Imposter Syndrome in Tech

Imposter Syndrome in Tech: a Deeper Perspective

As students start Code Platoon, we ask them to share their most significant worries about the upcoming program. Inevitably the topic of imposter syndrome arises, with most students expressing doubts about their ability to learn and perform this skill.

After doing a fair amount of research on the subject, it came to my attention that there is a great deal lacking on the topic of imposter syndrome in general, but specifically as it relates to the tech world – in our case, that of software engineering. The intent here is to offer a more profound perspective that I sincerely hope sparks some meaningful conversation.

I found two things, in particular, missing from the literature on imposter syndrome, both of which are crucial to our understanding. The first of these is more academic, but I will boil it down to basics before moving on to the second, which is more of a common sense-based approach to how we begin viewing it.

First, I want you to cast your mind back to any point before the 20th Century and ask yourself: what would I be doing for a living if I existed during that period? Whatever answer you come up with, there is approximately a 99% guarantee that you would be working with your hands, making some tangible thing.

Let’s say you worked in metals in the 17th Century. Maybe you made horseshoes or swords (or both). You used techniques and materials that were very hands-on, and, at the end of any given job, you could hold the result of the work but also – and perhaps more importantly – see it immediately put to use (or watch it fail). 

In other words, the results of your labor were instantly recognizable in a tangible sense. It was either a success, or you didn’t get paid.

You could trade out metal work for other professions like farming, livestock preparation, tending, textiles, etc., and it’s the same: noticeable, physical results from your labor.

In other words, there wasn’t a lot of mystery in what you did to earn a living.

Fast-forward to today and most of us work on a computer that displays an interface of some sort that graphically interprets the reality of 1s and 0s into a format that our minds can work with, but in an entirely intangible manner. I can’t touch my work beyond the computer screen I access it through, which divorces me from the end-user.

This separation leads to an anxiety that may have been there in a small way in my ancestors but is now turned up to 11 by the disconnection from tangibility. Am I doing my job? Is it actually successful beyond numeric representations on a screen?

How do I know I’m truly good at my chosen profession??

Simply put, we as a species have been predominantly working with our hands for thousands upon thousands of years, and now, suddenly – at least in the scope of history – we’re not. 

Again, the self-doubt about whether or not we are good enough to do a particular role has assuredly always been there, as it is simply a product of being human (not having that doubt is called narcissism, but we’ll get back to that in a minute). It’s just that this shift in the type of work we do as a species has thrown us for a bit of a loop, and we have to adapt.

Lest anyone think that I am advocating for a return to the way things used to be, let me put your mind at ease and assure you that I am doing no such thing. We are here now and need to learn how to deal with what is.

On that note, we turn to point number two, which is going to be blunt but also meant as a relief, so bear with me as you read this.

You are an imposter. That’s right. I said it. You’re an imposter. 

If you are doing a new job, or you’ve taken on a new role – even a promotion at the company you’ve worked at for a while – you are, by definition, an imposter in that position. 

Until you’re not.

At some magical point that none of us can ever truly pin down, we become whatever we started doing. We act as a practitioner of a role until the point where we are that role.

I’ve spoken with physicians who echoed this very thing – they completed their residency and felt like complete frauds, like they had no business doing what they were doing.

And then, mysteriously, they became what they set out to be. 

When I was in the Army, we had a saying, “fake it ‘til you make it!” There is more truth to that than what many people want to realize, especially in our modern society.

We typically didn’t have a lot of motivation for doing specific tasks, but if we pretended we did, that turned genuine, and, voila, we went from imposters to the real deal. To be sure, the power of acting as something before you are that thing is real, as I promise you that I was never motivated to do a ruck-march, but I went after it like I was more than once. 

The simple fact is that if you don’t feel like an imposter, as pointed out above, this makes you a narcissist. If you genuinely believe that you are something you’re not, that is a hallmark of narcissism, so in actuality, imposter syndrome is decidedly healthy.

The real question is: what do you do with it?

If you are taking those feelings of being an imposter and going to hide in the corner, that will only reinforce those doubts and turn something healthy into being unhealthy. 

Conversely, if you are using those feelings as motivation for learning more, you are on the right track.

So, with all that in mind, how do we turn a healthy skepticism about ourselves into an even more positive thing?

