3 Industries That Love to Hire Veterans

3 Industries That Love to Hire Veterans

For many veterans and military spouses, finding the right career path can be a tremendous struggle. While a growing number of industries are becoming more open to the idea of hiring veterans or military spouses, there are a few career fields that actively seek to hire vets and are also a great fit for any former servicemember. These career fields often require the same skill sets and capabilities that are taught in the military – such as teamwork, attention to detail, and discipline. If you’re a veteran or military spouse looking for your next career move, consider these three industries that love to hire veterans.

Law Enforcement:

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as many law enforcement positions offer an easy transfer for today’s veterans. Due the nature of police work and similar organizational structure, law enforcement will likely feel more familiar for servicemembers who have been deployed overseas. Additionally, law enforcement roles often mirror their military counterparts – from dog handlers to detectives, many veterans already have much of the specialized training necessary to work on a police force. What’s more, there are already many veterans in the law enforcement community so it’s hardly difficult to find individuals, or even entire groups of people, with shared experiences.

Technology: 

Although many veterans and military spouses may not know it, they are the perfect fit for the nation’s fastest-growing industry – technology. With recent tech booms across all major cities, CEO’s from Silicon Valley to Austin are looking for the best employees to fill their ranks. And from what we’re hearing, it’s not about hiring the next JavaScript expert, it’s about hiring a team player who can show up on time and do the right thing even when no one is looking. Contrary to the myth, most tech companies aren’t very fond of the ‘rock stars,’ rather, they favor disciplined and calm individuals who can keep it together in times of stress. It’s no wonder then, that major tech companies like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett Packard, and SpaceX are actively seeking to hire thousands of veterans and military spouses. For today’s veterans, the tech industry offers an exciting career that requires a can-do and adaptable mindset – old hat for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. And considering that most tech roles — whether you’re coming on the team as a day-one programmer or developer — offer salaries near or above six figures, the tech industry should definitely be on every veteran’s radar.

Government:

Government roles are a good fit for veterans as they essentially adhere to a similar organizational structure as the military. Additionally, government positions span many different agencies and departments – including civilian roles in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or the Coast Guard. In fact, the government also offers positions for those interested in the aforementioned industries of law enforcement and technology. Veterans will also find that their military experience can translate into promotional points for a particular career field and, perhaps best of all, veterans and military spouses receive preference for all government job openings. This offers a tremendous advantage, and incentive, for today’s veterans and military spouses to apply. If you’re interested in working for the government, head over to USAJobs to find your next career field.

While veterans are a great fit for many different industries, it’s clear that many can truly excel in law enforcement, tech, or working for the government. And since all these fields are actively recruiting veterans, it’s worth considering a career in any of these three professions.

5 Similarities between the Military and Startup Life

From Deployed to Deploying: 5 Similarities between the Military and Startup Life

Taking on a principal role for Purple Gator roughly four years ago was a leap of faith. Even though I loved the idea of our flagship product, a trivia platform that offers businesses a new way to engage customers, I was signing on with a brand-new company that could offer no guarantees. Fortunately, my six years as a maintenance analyst in the Air National Guard were perfect preparation for the highs, lows, hard work and just plain uncertainty that come with the startup terrain.

This is one of the reasons that I help mentor fellow veterans who are enrolled at Chicago’s Code Platoon, a nonprofit web-development school known informally as a “coding bootcamp.” That nomenclature is by no means an overstatement. This relatively new type of intense, immersive education plays to the strengths these men and women gained in the military. 

Here are the top reasons that a combination of military experience and a bootcamp education produces developers who are perfectly suited to join anyone’s startup.

1) We are comfortable wearing multiple hats. The boss: “You’re a software engineer? Don’t care, today you are a customer support representative! Tomorrow you will be on a sales call at 2 p.m. but definitely finish planning our customer-appreciation party by noon.” 

If you’ve been in the military, this is second nature: My old boss: “You’re a diesel engine mechanic? Don’t care, today you are the squad’s physical training leader!” Although my specialty was logging maintenance data, more important, I was an airman ready to serve wherever I was needed.

2) Long hours don’t faze us. While work-life balance is a reasonable long-term goal, that is not always a feasible reality in the early days of a company like Purple Gator. Any company might require a 12-hour day here and there. But at a startup you could work those hours for 20 days straight. And the average veteran reading this is probably thinking, “Yeah? Is that supposed to be abnormal? What about the other 10 days in the month?”

