Table of Contents
PART I: FULL-TIME, IN PERSON PROGRAM
What is it, where is it, and how long is it?
We teach our students full-stack development over the course of 15 weeks in our downtown Chicago classroom. After completion of the program, students will be eligible for potential placement, based on interviews and skillset, with our paid internships and full-time employment as a web developer. Students must be prepared to spend 12-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week for these 15 weeks, as they will be immersed in a curriculum that covers everything they need to know to be a full-stack developer, from programming languages to industry best practices. They will get hands-on experience working with today’s web development tools.
What does the program cost?
The full price for the program is $17,000. A few things to keep in mind regarding this cost: one, when considering a career change, this is a fairly reasonable cost for a program offering such a robust, foundational skill set; two, our section on the VA has a great deal more information, but there are several VA-related methods that can be used for paying the tuition to Code Platoon. Third, those opting not to use the GI Bill® (or other VA benefits) may be eligible for a scholarship that pays for most (if not all) of the tuition.
What types of programming will students learn?
Also of note: students will need to bring an Apple laptop, preferably with 8GB of RAM, and able to run the most recent Mac OS, with them to class.
Databases: PostgreSQL and Object Relational Mapping (ORM).
Industry Best Practices: Git & Github and Pair Programming, Test Driven Development
Beyond Tech: Classes covering Team Building, Mental Toughness, Diversity & Inclusion, Personality Assessment, Personal Finance, Negotiation, Job Search, etc. help go beyond just tech-based learning and into personal development so that students can become well-rounded.
Is there something students should do to prepare for the course?
Absolutely and Code Platoon provides considerable resources to help students prepare for our program. Our Intro to Coding page offers several tutorials for prospective students, and a self-paced program is always an option for those who want to become more deeply familiar prior to entering the Full-time program.
Do graduates of this program receive any certifications?
Yes! Graduates of our program receive a Code Platoon Certificate, In addition, all students will prepare to take the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification, and In-person students will also prepare for the SAFe Agile Practitioner Certification. These professional certifications are built into our program, with specific days committed to training and testing. Additionally, we are an official AWS Training Facility.
Are there job placement opportunities with this program?
The In-person program provides students with the option to interview and be placed in three to six month paid internships with our corporate sponsors. Code Platoon’s focus on real-world application means students will not only be mentored by professional software developers in the classroom but often continue their conversations at their own workspaces. Although the internships provided are in Chicago only, Remote students have their own Career Services Lead who works with them personally to find jobs after graduation.
What are the job prospects afterward and how much money can I expect to make?
As of 2020, software developers of just about any kind are one of the most highly in-demand job categories in our current economy. And, over the next several years, this field is expected to grow much faster than average. The skills a software developer possesses will be sought after for the foreseeable future. Our graduates, on average, report a median salary of $65,000 within six months of completing our course and a median salary of $88,000 within two years of completion. Our graduates will find work in roles such as web developers, software developers, software engineers, and site reliability engineers.
PART II: EVENING AND WEEKEND PROGRAM
Note: for all questions regarding curriculum, see above, as it is consistent across all programs. Questions and answers here will focus on what is specific to the Evening and Weekend Program.
How does the Evening and Weekend Program differ from the Full-Time, In-Person Program?
In terms of curriculum and what a student will learn, there is no difference. But rather than spending all day, every day in class, the Evening and Weekend option meets remotely on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 6 pm – 9:30 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm for 28 weeks (as opposed to 15 weeks for the daytime option).
Are internships and career services offered to the Evening and Weekend graduates, as well?
Although internships are not available to the Evening and Weekend graduates at this time (perhaps later), we still do everything we can to place graduates of both programs into a job or internship within six months of graduation.
How often is the Evening and Weekend program available?
Due to its length, we are only able to offer one Evening and Weekend Program per year at this time.
Do you have an option for those who cannot attend Full-Time?
Yes! It is our Evening and Weekend Program.
What is different about the Evening and Weekend Program?
Like the Full-time, Live-Remote option, the Evening and Weekend Remote program follows a set schedule, meaning that students log on at a specific time and follow a specific curriculum at a pace set by the instructor (in other words, it is not self-directed). The difference with this option is that it meets three nights a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) from 6 pm to 9:30 pm, and then all day on Saturdays. Because of the shorter class hours, the Evening and Weekend Program takes 28 weeks to complete as opposed to 15 weeks for the Full-Time Program.
Is the GI Bill® applicable to the Evening and Weekend, Remote Program?
No, but we do have scholarships available through Code Platoon that will make it very affordable!
Are internships and job-placement available for Evening and Weekend, Remote Program students?
