Caesars Entertainment Invests in Veteran Tech Apprenticeships with Code Platoon

Apprenticeships are a hallmark of the Code Platoon program. As part of our Full-stack Software Engineering Immersive program, Corporate Partners employ the top graduates for three to six-month paid apprenticeships in a developer-orientated role. Caesars Entertainment has been an apprenticeship partner for several cohorts.

Seth Riegelhaupt, Chief of Staff, Product & Technology at Caesars, leads their tech teams and has overseen the hiring of seven Code Platoon software engineering apprentices. He recently shared why Caesars Entertainment invests in Code Platoon’s Veteran tech apprentices and the benefits the partnership has provided.

“Caesars has a long-standing commitment to supporting the Veteran community through our CSR efforts. It’s what attracted us to Code Platoon initially.” Seth said. “And what furthered it for us was that this is a low-risk proposition for the company. We get the value of supporting the community as well as access to fresh software engineering talent.” 

“Looking at it from a business perspective, an apprenticeship gives us time to evaluate and mold the new team member. We get to see if they will be a good fit. By the time we bring them on as full-time software engineers, they are already acclimated and delivering results.”

Of the seven Code Platoon apprentices that Caesars has taken on, they have hired five. The remaining two are still early in their apprenticeships. 

“We have had a 100% success rate with our Code Platoon graduates,” Seth said. “We typically don’t hire junior-level talent, but these graduates have strong professional traits and expertise that have been honed through their service time.”

“We typically don’t hire junior-level talent, but these graduates have strong professional traits and expertise.”

He added that employees with military backgrounds have less difficulty picking up work and getting things done from day one. In today’s virtual work environment, Code Platoon graduates are team players and quick learners who work well with others, and their work ethic is fantastic. They contribute to the product even in the first three months, which is impressive.

Shun Ganas, engineer

Code Platoon graduate Shun Ganas started as a software engineer apprentice at Caesars

Code Platoon graduates find similar fulfillment working on Caesars Entertainment’s tech teams.

“The projects I work on have been the highlight of my time at Caesars,” said Daniel Manfield, frontend engineer and November Platoon graduate. “I don’t just develop the features but the entire process. It’s so satisfying seeing an idea in a Slack channel make its way to stakeholders, then actually be designed, then become a feature in production.”

When asked what he would say to another company considering partnering with Code Platoon, Seth had this to say:

“There is little investment to hiring Code Platoon graduates as apprentices other than time. We have seen a significant payout from the investment we put into the apprentices. People internally feel we are getting a lot out of it. It’s a no-brainer.”

The apprentice partnership is only one of the ways companies can partner with Code Platoon to access its military coding bootcamp graduates. Companies can learn more about investing in Veteran tech talent on the corporate partners page.

Brenna Koss is Code Platoon’s Development Coordinator. She graduated from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in Political Science and French. In her free time, Brenna loves to travel and spend time with friends and family. Follow Brenna on LinkedIn.

Guest blog

8th Light Guest Blog: Deploying New Careers Together with Code Platoon

As US military Veterans rejoin the labor market, they bring a variety of skills that are well-suited for collaborating with diverse stakeholders, working as a team, and delivering an impactful product on a deadline.

Whether or not they’ve written software before, their first-hand experience collaborating in a stressful environment to achieve shared goals is directly applicable to the roles and responsibilities of a professional consultant. For those with a knack for numbers and logical thinking, learning to code can be the easy part.

Code Platoon is a coding school aimed at easing this transition for Veterans and their spouses new to the software development industry. The 15-week course takes students from absolute beginner through to delivering multiple full-stack web applications. Students go from learning the basics of algorithms and databases to object-oriented programming and frameworks. Then they combine all of those lessons together in a basic web app, once as a solo project and again as a group project, where they learn key collaboration and project delivery skills.

The model has been a huge success, with around 370 graduates spanning more than 20 cohorts. The organization boasted 168 graduates from six immersive cohorts over the last two years, with 75 percent of those finding software engineering jobs within six months.


After a 14-year career in finance, Charles Kubiak was feeling burnt out and ready for a career change. He taught himself enough JavaScript to make it through Code Platoon’s application process and began a journey that would see him leading teams of software engineers in under three years.

Charles joined 8th Light along with Caroline Cessaro as the first apprentices hired through the formal partnership that began in 2019. The partnership includes an investment of money and time in preparing Code Platoon graduates for success and supporting them in their development, along with a guarantee of hiring one student.

An apprenticeship is a natural extension from a coding bootcamp, as Charles says he was already in a learning mindset. However, the learning curve was still steep. 