3) Teamwork is second nature. For better or for worse, sacrifice is required in both environments. At Purple Gator, we don’t face life-or-death situations, but people’s livelihoods and careers are at stake. In place of “battle buddies,” we might find support and camaraderie as part of a tech incubator on the 9th floor of the Merchandise Mart. And just like the days when I was deployed to Guam in support of the 509 Bomb Wing’s 52 Bomber Squadron, such shared experience forges bonds that transcend background, politics, what have you. I expect the relationships made in both places to last forever. I’ve already seen that happening at Code Platoon, where my first mentee, Javier Revuelta, was part of the inaugural cohort. He is now a software engineer at PowerReviews, but returns often to mentor the current cohort.

4) Coping with stress is first nature. My stress level right now is very high. We have several big-name customers already for GStack, our trivia platform. But every sale counts so much at a startup, and losing out on one means three wasted weeks. You never know where that next paycheck is coming from. And I’m away from my family for days at a time. During a deployment, too, you must deal with not knowing the dangers behind the next hill while worrying about that family back home. For me, personally, while on active duty, I remember a particular time when a lot was riding on whether I could figure out why one of our planes was having mechanical issues. To be more specific, it kind of caught on fire, and combing through the data in order to ensure that this didn’t happen again was a long, arduous process. Because it was very important that the plane not catch on fire again!

5) Even the rewards are similar. When you establish a startup, you are filling a void with your idea, creating something that didn’t exist. So seeing our MVP in a customer’s hands that first time, watching them actually use our product to make money — and finding that their customers did indeed enjoy the trivia games — was an incredible moment. It reminded me of coming back, exhausted, from Operation Enduring Freedom, and the first time that a civilian looked me in the eyes and thanked me for my service. Both times, suddenly, my vision felt clear and crystallized.

By James Bell

Chief technology officer | Purple Gator

Before becoming immersed in the startup world, James was a successful options trader and electrical engineer. He has a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois and studied electrical engineering at St. Louis’ Washington University, where he also played football. He served in the Air National Guard and was deployed to Asia during Operation Enduring Freedom.

How to Code and Earn College Credit

A Win-Win: Learn How to Code and Earn College Credit

As the tech community continues to grow, careers in the programming and software development space are quickly becoming more and more prominent.

That’s why a growing number of universities are partnering with coding bootcamps and giving their students a leg up in a rewarding and stable career field. We are pleased to announce an addition to that number as we’ve just launched a partnership with the National American University.

This new partnership, which will allow Code Platoon graduates to earn college credit for completing our program, is a step that will provide students of both curriculums with a more technical education.

This collaboration symbolizes our pledge to the continuous improvement and education of our students and also highlights NAU’s commitment to serving the veteran community and the continued success of our student veterans and military spouses.

We’ll be rolling out more updates about this program so make sure you’re following us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook. 

Deja Baker’s Coding Journey

Deja Baker’s Coding Journey Leads the Way for Women and Veterans Alike

Despite the fact that the tech community is growing faster than ever, there are still two demographics that are often overlooked – women and veterans. However, the dearth of representation from both communities is quickly changing, especially when you have individuals like Deja Baker spearheading the effort. Baker, who enlisted in the Navy as an Analyst, eventually pursued her interest in technology as a Computer Science major at the Naval Academy.

Seeking to further her education in the coding industry, Baker applied for and received Code Platoon’s Women In Technology Scholarship, which fully covers her tuition, and is scheduled to attend the all-veteran coding bootcamp this fall. While there were a number of other bootcamps to choose from, Code Platoon was always the first choice for Baker.

“One reason why I chose to apply for Code Platoon is because its exclusively for veterans,” Baker said. “I feel that being around people from a similar background, who are working towards the same goals, will prove more beneficial to the process.”

In addition to providing a sense of community, Baker believes that an all-veteran bootcamp will likely be composed of the most highly motivated and disciplined students in the coding industry.

“Veterans have worked in a variety of different roles all over the world, and because of that, veterans have a wide array of experiences that allow them to adapt quickly when engaging in new projects,” Baker said. “I feel that a lot of veterans have the drive and the aptitude to work towards a role in tech.”

Although many of today’s veterans often have skillsets that translate well to coding and programming few choose to pursue a career path in the tech industry. Baker says that veterans who have given thought to a career in coding should, at the very least, give it a try.

“I know a lot of people that are interested in coding who are too worried to see what it’s all about, but there are abundant resources online to just dabble in it and see if coding is for you.”

It’s a sentiment that’s shared by leading tech giants such as Google, IBM, and Intel, all of whom have taken measures to help veterans gain a footing in the tech sector. And because there are plenty of opportunities waiting for veterans with strong programming skills, Baker says she’s eager to begin her first day at Code Platoon.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to study and work towards becoming a developer; I’m looking forward to working in teams in a highly collaborative environment and to be challenged while solving difficult problems.”

