Time Check

Time Check – When should I begin my Code Platoon application?

So you’ve decided to pursue a career in software engineering and have chosen Code Platoon as your place of learning. Now what?

Just like any top-tier coding Bootcamp, you can’t just walk into Code Platoon off the street with zero knowledge and start day one—you have to have at least some understanding of the fundamentals of Coding. 

So how do you get that understanding, and how long will it take? How far out should you begin preparing for coding challenges and funding issues that may arise? That’s the focus of this blog post.

Let’s start with the application process – more specifically, Part Two of the Code Platoon application.

One of the questions I get regularly is, “why do I need to pass a coding test if I want to go to school to learn to code?” It’s a fair question. Here’s my take on the subject.

Imagine going to a school that had no entrance exam. Without some assessment before the start of classes, two things might happen. Either the first day will be incredibly rudimentary or will be way beyond most students’ skill levels. Whatever the case, it may force everyone into a sink-or-swim situation. 

That’s not going to happen at Code Platoon because of our coding challenges. The Coding Challenges in Part Two of the application process show that all students entering our program have a coding knowledge level that allows them to succeed on day one. That assures our students don’t just walk into the class unprepared for day one.

As I like to tell everyone, imagine if everyone who showed up for Basic Training had already been running two miles a day and what kind of difference that would’ve made for your first week.

But how long does it take to walk that talk in the world of Code Platoon? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s start with the assumption that you are starting at zero. Your only computer experience involves email and possibly looking at music videos – because that is what the internet was invented for (and because MTV robbed us of that decades ago), right? 

Suppose you know more than that, great! It means that everything that follows will be shorter for you than others.

The first place to start is our Intro to Coding program, which is entirely free of charge and self-paced. Intro to Coding is for total beginners with absolutely no coding experience. If you look there, you’ll notice 12 video lectures, the longest of which is just under 28 minutes, and the rest are under 16 minutes. These all come with accompanying practical exercises for students to work through. 

The second place is our Bootcamp Prep, which is also free of charge and self-paced, or you can take a live-online version that offers a sneak peek into how our instructors teach. Although Bootcamp Prep is a little longer, consider that both courses combined have about 8 hours of total video lectures and, when done back-to-back by a complete novice, take somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-50 hours to complete.

How long will  it take you to finish all of this is, of course, individually dependent. Some students can read half a book in a day and ace a test, whereas other students take longer to absorb the information needed. But this isn’t a race—some who take longer to do the same task end up with a more robust understanding of that topic in the long run.

Beyond our application challenges is our deadline for the application itself, which typically occurs three months before the beginning of the actual program. We need time to get you enrolled, ensure all of your VA paperwork is in order, and determine scholarship eligibility  pre-work to complete, enabling students to hit the ground running on Day One of their class starting.

So, when considering all of this, the average student—who has no prior experience and is currently employed—should plan accordingly (at the very least, but earlier is typically better):

  • Allow three weeks to complete Intro to Coding and Bootcamp Prep (2hrs/day*3 weeks = 42 hrs). 
  • You should set aside at least eight hours to complete the Coding Challenges (Please note: the challenges are not timed and do not need to be completed concurrently). 
  • Plan for one day to complete the video and essay submissions from Part Two of the application. 
  • Once you are accepted, allow for three months to do pre-work and prepare for the program.
  • Total: Approximately four months from the time preparation starts to the time the cohort begins.

These are, of course, approximate times —this can all be done quicker, for sure, but don’t feel like it has to be. You don’t get extra points for being fast; your acceptance to the program is contingent on a solid application. For example, you can triple the number of hours per day you spend on the prep work and complete it in one week, but your scores on the coding challenges are what we evaluate —not the time to finish the prep work. 

It’s good to be early for the sake of enrollment, but not at the cost of submitting solid work on the coding challenges. 

SkillBridge

Students interested in attending Code Platoon through the SkillBridge program should allow time for all of the above in addition to the time it takes to get SkillBridge paperwork completed. Luckily, these things can happen simultaneously. There is no reason why you can’t submit for SkillBridge approval while concurrently completing the Intro to Coding or Bootcamp Prep courses. 

Just keep in mind that SkillBridge approval, like most things in life, takes time. Please don’t assume that you will hand your commander the paperwork and get it signed right then and there. Prepare to take care of approvals well in advance, and recognize that these dates need to line up with your last 180 days of service. 

