Code Platoon receives Newman’s Own Award

Chicago, Illinois – October 5, 2018 – Code Platoon, a nonprofit working to transform Chicagoland veterans and military spouses into professional software developers through an immersive, educational bootcamp, and mentorship program today announced it has received a Newman’s Own Award and grant for $37,500 USD. This award is given through a partnership with Fisher House Foundation, Military Times, and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Presented in the Hall of Heroes at The Pentagon, the Newman’s Own Award seeks to recognize non-profit organizations for their innovative programs that improve military and veterans quality of life. Just under 300 entries were submitted for the 2018 program. This prestigious award was presented by General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jeffrey Smith, Vice President of Operations of Newman’s Own, Inc.; Dave Coker, President of Fisher House Foundation; and Andrew Tilghman, Executive Editor of Military Times.

“Code Platoon is honored to be recognized as a leader in helping our nation’s veterans and military families. This award is an incredible acknowledgement of our commitment to our nation’s greatest national treasure. Our team is inspired to grow our program to serve more veterans and military spouses, providing access to career opportunities in software development.” said Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon.

“We are grateful to the men and women of our military, veterans, and their families for their commitment to protecting the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as Americans,” said Bob Forrester, Co-Chairman of Newman’s Own, Inc. and President and CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation. “We’re proud to have participated for the past 19 years with the Military Times and Fisher House Foundation in recognizing so many outstanding organizations focused on helping our veterans and their families, and we’re especially proud to support this year’s award recipients.”

About the Newman’s Own Foundation

As a long-time supporter of military non-profits, Newman’s Own carries on the legacy of Paul Newman, founder of Newman’s Own, who wanted to help make a difference in the lives of others. Paul, a Navy veteran, served in the Pacific during World War II. Over the years, Newman’s Own Awards has provided funding for organizations across the country, which have addressed veterans’ issues such as mental and physical health, housing, education, career development, entrepreneurship, family support.

About Code Platoon

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Code Platoon provides software coding training to help local veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers as professional software developers. While some veterans and military spouses do have four year degrees, the only requirements of enrollment are a deep desire to become a professional software developer, a positive work ethic, and a tremendous amount of tenacity. Each student is eligible to receive a scholarship that covers about 80% of their tuition making this career path affordable and attainable. Code Platoon also offers extra scholarships to women veterans who join the bootcamp as they are historically underrepresented in technology based careers. Students can also use their GI Bill benefits to complete our program. The program consists of 8-12 students per class who spend 60-80 hours a week together for 14 weeks. Students are taught the Python and Ruby on Rails technology stacks, which are increasingly popular in the software development field. Instruction is a carefully curated mix of lectures, advanced coding training, and team projects, frequently culminating in a local paid internship.

Code Platoon is Named One of the Top 100 Finalists for the 17th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Chicago, IL— Out of 519 nominees, Code Platoon has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 17th annual Chicago Innovation Awards.  The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries.  1500 business and civic leaders will come together to honor the winners when they are announced on October 29th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

Code Platoon is the only software coding bootcamp in the Chicagoland area that exclusively focuses on teaching veterans and military spouses these skills. Most coding bootcamps cost between $12,000 and $20,000, creating a barrier of entry. At Code Platoon, each student is eligible to apply for a scholarship that covers $10,500 of their $13,000 tuition, making this career path affordable and attainable. We also offer extra scholarships to women veterans who join the program as they are historically underrepresented in technology based careers. By design, Code Platoon is serving those who have served their country by providing affordable professional software development skills.

Our approach is innovative in that we have identified a path to full-time employment for veterans, utilizing skills they have already honed while they served our country. Many veterans struggle with translating employment skills learned during their years of service to a civilian career. Through our own research and deep understanding of the software development field, we will serve as a role model for organizations who provide underemployed veterans with quality employment. In 2019, we are expanding our mission to include military spouses in our program. Based on our deep knowledge of the veteran landscape, we know that it is important to serve the whole military family. As with veterans, military spouses struggle to find careers because of the demands of living the military lifestyle. At Code Platoon, we are looking forward to helping military spouses become software development professionals as well.  

