mccormick foundation chicago veterans

McCormick Foundation awards 2019 grant to Code Platoon

Chicago, Illinois – August 22, 2019 – Code Platoon, a nonprofit working to transform Chicagoland veterans and military spouses into professional software developers through an immersive, educational boot camp and mentorship program, today announced it has received a grant for $50,000 USD from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Through this grant, Code Platoon will use these mission critical funds to thoughtfully and meaningfully grow their program to include more students and more support services. The McCormick Foundation awards grants each year to organizations, such as Code Platoon, which support and advance veterans in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. 

“Veterans and military spouses step forward to serve our country, and they deserve our help. The impact of this generous grant from the McCormick 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.

“Transitioning service members and their spouses are in search of a career not just a job. Although coding isn’t for everybody this program provides all the supports in addition to the immersive training to set veterans and spouses up for success and a lucrative career. We’re proud to help support Code Platoon as they continue to grow their organization and serve more veterans and spouses,” said Megan Everett, Director of the Veterans Program at the McCormick 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 boot camp 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.


The Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s mission is working with communities in Chicagoland and across Illinois to develop educated, informed, and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic grantmaking and Cantigny Park, the Foundation works to make life better in Chicagoland. The McCormick Foundation, among the nation’s largest foundations with more than $1.5 billion in assets, was established in 1955 upon the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Find out more at


The Robert R. McCormick Foundation Veterans Program​ serves Illinois veterans and military families by investing in high-quality and coordinated services in the areas of education, employment, health and wellness. Find out more at


New tech is here to help but is not without its flaws

Every day, we produce wonderful new technologies to meet the insatiable demands of consumers, whether for enjoyment or out of necessity.

In many cases, a new tech product is a marginal redesign of a standard piece of equipment, but in many cases, these small adjustments can help thousands of consumers and workers.

Veterans can benefit from this new tech in their careers and personal lives. However, we need to keep in mind that many of these developments, such as computer software programs and high end chips, come with their own new and unique problems.

San Francisco bans facial recognition software for government agencies

Law enforcement agencies across the country have turned to facial recognition software to help spot fraud and identify criminal suspects. However, the city of San Francisco has banned its use for all government agencies, to include law enforcement.

The ban is included into a wider bill which requires agencies who want to use facial recognition software to get approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In addition, the agency will need to publicly disclose the tech’s intended use.

Critics of facial recognition tech feel that using artificial intelligence to spot and ID citizens is a step down the rabbit hole, potentially leading to real-time surveillance of all citizens, not just suspects and criminals. A study by MIT and Georgetown also found that the tech is less accurate at identifying people of color and will only increase biases in law enforcement.

Currently, the SF Police Department and Sheriff’s Department do not use the technology and will identify their need, as prescribed by the law, if they ever plan on purchasing this type of AI. Veterans interested in moving into law enforcement will be faced with the pros and cons of this new technology, depending largely on the community where they will operate.

Intel chip leaves your computer open to new attacks

An integral flaw in an Intel chip has compromised millions of devices. Skilled hackers are able to manipulate the holes in the chips’ security to pull sensitive information from microprocessors.

Four new kinds of attacks have been identified by researchers, and those vulnerabilities can result in hackers accessing information like encryption keys and passwords of millions of computers. This new set of exploits is considered to be in the same family as the Meltdown and Specter flaws announced in 2018. Some commonalities include data storage issues, and the ability to allow malicious software to be run on your device.

The best way to protect your data is to keep your computers and mobile devices updated with the latest software and patches as soon as they are released. Intel has fixed the flaw in their Intel Core processors from the 8th and 9th generations, as well as the Intel Xeon processor family’s 2nd generation. If your computers do not fall into these categories, look for software updates that can patch the flaw with microcode.

Veterans, whose personally identifiable information is transferred, stored, and used more frequently than most citizens, will have a greater stake in making sure to close these security gaps in personal devices as well as demanding update compliance in organizations with which they work.

