5 Essential Soft Skills for Software Engineers

In the dynamic world of software engineering, mastering the art of coding and familiarizing yourself with the latest technologies are pivotal steps toward building a successful career. However, for Veterans and military spouses embarking on this journey, it’s crucial to recognize that technical prowess alone doesn’t guarantee success. According to the Career Education Review, a staggering 97% of employers believe soft skills significantly impact job performance, underscoring their importance in the professional arena.

While there’s a broad consensus on the value of soft skills for software engineers, identifying the most crucial ones can be a subject of debate. Here are five essential soft skills that every software engineer should cultivate to not only excel in their roles but also propel their careers forward.

Communication

Clear and effective communication is the cornerstone of success in any role, and software development is no exception. The ability to articulate complex technical concepts understandably to non-technical team members is invaluable. It ensures that user requirements are accurately interpreted and met, facilitates seamless collaboration, and bridges the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholders. 

Leadership

Leadership extends beyond a managerial position; it’s about inspiring and guiding your peers toward achieving collective goals. For software engineers, leadership involves mentoring fellow developers, fostering a culture of open communication, and leading by example. The ability to motivate your team, articulate a clear vision, and navigate through challenges sets competent engineers apart from truly exceptional ones.

Critical Thinking

The world of software development is filled with complex problems and challenges. Critical thinking enables engineers to analyze situations, identify patterns, and devise innovative solutions. It’s about approaching problems with a creative mindset and a willingness to explore unconventional solutions. 

Time Management

Software projects often come with deadlines and competing priorities. Effective time management is a non-negotiable skill for software engineers. It’s about prioritizing tasks, setting realistic deadlines, and delivering quality work within stipulated timelines. 

Self-Learning

The tech industry is always evolving, with new programming languages, frameworks, and technologies emerging at a rapid pace. Self-learning is a critical skill that allows engineers to stay ahead of the curve. It involves a proactive approach to personal and professional development, a curiosity to explore new domains, and the resilience to overcome learning challenges. 

As Veterans and military spouses transition into the world of software engineering, embracing these soft skills alongside technical expertise can enhance their career prospects. It’s not just about coding; it’s about building a well-rounded skill set that includes communication, leadership, critical thinking, time management, and self-learning. These skills could be the difference that distinguishes a competent software engineer from an outstanding one.

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.

Transitioning Out of the Military? Discover How SkillBridge Can Help You Succeed in Your Next Career

Are you a US military member preparing to transition out of the service and wondering about your next career move? Look no further than the DoD SkillBridge program—a valuable program designed to assist Servicemembers in gaining civilian work experience before they separate from the military.

What is SkillBridge?

SkillBridge—also known as the Career Skills Program (CSP) in the Army—is an innovative program that allows eligible military members who are within their last 180 days of service to participate in civilian job training, internships, and apprenticeships during their last 180 days of service. This program provides a unique opportunity for transitioning Servicemembers to gain valuable skills and experience in a civilian workplace, helping them seamlessly transition into the workforce.

How Does SkillBridge Work?

Servicemembers can explore a wide range of approved SkillBridge programs offered by participating companies and organizations. Once a suitable opportunity is identified, Servicemembers can apply and, upon acceptance, begin their training or apprenticeship during their final 180 days of service.

Benefits of SkillBridge for Transitioning Servicemembers

  • Hands-On Experience: SkillBridge provides hands-on experience in a civilian work environment, allowing Servicemembers to apply their military skills to real-world scenarios.
  • Industry Connections: By participating in SkillBridge or the Career Skills Program, military members have the opportunity to network with professionals in their desired industry, potentially leading to job offers post-service.
  • Smooth Transition: SkillBridge helps ease the transition from military to civilian life by providing practical work experience and in-demand skills for the job market.
  • Career Exploration: SkillBridge allows Servicemembers to explore different career paths and industries, helping them make informed decisions about their post-military career goals.
  • Resume Building: Completing a SkillBridge program adds value to a Servicemember’s resume, demonstrating their commitment to professional development and readiness for civilian employment.
  • Financial Support: In addition to gaining valuable experience and skills, Servicemembers will continue to receive military stipends and benefits while participating in SkillBridge or the Career Skills Program.

SkillBridge and the Career Skills Program are fantastic resources for US military members preparing to transition out of the service. By participating in these programs, Servicemembers can gain valuable experience, build connections, and enhance their employability in the civilian workforce. Take advantage of SkillBridge today and pave the way for a successful transition into your next career!