“Chicago continues to rise as a global hub of innovation due to the breadth of organizations in our region that introduce a stream of new products and services into the market each year,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards.  “This year’s nominees generated a combined total of $3.44 billion in revenues through their new products and services alone.”

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, Code Platoon will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course on September 26th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Each of the Top 100 Finalists is also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at https://chicagoinnovation.com/peoples-choice-award-voting/

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, and 3 Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.  The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook Count President Toni Preckwinkle, and receive widespread media recognition.

Contact:

Rodrigo Levy, Code Platoon

rod@codeplatoon.org

312-767-7673


Luke TanenChicago Innovation

Luke@chicagoinnovationawards.com

312-988-1516

 

 

In The News: A Coding Bootcamp for Veterans, Rod Levy talks about starting this exciting venture

Code Platoon has been featured in Shots & Bytes. 

Check out the full article here: 

http://www.shotsandbytes.com/code-platoon-coding-bootcamp-for-veterans

In The Press: Meet Rodrigo Levy of Code Platoon in Loop and Downtown

Code Platoon has been featured in Voyage Chicago. 

Check out the full article here: 

http://voyagechicago.com/interview/meet-rodrigo-levy-code-platoon-loopdowntown/

 

In The News: How Deja Baker overcame long odds and finally landed her dream job

Code Platoon has been featured in Fast Company.
Check out the full article here:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90205557/how-deja-baker-overcame-long-odds-and-finally-landed-her-dream-job

In The News: How Code Platoon is retooling veterans for technical careers

Code Platoon has been featured in Fast Company.
Check out the full article here:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90205567/how-code-platoon-is-retooling-veterans-for-technical-careers

 

Code Platoon Awarded Grant From Motorola Solutions Foundation

Chicago, Illinois – August 31, 2018 – Code Platoon, a nonprofit working to transform Chicagoland veterans and military spouses into professional software developers through an immersive, educational bootcamp, and mentorship program today announced it has received a grant for $25,000 USD from Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Through the grant, Code Platoon will use these mission critical funds to support tuition scholarships for veterans and military spouses who demonstrate financial need. Motorola Solutions Foundation awards grants each year to organizations, such as Code Platoon, which support and advance public safety programs and technology and engineering education initiatives.

“Veterans and military spouses step forward to serve our country and they deserve our help.The impact of this generous grant from Motorola Solutions Foundation will help us create more opportunities for our students to learn and grow as software developers.” said Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon.

This year, Motorola Solutions Foundation grants will support programs that help more than 3 million students, teachers, first responders and community members around the globe. There is a specific focus on providing grants to programs that impact underrepresented populations, including females, minorities, people with disabilities, veterans and others.

“The Motorola Solutions Foundation is honored to and privileged to support the work of Code Platoon,”  said Matt Blakely, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “We believe in organizations that are fostering innovation, building partnerships and driving change, and we’re proud to be part of the positive impact they’re making in communities.”

  • For additional information on Motorola Solutions Foundation grants program, visit: motorolasolutions.com/foundation
  • For more information on Code Platoon please visit codeplatoon.org.

About the Motorola Solutions Foundation

The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The foundation achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation. Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs and education, especially in science, technology, engineering and math. For more information on Motorola Solutions Corporate and Foundation giving, visit our website: www.motorolasolutions.com/foundation

About Code Platoon

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Code Platoon provides software coding training to help local veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers as professional software developers. While some veterans and military spouses do have four year degrees, the only requirements of enrollment are a deep desire to become a professional software developer, a positive work ethic, and a tremendous amount of tenacity. Each student is eligible to receive a scholarship that covers about 80% of their tuition making this career path affordable and attainable. Code Platoon also offers extra scholarships to women veterans who join the bootcamp as they are historically underrepresented in technology based careers. Students can also use their GI Bill benefits to complete our program. The program consists of 8-12 students per class who spend 60-80 hours a week together for 14 weeks. Students are taught the Python and Ruby on Rails technology stacks, which are increasingly popular in the software development field. Instruction is a carefully curated mix of lectures, advanced coding training, and team projects, frequently culminating in a local paid internship.