  1. Recognize your relationship to time and space. I know this sounds a bit esoteric, but it is quite basic. Remember what I said above about working with a physical product? A lot of imposter syndrome is wrapped up in how big your work and the world seems, so to counter that, we need to embrace where we are right now. Don’t get overwhelmed by what’s “out there” and around the corner; focus on small steps in front of you.
  2. About that, use the “chunking” method advocated for by people like Dr. Barbara Oakley, in which you go for shorter but more intense periods (about 20 minutes) of work. Focus on one task for 20 minutes with the promise that you’ll take a ten-minute break, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve, but also how effective it is at removing those doubts after doing this method for a week.
  3. Purposefully seek out “black belts” in your field with humility for learning. When I did Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I always sought out the top-ranked guy in the room to roll with, not because I thought I could beat him, but because I knew I would lose – I would just lose while learning the most.

If you find the experts and ask basic questions, if they are even remotely professional, they will gladly help you. Humble ignorance is an excellent approach to learning. 

Although there is much more to be said on this topic, the goal here is not to offer an academic tome on all there is to say about imposter syndrome. Instead, the intent is to get the ball rolling with some conversational points that I rarely see discussed on this subject but ones that I believe to be fundamental to our understanding of it.

On that note, I will offer one final thought in closing. Our modern world affords us something unprecedented in human history: the concept of choice. Abundant choices for everything exist in plethora around us, whether in our entertainment (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.), our food, or our careers. 

Along with that exists the anxiety that arises from the possibility of choosing incorrectly. We feel this even when we’re picking a Netflix title to watch, but nowhere is it more panic-inducing than determining our vocation.

So, at the heart of the modern version of imposter syndrome lies a fear-based internal question: did I choose the wrong career??

The short-term answer to that question is simple: it doesn’t matter. You’re where you are right now, so embrace it until you move on to the next thing (see #1 above).

The long-term and more involved answer to that question is not one for this post, as it involves far too many variables to discuss here. For right now, just focus on the short term and start the conversation with some of these points above with your co-workers and friends and see where it goes.

Outcomes 2022

Code Platoon Graduate Outcomes 2022

Code Platoon helps Veterans, Active Duty Servicemembers, and military spouses transition into civilian tech careers. So far, we have graduated more than 270 students into new software engineering careers.

A key component of our mission is to provide our students with more than just the necessary software engineering skills for their future professions. We also emphasize the soft-skills, resources, and networking needed to enter the tech field. Here are our results so far:

Code Platoon Outcomes 2022

  • One hundred sixty-eight (168) Veterans, Servicemembers, and military spouses graduated in the last two years (6 cohorts)
  • One hundred twenty-six (75%) of those graduates found software engineering jobs within six months.
  • The median starting salary of those graduates was $86,000. After 24 months, the median salary increased to $100,000.
  • Of the remaining forty-two graduates, sixteen are still looking for work in technology, seventeen didn’t actively look for work, and nine didn’t respond to our surveys.

2022 Graduate Outcomes

We attribute our graduate success rate to multiple factors. First, our students come ready to learn and work hard every day. Second, our dedicated staff, corporate partners, and volunteers provide our students with everything they need to enter the tech workforce. Finally, our programs themselves offer comprehensive training for software engineering careers.

Our Full-stack Software Engineering programs teach students software engineering via two of the most in-demand programming languages–Python and Javascript. We also teach robust frameworks like React and Django, and our Immersive program students prepare to take the Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification exam. 

Our hands-on programs give students lots of time to practice what they’re learning. Our typical day features morning lectures and instruction, workshops led by tech professionals, and project-based assignments. Students participate in regular pair programming exercises and complete individual and group projects for their portfolios.

We understand that technical skills alone aren’t enough to start a new tech career. That’s why our programs include soft-skills development, resume prep, LinkedIn skills, and introductions to Agile principles

Students also receive technical, whiteboarding, and behavioral interviewing practice. Since our programs are designed specifically for the military community, our interview prep prepares them to showcase their tech skills and military experience. We even help prepare our students for the complexities of post-military life. We partner with Veteran resource providers like The Road Home Program and offer workshops on personal finance, workplace diversity and inclusion, and other essential transitional skills.

Getting one’s first job in a new field like software engineering can be difficult. To help bridge the gap after graduation, we offer our graduates paid apprenticeships, career placement services, and networking opportunities with industry professionals.

For networking, we’ve built a robust community of supporters, volunteers, and alumni to answer students’ questions about the tech industry. Code Platoon students pair with volunteer industry mentors to receive feedback. We also employ teaching assistants to offer aid during and after class-times. By the end of our programs, each of our students should have met at least ten experienced tech professionals.

Every aspect of Code Platoon’s programs and culture, combined with our students’ ambition and determination, leads to the success our Veteran and military spouse graduates enjoy after graduation.

If you’re a military community member, you can visit our website to learn more about the programs and start your application today.

