milspouse coders hackathon

Milspouse coders use hackathons to break into the tech space

This article is a guest blog by milspouse coder Kerri-Leigh Grady

I’ll never forget the look of horror on a neighbor’s face when I told her I was participating in a hackathon.

She gasped, and her eyes darted around a bit, like she was waiting for us both to be cuffed and dragged off. Her concern was understandable since we were both military spouses who lived on a military base, down the street from the brig, and to the uninitiated, hackathons sound like a hard pass for law-abiding citizens.

It took some convincing before she understood that the “hack” wasn’t nefarious, but more like the super popular life hacks on Facebook. The difficulty wasn’t surprising. It always takes some convincing for people who’ve never heard the word “hackathon” before to get comfortable.

Hackathons and tech jobs shouldn’t sound discouraging to milspouses, though. The tech industry, with a growing population of distributed workforces and remote-ready jobs, paves a solid path away from the drastic unemployment and underemployment numbers we see in the milspouse community and offers numerous opportunities for milspouses who don’t want to sacrifice another job to a PCS.

Hacking a path into the tech industry

At MilSpouse Coders, we are shining a light on the opportunities for spouses in tech by hosting an annual hackathon. In 2018, our modest but successful one-day hackathon took place in Virginia Beach, and the winning team designed a product that would allow military families to scan boxes during a PCS and know exactly where Grandma’s treasured silver pitcher is, from end to end. 

Other projects included an app that maps out military lodging and local sights during a road-trip PCS, a database that tracks special knowledge in a membership group, and an Alexa skill that reports on military news of interest. 

Details for the 2019 hackathon

For 2019, our hackathon is hosted by Microsoft’s Military Spouse Training Academy on the Microsoft campus in Redmond. While the in-person event is open to anyone, regardless of military affiliation, we know military life makes travel hard, so we’ve opened the ability for vets and family members to join remotely.

Last year, Code Platoon offered a popular code-along to participants who were curious but didn’t feel like they were knowledgeable enough to participate, and we’re very excited that they have generously offered to lead another code-along this year. Those who coded with us last year can learn something new this year, as the project—and even the language—will be different.

Here’s the great news: you don’t have to be a coder to participate, and you don’t have to code to have a tech career. Projects need project managers, product owners, testers, user experience specialists, marketing professionals, and more. In other words, hackathons are a life hack for military spouses seeking a portable, flexible career. 

No matter your skillset, you bring value to a software product, and hackathons are an excellent place to learn what you can bring to the industry.

You, too, can hack a career that will survive military life.

Click the link to read more about the upcoming 2019 hackathon or to sign up for the event.


What sets Code Platoon apart from other coding bootcamps?

As a coding boot camp, Code Platoon provides more than just basic training on software programming for our students. We want to provide the best possible coding boot camp experience a veteran, service member, or military spouse can have, bar none.

That way, the veterans we serve have an option that is not only custom-fit to their needs, but is also the superior choice in every category as a coding boot camp.

Here’s what Code Platoon provides its students, in addition to the fundamental coding education, that sets us apart from other coding boot camps.

We help you land the job through career services

We understand that the vast majority of our students attend a coding boot camp because they want to start a new career in coding. The career services we offer take our graduates the extra mile and guarantee they have everything they need to land the job, in addition to the technical training.


This is a linchpin of our In Person program. Over 70% of our graduates get placed directly into a paid internship, which most of the time leads to a full-time job offer at the same company. 

With those for students for whom the apprenticeship is a short-term relationship, they now have specific job experience on their resume, which improves future job prospects. The first coding job is by far the hardest to get, and our apprenticeship program alleviates that.

LinkedIn prep

To get a job, you need to develop your ‘personal brand.’ LinkedIn is the primary platform to display your professional brand, and we spend many hours with our students getting this right. We provide students with examples of successful profiles and offer feedback as they develop their own, so they can have the digital presence required to look like a pro on day one.

Resume prep and coaching

Most veterans don’t know how to translate what they did in the service into terms that employers will value. Knowing this in advance, we help do it alongside them. 

Whether it’s for the resume, LinkedIn, or the interview, we help students communicate their military skills without the defense jargon that civilians won’t understand. In its place, students add the relevant civilian terminology needed to get the attention of resume-scanning software, HR professionals, and ultimately the hiring managers.

Interview prep

(whiteboard, behavioral, technical/algorithms)

Interviewing for software roles is different than most other types of interviews because they can get highly technical. Interviewers may even ask an interviewee to solve a coding challenge on a whiteboard or ask technical fact-based questions. Since these challenges are solved live and will throw off even an experienced coder with on-the-spot pressure, the only solutions are preparation and practice.

We help students prepare for all of the different types of interviews, down to the soft skills, professionalism, and confidence that potential employers in the tech industry are looking for.

We train and certify advanced academics beyond just coding

Cutting edge curriculum

The technology landscape changes frequently. We teach timeless fundamentals, but we are also laser-focused on teaching the tools that are in demand.

