Learning DevOps and Cloud Engineering at Code Platoon

The world of technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a greater push for cloud adoption and sustainable budget planning for IT projects. As a result, the demand for skilled professionals in DevOps and Cloud Engineering has skyrocketed. Code Platoon recognized this need and set out to bridge the gap by offering a comprehensive DevOps bootcamp tailored to military Veterans and spouses looking to embark on a career in this exciting field.

Code Platoon’s primary motivation in creating a top cloud engineering Bootcamp is to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the ever-changing technology landscape. 

“Our curriculum is carefully crafted to combine theory with practical, hands-on assignments and projects, ensuring that our students are well-prepared for the real-world challenges they will face in their DevOps careers,” said Chandra Arya, Lead DevOps Instructor at Code Platoon. 

“One of the core principles we emphasize in our training program is the DevOps mindset. Effective communication, collaboration, and continuous improvement are the key pillars of success in this field.”

The DevOps curriculum is divided into five major modules. 

  • The Linux and AWS track focuses on developing proficiency in Linux operating systems and utilizing the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. 
  • The Infrastructure and Automation track emphasizes infrastructure automation and configuration management using tools such as Terraform and Ansible. 
  • The CI/CD track centers around implementing Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines using GitHub Actions. 
  • The Monitoring track covers various tools and services for monitoring infrastructure and applications, including Cloudwatch, Elasticsearch, Kibana, Logstash, and major beats like Filebeat, Packetbeat, and Metricbeat. 
  • Finally, the Containerization and Orchestration track delves into containerization using Docker and orchestration using Kubernetes. 

DevOps students learn to work in cross-functional teams, fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing. They gain a deep understanding of the principles and practices of DevOps, including continuous integration, continuous delivery, and Infrastructure as Code.

“What sets our bootcamp apart is our emphasis on practical, hands-on experience,” says Adam Cahan, Program Director at Code Platoon. “Students work on real-world projects: deploying and managing applications, setting up CI/CD pipelines, and automating infrastructure. This approach helps them gain valuable experience and develop the skills needed for the job.”

“We have closely studied the current job market and industry requirements to ensure that our curriculum aligns with the latest trends and technologies in DevOps,” Chandra says. “We continuously monitor the industry landscape and update our course material accordingly. We want our students equipped with the most relevant skills to meet the available DevOps career opportunities.”

The DevOps curriculum also addresses the specific needs and challenges military Veterans and spouses face. 

“We understand the unique skill sets and experiences they bring to the table, and our program is tailored to leverage and build upon those strengths,” Adam said. “We offer a supportive network of instructors and mentors with firsthand experience in the tech industry and the military. This provides our students with a valuable support system as they transition into their careers.”

Both Chandra and Adam emphasize that the success of our students is at the heart of what they do. 

“Our ultimate goal is to see our graduates secure rewarding DevOps job opportunities, contribute to the success of their organizations, and make a positive impact in the world of technology,” Chandra says. “We have witnessed countless success stories of military Veterans and spouses transforming their lives and flourishing in the tech world.”

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.

Tango Platoon Final Projects

The Full-stack Software Engineering: Immersive Tango Platoon completed their final group projects and graduated from Code Platoon’s military Coding Bootcamp. During graduation, the Veteran tech program graduates showcased the full-stack web applications they developed in teams. Here are their final presentations, demonstrating their working applications and describing the front end, back end, and product management tools they mastered during the program.

First up is Cypherpunk. Cypherpunk is an online game for people learning to code. The game presentation shows unique levels teaching intro coding concepts: beginning with “Hello World!” and continuing into strings and integers. It was developed by an Active Duty Soldier, an Army Veteran, and a Marine Corps Veteran.

Check out the Cypherpunk presentation.

BeerBuddies is the next presentation. BeerBuddies helps friends connect virtually over their favorite beers. Users purchase tokens for certain beers through the app, which they can redeem for a beer to send to their friends via a unique QR code. The BeerBuddies team feed metadata through an API integration to create this QR code. The QR codes are also encrypted through CryptoJS to prevent users from creating fakes. 

A team of an Active Duty Naval Officer, two Air Force Servicemembers, a Navy Veteran, and an Air Force Veteran developed BeerBuddies. Dive into their presentation below.

The next project–Behav.io–was created by a team of three Navy Veterans. It is a web application to help software engineers prepare for behavioral interviews. Behav.io features a database of common behavioral interview questions broken down into categories for practice. Each question has its own card with buttons to reveal an answer example and to save the question to a favorites page.

