A Day in the Classroom: The Chicago Coding Bootcamp Experience

It’s 7:30 a.m., and Kelvin Lau is making his daily commute on the bus into the Chicago Loop. It’s quite a different experience for the eight-year Air National Guardsman who left his home in California on a new mission: to attend Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive program in-person.

“I was surrounded by programming my whole life,” Kelvin says. “​​I’ve always found software engineering enticing, but it didn’t pan out with my time in the military.”

Kelvin enters Code Platoon’s classroom at about 8 a.m. Sometimes, he arrives early to use the gym before class. Today, he grabs coffee with another student to discuss debugging their programs.

“I had some exposure to coding from my professional experience before Code Platoon. I use that experience to help my friends out. Walking through other peoples’ code helps me learn, too,” he says.

Class begins at 8:30 a.m. for all students, whether they are in-person like Kelvin or attending remotely from around the world. This morning, the students practice answering a behavioral interview question. Since many Code Platoon students are interviewing for the first time after Bootcamp, this practice is essential for entering the civilian tech industry. 

“Learning to translate my military experience into something tech employers can understand and connect with has been eye-opening,” Kelvin says.

Next up, two Motorola Solutions security architects drop in to lead a web security guest workshop. The Code Platoon curriculum includes regular expert guest workshops, thanks to corporate partners like Motorola. Today, Kelvin learns how to use Burp Suite to analyze his program’s attack surface and pinpoint its security vulnerabilities. In the last few weeks, he’s also delved into workshops on relational databases, GitHub version control, and AWS deployment.

“I think Code Platoon’s curriculum goes deeper than other coding bootcamps,” Kelvin says. “Last week, we had a whole day on Agile project management. These workshops immerse us in how software engineers think and let us network with the industry pros leading them.”

Kelvin,_Abou,_BrendaIt’s time for lunch, and Kelvin and his classmates grab some takeout and review their notes before an afternoon of working on their group projects, which they will present before graduating.

“Since everyone is here today, we’ll help each other on our projects. In my case, I have a knack for front-end development,” Kelvin says. “The remote students also work together in Zoom breakout rooms, but I prefer the in-person collaboration here.”

Kelvin had toyed with pursuing a computer science degree using his GI Bill®. He ultimately chose Code Platoon, where he could gain more quick, practical experience in technology and still have enough GI Bill left for college later.

Kelvin_at_the_Bean“The other reason I chose Code Platoon was to be part of the exclusively military Coding Bootcamp community. The shared experience here is comforting,” Kelvin says. “Even most of the instructors are Veterans themselves.”

Living in Chicago has its perks beyond learning to code for Kelvin:

“I haven’t seen the winter yet, but I love the city so far,” he says. “The cost of living is much lower than the Bay Area, but there’s still plenty to do. It’s so much fun exploring the city with my new friends on the weekends. I want to stay here after I graduate.”

Kelvin’s future as part of Chicago’s tech community will have to wait a bit. He received orders to deploy the day after his Uniform Platoon graduates.

Despite this setback, he won’t give up on his new dream of entering Chicago’s tech sector:

“I’ll keep building projects and improving my software engineering portfolio during deployment. I’ll try to get in the door with some companies in Chicago while that’s happening,” he says.

“Oh, and I’ll need to buy my first winter coat before I come back.”

Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she uses her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed from previous higher education and educational technology positions. Kayla has degrees in English and Sociology from Clemson University and completed the Study in India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad.


The Highest Paying and Most In-Demand Programming Languages In 2023


Code Platoon keeps a close eye on the programming workforce to ensure that our Veteran, Servicemember, and military spouse Coding Bootcamp students receive the best training for their future careers in full-stack software engineering or DevOps engineering careers. 

This article highlights the highest-paid and most in-demand programming languages for 2023. We’ve also analyzed the trends for 2022, 2021, and 2020 to provide a comprehensive overview of the shifting technical landscape. 

The Best Programming Languages for Developers in 2023

Our research shows that Python and JavaScript developers continue to excel in 2023. 