We even consult with corporate sponsors and partners and conduct our own independent research to determine the best paying and most in demand programming languages. That is why we currently teach Python and Javascript and React.js, an update to our old curriculum specifically tailored to create the best outcomes for our graduates.

We are an Amazon Web Services Training Academy and prepare students for the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification

A tremendous amount of development now happens in the cloud. AWS is the leading cloud services provider. Certification on the AWS platform is well regarded and in demand, so whether your employer is going to use it or not, it’s a major bonus on your resume.

That’s not even to mention that it will make your job much easier if you do end up using this popular platform!

SAFe Agile Certification

Agile management is how modern teams work. This certification introduces you to the fundamentals of Agile management. You won’t just have the coding skills to do the technical side; you’ll have the project and task management insights that will make you an asset to your team and a rock star on your resume.

Industry best practices (Git, Pair Programming, Test Driven Development)

How do modern teams work? Collaboratively. We teach our students how to store code so that they can work in teams, and we teach how to code together, which is a widely-used programming methodology.

We also teach you to write low-error risk code so that what you create won’t become problematic for others working with your code.

Real World Projects

The best way to build up your skills is to put them into practice on hands-on projects. You’ll get experience working in teams throughout the program, and then finally in a team capstone project. 

You will be collaborating to solve complex problems, simulating a real professional environment. In addition, you will spend a good amount of time working on a personal project to showcase your new skills and put your learning into action.

We connect you with a network of other coding professionals

Veterans and military spouses cite a lack of a network as one of their top concerns when entering the job market. We create a personal network for you, by introducing you to:


Every student gets an industry mentor that provides one-on-one support throughout the 14 weeks of instruction. 

Mentors work in the technology industry and help students learn more about working as a software developer. Mentors often have their mentee visit them at their office, meet for coffee, or join them at tech meetup events! 

Teaching Assistants

We have industry professionals who serve as evening teaching assistants every night. Teaching assistants are familiar with our curriculum and can expertly help problem solve as students are completing challenges and assessments. Many of our teaching assistants are former Code Platoon students, providing support as both coding professionals and veterans or military spouses.


We bring in industry professionals as guests to talk about specific parts of technology, management, teamwork, and more.


Our alumni are successful developers who want to see Code Platoon graduates succeed. Our alumni association meets bi-monthly to support each other and help Code Platoon grow to serve more students.

We understand veteran needs and accommodate them

  • Veterans and military spouses are your classmates
  • We allow time off for drilling
  • We can refund your tuition if you are unexpectedly activated or deployed
  • We collaborate with other veteran nonprofits, like Road Home for mental health services
  • We have experience with VA benefits including GI Bill, Voc Rehab, VET TEC

If this sounds like a good fit for you, click here to apply for our next cohort!


VET TEC will make you reconsider how (or if) you use your GI Bill®

VET TEC is a new VA program to pay for technology education for veterans, and it can be used at coding bootcamps. The program is designed to skill up veterans and get them into in-demand, high paying technical careers like web development, cybersecurity and software development. 

If you’re a veteran or reservist and you want a career in technology, VET TEC is by far and away the best option, even if you have 100% Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits with BAH.

Don’t waste your GI Bill benefits or miss out on additional benefits; read more about VET TEC and see if it’s right for you.


Veterans and reservists with at least one day of Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, or Selective Reserves (Chapters 33, 30, or 1606) are eligible for this program (spouses and dependents are not). This is a huge “increase” in benefits for Chapters 30 and 1606; those programs only pay a small monthly stipend. Through VET TEC, Chapter 30 and 1606 veterans and reservists can get full tuition and a housing allowance.

Type of Training

Coding bootcamps (code schools) are short term, intense, immersive, industry-based training that is designed to give you the skills for an entry level job in tech. These programs are lighter on theory and heavy on real world application compared with traditional college computer science degrees. The commitment is 40 to 80 hours a week, depending on the program.

This is not traditional higher education. The VET TEC program cannot be used at degree granting facilities, such as colleges, community colleges, and universities.


VET TEC is designed to get veterans jobs. The school who trains the veteran gets paid on a pro rata basis: 25% on enrollment, 25% on successful graduation, and 50% when the veteran gains meaningful employment as defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The school doesn’t get paid fully unless you get hired within 6 months. That means screening is critical. You have to be serious about getting a job in tech.

Application Process

Veterans apply to VET TEC here. Separately, most coding bootcamps have their own application process which a veteran must complete.

Only veterans may use this program (no spouses or dependents) and the veteran must have at least one day of benefits (Chapter 30, 33, or 1606). There are limited funds that the VA will apply to the program across all trainees: $15 million per year for five years.

Key takeaways: Veterans can use VET TEC funds to go to a coding bootcamp. Tuition is paid in full – in stages – and the veteran receives the housing allowance as well. While the veteran must have at least one day of benefits, the veteran will not use up any of their current GI Bill benefits for this program.

Who Should Consider VET TEC?

