October 2022 Student of the Month: Billeh Scego
While attending Seattle Central College, Billeh Scego, like so many others starting their careers, was not completely sure what to study. He knew he wanted to do something with technology but was unsure which area of tech would most interest him. While working at Target he explored possibilities such as tech sales, smart homes, and game development. After dabbling in UI/UX design, he realized that he wanted to be the person coding and implementing the designs instead of designing and wireframing them. Although Billeh had cleared the hurdle of deciding which direction to take his education and career, he was now faced with something he hadn’t expected – a global pandemic.
Because COVID caused a mass schooling transition to online delivery, the conversion period felt, to many, as though there was a real pause in their education. Billeh was unsure of what to do next, or how to continue down the path he had started down with coding. He began looking into coding bootcamps as an alternative option to keep the ball rolling. “I did a lot of research on coding bootcamps and found that most of them had outstandingly expensive tuitions and that many of them were also full-time, which wouldn’t work for my situation,” Billeh shared. Then, one day while Billeh was on Instagram, he found some information about Central Washington University’s Coding Bootcamp in partnership with Promineo Tech. Because of the cost and part-time flexibility that allowed him to keep up with prior engagements, Billeh saw this as the best step forward on his coding journey.
“In past coding classes I attended, it felt like the teacher would talk at the class for an hour and a half and then say, ‘go code’, and everyone was quiet. It feels like a library. However, my experience at Promineo Tech was different. It was super engaging and even though it was an online program, it felt like it was in-person”. Billeh also shared that “learning to code is different than learning other subjects” because most subjects require rote memorization, while software development is more about problem-solving and critical thinking. Yes, you do build up muscle memory and memorize some syntax, but the real learning comes from engaging with the content and really getting your hands dirty by breaking things and building things you enjoy working on.
Throughout the program, Billeh worked on some projects that he is proud of including an environmental science page for one of his college professors and a Pokémon team building project that he is wrapping up for his final assignment. “I wanted to simulate freelancing, so I built an environmental science page for my Professor to use for her future classes that contained material and information about each unit up until the midterm.” Said Billeh. He went on to say that the project will continue to be used in real life for some time. “She loved the project and is using it for her future classes!”
Check out that project here: https://scegob.github.io/week8CSSCodingProjectEnviornmentalScience/
Regarding his final project, Billeh shared that “What they say is true, you want to build a project you’re going to enjoy and talk about.” This is why he decided to change his original plans that utilized the DoorDash API and instead use PokeAPI as the data source for his final project. Having played the handheld Pokémon games competitively a few years back, he has been able to combine an old passion with a new skill set to build something really cool! In addition to playing the handheld series competitively, Billeh also previously developed a passion for the popular game Pokémon Go that extended beyond entertainment.
“In 2021 I weighed almost 256 pounds.” Billeh shared. “I used Pokémon Go like a gym with a goal to walk over 10,000 steps a day and was able to lose over 50 pounds in 6 months.” It’s no surprise that because of both the physical and nostalgic draw to these games that, when asked what his dream companies would be to work at, Billeh said Niantic or Nintendo. Additionally, because it is right down the road, and because of the innovation that frequently comes out of the company, Microsoft is also on his list of top companies to work for.
Landing a job at top companies like these can take a lot of hard work, dedication, and networking. Luckily, Billeh made a conscious effort early on in the bootcamp to engage with the broader coding community and hone his LinkedIn networking prowess while building genuine connections. “Before the bootcamp, I was a little more introverted. Then you add COVID to that, and it became very difficult to meet people.” However, Billeh explained that once he acknowledged and got rid of his self-limiting belief, he was able to open up more and make meaningful connections. He also took advantage of the career service options in the bootcamp, part of which advise posting weekly on LinkedIn. He quickly became good at this and realized that to take his posts to the next level, he needed to do more than simply share what he was learning. “In order to get engagement, you have to engage with others,” Billeh explained. “LinkedIn has a huge coding community, and everyone is there to help each other out.”
He further explained how he made sure to interact with content that other students from other bootcamps and schools shared on LinkedIn, and how it was great to see the progress people made when they posted. “It’s not just an island. There are other groups out there and you have to tap into that community.” Billeh took his networking beyond just LinkedIn and attended an AWS (Amazon Web Services) conference where he met many other bootcamp students. “It’s nice to know that other people are engaged.” He said.
All the networking and building genuine connections was not for nothing, as Billeh was able to build a relationship with the CEO and founder of Chosn Relationships, a startup that developed a “relationship app that uses behavioral science to deepen and enrich your existing relationships”, and land an internship as a frontend developer working on the app. “I heard it could take some time to land a job as a developer, so I didn’t want to be a sitting duck. Instead, I decided it would be good to take an internship in the meantime and improve my skills. I’m most excited to use the skills I’ve learned, and master React while working on a team of developers.” Billeh shared.
In addition to his new internship, Billeh wants to continue learning and has enrolled at the University of Washington to finish the last 50 credits of his bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology, and Society by the end of next Summer.
When asked what advice Billeh would give to someone starting their journey to learn how to code, he said, “lean on your support system. From time to time, you will feel confused and frustrated with your computer. You might feel like you aren’t cut out for it as I did. I was afraid to ask questions when I started because I didn’t want to look stupid, but I quickly learned that people really just want to help. You might think it’s scary or magic, but it’s not, it’s just a language to communicate with the computer. Think of it that way.” Billeh also advised finding mentors outside of the program where possible that can provide an external source of accountability and motivation.
Throughout Billeh’s journey so far, he has become a proficient coder and a LinkedIn networking expert, and we are excited to see where all his hard work takes him. We are confident you will help shape the industry!