As the military program manager for Code Fellows, part of the admissions team, and a military spouse of 24 years, I know firsthand how challenging it can be for members of the veteran community to transition out of their military role and into civilian life (and what it’s like to be a military spouse who has to get a new job every three years). The job market looks very different in the civilian world, and identifying how to translate valuable skill sets learned in the military into relevant civilian work is something many veterans wrestle with. Here at Code Fellows, we’re passionate about serving our veteran community and finding more ways to help them transition into rewarding new careers. That’s why I’m always looking for new opportunities and ways Code Fellows can help serve the veteran community—a community that has served all of us so well.
Earlier this fall, Code Fellows was accepted to take part in a pilot of the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses program—otherwise known as VET TEC. In the past, these types of programs have been geared for colleges and four-year-degree programs; VET TEC is unique because it gives schools such as Code Fellows the opportunity to participate in graduating veterans and sending them directly into a rewarding career field.
In the last three years, more than 140 veterans have graduated from Code Fellows. As a VET TEC Training Provider, we now have one more way to continue helping veterans use their skills and find success in high-paying civilian careers. I hope that number keeps rising every year, and we get to add more and more names to the list of veterans who are contributing their skills to the world of tech—maybe even yours! Keep reading for more information about the VET TEC program, including how you can use it to fund your coding courses.
What is VET TEC?
The VET TEC program was designed by the federal government and is offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and it’s all about getting veterans transitioned into the tech world as quickly as possible. It can be used alone, or in conjunction with the GI Bill® to augment what’s available to you and cover things like housing or the full cost of your tuition. Keep in mind that participating in the VET TEC program won’t count against your GI Bill®—you’ll still earn a housing stipend while you’re in training. That’s a huge opportunity that sets VET TEC apart from any other programs currently offered alongside the GI Bill®.
The programs are slightly different: The VET TEC program is only compatible with technology programs, boot camps, and trade schools, and only veterans are eligible—military spouses and dependents aren’t currently able to use the program. On the plus side, the VET TEC program won’t use any of your remaining days of eligibility.
How VET TEC works
In order to qualify for the VET TEC program, a veteran only needs one day of their GI Bill® benefits available, and they must apply for a VET TEC Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be approved for the program.
One of the requirements of the program is that you have to find relevant employment (as defined by the VA) within six months of graduation. Don’t let that scare you or stop you from applying! The numbers are on your side: 93 percent of Code Fellows job-seekers are employed in-field, with a median time-to-hire of just 18 weeks. All Code Fellows students have access to our career transition services (which include networking opportunities, interview coaching, and the Career Accelerator Program); veterans receive additional support from experts who are trained in working with military transitions, and many develop opportunities at the annual Code Fellows Tech Summit, which is focused on connecting veterans with companies such as Amazon, Google, Comcast, and Boeing.
VET TEC at Code Fellows
The VET TEC program is ideal for people already with one foot in the door of tech and coding (or people who want to redevelop their skills by learning a new programming language). At Code Fellows, funding from the VET TEC program can only be used to cover tuition for Code 401 courses, because 401 is the final graduating course of the Code Fellows core sequence, designed with the objective of producing job-ready graduates. If you’re new to tech and you have enough days of your GI Bill®, it could potentially cover the first few courses of the Code Fellows curriculum; then, you’re able to use the VET TEC program to fund Code 401. For Code Fellows alumni, the VET TEC program provides a unique opportunity to learn another language without having to pay out-of-pocket tuition.
As a veteran, the military already taught you all the soft skills you need for a fulfilling career in the tech industry—you know about grit, you know about pressure, you know about deadlines, and you understand you can’t quit when it gets hard. At Code Fellows, we can teach you what’s left: how to “talk tech.”
If you’re a veteran interested in learning more, give me a call—it’s what I’m here for. Whether you’re already experienced in tech or you’re looking to shift your career (or life) path, at Code Fellows we believe in you.