Behav.io also has an AI feedback feature. With the connected OpenAI API, users can receive personalized AI-generated feedback from ChatGPT. The feedback is also stored for users to revisit as they continue to practice their behavioral interviewing skills.

Watch the presentation by the Behave.io team.

Tinder Tots is the fourth project in our graduation showcase. Tinder Tots is a mobile-responsive full-stack web application created by an Air Force Veteran, Navy Veteran, Marine Corps Veteran, Marine Corps Servicemember, and a military spouse. Expecting parents can swipe through prospective baby names on Tinder Tots until they create a ranked list and emerge with a list of shared favorites to choose from. It was made with Python through Django Framework on the back end and Tailwind CSS and Flowbite component library on the front end. The data is hosted in a PostgreSQL database.

SHIFT is a tool to automate scheduling medical student volunteers for events in the hospital system. The scheduler can add events and the number of volunteers needed, and students can indicate their availability and sign up for specific activities as part of the event. SHIFT uses Material UI on the front end and SendGrid Email API to deliver confirmation emails to the medical students. 

Two Army Veterans and an Air Force Veteran developed SHIFT, and a real Chicago hospital system is currently considering purchasing the app from the Veteran tech graduates.

The last demonstration for Tango Platoon is VolunteerCompass. VolunteerCompass is a volunteer management web application for event coordinators. The app also allows users to register for these events and search for new volunteering opportunities in their location on a Google Maps layout. 

VolunteerCompass was developed using JavaScript on the front end in conjunction with the Google Maps JavaScript API. The VolunteerCompass team is comprised of Air National Guard Veteran, Navy Veteran, military spouse, Navy Reservist, and Air Force Servicemember graduates.

We’re proud of the incredible applications showcased during this cohort’s final project demonstrations. Congratulations, Tango Platoon!

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

Advancing Your Tech Career after Coding Bootcamp: An Alpha Platoon Graduate’s Journey

Almost all coding bootcamp students are anxious about getting their first tech job. Many without four-year degrees also worry about advancing their careers in the industry. James Wilton, Technical Team Lead at Procore Technologies and Alpha Platoon graduate, used to feel this anxiety. But his journey proves it’s possible to establish and grow a tech career without a bachelor’s degree.

“In my seven years of experience, practical knowledge is the biggest asset in tech,” James said. “Nobody I’ve ever worked with has treated me differently because I don’t have a four-year degree. They instead see my accomplishments and desire to keep learning.”

Like many Veterans, James actually planned to attend college after his service ended. 

“I enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2008,” James said. “I grew up in a group home. The military was one of the few ways I had seen my peers save money to pursue higher education.” 

But once James left the service, he couldn’t wait four years for a stable, full-time job. Feeling lost, he turned to his friends for guidance. His friend told him about a relatively new concept – the coding bootcamp. 

James explored this opportunity and discovered a Coding Bootcamp exclusively designed for Veterans. He seized the opportunity to join Code Platoon’s inaugural Alpha Platoon.

“Even though Code Platoon was a new training provider, what drew me in was the shared military experience among the students. It felt easier to connect with my cohort of fellow Veterans. I still talk to several of the other graduates from my cohort.”

Once James graduated from Code Platoon, he leveraged his military experience within the vast Veteran tech professional network. 

“I’d look specifically for Veteran recruiters at companies I was interested in and reach out to them for tech job referrals. In interviews, I’d share my unique skill set from my service—leadership, working under pressure, and setting and achieving goals.”

James entered the tech industry as a software engineer apprentice at Enova. He remained with the financial tech company for two years. Then he joined Procore.

“My career progressed organically from there,” he said. “I was assigned to a ‘bug smash team’ at Procore. We started investigating and found more significant issues in the code than leadership had predicted. I spent a lot of time researching and reviewing metrics.

“Because I became the subject matter expert, I began overseeing sub-contractors and became the Product and Technical Team Lead I am today. Now, I help manage my team’s software product, lead Agile ceremonies, and work with stakeholders to strategize the future of the product (and prevent more bugs).”

James is also considering returning to college, but this time for his interest rather than a perceived necessity.

“I’m toying with the idea of continuing my education, but I’d be doing it for me,” James said. “I’m always seeking new opportunities to grow my skill set. I went to Code Platoon because I was excited to discover the tech world. I’ve kept that mindset throughout my career. 

“I’ve discovered this over the years: no matter how long I work in tech, I’ll never know everything. That can be intimidating, but it keeps me coming back for more after all this time.”

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. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.