  • Any veteran who wants a career change into tech but wants to “save” their GI Bill should apply for VET TEC.
  • Chapter 30 and 1606 veterans – this program will cover full tuition and housing.
  • Veterans with less than 100% GI Bill benefits will also get full tuition and housing.

If you’re interested, here’s a list of approved VET TEC providers.

If you’d like to learn even more specifics about VET TEC before applying, read our VET TEC FAQ page.


VET TEC remote program

Software coding is a flexible, rewarding, and growing career field. Employers want new talent to fill these coding roles faster than a traditional degree will allow, and the highly-specific skills needed are arguably best taught in a coding boot camp experience.

As the “boot camp” descriptor implies, military veterans are uniquely qualified to train for new careers in the fast-paced coding boot camp environment. The success rate of veterans graduating from our coding boot camp indicates that substantial income and job security are accessible through this type of training.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agrees that vocational job training in coding boot camps is a worthy cause. The VET TEC program covers the full cost of tuition for veterans to train at approved coding boot camps and collect basic allowance for housing (BAH) without taking away from remaining GI Bill® benefits. There’s literally no risk to the veteran to accept the opportunity to train at a coding boot camp.

Code Platoon remote program and VET TEC

Code Platoon’s Live Remote Program already offered full tuition scholarships, but veterans who needed to collect BAH to cover cost of living while training were previously unable to do so while studying online outside our live classroom setting.

Our Live Remote Program, covered by VET TEC, offers several advantages over our Self-Paced Remote Program.


Self-Paced Remote

Live Remote

Completed online
Yes Yes
Full curriculum
Yes Yes
Free Covered by VET TEC or full scholarship
Mandatory attendance
No Yes
Full-time instructor
No Yes
Progress testing
No Yes
Certificate Upon Completion
No Yes
Collect BAH
No Yes, with VET TEC

With VET TEC, students can now train online at Code Platoon tuition-free while collecting BAH. The Code Platoon Live Remote Program offers the same instruction, lessons, and timeline as our In-Person Program, but it’s available from wherever you can train.

To apply for the Code Platoon Remote Program, click the button below.

You will also need to apply for your VET TEC benefits with the VA in order to get tuition and BAH. To apply for VET TEC, click the button below.

VET TEC, including BAH, is also available for those applicants who would like to attend our In-Person Program.


VET TEC frequently asked questions

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is now offering a program that will pay for veterans to get training in technology jobs without consuming their GI Bill® benefits. This program is called Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC.)

What is the VET TEC program?

VET TEC is a government program to fund veteran job training in the technology field.

It’s an alternative to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, with a focus to get veterans into flexible, in-demand, high-paying careers in things like software coding and information security.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill program for veterans is intended to grant enough benefits to finish a traditional college degree, or any program shorter than that. While the expectation is that the GI Bill education and retraining would be used to start a new career, the VA believes VET TEC might be a better path to that end for some veterans.

VET TEC is made to focus specifically on the result: whether or not the veteran gets a good job doing the thing for which they trained.

There’s a mutual benefit for both the veteran and the VA. The VA, on one hand, can better serve its mission of helping veterans build a successful post-service career. Veterans, on the other hand, can get vocational tech training even if they don’t have enough GI Bill benefits left, or want to try the training without sacrificing future education options.

How is the VET TEC program different from the GI Bill?

There are several main differences between the GI Bill and the VET TEC program:

  1. Using the GI Bill subtracts from your remaining benefits and VET TEC does not.
  2. VET TEC only provides training in concentrated technology boot camps and trade schools. The GI Bill can be used for traditional college degrees as well.
  3. Eligibility for the two programs differ. For example, active duty service members, Transfer of Entitlement [TOE] spouses, and some others, are not eligible for VET TEC.
  4. The VET TEC program has limited funding, up to $15 million per federal fiscal year.
  5. A veteran must be a full-time student in order to be eligible for and continue in a program approved to receive reimbursement through VET TEC.
  6. A student veteran must graduate and secure meaningful employment (as defined by the VA) in order to initiate full tuition and fee reimbursement to the training provider.

Other than that, their functions are very similar. Specifically:

  • You still receive a form of housing allowance (MHA) while training with VET TEC.
  • You can still use your GI Bill benefits after graduating from a VET TEC program if you choose.

How do I know if VET TEC is a good option for me?

A few simple questions will get you on the right track.

  1. Are you a military veteran?
  2. Are you eligible for the GI Bill?
  3. Do you still have any GI Bill benefits time remaining? (Even one day is enough!)
  4. Are you seeking a new career?
  5. Are you interested in working in technology?
  6. Are you willing and able to do what it takes to get the education and employment?

Answering “yes” to all of these questions means that the VET TEC program can certainly work for you. Once you’ve decided that VET TEC is a better option than your alternatives, the only real barrier is getting accepted into a VET TEC approved program you’d like to attend.

This is great for veterans who have already used most of their GI Bill benefits with traditional college but haven’t gotten a career from it.