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

Guest Blog

How the Military Prepared Me to Be a Software Engineer

Since 2016, DRW has been a trusted partner of Code Platoon, a nonprofit organization that helps Veterans and military spouses transition into the workforce by providing technical training and career placement. Hear from two Veterans about how this program and the military shaped them for a career as a software engineer.

Megan, Software Engineer, served for six years in the Navy as an Electronics Technician. She was responsible for troubleshooting any issues and making necessary repairs to circuit card assemblies and various types of other equipment.

Michael, Software Engineer, served in the Army Reserves and trained initially as a Combat Medic, then went straight to the enlisted Licensed Practical Nursing school.

What was your path to DRW?

Megan: As I was navigating my transition from active duty to civilian life, I joined the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). During that process, I learned about Code Platoon. After doing more research, my family and I decided it would be the best next steps for my career so we moved to Chicago so I could attend in person. Once I joined the program, I was given a mentor who happened to be a DRW employee. He was vital in helping me get acclimated and to this day he continues to be an amazing resource. After the completion of Code Platoon, I went through the interview process with a few partner companies and ended up getting brought on as an intern with the tech team at DRW.

Michael: I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and started working for United Airlines as a project manager. Due to the immediate and devastating impact that COVID had on airlines, I was laid off only 8 months after starting. I saw that as an opportunity to pivot my career field to something more resilient. I happened to come across Code Platoon because a friend of mine was a TA for a short time and said I should look into it. The thing that stuck out the most about Code Platoon was the partnerships with different companies and the possibility of moving straight from the bootcamp to an apprenticeship, and hopefully a full-time role. While I was going through the bootcamp, they announced that one spot had opened up with DRW in their Technical Software Services team. This was immediately my top choice for available apprenticeships. Luckily, I did a decent job getting through the program, and got the position following the interview. It felt a little too good to be true at the time, still does to be honest.

Can you give us insight into your military background?

Megan: I served for six years in the Navy as an Electronics Technician. In this role, I was responsible for troubleshooting any issues and making necessary repairs to circuit card assemblies and various types of other equipment, like radars.

Michael: I enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2012 and had a dual MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) where I trained initially as a Combat Medic, then went straight to the enlisted Licensed Practical Nursing school. In total I did about a year and a half of didactic and clinical training, then came back home and joined my reserve unit which was based out of Fort Sheridan, just north of Chicago. Although I was never deployed, I used the training and certifications that I received in the military to sustain a career in nursing as I put myself through college.

What is your current role? (and/or) Could you describe a current project you’re working on?

Megan: I started at DRW as an intern and my first project was Traffic Control, an app that tracks the status of shipments. Now, as a full-time Software Engineer, it is a project that I still work on and really enjoy. I have learned so much working on it, and it is a lot of fun to design and make all the different elements work together.

Michael: My current role is a Software Engineer on Technical Software Services. Most of the projects I work on are kind of fun because we are a newer team and many of the applications that we build and maintain are things that we started from scratch! Because of this, I have been able to learn about many different aspects of the software development process. Without getting too much into the weeds, I had a hand in developing several new, cutting-edge applications that vary in size and scope. I also help modernize our deployment process.

What valuable skills did the military provide that have helped you build a career in tech?

Megan: The most valuable skills I’ve brought with me from the military would be time management and problem-solving skills. The military presented a wide variety of problems and challenges and I developed the skills to manage them simultaneously.

Michael: Honestly, before the military I was kind of rudderless. I didn’t have much guidance and never had someone to push me to accomplish much of anything. I had this idea that things would sort of just happen for me at some point. I joined the military in my early twenties, I think partially because of a break up and also because I had trouble waking up and getting to work on time. I also needed to pay for college somehow. Once I enlisted and went off to training, I realized there was no way out and I didn’t have the option of quitting. To my surprise, I finished training near the top of my class. The entire process taught me how difficult it was to achieve anything, and in reality, nothing really just happens for most people. I used that mentality to get myself through college and ultimately, doing what it took to get a job at DRW.

What advice would you give others looking to transition from military to tech?

Megan: My number one piece of advice to any military member is to start building your network sooner rather than later (LinkedIn, Veteran Facebook groups) and talk to people about the different benefits and programs that are available to you. There are so many that it’s impossible to learn about all of them all during the TAP classes. The only reason I heard about Code Platoon, and how I ultimately ended up working full-time at DRW, was because I heard people talking about it in the hallway when I was on break from the TAP class I was attending that day. Also, to those who are currently active duty and know they will be separating in the future, look into the SkillBridge program.