Alicia Vet Tec

Shaping the Future of VET TEC

The team at Code Platoon understands the importance of working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure Veterans can use their VA Education Benefits to find careers. Over the past five years, we have been a leading provider of VET TEC, and I have had the incredible opportunity to shape the pilot program’s future. 

Adopting the VET TEC Pilot Program

VET TEC is an innovative VA Education Benefit allowing Veterans to attend high-technology training programs and find careers after graduation. The VET TEC pilot program began in 2019, with Code Platoon among the first three approved providers to train Veterans. One of my roles at Code Platoon is to complete all of the electronic filings to the VA and be the point of contact for both the VA and students.

I have seen first-hand how the VET TEC program is a lifeline for non-traditional Veteran learners eager to find a career in high technology. When the pandemic forced code schools to move their training online, Code Platoon was prepared to serve the increase in Veterans interested in our training programs. Enrollment spiked because VET TEC allowed these Veterans to train remotely.

VET TEC providers continue to see high job placement outcomes for thousands of Veterans. Code Platoon has trained 168 Veteran students via VET TEC. During the pandemic, our graduating class from January 2021 had 100% job placement within six months of graduation. Our remote programs have had the same or better placement rates than in-person.

Founding the VET TEC Working Group

While VET TEC is similar to the GI Bill, there are meaningful differences that approved providers have to navigate. To help improve providers’ understanding of VET TEC, I started the VET TEC Working Group in 2019. What began as an ad-hoc call among three to five providers is now a monthly meeting with more than 50 consistent attendees. Providers describe these calls as “the best training we receive each month.”

Representatives from The Department of Veterans Affairs also participate in the VET TEC Working Group. By creating consistent and open lines of communication between providers and the VA teams, we can address problems quickly and help Veterans use the VET TEC program efficiently. This collaboration has dramatically increased the success of VET TEC and positioned the program to become permanent as we near the end of the five-year pilot program.

Testifying for “Forever VET TEC”

I was recently invited to testify before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. As the only VET TEC provider on the panel, I shared my unique experiences with Congress and helped write the VET TEC Authorization Act of 2023. This act, nicknamed “Forever VET TEC,” would make VET TEC a permanent program.

During the hearing, I discussed the history of VET TEC, the providers’ and Veterans’ experiences during the pilot program, and the opportunities to help more Veterans find meaningful employment as VET TEC becomes permanent. My full testimony and the drafted VET TEC Authorization Act of 2023 are available publicly on the house.gov website.

While in Washington, DC, I also met with Congressional stakeholders in the VET TEC program. I had the opportunity to advise the following:

  • Juan Ciscamoni, U.S. House of Representatives and lead sponsor of the VET TEC Authorization Act of 2023
  • Joseph Garcia, Executive Director of Educational Services, Veterans Benefits Administration
  • Schnell Carraway, Policy and Regulation Lead, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Faye Fernandez, Counsel for US Senate
  • Kelsey Baron, Senior Professional Staff Member and Defense Policy Advisor for Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • Ally Cimino, Deputy General Counsel, US House of Representatives
  • Nicholas Ayers, Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. Juan Ciscamoni
  • Katy Flynn, General Counsel and Staff Director, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity for US House of Representatives
  • Chase Bergerson, Legislative Assistant, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for US House of Representatives

The bi-partisan and collaborative approach to “Forever VET TEC”  illustrates the seriousness with which the VA, Congress, and Code Platoon are operating to ensure that VET TEC is available to Veterans for many years to come. 

Alicia Boddy serves as the Director of Partnerships for Code Platoon. In this role, she focuses on building relationships with partners, including companies that provide apprenticeships and preferred hiring opportunities to Code Platoon graduates. She works closely with the Executive Director focusing on strategic planning, regulatory approvals and compliance, and student services, including admissions, enrollment, and Career Services. She is the School Certifying Official, the main point of contact for the VA and students. Alicia is a Concordia University, Chicago and The Ohio State University graduate.

Delta E&W

Delta Evening and Weekend Platoon Final Projects

On April 15, 21 Veteran, Active Duty, and military spouse students graduated from Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering Bootcamp: Evening and Weekend program. During the 28-week Coding Bootcamp, these students put their new software development skills to the test and created some awesome web applications. 

As part of their graduation ceremony, the Delta Evening & Weekend Platoon got to showcase their projects. Here are their tech demonstrations:

Our first group is Book Club. Book Club is a full-stack web application to help people discover new books and connect with a community of bookworms and casual readers. The tech stack for Book Club includes Python code with Django and the Django Rest framework on the back end and JavaScript and JSX code with CSS and Bootstrap for styling on the front end. The Book Club app is containerized via Docker and hosted live on AWS.

