After working in the restaurant business for six years, Sophia Cheong decided to learn to code.
She applied for entry-level software engineer positions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for six consecutive months.
357 refusals, 40 interviews and 2 offers later, she earns more than double her old salary.
Sophia Cheong’s career began at a Korean barbecue restaurant in California, where she worked as a host while completing her Bachelor of Business Administration.
After graduating from Fullerton College, she was promoted to Deputy Managing Director and, later, Director of Operations. Then a colleague started teaching him to code.
âI fell in love,â Cheong told Insider. “I know it’s clichÃ©, but I felt like it was my real passion.â¦ I woke up every morning really excited to learn.”
Like the millions of Americans who quit their jobs during the “Great Resignation,” Cheong had the opportunity during the pandemic to quit the restaurant industry and change careers, something she had wanted to do for some time. time. With restaurant closings forcing layoffs, she volunteered to be one of those fired.
Cheong immediately used the money she had saved on restaurant paychecks to enroll in a 13-week software engineering boot camp called Hack Reactor, where she completed over 1,000 hours of training. full coding.
A week after graduating, she started looking for a job.
From Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Cheong applied for any basic software engineer jobs or internships she could find, in 18 countries, she said. In addition to submitting applications, she contacted technical recruiters on a daily basis and created an online portfolio.
âI was pretty naÃ¯ve. I thought I would have a job after a month because Hack Reactor has such a good reputation,â she said. “But then a month turned into two months, then three and four, and I started to think, ‘Oh my God, why can’t I find a job? What’s wrong with me?'”
Constantly hearing about the national workforce shortage and ever-increasing demand for tech talent didn’t help morale. According to labor statistics in the United States, the shortage of engineers in the United States will exceed 1.2 million by 2026.
Six months later, Cheong interviewed 40 employers and was rejected 357 times by businesses large and small. She told Insider that most interviewers asked her why she had changed careers and how her background in the service industry would help her succeed in tech.
âWhenever I asked them why they weren’t continuing with me, they would say, ‘The other candidate is older than you,'” Cheong said, adding that recruiters would suggest contacting within a year after she is. had more. experience.
The same week, Cheong was supposed to return to work at the restaurant, she received two job offers. One, a junior software engineer job at Homee, would pay 120% more than her previous salary, she said.
âWe all want to take risks with newcomers,â Cheong, the company’s chief technology officer, Mitch Pirtle, said during the interview process. “We know how difficult it is to get your foot in that door.”
As she accepted her new role, Cheong posted an article about the arduous job search on LinkedIn. Hundreds of applicants struggling to find work flooded the comments section, asking for advice and sharing similar stories of constant rejections.
âI know there are shortages all over the place,â Cheong told Insider. “But I also feel like there are so many people looking for jobs at the same time. I just don’t know why it hasn’t balanced out yet.”
Read the original article on Business Insider