Hailing from Orange County, Vivian never dreamed she would get into tech, "I went to school for my undergrad at UCI and originally wanted to pursue a career in education. I was actually really interested in Sociology and how people interact, so I was thinking about going into teaching or child development. During that time I did a lot of volunteer work with preschool kids as well as kids from low income backgrounds with no resources. It was incredibly rewarding, but I realized that I wanted to do something more after I graduated. As I was just exploring my options, one of my cousins who had gone to Sabio recommended them to me. That's how I got started.
But, it's not like changing your entire life trajectory is easy, "The thing was, during that time I was working a full-time job as a financial analyst and there was definitely no way that I could just drop out and switch without knowing if I really liked it. The cool thing about Sabio is that they allow you to have this PreWork period where you can basically just learn the fundamentals of coding on your own and see if you not only like it, but can commit to this program. I thought utilizing that would be perfect for you and I remember my cousin told me to just try it out because what was stopping me? I remember they said, 'You're still young and there's so much time for you to figure out what you actually want to do. Why not find out now?' So I jumped in. At the end of the month I took the test and passed. The other thing I really learned during the PreWork was that I found myself lost in my work without checking the time. It had been a really long time since I felt like that and I think that was the moment that triggered it for me, my lightbulb."
Before signing up for Sabio however, Vivian looked at all her options, "There weren't a lot of options in Orange County, but even the ones I looked at in LA didn't have the same great reviews like Sabio did. Especially from their alumni and blogs, it was a major read flag. While I was at PreWork and after I got to meet so many great people like Liliana (Sabio's Co-Founder and CEO,) Gregorio Rojas (Sabio's Co-Founder & CTO) and Brijesh Patel, they were all really helpful on top of my cohort which were also great people. It was just a really nice environment having everyone understand that I was coming from a totally different background with zero compute science knowledge. Also, trying your best and still being able to accomplish and implement so many complex things. I think it's really amazing that we were able to develop that skill in such an encouraging environment."
Even after graduating, Vivian still continues to sing Sabio's praise, "I always highly recommend Sabio to people that ask me about it. I also tell them, you get what you put in. You're going to be putting a lot of time and money into this, so you might as well make it worth your while. I think going into it with a fresh mind, it's okay not knowing everything and that you're starting from scratch. That's what you're here for, it's okay to ask a lot of questions. But you have to keep in mind that you also have to work hard. I know there's a lot of stories about going to a bootcamp for three months, then coming out with a successful job and it sounding like a quick shortcut. But that doesn't really sum up the experience. It doesn't tell all the hard work that runs behind it. Behind reaching that point of a great just, it's hours and hours of work that only you can put in. I also always tell people to make sure that this is something you are sure about, otherwise it's not going to work for you. And of course, have fun with it, there's always something new to learn. That's the one thing I really love about coding in general, there is always something to learn. It keeps challenging you to be uncomfortable which is basically more development."
Vivian also credits her success to her teachers and peers, "My cohort was one of the bigger ones and everyone came in with a wide range of experiences and from so many different backgrounds. There were people like me who knew nothing and then people coming in with 5+ years of experience to re-up their skills and learn how to get a job in today's world. I think the nice thing about my cohort, (who I still keep in contact with today,) is that we're all very open to express our concerns and we never really took it personally, we kept it professional and learned how to compromise. I think that's part of what made our bond even stronger. We still send each other memes and jokes about how our jobs are, how we all are. It's definitely really nice just to have a team that you can relate to and keep talking to."
"My instructors were also really great," Vivian continued. "Every time I had a question or a bug that I was stuck on, I really enjoyed getting a one-on-one to help try and figure it out.My instructor never really told me where my problem was, but he just tugged or hinted at me in the right direction. He wanted me to struggle for a bit and realize on my own, which is a great way of teaching because it shows you how to catch your own mistakes. You can do it on your own, you
just have to know how and the Sabio instructors basically teach you how to be more self independent. No one else in the real world is going to be showing you this in the work field, so you have to know how to survive yourself. I definitely got into that mindset very quickly."
Now a software engineer at LoanDocSolutions, Vivian says she never would have gotten here without Sabio, "I think what Sabio preps you for is the actual real-life work environment. When you're there, you're doing the work, it's all hands on. I don't think anyone can get an experience like that unless you go through something like Sabio. Coming out of it I felt very confident in my work ethic and how I approach problems and how I handle projects and work together with my team. Sabio also prepped us extremely well for tech interviews with a slew of mock interviews. We prepped with flash cards and then when the real life interviews came, it was just like that. This makes you more confident in how you speak and makes talking tech easier for you to explain to someone."
Even though she's just getting started, Vivian is thrilled for what's to come, "I am so excited for what the future holds because it's limitless right now. I feel like I'm on top of the world. After a whole year of such hard work, it really paid off with this full-time job. I'm looking to grow with this company because it is a really good one. Hopefully down the road I can experience more of a senior role or a management role. But right now, I'm making triple my salary as I was before and this is just the beginning. I still keep in contact with my instructor Brijesh who I look at now as a mentor. Also Liliana and Gregorio are always there for me if I need them. The network from Sabio is super nice and expansive. Everyone is always there for you and willing to help solve a problem because just like you, they want to learn more. My network, my connections, my relationships through Sabio were great positive impacts that just make me so excited for my future now"
For those interested in Sabio and learning to code, Vivian says, "It's okay to feel overwhelmed. I think in this field it's easy to get lost and feel daunting. The easiest way to solve each problem is to break it down into small pieces that you can understand. You can then build up on those small pieces and get to the bigger piece by the end and you can always solve the problem. It's okay to ask questions and don't compare yourself to others, especially when you're in the cohort. It's very scary and intimidating if you go into it with that mindset. I'm the person that wants to also contribute my part and I don't want to hold anyone back, so when I didn't know anything in the beginning that was very scary for me. But I did all the extra work when I needed to and was able to catch up because I asked questions. Be yourself, be open to learning and just know there's not one way to solve a problem."
"I'm so grateful to have a job during this pandemic," Vivian added. "I'm very grateful for my company to hire me during this time and to trust my abilities. I also am very grateful at Sabio because they were the ones that helped me get to where I am today."
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Written by Sassy Mohen