Can I use VET TEC to attend Code Platoon?

Yes, Code Platoon is listed as a VET TEC training provider and the VET TEC option is offered with every one of our training cycles.

The Code Platoon training you’ll receive through VET TEC is the same experience you’d get when attending via GI Bill, scholarship, or self-funding. You’ll be in the same classrooms learning the same things with the rest of our students; the only difference is how the VA pays for your attendance.

To join the Code Platoon program, apply here.

Within the application, please note your interest in VET TEC.

You can also learn more about attending VET TEC in our remote program by clicking here.

What do I do on the VA side to secure my VET TEC benefits?

Click here and apply to the VET TEC program with the VA.

Since Code Platoon can actually help you navigate the VET TEC system, and you’ll eventually be required to name a place of training, it’s best to start the Code Platoon application right away.

If I’m a veteran with less than 100% eligibility on GI Bill benefits, can I still apply and receive full VET TEC benefits?

You sure can! If you’re eligible, VET TEC pays at the 100% rate for both tuition and housing even if you wouldn’t receive 100% with other GI Bill programs.

If I apply for VET TEC benefits and use them, how will that affect my current GI Bill benefits that I have not used yet?

You will keep every last GI Bill benefit you currently have even if you use VET TEC. The VA does not take away or subtract from any of your GI Bill entitlement because of VET TEC.

If I already work in the tech industry at an entry-level position, am I allowed to use VET TEC to further my tech education faster than self learning or college education?

Yep, absolutely. If you are eligible for VET TEC and you are able to get into a program with an approved provider, then you’re allowed to use a VET TEC training institution to help you advance your career. The VA does not exclude participants who are already in their target industry.

For which programs is Code Platoon listed as a VET TEC training provider with the VA?

Our Live Remote and In-Person programs are both listed as options where Code Platoon is a training provider with VET TEC on the VA website.

If I attend the Code Platoon Live Remote Program using VET TEC, what does a ‘normal’ day in this program look like?

Class times usually go from 9:00 AM CST to 5:00 PM CST, Monday through Friday. Students often work after class until around 7:00 PM to complete the assignments for the day, and also study on weekends at their own pace. You’ll work alongside the same instructors and classmates daily, even in the remote program!

Is there a part-time option for VET TEC and Code Platoon?

No. Our Self-Paced Program can be done any time you want, which includes part time, but it is not a VET TEC program. 

Is it feasible to work a job while in a full-time Code Platoon program through VET TEC?

Our full-time classes (Live Remote and In Person) are very demanding, making it unrealistic for you to do other work or school during the 14-week session.

What is the difference between the Self-Paced Program and the Live Remote Program?

The Self-Paced Program contains our current curriculum and corresponding videos. It is free to any veteran or military spouse. There are no grades, no certificates, no career services, no live instruction, and no instructional support. It’s just our entire program, free to use. You cannot use VET TEC with our Self-Paced Program in order to collect BAH while training.

The Live Remote program is attached to the In-Person Program. While our instructor lectures and demonstrates, classes are streamed live to our remote students every day. Remote students complete classwork and homework on the same timeline as the students who are in the physical classroom. Students in our Live Remote Program can collect BAH while attending through VET TEC.

The Live Remote Program is a full-time 14-week program requiring 10 to 12 hour from students every weekday. It includes live support, career services, and assistance with job placement. The full cost of tuition is covered in the VET TEC program. We also offer full remote scholarships for students without VET TEC benefits.

What are the differences between those who are listed as VET TEC training providers?

ProviderIn PersonRemoteNon-profitVeteran FocusedProgram LengthsCampuses
Code Platoon
YesYesYesYes560 hoursChicago, IL; Online
Skill DistilleryYesNoNoNo680 hoursGreenwood Village, CO
Zip Code WilmingtonYesNo
YesNo480 hoursWilmington, DE
Detroit School for Digital TechnologyYesNoNoNo80 and 240 hoursDetroit, MI
Sabio EnterprisesYesYesNoNo450 hoursIrvine, Culver City, and Los Angeles, CA; Online
GalvanizeYesYesNoNo450 hoursPhoenix, AZ; Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Boulder, CO; New York, NY; Austin, TX; Seattle, WA
The Best Paying and Most In Demand Programming Languages in 2019

The Best Paying and Most In Demand Programming Languages in 2019

At Code Platoon, we track national demand for programming languages so that our veterans and military spouses are trained with the best tools for a career in software development.

But whether you’ve never coded before or you’re a veteran looking to pivot, when you’re deciding which programming language to learn, the following demand-based insights can help inform your strategy.

This article attempts to answer which programming languages command the highest salaries and are most frequently targeted in job postings.

How we identified the current top programming languages

To answer our questions, we conducted simple searches on, one of the largest job listing sites.

For the question of compensation, we started by searching for the top 15 most popular languages in a recent Stack Overflow survey and mapped the average salary for job listings with those languages. For demand, we tracked the number of total job postings targeting those same languages.

