There is a misconception that needs to be addressed when it comes to careers in technology. While millennials and zoomers are known for being tech-savvy, embracing technology is not solely reserved for the generations that grew up with the internet.
Steve Woll, 58, can attest to this fact. A Navy Veteran who served as a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer for 21 years. After separating in 2008, Steve maintained a career within the private sector’s weather industry, and while working the business side for a couple of companies he rediscovered another career from his past: coding.
“I was a computer science major undergrad and actually worked as a coder for a couple of years before I joined the Navy,” says Steve. He left the programming world behind but didn’t forget the basics and began to reintroduce the field into his life as a hobby initially. He recognized however that he was not taking full advantage of the craft, being unfamiliar with the recent advances made in the technology and programming languages. “I realized I wanted to get my skills updated so that I could do this stuff more efficiently. So I started looking around at various coding academies.”
Steve knew he wanted to take advantage of his G.I. Bill benefits and began to look for a coding program that would fit his needs and it was through Operation Code, another nonprofit committed to getting military Servicemembers into the tech field, that Steve found Code Platoon. “It being a Veteran-focused camp appealed to me right away,” says Steve. After doing his research he reached out to Rod Levy, Code Platoon’s founder and CEO, and applied to join the 12th Full-time cohort, Lima Platoon.
“It’s been challenging, and there was a significant amount of pre-work we had to do that was very good for me,” Steve says noting that he had a pretty steep learning curve to begin with and the work he did in the second phase of the application process helped prepare him for the program and the challenges he would experience. While he has had experience within the coding realm there have been significant changes in the 30 years since Steve has worked in the field. Technology, the best practices, and even the mindset of programmers have evolved in the 21st century but one thing that shouldn’t change, and Code Platoon proves, is the value of teamwork.
“I think that’s been the best part. It’s what I expected knowing that this was a Veteran oriented program, but nonetheless, it’s good to work with people who you know are used to teamwork and helping each other out and working towards common goals,” says Steve. “As a Veteran, you feel comfortable with other people who serve.” He also commends Code Platoon’s ability to integrate Veterans into civilian and technology culture, as well as Code Platoon’s dedication to making the program inclusive to military spouses.
The average age of a Code Platoon student is 33, and while Steve is on the older side of the spectrum, the advice he has for those considering a Coding Bootcamp is sound advice for people of all ages. Get to know the program you’re interested in and the instructors you would be learning from, and give yourself time to get comfortable with the programs you’ll be working on because in an accelerated program like Code Platoon once the class begins it doesn’t slow down. Upon completion of Code Platoon’s Full-time program, Steve will be back to work bringing science, data, and technology together, applying the lessons and skills from Code Platoon to help field improved technological solutions for real-world problems.
Amanda Michelle Gordon is one of Code Platoon’s summer interns, serving in the Content and Marketing department. She is a U.S. Air Force Veteran and a student of SUNY New Paltz for Journalism and Sociology. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, the outdoors, and turning coffee into copy. You can find Amanda on LinkedIn and Twitter.