COVID to Code Academy offers free software skills training to the unemployed
By Srianthi Perera
A Culver City-based tech company has a unique response to the unemployment caused by the pandemic.
Sabio, a software training company that runs coding bootcamps for aspiring information technology engineers, has created the COVID to Code Academy, a free course for those who were recently fired or furloughed.
After certification in web development, participants also receive help with their resumes, mentor support and coaching for IT job interviews.
Sabio founder and CEO Liliana Monge was inspired to help people when she saw the desperate need of fellow Americans unable to live with dignity. She, like many other Americans, saw the long lines of cars awaiting groceries from food banks.
“Americans are struggling to put food on the table, avoid eviction and protect their families from the virus,” Monge said. “Adding to their stress, they continue searching for work in the same industry they came from, even though it may have been decimated by the pandemic.”
Monge believes job seekers should look into computer programming and informational technology because these industries have not been hit by the pandemic. In fact, professionals in these areas are even more coveted, she said, because of a shortage of workers in coding and other jobs.
More and more companies are embracing a digital transformation this year because the pandemic is causing them to build online platforms to interact with customers.
“In fact, the pandemic is pushing this transformation into overdrive,” Monge said. “Large and small companies in virtually every industry are building out their online platforms to interact with customers because face-to-face interactions are prohibited or severely restricted.”
There simply aren’t enough properly trained tech workers entering the marketplace to keep up with demand. As an example, she cited the demand for data engineers, which is growing at an annual rate of 35%.
“I’m sure the numbers of engineers is not increasing by 30% each year to keep pace with demand,” she noted.
One myth that Sabio wants to dispel is that you don’t require a computer science degree or a STEM education background to enter the information technology field. Monge said it’s “absolutely not true.”
“Whether you’re a fired chef, furloughed salesman or one of the other thousands of jobs that vanished in our shell-shocked economy this year, you can reinvent yourself in tech, one of the few pandemic-resistant industries forecast to thrive in 2021,” she said.
Within a few months and with no background in tech, a focused, diligent student can become a software engineer and be in great demand in the tech industry.
Hence, the company has reached out to support groups and nonprofits in the leisure and hospitality industry about the free academy. This includes waiters, kitchen staff, hotel workers and employees at places such as gyms, theme parks and bowling alleys. Enrollment in the program is capped at 1,000 because it’s the capacity of students the company can manage at one time.
Sabio believes that the COVID to Code program will be a springboard for many committed individuals who may go on to other related specialist areas such as cybersecurity, cloud solutions and data science.
The company plans to award the top 50 graduates with $1,500 scholarships that may apply to its Full Stack Training Program. The intense 13-week, interactive course under the supervision of a coding expert enables students to learn at least 14 coding languages to attain an advanced level of software expertise.
Sabio has an 82% success rate in helping graduates of the Full Stack Web Development Training Program find jobs. People are not getting into IT because many people do not know that technology is created by individuals.
“They think that a factory somewhere creates the software we depend on daily to check our bank balance or our GrubHub orders,” Monge said. “However, people in California are coding away night and day to make all of those applications operate properly.”
This is not the first time that Monge has participated in charity. She is a founding board member of DIY Girls, a nonprofit in San Fernando Valley that serves low-income young women and helps them gain critical exposure to all tech fields.
She is also a founding board member of ADDI, a nonprofit that is helping young adults learn about tech throughout California via hackathons and other events. Her other altruistic initiatives include a free coding camp for U.S. veterans.
To sign up for the COVID to Code program, visit covidtocode.academy