New tech is coming, but it’s not without its problems

Companies like Microsoft and Intel are constantly evolving. Trying to maintain the tip of the spear requires them to produce new products, processors, programs, and devices constantly. They don’t always get it right the first time. As consumers of tech, veterans need to understand that flaws are always possible.

We embrace adaptive devices, keep a cautious eye on facial recognition, and work to overcome production flaws in our microchips, and in these recent case studies we can see the full spectrum of technology’s benefits and challenges for veterans.


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

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

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

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


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

Type of Training

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

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


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

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

Application Process

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

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

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

Who Should Consider VET TEC?

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

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

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


VET TEC remote program

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

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

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

Code Platoon remote program and VET TEC

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

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


Self-Paced Remote

Live Remote

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

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

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

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

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


America demands change in veteran suicide legislation

Code Platoon is honored to work with the dedicated men and women of the military.  We believe that the well-being of those who do and have served should take utmost priority and we are grateful to see clouds of change.  In honor of our veterans in need and Mental Health Awareness Month, this post is dedicated to informing on that change which has been demanded by the people of our nation.


In the last 18 months, 24 tragic deaths at VA Medical Centers across the country have called attention the urgent need to strengthen support services available to veterans. While leaving an enduring  mark, the growing outcry for help is sowing seeds for new policy, research and access to mental health programs to better ensure that no veteran is ever left behind.

Executive order signed to help end veteran suicide

The National Initiative to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide was signed by the President in March to focus on improving the quality of life for American veterans, with a focus on suicide prevention.


Co-chaired by the Department of Veteran Affairs, the executive order mandates the development of the Veteran Wellness, Empowerment and Suicide Task Force. Within 365 days of the executive order the task force will need to develop a roadmap to lower the veteran suicide rate, present to Congress a program to offer grants to local communities to help deliver services to veterans and develop a strategy that can help gauge research in the area of veteran suicide prevention.


“As the largest integrated health care provider in the nation and a leader in developing innovative mental health and suicide prevention strategies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is uniquely positioned to co-chair this effort with the White House,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Veterans suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere, and this executive order is a national call to action.”

New bill would force VA to report on campus suicides

Introduced by Rep. Max Rose, D-NY, an Army veteran, HR 2334 would require the VA to report on campus suicides and attempted suicides to Congress no later than seven days after the event.


Better known as the Fight Veteran Suicide bill, HR 2334 will require the reporting of additional veteran information to Congress. This information includes but is not limited to: the veteran’s status at the VA, the last encounter with the veteran’s current medical center, whether the veteran had private medical insurance, their age, housing and employment status. Rose believes by providing this additional information Congress will better understand veteran suicide and help provide a solution.


“It’s imperative that we receive not only basic information from the VA, but substantive data on this rising trend of veterans committing suicide at VA facilities,” said Rose, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Getting this data more quickly and thoroughly would guide Congress’ efforts in understanding this crisis, and preventing these tragedies. We must ensure all veterans have the services they need when they need them, plain and simple.”


Congress has found that the VA is not always forthcoming with information regarding to the tragedies happening on VA Medical Center campuses. Rose and the House of Veteran Affairs Committee hope the mandated information will help Congress understand what is happening to veterans across the nation and create better suicide prevention.

Senate legislation to increase access to veteran mental health care

Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). S- 785 is an aggressive bill designed to give veterans access to the mental health care facilities and treatment they need. The bill hopes to increase the VA workforce, give veterans access to alternative solutions, and increase mental health care for rural/hard to reach veterans.

S-785 will improve VA outreach in five different ways.

  1. Aid the VA workforce and give direct hiring authority for mental health providers. It will also place a Suicide Prevention Coordinator at every VA Medical Center.
  2. Improve access to mental health care for veterans living in rural areas. Create more telehealth sites for veterans to access and give grants to non-VA organizations that provide mental health services to veterans.
  3. Automatically enrolls transitioning military personnel into VA mental health care for one year after service.
  4. Study, invest and innovate in alternative treatments like support animals, outdoor events, yoga, acupuncture, and meditation; give greater access to these types of treatments to veterans.
  5. Hold the VA accountable for its suicide prevention efforts, management of Va resources and information sharing with veterans seeking mental health care with both the VA and outside providers.