Code Platoon has extensive experience helping SkillBridge students get what they need. We are here to help. 

Hopefully, all of this helps provide some insight, but as always, if you have more questions, please feel free to email me personally, and I can either answer your questions that way or set up a time to chat. Greg@codeplatoon.org

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

DRW White Paper

DRW and Code Platoon: Working together to provide Veterans and military spouses careers in technology

DRW, a Chicago-based, technology-driven principal trading firm, has been a trusted partner to Code Platoon since 2016, when the firm’s Chief Information Officer,  Seth Thomson, recognized the power of Code Platoon to help find undiscovered, well-trained and talented Veterans and spouses who could add value to his teams. 

“DRW was an early adopter of Code Platoon and took a chance on our training program,” said Rod Levy, founder and Executive Director,  Code Platoon. “Their seal of approval has helped cement Code Platoon as a premier coding Bootcamp.  DRW has incredibly high standards and so for others in the space to see their involvement in the program and the success graduates were having was a game-changer.”

DRW believes hiring from Code Platoon is one of those “do good while doing well” situations.  While the firm is eager to support Veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life, the firm recognizes that it benefits from having mature talent that is ready to jump in and make a difference.  Code Platoon graduates combine their technical skills with military traits, including loyalty, discipline, and the ability to learn. From day one at DRW,  graduates are part of teams working to solve complex problems in markets worldwide and across many asset classes, and they bring not only their passion for developing technical skills, but also life skills they have learned during their service.

“I am an extremely enthusiastic champion of the work of Code Platoon and the exceptional cohorts they graduate,” said Thomson.  “It’s a true honor for  me personally to be able to help those that have dedicated themselves to service to find the next path for utilizing their skills and cultivate new opportunities.  And after many years, I can confidently say I think everyone involved wins here.  Our tech teams love welcoming each graduate to the firm, and mentors always tell me they learn something, too.  Our firm has sourced tremendous talent through this program.  And, we’re diversifying the tech workforce, which is important to all of us.”

To date, DRW has provided apprenticeships to 13 Code Platoon graduates. Eleven of those apprentices were offered full-time positions (and one is still an apprentice). They now work on eight different teams at DRW, contributing to diverse projects within the firm, including security, business support, trading desks, and data services. 

Hank Moon, a 2019 Code Platoon graduate and Air Force Veteran, said, “When I left the military, I was working with a very tight-knit team. We were almost like family.  I get that same sense of family at DRW.” 

Hank currently works with the Business Support Services team and frequently collaborates with other Code Platoon graduates. 

Beyond hiring from Code Platoon, DRW also provides program support to students in the training program. DRW encourages employees to volunteer their time as mentors, resume coaches, teaching assistants, and workshop leaders. 

Mentors provide an opportunity for students to grow their professional networks and learn more about working as software engineers. Teaching assistants are available weekday evenings as technical support to students, helping them complete coding challenges and other assignments. Workshop leaders, like DRW’s Chris Walquist and Rene Duquesnoy, provide specialized GIT and Linux commands training to each Code Platoon cohort.

“I find it very fulfilling to hold open for others the doors that were opened for me,” said Walquist. “Code Platoon lets me do that by offering volunteer opportunities as a mentor and workshop leader.”

If you are interested in a hiring partnership or volunteer opportunities with Code Platoon, please visit the employer resource page or contact our career services team.

Military Spouses

Code Platoon Focuses on helping Military Spouses

Military spouses face many of the same struggles that Servicemembers and Veterans endure when transitioning from military service to civilian careers. However, the main difference is that for many spouses, the problems faced have lasted throughout their time tied to the military lifestyle.

One of the significant issues for military spouses is finding steady and meaningful employment. Military spouses face an unemployment rate of upwards of 26%, nearly five times higher than the national average for Veteran unemployment. Military spouses don’t receive the same support as their Servicemember counterparts. Code Platoon, however, is committed to helping those who have supported their spouses on the homefront.  

“Code Platoon recognizes the importance of spouses in the military and seeks to support them as much as we support Veterans,” said Rod Levy, Code Platoon’s Founder and Executive Director. “Our warm, military-friendly environment is designed specifically to serve the needs of military spouses, as well as Veterans. Code Platoon is unique among Coding Bootcamps in offering full, and near full, scholarships for military spouses.” 