  1. Do it, you won’t regret it.
  2. If you can get into Code Platoon, do it, you won’t regret that either.
  3. You won’t know much when you start out. Then when you start to learn a little, you’ll feel like you know even less. Rather than letting that stress you out, get comfortable with that feeling and be confident in your ability to figure things out.
  4. This is more of a side note, but when you start interviewing for positions try to remember that most people interviewing you actually want you to succeed. It’s natural to go into an interview scared that they will want to bury you in the technical portion and make a fool out of you, but that’s usually not the case. I feel like that always helps relax some of my anxiety.

This post originally appeared as These veterans share how their experience in the military prepared them for a career as a software engineer, on November 11, 2022. Code Platoon thanks DRW for its permission to repost this blog.

best advice for coding bootcamp

The Best Advice for Preparing for Coding Bootcamp

We get a lot of questions from beginner coders about how to get ready for Coding Bootcamp. So, we asked four students and alumni for some of their best tips on learning Javascript and preparing for a coding bootcamp application.

Read on to learn how a military spouse, an Active Duty Servicemember, and two Veterans–all with no prior programming experience–prepared for their Coding Bootcamp applications.

Learning Javascript in Ten Days

Alisha Burgfeld, now a Software Developer at Jacobs, discovered Code Platoon only ten days before her cohort’s application deadline. The Army Veteran and Romeo Platoon graduate had no programming experience before starting her coding bootcamp application.

“It was difficult,” Alisha said. “I had to inundate myself with Javascript completely.”

“First, I completed Code Platoon’s self-paced Intro to Coding course. It taught me the basics, but I needed more practice. So, I also did freecodecamp’s Javascript for beginners course.”

“I passed the coding challenges and finished my application before the deadline. But, if I could have started sooner, I definitely would have.”

Practicing Programming Abroad

Zachary Blackburn, a Software Engineer at Affirm, also had no coding experience before attending Code Platoon. He prepared for the application while on Active Duty in Korea.

“I had never written a line of code before applying,” the Papa Platoon graduate and Marine Corps Veteran said. “I went through Intro to Coding to build my basic programming skills. I then practiced solving coding challenges in the free Eloquent Javascript ebook,”

“I still couldn’t wrap my head around some coding concepts. So, I met with a virtual programming tutor in the mornings. I reinforced what we worked through at the end of the day once I returned to my base.”

“When I did apply, I started slowly–chipping away at the coding challenges one at a time until I finished them. It was a hectic learning experience, but it was worth it.”

Dedication over Motivation

Kayla Phillips, a military spouse, used many free online resources to prepare for her full-stack software engineering program.

“I didn’t even know how to build a basic function before applying to Code Platoon,” Kayla said. “Once I knew I wanted to apply to Code Platoon, I dedicated 5-10 hours a day for several weeks to prepare for the coding assessments.

“I started with Intro to Coding and found many supplemental resources to help me apply what I learned. The Odin Project helped me practice and visualize more theoretical coding concepts. Stack Overflow was also useful if I needed a programming element clarified in layperson’s  terms.

“My advice for coding bootcamp applicants would be dedication over motivation. I believe that my internal commitment to becoming a software engineer was what got me accepted to Code Platoon. Dedication has only continued to help now that I’ve started the Sierra Platoon.”

Understanding Basic Building Blocks

Charles Kubiak graduated from Code Platoon’s Full-stack Immersive Bootcamp, Hotel Platoon. After starting his software engineering career at 8th Light, the Marine Corps Veteran has returned to teach Code Platoon’s Intro To Coding LIVE course. 

“Understanding how the basic building blocks of coding fit together is essential,” Charles said. “I figured this out as a coding bootcamp student, and I emphasize it when I teach Intro to Coding LIVE.”

“Knowing syntax is helpful, but it’s easy to look up if you forget. The critical part is learning to identify when and how to use each basic coding concept.”

“I recommend programming beginners practice solving coding challenges after completing Intro to Coding. I supplement the classes I teach with a free online Javascript course for extra practice.”

Many beginner coders feel lost when they start programming. If you need help getting started, you aren’t alone. You can register now for our free, self-paced Intro to Coding course. Code Platoon also offers a virtual, instructor-led Intro to Coding LIVE version. Veterans and military spouses who register for these courses gain access to Code Platoon’s Slack community.

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.

Everett Yeckley

Evening & Weekend Profile – Updating Experience

Tech may be stereotyped as a young person’s field, but it’s never too late to learn new skills, improve old ones, or even start a new tech career. 

Everett Yeckley, an Army Veteran and recent Code Platoon graduate, has over four decades of experience in the military, and in IT work. He recently completed the Full-stack Evening & Weekend program, Charlie Platoon, at age 56.

