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Four Key Takeaways from Speaker Tom Occhino

- May 25, 2016 No Comments

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Tom Occhino, Head of React at Facebook at our Culver City campus. We enjoyed a really great conversation ranging from interviewing tips to software architecture and much more.

It would be really hard to summarize the two hours he spent with the 40+ Fellows so instead I will highlight four key points that made an impression on me.

Learn to Code by Focusing on Product Development

What’s the best way to learn to code? Ask 10 developers and you might get 20 different answers. In a world where so much subjectivity exists, it is hard to say what is the best way to learn to code but we certainly have an opinion. In fact,  I was happy to hear that Tom agrees with our pedagogical approach of building products as a way to learn how to code. Simply diving into a library, framework or language for the sake of just doing that, does not yield very tangible and valuable results. Building software on the other hand produces value very quickly.

Passion in Interviewing

If you are interviewing for a job you have to show a passion for your craft. This seems like it should be common sense but the majority of people you ask, even at Tom’s level, are going to stress the importance of showing passion? Why? Because so many people fail to do so. Perhaps it’s the situation and the stress of interviewing.  It would be tough to say with exact certainty but one thing is clear: bring your passion.

Pick the Best Tool for the Job

What source control provider should you be using? Right now, you may be hard pressed to find someone that does not say GIT.  Why? Is it because it is so great? No, not in my opinion. They say GIT because it is the most popular of all the options. But the most popular or in vogue technology is not always the best for your needs. Such is the case at Facebook. At Facebook they use Mercurial, a much less known version control provider. I am not trying to take anything away from GIT or give anything to Mercurial. I just want to point out that the task at hand needs to be considered when pick your tool.

Branching Strategy Kept Simple

One of my favorite debates among development teams is the debate around the branching strategy employed. Branching is such a popular thing that often times teams will branch simply because they can. And this is where I like to inject into the conversation: “just because we can, does not mean we should”. I have seen a number of different strategies employed and most of them really sucked. One forced a team into a dead standstill while the merging of branches took place. A process that would seemingly take days. Yes, I wrote days. It was a not a typo. This team would dedicated at least 1 resource for a number of days to the merge process. During this time, everyone else could not check in.

This is absurd and very far from any well running development teams like at Facebook. At Facebook, like at one of my previous employers, they run a very simple branching strategy where features are release disabled behind code blocks that keep them off until they are ready. These same switches are used to enable certain features for specific populations. This does involve writing a bit more code and managing the switches but it allows their developers to keep coding, to move fast and maybe break things.

Sabio Graduates Launch Betagig in Silicon Valley

- May 24, 2016 No Comments

Overlooking the Bay Bridge on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill there is an apartment filled with coders who tap away throughout the day on their laptops in hopes of building the next great tech company. This unit is like many other coding houses scattered across the Bay Area, with computer chords and MacBook laptops strewn all over like pieces of dirty laundry.

At the apartment, the team has just finished its first professional photoshoot -- a must for any startup with a respectable amount of funding. But quite to the contrary of other coding houses, this one is also riddled with little pink cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries. The treats are ignored by the programmers, who are so busy working that they’re still in their photo-shoot getup. They’re not wearing hoodies or suits or anything you might expect from the typical brogrammer culture of Silicon Valley. These coders are in sparkly, messy dresses like they just got back from prom. Think “Girls” meets “Silicon Valley” with a dash of Vanity Fair.

“Yes!” yells Nicki Klein after hearing the description of her startup’s photoshoot.

Klein, 26, and co-founder Melissa Hargis, 33, have just begun work on their startup, Betagig, and recently made their first hires. All three of the interns happen to be female coders, creating a situation not often found in Silicon Valley: a coding house and startup made up entirely of women. And these women have no intention of hiding their personalities or trying to fit the Silicon Valley culture of bros and nerds.

“I am who I am, and it’s OK if I’m bubbly or if I don’t have the personality of a male,” said Hargis, a mother whose short curly brunette hair at times feels at odds with her numerous arm tattoos and her penchant for using curse words.