“That was what got me interested,” said Krysta Pfeifer, one of three military spouses currently enrolled in Code Platoon’s November Platoon cohort. She learned about the software development program through a friend who was doing a research project on military spouses’ programs. Her husband, who actively serves in the Army, had been transferred to a new duty station, and Krysta says that things had lined up perfectly for her to take the plunge into a Coding Bootcamp. 

“With the scholarship from Code Platoon, it made the Bootcamp financially feasible, and I’m also learning unique and critical skills that apply to many industries,” she said. 

Being able to train for a new career field with little to no financial risk is undoubtedly a win, but Code Platoon provides more than an affordable education to students. The heart of Code Platoon’s mission is to get military members and spouses into careers that offer the means to be independent. Becoming skilled in the field of programming provides the opportunity to work almost anywhere. With those married to Servicemembers where moving around is virtually guaranteed, it’s no wonder that becoming a programmer is a recommended career choice. 

Caitlin Wilson, another military spouse in November Platoon, has made the switch due to being on the move and familiar with the unstable job market. 

“I went to school for digital media production, which is film and television,” Caitlin said. Before meeting her wife, who is in the Marine Corps, she had worked on some films in Pittsburgh and New York City but quickly realized how unstable that world can be. 

“It was a little bit too much for me, not knowing when the next job was going to come or what it was going to be.” 

Caitlin enrolled with Code Platoon with some experience in JavaScript, but she enjoys the challenge. “In a short time, I’ve learned a lot from my fellow students and instructors where they teach things and think differently than I do. I would say I’m already starting to break through that plateau that I was at before I started.”

“I’m definitely out of my comfort zone, but it is pushing me to overcome my anxiety of questions and seeking help,” said Diana Vargas. 

Diane is married to an Army Veteran. They transitioned out of the military in 2019. Still, employment on the outside had been challenging to obtain due to the career gaps that often come with being a Servicemember spouse that the Covid-19 pandemic was forcing a shift to remote working and acknowledging that a change needed to be made, Diana pursued Code Platoon’s Coding Bootcamp to start a new career path. 

“I’ve always been able to do things on my own, but I’m finding that I need to reach out more, and when I do reach out for help, I spend less time on the challenge and can move on to another. So far, the instructors have helped me, and I feel better about my progress. It’s building my confidence and strength to reach out and become a better professional in all the skills that I need to become a software developer. I’m happy that I decided to join this program.”

November Platoon is Code Platoon’s largest cohort to date, It also has the most military spouses participating in a cohort since the program began. We’re confident that these three military spouses will succeed in the Bootcamp and beyond, and we hope that they can help inspire other military spouses to take a chance with Code Platoon in the future. 

If you are or know of a military spouse, we implore you to consider learning more about and applying for Code Platoon today!

Amanda Michelle Gordon is Code Platoon’s Content Marketing Coordinator. She is a U.S. Air Force Veteran and a student of SUNY New Paltz for Journalism and Sociology. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, the outdoors, and turning coffee into copy. You can find Amanda on LinkedIn and Twitter.

My Code Platoon Journey 4

My Code Platoon Journey: Feline Undergarments, Zoom Backgrounds, and Time Telling Computers

This post is part four of a series of posts by Cristian Baeza chronicling his Code Platoon journey from choosing a Bootcamp through his classes as part of the current November Platoon.

Cat lingerie. If there is anything you need to take away from reading this blog post, cat lingerie is real, and the demand for it is enormous. That fact is probably an essential thing November Platoon has learned during our first month at Code Platoon. Or not. It depends who you ask, I suppose.

I have learned a substantial amount during the first four weeks of our 14 week Bootcamp, or at least tried to. The instructors make it clear that the program will be like drinking water from a fire hydrant, and they were not kidding.

We took off running during the first three weeks with an introduction to Python and object-oriented programming. I had never touched Python before, so learning a new language while also learning concepts was brutal. Brutal but fun! At the end of each day, I felt like I had been awake for 20 hours already and just wanted to pass out. Still, I was thrilled to learn something new every day. Every new concept felt like I was adding a tool to my software development toolbox even though I was still learning to use the tool I had acquired the day before. 