  • Python emerges as #1 in job postings, closely followed by Java (#2) and JavaScript (#3). 
  • Python and JavaScript programmers also earn high salaries, ranking #3 and #4 in compensation. 
  • C# is the highest-paid programming language but has less demand than Python, JavaScript, and Java.

Methods for Identifying the Top Programming Languages

Code Platoon first examined the eight most popular coding languages according to Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey:

  • We mapped the highest paying programming languages with compensation data from the survey and Indeed, one of the largest job listing sites. 
  • We measured demand by tracking the number of job postings targeting the survey’s most popular programming languages.

Programming Languages in 2023 by Job Openings and Salary

Python claimed #1 in the Job Postings category and #3 in Average Salary. Python is an interpreted, multi-purpose coding language. It excels in the areas of data science tools, AI and machine learning, cybersecurity, and DevOps engineering.

JavaScript secured #3 in Job Postings and #4 in Average Salary. JavaScript is the backbone of web application development and remains popular with employers.

Java ranked #2 in Job Postings and #5 in Average Salary. Java remains integral to large-scale, legacy business applications and Android development.

C# climbed to #4 in Job Postings and #1 in Average Salary. C# is most known for powering the Unity gaming engine.

C++ fell to #6 in Job Postings but remained highly paid at #2 in Average Salary. C++’s quick speed and high stability make it a good tool for developing high-performance applications, but it’s a difficult programming language to master. 

C held #5 in Job Postings and #6 in Average Salary. C is an older–but still widely used–programming language. C exposes concepts hidden in scripting languages like Python and Java, offering more flexibility. Its complexity makes C challenging to adopt.

PHP took #7 in Job Postings and Average Salary. PHP continues to have a loyal user base, particularly in powering WordPress platforms.

SQL (or Structured Query Language) was #8 in Average Salary and Job Postings. SQL is a query language that extracts information from databases.

Predicting the Best Programming Languages for 2024

Forecasting the future demand for programming languages is challenging. The supply of qualified applicants and evolving industry needs affect the number of open positions. Yet we anticipate the following trends:

  • Python will keep growing as companies continue to adopt AI and LLM tools like ChatGPT, data analytics tools, and infrastructure software development. Python shines in all these areas. 
  • JavaScript will continue to be the backbone of the web. It’ll likely remain essential for web development.
  • Java developers will stay in demand for DevOps engineering and large-scale business operations.

For more information on programming language trends and their popularity in the workforce, consult the TIOBE Index and Stack Overflow reports. These sources consider industry demand and incorporate complementary approaches to determining the highest-paying and most in-demand programming languages.

Rod Levy is the Founder and Executive Director of Code Platoon. He holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Rod has completed Dev Bootcamp’s web developer program.

Uniform Platoon Final Projects

The Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive Uniform Platoon showcased the full-stack web applications they developed during Code Platoon’s military Coding Bootcamp. Their final presentations demonstrate their working applications and describe the front-end, back-end, and product management tools the Veteran tech students mastered during Coding Bootcamp.

The first presentation in the Full-stack software engineering project showcase is Wastenot. Wastenot is a web application that addresses food waste. Users input the foods they need to use, and Wastenot matches them with recipes using their ingredients. Wastenot’s tech stack includes React for the front-end user interface, Django on the back end to store user authentication data via secure cookies, and API calls to Spoonacular and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to pull recipe data, suggest substitutions, and provide nutritional information.

Wastenot was developed by an Army spouse, a Navy SkillBridge participant, two Active Duty Marine Corpsmen, a Coast Guardsman, a National Guardsman, and an Active Duty Soldier. Check out their Wastenot program demo.


ConnectForum is the next demonstration. ConnectForum is a full-stack web application with real-time chat through Channel Layers with Redis. ConnectForum allows users to connect live through different instances in the app’s common interest chat rooms. 

A Navy Veteran, two Army Veterans, and three Marine Corps Veterans developed ConnectForum. The Veteran software engineering graduates used JavaScript on React and the WebSocket API on the front end. The front-end code makes calls to the back end, featuring Python through Django Framework. The team hosted their data in a PostgreSQL database.