A Navy Spouse, two Navy Veterans, and an Air Force Veteran developed Book Club. Check out their final project below.


Next up is Journey, a hiking web application. The team behind Journey is an Army Veteran, a Navy Veteran, an Air Force Veteran, and an Army National Guard Veteran. 

Journey is a hiking app with a responsive, mobile-first design. Journey users can document their hiking trails and discover information about US National Parks ahead of their visits.

The team behind Journey built this app with React, HTML, and CSS on the front end and back-end infrastructure of Python on Django. They used the National Parks API to provide park names, information, and videos, and Github, Docker, and AWS to deploy Journey on the web.

Here is the Journey presentation.

MedNOW is the third project in this showcase. MedNOW was created using multiple API calls, including the National Institute of Health (NIH) API RxTerms, the NIH Drug Interaction API, and the openFDA API. The full-stack web application was designed with Ant Design and Bootstrap. It features React JavaScript library on the front end and Django Rest framework with Python on the back end.

MedNOW tracks the user’s medication intake and sends reminders to refill before running out. It also shows essential medication safety information, including drug interactions and potential side effects.

A Marine Corps Veteran, Army Veteran, Air Force Veteran, and Marine Corps military spouse created MedNOW. Watch their demonstration below.

Moose Travel is a travel itinerary and management app developed by two Army Veterans, an active duty Army National Guard Soldier, and an Army spouse. 

The app generates detailed travel itineraries via the ChatGPT API. The traveler inputs their destination preferences, flight, hotel, and rental car information, and the AI Personal Assistant generates an itinerary for every day of the trip.

The Moose Travel team used JavaScript through React on the front end, Python and Django on the back end, and Postman to verify the API endpoints for OpenAI, Amadeus, Avis Budget Group, and Google Maps APIs. Moose Travel has also been Dockerized and deployed through an AWS ec2 instance.

Check out Moose Travel!

The final project developed by Delta E&W Platoon graduates is Bar Path Program. This full-stack application helps personal trainers and gym coaches manage their clients’ workout plans and track their progress. 

Bar Path Program uses Bootstrap, JavaScript, and React on the front end and Python through Django on the back end. The team collaborated on the project via Github and Trello and deployed it via Docker, AWS ECS, and AWS S3.

Watch the Bar Path Program presentation by two Army Veterans, two Marine Corps Veterans, and an Army military spouse.

Congratulations to the Delta Evening and Weekend Platoon graduates! We’re proud of the cohort’s accomplishments on display during the graduation ceremony.

Jennifer Henery

Championing Visibility for Trans Veterans

From a young age, Jennifer’s dream was to serve in the military and follow in the footsteps of their father. Despite knowing they would have to conceal their identity, Jennifer was motivated by the opportunity to gain job experience and save money for their transition.

“I wanted to join the military, even though I’d have to be in the closet,” Jennifer said. “I hoped my military experience would make it easier to afford my transition and start my career.”

Jennifer enlisted after graduating from high school in 2005. In the Navy, they were an Information Systems Technician, sparking an interest in technology as an over-the-phone tech support specialist. They were soon promoted to working in a server room.

“I loved the tech skills I was learning in the Navy,” Jennifer said. “But personally, I was living a double life. I was pretending to be a man on base while, at the same time, I was trying to be my authentic self away from work. I became depressed.”

“In 2008, I finally had to tell the on-base therapist I was trans and that I couldn’t pretend any longer. The therapist wanted to help, but very little could be done since transgender people couldn’t serve in the military at that time. So I was honorably discharged.”

After their discharge, Jennifer returned to a tech support job as a civilian, and they started living their life as their authentic self.

“It was amazing when I could finally stop pretending and just be me,” Jennifer said. “But I still carried trauma.” 

“Because of how I was treated in the Navy, I assumed the VA would not provide the healthcare I needed. Fortunately, I was wrong.

“If you’re a trans Veteran, don’t make the mistake I did. The VA will help you.”

When Jennifer started going to the VA, they saw a gap in the information available for transgender Veterans. So they started sharing their story and participating in workshops to educate VA medical staff on the needs of the trans community. 

“It wasn’t easy at first, but the VA’s acceptance and understanding of trans people has improved. I’m proud to have played a small part in creating that change,” they said.

Jennifer found their work advocating for transgender Veterans rewarding, and soon it became their full-time job.