Code Platoon Graduate Outcomes Report, August 2018

Since it launched in 2016, Code Platoon has completed six 14-week sessions with its students. Our mission has been to prepare veterans and, starting in July 2018, military spouses to become professional software developers.  

A key word for us is ‘professional’, which to us sets the bar of not only teaching students how to develop software but also preparing them for a new career in software development. We train our students on much more than basic programming skills, and emphasize the soft career skills and networking that is needed to get into the right jobs. Here are our results so far:

32 veterans graduated in our first 5 cohorts (the 6th one, Foxtrot Platoon, just graduated). Of those 32 students, 23 (72%) found jobs in software development within 6 months, median salary of $65,000. Of the remaining 9 graduates, 3 went to work outside of software development, 3 looked for work but did not find it within 6 months, and 3 graduated but did not actively look for full-time work.

Of the 8 graduates that completed Code Platoon two years ago, 5 responded to our survey, and their median salary (as software developers) is $100,000. Clearly, our graduates are more than simply employed; they have demonstrated great earning potential as well.

We attribute the excellent success rates of our graduates to several factors. First of all, our students come hungry to learn and dedicated to working long hours every day. Second of all, we have some great tech community partners who help our students with job placement. And, of course, there is the program itself…

We provide excellent technical training in software development

First and foremost, we teach programming skills. We focus on in-demand languages (originally Ruby and Javascript, and now have added Python) and powerful frameworks like Rails, React, and Flask. Our curriculum, designed and taught by our top instructors, is mostly hands-on; an hour or two of lectures a day, followed by lots of coding.

We recognize that technical skills are fundamental to getting a good job, but they are insufficient on their own. These days, you need to know industry best practices, like debugging, pair-programming, and test-driven development. We teach that too.

We provide soft skills training and preparation for a career in software development

We also prepare our students to find jobs and succeed in their interviews. We help write resumes, and prepare LinkedIn profiles. We teach our students interview skills, and practice technical and behavioral interviews.

Because we work with the veteran community, we are able to tailor our interview prep to help our students tell their stories to civilian interviewers. We even try to prepare our students for the complexities of post-military life. We have seminars on personal finance, workplace sensitivity and inclusion, and growth mindset.

We provide internships and networking opportunities to help you get that first software developer job!

Getting your first job in a new field like programming and development is hard. To bridge the gap from training to getting a job, paid internships are available at the end of the In-Person program.

And we know that nothing helps in getting a job like knowing people in the business. Our students are matched with industry mentors and professional software developers who volunteer as teaching assistants. By the end of our program, each of our students should have met at least 10 professional software developers.

None of these factors is the single determinant in the success of our students after graduation. Together, each part of our program and culture adds to the success that starts with the attitude and aptitude of the veterans who come to Code Platoon!

 

 

Code Platoon now training students in Python

At Code Platoon, our goal is to serve veterans and military spouses by helping them get a high-demand, achievable career in a short amount of time. In the modern job marketplace, software coding is that high demand position, and the coding boot camp format is the achievable, thorough, and fast way to teach it.

In 2019, we’re expanding that mission through our curriculum by teaching Python, a coding language that will meet our current goals and improve the benefits that our veterans and military spouses will gain from the training.

 

Python gives veterans more options in coding jobs

The main reason to add Python to our curriculum: Jobs.

Python is exploding in popularity, with the number of jobs available and the pay for those jobs among the highest of all programming languages.

While we at Code Platoon teach Ruby on Rails in 2018, which is excellent for web development, Python can be used for web development as well as artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, scripting, automation, and cybersecurity.