3 Tracks for Veterans and Military Spouses

3 Tracks for Veterans and Military Spouses Interested in Becoming Software Developers

For people interested in becoming software developers, it may seem as if there are infinite ways to embark on that path. Which is great, because having so many options means anyone can learn to code, but this is also bad, because you can get seriously bogged down trying to figure out how to get there.

To simplify the choices, let’s take a look at the three major forks you can take, and how to navigate them. They vary in investment (think time AND money), expediency and outcome. (The goal here is to narrow your focus, not provide an overwhelming list of possibilities, so this is hardly an exhaustive list of options.)

Path #1: Traditional: Get a degree in Computer Science

This is the most traditional way to enter the world of software development, but it is also expensive and takes the most time. Bachelor’s degrees take four years, a master’s degree typically takes two. Fortunately, many veterans and military spouses have GI Bill funds that they can use at universities. If you go this route you may as well use the top ten programs as a starting point. This is most tried-and-true way to enter software development, and no hiring manager will thumb his or her nose at your background (although there is by no means a guarantee of a job). Moreover, if you do attend a prestigious program, you will also enjoy the benefits of having access to the alumni network, not to mention a thorough knowledge of, well, computer science that can take you in a lot of directions.

Despite its advantages, a CS degree can be a daunting and expensive undertaking. For people who are changing careers or with families to support, being out of the workforce for several years might not be practical. And these days companies often fault CS graduates for not having much practical experience.

Bonus tip — possibly the best deal on a CS degree is offered online by Georgia Tech, which happens to be a Top10 program, for $7,000.


Path #2: Nontraditional: Coding Bootcamp

The premise of ‘coding bootcamps’ is to take a deeply interested beginner and, in a matter of months, teach all of the practical skills to qualify as a junior software developer.  These schools are named bootcamps, because many follow an ‘immersive’ philosophy, which requires students to work 60- to 100-hour weeks. The cost, too, is usually under $20,000, and pales in comparison to the cost of traditional higher education, The bootcamp model is reasonably new, but has exploded in popularity as a way for career changers to learn the skills to fill the growing need for software developers. Today dozens (hundreds?) of coding bootcamps, in all shapes and sizes, dot the country, with some of the schools offered wholly online.

Some factors to consider while comparing these schools: technology stack, location, length, cost,  reported outcomes and curriculum. Course Report is a good starting point for this research. One simple guidepost: Look for coding boot camps that offer at least 1,000 hours of instruction/coding/project time.

For veterans and military spouses, there are a few additional points to consider. Some coding bootcamps are eligible to accept the GI Bill. Operation Code, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help the military community learn software development and break into the tech industry, keeps a list of these coding bootcamps. Code Platoon (disclaimer, I’m the executive director), is a Chicago-based non-profit coding bootcamp exclusively for veterans and military spouses that offers its students $10,500 scholarships.

Other reasons to go to a coding bootcamp instead of college? The slide in this article says it all. Much less time spent out of the workforce, and, for the better bootcamps, pretty good employment outcomes. You’ll see a greater emphasis on building products, rather than theory (not unlike learning to be a carpenter versus studying to be an architect). The fast pace can’t accommodate the rigorous study of algorithms and problem solving that a CS program can, of course, and some employers are still skeptical about hiring bootcamp grads.  

Bonus tip — probably the best deal in coding bootcamps is online Free Code Camp. It’s rigorous. It’s long. It’s well designed. It’s FREE! Get through that and perhaps supplement with this algorithms class.

Path #3: Self-paced online learning

If you want to explore your options, to try as many different things as possible, and have the time, you can try to learn on your own. There are many, many ways to do this.

If you want to pursue this path, please:

  • Don’t stress about which language/framework is hot. Start with JavaScript (widely used), although Ruby on Rails (which we teach) and Python are great too. Nothing wrong with picking other big ones like C# or Java — they just have a longer learning curve.
  • Get on an online guide. Bento.io and The Odin Project are two examples of free sites that will guide you, step by curated step, down the road to learning web development. They gather lots of different resources to help you learn and remove the guesswork as to what you should learn, in what order, and from where.

Of course, to just get a feel for the business or explore its many facets, you’ll find a boggling array of resources.  Codewars.com, Hacker Rank and Codingbat have lots of free programming challenges, as well as some guidance on how to go through them. Alternatively, you could pick a project that you are interested in, either something you want to build (a website, app, etc.) or that someone else has suggested. And then go build it!

Additional resources

  • Operation Code — for all kinds of feedback for a veteran who wants to enter software development — join the Slack channel
  • Not necessarily free, but good resources include: TeamTreehouse, Codeschool, Udemy, Upcase, Flatiron, Thinkful, Coderbyte, Learn Code the Hard Way, https://automatetheboringstuff.com/

 

3 Tracks for Veterans and Military Spouses

Code Platoon Graduate Javier Revuelta:How a challenging experience became rewarding, and led to a dream job

Javier Revuelta: How a challenging experience became rewarding, and led to a dream job

Javier joined our very first cohort back in January 2016 and graduated in May 2016! We asked him to share a few answers with us over email about his experience with Code Platoon.