Void Turtle is the next presentation. A team of a Navy Veteran, an Air Force Veteran, a Marine Corps Veteran, an Active Duty Army Servicemember, and a military spouse developed Void Turtle. 

The Void Turtle team programmed a 2D, top-down, rogue-like game powered by the Godot Engine. The Void Turtle team used GitHub to coordinate version control and resolve merge conflicts while launching their application. Dive into Godot in the Void Turtle presentation below.

Shredder is the final demonstration in our graduation showcase. Shredder is a fitness and nutrition tracker web application. Shredder offers customizable nutrition tracking and workout programs for users to achieve their fitness goals. The app pings Rapid API’s exercise database to find exercises using particular equipment, muscles, or muscle groups. The nutrition portion calculates the nutrition information based on the user’s reported meals. 

Shredder was programmed with JavaScript and Python coding languages, an Axios HTTP client, and React styling. Watch the presentation by the Shredder team: two Navy Veterans, an Army Veteran, an Army Reserve Veteran, an Air Force National Guardsman, and an Active Duty Marine Corpsman.

We’re proud of the incredible applications showcased during Uniform Platoon’s final project demonstrations. Congratulations, graduates!

The entire project showcase and graduation ceremony is available to watch on Code Platoon’s YouTube channel.


5 Tips for Military Members Creating a LinkedIn Profile for Post-Military Job Search

Transitioning from military service to civilian life can be both exciting and challenging. One of the crucial steps in this transition is creating a strong LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills, experience, and potential to prospective employers. Here are five valuable tips to help you make an impressive LinkedIn profile that maximizes your post-military career opportunities.

Highlight your military experience.

As a military member, your service has equipped you with a unique set of skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers. When creating your LinkedIn profile, emphasize these qualities. Start with a concise, compelling headline showcasing your military background and key strengths. In the “About” section, briefly overview your military career, highlighting your leadership abilities, teamwork, problem-solving skills, and adaptability. Use industry-relevant keywords to increase your visibility to potential employers searching for candidates with military experience.

Translate your skills.

One of the challenges Veterans face is translating their military skills into civilian language. Employers may not understand military jargon, so you must translate your skills and accomplishments into terms they can quickly grasp. Use civilian equivalents to describe your roles, responsibilities, and achievements. Focus on transferable skills such as project management, strategic planning, communication, and technical expertise. This will help potential employers see how your military experience aligns with their needs. Use numbers, figures, and statistics to quantify expertise whenever possible.

Build a professional network.

LinkedIn is a powerful networking platform; building a robust professional network can help your job search. Connect with fellow military members, Veterans, industry professionals, and recruiters. Identify and connect with  Veteran talent recruiters that work with companies you are interested in working for. Join relevant LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions to expand your network further. Actively engage with your connections by sharing relevant industry news, insights and contributing to discussions. A strong network can provide you with valuable contacts and potential job opportunities.

Leverage recommendations and endorsements.

Recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn serve as proof of your skills and expertise. Reach out to your colleagues, supervisors, and military subordinates and request recommendations highlighting your strengths and achievements. Similarly, ask them to endorse your skills, which adds credibility to your profile. Remember to reciprocate these gestures by offering recommendations and endorsements to others within your network. This mutual support will strengthen your professional relationships and increase your visibility.

Continuously update and engage.

Your LinkedIn profile is not a static document; it should evolve as you progress in your post-military career. Regularly update your profile to reflect new accomplishments, certifications, or skills you acquire. Engage with your network by sharing relevant content, commenting on posts, and participating in conversations. Seek and follow industry influencers, companies, and organizations aligning with your career goals. Staying active and engaged on LinkedIn shows your dedication to professional growth and keeps you on the radar of potential employers.

Creating a compelling LinkedIn profile is crucial for military members transitioning into civilian careers. LinkedIn also offers eligible military community members one year of access to LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Learning, so make sure you take advantage of that offer.

