Saba Borjian on Coding, Using Her Boot Camp Skills, and Women in Tech

Saba Borjian came into the Coding Boot Camp at UC San Diego with no shortage of knowledge about the tech industry, having previously worked as a software development engineer. However, she was unsatisfied with the kind of work she was doing and wanted to learn more of the ins and outs of the industry.

“I wanted to get my hands on coding the programs,” Saba said.

After completing boot camp, Saba began working at Cubic Corporation as an associate software developer. As she continues to advance her career and knowledge in the industry, she chatted with us about her boot camp experience, the work she does now, and what women need to know in order to be successful in tech.

How did you find out about the coding boot camp?

SB: I already had a degree in computer science, and I didn’t originally know if I was interested in tech. At first, it seemed like a lot of information, but also really fun. Soon, the company I was working for as a software developer engineer got acquired, and I used the opportunity to expand my career.

Did you enjoy your experience in the boot camp program?

SB: Yes! My instructor, Travis Thompson, was amazing. He was so supportive and was great at explaining things until we felt comfortable. My classmates were really cool. All of us quickly became friends and we would stay in class afterward to get ahead on our exercises together. It was really fast-paced and none of us wanted to get left behind. They definitely wanted to teach us a lot in three months. 

The projects were interesting and very challenging. I had to learn how to collaborate with people and put our ideas together to make our projects the best they could be. Every day, I would code for four or five hours after the class, just to push myself.

What were some of your favorite projects that you worked on?

SB: My favorite project was HIVE, our first cloud application. It was a social application that used JavaScript, jQuery, APIs, and user authentication through Firebase

We put a lot of time and effort into all the elements of the application. Even though it was not required, we put in functionality to log in users through Firebase. It was above our skills at the time, but we were determined to do it. It ended up being really cool! 

What are you working on now?

SB: I am now working as a software developer at Cubic Corporation, a transportation company. I work with all the different applications we use internally, and I work to fix bugs on each of them. I change the code, I coordinate with others to fix problems, I run tests—it’s kind of all over the place, and it is great to finally have access to source code, which I wanted for so long. 

When I graduated from boot camp, I actually got four different job offers. The collaboration and coding skills that I learned through the boot camp program have really prepared me for the workforce. Updating my LinkedIn with the support of the boot camp team really helped highlight my skills to get these kinds of positions. 

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field, and how do you deal with that?

SB: I’ve never wanted people to look at me and think, “She’s a girl; she really doesn’t know what she’s doing.” I think it can be easy to confuse being a woman with being undereducated on tech subjects. It can be hard to be in a room that is dominated by men and in order to catch up, you have to speak their language, and I am working harder to do that. I show them that my ideas are valuable and that I am more than capable of earning a seat at their table. 

Why do you think women should consider a career in tech?

SB: Simply because we can do it. Aside from the significantly better compensation packages this industry offers compared to others, these jobs give a person satisfaction from solving the mystery of the code you’re reading or creating and feeling satisfied after you’ve finished it. I think women are more detail-oriented, which is a definite must in this field. Also, multitasking, which I believe to be a more female trait, gives a person something like an extra brain that I think a lot of men cannot manage as well.

Do you have any lasting advice for others looking to sign up for a boot camp program?

SB: Do it! It is going to be a lot of work, but if you are willing to work hard for it, the rewards outweigh the difficulties. 

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