This post is part three of a series of posts by Cristian Baeza that document his Code Platoon journey from choosing a Bootcamp through his classes as part of the upcoming November Platoon.
Queue ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe. The start of my Code Platoon cohort is now only weeks away. I write this piece hoping that other Veterans can see how I prepared for the Bootcamp, financially or otherwise, so that they might better prepare for their future endeavors themselves.
Vets, did you know you can use your GI Bill for a graduate degree? Graduate degrees can be much more expensive than bachelor’s degrees, so I decided that saving some of those coveted GI Bill months for a master’s degree would be a rational financial decision. This allowed me to have a safety net plan after graduating from Code Platoon. I would apply to a part-time master’s program and use GI Bill benefits to pay for it. Doing so would allow some BAH as a source of income while I find a full-time job. We can at least thank the pandemic for causing many institutions to shift towards fully online classes.
After being notified of my admittance to Code Platoon at the end of July, I knew I had to start preparing to dedicate three full months to the program come February. After the pandemic began, I was blessed to have been able to keep my job working remotely. That allowed me to pay for my last year of college and help me pay rent. After being admitted to Code Platoon, however, I had to make some budget cuts. Financially, I had to prepare not to have a source of income for the three months the Bootcamp will last. I was glad I applied early since this gave me ample time to save and plan out expenses during the program and the job hunt that comes afterward.
I also started to research what my life would be like as a software engineer. What would be my daily routine? What would comprise a typical day at work? Startup or larger company? Frontend or backend? Both? Will I even like this field? Python? Java? Go? Go where?? I had so many questions, and luckily YouTube and Google provided a lot of answers.
Basic coding challenges don’t really give people an idea of what software engineering can be. I wanted to see if this field was something I would enjoy or at least not hate. I invested in a part-time Bootcamp to test the waters. This Bootcamp, called NuCamp, was extremely affordable. It allowed me to learn a lot and get an idea if this is the field for me. Fortunately, it only grew my joy for choosing software development and made me look forward to starting Code Platoon even more.
Besides applying early, I would also highly recommend being proactive in your quest to seek knowledge in this field. There are countless resources out there that can give you an idea of what jobs are actually like, so don’t be disheartened if you’ve only had exposure to coding challenges and you feel like setting your face on fire. I’m not saying that feeling will go away (it probably won’t), but seeing the possibilities of what you can create can show you the joy and fun this career choice can bring. Or it might not be for you at all. The point is to make a strong effort to find out before you are financially committed to any program.
During this last month, before starting my cohort, I will be studying for my AWS certificate. I will also be working on some portfolio projects and messing around with Electron.js. Please feel free to reach me on LinkedIn with any questions or help in any way.
Cristian Baeza is a Marine Veteran. Cristian has been accepted to Code Platoon’s November Platoon, which begins in February 2021. Cristian is sharing his Code Platoon Journey through a series of posts documenting his search for a Bootcamp, acceptance to Code Platoon, and his classroom experience throughout the 14-week immersive Bootcamp.