Beer Making Analogy

Software Engineering vs. Software Developing vs. Data Science: an Analysis Using…Beer Making.

We get many questions at Code Platoon about the terms used in the title of this article, often specifically related to whether or not we offer classes in those particular fields. But because we strive to address these inquiries in the most thorough way possible, it only makes sense to provide answers via the military and Veteran community’s favorite cool, refreshing drink.

Beer.

Why beer, you ask? Well, I’m glad you did because you just outed yourself as an imposter. After all, no one in the military or Veteran community would question the power of beer. 

Report yourself as a spy, and may they have mercy upon you. 

For those who passed, let’s move forward. First, it is important to recognize that many terms get used interchangeably due to the nature of the world of technology. So it could very well be the case that someone is using words like “engineering” and “developing” to mean the same thing—like using “lager” and “beer,” for example.

But we can dig into each of these terms using the Brewmeister construct to understand them a bit better to make a more informed decision about which path is right for you.

Let’s start by imagining a relatively wealthy friend of yours who wants to craft a new beer. He employs you, the developer, to first figure out what tastes good to him and determine the style and platform of delivery. 

Does he want a lager, an ale, or a stout, and what should the alcohol content be? And what subtype within one of those styles most suits his taste? Dry Irish, Imperial, Coffee, and Milk are all types of stouts, so figuring out the nuances of each according to desires and needs all fall under the purview of a developer’s role.

Note that we’ve already gone beyond the typical military desires of “cold” and “a lot” for descriptors, so more technical knowledge is needed. 

Now let’s say that the flavor is dialed in, and the moneyman who sought the new beer is pleased with what was developed but wants to bring it to a larger audience and capitalize on this fresh, great taste you have discovered. It’s time to bring in the engineer.

Does the new brew meet quality standards? Is it consistently flavored between bottles 5 and 500? Can that be maintained for 5,000 more, and does that consistency meet all legal, safety, and ethical requirements for consumer protection purposes?

These are all areas of focus for the engineer, whose job is to ensure these standards are met—and met consistently. 

But what if your wealthy friend wants to take your new brand to a truly unique level? Then you will need to understand how it is received across a bigger and broader spectrum. 

In taste tests, how well is received by people when compared to other brands? And is there a way we can break this down by demographics—for example, does your new beer resonate more with officers or enlisted personnel? Does the likability skew more towards younger or older consumers? Male or female? Does the brand imagery hold more appeal to one group over another, or is it attractive across a broader spectrum?

To make sense of all these answers, including collecting them and categorizing them—you’ll need to employ a data scientist. It is their job to extrapolate and understand the facts about what the product does and to whom.

Bringing this analogy back to its original purpose (as if there were a bigger purpose than beer!), we can see how this applies to the software by merely replacing “new beer” with “new app” or “new software.” In light of that, it is easy to see how development and engineering have a lot of overlap, but the data scientist is in a bit of a different category. 

Code Platoon offers a full-stack curriculum that gives students the fundamental understanding of code writing that will form a foundation for either software development or software engineering—they can come up with a style of beer out of thin air, or they can make a new beer more consistent and palatable to a broader audience. And although this will help create tools to assist in the data analysis process, that field is moving more into the arena of statistics and statistical evaluation. 

If you are wondering why Code Platoon does not offer classes in data science, the answer is simply that our focus is on a full-stack curriculum geared towards software and coding. Our suggestion to those interested in data science in addition to what we do is to take a class or two on statistics and statistical analysis and pair that with the knowledge of Python you’ll learn at Code Platoon (data scientists tend to use Python). Economics and business analytics-themed courses would be a great addition to what a full-stack curriculum has brought you.

 Only you can decide which is the right path for you, of course. Understanding that these skills do somewhat overlap and understanding the code that underlies all of it will do nothing but help in any area.

 To put it in the theme of the current topic, beer creators can also compare with others how their brew tastes, and there is nothing to stop them from learning how to analyze how other people react to it. Because who doesn’t like a well-rounded approach to that classic libation?

