Through a student exchange program, Jyn came to America when she was 20 years old. She fell in love with the country and graduated with a degree in economics and international business from the University of Missouri. With her degree in hand and a student visa, she ventured to Chicago to find work. However, without a permanent address or citizenship, her options were limited. She scraped by on whatever odd jobs she could find, even working at a Farmer’s Market.
Jyn reached a turning point when she discovered the MAVNI program. If she was bilingual with a bachelor’s degree, she could join the U.S. Army Reserves and earn her American citizenship. She leapt at the chance and signed up with the hopes of becoming a linguist. However, since she wasn’t born in the United States, she couldn’t receive the security clearance she needed to do the job, so she settled for logistics, specifically driving trucks. Nonetheless, she was officially a United States citizen.
Coding as a foreign language
As a reservist, Jyn participates in one training weekend each month as well as an annual training. With no deployment in sight, she still needed to find a full-time job. Through another veteran, she heard about Code Platoon. She immediately recognized the program as another way she could satisfy her drive to work with languages. She couldn’t work with human languages because of her human origins, but she could learn the language of computers.
As a reservist, Jyn qualified for the Code Platoon coding academy and before she knew it she was coding 12 hours a day. It was grueling, but she says she had all the support she needed to succeed. In addition to the intense instruction, she had two mentors and access to a steady pipeline of speakers who she could consistently pepper with questions. She even got to visit one of her mentors’ places of work.
When Jyn started searching for a position in coding, she knew exactly what to expect. She interviewed with five companies and landed an internship with one of Code Platoon’s sponsors, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), the safety standards company. After four months, she was awarded a job as a software developer where she is thriving today.
Once Jyn was established in the United States, she was in a position to venture back to South Korea to visit her family. After not seeing her family for five years, she surprised them with a visit. Her mom is still reeling from the shock. Now that Jyn is settled as a citizen with a promising career, she can see her family more often.
Congratulations to Jyn Kim, Code Platoon Alumni of the Month for June 2019!
Transcript of Jyn Kim’s Code Platoon video
I joined the military hoping that I could be a citizen and that’s how I got it. When I joined the Army, I already knew about Code Platoon through my friend and I thought there’s another reason to join the Army because there is a coding boot camp just for veterans. Tuition was so cheap and it was unbelievable. So when I was going to basic training, I was already planning to apply for the coding boot camp. My parents just couldn’t believe it that I’m studying for a software developer, and they were just inspired by the fact that I’m studying computer languages. So I think that was my motivation.
When I told my commander in my unit, he was very happy for me that I’m going for a new career and he was really willing to let me reschedule the weekend drills. As we were getting to graduation, I realized that annual training was coming, so I had about five, six interviews in three days, and that was really, really intense, but I really appreciate their effort to reschedule for me so I can have a fair opportunity with everyone else.
I feel like everyone’s family. It’s not like they have this obligation to come. They really wanted to to see us succeed in this industry. I got an offer from Underwriter Laboratories. It’s a global safety standard company, and my integration was four months long, and I had a lot of chances to pair with senior developers. I know lifelong career barely exists in these days, but I really think that there are a lot of potentials in programming.
Code Platoon was great to all of us. It really changed our life and lifestyle, and I think it was a turning point my life.