Javier Revuelta

Former title: Korean Cryptologic Linguist, United States Air Force
Current title: Ruby Developer Intern at PowerReviews

How did it feel when you transitioned out of the military? What would you say to others who are going through/will go through the same transition?

Transitioning out of the military was an interesting experience, because despite my eagerness to start a new phase, there was a long period of adjustment back to life beyond the uniform.  I went straight back to school to finish a Bachelor’s degree and, while certainly useful, at the end of the process I felt like I had just gone through the motions, somewhat.  Get out, go to school, get a degree, go find a job—that sort of thing.  Code platoon was frankly the turning point that made me feel like I was on a real career path, rather than simply having a decent job.

To anyone who is transitioning out of the military, I would simply suggest giving yourself the time to really consider where you want to be in a few years.  Ultimately, we are all looking to be happy and fulfilled in our lives, but that can take many forms and half the battle is being honest with yourself about what that means to YOU.  Whether your choice places you near or far from the skillset you developed in the military isn’t all that important.  Don’t be afraid of going way out of your element.  

What do you do on a typical day now in your civilian career? Is it different from your time in the military?

I am currently a software engineering intern at PowerReviews.  I support two Rails applications, and have had the opportunity to collaborate developing new features and seeing the entire process of bringing a new application to life.

A typical day starts around 8:00 or 9:00 am with arriving to work and checking for pull requests that have been submitted by the team.  I familiarize myself with the work that went on the previous day and ask any questions that might come up while I do code review before we merge the newest batch of changes.  I will then take a few minutes to prioritize the day in terms of outstanding tickets I might have, and will try to do some coding before our standup meeting at 10:30.

Once standup time arrives, the team gathers and explains the work each person has done since the previous day.  We are encouraged to bring up anything that could be blocking our progress so we can address that quickly.  I will generally give some idea of where I am with projected completion times for outstanding tickets, and mention whether any of my work is relevant or could impact any of the work that the others are doing.  Standup meetings tend to be fairly short, so I am usually back at my desk within 15 minutes.

Once standup is complete, I can get a good coding session in before lunch.  Work tends to have a wide range of flavors, but taking today as an example, I spent the morning writing some tests for Active Record models.  Lunch was going for a quick run to clear my mind, and then it was back to tackling a few bugs in the code for one of our apps, as well as re-visiting an API I had written to expand its features, since requirements for it had changed.

The work that I did in the military involved foreign languages, so there are certainly some parallels to be drawn.  The process of learning vocabulary and phrasing in Korean ties closely with working out the syntax of- and well as writing idiomatic Ruby, for example.    

Why did you join the military? What does the military instill in you?

I was unsure about what I wanted to do with my life, so I walked into a recruiter’s office almost as an afterthought.  As soon as I got the option to become a cryptologic linguist, I knew that I would be in for a very special experience and the rest was history.  The military will teach you many things, but the most important ones are leadership and teamwork, which go hand-in-hand.  Nobody is above the team, nobody is dead weight, and nobody gets left behind—lessons are taught quickly and effectively if you struggle with any of those concepts.  What comes from that is a strong sense of self and core values, along with a level of camaraderie with your peers that will, in all likelihood, never be matched in your civilian life.

Why did you decide to join Code Platoon?

Code Platoon opened a door that I had long ago considered to be closed.  Going back to the reasons I joined the military, one of the things that the recruiter asked me after I had completed all of my assessments was whether I had an interest in languages or programming.  Back then I said languages, but I spent the next ten years wondering what would have happened if I had answered differently.  Code Platoon gave me a chance to answer that question again and choose a new path.

One of the most important things that led to my decision to join Code Platoon was an early conversation I had with Rod while I was finishing up my application.  It was clear to me that the best intentions were in place with this program: non-profit, veteran focused, etc., but I knew that if the right person wasn’t at the helm this would be short-lived.  Rod instilled an immense amount of confidence in me, and his absolute frankness about the program, the challenges ahead, and his plans to really build something great made this an easy decision.

Take all of that and add a generous tuition-assistance program coupled with companies willing to grant internship slots to new graduates, and you have a package that is unmatched by any other boot camp.

What was your favorite and/or most memorable part of it?

I will always remember the camaraderie and dedication that everyone showed day in and day out.  Most of us have been out of the military for a while and were complete strangers when we first started the program, but I know that I have lifelong friendships here and that I could trust these guys with my life.