Week four introduced us to databases and SQL. It’s not my favorite subject, but the program clarifies why it’s essential to understand them at least at a fundamental level.  

The support offered by Code Platoon has been beyond amazing. At any given point during the day, I can ask a question and get an instructor or teaching assistant (TA) to assist me within minutes. That level of support is no small feat considering my cohort is close to 40 people. It doesn’t feel as big because we usually use Zoom breakout zooms composed of 10 students, one instructor, and two TA’s. 

This past month I also began to wish that we could do our cohort in person. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Code Platoon’s programs are all currently remote. 

Although having that face-to-face interaction with my classmates would be awesome, we try to find joy in the little things that make us laugh. From silly backgrounds, computers that tell us the time (inside joke) or starting a new cat lingerie business called Caturday Night Nighties (dead serious). It’s these things that make the long, exhausting days worth it for me. Others might disagree, but I try to look on the bright side. 

With the first month done, I am looking forward to the next ten weeks, building some websites on the front-end, learning Django, and securing Series A funding for Caturday Night Nighties. Also, Regex sucks. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.   

Cristian Baeza is a Marine Veteran. Cristian is part of Code Platoon’s November Platoon, which began its Bootcamp in February 2021. Cristian shares his Code Platoon Journey through a series of posts chronicling his search for a Bootcamp, acceptance to Code Platoon, and his classroom experience throughout the 14-week immersive Bootcamp.

Where Now - Jyn and Conlin

Fifth Anniversary Series: Where are they now?

Over the past five years, Code Platoon has trained some incredible individuals into becoming first-class programmers. Since our first cohort in 2016, over 150 Veterans and military spouses have graduated from our coding Bootcamp and have entered the tech industry. In addition to the training they received through the program Code Platoon, graduates have also become a part of a network of alumni and have access to continued professional growth and career opportunities. 

We checked in with two alumni to see how they are and to showcase their accomplishments since graduating from our programming Bootcamp. 

Jyn Kim is an automated logical specialist with the U.S. Army Reserves. She was part of our second cohort, Bravo Platoon, and was one of our Women in Tech scholarships’ first recipients, allowing her to participate in the program. Since graduating from Code Platoon, the trajectory of her career path continues to move upwards.

Upon graduation, Jyn was part of Code Platoon’s internship program. Graduates of Code Platoon’s Full-time In-Person program compete for three to six-month paid internships with corporate sponsors.

Jyn interviewed with five companies within the Code Platoon network and received an internship with Underwriter Laboratories (UL). Within just a few short months, Jyn joined UL as a full-time software developer. In 2019, Jyn accepted a new job opportunity at ActiveCampaign as a software support engineer. One year later, she was promoted to a full-time software engineer. 

Jyn continues to develop her skills as she is currently learning the React programming language to grow her programming skills. She has also established career and financial security for herself. 

In addition to her career growth, Jyn is giving back to the tech community. She recently received a Fellowship from GET Cities, an initiative designed to accelerate women’s representation and tech leadership. This 9-month fellow program is geared towards women and marginalized genders in tech to help them gain practical skills and navigate building their careers in technology. Fellows learn how to bring new innovative ideas and insights to the table and develop a more dynamic, inclusive work environment within their team and the teams they are yet to be a part of.

Conlin McManus, another graduate of the Bravo Platoon, has also done well in the programming field. Conlin served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Supply Chain and Operations Manager before attending Code Platoon. He excelled in the program, and upon graduation, he secured an internship at Raise, a Code Platoon corporate partner. Over the last three years, Conlin has moved up the company ladder, obtaining a growing technical skillset, professional growth, and financial security. 

Three months into his internship, Conlin was offered a full-time position as a software engineer at Raise. With each successive year, he moved up the ranks to Software Engineer II and is now working in a manager-level role as a Senior Software Engineer Technical Lead where he has nearly doubled his salary. 

Code Platoon helped Jyn and Conlin translate their military skills into a flourishing career in tech. They were able to find jobs in the civilian workforce that they are fervently passionate about. 

Donate and support the Careers of more Veterans like these here.