Greg Drobny is a former Airborne Infantryman, PSYOP Team Chief, political consultant, professional mil blogger, and is Code Platoon’s Student Outreach Coordinator. He holds a BA in history, a Masters of Science in organizational psychology and is currently pursuing an MA in history. 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.

My Code Platoon Journey

My Journey to Code Platoon -Preparing for November Platoon

This post is part two of a series of posts by Cristian Baeza that document his Code Platoon journey from choosing a Bootcamp through his classes as part of the upcoming November Platoon.

With November Platoon starting on February 1st, Code Platoon provided a month-long prework that is common among coding bootcamps. Code Platoon’s prework, however, offers a different structure from other programs. 

First, this prework is only available to those enrolled in the program. Not to be confused with the Bootcamp Prep Course that anyone can attend (that I would highly recommend). During Thanksgiving week, I attended the initial prework Zoom meeting where a Code Platoon instructor explained how the next month would work. Along with access to the prework, everyone in my cohort received access to a private Slack channel. The channel essentially allowed the cohort to meet, discuss, and help each other out two months before the program even began. 

Having done the month-long Bootcamp Prep Course in July, the prework was a great refresher on algorithm challenges. Each week we had to complete three coding challenges and a graded assessment. I felt like this was a small number of challenges, but it allowed me to be proactive and spend time on other resources. I didn’t find them overly complicated, but some of the graded assessment questions were much harder, yet fun, to solve.

Additionally, each week had additional resources available to be better prepared. The prework provided a copy of Eloquent JavaScript (a great book) to review, and it got us started on our algorithm and data structures certificate on Freecodecamp.com (another great resource). There were also two scheduled “check-in” meetings during the month of the prework. In these meetings, I would meet with two of my future classmates and talk to a Code Platoon instructor. He asked us how we are doing and encouraged us to ask any questions that we might have about the prework or our upcoming cohort. 

The prework ran for about five weeks. The schedule would leave all of January without prework, but Code Platoon’s program gave us the study guide and resources to obtain an Amazon Web Services certification. I find this to be a huge plus, and the ability to get this certification, along with the Agile certification, is one of the main reasons I chose  Code Platoon.

The prework might have lacked in quantity of coding challenges. Still, it made up for it by connecting the whole cohort in the Slack channel, providing resources to obtain the AWS cert, and meeting with the instructors to answer any questions. The instructors were always willing to connect and answer any questions I had about the coding challenges or software development in general (shoutout to Ankur!). Any certification to pad our resumes is a fantastic opportunity to be competitive when applying for jobs in the future. Code Platoon certainly has provided that opportunity with this prework. 

Cristian Baeza is a Marine Veteran. Cristian has been accepted to Code Platoon’s November Platoon, which begins in February 2021. Cristian is sharing his Code Platoon Journey through a series of posts documenting his search for a Bootcamp, acceptance to Code Platoon, and his classroom experience throughout the 14-week immersive Bootcamp.

Intern Experience

The Intern Experience: Learning with Mike Platoon

At the end of August 2020, we accepted offers to be Code Platoon’s TA interns for their fall 2020 cohort, Mike Platoon.

As students studying Computer Science and Software Engineering, we spent previous semesters taking traditional CS/SE courses. Like our counterparts studying other subjects, we believed we would be able to find internships that would allow us to apply our in-class learnings to real-life challenges. 

We were wrong. 

After spending hours reading applicant qualifications for software development roles, we were bombarded with words like “front-end developer,” “backend developer,” “SQL,” “JavaScript,” and “React.” We came face-to-face with the reality that despite the fundamentals our CS/SE curriculums focused on, we were not adept in using these current industry technologies and languages. After seeing the Code Platoon TA intern opportunity open up that allowed for the dynamic of learning these skills and teaching, the decision to apply quickly followed.

Throughout the program, we sat through the lectures with all the students from the Mike Platoon cohort, studying a curriculum that focused on developing relevant skills for the full-stack development role. Utilizing off-hours and weekends, we were able to stay a couple of days ahead of the other students, which allowed us to serve as teaching assistants for the debugging process and gave us the ability to answer lingering questions. 