Memorable?  Many things stand out: hackathon night pairing with the guys at Enova, the surprise of getting our graduation coins after presenting our final projects, walks around the block to try to clear our minds and discuss a given project, or even the cheesy ‘Welcome Back’ CSS animations for the e-greeting card we built for Rod when he got back from a trip.  I’ll never forget having our instructor take on multiple accents/personas to play ‘client’ or ‘consultant extraordinaire’ when we were tackling our projects.  It’s the small things that made this whole experience amazing.  

How did you feel at the beginning of CP?

I was excited to take on this new challenge, proud of myself for making the leap of transitioning out of one career to pursue my real passion, and also slightly nervous about my ability to get through it all and succeed.  Would I be able to handle the curriculum? Could I really build a new career as a software developer?

I would eventually learn that the answer to both was a resounding yes, but those first days definitely put us all to the test.

What did you think of Code Platoon overall?

        Code platoon was an interesting experience; it was certainly rewarding but immensely challenging at the same time.  We were provided an incredibly capable instructor (rewarding!), but the teaching style – in having to compress so much information into such a small timeframe – was not for everyone (challenging!).  I don’t think I could have achieved what I did anywhere else, and in that I give full credit to Rod, Josh, and Brent for doing an outstanding job as we navigated this new process together.

        Ultimately, I think what brought Code Platoon to life was the camaraderie.  For all the happy years all of us have spent as civilians, there is something to be said for being in a group of people who have also served in the military.  There is no leaving anyone behind, or losing sight of the goal – and that is something that was proven time and time again as we struggled, came together, and overcame many of the challenges that we faced in those sixteen weeks.   

What advice would you give to people who want to get the most out of Code Platoon?

        The most important piece to getting the most out of Code Platoon actually needs to occur before ever stepping into the classroom: gaining a full understanding of what programs like these demand of you and arriving at the right mindset.  I can’t say that any of us can fully appreciate that until we are in the middle of it, but reflecting on and accepting the demands and stresses that this would place on my life certainly helped me when the pressure was on and everyone was starting to crack a bit.  This will be difficult.  This will demand more of you than any academic endeavor you’ve engaged in previously, and it will beat you into the ground if you’re not in 100%.

How has joining Code Platoon affected your life?

        It changed my perspective on learning and completely redefined what I now consider difficult or challenging.  From a confidence standpoint, I am fairly certain that – given enough time – I could learn just about anything, programming-related or not.

        I am currently finishing the second month of a six-month internship, and that is thanks to Rod’s efforts to get enough sponsor companies lined up for us.  So far, the support here has been outstanding, and I find myself at a company where people really  seem to enjoy their work.  You wouldn’t believe what a difference that makes every morning when I walk in!  

What do you want out of your career today?

I want the fulfillment of knowing that I am tackling and solving difficult and very different problems while working with a great group of people.  I know that my happiness is tied intrinsically to satisfying a high level of intellectual curiosity—so far the work that I am doing has delivered in spades.  

Why veterans are great in tech

Why veterans are great in tech

 

Discipline

One of the best skills that the military develops in all of its soldiers is discipline. During their tough years in the military, soldiers are forced to live very regimented lives that follow strict rules at all times. As pop culture and reality shows us, these rules are not always easy to follow (cough: 5am wake up time). Orders must be followed at all times, respect maintained, MREs eaten, and all without complaint or hesitation. True military discipline is an asset to any employee, and especially one working in the tech industry, which is known for being highly dynamic and fast-paced. Discipline is what gets you to work on time, all the time. Discipline is what forces you to tackle everything on the to-do list, without slacking. Discipline is what veterans have, and what every tech company needs in its employees to be successful.

 

Attention to Detail

Close attention to detail is another skill that is cultivated by military service. During deployments to dangerous countries where bombs and ambushes could be hidden at every turn, paying close attention to detail is key. As an air force engineer, any mistake you make could cause an aircraft to malfunction, so you always, always pay close attention to the details. Every veteran will be meticulous about their work thanks to the military, and that means they will only ever do and turn in top-notch work. Like this veteran-turned-iOS-developer states, “I learned quite a few things in the military that paid off in later years. The biggest was attention to detail. I worked in positions where a mistake could possibly cause an aircraft to go off course… So we checked and double-checked our work and then checked again, just for fun.” Meticulousness is required in technology, where even the smallest details can be paramount, so make sure your company has great employees who operate with military precision.

 

Perseverance

Few people outside the military are exposed to as many pressures as soldiers are, and even fewer would persevere through the pressures to accomplish mission objectives like soldiers always do. Veterans are clearly masters of perseverance because the military has taught them to never give up, regardless of how dangerous or unpleasant circumstances are. Since the tech industry is relatively new, it is facing new problems and challenges every day that no one necessarily knows how to solve. This makes perseverance key in any tech employee since most problems will therefore be challenging and difficult and only the truly persevering will manage to overcome frustration and continue giving their all.