Following these tips can enhance your job search and open doors to exciting post-military opportunities. Remember, your military service has equipped you with invaluable qualities that employers seek, and LinkedIn is the perfect platform to showcase your potential. Embrace the transition, seize the opportunities, and embark on a fulfilling post-military career journey!

Jim Hennessey is Code Platoon’s Director of Marketing. Jim brings a strong background in nonprofit marketing and start-up enterprises to the mission of Code Platoon. Jim is a graduate of Clemson University and currently lives in Chicago. Follow Jim on LinkedIn.


Code Platoon Graduate Outcomes 2023

Code Platoon is committed to helping Veterans, Servicemembers, and military spouses launch careers in technology. Over 400 military Coding Bootcamp graduates have transitioned to the tech industry from Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering and DevOps and Cloud Engineering programs.

A key component of our mission is to provide graduates with more than the essential tech skills for their future professions. We also emphasize the career development resources and networking needed to enter the tech field. 

Here are our results as of September 2023:

Code Platoon Outcomes 2023

  • Two hundred fifteen (215) job-seeking Veterans, Servicemembers, and military spouses graduated in the last two years (8 cohorts).
  • One hundred sixty (74%) of those graduates found software engineering jobs within six months.
  • The median starting salary of those graduates was $85,000. The median salary increased to $115,000 after 24 months.
  • Of the remaining fifty-five graduates, thirty-four were still looking for careers in technology, two sought higher education, two pursued opportunities outside of tech, and seventeen didn’t respond to our surveys.
2023 Outcomes

Our graduates’ success rate is attributed to many factors that make Code Platoon unique:

  • Military coding students show unwavering commitment to learning and growth each day.
  • Our exceptional staff, partners, and supporters collaborate to provide a supportive learning environment. 
  • Hands-on learning is a cornerstone of Code Platoon’s Coding Bootcamps. Students apply their knowledge through project-based assignments, workshops, and pair-programming exercises.
  • Code Platoon can accept the GI Bill®, VET TEC, and VR&E VA education benefits. We awarded students 1.3 million dollars in scholarships during the last two years.

Code Platoon’s curriculum offers comprehensive training in full-stack software engineering and DevOps and cloud engineering. Full-stack software engineering students learn in-demand programming languages Python and JavaScript, practice using essential frameworks React and Django, and prepare for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Practitioner professional certifications. 

DevOps and Cloud Engineering students learn continuous integration and deployment, configuration management, and end-to-end automation. Graduates gain experience with industry-standard tools: Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, Github, and AWS.

Code Platoon also understands that success extends beyond technical expertise. Our graduates are equipped with skills to navigate the transition from military service to the tech workforce.

  • Code Platoon’s programs are designed specifically for the military community. Students practice describing their military experience and tech skills in extensive behavioral interview prep.
  • Students prepare for the complexities of post-military life in Beyond Tech workshops on personal finance, imposter syndrome, and other essential transition skills.
  • Resume preparation, LinkedIn profile building, and exposure to Agile software development principles help students become well-rounded software developers.
  • Each student receives a volunteer industry mentor to ask questions about the tech industry and receive feedback.
  • Graduates may compete for paid apprenticeships after graduation to help bridge the gap between service and the tech industry. Graduates may also apply to positions with Code Platoon’s preferred hiring partners, including Accenture, Affirm, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Every aspect of Code Platoon’s programs, combined with our military coding students’ dedication, contributes to our graduates’ success. If you’re part of the military community and aspire to enter the tech industry, we invite you to explore our program offerings.

Rod Levy is the Founder and Executive Director of Code Platoon. He holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Rod has completed Dev Bootcamp’s web developer program.

Bridging Cultures and Building a New Tech Career

Growing up in China, Delta Evening & Weekend Platoon graduate Hui Zhao never would have suspected that she would become an American military spouse or a software engineer. But a couple of chance encounters—a Soldier she’d fall in love with and a new friend encouraging her to learn to code—would change her life forever.

“I planned to get my Masters of Animal Sciences in the United States, then move back to China,” Hui said. “I would live near my family and start one of my own. Then I met my husband, and everything changed.”

