Tech may be stereotyped as a young person’s field, but it’s never too late to learn new skills, improve old ones, or even start a new tech career.
Everett Yeckley, an Army Veteran and recent Code Platoon graduate, has over four decades of experience in the military, and in IT work. He recently completed the Full-stack Evening & Weekend program, Charlie Platoon, at age 56.
“I was always the youngest during my Service and the start of my tech career,” Everett said. “But then, I found myself the oldest student in my Code Platoon program.”
Everett enlisted in 1982 when he was 16 years old. He spent almost fifteen years on Active Duty in the Army Band.
“When I left the military, I chose to pursue technology because it’s always fascinated me,” he said. “I started from the bottom at an IT help desk and worked my way up to Manager of IT Operations. I also earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while working full-time.”
Everett then learned of the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) program. This program offered early retirement to Servicemembers who completed 15-19 years’ Service in the Army. Those who qualified received the same retirement pay as 20-or-more-year retirements, minus a small early retirement reduction.
Everett was months short of the fifteen years’ Service he needed for TERA. So he left tech and joined the Georgia Army National Guard. Although he had intended to only stay for another few years, he remained in the National Guard for eight additional years.
After his military retirement, Everett hoped he could pick up his IT career where he left off, but technology had advanced while he was gone.
“Getting back into IT after my second round of Service was difficult, even with my degrees,” he said. “I knew I needed to update my skill set to remain competitive.”
“When I heard about Code Platoon, the requirements convinced me that it’s a good program. I knew I’d have to work hard to succeed.”
Everett had already used his Montgomery GI Bill benefits, attending college and grad school, but he had enough Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits left to qualify for VET TEC. VET TEC is a VA program specifically for assisting Veterans entering the tech industry.
Code Platoon’s 28-week Evening & Weekend Program is designed for people who are employed or have other life events that don’t allow them to participate in the full-time Immersive program.
“It was difficult balancing the Evening & Weekend program with work. I would have an 8-10 hour workday, take an hour break, then go to class. I played in a band at the start of the program but had to drop out to make it all work,” he said.
“The program was a challenging experience, but once I set my mind to it, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The instructors explained concepts well and supported our learning. The other students jumped in to help when someone got stuck. I thought the Beyond Tech soft-skills workshops were invaluable, even after all my civilian work experience.”
“Code Platoon is opening up a lot of new opportunities. I’m looking forward to seeing where this experience takes me,” he said.
Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed from previous positions in higher education and educational technology. Kayla has degrees in English and Sociology from Clemson University and completed the Study in India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.