Although our time with the coding Bootcamp advanced our coding skills, we also gained much from the Beyond Tech sessions and Career Prep sessions, which covered topics ranging from mock interviews to salary negotiations and diversity in the workplace. Beyond Tech gave us a more realistic glimpse into the tech industry as a whole and what we can expect going in. The information gained from these “soft skills” sessions included some of our biggest takeaways, with information applicable to more than just a tech industry career.

If we could go back to the beginning of October and speak to ourselves and the students, we would advise them to continue asking questions. Everyone starts at a different place. Some students come in with a host of knowledge already, and some are starting from scratch. The key is to keep practicing what you’ve learned. If you’re confused about what you’re learning, ask questions. The internet and everyone in your cohort — both your instructional team and your classmates — is here to help you.

We are glad to have been allowed to work with fantastic people from Mike Platoon. We have learned so much from the journey. We know that the journey does not stop here and are excited to see what the future holds. It has been a pleasure working with everyone!

Merry Shen is a T.A. for Code Platoon’s 13th cohort, Mike Platoon. She is a rising Sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science and Mathematics. Follow Merry on LinkedIn

Alyssa Arce is a T.A. for Code Platoon’s 13th cohort, Mike Platoon. She is currently studying Software Engineering and Sustainability at Arizona State University. Follow Alyssa on LinkedIn or find her on Instagram.

Alumni in Action

Alumni in Action – Justin Savage, Software Developer

JPMorgan Chase is a leader in investment banking and financial services and the workplace of Code Platoon alumni Justin Savage, Kilo Platoon 2020. Justin interned with the company and now works there full-time as a software developer. As a developer, Justin analyzes what JPMorgan Chase’s users are looking for and develops software to meet those needs. Here’s a look at what he does in his own words.

“As a software developer, I collaborate with other engineers to determine and execute a plan to build new software features,” Justin said. “These features meet the overall need of a software service or, in other words, meet requirements for the users of that service.

“Developers design, test, and develop software for their company,” he said. “We also recommend upgrades for existing programs and systems. My team often works in two-week sprints to incrementally build out an entire system.” 

But the process for the teams creating the software doesn’t end once the system is built.

“We’re also part of making sure the software integrates seamlessly with the software of other teams,” Justin said. “Those responsibilities might typically fall to a QA or ‘development operations’ team at another company.

“My day at Chase starts with a daily stand-up, where each member of the team shares their priorities for the day,” he said. “After the stand-up, most of the developers head off to work individually on their tasks. That doesn’t mean we work alone. Throughout the day, we collaborate with other team members to address common issues or test out code.”

And Chase prioritizes culture in the workplace. “They provide a lot of opportunities to socialize with coworkers both on our team and throughout the department.”

Are you interested in becoming a software developer like Justin? Read up on the curriculum for our Bootcamp to see if Code Platoon is right for you.

Brynne Ramella is a full-time writer with a focus on technology and entertainment. She’s thrilled to use her talents to work with a great organization like Code Platoon. She spends most of her free time with her cat Marley.

 

Black and Hispanic Scholarships

Black and Hispanic Scholarship

Over the last few years, the conversation of equity has become front and center for many institutions, Code Platoon included. As a Coding Bootcamp tailored to serve Veterans and military spouses, Code Platoon attracts people from all walks of life. It is dedicated to providing a unique programming education with viable financial options to bring students closer to their next profession as software developers.

Thanks to the generosity of donors and corporate sponsors, Code Platoon has provided generous scholarships to many students, creating an affordable and attainable opportunity. Code Platoon will be offering a Black and Hispanic Scholarship to enrolled students to further diversity in the technology field.

Stack Overflow, a site for professional programmers to ask and share insights on the industry of programming conducted a global survey in 2019 to gauge who made up the field and what issues workers faced. In terms of demographics only, 3.6% of respondents stated their ethnicity as Black or of African descent. Those who responded coming from a Hispanic or Latin background was at 7.1%. 

