something you really enjoy and that you can see yourself doing, it will work out in the end, I promise. Keep moving forward.
S: I would say, you don’t have to be perfect to do it. Go ahead, give it a try, see how it goes. Just remember you don’t have to 100% understand everything you learn on codecademy to make the decision to join Sabio, or any coding bootcamp. That understanding comes with time.
It’s also very important to understand that this is a lifelong journey. This is the type of career where you’re always going to be learning. You’re never going to get to the point where you know everything. It’s okay, again, not to be perfect. Not to know everything at once.
L: I’m the type of person that I do the deep dive research on everything. If I’m going to buy a vacuum, it’s going to take me two weeks to research which one I’m going to buy. So when it came to Sabio, I did all the research. I watched all the YouTube’s on the day-in-the-life of a software engineer. One of the things that really stood out to me was, one of the youtubers had mentioned, be comfortable in the fact that you're never going to know everything. This isn’t something you can just step into and be perfect at, even if it’s something you’ve been doing for a year, three years, five years, ten years. The nature with technology is that it's always changing and so, the code is going to change. And so, if you're comfortable with the fact that you're not going to be an expert in this for a long time, if you're comfortable with the mindset of I'm always continually growing and and I'm always continually learning, you're going to be successful in going into coding.
Other things I would say that kind of make someone successful in this is being a team player. Coding is not by yourself, in the basement, in a dark room, you at the computer. It's very much a team sport. Another thing with going through Sabio specifically, have faith in yourself and trust the process. Sabio puts out wonderful developers every day. Their instructors, their material, their network, it’s all going to get you that job. Lastly, before you go and research a bunch of other coding bootcamps, just join Sabio, it's the best one out there, trust me.
Sa: Fantastic! We'll wrap up here on this really awesome positive note. I personally feel inspired by everything everyone here has said, so I hope that the viewers who watch this also feel equally inspired. Thank you guys so much for taking the time to do this, and for being part of Sabio.
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