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 he is passionate about helping Veterans find their paths in life and develop the skills needed to pursue their goals.

DevOps E&W Alpha Platoon Final Projects

Code Platoon celebrated DevOps and Cloud Engineering Evening & Weekend Alpha Platoon graduation on Saturday, March 9, 2024. Five dedicated Veteran and military spouse students immersed themselves in DevOps methodologies and tools throughout the course. Their DevOps and Cloud Engineering: Evening & Weekend program culminated in two final projects showcasing their proficiency with DevOps principles, technologies, and tools.

Let’s explore the final projects presented during their graduation ceremony.

Pokeclone

First up was the Pokeclone team comprising of a Marine Corps Veteran, an Army Veteran, and an Army spouse. Their project deployed Pokeclone, a Pokemon game developed by our Full-stack Software Engineering Victor Platoon graduates.

The Pokeclone team used DevOps tools like Terraform for Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Docker for Containerization to automate and streamline deployment on Amazon Web Services (AWS). By adding DevOps features like Cloudwatch for monitoring performance and Amazon EventBridge for continuous testing, the DevOps graduates improved the security, efficiency, and scalability of the PokeClone web application. 

“My favorite part of working on Pokeclone was the collaboration. Each team member brought a diverse skill set and was dedicated to the deployment of our project,” said Edwin Quito, a Marine Corps Veteran. “From building the AWS infrastructure and Dockerizing the application to implementing CI/CD through GitHub and configuring the Kubernetes manifest files, every step was a testament to our collective effort and expertise.” Check out their final project presentation.

Dino Stocks

The Dino Stocks team of a Navy Veteran and an Army Veteran prioritized scalability and rapid deployment of their final project. Leveraging Github for version control and Github Actions for Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), the Veterans established a resilient infrastructure that deploys updates to the Dino Stocks web app in just three minutes.

The team deployed Dino Stocks to Amazon EKS, and their Agile sprints enabled the swift completion of their project. 

“Diving into Kubernetes and Docker was my favorite part of working on this project,” said Chad Thompson-Smith, Navy Veteran and DevOps E&W Alpha Platoon graduate. “A major hurdle we faced was effectively configuring the frontend to backend communication. The game-changer was when we implemented an NGINX layer, acting as a proxy to streamline our React app’s configuration. This strategy significantly reduced the need for front-end code alterations.” See the DevOps and cloud engineering practices on display in the team’s Dino Stocks final presentation.

To check out Code Platoon’s DevOps & Cloud Engineering program, head over to our YouTube channel where you can watch recorded DevOps class lectures or start learning Python with our free Intro to Coding Python playlist.

Military Spouses: From the home front to the tech front

Navigating the professional landscape can be challenging for military spouses, whose career paths often need to be adaptable to the demands and unpredictability of military life. Software engineering and development offer an ideal solution, providing the kind of flexibility and resilience that aligns perfectly with the unique needs of military spouses seeking a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Military spouses often find themselves in a constant cycle of job hunting and career readjustment, trying to find meaningful employment that can accommodate their transient lifestyle. The traditional 9-to-5 job can be impractical, with moves every few years limiting long-term career development in any location. Moreover, employers may hesitate to hire military spouses, fearing their tenure will be short-lived. These factors contribute to higher unemployment rates among military spouses than their civilian counterparts.

Why Software Engineering?

The tech industry is known for growth, a high demand for skilled professionals, and flexibility. Software engineering, in particular, offers the possibility of remote work, adaptable schedules, and a culture of inclusivity and continuous learning. These attributes are not just desirable but necessary for military spouses who need careers that can move with them and grow as they do.

Code Platoon specializes in transforming Veterans and military spouses into highly skilled software engineers. Our program is designed to teach the full web development stack, including Python, Django, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Importantly, no previous programming skills are required to start this journey. Code Platoon also provides flexible learning options like remote /virtual, full-time, and evening and weekend programs. 

Proven Success

The effectiveness of Code Platoon’s approach is clear in our outcomes. In the last two years, 74% of our graduates have found software engineering positions within six months of completing the program. The impact on their financial well-being is significant, with a median starting salary of $85,000. This figure rises to an impressive median salary of $115,000 within 24 months.

A Path Forward

For military spouses, Code Platoon represents more than just an educational opportunity; it’s a pathway to a rewarding career that accommodates the realities of military life. Code Platoon provides remote learning options designed to accommodate the demands and challenges of life as a military spouse. Code Platoon also offers a range of full and partial scholarships for military spouses. More than 90% of military spouses received financial support last year alone.