Currently, unemployment numbers are difficult to pin down due to the uncertainty in the job market caused by the Coronavirus. However, in a recent study done the VA found that minority Veterans have a 44 percent higher risk of unemployment than non-minority Veterans. We know that our minority students face these challenges, and we believe that our Coding Bootcamp can help overcome these odds as 81% of our graduates find Full-Time employment as developers six months after completing the program. 

Given the unique experiences that the military can provide, employers have begun to recognize the Veterans’ values in the workforce. Ability to adapt, exposure to leadership, and a strong work ethic are just a few of the reasons Vets make great employees, and that mindset should be extended to the minority Veteran population, and chances are it will be embraced more over time as the service branches, and the country as a whole, become more diverse.

“Code Platoon has always been a mission-driven nonprofit, with a goal to help Veterans and spouses. Within this population, we know there is a greater need to support Black and Hispanic students, who are underrepresented in technology. This scholarship will help with access, equity, and creating more opportunities for those that need them the most.” says Rod Levy, ED and Founder of Code Platoon. 

While Code Platoon is a small Coding Bootcamp creating this scholarship is aimed at making an impact and continuing to diversify the programming field while also empowering Veterans and military spouses into sustainable careers. 

To apply for this scholarship, interested students will just indicate on their application and the admissions team will follow up with them. This financial assistance could not be made possible without the aid of donors and supporters of Code Platoon. As a nonprofit, Code Platoon is fortunate to have stakeholders who believe in our mission and are invested in diversifying technology jobs. 

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. 

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants help students learn and develop programming skills

Teaching Assistants (TAs) are an integral part of the Code Platoon learning experience. These volunteers bring their coding and professional experience to share with our students and assist in their Code Platoon education.

Code Platoon TA’s typically volunteer one evening each week to help students with their assignments and help conduct Mock Interviews to prepare them for real interviews after they graduate. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our TA’s volunteered in person, but currently, due to the virus, they are volunteering remotely.

Lorena Dela Cruz has been volunteering as a TA for the  Lima and Mike cohorts. She is a Rails and React developer who learned about Code Platoon from a co-worker at Home Chef.    

“Giving back and sharing my knowledge has been the most memorable part of my time with Code Platoon,” Lorena said. “There were a lot of people who helped me get to where I am today, and it feels good to be that for people too.”

Stephen Weiss is a former consultant, analyst, manager, and product owner who got into development by going through a Bootcamp. For the past two years, Stephen has been working as an engineer for different startups.

“I wanted to give back, and so I sought out opportunities to work with folks with non-traditional paths into tech. When I found Code Platoon, I knew it was a spot for me,” Stephen said.

“Code Platoon TAs have the extreme privilege of being able to help a new cohort of individuals develop a skill that can lead to a rewarding career while supporting our veterans, who have given so much for our country already,” Stephen said.

Brian Montana began volunteering for Code Platoon as a professional mentor and joined the TA program this past October 2020 with Mike Platoon. He also has conducted workshops for Code Platoon in the past before Covid. 

“I was in the Marines, and after that, I got a BA and MFA in new media,” Brian said. “I moved into front end development after college, organized creative coding events, gave talks, wrote posts, and contributed to the Chicago tech community.”

“I enjoy helping other Marines with coding solutions,” Brian said. “It is great seeing the sparks when a student understands something. It becomes fulfilling to see people learn and develop their skills as a programmer.”

Lorena added, “I enjoy helping people get to the answers without giving them the answer. I don’t know a lot of Python either, so I feel like I’m learning at the same time.”

“For me, it has helped me in my career by improving the way I pair and reinforce things I already know,” Lorena said.

TA volunteers have several options to choose between: 

  • Evening Volunteers: 2-hour time slot, same day, every week, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm CST, for the 14-week session
  • Daytime Volunteers: Anytime that they are free! Perhaps your employer allows for volunteer hours or ‘open-source’ days – come hang out with us!

For more information on volunteering as a Code Platoon Teaching Assistant, please visit https://www.codeplatoon.org/volunteer/.

Jim Hennessey is Code Platoon’s Director of Marketing. Jim brings a strong background in non-profit 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.