“I earned a Peer Supporter job at a mental health nonprofit,” they said. “I led peer support groups for trans people, mental health, and active recovery communities, and I loved it. I was at the center of the Ohio trans community. But it was taxing; my company was very bureaucratic. I felt like a cog in the machine, not a person.”

To decompress after work, Jennifer began teaching themself JavaScript as a hobby.

“I didn’t intend to pursue a tech career but found Code Platoon while looking for free learning resources. I thought that  I had to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Then I had so much fun learning coding that I wanted to keep doing it. I applied for a software engineering apprenticeship after I graduated.”

Jennifer is now a software engineer apprentice at 8th Light. Besides their tech skills from the Navy, Jennifer brings their peer support and activism experience to the role. They started an LGBTQIA+ employee social meetup and work with their office’s human resources to support mental health improvements for their colleagues. 

“I left my job as a peer supporter, but I’ll never stop being an advocate,” Jennifer said. “I’ve made a name for myself in the trans, mental health, and recovery spaces.”

Jennifer won a Donald R Hallman LGBTQ Veterans Recognition Award for their advocacy work. They also plan to become a mentor for future military Coding Bootcamp students.

“My Code Platoon mentor was a trans Veteran, and she was an incredible resource. I want to support other trans Veteran’s journey to tech someday, as she did for me.

“I highly recommend any trans Veterans connect with a trans mentor. The support you can gain from someone with similar lived experience is unmatched.”

Jennifer also advises trans Servicemembers to serve openly in the military if they’re able.

“If I could have been myself while I served, I probably would have stayed in the military for the long haul,” Jennifer said. “You can be trans in the military now, so take advantage of the opportunity if the military is what you want to do.” 

“Now I’m accomplishing all of my life’s goals. I married an incredible husband. I bought a house two years ago and will adopt my first baby soon. My accomplishments are profound because of everything I’ve overcome. I have the happiness I could only dream of ten years ago. I can’t even express how amazing my life is now.”

Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes 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. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.

Navy Updates Skillbridge

Department of the Navy Releases New SkillBridge Guidelines

In our never-ending quest to help Servicemembers navigate the SkillBridge process, Code Platoon recently became aware of new guidelines published by the Department of the Navy for DoD SkillBridge program participants. 

Given that these are detailed enough that a mere summary might raise more questions than answers, I will offer the Navy’s main points and a few thoughts afterward. 

As stated on their website:

  1. This NAVADMIN message updates SkillBridge registration procedures to be conducted within the new SkillBridge application portal. It additionally institutes new policy controls. Reference (a) remains in full effect except as modified below.
  2. Policy and procedure changes in this NAVADMIN are effective immediately for all new SkillBridge applicants. In line with reference (a), Sailors with prior command approval are grandfathered and may start or continue their SkillBridge program as approved by their command. Sailors without command approval must reapply under the guidelines of this message.
  3. From this point forward, Sailors desiring to participate in SkillBridge must register and apply for SkillBridge approval using the application portal via MyNavy Education at https://myeducation.netc.navy.mil/. Email registrations are no longer being accepted. Application portal instructions can be found at https://www.mynavyhr.navy.mil/Career-Management/Transition/SkillBridge/.
  4. SkillBridge is intended to provide transition assistance and skill development for Service members leaving the Navy. However, it is not an entitlement, and participation does impact readiness. As such, the time allowed for program participation is now based on paygrade. If approved, SkillBridge must occur prior to any terminal leave or permissive temporary duty associated with separation, fleet reserve, or retirement. The following limits indicate the maximum amount of time prior to the actual separation, fleet reserve, or retirement date that SkillBridge participation can commence.
    1. Tier one (enlisted E5 and below) – 180 days or less.
    2. Tier two (enlisted E6-E9) – 120 days or less.
    3. Tier three (officers O4 and below) – 120 days or less.
    4. Tier four (officers O5 and above) – 90 days or less.
  5. SkillBridge applications for tier four personnel shall not be approved if participation would result in a gapped billet. Additionally, tier four applicants now require positive endorsement from the Director, Military Personnel Plans and Policy (OPNAV N13) before they can begin SkillBridge. Commanding officers (CO) must certify in any approval for tier four applicants that SkillBridge participation will not result in a gap. The Office of the Chief of Naval Personnel (OPNAV) SkillBridge registrar will forward command-approved requests for tier four personnel to OPNAV N13. The registrar will then notify applicants of OPNAV N13’s decision.
  6. Personnel who have received service-funded education, to include tuition assistance, under-graduate and post-graduate education, will not be permitted to start SkillBridge until all obligated service for that education is complete.
  7. Officers must fulfill their minimum service requirement for commissioning prior to starting SkillBridge.
  8. Officers serving under a retention bonus will not be permitted to start SkillBridge until the service obligation for that bonus is complete.
  9. COs should consider whether allowing SkillBridge participation by Sailors in receipt of skill or billet-based special and incentive pays would negatively impact mission readiness. In line with reference (a), COs are always fully authorized to deny or curtail SkillBridge requests in light of mission readiness impacts.
  10. Sailors who relinquish an overseas housing allowance or overseas military housing to return to the continental United States for SkillBridge participation are not currently eligible for a housing allowance in line with reference (b). This is a recognized gap that OPNAV is actively working with the Department of Defense in order to develop a solution.
  11. All other policies in reference (a) remain in effect.
  12. Additional resources are available at https://www.mynavyhr.navy.mil/Career-Management/Transition/SkillBridge/.
  13. Direct all questions regarding SkillBridge policy to navy_skillbridge.fct(at)navy.mil or by phone at (703) 604-5310.
  14. This message will remain in effect until superseded or canceled, whichever occurs first.
  15. Released by Vice Admiral Richard J. Cheeseman, Jr., N1.//BT

