I have to admit, it warms my cold dead heart when I see startups who are making it their goal to help veterans. Veterans often get the short end of the stick when it comes to marketability in today's world. No matter your political opinions on war or the military, it's clear that those who serve often make some of the most dedicated employees.
What veterans often lack are the skills required for the jobs that will lead them to financial stability. There are a lot of startups that have carved out a niche in providing veterans with these skills as well as networking opportunities. There are also veterans starting up on their own. Due to this increase in veteran entrepreneurs, there are even accelerators specifically for veterans. From a strictly business standpoint, veterans are a hot market.
Chicago-based nonprofit Code Platoon is helping veterans build the necessary technological skills for jobs in software development and engineering, or to give them enough technical background knowledge if they choose to go the entrepreneurial route. The training program aims to teach veterans problem-solving, industry best practices, and the technologies themselves.
Code Platoon is an immersive hands-on learning program. They are very serious about giving the best training available and expect the students to be serious too. Their claim is to be like similar, immersive-style coding bootcamps that have placement rates upwards of 90%, with starting salaries ranging between $60,000 and $100,000. However, the website gives the following warning: “But getting there is not easy. You can expect to work 6 or 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, during this course.”
Code Platoon is currently accepting applications for its first group. Tuition is normally $10,000 but they have raised enough money to give the first class a $8,500 discount, meaning each veteran accepted will only have to pay $1,500.
Who has the best chance of getting admitted into Code Platoon (according to the website)?
- We are looking for people who are deeply interested in software, have a high capacity to learn, and are smart and intellectually curious. Oh, and tenacious. Learning to program (and working as a programmer) requires constant learning and overcoming roadblocks.
- Contrary to popular belief, a high aptitude in math is not required. It helps, but many great programmers don't come from a math or science background.
The only drawback is that they will have to make their own way to Chicago and secure accommodations for the duration of the four month program. However, that might change in the future. They realize the challenge this poses and are looking to raise funding to help students with living expenses in the future.
Here's an interview with Rod Levy, the Executive Director of Code Platoon.