For Hargis and Klein, conforming with Silicon Valley stereotypes has never been part of the equation. The two, for example, are graduates of Sabio, a coding bootcamp based in Los Angeles that focuses on teaching women and people from diverse backgrounds. The same goes for two of their interns while the other intern graduated from the another coding bootcamp.

The entrepreneurs did not set out to exclusively hire women, but that’s what happened when they tapped into their network of coding bootcamp graduates. Klein and Hargis are open to hiring men in the future, but for now, they’re enjoying the perks of working on an all-female team. That includes not feeling any pressure to “play fucking video games,” as Hargis puts it, and enjoy listening to music not often played at other tech companies, such as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift or the entire country genre.

“I like all music, but it’s nice to be able to play the girly music and rock out to it and not care,” Klein said.

Among many traditionalists in Silicon Valley, coding bootcamp graduates are often regarded as less-than when compared to software engineers from established computer science programs. Hargis and Klein, however, quickly put any questions about their education and coding abilities to rest.

After receiving countless rejections from investors, the pair decided to fund their ideas by winning as many hackathons as possible, and it didn’t take long for the plan to succeed. After just two Hackathons, the duo raked in $255,000 in prize money -- a quarter of a million coming entirely from winning San Francisco’s prestigious Launch Festival hackathon in March. As Klein and Hargis tend to do for all of their hackathons, the pair attended the LAUNCH competition dressed up in costume -- all part of their plan to throw off their rivals who are not used to seeing women who code, let alone women who learned how to code at coding bootcamps.

“We walk in and the place is full of dudes, of course, because that’s what the engineering world is like, and we know this and we use it to our advantage,” said Hargis, describing the 15th century queen outfits she and Klein wore. “We walk in in these ridiculous costumes, and everyone is like ‘Oh my god, who are these clowns.’ And then we end up…..” Hargis tails off as she raises the index finger on each of her hands and boastfully whispers, “first place.”

Betagig, their winning idea, is a service that lets users pay to book appointments so they can shadow professionals for a day. It's an idea that's aimed at high school juniors and seniors as well as college students who are trying to determine what career paths to follow.

"We are monetizing Take Your Kid To Work Day," said Klein, still wearing a full-length gold gown.

At the moment, Hargis and Klein are busy signing up businesses and colleges that have expressed interest in Betagig while also finishing up the code for the app. Hargis and Klein are hoping to launch this summer in the Bay Area. For about $99 or so -- the price is still being worked out -- students will be able to book a shadowing gig.

“You’re going to try before you buy. Before you pick a major, you go job shadow 15 times and figure out, ‘You know what, I really loved accounting,’” said Klein, explaining that the service will also guide students on the best course of action to their dream jobs that way students don’t accumulate a ton of debt if they don’t have to. "Steve Jobs never graduated from college. It’s not necessary for everyone.”

The pair came up with the idea for their web app just days before the hackathon. The two entrepreneurs were on a stroll through San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in search of their queen costumes. Haight-Ashbury is famous for being a hippie destination filled with interesting characters -- spotting someone wearing nothing but a crotch sock, for example, is an everyday occurrence -- and that got Hargis’ mind wandering.

“I go ‘Wouldn’t it be so great if there was an app where you could beta test someone’s life … you could take a tour of their life for a day,’” Hargis said. “And I was like ‘No, but for careers!’” Klein chimed in.
The idea and their execution impressed the judges at the Launch Festival Hackathon and earned Hargis and Klein a spot in the latest cohort of the Launch Incubator. “They have the intelligence, the drive, they’re very enthusiastic and eager to work on this,” said Ashley Whitehurst, chief of staff at Launch.

Already, Betagig has drawn interest from the likes of UPS, IBM and other companies, according to Klein and Hargis. For them, the benefit in working with Betagig is that they would be instantly connected with students who have already expressed interest in the jobs their companies offer. “It’s well established that what you do in your academic life does not necessarily mirror what you’re going to do in your professional life, and that gap needs to be bridged,” said Liliana Aide Monge, CEO of Sabio. “Betagig is bridging that gap.”