“I was always the youngest during my Service and the start of my tech career,” Everett said. “But then, I found myself the oldest student in my Code Platoon program.”

Everett enlisted in 1982 when he was 16 years old. He spent almost fifteen years on Active Duty in the Army Band. 

“When I left the military, I chose to pursue technology because it’s always fascinated me,” he said. “I started from the bottom at an IT help desk and worked my way up to Manager of IT Operations. I also earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while working full-time.” 

Everett then learned of the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) program. This program offered early retirement to Servicemembers who completed 15-19 years’ Service in the Army. Those who qualified received the same retirement pay as 20-or-more-year retirements, minus a small early retirement reduction. 

Everett was months short of the fifteen years’ Service he needed for TERA. So he left tech and joined the Georgia Army National Guard. Although he had intended to only stay for another few years, he remained in the National Guard for eight additional years. 

After his military retirement, Everett hoped he could pick up his IT career where he left off, but technology had advanced while he was gone.

“Getting back into IT after my second round of Service was difficult, even with my degrees,” he said. “I knew I needed to update my skill set to remain competitive.”

“When I heard about Code Platoon, the requirements convinced me that it’s a good program. I knew I’d have to work hard to succeed.”

To prepare, Everett learned Javascript via Code Platoon’s free, self-paced Intro to Coding course. 

Everett had already used his Montgomery GI Bill benefits, attending college and grad school, but he had enough Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits left to qualify for VET TEC. VET TEC is a VA program specifically for assisting Veterans entering the tech industry.

Code Platoon’s 28-week Evening & Weekend Program is designed for people who are employed or have other life events that don’t allow them to participate in the full-time Immersive program.

“It was difficult balancing the Evening & Weekend program with work. I would have an 8-10 hour workday, take an hour break, then go to class. I played in a band at the start of the program but had to drop out to make it all work,” he said.

“The program was a challenging experience, but once I set my mind to it, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The instructors explained concepts well and supported our learning. The other students jumped in to help when someone got stuck. I thought the Beyond Tech soft-skills workshops were invaluable, even after all my civilian work experience.”

“Code Platoon is opening up a lot of new opportunities. I’m looking forward to seeing where this experience takes me,” he said.

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.

Celebrate Code Platoon 2022

Celebrate Code Platoon 2022 Supporters Raise $118,000 For Veteran Tech Scholarships

Code Platoon celebrated six years of helping train Veterans, active duty Servicemembers, and military spouses for software engineering careers with our Celebrate Code Platoon 2022 event. The event was held on September 22 at Artifact Events Chicago. Over one hundred alumni and supporters gathered to recognize Code Platoon’s impact on the Veteran community and raise over $118,000 for our military coding bootcamp scholarships and curriculum development.

Code Platoon, staff, graduates, and supporters.The Program

Kicking the program off, Iggy Khan, Head of Digital Products at JPMorgan Chase and Treasurer of Code Platoon’s Governing Board, introduced our Full-stack Software Engineering program offerings and shared his experience transitioning to the civilian workforce from the U.S. Navy.

Rodrigo Levy, Code Platoon Founder, and Executive Director, recapped the efforts of the organization over the last six years. The program has over 300 graduates. Eighty percent of graduates found jobs in software engineering within six months of graduation. The median starting salary for those graduates was $80,000 – twice their median salary before starting Code Platoon.

Code Platoon has also given out over $1.2 million in scholarships over the last two years. These scholarships are made possible by our corporate partners, grants, and donors.

Full-stack Software Engineering Bootcamp AlumniAccenture, Partner of the Year, 2022

One highlight of Celebrate Code Platoon 2022 was honoring our 2022 Partner of the Year, Accenture. Paul Knudtson, Major in the Army Reserve and Technology Consulting Manager at Accenture, gave the keynote address. He discussed the opportunities available to Veterans and military spouses in the technology industry. 

Accenture employees.Accenture answers the call to help the military community by providing grants, expert resume coaches, and talent pipelines for Code Platoon graduates. 

Paddle Raise and Alumni Stories

The program ended with our paddle raise, led by Michael Dorsey, Code Platoon’s Alumni Association president and Navy Veteran. The paddle raise featured the stories of Megan Genauldi and Kenneth Malley, recent Code Platoon graduates who launched software engineering careers at DRW and HelloFresh after attending our Full-stack Immersive program. 

Guests raised their paddles to contribute donations for Code Platoon scholarships. Code Platoon received over $50,000 in donations during the paddle raise. The total raised from this event was over $118,000.

