"I was like a robot" Cong's relentless 12-hour days at Sabio eventually paid off

Cong was fresh out of college and had only dabbled with coding as a hobby. But when an email popped up in his inbox advertising Sabio as a VET TEC program, he decided to give the coding bootcamp a shot. “And I was like, Oh, what's this? Sabio. Seems like a cool place. It was just a random choice. I'm really glad I picked it.”


That random decision kicked off a 17-week program that eventually led him to an $85k-a-year software development job. But it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. “A lot of the exercises that you do at Sabio, you know sometimes they won't click right away and you're just staring at the wall, beating yourself up. You know, maybe you go cry a little bit but then you come back with a different perspective.” Taking breaks and also having conversations with his classmates really helped him work through the roadblocks.


But even with the support, Cong had to put in long hours. Being on Central Time, he did the LA-based program remotely from 11:00am to 11:00pm. “I was like a robot, just trying to try to learn as much as I could. Step away, get some exercise, get some food, and then get right back into it. I was just completely dedicated at the time after the pre-work, so I just made time for food and learned as much as I could.”


The demanding workload carried over into the job application phase where Cong was shooting out hundreds of resumes through Indeed and LinkedIn. Sabio helped Cong set up his LinkedIn, which he previously didn’t have. This platform was a huge time-saver during job hunt. “LinkedIn was really nice because you can do Quick Apply, so it goes straight to the company and to the recruiter and they just read your information right away and they shoot you an email. So it's better than an Indeed, which can be like an automated response.”


Cong sat a couple interviews and could tell when some were going well and when others were heading south. His advice? Grow from the mistakes. Take a note of the questions that stumped you and, if possible, follow up with an email to the hiring manager if you come up with a solution later.

The “experience question” can be a delicate one for all alumni. For this, Cong had two responses depending on who asked the question. If it came from someone at a company, Cong would reply, “I have this many months of experience. I just came from, you know, this school. I learned a lot. I actually worked on a project, you know, But if I'm talking to a recruiter, I'm going to tell them, hey, you know, I have the equivalent of two to three years of experience.” He would then expand on what his skills and abilities were and take it from there. The reason being is that a staffing agency is just trying to “put you in a box,” as Cong puts it, to define your salary range and sell you to several companies.


Comfortably employed, Cong compares his time at Sabio to his current job. He sees a lot of similarities. Although the coding language is slightly different, namely it’s antiquated compared to the ones he learned at Sabio, the process of asking for help is identical to what he had at Sabio. “Luckily, you know, we have Senior Devs we can reach out to and you just can't be afraid to reach out. You send over screenshots and, you know, you hop on a screen share and you just talk like regular people and just try to figure out the solution to the problem. Just like you're doing now. Nothing is different.”


Cong was hired by:
Learn to Live, Inc
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