“One of the things I tell all the Code Platoon students is that, you walk out of Code Platoon being useful, but you don’t know what you don’t know,” Charles explains.

Just a few years later, Charles is leading engineers and shipping code for a platform that’s removing redundancies and reducing clutter from administrative processes that are welcoming the next wave of military recruits. In his free time, he volunteers for Code Platoon.

Charles teaches a three-week Intro To Coding course that introduces the basics and provides enough exposure for students to know whether software is something they’d enjoy doing as a career. 

“It’s very rudimentary, covering the intro to JavaScript and functional programming,” Charles says. It’s also a launching pad for students with the knack for it. 

“It’s rewarding to see people through the entire process of learning how to declare variables, apply for Code Platoon, complete the program, and land their first jobs as developers,” notes Charles.

Code Platoon offers opportunities for military Veterans and their spouses to kickstart careers in software development in a supportive environment, regardless of their relevant experience.


8th Light entered a formal partnership with Code Platoon in 2019, but the partnership traces back much further, and the roots have grown much deeper.

One of Code Platoon’s first instructors was an 8th Light alum, and he invited our team to help mentor and tutor. Even though I graduated from a different code school, I’m a former US Marine and I jumped at the chance to mentor other Veterans. My first apprentice, Scott Plunkett, ended up following me to 8th Light, and we’re both still active in speaking, tutoring, and providing opportunities for continued learning.

The cycle continues to this day, as Code Platoon graduates join 8th Light, and then help support their alma mater as time allows. Over the last few years, Seth Thomas, Serene Henery, Cristian Baeza, and Sean Furlong have all completed Code Platoon, joined 8th Light, and gone back to volunteer as mentors.

 “There is this feedback cycle that we’ve developed,” Charles says, describing how 8th Light’s team has been able to help Code Platoon’s programming evolve to be more involved, more advanced, and more helpful.

“Code Platoon is definitely harder now than when I went through it, as far as the concepts they cover,” Charles says. But this expanded curriculum — along with some additional resources, like his intro class — has also helped prepare graduates to be more effective in their careers no matter where they end up.

The curriculum also has evolved to provide a more impactful learning experience and prepare students with more advanced technical skills that go beyond JavaScript, React, Python, and Django. Understanding the foundational concepts of object-oriented programming empowers students to transfer their skills to a new job even if those systems are written in all different languages.

In addition to the technical skills required to ship software, Code Platoon offers a more holistic education that helps them transition to the lifestyle that comes with their new job. This includes courses on personal finance; diversity, equity, and inclusion training; and support in learning how to talk about their military experience with colleagues.


Code Platoon’s sustained growth — along with the success of their graduates — shows that this model of mutual investment and partnership can serve as a beacon for how businesses can integrate new team members into the workforce.

As Code Platoon matures as an organization, they have been able to grow their capabilities and provide more opportunities for learning. In addition to the three annual full-time cohorts, Code Platoon offers a 28-week evening and weekend program, and in 2023 they are kicking off their very first DevOps and Cloud Engineering cohort. Code Platoon is one of many organizations taking advantage of a US Department of Defense initiative, SkillBridge, which allows active duty military to take time off to pursue vocational training.

Code Platoon’s corporate partnerships are open to any businesses looking to make an investment in a new class of leaders. If your team simply needs to upskill, whether it’s on emerging tech or foundational principles, get in touch with the 8th Light team.

This post originally appeared as Deploying New Careers Together With Code Platoon on March 21, 2023. Code Platoon thanks 8th Light for its permission to repost this blog.

Nicole Carpenter has only recently begun to realize the joy and anguish of living with a cat. Since joining 8th Light in early 2016, she has gained deep expertise in delivering software for the insurance industry. She is also the organizer of 8th Light University.

Affirm and CP

Affirm Hires Code Platoon Graduates

Affirm, the payment network that empowers consumers and helps merchants drive growth, and Code Platoon have created a new hiring partnership, connecting Affirm’s “Upward Program” with Code Platoon graduates. The Upward Program is a six-month apprenticeship program for software engineers with non-traditional coding backgrounds like Code Platoon graduates.

Two recent graduates–Tanya Dlabaj and Zachary Blackburn, a military spouse and a Marine Corps Veteran, respectively–are the first Code Platoon participants in the Upward Program. 

“I had never written a line of code before Code Platoon,” Zachary said.  “Now I have an apprenticeship writing code in JavaScript through React and Python.”

Zachary and Tanya learned of the apprenticeship opportunity at Affirm after the company hosted a presentation for their cohort members.