The big takeaways for Navy personnel here are that SkillBridge is not an entitlement, and all SkillBridge opportunities are at the commander’s discretion, but also that organizations like Code Platoon are fully capable of working within these guidelines. 

We’re here to help you navigate this process, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Greg Drobny is a former Airborne Infantryman, PSYOP Team Chief, political consultant, professional mil blogger, and is Code Platoon’s Student Outreach and Recruitment Manager. He holds a BA and MA in history, as well as a Masters of Science 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.

The Instructor’s Perspective: A Passion for Science, Teaching, and Technology

To be a good teacher, one needs more than just relevant industry knowledge. The best instructors are driven, supportive, patient, and passionate about helping students apply their learning to their interests and goals. These descriptors and more have been used to describe Full-stack Evening & Weekend instructor Umar Ahmed Badami.

“My favorite part of being an instructor is seeing the expression on a student’s face when a concept finally clicks, or they solve a complicated debugging problem. It’s what motivates me to teach,” Umar said.

“My programming journey began in elementary school with Scratch, an accessible drag-and-drop programming tool for beginners. I almost immediately fell in love with coding, especially seeing the variety of things I could do with it.”

Umar quickly discovered his passion for helping his peers explore their interests in technology. In high school, he created a STEM tutoring service and established five extracurricular clubs to explore topics in science with his classmates. He founded the Aerospace Club, Competitive Programming Circle, Pixel Chefs, Astronomy Research Club, and ExploraVision Club.

Umar At Desk

Umar researching for one of his publications in 2018.

In his first year competing in the ExploraVision National Science Competition, Umar led a team of high school students to research a brain-computer interface that uses electricity to improve neuroplasticity in people affected by strokes. They received an honorable mention.

Umar also volunteered with the New Jersey Astronomical Association Observatory. He helped operate a 26-inch Newtonian reflector telescope and conducted astronomy education outreach for children. By the time he graduated from high school, Umar had published astronomy research in Astronomy Theory, Observations & Methods and the Journal of Double Star Observations.

Umar took a gap year after graduation to decide what he wanted to learn next. During this time, he rekindled his interest in coding and discovered Code Platoon.

“I was looking to improve my programming skills and explore new areas of STEM. I came across Code Platoon while looking for apprenticeships,” he said. “I had experience working in the back end with Python and C for my middle school projects, but I had never done full-stack web development. I thought Code Platoon’s Teaching Assistant program would be a great opportunity.”


Umar was a TA for Code Platoon’s Immersive Papa Platoon and Evening & Weekend Charlie Platoon. Although he had no affiliation with the military community, he was excited to use his previous teaching experience to help Veterans transition to tech careers.

“It was my first time teaching adult students,” Umar said. “Although I was–and still am–younger than my students, that has never been an issue at Code Platoon.”

“My favorite part of the experience is getting to know the Veteran and military spouse students. They’re incredibly motivated, driven people. Everyone has a fascinating background and varied experiences. It’s been amazing to see what the Veterans I taught are doing now–only a couple of years after graduating from Coding Bootcamp.”

After Umar’s teaching assistantship ended, he began a Science, Technology, & International Affairs degree at Georgetown University. This degree will help him continue learning to solve scientific and technical problems—such as in medicine or environmental science—across national boundaries. 

In college, Umar wanted to continue working with Code Platoon, but he needed to figure out how to juggle his classes and continue astronomy research while teaching programming. That’s when Code Platoon offered him an Evening & Weekend Instructor position. Umar jumped at the opportunity.