After marrying, Hui began working in animal care and research, but her plans had to shift again when her husband, an active duty Army Intelligence Analyst, was deployed to Alaska. 

“When I first became a military spouse, I didn’t know we’d have to move so much,” Hui said. “My background was in animal sciences and livestock. When we were deployed to Anchorage, I had no opportunities to continue my work.”

Hui quickly grew restless staying on the base alone. She wanted to forge her own path and positively impact the world. So, she started looking for a new career. With little support for military spouses at her base and few remote jobs available to Alaskans, Hui eventually settled into a role for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management of Alaska.

“What I did there was meaningful but temporary,” Hui said. “I wanted a career that I could maintain no matter where my husband and I would have to live.”

Hui then connected online with another Chinese-American military spouse who had attended Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive program and became a software engineer at Lockheed Martin. She told Hui about Coding Bootcamp and launching her tech career with Code Platoon.

“In the past, I would imagine what apps could make my life easier, but I never thought I could make these products myself,” Hui admitted. “I hadn’t considered programming. I thought it was a lot of math, but my friend encouraged me to try coding for myself.” 

Hui started learning Python and quickly found herself enjoying it. After completing Intro to Coding, she was accepted to Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering: Evening & Weekend program. She and three other spouses in her cohort received full-tuition military spouse scholarships.

“Having a shared experience with other military spouses in the program was awesome. Delta Evening & Weekend Platoon got along well. Whether Veterans or spouses, we were all students first.”

Hui was also surprised to receive even more resources from Code Platoon alums she added on LinkedIn: 

“It felt like a family. Everyone was looking out for each other.”

Hui’s favorite aspects of programming are project management, fixing bugs, and creating apps that make a difference in people’s lives. She also enjoyed working with teammates on their final projects.

“It’s so rewarding knowing what I build as a software engineer can have a lasting impact. It feels like the future is in my hands.”

Hui and her family recently moved to Virginia, where she is applying for her first software engineering position.

“In my first year of marriage, I didn’t realize that the American military and their spouses are a community, but they are. I’m grateful to have become part of the community of Veterans and spouses helping each other succeed.”

“Being a military spouse teaches you to be resilient, adaptable, and embrace the quick turnarounds in life,” she said. “I’ve moved to a new country, built new relationships, and done what I can to support my family while following my dreams, too.”

Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she uses her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed from previous positions in higher education and educational technology. Kayla has degrees in English and Sociology from Clemson University and completed the Study in India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad.


DevOps Alpha Platoon Final Projects

Code Platoon celebrated our first DevOps and Cloud Engineering cohort’s graduation on Friday, July 21, 2023. The inaugural Immersive DevOps Alpha Platoon featured eight talented Veteran tech students ready to embark on in-demand DevOps careers. 

The students had been working diligently to gain hands-on experience and master essential DevOps skills, tools, and technologies during the program. They deployed real-world applications developed by a previous Full-stack Software Engineering cohort for their final projects. These projects provided the DevOps Alpha Platoon with practical experience and showcased the DevOps practices they learned during their Bootcamp journeys.

Here is a closer look at the two DevOps projects showcased during graduation:


The first team deployed GAMENIGHT, a gaming event planning app developed by Romeo Platoon students. An Air Force Reservist, two Navy Veterans, and an active duty Airman worked on the GAMENIGHT DevOps team.

The GAMENIGHT team first created a multi-stage Docker build to minimize images. They also implemented a custom entry point to automate migrations before executing the Django server. 

The DevOps students leveraged the power of AWS, Kubernetes (a container management system), and Terraform (an Infrastructure as Code tool) to deploy GAMENIGHT. Finally, the team built a GitHub Actions workflow to automate the continuous integration of the Docker images and enable continuous deployment to Amazon EKS.

Romeo’s Adventure

The second team’s project deployed Romeo’s Adventure, an online game built with Django. Two Air Force Veterans, a Marine Corps Veteran, and a transitioning Soldier completed this final project.