Betagig success thus far is a testament to Hargis and Klein’s coding bootcamp education as well as women’s abilities to code and be entrepreneurs as successfully as any male Silicon Valley nerd, Monge said.

Yohan, cohort 14 grad, shares his professional development experience after completing bootcamp

- May 22, 2016 No Comments
Yohan was working in education in Korea before he decided to learn how to code. This UC Berkeley grad researched different bootcamps online and was looking for a program that would continue to provide him with support after finishing his technical training.

"Before I came to Sabio, I was in Korea working in education, and I was looking for bootcamps mostly in the San Francisco area. I wasn't aware of many bootcamps in Los Angeles, but I stumbled upon Sabio after looking at Course Report and reading other excellent reviews on the internet," Yohan said.

Yohan recently graduated with Cohort 14 and has recently landed a job as a full-stack .NET developer. In his new position, Yohan is earning $20,000 more than he was at his highest paying position.

Friends in Orange County

- May 11, 2016 No Comments

It have been a little over a quarter since we opened up shop in Orange County. For some time, we knew that orange county would be home to a Sabio training center. There was so much demand for our Fellows in Orange County. Recruiter after recruiter and employer after employer expressed their relief in being able to find such high quality talent.

One thing that we did not expect was how welcoming the developer bootcamp players in the space would be. I want to specifically call out the Orange Country Code School for what rolling out the red carpet and treating us like friends.

Since we opened up in Orange County, the Orange County Code School founder has supported us from the very beginning by attending our own training sessions. We hope to connect personally again but his departure from the training session appear to be in haste.

This we week received two referrals from our Orange County friends. First, a young man who indicated that Orange Country Code School said that we are the organization that specializes in training people like “him”. They again, are correct. They have clearly spent a good bit of time getting to know us and that love shows. But getting back to the young man. I can tell you personally that their judgement was spot on. This man is motivated, hungry and wants to change his life and the life of others around him. This man is unstoppable. This is the kind of people we train so we are happy to welcome him.

The second referral truly highlights our deep sense of corporate responsibility as a member of the community. It’s actually just a sense of human decency and responsibility. These are values that we tap into when a corporate sponsor calls on us to help them train young adults for whom college was not an option. We were so grateful for the call we made it a point to ask how they had learned of us. It was Orange County Code School. On another week, we would have been surprised, but not this week.

While it is true that we build nothing but the best software engineers and that are goals to scale across the country we have not forgotten the point of the entire essence that is Sabio, and that is to change people’s life. To break them out of their current careers paths and into a bright and limitless one.

It's only May!! We can’t wait for what's to come.

Peony came from a startup environment and decided to learn to code

- April 27, 2016 No Comments
Peony came from a startup environment. During her junior year at USC where she was studying business administration, she started a venture where she was exposed to coding. She hired a group of developers overseas to develop an app, and she encountered problems with that app. At the time, her capacity to address problems with her startup's app was limited, and she learned that if she wanted to be an entrepreneur, coding was something that she needed to learn.

"Even with my own background in finance, I realized that coding was a skill that I needed to learn," Peony said.

There were a few things that stood out to Peony as she was exploring how to learn to code. She did consider earning another degree and studying engineering, but bootcamps appealed to her because the information was condensed into three or four months and the cost was much less than pursuing another degree. Because the cost and the time to learn how to code was more efficient, Peony decided that bootcamp would be the route for her to take.

"Out of all of the bootcamps that I looked at, Sabio really stood out. Sabio matches the work that we do in the bootcamp to real projects that entrepreneurs are working on. We were learning, but we were also actually working on an actual project. The work wasn't just exercises or practice, so we encountered real problems that I would encounter in a real job," Peony said.

Peony said that there are a lot of free or low cost exercises that you can find online, and she felt that other bootcamps were similar to those exercises. What set Sabio apart for her was being able to work on a real project that would be used in the real world.

