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239 JSJ Vets Who Code with Jerome Hardaway


00:55 – Introducing Jerome Hardaway

02:10 – Spouses and dependants of Vets Who Code

06:55 – Accepting and rejecting applicants

10:10 – The GI Bill

15:45 – Military language and coding

18:20 – PTSD, trauma, and coding

21:10 – Moving past the veteran stigma

25:45 – Military backgrounds as an asset for jobs

30:45 – The future of Vets Who Code

32:35 – How much does it cost to be part of the program?

36:15 – Is it easier or harder for Vets to get hired?

39:15 – Stories and memories

42:30 – Contributing to Vets Who Code

Picks:

Soft Skills Engineering Podcast (Dave)

Soft Skills Engineering Twitter (Dave)

Awesome Algorithms Github list (Aimee)

“The Churn” blog post by Bob Martin (Aimee)

The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington (Charles)

Vets Who Code (Jerome)

Practical Javascript (Jerome)

This episode is sponsored by

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TRANSCRIPT

Charles:        Hey everybody and welcome to the JavaScript Jabber Show. This week on our panel we have Dave Smith.

Dave:            Hello!

Charles:       Aimee Knight.

Aimee:         Hello!

Charles:       I’m Charles Max Wood from devchat.tv and this week we have a special guest, that is Jerome Hardaway.

Jerome:       Hey everybody, how are you guys doing?

Charles:       Do you want to introduce yourself real quick?

Jerome:       Yes. My name is Jerome Hardaway, I am the executive director or as we like to call head geek at Vets Who Code, formerly US Air force, now, full stack developer teaching veterans how to program and getting those amazing jobs that they’ve earned through service.

Charles:       Yeah, and I heard you just joined as a regular panelist on some awesome Ruby podcast?

Jerome:        Yes. Alright. I could cross promote, yes. I’m now a full time panelist on Ruby Rogues as well so that’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty excited about that especially since Ruby was my first real service language so it’s almost like a personal type of thing. Now, I’m talking about it all the time when I’m not reading about it or teaching it, so that’s pretty cool.

Aimee:          Awesome. Congratulations!

Jerome:         Thank you.

Charles:        We did line this up before he joined Ruby Rogues but yeah. He came on Ruby Rogues. We talked a lot about Vets Who Code. It was awesome and so he hopped on here and then we end up having some openings on that panel.

Aimee:          I have a question before we go into there, when we say Vets Who Code, because this is near and dear to my heart, we are also talking about spouses right?

Jerome:        Yes. Actually, we talked about spouses and in some situations, dependents. We are looking for those people who are a part of the military family that have what we like to call the attitude and the impact clause.  We’re looking for those that can not only do the work and learn but also those who can impact. More and more people, I would say is transitioning. [00:02:44] the demographic that we really focus on early on because veterans in particular, those who are within last year before getting out first two years out, that’s a vulnerable population. Those guys, they can end up getting all of the horrible things that you hear [00:03:07] joblessness, and things in that nature. I really focus on trying to hit that sweet spot of helping veteran’s spouses before they need it. I believe that the nonprofit sector needs to focus more on being a proactive than reactive as a whole because it saves money and the response actually help more than waiting for a person to hit rock bottom and trying to build them all the way up which is why predetermined has a successful level. Yes, we handle spouses and some cases dependents, based upon how many open spaces we have for a class and what’s the current application, applicant cohorts looking like. I miscounted, I thought we had 113 but we actually had 124 people who applied for our August through right now cohort and we only have 13 spots and we’re trying to get higher than 13. That’s just how in demand our program gets.

Aimee:          I like that you said before you hit rock bottom because I just feel like this is kind of important to my story and something that not a lot of people know, if you are close to me, you know that I’ve been going through some rough stuff lately. I’m no longer a military spouse but one decision that I made really early on when I did become a military spouse is that I was travelling around, married to someone in the military at that time. I knew how important it was going to be if something ever did happen that I had something to fall back on and luckily when everything unfortunately did happen, I was well into this programming career so not only do I have something to fall back on but I have something I actually love to do that helps me to support myself as well so I think that’s like super important for not just the vets but spouses too.