“It was initially challenging to find time in my schedule for my pre-class preparations,” Umar said. “The experience has helped a lot with improving my organization strategies.”

“I’m excited for the Evening & Weekend Delta Platoon to begin their final projects. It’s amazing seeing the students take what they learned to create a web application that they’re passionate about.”

“I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate from university. I have too many ideas, but I want to continue helping people discover how to use technology to accomplish their goals. It’s one of my favorite aspects of teaching and learning in STEM.”

Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes 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. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.

Guest Blog

What to Know When Becoming a DevOps Engineer

Sometimes the best career fields are ones we don’t know too much about. A little over three years ago, if you asked me what a software developer did daily, I would probably mumble something about mysterious command line interfaces and social isolation. Thankfully, someone took the time out of their day back in 2021 to say that none of that is true. The profession is highly transparent and very social.

I’ve been working as a full-time software engineer for a little over a year now, and I’m already starting down another new career path! No, I’m not leaving software development behind. I’ve been brought on as a DevOps engineer consultant for a major pharmaceutical company. 

I can still remember the trepidations of becoming a new software developer, and more recently a DevOps engineer. Whether you work in software or you are new to the field, changing career focus can be daunting. Today I want to enlighten you on what DevOps engineers are and encourage you to venture down this career path. I’ll include some context of what the profession is and some helpful things I wish I had known before I started as a DevOps engineer.


You may be asking, what is a DevOps engineer? Well, that takes some context around where they exist and what kind of environment they exist in. DevOps engineers sit between software developers and operations personnel. Developers are generally the folks who write the code, while operations folks focus on deploying, monitoring, and maintaining applications. DevOps engineers bridge the gap between these two functions by easing workflows, increasing speed of delivery, and ensuring security throughout the process. In the end, DevOps engineers, much like operations and development, are focused on getting quality software into the hands of customers. 8th Light has published some articles that explore specific practices and challenges in DevOps. Amazon Web Services provides a deeper overview as well.


DevOps engineers manage the workflows and delivery cycles for software teams across the organization and all of its digital products. They create shared systems that allow other teams to thrive, and they create custom solutions for their platform’s unique needs.

DevOps Engineers Support Teams

Imagine the following: You are a DevOps engineer supporting a large healthcare corporation. You have seven teams of software engineers delivering applications using different programming languages. You have a bit of .Net in C#, some Java, a bunch of bash scripting, and even some PowerShell! That is a lot of developers and complexity to support.

Your job as a DevOps Engineer is not to understand all of their applications in-depth, but to understand the team’s difficulties and frustrations when working with their apps. Your main concern is ensuring obstacles are removed from their path in the delivery pipeline, processes have quick response times, and only high-quality code is reaching the deployment cycle.

DevOps Engineers Create Custom Solutions

Your engineers already have a lengthy process flow to get code to production. They have to run unit tests, user interface tests, and security analyses on their changes. Then they notify their seniors that their code is ready for review. Once that code is ready for deployment, your teams have to notify their seniors that their code is ready for review. They may have to email the operations team to schedule deployment and generate required government compliance reports.

As a DevOps engineer, you create automation solutions for their workflow. You can write custom programs that automatically test new code before it is uploaded to Github. You can even write custom scripts that run new code through a security analysis. All this is created to improve your supported teams’ quality of life.

One great tool that I’ve been able to master in my first few months on the job has been Github Actions, and my colleague has written an introductory article on the tool.

DevOps Engineers are Problem Solvers

As one of my team leads points out, “anyone can build a website.” Although they might not be sustainable or well-written websites, I completely agree. The amount of documentation out there on every web framework is extensive. Sometimes it feels like everything has a StackOverflow post written about it.

DevOps is different because it’s dependent on the implementation details. DevOps is composed of methods and best practices that have to be applied in a myriad of different situations. You’ll find great articles talking about the best methodologies for ensuring continuous compliance on AWS, but you’ll rarely come across exact instructions for how to integrate a 10-year-old legacy .NET Framework 3.0 application into a security workflow. As a DevOps engineer, you have to be flexible in your approach and be tenacious in figuring out solutions.

Some of the tools and examples of what I use every day are free for public and personal projects. I encourage you to explore open-source projects that pique your interest. If you’re interested in checking out a tool that handles security check automation, try SonarCloud.


Only you can answer that question, but I have found the work tremendously satisfying. I get to improve the quality of life of engineers. I work on complicated problems and create novel solutions. I am constantly exposed to new technologies, and I always feel like there are new learning paths to go down.