“A major benefit of attending Code Platoon was the financial assistance. As a spouse, I wasn’t eligible for the GI Bill or VET TEC. Still, I received a full military spouse scholarship, making it possible for me to pursue a career in Software Engineering without worrying about the financial burden of paying for tuition, “ said Lily Yang, Army spouse and Sierra Platoon grad.

“Being a military spouse has shaped me with adaptability and resilience. As a spouse, I had five jobs in five different industries. I think spouses excel at project management and quick turnarounds. We’re flexible and resilient,” said Hui Zhao, who graduated from Code Platoon’s Evening and Weekend program.

The journey of a military spouse is one of resilience and adaptability. Code Platoon recognizes and honors this journey by providing a practical, supportive route to a career in software engineering. If you’re a military spouse seeking a rewarding career that matches your lifestyle, consider the transformative power of Code Platoon. 

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.

QuickPass: The Fast Lane to Software Engineering Success

Are you a Veteran, Servicemember, or military spouse ready to transition to tech? Do you prefer hands-on learning experiences with immediate results? Look no further than QuickPass: an accelerated route to joining Code Platoon. 

QuickPass isn’t just another application process; it’s a dynamic enrollment method tailored for prospective students ready to hit the ground running. Completing QuickPass guarantees acceptance for Code Platoon, ensuring a seamless transition for aspiring coders. The classes—occurring three evenings per week over a period of three weeks—blend lectures and hands-on practice with a dedicated instructor, equipping participants with the foundation to thrive in intensive coding bootcamps.

“My biggest motivator for enrolling in QuickPass was to learn programming fundamentals quickly and with a live class,” said Neka Blair, a military spouse who completed QuickPass to Whiskey Platoon. 

“Having an instructor specifically for our session helped me and my classmates cement the coding concepts. When someone had a question or needed something explained, the instructor was right there to guide us. We would get immediate feedback on our practice work.”

Beyond mastering the fundamentals, QuickPass provides comprehensive support throughout the enrollment process for Coding Bootcamp. Participants work closely with our enrollment team, coordinating VA benefits and scholarships, completing SkillBridge requirements, and enrolling in the upcoming program of their choice.

“I enjoyed QuickPass. It was intense, but the class pace was doable,” said Neka. “Having live instruction, practicing coding daily, and tackling the coding challenges during QuickPass were all invaluable. I went from barely any coding experience to nine hours per week of QuickPass sessions to now 40 hours per week in the Immersive Bootcamp. It was a great way to ramp up to the program.”

In our initial trial, nine QuickPass participants transitioned to the Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive program, solidifying QuickPass as a pathway to success.

“I won’t lie, QuickPass required a lot of us, but we grew from the experience,” said Neka. “QuickPass showed me how much I can learn and that I’m capable of great things. It definitely prepared me for Code Platoon.”

Whether you’re starting with minimal coding experience or looking to enhance your skills, QuickPass empowers you for your transition to tech. Enroll in our next QuickPass session and take the first step toward accelerating your coding journey.

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. Outside work, she enjoys playing video games and Dungeons & Dragons with her friends.

Commanding the Cloud: An Air Force Veteran’s Journey to DevOps Engineering

Veteran Officer Chris “Dizz” Dzikowski spent his service supporting Air Force personnel. When he left the military because of a family emergency, Dizz traded working in the clouds for deploying Cloud-based software as a civilian DevOps Engineer. His transition showcases how military skills combine with software expertise, helping him and other Veterans master DevOps and Cloud Engineering at Code Platoon and beyond.

The former Air Battle Manager’s journey began when he enlisted in the Air Force in 2007 to enter computer networking. Dizz was only in IT Systems Operations for about a year, but it introduced him to his DevOps career.

“Many DevOps fundamentals still resemble their Systems Operations roots: ensuring technical systems perform optimally. DevOps is just implemented with Cloud computing,” Dizz says. “When I first got into tech, the Cloud didn’t exist, so the systems I used to work with were all tied to physical servers in different locations. Now, the Cloud connects a global network of these servers, so the resources I need are available on demand 24/7. It’s a paradigm shift.

The best way to understand DevOps is by breaking down the word itself. ‘Dev’ stands for developers, the people who create software applications, while ‘Ops’ refers to operations, which includes managing the application’s network, storage, and maintenance. By combining these roles, ‘DevOps’ enables professionals like me to rapidly iterate and automate essential deployment operations, ensuring smooth and predictable software deployments.