Jerome:         Yes, learning how to code is a transformative choice and it just makes it so much better.

Charles:        One other thing, I don’t think people really realize, and I’m just going to preface this by stating that when I was a missionary for my church, I spent seven months serving in a branch of the church for service people in the Air Force at Aviano Air Base in Italy and I don’t think people really understand that a, there’s this culture around the military, the people who are in the military and their families and in a lot of ways, the family service well is the service people.

Jerome:         Yes.

Charles:        The fact that you are willing to provide this to spouses and dependents depending on the need and how much availability you have is really important. I don’t think people realize just the impact that it has when somebody has a family member in the military. One other way that I’ll point this out is my wife’s grandmother is a military widow. My wife’s grandfather died in service in the Air force and every time she drove on the base, whether it was here at Hill Air Force Base up in Layton, Utah, or  somewhere else, they saluted and gave her those honors and it really is you’re part of the military family if you are part of a military family.

Jerome:        Yes

Aimee:         Yep. You are kind of there forever.

Jerome:        You’re in there forever.

Charles:        I’m curious, as we get into this, how do you decide who gets in? I mean, I’m assuming that you have so many spots open and you have so many apply. Do you fill all your spots? Do you have more applicants in your spots? How are you doing there and how does that all work?

Jerome:         Roger that. We always have the pain of having more applicants than we do spots. Like I said, we try to take no more than 13 and I get cold calls for spots. It’s a crazy experience. What we do, when we open the application process is that we do two interviews for every veteran. First, we have to verify that whether they’re active on duty veteran or if they’re a spouse then we make that call and see if they are discharged. If they’re are veterans, see if they’re with their spouse or dependent status. We basically we want to hear your story and see what they’ve been doing and why is code something with them.

It’s really hard to teach people about code especially learning how to code is grueling. If that’s the only thing you’re learning, skill-based and you’re doing it in a short amount of time, it’s a really hard, not hard, intense process. We have to make sure that the people that are applying they’re not trying to waste dollars or volunteers, we have volunteer mentors. We try to get every person who volunteers, who comes to our program a mentor and we don’t want to waste their time.

We focus on trying to figure out does this person really want to do this or is this just a person who have heard about us or they saw that we make money type of thing but that’s what we focus on. We go on the technical side to make sure that they have the aptitude for code. We go and do some not so much as coach challenges but some problem solving drills that have absolutely nothing to do with code and we look as for GitHub or any type of experience that they did. We always recommend that prior to talking with us and try to knock out our pre-work and see if this is for you, we have that on our medium blogs anybody can come in and already have the pre-work done and that gives them quite a bit of a head start with the pull-up process but that’s basically it. We try to keep it small classes. Everybody has the time that they deserve with me or with one of our volunteers and we focus on what I like to say skills pay the bills and give the veterans what they want, what they deserve.

Aimee:         I have a question. I know that there are a lot of programming bootcamps right now that are looking into accepting the G.I Bill. I’m actually part of a group called Operation Code and I know that they work with other schools and bootcamps to accept the GI Bill. And actually the bootcamp that I went to the Nashville Software School, they are starting to accept the GI Bill. I actually have a friend who is applying for the January cohort using that. Do you do that? If not, why would someone go this route rather than potentially these other routes where you can use your GI Bill? Or maybe you don’t have one to use I guess.

Jerome:       Roger that. First and foremost, negative, we do not focus on the Post 9/11 GI Bill because at first, to get the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have to focus about 70% of revenue or your education be focused on people outside the Post 9/11 GI Bill. We would have to start teaching civilians. A lot of people don’t know that about the Post 9/11 GI Bill,  that only places that can really accept it are places taken by both civilians and veterans. I think one of the things that we would like to argue about those schools that accept the Post 9/11. We’ve been propositioned to ask to partner with schools that accept Post 9/11 GI Bill and [00:11:3-] bootcamps, and we turned them down because we take a completely different approach and I think the veterans, they want to choose us, they like our approach because we focus on really intense quality and not only just relationships and being able to get them into unique positions or networks that other bootcamps might not be able to offer but we also give really great memorable things. There’s very few bootcamps that will let you have a live chat AMA with like a developer from Netflix or the founder of Ruby on Rails.

