Top 100 Finalists for the Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

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

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.


Rodrigo Levy, Code Platoon


Luke TanenChicago Innovation




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Meet Rodrigo Levy of Code Platoon

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Code Platoon Awarded Grant From Motorola Solutions

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:
  • For more information on Code Platoon please visit

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:

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 15 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

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

Code Platoon now training students in Python

At Code Platoon, our goal is to serve veterans and military spouses by helping them prepare for 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. (We talk about why we chose to teach two languages instead of just one here.)

Python gives veterans more options in coding jobs

The main reason we added 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.

We currently teach Ruby on Rails as our back-end language in 2018, which is an excellent program for web development. We chose to move to Python because, in addition to being a good tool for web development, it can also be used for artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, scripting, automation, and cybersecurity.

This wider variety of applications gives our graduates the ability to find the type of coding job that best fits them. 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 large number of available positions in companies and locations across the country asking for skills 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, 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. That psychological component of mastering a skill in your chosen 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 also 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 a 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 being 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!

Mil Spouses in Tech

Full-stack Software Engineering program for military spouses

Code Platoon’s mission is to assist our military Servicemembers and their families as they journey on the career path of programming. That support is extended not only to those who have served but also to those who support our nation’s heroes: their spouses.

Since 2018, Code Platoon’s award-winning Coding Bootcamp has been accepting military spouses into the program. Additionally, there are scholarships for military spouses to help ease the financial burden of learning a new skill set. The benefits of joining the cohorts remain the same as spouses learn right alongside those who have enlisted. 

Students will gain firsthand experience with programming languages Python and Javascript, learn the industry’s best practices through the Beyond Tech courses, and have access to Code Platoon’s ever-growing network of alumni and supporters. That network is a vital part of Code Platoon’s program as it connects graduates of the program into paid internships and other career opportunities.


Software development is a top contender in jobs for military spouses. In addition to its growing demand for certified programmers and software engineers, there are many opportunities to work remotely. Given that military families move ten times more than civilian families, a job that provides remote positions that can be taken anywhere that has an internet connection is a big deal. 

A career in software isn’t just flexible, but  also extremely profitable! The average compensation for software developers in the United States is about $72,000, and many companies that hire tend to include decent benefits. That last detail might not be a huge selling point for those who are married to Servicemembers who look to retire out of the military, but for those who are contemplating transitioning out, it does provide a softer landing pad.

For the most part, however, programming isn’t a career people can just jump into. Some assembly is required. If there is little to no prior experience in the field of programming, Code Platoon is proud to offer a FREE self-paced Intro to Coding course, even if you decide not to continue your education with us. 


Because it’s only 15 weeks long, Code Platoon’s Coding Bootcamp can fit into most military spouse’s challenging schedules. Whether the Servicemember is under the same roof, in a long-term training cycle, or on deployment, a spouse’s education can be completed in a timely fashion. Costs of training with Code Platoon can be significantly reduced for military spouses as well. We accept the G.I. Bill and most of our students are able to receive generous scholarships.

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

Code Platoon was designed with military members in mind, but our military spouse graduates have been very successful, both in and out of the classroom. There is no difference in the education that is provided to spouses and those who have actively served in a service branch. Military spouses in the training program will receive the same exact training, mentorship, 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.

If you have questions about educational benefits and how you can use them with Code Platoon, or general inquiries about the program itself, please email Greg Drobny, Student, and Community Outreach Coordinator, at You can also apply here.

AMVETS Radio Interview with Rod Levy

AMVETS Radio Interview with Rod Levy

Rod Levy is the Founder and CEO of Code Platoon. The following podcast features a segment he completed with host American Veteran Podcast, and is posted here:

Rod’s segment runs from runs from 13:15 to 27:30.