Dizz left his IT AFSC behind for more responsibility as an Air Force Officer. He developed problem-solving and risk-management skills essential to both his Officer role and future DevOps career, but his thirst for tech challenges remained unquenched.

A turning point would arrive from an unlikely source:

“I read a book about a car parts manufacturer using DevOps philosophy to turn the company around,” Dizz says. “It was fiction, but DevOps Engineering and its applications resonated with me. It reminded me of what I loved about tech.”

The novel couldn’t have come at a better time. After fourteen years in the Air Force, Dizz was sent back down the technology path by family and, later, international emergencies.

When family needs back home in Chicago arose, Dizz applied to separate from the Air Force before his retirement date. On the positive side, returning to Chicago would allow him to apply tor Code Platoon’s In-person Software Engineering Bootcamp via the DoD SkillBridge program for transitioning Servicemembers. Unfortunately, the rising conflict in Ukraine revoked Dizz’s SkillBridge plans, but he uncovered an even better option: Code Platoon’s first DevOps and Cloud Engineering Bootcamp.

“It was an easy choice. Code Platoon had the only DevOps training program I found. It was designed for the military community, the program included essential AWS certifications in the Cloud Engineering curriculum, and my tuition was completely paid for by a Veteran scholarship.”

Dizz worked hard during Bootcamp and gained hands-on experience from real projects deploying web applications. After graduating, he was selected as a DevOps Engineering apprentice with corporate partner Geneva Trading, where he immediately dove in.

“I started participating meaningfully in my team’s projects on my first morning. I began making changes to our software after only one week. I still use Bash scripting on Linux, AWS deployment, and Ansible configuration management daily. Code Platoon perfectly prepared me to be a DevOps Engineer,” he says.

Every day on the job is different, but Dizz’s favorite part is problem-solving. He loves learning how to apply his toolset to the processes the DevOps Engineering team already has in place.

“Last week, I needed to containerize and deploy a Java executable. Even though I hadn’t used Java much, I learned how to apply my DevOps skills from Code Platoon to the new tools I was given and deployed the product.”

Another benefit to Dizz’s apprenticeship has been experiencing the fast-paced, high-impact environment of technology at Geneva Trading and learning from his new colleagues.

“One of my major concerns transitioning out of the military was the potential lack of purpose in the civilian world, but my apprenticeship at Geneva Trading has been dynamic and purposeful. Geneva is in growth mode, which means that operations are swift. I contribute significantly every single day,” Dizz says. “I work with great people. The snacks in the breakroom are great too!”

“I’ve learned Veterans make excellent DevOps Engineers because we’re unphased by change. DevOps moves fast as technology advances, but change is the way of life for us. Leaving the military mid-career was a little scary, but I’m glad I made the career shift. If I had to go back, I’d definitely embrace this opportunity again.”

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.

JavaScript: A Beginner’s Guide to Coding

Are you new to the world of coding and software development? JavaScript is a fantastic first programming language to learn, and here’s why it’s a great choice for beginners looking to dive into programming and web development.

Why JavaScript is a good coding language for beginners:

  • It’s everywhere: JavaScript is the language of the web. If you want to build websites or web applications, JavaScript is a must-have skill.
  • It’s relatively easy to learn: Compared to some other languages, JavaScript has a more forgiving syntax and is generally considered beginner-friendly.
  • It’s versatile: Once you know JavaScript, you can use it for a variety of things, from building websites to creating mobile apps and games.

Learning the basics of JavaScript has become more accessible than ever before. There are tons of resources available, including online courses, YouTube videos, and challenges for beginners.