Ranking programming languages by pay and number of openings

The Best Paying and Most In Demand Programming Languages in 2019

Python: Possibly the best coding language according to the data, Python is tied for #1 in Average Salary with Ruby, which ranks lower on total job listings available. Python, by contrast, takes the #2 position for Job Postings, and holds an enormous lead in that category before third place. Python is an interpreted, multi-purpose programming language. It is often used to build web applications, and seeing exploding growth due its use in data science, machine learning, cybersecurity, and dev ops.

Javascript: Often called ‘the language of the web,’ Javascript tied with C++ for #3 in Job Postings and #5 in Average Salary. Javascript is an indispensable language to know for writing web applications, as it works both in the browser and on the server side.

Ruby: Highly-valued, Ruby ties for #1 for Average Salary and #6 for Job Postings. Like Python, Ruby is an interpreted, multi-purpose language that is relatively easy to learn. Its popularity stems largely from its web development framework, Ruby on Rails, which is very powerful, widely used, and relatively easy to get up and running.

C++: This was once a premier top-level programming language and is now used primarily in gaming and high-performance applications. C++ stands at #4 in Average Salary and tied for #3 in Job Postings.  The common and useful language C++ was designed for application and systems programming. Since its creation, it’s often been used for office applications, games, and advanced graphics. C++ is very fast and stable, but difficult to learn relative to the other languages in this list (except possibly C).

Java: Integral to large-scale legacy business applications and gaining new relevance through its adoption by Google for Android, Java maintains #1 in Job Postings and #6 in Average Salary. Java’s rankings were an exact flip of Ruby’s in each category. Originally developed by Oracle, Java is extremely popular because it can be used for mobile, web, and desktop app development, and more. Reasonably stable and fast, it is very popular at the enterprise level.

C#:  Similar to Java with Android, C# maintains a solid user base through its adoption in the Unity gaming engine, standing at #5 in Job Postings, and #8 in Average Salary. C# was specifically designed by Microsoft as a competitor to Java. Often used to build desktop apps and video games, as well as web apps, C# remains very popular in the enterprise realm. It runs on Microsoft’s .NET platform.

Swift/iOS: The biggest jump in salary from 2018 to 2019, Swift owes its rankings of #3 in Average Salary, and #8 in Job Postings to its dominance in the mobile market. Created by Apple, Swift is now often the default language for writing iOS apps (Objective C preceded it). If you want to write apps for the iPhone, look no further.

PHP: The language that powers WordPress, PHP is #7 in Job Postings, and #9 in Average Salary. PHP is a general-purpose scripting language used for the development of web applications. One of the earliest languages for web development (released in 1995), it remains widely popular today.

C: C is one of the oldest and most widely used programming languages in the world, and holds #7 in Average Salary, and #9 in Job Postings. It is used to program everything from operating systems to hardware. What makes this language so difficult to learn is in part why it is so powerful: a lot of concepts that are hidden to users in scripting languages like Python, Ruby, and even Java are exposed in C, so that the programmer has more flexibility and complexity available.

What changed from 2018 to 2019?


For those making a career, the direction the market is going matters as much as where it is now, so we wanted to look at some of the changes from 2018 to 2019. Since we used the same methodology for similar research in 2018, it will be helpful for a comparison.

Python and Swift developers saw the largest increases in average salary ($9,000). Python climbed the most in number of jobs posted in 2019, posting an additional 3,000 jobs. Ruby saw the largest drop in popularity, posting 5,000 fewer jobs in 2019.

What will be the most popular programming language in 2020?

It’s difficult to speculate how these programming languages will fare in the future because the supply of qualified applicants affects the number of open positions. However, as the Stack Overflow survey points out: “Python has risen in the ranks of programming languages on our survey, surpassing C# in popularity this year, much like it surpassed PHP last year.”

Python now has the largest Google search traffic of any programming language, recently passing Java. Java and Javascript come next.

If you’re also looking for more information on the usefulness of various programming languages, the TIOBE Index and Stack Overflow provide two of the most authoritative reports. Both reports consider industry demand as well as additional perspectives, and incorporate different approaches in determining the usefulness of programming languages.

If you’re a military veteran or military spouse interested in learning to code, you can apply for one of our cohorts now.


Army Reserve and Code Platoon

Want to build your civilian-side career while serving in the Army Reserve?

Software coding is one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs available. Plus, it’s compatible with the specific needs of Army Reserve soldiers:

  • Coding jobs are available almost anywhere you move during service.
  • Tech companies are able to adapt to drill and deployment schedules.
  • The schedule and physical demands of coding won’t compromise your Reserve duties.
  • Code Platoon’s program is flexible with drill and deployment schedules for Reserve students.

Code Platoon is a coding boot camp designed specifically for military veterans, including reservists. In 14 weeks, you’ll have the skills you need to begin your coding career.