Full-stack Kilo Platoon Graduates.For those who couldn’t join us at Celebrate Code Platoon 2022, it’s not too late to show your support by donating to the Celebrate Code Platoon fundraiser. All donations are tax deductible.

We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our supporters, and we eagerly anticipate next year’s event! 

Pat Craven is Code Platoon’s Chief of Staff. He brings with him a family history of military service dating back to the Revolutionary War. Pat has spent the past 30+ years helping children and families as a C-Level executive for national and international nonprofit organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, (ISC)2 Center for Cyber Safety and Education, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Washington D.C. He enjoys traveling, golfing, discovering new craft beers with friends, and watching documentaries and crime drama shows with his wife. 

Celebrate Code Platoon 2022 was made possible by our event sponsors:

Kenneth Malley

Launching a Tech Career with HelloFresh

When Kenneth Malley graduated Code Platoon he never imagined he would end up helping deliver delicious dinners to people around the world. Well, that’s exactly what he’s doing as a Software Engineer at HelloFresh, one of the leading meal kit providers in the world.

We recently caught up with Kenneth, a 15 year Air Force Veteran, to learn more about how he launched his career with the meal kit company.

Kenneth graduated from Code Platoon as part of Kilo Platoon. His mentor during the program recommended him for a software engineering position at Factor. Three interviews later, Kenneth joined the team, helping them prepare Factor for a merger with HelloFresh Group

He transitioned to HelloFresh’s country launch squad five months later.

HelloFresh used to manually launch in every new country, but now I’m helping them automate the process,” Kenneth said. “I used my programming skills to work on a new vault key generator. It grabs all of the template files and edits them for each new country.”

“So far, the program has helped HelloFresh launch in seven countries, including Ireland and Japan. It’s incredible knowing I’ve already made a lasting impact, that the code I wrote is being used world-wide.”

Kenneth’s software engineering journey began when he taught himself BASIC on his family computer at 10 years old. He kept up with programming as a hobby until he found Code Platoon. 

“When I started Code Platoon, I didn’t have much experience,” Kenneth said. “I only started to feel like a real programmer in week 10 of the program when I started to work on my personal project. It was my first time programming something from the ground up. I made a digital Hot Potato game that used each player’s phone as the controller via texting. The process of making a program from the beginning was like watching my baby grow up. The more effort I put in, the stronger it got. I was always thinking about the next features to introduce and improve.”

“I had support at every moment during Code Platoon. My fellow students cheered me on. Any instructor or teaching assistant I reached out to for help responded without hesitation. Everyone supported each other.”

“I’ve continued to have amazing support structures at HelloFresh. Launching a new country is very involved. My team of five software engineers touch hundreds of different repositories. It can be really intimidating, but if anyone gets stuck, we all dive in to help each other.”

When asked to share his favorite piece of advice for coding bootcamp graduates, Kenneth had this to say:

“Imposter syndrome is real, but you’ll figure it out. Software engineers come from diverse educational backgrounds. Some have advanced computer science degrees. Others graduated from a coding bootcamp like me.”

“Whenever you start a new field, you never know how it’s going to turn out. There’s an element of risk. In my case, I think everything ended up better than I could’ve asked it to be.”

To read about Kenneth’s experience as a coding bootcamp student, check out his blog post “When Grit and Opportunity Meet.”

If you’re a Veteran interested in starting a software engineering career, you can learn more about our programs and apply to Code Platoon today.

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.

Rome Platoon Final Projects

Romeo Platoon Final Projects

Graduates from our Immersive, Full-stack Software Engineering Bootcamp, Romeo Platoon, spent the last two weeks completing their final group projects. The Romeo graduates formed teams and harnessed their new software engineering skills to develop full-stack web applications. 

Here are their project demonstrations:

Our first group is Fishtories, an app for anglers. Users can log info about their game fish catches and view each others’ catches on an interactive geo-map featuring images, catching methods, and records from the International Game Fish Association.

Check out Fishtories by Daniel Reither, Robert Puentes, Jacob Hill, Nathan Leathers, and Michael Lambert. They are Active Duty Marine Corps, a military spouse, a Marine Corps Veteran, and two Navy Veterans.


The next project is Zesty Tamales, a web app designed to reach an online audience of Latin street food vendors. Those looking to get food from a street food vendor can order through the app and process their payments online through Stripe.

The team behind Zesty Tamales is Chris Volar, an Air Force Reservist; Kevin Bui, an Air Force Veteran and Evan Garcia, an Air Force Veteran.


Gamer’s Haven is the third project in this showcase. Gamer’s Haven offers gaming and anime content for users to explore, discuss with each other via interactive forums, create and respond to polls, and create and join local or online events.