  • Online JavaScript Courses: Taking online courses is an excellent first step to learning JavaScript. There are many different courses available for free. Many options are self-paced, so you don’t have to worry about falling behind or feeling rushed. 
  • Here’s a list of the top five free online JavaScript courses for beginners, ideal for those preparing to apply to a coding bootcamp:
    • Learn JavaScript (Scrimba): This course offers over 140 interactive coding challenges and the chance to build four projects, including a Chrome Extension. It provides a hands-on approach to learning JavaScript fundamentals in a 10.38-hour course​​.
    • JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures (freeCodeCamp): This comprehensive course covers basic JavaScript, ES6, regular expressions, basic data structures, Object-Oriented Programming, and functional programming. It’s interactive and concludes with certification upon completion​​.
    • Learn JavaScript (Codecademy): This course provides a concise introduction to JavaScript fundamentals in about 20 hours. It includes 11 lessons covering conditionals, functions, arrays, and more, making it ideal for absolute beginners​​.
    • Intro to Coding (Code Platoon):  Intro to Coding is a free, self-paced online course designed especially for beginners. This 11-session course featuring seven hours of video instruction will teach you two things – JavaScript fundamentals, including JavaScript syntax, and problem-solving. The course also features over 120 coding practice challenges.
  • JavaScript Tutorials on YouTube: There are many different JavaScript YouTube channels available. Here are three popular JavaScript video tutorials and YouTube channels that provide beginner-friendly coding information:
    • Clever Programmer: Run by Rafeh Qazi, this channel focuses on web development and programming, with a mix of in-depth tutorials and interactive content in JavaScript. Qazi’s teaching style is fun and engaging, emphasizing practical learning​​​​.
    • Codecademy: Codecademy’s YouTube channel offers a range of tutorials in various programming languages, including JavaScript. Their videos are well-suited for absolute beginners, providing step-by-step guides​​.
    • Code Platoon: As a nonprofit coding bootcamp, Code Platoon makes all of its program content and lectures available for free on its YouTube channel. This includes their Intro to Coding JavaScript course, which is designed for beginners. (They also have an Intro to Coding Python course available.)
  • Interactive JavaScript Coding Challenges: If you want to practice your JavaScript skills, there are many coding challenge platforms available online. A popular site you might want to check out: 
    • Codewars: This platform offers a large number of challenges and supports a wide range of programming languages. It has a strong community aspect, encouraging users to create challenges and participate in the site’s social elements. 

Stepping Stone to a Career in Tech

JavaScript’s flexibility and the extensive support community make it an outstanding first choice for individuals venturing into coding and software development.

For those at the starting point of their tech journey, learning JavaScript is a strategic move. It lays a solid foundation for a career in web development or software engineering. As you grow more comfortable with the basics, consider taking the next step with an Immersive coding bootcamp like Code Platoon, tailored to equip you with the skills needed for a successful career in tech.

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.

Victor Platoon Final Projects

The Veteran and military spouse members of Victor Platoon recently completed their Coding Bootcamp and presented their final coding projects during graduation. These final projects showcase the software engineering skills of the Veterans and military spouses who graduated from the 15-week Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive program. Check out their web applications below.

Sacred Scrolls 

Developed by an Air Force Spouse, two Army Veterans, and a Marine Corps Reservist, Sacred Scrolls reflects the team’s desire to create connections through diverse religious perspectives. The app helps users compare verses from different religious texts. Users can save favorite verses, create journal entries, and search for keywords across the Bible, Quran, and Bhagavad Gita. 

The Bible and Quran verses come from a third-party API, while the Bhagavad Gita is pulled from a GitHub repository, adapted using a Python script, and added to the team’s PostgreSQL database. Check out their presentation.

Dino Stocks

Dino Stocks blends education and entertainment by teaching children the basics of stock trading with a dinosaur theme. Users can buy and sell dino stocks, manage portfolios, and track hourly changes in their dino stock shares.

The Dino Stocks team–two Air Force Servicemembers, a Navy Servicemember, and an Air Force Veteran–used React JavaScript library on the front end and a Python-based Django Framework on the back end. They also used Celery to update the dino stock prices and users’ portfolios stored in the PostgreSQL database every hour from a third-party API.

CragMentor

CragMentor guides rock climbers to new heights. The app’s algorithm generates a personalized training “pyramid” based on the user’s climbing goals. The pyramid uses a weighted score system to suggest increasingly difficult training climbs in the user’s area until the user reaches their goal. All these climbs appear on a Places API-powered map in CragMentor.

Developed by a Navy Veteran, an active duty Marine Corpsman, two Army Veterans, and an active duty Soldier, CragMentor utilizes Bootstrap React UI, React Icons, and an AWS EC2 instance for deployment.

Poke Clone

Poke Clone users can relive classic Pokemon adventures created with React and Django by an Army Veteran, active duty Soldier, and active duty Airman. 

Players can battle and capture wild Pokemon with attacks determined by a random number generator. After battles, the app saves levels, experience, skills, and health to the PostgreSQL database, storing every user’s Pokemon data. Transport yourself back to the era of Pokemon Red and Blue with the Poke Clone presentation.

If you like what you saw, visit our YouTube channel to see more student projects, access recorded lectures, and watch our Intro to Coding videos for aspiring software developers. Congratulations to the Victor Platoon graduates for their outstanding final projects!

What is VR&E?