Student Stories Mike Platoon

Meet Some Members of Mike Platoon

As the end of November approaches, Mike Platoon, Code Platoon’s newest class, is nearly halfway through their journey of the 14-week Coding Bootcamp. Mike Platoon is made up of 24 highly motivated Veterans and military spouses ready to take on the world of software development. Represented across the different U.S. military branches, here is a peek at some of our current students. 

As a military spouse, Aiizad is very excited to be part of Code Platoon and believes it is a great opportunity that matches up with her passion for software development. “Here, I have met an amazing group of people who want you to succeed,” Aiizad said. By the end of this program, she hopes to be well-prepared for the growing tech field and pursue an internship from one of Chicago’s great companies.

Tommy is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran who served in signals intelligence. Up to this point, Tommy has found Code Platoon to be a fantastic experience. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m exhausted by the end of each day, but I’m also equally fulfilled each day. The Code Platoon curriculum, coupled with the support of wonderful instructors and after-hour TAs creates a learning environment where none of my questions go unanswered,” said Tommy.  At this stage in the program, he no longer feels intimidated by the software development field. “I still have so much more to learn, but I haven’t been this excited about the future of my career in a long time,” Tommy said. 

Jerel served in the Air Force as a cryptologic linguist. From a young age, Jerel enjoyed solving puzzles and learning other languages, and with Code Platoon, he is learning how to do both through coding. “Coming from a linguistics background, I feel like I’m adding new languages to my portfolio. Currently, we’re at the halfway mark, and already we’ve learned Python, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and Django, to name a few,” Jerel said. By the end of the Bootcamp, he hopes he will gain enough knowledge to start his journey in the professional field confidently. 

Our U.S. Army Veteran, Emma, was also a cryptologic linguist. “Between TAs, instructors, and my classmates, there’s always someone to help when I get stuck on something,” Emma said, sharing how she is learning new skills in a short amount of time.  A new coding skill she recently enjoyed acquiring is Django. She was able to understand how Django worked because of all her HTTP server assignments. By the end of the Bootcamp, Emma hopes to have the skills to create future applications helping people find a little more happiness and feel more connected to others. 

As a US Navy Veteran, Augie served as a division officer on two ships. During these challenging times, Augie is finding the bright side of learning code in a remote setting. “I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity to learn in my own home, with a short commute (just downstairs!) and the ability to eat meals with my spouse, walk my dog, etc.,” Augie said. “I’ve especially been impressed by the support provided by instructors, teaching assistants, and my fellow students outside of class hours; when I have questions on the weekend or late at night, there’s usually someone around who can help me get unstuck.”. In the second half of the course, he is looking forward to working on the final and individual projects. “I have several ideas in mind for potential projects, for Bootcamp and beyond, and I can’t wait to have the skills and knowledge to bring them to life,” Augie said. 

Code Platoon is proud of Mike students’ immense progress so far and is eager to see all that they will accomplish in the future. 

Brenna Koss is Code Platoon’s Development and Operations Coordinator. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Greensboro in Political Science and French. In her free time, Brenna loves to travel and spend time with friends and family. Follow Brenna on LinkedIn.

My Code Platoon Journey

My Journey to Code Platoon

I was not sure about my future when transitioning out of the military. I was still completely unsure of what I wanted to do, and the pressure to decide only compounded over the years, the closer I got to graduating from college. After switching my college major four times, I was only three semesters away from finishing my bachelor’s degree when the pandemic began. As my state went into lockdown, I found myself with extra downtime and decided I might as well try to learn a valuable skill. A quick Google search later, and I found myself falling into the rabbit hole that is software development.  

Research led me to discover what coding bootcamps are and how Veterans can use their education benefits to pay for some of them. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. To get a sense and feel for each program, I did many of their pre-work, all free and focused on programming fundamentals. Only after discovering the VET TEC program did I come across Code Platoon. Excited about the possibility of not exhausting education benefits, I emailed Code Platoon and inquired about their program. 