The bill aims to improve accountability of the VA regarding veterans suicide and suicide prevention measures. According to a report by Stars and Stripes, The Government Accountability Office found that the VA was only spending 1 percent of their budget on suicide prevention in fiscal year 2018. By September, the last month of the fiscal year, the VA only spent $57,000 of its committed $6.2 million.

Bipartisan legislation helping end veteran suicide crisis

Across the country, approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Inexplicably, it has taken a spike in recent adverse events to spur the country’s leadership. Veterans everywhere need the help and support of family, friends and community to get through these invisible wounds they carry around daily. Having new programs emerge because of these events provides hope for the plight of many veterans in our nation.


Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at


Cybersecurity ramping up against social media outlets

As a thought leader in the digital space for veterans, we love keeping up with current trends for veteran interests and the technology sector. Let’s look at what’s new for the week of May 6, 2019.

Cybercriminals moving to social and mobile devices

A new 2019 study, Current State of Cybercrime from RSA Security, finds that fraud attacks on social media increased 43% in 2018. This is an enormous increase compared to more traditional attacks via email and malware. The conclusion is that users themselves need to start taking more thorough preventive precautions on mobile devices and social media applications.

According to a report by CNET, cybercriminals are specifically attacking apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. This type of crime is predicted to become higher risk on these platforms because the ease of use and absence of fees. The goal: to acquire and sell stolen identities, social security numbers, and other private information.

Additionally, RSA Security identified an average of 82 rogue apps daily in 2018. A rogue app uses an organization’s brand without permission in an attempt to trick users into providing information to criminals.

With the increase in attacks on our social media platforms it is important to remain vigilant. Remember that no organization should be asking for passwords to your apps for verification or access to your account. Providing these important security measure is a recipe for getting hacked.

Location data up for sale

A whistleblower in the tech and social media industry has pointed out the unwanted selling of location data to third party buyers from applications you currently use. Information is collected via cell phones and can be exploited by criminals who purchase the data.

More than 1,000 apps collect location data and monitory your position when you sign up for use. In some instances, this data is then sold to a third party for profit. Most users do not even realize that this process is happening when they agree to the terms and conditions of the app.

In an attempt to better understand the way information is bought and sold, the whistleblower provided a list of buyers in this system of tracking data. One company promised to track people as often as every seven seconds. Another pledged to deliver people’s locations in “real time.” All groups promised the information of tens of millions of phone users everyday.

Even though there were no names or phone numbers tied to the data, CBS News was able to easily figure out who each phone belonged to. This amount of data made it possible to follow phone users throughout their day and throughout the community.

Unfortunately, there is no federal law prohibiting the tracking of location data, making it perfectly legal for information brokers to collect and sell data. With that being said, your phone is a treasure trove of information and many users do not realize the potential consequences for having this information data mining going on. In many cases, users do not seem concerned.

On most phones, you have a setting that will allow you to see which apps are tracking location data. Use this to customize your own preferences for tracking.

Facebook fine could top $5 billion to FTC

Facebook is under fire again for leaks of tens of millions of users’ information. This comes after a previous offense in which Facebook leaked email passwords and publicly exposed 540 million record about Facebook users on Amazon’s cloud computing service. These actions, plus indiscretions in past years, has generated an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC is currently investigating all of Facebook’s high profile data lapses over the last couple years. The FTC believes Facebook is involved with the data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica, which faced scandal last March.

Protecting your information is more important than ever

As individuals whose personally identifiable information is exchanged frequently for military records, veterans must maintain their diligence in information protection. More and more service members are being exposed to back doors that hackers and scammers can access. Companies claim the best interests of the users are in mind, and generate new privacy policies to help protect their users; however, anecdotal evidence shows that the individual must take ultimate responsibility. It is up to us, the users, to track what we are accessing and which apps we are giving access.


VET TEC frequently asked questions

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

What is the VET TEC program?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I use VET TEC to attend Code Platoon?

