Alumni Spotlight

From Sabio Downtown LA Alum to Professional Software Engineer

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on December 7, 2023

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After his service in the US Army, Christian Govero sought work-life balance, flexibility, and affordability when he chose to learn software engineering at Sabio. He attended in-person at their Downtown Los Angeles location and was instantly connected to a vibrant community network of alumni. Even though Chris started at Sabio with no coding experience, he was prepared for his first role as a Software Engineer at an awesome consulting firm, which he landed just a few days after graduating! Find out how his work-life balance significantly upgraded after going to Sabio’s coding bootcamp. 

What inspired you to launch a career in software engineering this year?

I knew early on that I wanted to pursue engineering after joining the military and also raise a family, so I was enticed by the flexibility, freedom, and work-life balance of being a software engineer. I was also attracted to the type of career it is: it’s continuous problem solving and learning. You're never stagnant, you're always growing, and there's always opportunities to advance in this career. 

Why did you choose Sabio?

I used Course Report as a resource and had a list of 15 bootcamps I was interested in. One of the very first things that struck me about Sabio was their human approach. They took the time to care about who I am as a person, my veteran status, and what I was looking for in a bootcamp. It was an interactive experience that didn’t make me feel like I was being used to make them money — they actually care about their students. 

Another selling point was the veteran benefits and the in-person learning option, which enables me to maximize those benefits. I wanted the interactive, in-person experience to be able to focus solely on learning, plus the immediate instructor feedback is unbeatable. Attending an in-person coding bootcamp allowed me to maximize my GI benefits, which are reduced by 50% if you learn from a remote program. 

Now that you’re actually working as a Software Engineer, was Sabio worth it for you? Did you get the work-life balance that you were seeking?

I cannot express enough how thankful I am for the services and education I received from Sabio! Sabio was essential to getting me where I am now — I would not be where I am today without Sabio. 

Any Sabio alum would agree that the work life balance immediately improved. The salary and benefits are incomparable. If you're changing careers and you're looking for a salary increase, I'm making $100k+ with a great work life balance! That doesn't come by easily or often. Attending Sabio and landing my first software engineering role has been a lot of work in the last year, but for the kind of career launch I got, it’s pretty impressive.

Did you use the GI Bill or VET TEC to cover your Sabio tuition? 

I was initially thinking about using the GI Bill, but Sabio told me about the VET TEC program which let me save my GI benefits! I was grateful they brought that to my attention and proved again how in touch they are with the needs of veterans and how to best serve them. 

What was the Sabio application process like for you? Did you have to know basic coding in order to apply to Sabio?

The application process was very simple. The admissions team was responsive to my needs and they're upfront and honest about the program and its intensity. They're not trying to just get you in. They asked some general questions to see what the best options were and if this was something I wanted to pursue. They helped with the enrollment process, which was mostly just paperwork, and then they offered the option to take an introductory precourse so I wasn’t totally out of the loop on the first day. 

I knew almost nothing about coding when I started at Sabio. Some of my cohort members also enrolled knowing nothing about coding and they did totally fine and we all graduated! Sabio can teach anyone how to code. 

What was a typical day like at the in-person bootcamp at Sabio? 

The eight-hour day started at 9am with a break for lunch. There were lectures early on and deadlines to meet, but most of the day was self-paced with assistance as needed. There are recorded videos and 1:1 time with the instructor to practice the material -— it’s very hands-on. After a week or two of practice, we would have a test which was to build something, not just answer yes-or-no questions. The benefits of attending Sabio include hands-on learning that reflects working in the real world. 

Note: Chris completed the full time bootcamp at Sabio, but Sabio has a part-time schedule starting in January 2024! The part-time program meets Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am - 4pm PST, which will give students time to work during the training.

How many hours a day/week did you spend on campus?

I was on campus full-time: 40 hours a week Monday through Friday, plus a few hours on the weekend. It’s intense because it’s so much information in a short period of time, but it’s all important to being successful.

Since Sabio’s campus is located in Downtown Los Angeles, did you spend a lot of time looking for parking?

Thankfully, there's a massive parking area so parking is easy to find! I personally took the bus since it was simpler for me and saved money on parking. 

What did you actually learn in the bootcamp?

We learned the fundamentals of full stack: how to work with databases in the back end, how to create a website in the front end, and how to connect everything together. I learned everything I needed to know to start a career in software development. The languages they teach are: JavaScript, ReactJS,C-Sharp and SQL Server, along with a ton of amazing tools like GitHub and VSCode.

What were your in-person instructors like at Sabio? Were they software engineers?

All the instructors either had many years of experience as a software engineer or were previous students that graduated, got jobs, and came back to teach at Sabio. Those instructors were the most beneficial to me because not only did they have real work experience in another company, they also had the experience of being a student and understanding what it's like going through the bootcamp and the same material we're going through.

What kinds of projects did you work on in the bootcamp?

In the very beginning we made a mock social media website. Through the course of the program, we learned how to build the web interface and how it interacts, then how to build the database, and then how to connect the two, which was a personal project that I can go back and work on even after graduation. 