Peony just graduated with cohort 14, and it took her about two weeks after she graduated to find a job. She started looking for a job two weeks before finishing bootcamp, taking advantage of the job search tips that her instructor was giving Sabio fellows. She is now a professional programmer with an established company.

Congrats Peony!

Sabio Is The Best Coding Bootcamp in Southern California.

- April 14, 2016 No Comments
Sabio === The Best Coding Bootcamp in Southern California

Tammi Caprio knew she needed to make a change in her career. She’d recently began to dabble with coding and knew it was something she got joy out of, but looking at the coding bootcamps around her, she wasn’t sure that she could become a software engineer in just 12 weeks.

That’s when she discovered Sabio. “Some of these other schools you get the sense that they get you in, get you out and then you don’t have any contact with them. Sabio provides on-going development,” Caprio said. “It was miles away from what the competition was offering.”

Caprio, 35 of Orange County, was drawn to Sabio for what it offers beyond its 12-week intensive program. 

Sabio, based in Culver City, Los Angeles County, goes above and beyond 99.99% of coding bootcamps.

Indeed, Sabio offers a 12-week bootcamp, but prior to that, we ease students into coding by giving them a three-month, part-time PreWork instruction. Then, after the bootcamp, Sabio follows through with our students by offering them a minimum five-year commitment toward their professional development.

“My goal is to keep learning and growing as I continue my career, and the fact Sabio offers that support was a big plus,” said Caprio, who graduated from our Orange County campus in late March. 

“You know that you’re not alone in the world after Sabio.”

Across the coding bootcamp market this trend of catering beyond a few weeks is beginning to take hold, said Jonathan Lau, co-founder of SwitchUp, an independent directory of boot-camp reviews and rankings. Since 2014, the average length of in-person coding bootcamps in the U.S. has increased from 10 weeks to 11 weeks in 2015, and it is expected to grow once again for 2016, according to SwitchUp.

“A lot of coding bootcamps are realizing that eight to 10 weeks is not enough, and even 12 weeks is cutting it short. They want to give more in-depth training,” Lau said.

Sabio, the premier coding bootcamp in Southern California, offers this extended support in a variety of ways. First is Sabio’s PreWork. This three-month, part-time program allows students to come in on their own free time for about 20 hours a week to learn the fundamentals they will need for the career switch they are looking to do. Sabio is not the only coding bootcamp to offer or require a pre-work, but it is among the few that offers PreWork in-person with the same instructors who will teach the students once the coding bootcamp begins. Many other schools simply ask students to complete pre-programs online and on their own.

“That really helped me and others in my cohort hit the ground running when it came time to start the full-fledged intensive program,” Caprio said. “That was a really good foundation.”

Next up is the Intensive Bootcamp where students are put into cohorts of no more than 10 students so they can begin their coding education. Here students put in 40 hours of work with their instructor and an additional 30 hours on their own each week as they learn how to become full stack software engineers. At the end, Sabio instructors give their students career training so they can secure jobs swiftly.

But the learning doesn’t end there. Every month, Sabio holds professional development sessions that are open to all its students and graduates. These multi-hour-long programs dive deep into the latest developments of software engineering, making sure Sabio graduates remain on the cutting edge of their trade. These sessions cover a variety of topics, such as design, algorithms, data structures or the latest coding languages announced by major companies like Apple or Google.

“There are a lot of students who say ‘A three-month course is not the way that I learn. I need something a little bit longer,’” said Liz Eggleston, co-founder of Course Report, which offers student reviews on coding bootcamps around the country.

Beyond development sessions, Sabio also hosts and participates in a variety of hackathons throughout the year, giving graduates the opportunity to strut their skills and compete against others in the field. For Sabio graduates, these hackathons can give a boost of confidence and work wonders for their resumes.

“Hiring managers and clients are looking for developers who don’t just go to work and do their job,” said Kaylee Tucker, an account manager at Outsource Technical, a tech consulting and direct-hire firm. “They want folks who are outside of work learning and challenging themselves to be involved in other projects, pushing themselves to learn new technologies and be involved with hackathons.”