 

Problem Solving

You can’t survive the military without becoming a problem solver. Throughout training, simulations, drills, and any kind of exercise, almost, the military challenges its recruits to be flexible and creative, and to solve problems in all kinds of situations. During deployments and time in hostile countries, soldiers similarly have to devise ways to make up for discrepancies between plan and reality so that the mission can still be fulfilled. If veterans have survived by solving problems and thinking creatively when bombs were raining down on them, they can probably solve most problems that face employees in the tech industry.

 


About Code Platoon:

Code Platoon is an immersive, beginner-friendly coding boot camp located in the heart of Chicago. Code Platoon offers to cover 80% of tuition costs if you are a veteran or a military spouse, so the total out-of-pocket cost is $2,500. Code Platoon provides instant leads internships, interview preparation, job counseling, employer matching. Join us today by signing up at codeplatoon.org/apply.

Easing your transition out of the military

Easing your transition out of the military

 

Here at Code Platoon we care about veterans and military spouses. A lot. That is why we took the time to comb the web and all of our resources to compile this guide for you. We pored over hundreds of guides and tips and only listed the best ones here. Are you ready to see what we found?

 

PREPARE EARLY

As early as possible is ideal, but at least one year in advance of leaving the military is a good idea. Don’t immediately start vacationing and taking time off. It might be tempting, especially after multiple deployments, but don’t do it. Strike while the iron is hot.

By preparing early we mean that you should be applying as early as possible to as many jobs as possible. This in turn means networking early, preparing for interviews early, cleaning up your resume early, and cleaning up all social media early, making sure you have a highly professional email address– i.e. first and last name, no nicknames – and no embarrassing photos on Facebook. Get your SMART transcript ready, too, especially if you want to go to college because it shows how many college credits you have already learned while in the military.

In terms of job interview preparation, try to hold practice interviews (out loud, with friends, with career advisors, etc.) and realize what your strengths and weaknesses are as well as what your time with the military gave you. Always ask yourself the hard questions, even if you’re not sure of the answers yet. Real job interviewers will not be easy on you so practice effectively and practice as soon as possible.

You should also take this preparation time to decide what kind of work you actually want to do. This will help you tailor your job seeking approach to getting the jobs you actually want.

Moreover, preparing early for the real world means civilianizing. You should try to civilianize all aspects of your life because that is how you will have to live the second you leave the military. Make sure you’re not using military lingo or that your resume has specific military acronyms on it because hiring managers will not take the time to find out what you mean.

Finally, and very importantly, save. Early. As much as possible. Even with all of your (hopefully) early preparation, the job markets these days are uncertain. You could be jobless for a while and you will need to rely on savings to support yourself and your family, if you have one. The military will no longer be there to pay for your food and housing, so make sure that you can. You should conservatively estimate how much money you should save up, but a safe bet is at least $3,000 to $5,000 per month that the military will no longer pay you for, depending on where you live, whether or not you have a family, and any other circumstances.

 

USE YOUR RESOURCES AND ANY OTHER RESOURCES YOU CAN FIND

The military doesn’t just throw you out without any help. Make sure you take advantage of all the free services that are available to you, like military placement firms, military job boards, military job fairs, TAP/ACAP, and those military networks like VFW, any former military members you know, and military associations like AUSA, MOAA, IAVA, Marine for Life, etc. etc. Your friends and peers are one of your best resources, and this way you can learn from buddies who are going through the same challenges as you.

You should also make sure to use your military move wisely. Don’t just immediately use it to go back to your home town. If you wait until you find a job, you can actually use your military move to pay for relocation to wherever that is. If the company you’re applying for is unwilling to pay for employee relocation, this will make you an extra favorable hire.

Your military-provided life insurance services stop when you leave, naturally, so be sure to convert your standard $400,000 Servicemembers Group Life Insurance policy to a term policy with Veterans Group Life Insurance, especially if you are a veteran with health issues. If you are in good health a more competitive commercial policy would be an option. As a military retiree, you will still remain eligible to use TRICARE health insurance, but ideally you will soon switch to a good, affordable plan that comes with a new employer or a spouse’s job.

To help decide where to move to, you can easily look up what the most affordable cities are (Rochester, MN, Provo, UT, and Huntsville, AL to name a few) or where the most military-friendly employers are based (hint: Texas). If you are buying a home, you are probably eligible for a VA home loan, which could help you buy a house without a large down payment.