While there are no internships available for Evening and Weekend students, they do have full access to our Career Services Lead for job placement.
PART III: FULL TIME, REMOTE PROGRAM
What are the differences between the In-Person and Remote programs if attending full time?
In terms of curriculum, hours, cost, and what is required, there is no difference. We teach the same thing at the same time, and remote students have the opportunity to learn right alongside the in-person cohort. In fact, they will even be part of the same group projects, as our Remote students are considered just as much a part of the family as everyone else.
However, Remote students are not eligible for our internship program, nor do they participate in SAFe Agile training.
What is the downside of doing it remotely—why would someone not choose this route?
As with anything in life, there are always trade-offs. While the Remote program certainly allows students to stay in their place of residence—no matter how much we wish it were not so, there are always reasons why someone cannot pack up and move to a new city for 15 weeks—the downside is that this option does not include the internship opportunities associated with the In-Person Program. Although we do encourage people to take the In-Person option, as it provides the best possible learning opportunities, we fully understand that this is simply not possible and we developed this as an option.
Does the GI Bill® work for the Remote program?
Only VET TEC can apply; not the GI Bill®. It is important to note that this is the case for all coding Bootcamps — none are eligible for Remote GI Bill® funding, as the GI Bill® is administered by state VA agencies, whereas VET TEC is done by the National VA authority.
PART IV: CODING (SELF PACED PROGRAM)
Is the self-paced program truly at my own pace?
Absolutely 100% self-paced, yes.
What is the cost?
Completely free to Veterans, Active Duty, and military spouses.
What is the downside to that?
Because it is free and at the student’s pace, there is no access to instructors, job-placement help, and there no certificate provided showing that students finished the course. But it is a great way to learn and develop some skills for those who cannot fit the other programs into their schedule.
Does any of it transfer? So if I do the self-paced program and want to do the In-person or Live-Remote option later, does any of my self-paced work count toward that?
The self-paced program utilizes our actual curriculum. It does not directly transfer, but many students have done some of our self-paced work and, as a result, done much better once they are enrolled in the full-time program, as they are now much more familiar with the curriculum. Given the pace of our program, this is no small thing.
PART V: GI-BILL AND VET TEC QUESTIONS
Will the VA pay for me to go through Code Platoon?
Yes! There are a number of different options students have used to have their tuition paid for through the VA—the GI Bill®, VET TEC, and Voc Rehab have all been used by our students.
I have never heard of VET TEC. What is that?
VET TEC is a relatively new pilot program through the VA that is specifically designed to help Veterans go to tech schools to learn valuable skills like web development, cybersecurity, and software development and find meaningful, good-paying employment afterward. It works differently than the GI Bill in a few different ways.
- Using the GI Bill subtracts from the veteran’s remaining benefits and VET TEC does not. Veterans must have at least one day of GI Bill eligibility remaining on Day 1 of their class to qualify for VET TEC.
- VET TEC only provides training in concentrated technology boot camps and trade schools. It does not apply to accredited institutions. The GI Bill can be used for traditional college degrees as well.
- 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.
- The VET TEC program has limited funding, up to $15 million per federal fiscal year (October 1-September 30).
- 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.
- 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.
So can I use VET TEC for Code Platoon and still use my GI Bill for college?
That is correct. If a student applied for VET TEC and used it to complete Code Platoon’s program, found a job, and still want to take college classes with their GI Bill down the road, their VET TEC experience has not taken any time or money away from that. It is still there for the veteran to use. So going to Code Platoon before attending college is a great way to maximize resources!
Is it like the GI Bill in giving me a housing allowance?
Yes, it works much the same. If the student attends our full-time program in Chicago, they would receive BAH for the Chicago area (currently around $2,000/month) for the duration of our program. If they attend the Live-Remote class, their BAH would be paid at the rate of the national average (currently about $800/month).
What about money for supplies like a laptop?
Unfortunately, no. At this time VET TEC pays the program and BAH, but nothing extra for a computer. However, we are told that Veterans receive a 15% discount with Apple on Macs (which is what students need to use for our program).
Can I use VET TEC for the Evening and Weekend program?
We are fully anticipating VET TEC being available for our Evening and Weekends Program that starts in April. We will, however, keep everyone up to date on any changes in relation to VET TEC.
If I’m a Veteran with less than 100% eligibility on GI Bill benefits, can I still apply and receive full VET TEC benefits?
Yes, absolutely! If a veteran is eligible, VET TEC pays at the 100% rate for both tuition and housing even if they wouldn’t receive 100% with other GI Bill programs.
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?