If you are a Veteran or a military spouse looking to launch into a career in software engineering or programming, you can apply to Code Platoon here

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

Ankur Spotlight

Meet Code Platoon’s New Instructor: Ankur Shah

Ankur Shah is the newest instructor to join the Code Platoon team this year, and he is already hard at work training Veterans and military spouses to become software developers. Ankur teaches in our full-time program, where our students experience a 14 week fully immersive, hands-on Coding Bootcamp. As a highly qualified instructor, we are excited to have Ankur as a great asset to the instructional staff.

Ankur received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and computer science from the University of Michigan. His studies taught him how to use innovative and critical thinking to become a critical problem-solver – something he hopes to bring to the Code Platoon classroom.

Ankur also brings real-life software engineering experience to Code Platoon. He worked for more than nine years as a software engineer at Wolverine Trading. His hands-on experience in software engineering will help him better equip students to transition from the military to the civilian workplace. He can answer questions about what employers are looking for from new hires, balancing a programmer’s workload, and what is necessary to succeed in a software engineer’s role.

I think software development can seem intimidating and out of reach for many people not already in the industry,” says Ankur. “But I truly believe that software development can and should be accessible to everyone because software is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives, and correspondingly, a greater part of new job opportunities.” 

That level of dedication has led Ankur to become a part of the Code Platoon family. 

“The fact that Code Platoon focuses on Veterans and their families makes it all the more worthwhile,” Ankur says. He truly believes in Code Platoon’s mission and has a passion for helping the Veteran community, and we know that our students will be in good hands with his guidance.

Welcome to the Code Platoon Family Ankur! 

If you would like to learn more about our Coding Bootcamp, click here.

If you want to donate and support Code Platoon’s instructional team, click here.  

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

Beyond Tech

Beyond Tech – Helping transition from the military to the civilian workplace

There are plenty of paths to take for those interested in entering the field of programming. Traditional college, Coding Bootcamps, and internships can all provide the knowledge and skills needed for the in-demand career. Knowing how to do the job and proving to an employer that you are capable are two entirely different arenas. 

Save for a few altruistic or genuinely curious folks, attending an education program of any kind is usually done for advancing career prospects. The struggle for finding meaningful employment can be challenging for those transitioning out of military life. Not being able to translate skills to terms that employers can understand, not meeting particular education requirements for a position, and difficulty adjusting to a civilian workplace. Code Platoon is aware of these facts and can help Veterans and military spouses go from the coding classroom and directly into the programming workforce with our Beyond Tech curriculum. 

“There’s a lot of Coding Bootcamps out there, and they all more or less teach the same thing, the stuff that we teach is not novel, it’s not new,” said Jon Young, Code Platoon’s Education Director. “What we want to be able to do is ensure that whenever you hire a Code Platoon graduate, you know you are bringing on a well-rounded, great employee. 

“The Beyond Tech sessions focus on things that are important to create like a great modern-day employee, and we’re hoping that our students can stand out a little bit more because of that,” Young said.  

Beyond Tech is an informative and engaging eight-part lecture series where Code Platoon students learn some of the unspoken rules and expectations when exploring a new career path. Beyond Tech is included in every Code Platoon Bootcamp program.

The series also addresses the differences between the military working environment and civilian technology companies. Overcoming the internal struggle of imposter syndrome, understanding the importance and advantages of diversity in the workplace, financial literacy, and how to best navigate the job hunt are just a few of the lessons students will be introduced to on top of learning to become a software engineer or developer. Most importantly, Code Platoon is specifically designed for the military community in mind, training with peers who have had similar experiences and taught by instructors who can meet the needs of Veterans, Servicemembers, and military spouses.Gary Coffey

“Code Platoon prepares you from going from the program straight into your new career,” says Gary Coffey, a graduate of Code Platoon currently working as a software engineer at Enova International.

After separating from the Air Force in 2017, Gary spent his first year working at a Mattress Firm on the civilian side. 

“Before Code Platoon, I was barely scraping by, and while the pay is better than what my old retail job was, I can honestly say that the best part of working now is that I don’t have to fake my enthusiasm at work because I genuinely enjoy what I do now,” Gary said.

Gary isn’t alone in his post-graduate success. More than  81% of Code Platoon graduates become Full-Time software engineers or developers within six months of completing the program. The median starting salary for graduates is $65k. 