I won’t lie — the DevOps engineer career path is not an easy one and is far from glamorous. This career field is all about support, and if you are doing your job, you won’t be in the limelight. You enable others to reach their full potential, but you’ll rarely get recognition. You sometimes have to stand in the developers’ way, but you do know that the code that customers will receive will be secure. You frequently question process workflows and break down obstacles, but organizational norms are hard to change.

So, if you are ready to impact the lives of software developers and operations personnel, I hope to see you on my DevOps team in the future.

This post originally appeared as What to Know When Becoming a DevOps Engineer, on January 19, 2023. Code Platoon thanks 8th Light for its permission to repost this blog.

Seth Thomas is a Software Crafter at 8th Light. Before joining 8th Light, Seth graduated from Code Platoon’s military Coding Bootcamp, which he attended via the DoD SkillBridge program. Seth lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, sailing, and running.

Whats Next

What to Expect When You’re Accepted to Coding Bootcamp

So, you’ve identified your preferred program in Part One. You completed the application coding challenges in Part Two and submitted your Coding Bootcamp application. Once accepted, you might wonder what next steps you should take to prepare for your coding journey. 

Here is what you should expect after being admitted to a Code Platoon program:

Complete Pre-work

Imagine attending a school that never assigns readings or homework before class. Classes would need to be longer to accommodate the basics before eventually getting to the main lesson. 

At Code Platoon, we keep our programs short (15-week Immersive and 28-week Evening & Weekend programs) by assigning Pre-work. Pre-work, which occurs between your acceptance and the start of your program, ensures you understand the programming basics needed to succeed in Coding Bootcamp. We’ve found that students who put more effort into mastering the Pre-work fundamentals tend to have an easier time completing their program.

Pre-work is a self-paced program with assigned lessons and coding challenges to complete each week. 

Here is what you’ll cover during our Full-stack Software Engineering Pre-work:

  • Basic JavaScript & React.js
  • Basic HTML, HTML5, & CSS
  • Debugging Code
  • Basic Python & Object-oriented Programming
  • Git & GitHub for Beginners

After four weeks of Pre-work, you will take an assessment to complete your Code Platoon enrollment.

Instructors are available to help you throughout the Pre-work process. They host group check-ins and virtual office hours and answer questions on the Pre-work Slack channel. 

Apply for GI Bill, VET TEC, or Scholarship

Code Platoon’s mission is to help make transitioning to a tech career affordable for all Veterans and military spouses. Our programs are approved to accept VA education benefits, and Code Platoon has scholarships for military coding students.

Once you’ve been accepted to a Code Platoon program, we’ll help you apply for the VA benefit or scholarship that best fits your circumstance:

  • GI Bill®: Veterans attending the Immersive, In-person program can use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for Coding Bootcamp. You can check your GI Bill benefits and apply through the VA.
  • VET TEC: The VA VET TEC program is a popular education benefit for attending Coding Bootcamp. Veterans can use VET TEC to attend any of Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering programs. To apply for VET TEC, visit the VA’s VET TEC page.
  • VR&E: Veterans with documented service-connected disabilities can attend Code Platoon with Veteran Readiness & Employment (VR&E) benefits. Those interested in attending Code Platoon with VR&E benefits can check VR&E eligibility requirements and apply online on the VA website.
  • Scholarships: Code Platoon offers full and partial scholarships for Veterans, Servicemembers, and military spouses. You can indicate the scholarships you are interested in during Part One of the application. Once you are accepted into the program, you will receive a scholarship application to complete the process.

Secure Command Approval for SkillBridge Program

The DoD SkillBridge program (also known as CSP in the Army) allows active duty Servicemembers to train in job skills before they leave the service. SkillBridge program participants must secure command approval for their training plans.

Code Platoon offers resources for Servicemembers interested in attending Coding Bootcamp. Please visit our SkillBridge program page for a template for command approval and an Introductory Letter for your command.

When you’re accepted to Code Platoon via the SkillBridge program, our enrollment team will provide you with more information about using your VA education benefits or help you apply for Code Platoon’s SkillBridge scholarships.

That’s what to expect after being accepted to Code Platoon. We recommend starting your application today if you’re interested in one of our programs but haven’t applied yet. The sooner you finish your application, the sooner you will be accepted, and the more time you will have to prepare for your coding journey.

You can send questions about Code Platoon’s application or enrollment process to Greg Drobny, Student Outreach and Recruitment Manager, at greg@codeplatoon.org.

Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes 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. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.