The Romeo’s Adventure team also used Docker to build front-end and back-end images for the app. They harnessed Kubernetes to enable horizontal auto-scaling, automatically detect and replace pod failures, and effectively distribute incoming network traffic using a load balancer. 

The DevOps team managed deployments to Romeo’s Adventure via GitHub Actions. When a software engineer commits code to the app, their GitHub build automatically triggers their Docker images and applies changes with Kubectl files. An AWS dashboard monitors the web app’s performance, complete with alarms to notify the team of any health issues. Automatic database backups and EC2 instance snapshots are taken every 24 hours to ensure data safety.

The DevOps Alpha Platoon graduation ceremony and demonstrations can be seen in full on Code Platoon’s YouTube channel. Congratulations once again to the DevOps Alpha Platoon!


From Novice to Ninja: Essential Tips for Solving Coding Challenges for Beginners

Stepping into the world of coding may initially seem like learning a new language from another planet. However, with the right approach and guidance, you can unravel the intricacies and swiftly become proficient. As a teaching assistant at Code Platoon, I understand the struggles beginners often encounter. In this blog post, I will delve with you into essential tips for solving coding challenges that can transform a novice into a coding ninja.

1. Understand the Problem

Before you dive into coding, take a moment to fully understand the problem you are trying to solve. Read the problem multiple times, underline key points, and paraphrase it in your own words. Consider drawing diagrams or creating pseudo-code to visualize the problem and the desired outcome.

2. Break it Down

Breaking down the problem into smaller, more manageable pieces makes it less intimidating and easier to solve. As the ancient proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Each coding challenge is a puzzle, and each piece of the puzzle is a step towards your solution.

3. Plan Your Approach

After understanding and breaking down the problem, the next step is to design a solution. Plan your approach strategically. What kind of data structures and algorithms will be most effective? What functions might you need? Outlining your strategy before diving into coding will save you time and reduce errors.

4. Start Coding

Now it’s time to bring your plan to life. Start coding using the approach you outlined. It’s important to write clean, concise, and readable code. Remember to add comments to your code – it not only helps others understand your logic but also helps you maintain a coherent flow.

5. Test Your Code

Testing is a critical part of coding. Run your code with different test cases to make sure it’s working as expected. Check edge cases to verify your code can handle all possible inputs. If you encounter errors, don’t panic – debugging is part of the process.

6. Refactor and Optimize Your Code

Once your code is working correctly, take a moment to review it. Can it be more efficient? Can you make it cleaner and more readable? Always strive to optimize your code to be more efficient and maintainable.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Coding, like any other skill, improves with practice. Engage in daily coding exercises, participate in coding challenges, and practice problem-solving on platforms like LeetCode. As you tackle more and more problems, you’ll start seeing patterns and become more comfortable with different coding challenges.

Embarking on your coding journey can seem daunting, but remember that every expert was once a beginner. Use these tips as a roadmap to guide you through solving coding challenges. Keep an open mind, be patient with yourself, and remember that every problem you solve brings you one step closer to becoming a seasoned coder.

Robert Sears is an Army Veteran turned computer science student. He enjoys contributing to the Veteran community and works as a teaching assistant for Code Platoon. In his free time, he loves powerlifting and spending time with his cat, Merlin.


Best practices for your LinkedIn profile photo during your military transition

First impressions are critical. When recruiters and hiring managers like what they see on your resume, they often do their due diligence and look you up on social media. 

But what truly is the most essential part of your profile? It’s your headshot! According to LinkedIn, “research shows that just having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.”

Our Chicago-based students in the Uniform cohort were lucky to have professional headshots taken by Karla Livney for their LinkedIn profiles. Livney, who donated her time and expertise, believes that “what makes a headshot ‘great’ and distinguishes you from the pack is an authenticity and genuineness that shines through in the eyes and the smile—a palpable connection between photographer and client. Knowledge of lighting and camera is essential, but you really need to find a photographer with whom you feel comfortable.”  

If you weren’t in Chicago to model for Karla Livney’s shoot at Code Platoon, sign up for a photographer from Portraits For Patriots®. According to their website, their volunteer photographers create “portfolio-quality images that showcase the strength and determination” of transitioning service members and military spouses, free of charge.