“The Code Platoon career services helped me through the application process (for the Affirm apprenticeship). They helped submit my resume and Rich Luby (Head of Career Services at Code Platoon) gave me interview advice and provided plenty of interview practice before I met with Affirm.”

“Most importantly, he kept me motivated throughout the process,” Zachary said.

“I was looking for a company with a positive work environment, who puts their employees first,” Tanya said. “Affirm checked all the boxes.”

“Code Platoon was essential to starting my career in software engineering. During my cohort, I was exposed to the entire full-stack development process. The support that I received from the instructors and the TAs was amazing. I felt confident interviewing because I had already done the work.”

After completing the 15-week Code Platoon Full-stack Software Engineering program, students interview for apprenticeship opportunities with Code Platoon’s partners like Affirm. Tanya’s selection into the Upward Program is the next step in her journey into tech.

“I’m excited to continue my software engineering journey with Affirm, and I’m grateful to Code Platoon and the career services team who made this a reality,” she said.

“Thanks to Affirm’s open communication line and collaborative partnership approach, we’ve successfully placed candidates who use skills developed at Code Platoon to excel in the interview process,” Rich Luby, Head of Career Services at Code Platoon, said. 

“We are proud of our first placements at Affirm and are confident in our program’s ability to deliver entry-level talent, like Zachary and Tanya, who exceed entry-level needs. I look forward to working with Affirm on their future hiring rounds.”

Affirm is a financial technology company with over two thousand employees and a remote-first workplace. Affirm was featured in LinkedIn’s Top Startups list in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and was named one of Built In’s 100 Best Remote-First Companies to Work for in 2021 and 2022. 

Affirm’s Upward Program apprentices solve problems, develop projects, and receive mentorship from Affirm’s full-time software engineers. The company’s goal is to convert its high-performing apprentices into full-time hires after the six-month program.

The Preferred Hiring Partnership is only one of the ways companies can partner with Code Platoon and access our Veteran, transitioning Servicemember, and military spouse graduates. If you’re a corporation interested in partnering with Code Platoon, visit our corporate partnerships page or contact us at

If you’re a Veteran, Active Duty Servicemember, or military spouse interested in starting your coding journey, apply to Code Platoon today

Tish Johnson is the Enrollment and Career Services Coordinator at Code Platoon. In this role, she harnesses her college administration experience to manage the enrollment process for admitted students, including processing VA educational benefits. Tish also lends her career coaching and personal branding workshop facilitator talents toward assisting students with their individual career readiness goals. Tish holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Indiana University of PA, and an M.Ed. from Strayer University.

Unqork and CP

Unqork Partners with Code Platoon To Hire Veterans

Code Platoon, the mission-driven, non-profit organization that turns Veterans and military spouses into professional software engineers is excited to share its recent partnership with Unqork. One of LinkedIn’s top startups of 2020, Unqork builds complex, mission-critical software. 

John Norton, a Veteran and a Sales Engineer at Unqork, shared more about the company’s goals of expanding and helping Veterans break into tech. John began working at Unqork in March 2020 and is a U.S. Army Veteran who served as a Radar Repairer for over four years. Upon separation from the Army, John was looking for a company that allowed him to apply the skills he learned during his time in service, while also providing room for career growth. He found Unqork.

As a part of his role at the company, John co-leads one of their Employee Resource Strategy Groups (ERSG): John co-leads Unqork Veterans, a group dedicated to Veterans. Through these groups, the company’s foundation holds a strong dedication towards promoting diversity in the tech industry. 

“I haven’t worked with a lot of other companies that have put this much effort and consistent strategy into improving DEI metrics and really ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard at the company,” John said. “Unqork is making sure that we are really celebrating the diversity of background and thought. The result is awesome! We end up with better products, better ideas. We move faster and we are more agile,” John said.

Unqork specifically sees the value of hiring talent from the Veteran and military spouse community. 

“What you generally find with Veterans is when you hand them the right tools and tell them to get the job done, they will do it. There is immense value in having somebody that you absolutely know you can depend on. Somebody who knows that no matter what the circumstances, they are going to accomplish the mission. Veterans are great problem solvers, dedicated, able to overcome obstacles fairly easily and keep a level head under pressure,” said John, giving a special note on Code Platoon graduates in particular. The company acknowledges the benefits of having Veterans at their company. “Across the board, the candidates that have come from Code Platoon have set a high standard in terms of their motivation, dedication and the education they have received. Unqork sees Code Platoon as a great resource for finding top Veteran talent for their technology facing roles.”