Kaleb Varnes, Dalton Eggleston, Terrance Carter, and Angel Felix–Active Duty Navy and Air Force Servicemembers, a Navy Veteran, and a Marine Corps Veteran, respectively–created Gamer’s Haven.

Jobify is the next project by Romeo graduates. Jobify is a one-stop shop where users can navigate the application and interviewing processes of getting a new job. Users can search for jobs, add them to a personal progress board, and prepare for interviews via open-source forums and other users’ shared interview experiences.

A team of two Marine Corps Veterans, a Coast Guard Veteran, and two Air Force Veterans–Dennis Corral, Facisco Avila, Miah Clay, Luis Manzo, and Rexford Wiafe –developed Jobify.

The fifth project is GAMENIGHT. GAMENIGHT helps users plan public or private game night events and search for public game nights in their area. Users can create private groups, invite friends, or create general game nights that are searchable by location.

Check out the GAMENIGHT demonstration by Michael Heinzinger, an Active Duty Air Force Servicemember; Alisha Burgfeld, an Army Veteran; Megann Herdegen, an Active Duty Navy Servicemember; Kaylee Burch, a Navy Veteran; Daniel Pizarro, an Army spouse; and Craig Bucher, an Air Force Veteran.

Romeo’s Adventure is next up in the showcase. Romeo’s Adventure is an online fantasy role-playing game based very loosely on the team’s experiences in Code Platoon. The game includes an interactive map and story, turn-based dueling with animations, and puzzles about coding to solve.

The team behind this project is Justin Peterson, Meredith Hall, Skyler Scott, Garrett Adams, and Zack Fair. They are two Active Duty Navy Servicemembers, an Army Veteran, an Active Duty Marine Corps Servicemember, and an Active Duty Air Force Servicemember, respectively.


The final project is Paw Platoon. Paw Platoon connects Servicemembers with base access to provide needed pet care during travel and deployments. Paw Platoon also tracks pet sitters’ walk times and locations.

Check out the Paw Platoon presentation by Hunter McReynolds, an Air Force Veteran; John O’Keefe, an Army Veteran and Nathan Marquis, a Marine Corps Veteran.

Congratulations, Romeo Platoon graduates! We’re proud of the accomplishments showcased during this cohort’s final project demonstrations.

The entire graduation and project showcase is available to watch on YouTube.

Best Paying and Most In Demand

The Best Paying and Most In-demand Programming Languages in 2022

At Code Platoon, we track national demand for programming languages so that our Veteran, Servicemember, and military spouse students get the best training for their new software engineering or DevOps engineering careers. 

This article highlights the programming languages with the highest salaries and most frequently targeted job postings for 2022. We’ve also published our findings for 2021, 2020, and 2019

Our 2022 findings show that Python and Javascript developers continue to be paid well, ranking #3 and #4 in salary. C++ holds #1 in compensation but there are relatively few job postings. Java, Javascript, and Python lead in jobs posted.

How we identified the top programming languages for 2022

To measure compensation, we examined the 15 most popular coding languages according to Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey. We mapped the average salary for those languages’ job listings on, one of the largest job listing sites. We tracked the total number of job postings targeting those 15 most popular languages to measure demand.

Ranking programming languages by pay and number of job openings

Python: Python is an interpreted, multi-purpose programming language. It holds the #3 position in the Average Salary and Job Postings categories. Python continues to grow in use for data science, machine learning, cybersecurity, and DevOps engineering. 

Javascript: Javascript took #2 in Job Postings and #4 in Average Salary. Javascript is an indispensable language for programming web applications and remains popular with employers.

Java: Integral to large-scale, legacy business applications and gaining new relevance from its Google adoption for Android, Java climbs to #1 in Job Postings and #2 in Average Salary

C++: C++ is used primarily in gaming and high-performance applications. It stands at #1 in Average Salary and #5 in Job Postings. C++ is fast and stable, but it’s also among the most difficult programming languages to learn. 

C#: C# maintains a user base through its continued use for the Unity gaming engine. It stands at #4 in Job Postings and #6 in Average Salary

PHP: PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that powers WordPress. It’s ranked #7 in Job Postings and #8 in Average Salary.

C: C is an older–but still widely used–programming language. It holds #5 in Average Salary and #6 in Job Postings. Concepts that are hidden to users in scripting languages like Python and Java are exposed in C, offering more flexibility. However, its complexity makes it challenging to learn.

SQL: SQL (or Structured Query Language) is the standard language for relational database management systems. It’s a query language that allows users to draw information from databases. SQL ranks #7 in Average Salary and #8 in Job Postings

What will be the most popular programming language in 2023?