Remember, your LinkedIn profile photo significantly influences how others perceive you professionally. By following these best practices, you can present yourself in the best possible light and positively impact potential employers, recruiters, and industry peers.

  • Dress professionally and appropriately for your industry – not too casual or too formal
  • Friendly and approachable expression – this may not be how you were trained in the military, but SMILE at least a little
  • Clear, well-lit, and in-focus, the head takes up 60% of the frame
  • Up-to-date photo – don’t create confusion by using an image from over five years ago
  • Good posture and eye contact exudes confidence
  • Neutral background – the focus should be on you
  • Square photo of at least 400×400 pixels, jpg, png, and under 8MB for faster loading
  • No selfies. This is your professional brand, not your personal social media.
  • Not a group shot – don’t edit others out.

Katherine is Code Platoon’s Career Services Coordinator and works with Code Platoon graduates as they seek tech jobs. She comes to this role after many years serving on various nonprofit boards and as Executive Director of Skin of Steel, a melanoma research and awareness organization. She holds a BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College and an MS in Clinical Neuropsychology from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. She is the proud daughter of a Navy Reserve Captain.

What lessons from history will shape the future for military developers using AI Chatbots?

In the worlds of military development and software engineering, history provides valuable insights. As a former Airborne Infantryman and history buff, I like to research how my predecessors did things. The Sky Soldiers of WWII offer a great deal of inspiration, after all. 

One of the questions I recently dug into was, How much gear did someone in the 101st Airborne carry when they jumped into Normandy on D-Day? I discovered that the weight carried into battle in 1944 was remarkably similar to my loadout as I walked the streets of places like Tikrit, Iraq – they just had less stuff. 

Sixty to seventy pounds of gear on an average patrol has been standard for decades, but what composes that has changed a great deal. Advancements in technology have allowed us to carry much more ammunition, medical supplies, and food without a change in overall weight.

This development offers a significant lesson in the history of software engineering and technology. When reductions in size, weight, or cost (or all of these) occur, it rarely results in an overall net decrease in usage or less energy expended at the end goal. Instead, these advancements make coding more efficient, refining workflows and enabling tasks to be completed faster.

I offer this example to suggest that, given historical realities, technologies like AI Chatbots will not take the jobs of software developers and engineers. Rather, AI will enable them to increase the speed at which they accomplish tasks, so long as they adapt to the new technology. AI will help software engineers do more of what they are doing and do it more quickly and efficiently.

I recall using a calculator for the first time when I was about eight years old and thinking, Why do I need to learn math? Won’t this do it all for me?

Well, that was around 1981, and here we are in 2023 with mathematicians still in demand. Mathematics remains a highly respected field in academia and business, despite massive increases in machine computing ability at nearly everyone’s fingertips in the workforce. 

Some may counter that AI is a substantial leap forward from my comparisons, possibly even one that eclipses all other advancements by orders of magnitude. I am not an expert in the field, so it is not my place to say whether that is true. Instead, I offer the following two points to consider.

First, be leery of anyone making absolutist claims about the unknown. In the last week, I’ve read statements that range from “AI Chatbots will kill us all” to “They are nothing more than a Wikipedia you can talk to.” Both extremes seem problematic, mainly because we don’t fully know yet. 

Second, acquaint yourself early with new technologies if you want to work in the software engineering field (and probably even if you don’t). Learning to use and maximize a new technology will nearly always be better than remaining ignorant of it.

In other words, AI is not something to shy away from, so don’t let this new tool pass you by. Embrace the opportunity it presents by actively engaging with chatbots and learning how they can help you improve your software engineering skills.

Greg Drobny is a former Airborne Infantryman, PSYOP Team Chief, political consultant, professional military blogger, and Code Platoon’s Student Outreach and Recruitment Manager. He holds a BA and MA in history and an MS in organizational psychology. He is married with four children who keep him more than slightly busy, and is passionate about helping Veterans find their paths in life and develop the skills needed to pursue their goals.