At the end of the program, we did an unpaid internship at a nonprofit startup. The one I worked for was a financial company that worked with small business owners to help them get needed funds to run their business. In that project, I worked in the back end database creating certain ways to store information and then display it on the webpage so the user can interact with it. Internships are the most real world experience you can get; working with a team for an actual product that real users are using. People still use that website that I worked on!

What was the community like at Sabio? Did you connect with your in-person cohort as well as any online or alumni students?

The in-person cohort is a small part of your actual class. Other members in your cohort are purely remote, but that didn’t mean we weren't connected and learning with them as a whole class. Sabio has another campus in Irvine that allowed me to connect with other cohort members and work together, this also helped me enrich my tech network. They said their campus was really nice too, very clean, and that they never had a problem parking or commuting there either. There’s also tons of amazing food options in Downtown LA.

Sabio also has a massive alumni program to connect with while you're in class as well as after you graduate. This is great to expand your network, learn new techniques, hear from people that are in the field currently and what it's like, learn interview tips, and so much more! Some alumni have had jobs for six months like me, while others have had jobs for years already, so there's a vast amount of knowledge in that alumni network!

How did Sabio prepare you for the job hunt? 

Career services at Sabio started during the internship. 

  1. Resume review. This was not a fast process — they reviewed it multiple times to make sure it's to the best quality and that it's pleasing to hiring companies.
  2. Interview prep. We worked through the type of questions that interviewers will ask and the interview process as a whole, including a mock interview, which is the closest you can get to the real thing. 
  3. Application process. Two weeks before graduation we started applying for jobs, which is critical to get experience in while the instructors are still available so you can ask questions and get feedback. 
  4. Post-graduate follow-up. After you graduate, they offer weekly updates with Career Services to offer advice on what to do next. 
  5. Mentorship. We were also each assigned a mentor that helped guide through this process!

Which tech roles did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating?

I found that I was over-prepared for my first job as a software developer. I applied for every job from entry-level to senior. The interviews for senior roles were obviously more difficult, but I did well and felt prepared for them with the information and experience I had! Sabio doesn’t train you to code, they train you how to react to and overcome problems as an engineer. You're never going to know everything. It's about your capability to learn and show that you can solve a problem. 

Congratulations on your new job as a Software Engineer II at your new consulting company. How did you land this job? 

Definitely the hard work of sending out resumes landed me this job. I had other job offers as well but my military experience with missile defense directly helped me land my first software engineer job just a few days after I graduated from Sabio! This just goes to show that if you’re changing careers to be a developer, your prior work experience can help you accomplish your goals and get a job in this field! 

Was your company interested in your Sabio bootcamp experience?

They were not directly interested in my bootcamp experience, but they did want to know about projects I’d worked on. Sabio has the perfect format for interviewing to answer these questions comfortably. Also since the workflow at Sabio felt like working in a team on a job, I felt confident in answering questions about past projects. I had real world experience that I could show them I’m not just a student — I'm an actual engineer. 

Did Sabio help you while interviewing and choosing between technical roles?

Whether in school or after graduation, Sabio’s Career Services are always there to offer support. As I was considering roles, I could go to my career counselors and ask for advice and suggestions. They reassured me that if I wasn’t interested in a job, not to take it! I'm thankful for that because I could have made a wrong turn on my career path if I didn’t have those career counselors, mentors, and alumni to help steer the ship. 

Are you working in-person or is this a remote role?

This is a local remote role: 100% remote with the occasional in-person meeting regarding classified information. I have a VPN that I could work from at home, which surprisingly, I didn't know when I applied for this job, it wasn’t advertised. I couldn’t have asked for any more from a job. I’m so happy.

What kinds of projects are you working on now? 

We get subcontracted out to other big name contracts that work with the Missile Defense Agency to produce defense equipment. I manage and develop a website that works with other contractors so they can acquire contracts to build new defenses with the US government, to protect the United States and our assets. Everyone that wants to build something for MDA has to go through the website that I manage. It involves new technology I didn’t work with at Sabio, but Sabio taught me how to adapt and overcome any situation and continue learning. 

Are you using what you learned at Sabio now on the job?

I'm working with a form of older technology, but mainly JavaScript and jQuery, which I did learn at Sabio, as well as SharePoint, which uses a web-based collaborative platform for organizations. It’s a mixture of both, but I do feel comfortable with what I learned at Sabio, being able to perform in this environment. 

Have you found that you're using any of your military training now on the job as a software engineer?

My military training prepared me for high-stress situations and effective time management. I think any veteran would be great in this career field because you don't have the constraints of the military. You are free to do what you want when you want as long as you meet the deadline.

Basic skills have transferred, like being accountable for your work, being on time, and being organized. My training in dealing with missile defense helped me on the job because now I'm working for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), though it’s not directly related to software engineering. Everything I know for the job I learned at Sabio. 

What is your advice to incoming students on making the most of Sabio’s in-person bootcamp experience?

It is an intense program, but if you're looking to make a career change it is perfect. Dive in full force, go in every day trying to better yourself, and stay focused on what your goal is. If your goal is to become a software engineer, then focus on that. Don't let distractions pull you away. And when things get hard, just dive in harder. 

Find out more and read Sabio reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Sabio.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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