Finally, at Sabio we make sure to build a community for our students by hosting a variety of networking events and by maintaining a group on Slack. There, graduates pass along job opportunities to one another and offer help whenever a Sabio alum runs into a challenge at work, whether it be of a technical or professional variety. Graduates also know that they can reach out to their instructors whenever something truly complex should arise, no matter the time of day.

“I can pick up the phone any time day or night and call,” said Julia Wells, a Sabio graduate. Wells was among Sabio’s first graduating class back in 2014. She has continued participating in Sabio’s hackathons and professional development sessions since then, and over that time she has seen her salary rise from $57,000 a year prior to Sabio to $96,000 in her job as a software engineer now.

Sabio Co-founder Gregorio Rojas “will get up at 2 in the morning and answer your code question, and without even seeing your computer, he’ll be able to diagnose your issue,” Wells, 32, said. “For the rest of my life I will have access to that support.”

Any 12-week coding bootcamp can help career switchers land a job, but Sabio instructors believe it takes more than that to help someone build a career.

If we’re really going to be genuine about saying that we want to create awesome tech talent in Southern California, we have to be honest and say we can’t do that in three months.

The only way to accomplish that is to have a long-term relationship with our students, and that is exactly what we have done from day one, and will continue to do going forward.

Guest Blogger: SkillsFund's Stamp of Approval!

- April 12, 2016 No Comments

We are excited to have Skills Fund pen this exciting blog post: 

Sabio is Skills Fund Certified!

Skills Fund is proud to partner with Sabio’s high-quality web development program to do one

thing: increase student access to an innovative, skills-oriented, and outcomes-based education.

Skills Fund was founded by two leaders in higher education and accreditation. Our founder is

the former secretary of higher ed for the state of Colorado, led the state’s consumer protection

bureau, and is a federal appointee with the Department of Education, overseeing all

accreditation agencies for higher ed (NACIQI). Our co-founder is a tenured, PhD biochemistry

professor, who was directly involved with his university’s accreditation during his life in

academia. You can learn more about our team here.

Our founder’s extensive expertise in accreditation and program analysis allows us to dive into a

diverse set of Sabio’s data, including quality of curriculum and student outcomes, which are

actively cross-referenced with state licensure requirements, employer analysis of bootcamp

hires, and student feedback on quality of experience. Skills Fund can uniquely paint a

comprehensive picture of program effectiveness in preparing students to secure the right job, at

the right salary, with the right amount of financial opportunity ahead.

We’re proud to give Sabio the Skills Fund stamp of approval in start-to-finish quality. From their

marketing practices, to instructor’s backgrounds, pedagogy, curriculum structure, and ultimate

outcomes, we’re happy to share you’re in good hands with the Sabio team.

Catherine Kim has a degree in political science and was working as a recruiter, now she's an application developer

- April 11, 2016 No Comments
Catherine Kim was working as a recruiter at Chipton-Ross, an aerospace recruiting firm, in the IT and engineering department prior to coming to Sabio. She used to speak to software engineers and discuss with them how to get more functions out of the computers that people use on an every day basis. The engineers that Catherine spoke with suggested that she go online and learn a few languages before she made a commitment to changing careers. She went to Codeacademy and learned HTML and CSS, and she went to a Python meetup where she met people who suggested more online courses for her to explore.

When Catherine found out about Sabio, she decided to enroll. Before coming to Sabio, aside from the online courses she had taken, she did not have a background in software development. Catherine had studied political science at Loyola Marymount University and graduated in 2015.

When asked to describe her bootcamp experience, Catherine said, "It was hard, and there was a lot of information thrown at you. But until you dive in, you don't know what to expect, but I really liked the learning environment."

Catherine recently graduated with cohort 12. She was hired as an application developer with C.R. Laurence. She is earning almost twice the amount of money than she was making as a recruiter. It took her about a month to find her current job. Two weeks before her cohort ended, she started looking for jobs, and about a month later she had an offer for her current position.

Congrats Catherine!