In addition to the Beyond Tech curriculum, Code Platoon has an extensive network of companies and advocates for hiring Veteran and military spouse programmers. Thanks to these connections, Code Platoon is able to place some of the in-person Chicago-based graduates with local internships. It can help students build their portfolio, resume, and LinkedIn profiles. 

If you are or know of a Veteran or military spouse looking for a career switch, look no further than Code Platoon! Apply today.

Amanda Michelle Gordon is Code Platoon’s Content Marketing Coordinator. She is a U.S. Air Force Veteran and a student of SUNY New Paltz for Journalism and Sociology. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, the outdoors, and turning coffee into copy. You can find Amanda on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Career Paths

Top Veteran Career Paths

Have you ever read articles with titles like “Best Jobs for Veterans” or “Top 10 Career Fields After Your Military Service”? I did and came up with a few common themes worth digging into —but from a Veteran perspective, which appears to be the angle missing from many of these articles. 

Staying in step with Code Platoon’s theme of being honest and bringing you the bottom line without a lot of fluff, I’m going to review what seems to be the most common careers suggested for Veterans and offer you, dear reader, a straightforward take on what they mean for choices in your situation. 

After comparing a few Veteran career lists, this one on Business Insider seems to reflect the most common career options, so I’ll base our take on it, even though I’m ultimately addressing a much broader scope. The Business Insider list just works as a solid launching point for this analysis. 

Number one top career paths for Veterans: Healthcare

According to Business Insider, “The healthcare profession allows Veterans to use skills they may have learned in the military and channel them into a rewarding, mission-based, and lucrative careers.”

My initial problem with this statement is that healthcare is about as vast a career category as one can get under one banner. It’s almost like saying “helping people” is a career. While healthcare is indeed noble, there are thousands of different career opportunities in this field.

Do you want to be a medical doctor? A nurse? Administration, technical support, or food services? These require substantially different educational paths to break into, so be aware of the intricacies involved. 

If you are leaving the military with no college, these differences matter a great deal. 

One example, despite it being one of the more challenging undergraduate degrees one could obtain, a person could be a nurse in less than four years. A career in nursing starts with solid pay, good benefits and offers a lot of opportunity for upward mobility if one continues their education. The average salary for a Director of Nursing is over $100K per year. 

Compare this with a medical doctor, which would require 10+ years of schooling and fairly substantial debt but offers a large payoff in the long run.   

While neither of these is “better,” per se—every individual has a different path—the differences must be appreciated, especially considering that both options relate directly to patient care. A career in healthcare marketing or human resources department would have substantially different requirements. A veteran leaving the military would need to be aware of these to focus their path a little better than just “healthcare.”

Number two: Law Enforcement.

Careers in law enforcement are not at the top of any “most common” lists for Veteran careers, it is the one career that is mentioned on every list, so it’s worth covering. 

There are two things to note when discussing law enforcement as a possible career path. First, if you are going into it for the right reasons (more on this with number two), it is a noble career and one that can be rewarding for a very long time. I personally have several friends in this field (and was associated with it myself for a short time), and the stories they have of helping people in a time of need are countless. 

Second, however, it is often quite a different job than what many military Veterans think it is. Relating to the “right reasons” caveat just mentioned, if you believe you’re a good fit for the role of a police officer because you can handle a firearm well and your grappling skills are highly developed, then those are decidedly not the right reasons. 

Being a police officer is not about carrying a gun, looking tacti-cool, and shooting bad guys. Although that may happen, it is the exception to the norm. So, don’t go after this career if “shooting bad guys” is your primary motivation. 

If that is what is driving you, I encourage another option

Number three: Software development.

Of course, you may be thinking that we’re including software development simply because this is what Code Platoon offers a path towards. Regardless, software development legitimately makes every top Veteran career list I’ve found, at least in some form (sometimes they just have “IT professional” as the title). Let’s face it: careers in tech are not only here to stay, but they are also growing rapidly and influencing nearly every imaginable area of commerce.

But at the foundation of every tech job, whether it be cybersecurity, data analytics, or software development, lies a coding language like Python or JavaScript that holds it all together. And those who know how to write the code hold the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. 

I get a lot of questions about whether or not we have courses in areas like cybersecurity or data analytics. Here’s the short answer: no, but it’s much easier to move from code writing into those areas than the other way around, and there are a lot more opportunities open if you start here.