Greg Dobrny, Code Platoon’s Student Outreach Coordinator, promptly responded and scheduled a time to talk. He explained Code Platoon’s commitment to helping Veterans transition into tech jobs and answered my questions about the program. He also mentioned that Code Platoon was going to start a Bootcamp Prep course in the upcoming weeks. This prep course would be 3 hours a day, two days a week for a month, with live instruction from a Code Platoon instructor and two teaching assistants. The Bootcamp Prep course proved to be of enormous value. It helped to understand fundamentals further and cement the principles that everyone will need in software development. 

Useful as it was, the Bootcamp Prep hit the ground running from day one. It might seem like information overload to many people, but this is meant to replicate what a Coding Bootcamp program is like. Those who tried to learn independently before the course struggled a lot less than those who signed without knowing much about fundamentals. I remember how only a third of the people present on day one finished the prep program. What’s more, it only gets harder from here on out.

The application process for any Coding Bootcamp can be daunting and intimidating, for sure. Software engineering is hard. I highly recommend that everyone do their research to see what this field entails and see if they will enjoy it. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. I urge you not to be motivated by the promise of the starting salaries a lot of bootcamps choose to display on their websites and instead be driven by your curiosity and desire to learn more and create.   

Personally, it dawned on me how as a software engineer I would be able to create anything I want. Any webpage, app, or videogame that I can imagine I can learn to make (eventually). I would be limited only by my own creativity and ambition. This way of looking at programming really broke the preconceptions I had about software engineering. I used to see it as a strict science, lacking space for creativity, but now I see it as an art form once you can break through the initial learning curve. It’s the art form of a modern-day artist.

Having talked to Greg and gone through the Bootcamp Prep course solidified my confidence in attending Code Platoon. Their commitment to helping Veterans is genuine, and for the first time since leaving the military, I am excited about what my future holds. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions! We are all in this together, and I am glad to help. Semper Fi.   

Cristian Baeza is a Marine Veteran. Cristian has been accepted to Code Platoon’s November Platoon, which begins in February 2021. Cristian is sharing his Code Platoon Journey through a series of posts documenting his search for a Bootcamp, acceptance to Code Platoon, and his classroom experience throughout the 14 week immersive Bootcamp.

Creating with language

Language, Programming, and Creation

We usually think of poets and engineers as mutually exclusive types casting suspicious glances at one another across the academic canyon that separates the Humanities and Sciences.  There are some excellent reasons for that. Lewis Carroll can write:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

And we get it, even though we don’t get it. Carroll has created an image of some vague things moving around in an environment.  He has created something with words; but if it were a bridge, you wouldn’t walk across it without a life-vest.  In the same way, you might not invite the kid who was taking apart the toaster at five years old to write a poem for your wedding.

But this dichotomy between the freewheeling poet and the disciplined engineer is mainly illusory.  We all get to be good at language for free, at least one language anyway.  We know the rules so well, and so implicitly that we can play around in what feels like complete freedom.  But if you’ve ever had the experience of learning another language as an adult, you know that languages are chock-full of rules, restrictions, and we-just-don’t-say-it-like-that’s.

If you’ve taken the time to learn another language’s funny shapes and pesky rules, you have already extended your hand over that tremendous intellectual divide. And, believe it or not, there are a few “sciency” types out there on the other side reaching out towards you too.

Michelangelo painting

At the beginning of their book Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, the authors, who were all undoubtedly taking apart toasters in kindergarten, describe programing as sorcery:

“The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer’s spells. They are carefully composed from symbolic expressions in arcane and esoteric programming languages that prescribe the tasks we want our processes to perform.”

To put it another way, programming allows you to create things with words, even silly and pointless things. 

To oversimplify a bit, these “spells” are composed of two essential elements: nouns and verbs.  I’m sorry, I meant to say: data and procedures. Let’s flesh that out.

