From the Marines to running Hackathons and earning a six-figure salary: Sabio Alumnus Jameel's Success Story

Coming out of the Marines, Jameel had no background in coding, “I kind of found out about tech through a friend of mine who was in the young Marines. When I walked into his office and saw his workplace, it was like something I’d never seen before. It had bright colors, free food, all sorts of awesome stuff and he worked at a start-up. I remember asking him something like, ‘Don’t you need to type really fast while working for a company like this?’ He started typing right in front of me which also blew my mind because when we first met he was typing like I did. One finger at a time, ya know?  But he could do it without looking at the keyboard. I remember thinking, okay if I do this, it’ll be a super long journey for me, although that turned out not to be the case.”

When he finished his service, Jameel didn’t jump into tech right away, “I left in 2012 and then got a college degree around 2014. Then, I did a series of career changes that actually led me to almost start law school. I came across this book called, ‘Quit Law and Code,’ by WIlliam Ha. There are a couple of tenants in that book that really stood out, the main one that made sense to me was time and return of investment. With coding/tech, in a shorter period of time you can have a higher ROI. Also, I realized the underlying principle of coding is logic, which is just like the law, so I knew I could pull on that thread.”


Once he decided to go after a career in tech, Jameel spent his time trying to find a good bootcamp, “I looked at a vast array of bootcamps of all shapes and sizes. I was particularly interested in the ones that recognized the GI Bill, which Sabio does. They also have a plethora of benefits for military veterans which I found really appealing. I happened to live pretty close to Sabio’s Culver City location, which made it seem like a perfect fit. After I went to an info-session, I knew this was the place to go. There was a lot of Pre-Work involved, which I also liked because I felt as prepared as I could be for this new venture.” 

Jameel was surprised and thrilled to have other veterans in his cohort, “Our instructor was a Marine veteran himself, in addition to a solid chunk of our group also being veterans. It was just a very close-knit cohort. At the end of each week we’d go celebrate, hang out. I still have that slack group open and connect with them all the time. It made the whole intense experience really manageable to be so close to others around you going through the same thing.” 

Now, Head of Talent at Zencastr, Jameel has loved his career journey since graduating, “I graduated a few years ago so I’ve had a fair amount of time since Sabio to really flourish. My first job was working for a venture capital firm as a software engineer which was really cold because we did all these behind the scenes stuff for Google when it was first coming out. After moving forward from there, I found a role building engineering teams for a company called Zencastr which has been awesome. It’s fully remote, about 75% of our team has a PhD, so they’re super talented folks. When I look back on my time since Sabio, I am so grateful to them for everything that they taught me. Everything they taught me, I’ve been able to leverage throughout my entire career. They have given me a really good understanding of how the tech world works, which has made me less intimidated and prompted me to want to dive into things.”

That wasn’t the only thing Sabio helped Jameel with, “They also gave me the opportunity to start leading veteran technical workshops after I graduated. This sort of turned into my other business which is hosting online hackathons for veterans over this metaverse. Sabio has also been really supportive of this and is actually one of our sponsors, it looks like they plan on being a future partner as well. The whole platform is really cool and works off of spatial technology, so when  you’re close to someone you can hear them, when you’re far away they’re more faint. There’s private audio zones, or you can do shared screens. It’s kind of like a much more interactive google meets or zoom. But it’s very dynamic because there’s a global audience now, our last one went to helping the folks in Ukraine.”

When reflecting back on his past, Jameel can’t help but remember how much Sabio helped him. 

“Before Sabio, I was driving for uber and doing all those pee-in-the-bottle jobs. But then right off the bat at my first job at that venture capital firm, I was pulling in a six-figure salary. That’s a huge jump and Sabio really showed me what I was capable of. I’ve been so appreciative of Sabio with all their support they’ve given me in my career and these hackathons as well. Their support is invaluable.” 


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