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Michael Dorsey, Alumni of the Month, May 2019

Michael Dorsey, formerly an engineer with the Navy, was inspired to code by his grandmother, who had a direct hand in coding the technology used by the Chicago Clearing House. He remembers as a boy sitting on her lap while she coded on the computer. In the Navy, Michael was an engineer, and in between his heroic efforts to build schools for girls in Africa and to erect areas of operations for the military in Afghanistan, he started to fulfill his dream to code by teaching himself. But learning on his own proved daunting.

When his service was over, Michael returned to a regular civilian job. But working in retail at a wireless store didn’t feel quite right to him anymore. He was used to a deadline driven environment rooted in rules and discipline and duty. And, he still felt called to code. In 2016, Michael started searching for coding programs where he could apply the GI Bill and came up short. But, today, his childhood dream has come true.

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First GI Bill student at Code Platoon

The Department of Veterans Affairs approved Code Platoon in early 2018 to accept the GI Bill, making it the first coding bootcamp in Illinois to offer this to veterans. Michael was able to apply his benefits towards his Code Platoon tuition and receive his BAH, allowing him to fully focus on the rigorous of learning software development skills.

Michael feels at home in the Code Platoon environment, both as a student and an alumni. He is used to rules, which is exactly what coding is all about, creating and following rules. He is also accustomed to being extremely vocal with the people he is working with and consistently sharing details about the direction you’re heading. In the world of coding, coders have to talk to each other constantly about their work.

Code Platoon has remained a big part of Michael’s life, both personally and professionally. In late 2018, Michael stepped up to help form and lead the Code Platoon Alumni Association. This group of alumni is working to support Code Platoon by creating content to help showcase the program to prospective students. They have also formed an Emerging Leaders group, who will support the governing board of directors for Code Platoon, and learn more about the organization behind the training program.

Executive Director Rod Levy said about Michael, “While Michael has a solid grasp on the technical skills required to succeed as a software development professional, his leadership abilities and entrepreneurial spirit are second to none. Michael thrives leading teams and we are fortunate to have him at the helm as our inaugural Alumni Association president.”

Congratulations to Michael Dorsey, our Alumni of the Month for May 2019!

Transcript of Michael Dorsey’s Code Platoon video

I was in the military and the Navy for five years. I was a CB, which is actually a builder doing construction. During the time of my last two years in the military, I taught myself how to program, and really just trying to break into the field. I always had a passion for it. When I was about 10 years old, my grandmother took me to her job at the Chicago Clearing House. She’s actually a programmer. That’s where the zeal came from. I just saw what she was doing and how much she loved it. It really peaked my interest.

After getting out of the military, I was like, all right, now is the time. Let’s go ahead and go after this dream that I’ve had for the longest.

About a year and a half later, I actually found Code Platoon during a Google search. It came just in time. I was getting ready to move back to California, back away from my family, and Code Platoon pretty much found me.

I really ran into a bunch of challenges because I thought that I knew how to program, and I really didn’t. But Jon, the actual lead instructor of Code Platoon, he was great. We had some TAs there that helped you through everything. Any questions that you had, they would definitely answer them for you. They were just there to help. The environment itself was just indicative of what the family-oriented lifestyle of the military was.

I moved on to a company called Change Healthcare. I studied web development at Code Platoon and when I got to Change Healthcare, I was shocked and surprised that they wanted me to do a totally different side of web development or actually development. But the good thing is even though I was kind of banging my head, and still am a little bit, just using the tactics that Code Platoon has taught me, talking to people, asking questions, being curious, asking why, finding out, and having the drive to go after what you want and finding that answer, has really helped me through all of this, and still is helping me to this day.

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