In the beginning (or a few days later), there was Man. The first instance of the kind “Man,” or Mankind for short, was Adam. If that part of Genesis were written in Python instead of Hebrew, it might look like this:

class Man:

def __init__(self, name):

    self.name = name

    self.hasEatenTheApple = False

adam = Man(“Adam”)

Don’t worry about the syntax right now. New languages often look and sound very strange at first. The important point is that our “adam” is now the first of his kind, but he’s just a lump of clay with a couple of attributes (name and hasEatenTheApple–mercifully false at the moment).  As you might have heard, Adam did more than just sit there; he also ate an apple. Let’s go ahead and add a verb to our little conjuration:

class Man:

 def __init__(self, name):

  self.name = name

   self.hasEatenTheApple = False

def eatsTheApple(self):

   self.hasEatenTheApple = True

adam = Man(“Adam”)

Now our “adam” has a verb (eatsTheApple). Or maybe it’s better to say that he has the potential to perform the action eatsTheApple. Let’s not get into free will.  

As is often the case with natural languages, verbs act on other nouns, which then become “objects.” In this case, our verb (eatsTheApple), when performed, acts on the noun hasEatenTheApple and changes it–for the worse.

We can then freely render this sentence.

English:  Adam eats the apple.

Pythonish: adam.eatsTheApple()

And it’s all downhill from there.

Of course, knowing what a noun is doesn’t make you an expert in Chinese any more than knowing what a piece of data is makes you a Pythonista. But knowing what nouns and verbs are, and being able to adapt to a strange system of signs and rules will give you a leg up as you climb the walls of Doune Castle (that’s a Monty Python reference–you’ll get tired of those).

But don’t go getting a big head about it just yet; even with previous experience learning another language, there is still much work to be done. You can’t just stick your hand out; you have to get your ass over the wall too.

Chad Mowbray is an instructor for Code Platoon’s Evening and Weekend Program. He was a paratrooper and Arabic translator in the 82nd Airborne Division. He eventually found his way into a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago studying classical Arabic poetry. But after starting a family, Chad inexplicably developed an appreciation for suburbs and retirement accounts. After graduating from Code Platoon, he worked as a DevOps engineer at Motorola Solutions and is currently a data analyst and digital pedagogy fellow with Academic Technology Solutions at the University of Chicago.

Navigating VA Benefits

Navigating VA Educational Benefits

Navigating your VA educational benefits can be an overwhelming task. Keeping track of your remaining eligibility, benefit level, and which educational option is best for you can be overwhelming. Code Platoon assists many students in making their VA educational benefits work for them, allowing them to attend Code Platoon and providing a clear path to a software development career. 

While VET TEC may seem like the most obvious way to attend Code Platoon and utilize your VA educational benefits, VET TEC is currently constrained by its limited budget. As of November 3, 2020, VET TEC has exhausted its funding for the 2021 fiscal year. Additional funding for the program is not currently expected to be replenished until October 1, 2021. Any Veteran currently holding a CoE indicating approval from VET TEC will not be able to start a VET TEC approved program until October 1, 2021. This can be frustrating to Veterans interested in pursuing a software development career as a VET TEC student, as many coding bootcamps are only approved to accept VET TEC, and not GI Bill or Voc Rehab approved. 

Code Platoon has a deeply established relationship with the VA and is approved for funding options beyond VET TEC. Code Platoon is approved to accept Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation (now called Veteran Readiness and Employment Services), and Chapter 35, in addition to VET TEC. The Code Platoon team works tirelessly with incoming students to understand what benefits they have available and which option is the best fit for them. For those students who may not have VA educational benefits available to them, Code Platoon offers generous scholarships. Full and partial scholarships are available to Veterans, military spouses, including affinity scholarships for Black, Hispanic, women, and transgender students. The mission of Code Platoon has always been to make a career in software development attainable and achievable for all Veterans and spouses. 

Do you have questions about your VA educational benefits and how you can use them with Code Platoon? Can we help you compare your available VA educational benefits and our available scholarships? Email Greg Drobny, Student, and Community Outreach Coordinator, at greg@codeplatoon.org

Alicia Boddy is Code Platoon’s Chief Operations and Development Officer. Alicia oversees Code Platoon’s day-to-day activities, including fundraising, grant writing, board development, and strategic planning. Alicia also serves as our VA certifying official, helping students navigate their benefits with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Alicia loves living in Chicago with her husband, Jeff, and three kids. You can often find them exploring the city, eating Lou Malnati’s pizza, and cheering on the Cubs, Blackhawks, and Buckeyes!