While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, in 2008, I wouldn’t have guessed that my time in the Marine Corps would have prepared me for a future in coding. At the time, the 30 Marines in my platoon had access to just one shared computer. It served only two functions: completing online training requirements, and looking up one’s online military record.
I never suspected that nine years later I would be designing and building websites and applications in an intensive web development course, General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program.
My path toward coding was a winding one. As a Marine on active duty, I was stationed in Japan, Kenya, Sudan, Italy, and Pakistan. Later, after transferring to the Marine Corps Reserve, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University. While studying at GW, I worked at the nonprofit Veterans Campaign, where I was tasked with helping to rebrand the organization. Though I had little technical experience, I created an entirely new web presence for the organization and migrated its old content to the new website.
Every spring, Memorial Day gives Americans the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen who have given their lives for our country. What began as “Decoration Day” in the aftermath of the Civil War was renamed Memorial Day during World War II as an opportunity to honor all Americans who died in military service. It became an official national holiday in 1971.
As a veteran myself, I’m keenly aware of the importance of recognizing those who gave their lives for our country. Today, our armed forces numbers over 1.3 million service members across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The sacrifices made by military personnel in our current active military operations are enormous — 52,345 lives lost. You can read some of their stories, and reflect on the sacrifices they’ve made for our country, on the Washington Post’s powerful and heartbreaking Faces of the Fallen site.
Web development programs, like General Assembly’s, are generating a lot of talk. Just last month, The New York Times heralded computer programming bootcamps as 21st Century trade schools, offering a path to professional success at a time when good jobs are hard to find. Bootcamps and accelerated education programs are part of a trend that is set to strengthen America’s competitiveness, encourage new ideas and innovation, and impact the economy over the long term.