The Code Platoon program is excellent for Reserve soldiers for several reasons:

  • We are GI-Bill eligible and offer very generous scholarships to Army Reserve applicants
  • The length (14 weeks) and location (Chicago) of our program is accessible to many reservists
  • Most of our graduates are placed directly into paid apprenticeships after the program
  • Our career prep training translates your military experience into a coding career

One of our graduates, Jyn Kim, tells her story about attending Code Platoon as an Army Reserve soldier in the video below.

The first step on your journey to a software programming career while in the Army Reserve is to apply to our program.

While Code Platoon seeks to meet the specific needs of Army Reserve soldiers, our program is open to all branches of military service, as well as Active Duty and National Guard, and all service members’ spouses.

If you’re not ready to apply, but want to learn more, let us know a good email address to reach you by subscribing to our newsletter below.


The VA is serious about helping veterans get jobs in the tech industry

As a non-profit serving veterans through software coding training, we love keeping up with current trends for veteran interests and the technology sector. Let’s look at what’s new for the week of March 25, 2019.

Tech jobs are still a good choice for veterans

According to USA Today’s list of the Top 25 Jobs for 2019, software developers are still in high demand with an unemployment rate under two percent and a median salary in the six figure range, showing that tech jobs are still on top. In fact, out of all possible jobs in the article, software developer is #1.

So how do veterans get the hard skills to get into one of these coveted, high end tech jobs?

The VET TEC program incentivizes veterans to get coding jobs

Most veterans already know they can use their benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill® to attend a conventional college or coding boot camp to learn to code. But now the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is offering another wonderful opportunity to get into technical programs with their newly created Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program.

Starting in April, 2019 the Department of Veterans Affairs will use VET TEC to get motivated, hard working veterans into tech jobs. VET TEC has been designed to give veterans another opportunity to use nontraditional training like coding boot camps to access jobs in information technology, computer software, information science, media application, data processing and computer programing fields.

As long as the vet has even a single day of GI Bill benefits available to use, VET TEC is free to the veteran but doesn’t use up their GI Bill benefits up.

The VA’s goal is to focus more on the job outcome than the education, and they’re willing to incentivize veterans to follow along. The veteran, of course, still ends up with debt free tuition as long as they work towards a job in a technical industry, and can still fall back on other GI Bill forms if they change their mind.

Vet Tec makes sure that the student does not pay anything for tuition. However, the program has delayed payment to the education institution to incentivize them to facilitate measurable results for graduates. Upon the veteran’s acceptance into the program, the VA will pay the training provider 25 percent of tuition and then another 25 percent once the veteran graduates. Finally, when the veteran gets a job in their area of study, the VA will pay the last 50 percent of tuition.

Why is the VA pushing for coding boot camps?

Coding boot camps, which are condensed, job-focused software development courses, are growing in popularity.

According to Inside Higher Ed, many coding boot camps cater to people with a bachelor’s degree who cannot afford another certificate or degree program. For these students, this short range, intense training program is an add-on to their traditional education that will not be a replacement, but an enhancement to their technical skills and resume.

However, coding boot camps are still ideal for absolute beginners because they have a compressed curricula and focus highly on job placement in high demand, relevant career fields. Because of the success of this type of learning, many universities are changing the focus of their traditional programs to include a version of a condensed coding boot camp program.

Evidence suggests that many higher education programs are starting to shift from strictly four year degrees and incorporating a boot camp style course to help fill gaps in employability after graduation.

In other words, the coding boot camp is proving to be the more vital program, as boot camp graduates are having better outcomes in many cases than their undergraduate computer science counterparts.

The Apprenti program proves the VA is serious about veteran jobs in technology

As previously stated, employers want a slew of skills and experience when looking at a potential hire. Apprenti is taking a huge leap forward for veteran technology jobs by removing the burden of experience and education. Once a veteran passes a few basic tests and qualifies for the program, Apprenti places the veteran in a well-paying technology apprenticeship in a major company for at least a year. The intent is to bring the veteran as a full-time hire, and they’ll certainly benefit from the apprenticeship regardless.

The stress of finding experience and education is eliminated by this program by placing veterans into a technology apprenticeship. During this apprenticeship the veterans are taught the appropriate skills needed to maintain a job in their chosen technological career fields. According to Apprenti’s statistics, almost 50 percent of students start the program without a prior degree and approximately 85 percent of participants are retained by the company with which they have done their apprenticeship!

Apprenticeships like those offered by Apprenti give one more avenue to get that desired tech job. Currently, there are almost 2 million vacancies in the industry, and only 65,000 students will be graduating with the requisite computer science degree. This leave a lot of gaps that need to be filled and a lot of opportunity for veterans to get their foot in the door.

What can veterans do next for a tech job?

Not all military jobs line up perfectly with jobs in the civilian world, and that means more training upon transition from your respective branch of service.

Through the ages, attending college with the Montgomery GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill has always been tried and true options for veterans entering the workforce after service. However, with veterans urgently needing post-service careers, and the college education pipeline failing to supply coders to meet the total job openings in tech fields, veterans have some other options.