Finally, consider the reserves. Joining the reserves can make the transition a lot easier since you can still get to wear that uniform every month. Joining the reserves can give you enough money to cover a job search for several months, but in return you must sign a contract to serve for several years. If you don’t accept a financial payment package in direct transition, you can transfer to the reserves without any kind of future-job harming commitment.

Here are some other helpful sites:

 

USE WHAT THE MILITARY TAUGHT YOU

This applies to pre-finding a job/college as well as post-finding a job/college. In fact, this should apply to the rest of your life. The military was probably one of the best things that happened to you and it will have instilled many valuable lessons in you.

First, know when to ask for help. At some point or another, you’re going to need someone to talk to. Whether it is about money, health, family, or your service, know it’s okay to open up. The network you have around you wants to help. Let them know when you need it. No one can help you if you don’t let them know you need it.

Be humble. As humble as you were to your superiors in the military, if not more. Unfortunately, many civilian employers do not appreciate the risk and commitment you undertook when you elected to serve. Do not expect job interviewers to be impressed by your time in the military, instead be polite and friendly and try to show them how that experience makes you the best, most qualified candidate for whatever position it is you are interviewing for.

Be a self-advocate. You need to realize that no one is going to do anything for you. Whether it is filing a claim for an injury at the VA or getting your Post-9/11 GI Bill started, there are so many benefits that you can access as long as you put in the effort to attain them. The system for getting them isn’t always easy to navigate, and it can be frustrating and infuriating to wait for answers. Use the previous tip and ask for help, or just be patient, and turn in whatever paperwork you need to because hey, it’s for your own good.

The little things you learned in the military can also make you successful as a civilian. You can show up to class or work earlyStay after class or work to ask questions or do extra work. Ask lots of questions and be enthusiasticVolunteer for hard assignmentsSolve problems instead of giving excuses. These little things will set you apart, and also help dispel potentially negative stereotypes of veterans that exist in this country.

 

SAY ‘THANK YOU’

You should be thanking people throughout your journey to a successful military transition. Thank interviewers very soon after your interviews, thank those who offer you positions even if this is followed by a rejection rather than an acceptance, thank your friends and network who helped get you to where you are, thank your family, the list goes on.

 


About Code Platoon:

Code Platoon is an immersive, beginner-friendly coding boot camp located in the heart of Chicago. Code Platoon offers to cover 80% of tuition costs if you are a veteran or a military spouse, so the total out-of-pocket cost is $2,500. Code Platoon provides instant leads internships, interview preparation, job counseling, employer matching. Join us today by signing up at codeplatoon.org/apply.

Why you should hire veterans

Why you should hire veterans

 

A few years back IBM conducted interviews with 1,709 CEOs from all around the world and published the results in the paper “Leading Through Connections.” In one of the sections of this near-70-page long study, CEOs talk about the “future-proof employee,” which is the essentially the ideal employee CEOs want to hire.

According to the many CEOs interviewed, the ideal employees always tend to share the same handful of characteristics. As mentioned in the study, “across industries and geographies, CEOs consistently highlight four personal characteristics most critical for employees’ future success: being collaborative, communicative, creative and flexible.”

 

The interesting thing is that veterans possess all of these characteristics, but especially three out of the four. If you stop and think about what an important, difficult job they are tasked with, and what kinds of skills and traits they must develop in order to do that job, you realize that veterans inherently must possess these CEO-wanted characteristics.

 

1 Veterans are collaborative

If you’ve forgotten what “collaborative” means, Google will immediately tell you the definition is “produced or conducted by two or more parties working together.”

Veterans have to work with other people all of the time. The smallest military organization unit is a fireteam, which is composed of 3-4 people, while the largest military organization unit, a region, or theater, is composed of 640,000+ people. Naturally, therefore, veterans will most definitely have experience with working with others in order to accomplish objectives. Veterans rely on fellow service members for survival and spend years training with thousands of other recruits, so they have had ample time to develop a wealth of collaborative experience.

Rank, and knowing one’s rank, is also a fundamental part of the military and veterans will undoubtedly be respectful to company executives and higher-ups as well as fellow employees.

The U.S. military also conditions members of the military to be stellar team leaders as well as team players, so veterans are used to accomplishing tasks with minimal guidance or direction from others and showing initiative.

2 Veterans are communicative

Veterans have survived the heat, danger, and pressure of battle, and they would probably not have been able to do so if they were not proficient at quick, clear, and efficient communication. Veterans are also going to be trustworthy because of the “when you lie people die” ideology that has been instilled in them during their time with the military. In the military lying is a huge deal and recruits are taught from the beginning to take full responsibility for their actions. This leads to most veterans preferring to suffer the consequences of being wrong rather than the consequences of lying and getting caught. This is going to be an incredible asset in large corporations, where communication is already fraught with difficulties and the truth imperative for company leaders to know.

