Veterans Who Code: Finding a Career in Tech After Service

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There are few populations of workers more diligent and disciplined than veterans. Rigorously trained, our country’s service members develop some unparalleled hard and soft skills throughout their military tenures. Yet when they finish their service, many veterans still scramble to identify and land jobs that mesh with their skill levels.

But now, veterans are recognizing an exceptional opportunity for employment—in tech. It turns out, many of the skills veterans develop in training and combat are ideal for careers in software, computing, AI, and more. Team-driven, passionate, selfless, disciplined—veterans bring a lot of soft skills to tech careers.

And companies are noticing this, too. Just this summer, Amazon announced a commitment to hiring 25,000 military veterans (and spouses) by 2021.

The tech opportunity for veterans is vast. In honor of Veteran’s Day, three of our boot camp grads share how their military experience supported their budding tech careers.

Adaptability, flexibility, and continuous learning

Serving in the military comes with many challenges. So does learning how to code. For both, learning how to learn is more important than knowing specific facts.

Cesar Perez leaned on both his military experience and his time in the University of Arizona Coding Boot Camp to uncover how to be adaptable. Working at American Express on the Web Infrastructure team, Cesar has to be a quick learner. “The team moves so fast,” he said. “I’m able to pick up on everything easily and learn new things because of my foundation.”

Kenneth Barnes is on the same page. With an interest in lifelong learning, Kenneth values any company “that has interest in providing training and in-house mentors that would help guide my career as a web developer/engineer. I believe that having a company that supports your growth is very important,” he said.

The power of teamwork and collaboration

When you’re in the military, you have to rely on your team. You can’t be an island. After signing up for the University of Texas at Austin Coding Boot Camp, Daniel Smith realized coding was very similar.

To be successful in the boot camp, Daniel leaned on the instructor, the TAs, and most importantly, his fellow classmates. He would get together with his peers a couple of times a week to work through homework, overcome certain challenges, and see things from different perspectives.

“It was a lot like my experience in the Navy. The camaraderie, the support, it was something that was very familiar,” Daniel said.

An unwavering commitment to service

Many servicemen and women join the military for one powerful reason: to help people. This mission is the baseline for everything Kenneth has done, even outside the Air Force.

After serving in the Air Force, Kenneth decided to go back to his roots of social work—but with a twist. Backed by the soft skills he’d honed in the military and the passion that influenced his life, Kenneth went to Georgia Tech’s Coding Boot Camp to learn new tools to leverage in social work.

Now he’s focused on continuing his service by teaching others how to code as well. “Teaching simple coding techniques can open doors for [disadvantaged communities],” Kenneth said.

In the end, the grads’ military services opened the door for new frontiers in tech.

“Going to the boot camp was one of the most important things I’ve ever done in my life,” Cesar said. “More than the Air Force. It’s changed everything for me in just a year’s time.”

Ready to make a change in your life? Explore our programs in web development, data analytics, and UX/UI design.

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