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Student Spotlight: Evan Rice, GI Bill(r), Recipient at Coding Dojo

Today’s Student Spotlight was hosted by Evan Rice, a Coding Dojo student and a veteran. We discuss everything, including how he got into coding and why Coding Dojo was the right choice. We also discuss the process of applying the GI Bill(r), towards bootcamp. Read the whole story below!
Which branch of the military did your service?
I served nine years in the Coast guard, four of which were in the academy, and five on active duty. I was stationed in the Polar Star outpost of Seattle. It was an Icebreaker, which took me up to the North Pole and down towards Antarctica. I was then stationed in Louisiana where I worked in regulatory compliance for oil industry offshore supply vessels.
How did you get started in programming?
Engineering is a fascinating field and I found programming to be a great skill. I wanted to improve on that so I learned a lot of Python in the six months I was actively involved. Code Academy, CodeFights and other free resources were all used to help me learn. I got to a point in my career where I was having trouble completing projects or making complicated issues work the way that I wanted. Once I had reached that point, my focus shifted to how to make my learning into a career.
How did you discover coding bootcamps in your area?
I did a lot of Google searching to find out which camps were available. A few of my friends in the software development industry helped me find Coding Dojo. I asked recruiters at my companies “Which boot camp do you prefer to hire from?” Both Coding Dojo, Hack Reactor were the names that kept coming up repeatedly. I compared the pros and cons of each boot camp. Coding Dojo was the better choice for me. So here I am!
What did Coding Dojo’s 3 full stacks make you feel?
It was a great experience to see Coding Dojo put these languages into a skill set. It’s skills that are immediately valuable to employers, which made it clear that it’s not a scam!
What is the process for getting the GI Bill to our program?
It was quite simple. It’s easy once you have a COE (certificate d’eligibility). You can apply for your COE as an active member before you become disabled. Go to the eBenefits site. There is a tutorial if your search for eBenefits post 911 GI bill. If you want to go straight into boot camp immediately after you get out, it will take between 3 and 6 months to process.
To ensure your GI benefits are approved, allow 3-4 weeks before class begins. After you have been accepted, you can send the paperwork to Coding Dojo’s Admissions team.
Coding Dojo is not the same program as other programs in terms of eligibility. It’s not a college degree program so it’s charged as a percentage. I am now eligible for a 4-month program, so I will be spending 6 1/2 months of my 36-month eligibility.
NOTE: GI Bills can only be accepted in Washington.
What do you think about the Bootcamp?
It’s hard work, but it’s also rewarding. There are great people around and resources to help you succeed. It’s about pushing yourself to achieve the best. During the week, I typically work between 11-14 hours. I work an average of 8 hours on weekends. To keep from burning out, I try to have some fun on weekends.
How does Coding Dojo’s bootcamp compare to Military bootcamp?
It’s just like a rigorous, but it’s much less unpleasant. It’s a much more enjoyable experience. Coding Dojo doesn’t aim to break you down, but rather to build you back up. It’s more about “hey, these are some skills that you need” and it’s all about building up. You can get lots of help from staff and other students. Ray Clark’s unrelenting enthusiasm will get you up in the morning if you’re on the Seattle campus.
What was the greatest challenge?
It was difficult to get into Java and statically-typed languages. Python works well as a stack. It’s a very easy language to understand documentation. It’s also more flexible when dealing with different data types. Java doesn’t like when you don’t give Java what it wants.
What are your thoughts on Military vets attending programming bootcamps
I believe there are many great candidates in the pool of military veterans. There are a few types in the community that I have noticed. I wouldn’t recommend this program to people who want to learn one job and do it well for a long period of time.
This program is for people who are open to new ideas and want to do something different every single day. I’