 

3 Veterans are flexible

Fighting in a war, flying out to foreign enemy territory, being away from your loved ones and what you know of society, these are probably some of the hardest situations life can throw at you and veterans experienced them all of the time while they were in the military. War is always unpredictable. Mission circumstances or objectives can change in a heartbeat and veterans are used to these challenges. In the military you have to solve problems every day. Veterans have honed their problem-solving skills and creative thinking so that they can come up with different ways of overcoming an obstacle.

Moreover, most military members move around very frequently – approximately once every 2-4 years, and they can be relocated all over the country, or even to different countries and continents. This experience exposes them to many diverse experiences and forces them to adapt, and become used to change.

Conclusion

Veterans are clearly the kinds of future-proof employees that CEOs desire and need. Who else has years of experience of effective collaboration, communication, and of being flexible? Regardless of what kind of job you are hiring for, veterans will be able to optimize your company’s path to reaching its goals in some way. In the military, the mission always, always comes first. If you hire a veteran, the success of your company will be their new mission, and their accumulated skill and experience will make whatever goals you set them a reality.

 

 


About Code Platoon:

Code Platoon is an immersive, beginner-friendly coding boot camp located in the heart of Chicago. Code Platoon offers to cover 80% of tuition costs if you are a veteran or a military spouse, so the total out-of-pocket cost is $2,500. Code Platoon provides instant leads internships, interview preparation, job counseling, employer matching. Join us today by signing up at codeplatoon.org/apply.

Application tips and how to make the most of your time when you’re at coding boot camp

Part II: You picked a school and decided to apply

Congratulations! Hopefully you’ve considered your answers to all of the questions in Part I carefully and are eyeing the school of your dreams (if you haven’t, here’s where you can read Part 1).
But don’t get too excited yet, you still need to get accepted into that dream school…

1 How do I get in?

Most coding boot camps have a fairly long application process. If there are short answer or essay questions be sure to answer all of them and try to reflect passion in your writing. If there is an interview or coding test, try to show your thought process and your amazing problem-solving skills rather than focusing on just getting the right answer. This gives boot camp recruiters a reason to accept you even if you’re answer was slightly off or if your code was a little buggy.

3

Recruiters will probably ask for a normal, paper resume as part of the application, but it would also be highly beneficial if you had a strong online presence. You can display any prior coding skills on GitHub, make a personal website, and perfect your LinkedIn page. These simple things will help you have a stronger personal brand and appear more professional when your application is being considered.

Code Platoon’s application process only requires the DD-214 and Statement of Service forms for eligibility, and then 60-100 hours of pre-work on computing basics, for example.

2

2 What should I do to prepare myself for boot camp?

Frankly, a lot of things. And you thought applying was hard.

If the coding boot camp you want to attend doesn’t already stipulate a few tasks for you to do, to make that boot camp price tag pay off, you should first practice coding as much as possible, in whatever language it is that you will be learning. There are most definitely going to be online resources that you can use, such as the aforementioned Codecademy, Free Code Camp, and so many others that are accessible once you hit ‘enter’ on your favorite search engine. There’s also the all-around great resource Bento.io, which aggregates online resources that are available to learn coding.

3 What should I do while I’m at boot camp?

When you are in a coding boot camp, what ultimately matters is how hard you are willing to work. Perseverance and grit make the programmer, not how many languages they know. Working hard should be your number one priority if you want that ROI to be as high as possible. When you’re not in class, you should be studying or practicing what you covered in class. You need to put in all of your effort for those 10 or so weeks; again, the best boot camps tend to be immersive, which means plan on putting aside most of the rest of your life while you are going through the bootcamp.

Apart from working as hard as humanly possible, you should be asking questions. As many as you can. Try to answer your own questions first if possible, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your instructors are a great resource and your classmates will appreciate your engagement with the material.

Finally, network, network, network. Get to know your fellow developers-in-training. Talk with your instructors and attend events and career fairs. Connect with potential employers and companies that you would like to work for on social media by following them and replying to their posts.

1

4 What do I do after boot camp?

If you’ve graduated from coding boot camp, you should now have the skills you need to land a job as a developer if you’re boot camp was worth its salt. So what are you waiting for? Research companies! Apply to jobs! Maintain and hone your new skills! Start that new career in tech that you have always wanted and have worked so hard for.

 


About Code Platoon:

Code Platoon is an immersive, beginner-friendly coding boot camp located in the heart of Chicago. Code Platoon offers to cover 80% of tuition costs if you are a veteran, so the total out-of-pocket cost is $2,500. Code Platoon provides instant leads internships, interview preparation, job counseling, employer matching. Join us today by signing up at here.