This wider variety of applications allows our graduates to find the type of coding job that best fits them since there are more options with Python. It also increases the likelihood that all of our graduates will find a satisfying and gainful job in the field, as it’s important to both the employer and the employee that there is a solid match in specialization for both talent and enjoyment, not just in general skill.

Secondly, having a greater number of locations, companies, and available positions in Python means that graduates will have a higher chance of employment, more flexibility with locations, pay, and benefits, and improved opportunity for finding a perfect culture fit with employers.

On Indeed.com, as of July 2018, Python is the second most in-demand coding language for new positions, and this number has been consistently high and growing. And in contrast to Java, the most in-demand language, Python is exponentially easier to learn.

Python is easy to learn

Fortunately, Python was created in such a way that it is both versatile and understandable. Since we welcome veterans and military spouses of all skill levels to participate in our coding boot camps, and no prior coding experience is required, Python is the best way to continue meeting the needs of all our students.

Being able to learn Python easily not only decreases the learning curve to become an effective coder, but it also increases confidence and competence at an early level to keep motivation and satisfaction high. There’s a lot to be said for the value of Python for its earning potential and versatility, but it’s also helpful to remember that the psychological component of mastering a skill and choosing a career plays a huge part in how well you do, whether you choose to stick with it, and your quality of life in the job!

Python is valuable to learn now and in the future

While Python will definitely help you land a coding career today, we want to think ahead to which languages will still be valuable and in demand in the future. After all, setting up our veterans and military spouses for short-term success is priority, but we won’t pass up the chance to go beyond that scope and look ahead for their interests.

With fields like AI, cybersecurity, and data science expanding rapidly, the demand for Python will only grow. With our program adapting on the cutting edge alongside the industry, our graduates will have a leg up on the direction of coding jobs and potentially find better long-term job security.

And regardless of whether Python remains the industry standard for so many types of coding jobs, it is the perfect foundation for a lifetime of of software development. Python is becoming widely adopted as the introductory language for computer science programs, so you can continue to build your skills and take on new coding languages in the professional or educational environment after graduating from Code Platoon. Learning Python doesn’t corner coders; it gives them room to grow and adapt.

We at Code Platoon remain committed to being groundbreaking and forward thinking, and our students will always be armed with the latest and greatest technology skills. If you’d like to join one of our cohorts to learn Python, apply now!

Code Platoon now welcomes military spouse applicants to its coding boot camps

The Code Platoon mission is to support US military veterans and service members, and this includes building up and supporting military families as well.

In keeping with that mission, Code Platoon is proud to announce that we are accepting applications from military spouses for our coding boot camps, effective immediately.

Why is coding a good fit for military spouses?

Software development is an excellent career for military spouses because its high demand and remote work options are compatible with the frequent relocations that come with a spouse’s military career. The flexibility and financial benefit can also ease veteran family transitions out of the military after a service member’s commitment has ended.

Because the program is only 14 weeks long, the Code Platoon coding boot camp can potentially fit well into a military spouse’s challenging schedule. Whether the service member in the family is in a long-term training cycle or on deployment, a spouse’s education can be completed in a timely fashion, which may be a better fit than managing a student calendar over the course of many years during a traditional education.

What will the training experience be like for military spouses?

Military spouses in the Code Platoon training program will receive the same exact training as our veterans in the same classrooms with the same level of commitment from our faculty and staff! Spouses who apply are also still eligible for the same Code Platoon scholarships and internship programs as our veteran students, with the exception of the Women in Technology scholarship, which is exclusively for veterans.

Essentially, military spouses will be students in exactly the same way as anyone else at Code Platoon, with no distinguishable difference; mentorships, résumé assistance, and other features of the program are all included. And just like all of our prior cohorts, the shared experience of life in the military will continue to bring our students together for a tight-knit community.

We are excited to offer this new option and grow the impact of our mission. If you or someone you know would like to apply for Code Platoon’s next cohort, please continue to our application!