Programs like Apprenti and Vet Tec bring a fresh new look to the education field with cutting edge opportunities that not only give veterans the skills needed to fill in of those job vacancies, but it gets right to the paycheck as well.

Code Platoon, our non-profit coding boot camp for veterans and military spouses, accepts the GI Bill and offers scholarships for many students who do not have GI Bill benefits. We also place most of our graduates in paying apprenticeships that lead to careers with their host company.

If you’re a veteran or spouse interested in our training, please click here to apply to our program.


SkillBridge and Code Platoon

Sailors and soldiers on active duty who are transitioning out of active military service may be eligible for the DoD SkillBridge program. In the Army, this program is also called Career Skills.

At Code Platoon, our mission is to help veterans and military spouses get into valuable new careers, and the SkillBridge program aligns with that objective. If the SkillBridge program interests you, here are some frequently asked questions and answers that may help you.

How does SkillBridge help DoD service members transition into new careers?

SkillBridge is designed to give active duty service members an opportunity to develop in-demand job skills while still serving. Specifically, service members who participate in SkillBridge can use their last 6 months of active duty to participate in a training program like Code Platoon.

How would an active duty member apply to Code Platoon with SkillBridge?

Interested candidates will simply apply using the normal application link. During the application process, list yourself as active duty and select that you are interested in the SkillBridge scholarship. Immediately after, email and let us know if you need any help or additional information.

How does Code Platoon help with the command approval process for SkillBridge?

Your unit commander needs to approve your participation in SkillBridge at Code Platoon, and we have some information that may help you with that process.

Below is a downloadable information packet for your commander. We’re also happy to have conversations with you about your steps taken outside Code Platoon that are required for you to succeed.

PDF download for your commander: Introductory Letter from Code Platoon

Which Code Platoon programs can I attend with SkillBridge?

You can attend our remote live program with SkillBridge. This means you’ll be able to take the program from wherever you live now. You’ll be on track with our classroom schedule, and have access to our instructors via computer.

If you’re in the rare instance of transitioning out through Naval Station Great Lakes, then you may be able to attend our in-person program as well.

What Code Platoon scholarships am I eligible for with SkillBridge?

We are providing a special 100% full scholarship for the remote program for students who attend through SkillBridge.

Can I use the GI Bill® with SkillBridge and Code Platoon

You cannot use the GI Bill® with SkillBridge and Code Platoon unless you transition out through Naval Station Great Lakes.

What do I do next?

Click here to apply for the Code Platoon program.

If you know someone else who may be interested, share the link to this page and this flyer.

Skillbridge Flyer

What to look for in coding bootcamps: Code Platoon vs. Northwestern Coding Bootcamp

When someone wants to become a professional software developer, coding bootcamps can offer a fast, complete, and affordable way to reach that career goal.

However, not all coding bootcamps are created equal. We’ve established some benchmarks that represent the accessibility of various programs and the quality of their graduate outcomes. Whether you share some or all of these values, we encourage prospective coding bootcamp applicants to consider at least some of these features when making a decision on where to learn.

And rather than work strictly in hypotheticals, we’ve used actual data from two coding bootcamps: Code Platoon, our own non-profit coding bootcamp exclusively available to military veterans and their spouses; and Northwestern Coding Bootcamp, another coding boot camp also located in the greater Chicago area, run by Trilogy Education Services Inc.

Each section of the analysis is broken up according to the question we’re addressing about the coding bootcamp.

Do graduates from the coding bootcamp get coding jobs?

Most folks are going to a coding bootcamp because they want to become professional software developers. Coding bootcamps are challenging and job-like in their schedule, so hobbyists usually lack the needed motivation to drive through to completion. Of course, if you want to dabble in coding, there are plenty of other free, online resources and local classes!

But for those out to get the coding jobs, there are more factors in whether your coding boot camp will lead to a career than just the technical coding skills alone. What are the other keys to getting a job after a coding bootcamp, aside from the tech stuff?

Apprenticeships / Internships

The first job after a coding bootcamp is by far the hardest to get. Code Platoon has a corporate sponsor model whereby companies commit to host the majority of our graduates for paid internships. Most of those internships turn into full-time offers within the same companies.


Do certifications help coders get jobs in the tech industry? Some do. A certification is not a guarantee for success, but certifications like those granted by Amazon Web Services (which Code Platoon offers) and Oracle for Java do matter to companies that use those particular tools.

Publish outcomes

All coding bootcamps should publish their job placement outcomes. This can help set realistic expectations for applicants and students, and even increase confidence (and as a side effect, performance) for graduates who may doubt their value before they land the job. Besides, with the data being readily available from alumni, why wouldn’t a coding bootcamp publish its outcomes? Code Platoon’s outcomes are available here.

Career preparation

Quality of career prep varies between programs, but this is an essential component of any successful coding bootcamp. We spend many hours, over the course of many weeks, doing resume and LinkedIn preparation, behavioral and technical interview prep, mock interviews, and more. Both Code Platoon and Northwestern include this in their curriculum.

