Did you know Active Duty Servicemembers can start training for their civilian career prior to leaving the military? Michael Grandori and Seth Thomas attended Code Platoon and started paid tech positions before their military separation. How were they able to get a head start? They used the little-known Department of Defense SkillBridge program.
Michael, a former Infantry Sergeant, joined Code Platoon in 2020. After graduation, he apprenticed with Motorola Solutions and accepted a full-time position six months later.
“I probably became a pariah in my unit because I pushed SkillBridge so much,” Michael said. “SkillBridge got me where I am today. I left the military, and a month later, I had a tech job. Without SkillBridge, I would probably still be struggling to get my foot in the door.”
Seth graduated from Papa Platoon in January 2022 and started an apprenticeship with 8th Light. He is an Active Duty Army Officer until April 2022.
“I owe everything to SkillBridge,” Seth said. “Leaving the safety net of the military was daunting. But with SkillBridge, I got the skills I needed when I needed them.”
SkillBridge helps transitioning Servicemembers get a head start on their post-military careers. Servicemembers, with command approval, can participate in SkillBridge during their last 180 days of active duty via a DoD-approved program like Code Platoon.
Active Duty Servicemembers should plan ahead if they want to participate in a SkillBridge program, as timing is crucial.
“Because of Covid, I was stuck on a ship in the South China Sea,” Michael said. “Luckily, the stars aligned. I got the applications done in about two and a half months and returned to the United States before my program started.”
“I started looking for programs about a year and a half before my last day,” Seth said. “I also started Intro to Coding around the same time since Code Platoon requires some self-study to pass the application.”
After getting accepted to Code Platoon and SkillBridge, Michael and Seth went through Code Platoon’s Immersive Full-Stack Software Engineering Bootcamp. They both attended remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Code Platoon did a great job revamping their program to accommodate virtual students and create a sense of community,” Seth said. “The instructors stressed that you should rely on each other and your team for success. We all wanted to succeed together. I got the support network I had in the military, outside of the military.
“Coding Bootcamps seem daunting at first, like facing a cliff. But once you start climbing, you realize you can do it.”
“Code Platoon is an exceptionally well-rounded program,” Michael said. “There are other bootcamps that teach the fundamentals, but Code Platoon has it all. You learn how to communicate with people, write applications, keep track of features, and then make the leap to your first job.”
Once Michael and Seth graduated from Code Platoon, they were matched with Chicago-based technology companies through our apprenticeship program.
“Code Platoon’s focus on getting us a job at the end of the program is phenomenal,” Seth said. “You start with career prep, and by the end, you have the chance to interview with companies spanning the financial sector to consulting. Code Platoon chooses its partners carefully and sets students up for success.
“Right now, at 8th Light, I am going through a program to become a polyglot in technical languages. Code Platoon gave me the skills to feel comfortable learning new technologies quickly and effectively.”
Michael completed his Full-stack Developer Apprenticeship at Motorola Solutions and continued with the company until March 2022. He recently started a new Software Engineer position at F5.
“With Motorola, I worked on embedded systems that interact with the physical world. Now at F5, I work on a living, breathing project that lives on companies’ cloud infrastructures,” Michael said. “Getting to solve real-world problems every day is why I became a software engineer.”
When asked about goals for the future, Michael and Seth responded similarly.
“When I was in the military, I was a team leader, section leader, and squad leader at one point,” Michael said. “I would like to see myself in a leadership position again. I want to mentor junior developers because I remember what it was like starting out two years ago.”
“Everything I did in the Army was management and program-based,” Seth said. “I never thought those skills could transfer to a technical role. Thanks to the SkillBridge program and Code Platoon, I learn new things and advance myself in a collaborative environment. I wake up with a smile on my face every day.”
If you are interested in applying to Code Platoon with SkillBridge, apply to Code Platoon today. To help with the SkillBridge command approval process, we provide an introductory letter and command approval template.
If you have any questions about Code Platoon or SkillBridge, our recruitment team is here to help.
Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed by 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.