The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, offers crucial assistance to Veterans with service-connected disabilities, aiding their transition to meaningful civilian careers. This program, previously named Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Voc Rehab), is structured into five distinct tracks:

  • Reemployment: Facilitates Veterans’ return to pre-deployment jobs, including adjustments or accommodations for any service-related disabilities.
  • Rapid Access to Employment: Aids Veterans in leveraging their existing skills for new employment, providing job search tools, resume writing, and interview preparation.
  • Self-Employment: Supports Veterans with entrepreneurial aspirations, offering business plan development, small business training, and resources for successful business establishment.
  • Employment Through Long-Term Services: Assists Veterans facing difficulties in their current roles due to service-connected disabilities, helping them transition to fields that align better with their abilities and interests.
  • Independent Living: Designed for Veterans who are limited in daily activities or not immediately able to return to work, offering counseling, resource referrals, and accessibility evaluations.

Eligibility and Application

Eligibility for VR&E services requires a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% and an honorable discharge status. Veterans can apply online at va.gov or by calling 1-800-827-1000.

Your Path to Code Platoon with VR&E

Code Platoon is a unique opportunity for Veterans and military members like you to dive into the world of software engineering. By using VR&E benefits, you can embark on a transformative journey with Code Platoon’s immersive training programs. These programs are designed to equip you with the skills needed in today’s tech-driven world, from full-stack development to DevOps engineering.

How to Use VR&E for Code Platoon

  • Determine Eligibility: Ensure you meet the VR&E eligibility criteria.
  • Apply for VR&E Benefits: Use the online platform or the contact number above.
  • Select Code Platoon: When exploring your training options under VR&E, opt for Code Platoon’s comprehensive software engineering programs.
  • Complete the application process to attend Code Platoon.
  • Embark on Your Journey: Once approved, you’re set to start at Code Platoon, with a community ready to welcome and support you.

Your military background has instilled in you discipline, resilience, and a unique perspective—traits highly valued in the tech industry. With VR&E benefits and Code Platoon’s dedicated training, the path to a rewarding career in software engineering is not just a dream but a tangible reality. Embrace this opportunity and take the first step towards a dynamic future in technology. Remember, your skills, experience, and determination can open doors to incredible possibilities in the tech world.

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 he is passionate about helping Veterans find their paths in life and develop the skills needed to pursue their goals.

Transforming Veteran Tech Training with AI Curriculum

Today, we have some exciting news: Code Platoon is adding AI to our tech training curriculum! Our students will learn how to use generative Artificial Intelligence tools (which I’ll just call AI) to supercharge their learning, coding productivity, and the apps they build. We’re taking a holistic approach and integrating AI skills in these areas into all our programs.

Our mission at Code Platoon is to equip Veterans and military spouses with tools and skills that will greatly aid their transition to careers in tech. With those skills, our graduates go on to create successful software engineering careers across various industries and disciplines. 

Deciding to integrate AI into our curriculum wasn’t as straightforward as it seems. AI is making waves, but the fundamentals of coding are unchanged. We wanted to ensure that students using AI wouldn’t hinder their growth by bypassing the very real need for understanding the fundamentals.

So, we did our homework. The instructional team reviewed studies that measured the impact of AI on software engineering education to guide our curriculum development. We evaluated AI tools from a learner’s perspective. We looked at where the industry is going. 

We also talked with current students, alumni, employer partners, and industry experts to gain their opinions about AI in the workplace. They told us that AI skills are in high demand and that the ability to use AI coding tools is becoming more common for developers across all skill levels. 

Integrating AI into Code Platoon’s curriculum is about more than just training in AI tools – it’s an opportunity to level up our students. We’re giving them the power to understand, adapt, and lead in this ever-evolving tech landscape.

The goal of our approach is to enrich our students with a solid foundation of AI concepts. In the early weeks of the program, we will talk about AI Ethics and Security so our students know how to use AI responsibly. As they progress through the Bootcamp, we will introduce new AI concepts and techniques, each related to the programming skills they are learning. Finally, students will have the chance to apply their AI knowledge in hands-on projects to show their understanding. This helps prepare them to confidently and responsibly wield AI. 

We’re rolling these updates out with Whiskey Platoon—the current Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive cohort—but over the coming months, every single Code Platoon program will have the new AI curriculum integrated into their curriculum. And I’ll be sharing updates and letting you see this AI training in action at Code Platoon.

Nick Smith is Code Platoon’s Program Manager and is a retired Air Force Problem Solver. He volunteers full-time at the world’s best theology school and wants to make a game about the Bible. He currently lives in Florida, where he enjoys the great weather from the comfort of his home.