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

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

To join the Code Platoon program, apply here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big tech firms are going all-in on green

Earth Day is a national holiday that was inaugurated in 1969 at a UNESCO conference held in San Francisco. Every year since, earthlings worldwide have dedicated April 22 as a day for environmental renewal, through local initiatives like planting trees and cleaning parks. While that intention has not changed over the past 50 years, the technology that is relied upon to get the job done has — dramatically. Let’s look at a few examples of how tech is keeping Mother Earth greener today.

Apple increases iPhone recycling in an effort to lower carbon emissions

Apple’s dream is to produce consumer products from 100% recycled materials. With this lofty goal in mind, attention is being drawn to Apple with the opening of a new e-recycling plant in Austin, TX.

In an Apple press release, the company boasts of their environmental plan to create all new products from recycled materials. The first step in that plan was revealed last year with the release of Daisy. The 33-foot robot has five arms with the sole purpose of dissecting 15 different kinds of iPhones. Everything from the 2012 iPhone 5 to the 2018 iPhone XS can be disassembled after a consumer gives the phone back to an Apple Store or a Best Buy as part of the Apple Trade-In program.

Their newest announcement by Apple was the 9,000 sq. ft. e-recycling facility in Austin, TX. Dubbed the Material Recovery Lab, the facility is built entirely around a Daisy. This facility is where academia and scientists are welcome to help Apple redesign the way we recycle electronics.

To date, Apple has received 1 million products through its network of trade in programs. Each Daisy is capable of disposing of approximately 200 iPhones an hour; that’s 1.2 million phones a year. In 2018, Apple refurbished 7.8 million devices, saving close to 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from the dumps.

Because of this significant change in the way Apple does business, they have been able to lower the carbon footprint of several products still in production. The latest Macbook Air and Macbook Mini have half the footprint of their predecessors. This result comes from innovation and engineering of 100% recycled aluminum alloy. This alloy is recycled with the help of Daisy, and used in the manufacturing of the latest Macbook models.

It is because of these triumphs, that the Materials Recovery lab has been born. Apple hopes to continue to expand their electronic recovery procedures into the future resulting in a 100% recycled new product.

Microsoft empowers environmental scientists with AI for Earth

AI for Earth is Microsoft’s way of giving back to the environment. The grant program is designed to give computing resources to environmental scientists and organizations working on earth friendly programs.

Scientists and organizations are offered two main grant categories: Data Labeling Services and Azure Compute Credits. In addition, the applicants can specialize in four environmental sub-categories: agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, and water.

Data Labeling Services allow organizations to create key data sets in one of the four environmental sub-categories. All data sets that are labeled through the grant program are hosted on Azure and made publicly available to other organizations and individuals for training models.

Azure Compute Credits are available if you have access to a labeled dataset and are ready to start computing in the cloud and accessing Azure AI tools. The participant will get a denomination of Azure compute credits to be used for the cataloging and computing data in Azure software.

Examples of projects funded by Microsoft’s AI for Earth include using artificial intelligence for forest mapping, fighting extinction, increasing crop production, using insects and drones to track emerging diseases and even to help fight poaching. When human ingenuity and technology converge, great things are bound to happen.

Technology can save the world

With advances in technology and AI, humans can do what was once unimaginable. The research being accomplished by both, Microsoft and Apple, is a testament to human ingenuity. For veterans, an opportunity to contribute represents the next frontier in the battle against humanity’s existential threats. We look forward to seeing the new and wonderful things that can be produced by these organizations and the people who are empowered by them.

The Best Paying and Most In Demand Programming Languages in 2019

The Best Paying and Most In Demand Programming Languages in 2019

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

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

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

How we identified the current top programming languages

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

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

Ranking programming languages by pay and number of openings

The Best Paying and Most In Demand Programming Languages in 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What changed from 2018 to 2019?


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

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

What will be the most popular programming language in 2020?

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

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

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

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


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

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

Tech jobs are still a good choice for veterans

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

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

The VET TEC program incentivizes veterans to get coding jobs

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

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

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

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

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

Why is the VA pushing for coding boot camps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can veterans do next for a tech job?

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

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

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

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

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