Extensive networking opportunities

Many estimates suggest that 70% to 85% of all job opportunities are found through networking opportunities. Most coding bootcamps are aware of this, and say that they will introduce their students to the tech community.

Be careful with what they mean. Will the programs take you to meetups? You can do that by yourself. Will they introduce you to a mentor who is an employee of the bootcamp, or who only meets you three times during the entire course? Not much of a networking opportunity.

We bring the network to our students. Every night, two professional software developers volunteer to spend two hours working with our students on their homework. That means our students get to interact with 10 professional developers every day of every week for two whole hours in addition to their class time with our instructors.

Is the training program affordable?

The price tag on a program may not take into account various ways to offset the cost of that program, such as scholarships. It’s a great idea to compare similar coding bootcamp options along the lines of cost for the value, but remember to consider the final out-of-pocket expense rather than the initial price tag.


Many programs offer scholarships to make their programs more affordable. Our median scholarship for the In-Person Program is $10,000. Our Women in Tech and Remote scholarships completely cover the cost of tuition ($13,000). Here is a great list of coding bootcamp scholarships for many different schools.

GI Bill®

This option is specific to veterans (and sometimes their families). Code Platoon is GI Bill approved, meaning that the GI Bill can potentially cover the cost of tuition along with initiating any other GI Bill benefits the student may be eligible for, such as a housing allowance.

Student loans

Still can’t afford tuition after scholarships? Many programs work with third party lenders for student loans. Making a decision to take a loan depends mostly on your credit history and your confidence in gaining employment after graduation (which may depend on the school’s outcomes, mentioned above.)

How hard is it to get into the coding bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps have a choice:

  • Let anyone in (immediate profit, long-term reputation damage)
  • Let only experienced coders in (decent outcomes, possible student burnout)
  • Let people in based more on non-coding attributes (prioritize personality over skill)

Ask yourself: Does the program want students who are eager to learn? Or does the program admit anybody who can write a check?

We focus on selecting the most motivated students, which leads to a student body that encourages and drives one another. Spirits are high, bonds are strong, and results are better because our students are linked together by a common thread of dedication.

Getting into a new profession is hard, and as a student you need to come committed to putting in the time and effort to get there. To offset the motivation requirements, we use fairly modest coding challenges to determine who is ready to attack our rigorous program. It’s more important to show us what you can do during the prerequisites and the course than how much you knew prior to applying!

How can I judge the program’s quality?

Instructed Hours

Want an easy way to evaluate how much material you are going to learn, and how deeply you will learn it? Take a look at how many ‘supervised hours’ (instruction time / guided workshops / project work with instructors available to assist) versus their ‘unsupervised hours’ (solo homework time).

Of course, pure hours is an insufficient indicator of quality. But it is definitely an indicator. By the time students finish our program, they will have had over 700 instruction/supervised hours; at Northwestern Coding bootcamp, that number is 300.


Student feedback, testimonials, and review score averages are the ultimate validation of a program’s quality. Course Report and are two industry review sites for coding bootcamps.

What type of coding bootcamp is it?

  • In Person: most learners prefer an in-person delivery, if logistically possible, since you can easily communicate with your instructors and fellow students, and more readily form bonds with your classmates.
    • Full time / Immersive: the original bootcamp model. Go hard for a short period of time (9 to 20 weeks typically) and you are done.
    • Part time : need to work or have other daytime responsibilities? Some programs offer the same or similar curriculum to full-time programs, only presented in nights and weekends.
      • Again, look for more ‘supervised hours’
  • Live Remote: same as the In Person programs, only you attend live classes and workshops from the comfort of your own (or someone else’s) home. A great option if travel or housing are issues.
  • Self-paced remote: need to work, support a family, or just can’t find time to immerse yourself in a bootcamp? Self-paced is a good option if you can only find a few hours here and there. It will take a lot longer, but if you have the tenacity, you can still succeed in this type of program. If you want a leg up on attending a live in-person or remote program later, a self-paced remote program is a good way to prepare yourself in advance.

Does the coding bootcamp focus on a specific population and work to accommodate that group?

Most programs are for-profit, and serve everyone who can pay and pass the application process. Some programs are mission-driven nonprofits seeking to serve just a single population, like Code Platoon does for veterans and military spouses, and Ada Developers Academy does for women.

There are various advantages to attending a mission-driven nonprofit. First, since they don’t have shareholders, every dollar they take in goes back into improving the program. They are also able to serve the student population’s specific needs; whether it’s partnering with other veteran-serving nonprofits, like the The Road Home for mental wellness, or providing accommodations for Guard or Reservists who need to take time off to drill, or providing full refunds to our students if they get called up to serve, we understand our population and how we can best help them.

Conclusion on comparing coding bootcamps

Simply put: Do your research and decide what is most important to you. It often helps to write your objectives, priorities, and available coding bootcamp options down side by side.