Yes, absolutely. If a veteran is eligible for VET TEC and able to get into a program with an approved provider, then they are allowed to use a VET TEC training institution to help advance their career. The VA does not exclude participants who are already in their target industry.
What are the differences between those who are listed as VET TEC training providers?
Prospective students can go to our FAQ Page for VET TEC for a better rundown, but the biggest difference between those other programs and ours is that Code Platoon is the only one focused on military Veterans. That is our specialty, so our staff is made up of people who have a deep understanding of the Veteran community and work tirelessly to ensure that is our priority. Additionally, we are a nonprofit school (most are for-profit) and we have an unparalleled internship program — something almost no one else has.
Since VET TEC is limited in who they let in, can I just use the GI Bill® if I’m not accepted to VET TEC?
Absolutely, yes. But it must be noted that it only works for our In-person program.
I have also heard of something called Voc Rehab through the VA. What is it and can it be used?
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (typically called Voc Rehab) is a program through the VA designed to “help with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job-seeking skills coaching.” Like VET TEC, this is not an automatic benefit for every Veteran; it must be applied to, which includes a one-on-one meeting with a VRC (Voc Rehab Counselor) to determine the best course of action for the Veteran. Voc Rehab is typically used when a Veteran has a disability and subsequent employment handicap which prevents them from working in certain areas. So the plan for finding work that the Veteran can do, possible training for that work, and placement is quite extensive and developed by the Veteran and the VRC.
And yes, it can be used for Code Platoon. The caveat is that the Veteran must take the steps to apply to and be accepted to a Voc Rehab plan—that is not something Code Platoon can walk them through.
What about military spouses or Veteran spouses—can they attend Code Platoon with VA funding?
This is a multi-part answer. Yes, military spouses can attend Code Platoon, and if Veteran spouses have done a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) of the Veteran’s GI Bill® they can use that (again, only the In-person programs will accept GI Bill®). However, VET-TEC does not work with a TOE and is reserved for the Veteran only. Additionally, Code Platoon does have scholarships for those who cannot secure VA funding, which also is available for spouses.
How much of the tuition is covered by the GI Bill®?
A Veteran’s benefits will depend on a few different factors, so we encourage them to contact the VA for more information and to learn about their EES (Education Enrollment Status), which is a necessary part of the application process for Code Platoon and should be submitted to us as soon as possible. Code Platoon is not authorized to look at a Veteran’s file with the VA to determine their exact level of benefit eligibility nor how much time is left for their benefits, so the Veteran must ultimately contact the VA themselves in order to determine what it is exactly they qualify for and how much.
How long does it take for a Veteran or military spouse to be approved by the VA?
It usually takes two to three weeks to be approved by the VA, but it can take up to 30 days (processing times run longer during Spring and Fall). A veteran’s EES (Education Enrollment Status) is available online and should either be sent to email@example.com (or Greg@codeplatoon.org) or mailed to our office at Code Platoon, 125 South Clark Street, 17th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603.
This part is important: prospective students should apply for our program and for their benefits at the same time. Each process can take a few weeks, so get them going. Don’t wait for one to be complete before starting the other. We require all documents to use the GI Bill® or VET TEC six weeks prior to the class start date.
What if I don’t have enough VA benefits to cover the cost of the course?
Code Platoon has several scholarship options available which typically reduce the cost of the course by 80% (sometimes more). If a student does not have enough GI Bill® left and doesn’t qualify for VET TEC, we highly encourage them to apply for whichever scholarships could fit. In addition, there are other sources for scholarships that are worth looking into.
PART VI: PREPARATION-RELATED QUESTIONS
Are there common trends that successful students do prior to entering the course?
Those who spend a lot of time on self-learning will do better than those who do not, and that is probably the biggest factor for success.
What do students who enter the program wish they had done prior to entering?
A lot of self-learning. The more you can push yourself to learn on your own, the better you will do in our program. Harvard’s CS50 class is a great example (and free if you are simply auditing the class).
I’m afraid that I may be too old for a program of this nature. I was born in 1970 and wonder if that is too late to start a tech career.
The average age of a Code Platoon student is 34. We have students in their 20’s participate in the program as well as students in their 60’s. Age should not be a consideration if you are wanting a new career in tech.
PART VII: CURRICULUM-RELATED QUESTIONS
Can I have more detail on what, exactly, I’ll be learning about at Code Platoon?
Absolutely! Our curriculum is listed here on our website. The different tabs on the left will open up other pages under those headings.
What is “full-stack” coding?
Will I be required to specialize in one area, or do all students learn the same thing?
All students learn the same material. Where they end up working — i.e. the job they choose or the specific type of field — will dictate the type of area in which they will specialize (e.g. front end vs back end).