Code Platoon is proud to be one of Unqork’s community partners participating in a multitrack onboarding process. In an effort to hire more individuals related to their ERSGs. To improve onboarding, the innovative company Unqork has created a mini bootcamp to help candidates, including our Code Platoon graduates, transition to Unqork. 

“With the forecast of consistent needs for our company to grow, we want to bring in folks that represent all walks of life and that includes Veterans,” John said. 

Code Platoon graduates and the other candidates go through a three-week program that familiarizes the new hires with the basics of the Unqork platform. After two weeks of training, each associate builds an individual project and works on a group project.

“I found myself truly prepared for the Unqork onboarding bootcamp as a graduate of Code Platoon,” said Jarrett Hosey, a U.S. Army Veteran and Code Platoon graduate who joined Unqork in February 2021. “Over these last 7 months as a full time employee at Unqork, I’ve felt very supported as a Veteran. We have all sorts of connection points among fellow Veterans including a dedicated Slack channel and book club.”

The Unqork collaboration has been an innovative approach to hiring and onboarding. 

“This process allows Unqork to tap into a qualified pool of military Veterans and train them up on the unique skills needed to be successful in a career at their company,” Rich Luby said. He is Code Platoon’s Career Service Lead. We are excited about our initial outcomes and we are looking forward to the next round of onboarding!” 

If your company is interested in partnering with Code Platoon to source top military talent contact Rich Luby at You can learn more about partnership options here.

DRW White Paper

DRW and Code Platoon: Working together to provide Veterans and military spouses careers in technology

DRW, a Chicago-based, technology-driven principal trading firm, has been a trusted partner to Code Platoon since 2016, when the firm’s Chief Information Officer,  Seth Thomson, recognized the power of Code Platoon to help find undiscovered, well-trained and talented Veterans and spouses who could add value to his teams. 

“DRW was an early adopter of Code Platoon and took a chance on our training program,” said Rod Levy, founder and Executive Director,  Code Platoon. “Their seal of approval has helped cement Code Platoon as a premier coding Bootcamp.  DRW has incredibly high standards and so for others in the space to see their involvement in the program and the success graduates were having was a game-changer.”

DRW believes hiring from Code Platoon is one of those “do good while doing well” situations.  While the firm is eager to support Veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life, the firm recognizes that it benefits from having mature talent that is ready to jump in and make a difference.  Code Platoon graduates combine their technical skills with military traits, including loyalty, discipline, and the ability to learn. From day one at DRW,  graduates are part of teams working to solve complex problems in markets worldwide and across many asset classes, and they bring not only their passion for developing technical skills, but also life skills they have learned during their service.

“I am an extremely enthusiastic champion of the work of Code Platoon and the exceptional cohorts they graduate,” said Thomson.  “It’s a true honor for  me personally to be able to help those that have dedicated themselves to service to find the next path for utilizing their skills and cultivate new opportunities.  And after many years, I can confidently say I think everyone involved wins here.  Our tech teams love welcoming each graduate to the firm, and mentors always tell me they learn something, too.  Our firm has sourced tremendous talent through this program.  And, we’re diversifying the tech workforce, which is important to all of us.”

To date, DRW has provided apprenticeships to 13 Code Platoon graduates. Eleven of those apprentices were offered full-time positions (and one is still an apprentice). They now work on eight different teams at DRW, contributing to diverse projects within the firm, including security, business support, trading desks, and data services. 

Hank Moon, a 2019 Code Platoon graduate and Air Force Veteran, said, “When I left the military, I was working with a very tight-knit team. We were almost like family.  I get that same sense of family at DRW.” 

Hank currently works with the Business Support Services team and frequently collaborates with other Code Platoon graduates. 

Beyond hiring from Code Platoon, DRW also provides program support to students in the training program. DRW encourages employees to volunteer their time as mentors, resume coaches, teaching assistants, and workshop leaders. 

Mentors provide an opportunity for students to grow their professional networks and learn more about working as software engineers. Teaching assistants are available weekday evenings as technical support to students, helping them complete coding challenges and other assignments. Workshop leaders, like DRW’s Chris Walquist and Rene Duquesnoy, provide specialized GIT and Linux commands training to each Code Platoon cohort.

“I find it very fulfilling to hold open for others the doors that were opened for me,” said Walquist. “Code Platoon lets me do that by offering volunteer opportunities as a mentor and workshop leader.”

If you are interested in a hiring partnership or volunteer opportunities with Code Platoon, please visit the employer resource page or contact our career services team.