Software development—and the coding necessary to do it—is crucial to our economy moving forward. Just think about the restaurants that were able to weather the proverbial COVID storm—they had apps available that allowed customers to order food remotely, or they were quickly involved with GrubHub or DoorDash (both of which are entirely reliant on up-to-date software).

All tech jobs rely on computer code at some level, so, naturally, those most fluent in coding languages like Python or JavaScript will be continually in-demand. And in-demand means more money and better choices of where to work.

How’s that for stepping up in the world after spending a year or two in the desert?

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

Mike Platoon Final Projects

Mike Platoon Graduates Showcase their Team Projects

We’re showcasing the final group projects from the recently graduated Mike Platoon. During each Code Platoon Bootcamp, our students form teams to create a capstone project that showcases the coding, development, and teamwork skills learned in the program.

Our first team project from Mike Platoon is Skill-Link. Skill-Link is a career research tool designed to help individuals bridge the gap between their skills and their next career. 

Check out our graduates presenting Skill-Link. 

Next up is Truth or Dare.

Truth or Dare is a multi-purpose web app that emulates the timeless game Truth or Dare with a modern party game twist.

Check out six of our Mike Platoon graduates showcasing their capstone project, Truth or Dare.

The next project is designed for users that want to test their green thumb in a virtual garden and have fun while doing it.

Garden Game was developed by six Mike Platoon members as an online interactive game with a competitive leaderboard and is rated E for everyone.

The final project in our showcase – Travvy – was developed by five Mike Platoon graduates and highlighted their coding, development, and teamwork skills.

Travvy is a budget-friendly travel app that helps users be more travel savvy.

Check out Travvy presented by our Mike Platoon graduates.

My Code Platoon Journey Part 3

My Code Platoon Journey – The Final Countdown

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

Queue ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe. The start of my Code Platoon cohort is now only weeks away. I write this piece hoping that other Veterans can see how I prepared for the Bootcamp, financially or otherwise, so that they might better prepare for their future endeavors themselves.

Vets, did you know you can use your GI Bill for a graduate degree? Graduate degrees can be much more expensive than bachelor’s degrees, so I decided that saving some of those coveted GI Bill months for a master’s degree would be a rational financial decision. This allowed me to have a safety net plan after graduating from Code Platoon. I would apply to a part-time master’s program and use GI Bill benefits to pay for it. Doing so would allow some BAH as a source of income while I find a full-time job. We can at least thank the pandemic for causing many institutions to shift towards fully online classes.

After being notified of my admittance to Code Platoon at the end of July, I knew I had to start preparing to dedicate three full months to the program come February. After the pandemic began, I was blessed to have been able to keep my job working remotely. That allowed me to pay for my last year of college and help me pay rent. After being admitted to Code Platoon, however, I had to make some budget cuts. Financially, I had to prepare not to have a source of income for the three months the Bootcamp will last. I was glad I applied early since this gave me ample time to save and plan out expenses during the program and the job hunt that comes afterward. 

I also started to research what my life would be like as a software engineer. What would be my daily routine? What would comprise a typical day at work? Startup or larger company? Frontend or backend? Both? Will I even like this field? Python? Java? Go? Go where?? I had so many questions, and luckily YouTube and Google provided a lot of answers.  

Basic coding challenges don’t really give people an idea of what software engineering can be. I wanted to see if this field was something I would enjoy or at least not hate. I invested in a part-time Bootcamp to test the waters. This Bootcamp, called NuCamp, was extremely affordable. It allowed me to learn a lot and get an idea if this is the field for me. Fortunately, it only grew my joy for choosing software development and made me look forward to starting Code Platoon even more. 

Besides applying early, I would also highly recommend being proactive in your quest to seek knowledge in this field. There are countless resources out there that can give you an idea of what jobs are actually like, so don’t be disheartened if you’ve only had exposure to coding challenges and you feel like setting your face on fire. I’m not saying that feeling will go away (it probably won’t), but seeing the possibilities of what you can create can show you the joy and fun this career choice can bring. Or it might not be for you at all. The point is to make a strong effort to find out before you are financially committed to any program.

During this last month, before starting my cohort, I will be studying for my AWS certificate. I will also be working on some portfolio projects and messing around with Electron.js. Please feel free to reach me on LinkedIn with any questions or help in any way. 

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