Speculating how these programming languages will fare in the future is difficult because the supply of qualified applicants affects the number of open positions. However, Python will likely continue growing as companies increasingly adopt data analytics tools, infrastructure software development, and AI tools (all areas where Python shines). Javascript will also continue to be the “language of the web.”

If you’re looking for more information on the various programming languages and their relative popularity in the workforce, the TIOBE Index and Stack Overflow provide authoritative reports. They consider industry demand and incorporate different approaches to determining the best programming languages.

Are you a Veteran, Servicemember, or military spouse interested in learning to code? If you’re a military community member looking to transition to a tech career, you can apply to one of our programs to get started. 

Rod Levy is the Founder and Executive Director of Code Platoon. Rod spent 20+ years in finance and entrepreneurship. He was a Partner at G-Bar Limited Partners, where he co-founded and managed their volatility-arbitrage trading desk (BBR Trading). He was one of the founders of Cerrio, an internal software start-up. He holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Rod has also completed Dev Bootcamp’s web developer program.

Intro to Agile

Sketching, Scope, and Stories: An Intro to Agile Development

Agile software development methodologies have become the norm in large tech companies. Self-managing Agile teams develop software incrementally to align with consumer needs. Agile is primarily a mindset and can be difficult to learn. 

That’s why product strategist Judith Sol Dyess introduces Code Platoon students to Agile development principles and practical starting advice. Judith structures her one-day workshop around four key steps: the elevator pitch, sketching product ideas, scope prioritization, and writing practical user stories. 

If you’ve wanted to learn how software engineering teams develop products quickly, you can follow Judith’s suggestions to hone your skills.

Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitches share concise ideas. Starting with this pitch helps you develop the essential project framework: who should use it? What will it solve?

Answer these questions and follow Judith’s template from The Agile Samurai to draft your elevator pitch:

For [users] who [users’ problems], [product name] is a [product category] that [main benefit]. Unlike [competitive alternative] our product [most differentiating benefit].

Let’s see an elevator pitch in action. Students from Code Platoon’s Papa Platoon created The Daily Planter using Judith’s techniques. Here is their elevator pitch:

“For gardeners and farmers who need crop management for their area, The Daily Planter is a gardening app that helps users grow crops. Unlike Garden Manager our product scales to a range of plot sizes and manages soil data.”

Fit your product details into this template, and you too have an elevator pitch. 


With the elevator pitch in hand, now it is time to visualize your ideas. Judith teaches a process called Ide8ts–inspired by Crazy Eights from Google Ventures–to sketch rough outlines for each screen a software product will have. 

First, fold an empty piece of paper three times to create 8 rectangles. Then, use a marker to sketch one screen per box. Your results may look something like this example from The Daily Planter team:


This exercise typically generates a lot of different ideas. In Judith’s workshop this is the primary conversation starter for the features the teams are going to build. It’s not intended to be a consensus on the finished product; it’s about ways to solve the problem at hand. 

Scope Prioritization

Next comes prioritizing all your ideas. In Agile development, the project’s scope is managed in terms of its goals, features, and user stories

 Typically product owners create the goals for a development project. They often start with user research to determine the essential features. The project team will then break up these features into smaller, actionable items detailing the deliverables.

User research usually yields more features than a team can include in the product’s first version. So, to prioritize the project’s scope, Judith recommends creating a MoSCoW method board detailing the “Must,” “Should,” “Could,” and “Won’t” haves.

“Must haves” are the deliverables essential for a product launch. “Should haves” are important but can be “fast followers” to launch. “Could haves” could be helpful, but it’s worth waiting on user feedback after launch, and “Won’t haves’’ won’t be done at all as part of this project.

Here’s an example of a completed MoSCoW method board for The Daily Planter:


Once you’ve pitched your stories and organized them according to the MoSCoW board, you can focus on developing the “Must haves” into more detailed user stories.

User Stories

User stories are a critical tool to help you plan how you’ll deliver your features, how you’ll code them, and how you’ll test them from the user’s perspective. 

Judith recommends following this story template:

As a [type of user], I can [perform this action] so that I can [gain this value from it]

Here’s one of The Daily Planter’s user stories:

As a user, I can input the location and amount of each crop so that I can receive reminders to fertilize, water, and harvest my crops.

Each feature on the MosCoW board will necessitate several new user stories, each detailed enough to be clearly understood, actionable, and testable. 

When you’re done, you’ll have most of the information you need to code your tech projects organized enough to get right to work.

To see more of our graduates’ final projects developed from Judith’s workshops, check out our Quebec Platoon final projects.

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.