We actually have that slated next week for our veterans or going through something as you know what, we’ve just been invited to Dreamforce and we would like to take you with us to Dreamforce so we can do company tours in all of these really cool tech companies in San Francisco. There’s very few companies, four or five cold schools that do that and that’s something that we do. The experience that we have within our slack channel like I said, we are very intense when it comes to the idea of quality.

We just don’t teach, we give you an experience that you can’t get if there’s a [00:12:49] but since trying to get them in and get them out as far as next cohort as fast and smoothly as possible. We only focus, what we like to call [00:23:38] only on that team that’s in there. That’s why we get the type of partnerships and the type of relationships that we get is because we do something different a lot of bootcamps don’t do. We focus on CS fundamentals which most bootcamps, they focus on teaching you how to code.

They don’t teach you things like de-connotation and more advanced data modelling concepts, things of that nature and that’s something that we have baked into our product as well as they home up dedicated to technical interviewing. Very few schools who have that, just an entire month set aside, just master the technical interview let alone giving you tools that you can have for a year to prep for experiences like that. We give them Pragmatic Studios, pluralsight interview kit and that’s all free to our veterans. We’re also trying to add more tools and resources that we get from other partners free to our qualifying troops as we go on.

I think that’s what really sets us apart, is even though we’re remote, you end up feeling like a community or like family and that’s what we do best. I think that’s what we do the best. Not to mention, we have a 100% success rate when it comes to helping veterans because we focus so much on that quality and not that just quantity and trying to build this really big heart and tech community and everybody trying to work together. We have our own style guide, we do a lot of things. We focus on professional web development which depends on where you go, may or may not be always that solution.

Charles:        One thing that I, if I remember right with my time in the military, there’s a lot of jargon that people would throw around, TV-wise they’re all a bunch of TLAs, three letter acronyms. I mean, it was just funny.

Dave:            Don’t forget about the ETLAs, the extended three letter acronyms.

Jerome:         We’re guilty of that.

Charles:        Military people really have their own language in a lot of ways. And I’m wondering, how does that play in, in the way that you communicate, the way that you teach, and talk, and bring people into your community? How important is that common language among veterans kind of the same way we have among programmers?

Jerome:         I think for us, it’s been one of our strongest points. I think we spoke about that some time ago, like the idea of coming in and being able to correlate software terminology, or just how to do certain things and like translate it in a way that a veteran or like someone who’s in infantry can understand or anybody who’s been at least one deployment can understand. That really helps us.

I think I told you, we usually have is really smooth sailing until we get like a [00:16:59] or a [00:17:03] in our cohort and those guys don’t usually do a lot of deploying outside of the country, they’re deploying in Alaska or Puerto Rico. Everybody else understands what we say but those guys are like, “What are you guys talking about?” We’re like, “Someone, explain it to the FNGO there.” For us, it’s just a really great advantage and not only, like I said, we are acronym crazy at Vets Who Code. I think we spoke about that, we use HAWCs, which is Health and Wellness Checks which we do about once a week now. We use AARs, which is After Action Reviews, another term that we have in the military that we do after every session. There’re just so many acronyms. I’m probably skipping a few but this military jargon is like military connection, it helps us get our message and get our education, instruction through the veteran a lot more clearly. It really helps us.

Dave:            That’s really cool.

Charles:        One thing that I’m also curious about is I know that there are people who have gone through PTSD and maybe they’ve lost limbs or lost comrades or things like that where people have gone through really hard stuff. Does that affect your teaching style at all or do you generally wait for people to get that kind of help somewhere else and then come into the program?

Jerome:         Negative. I’m a veteran. I might have to share this, I deploy multiple times. I am in a combat [00:18:57], security forces, transition [00:18:59] in Phoenix Raven Program. I suffered from PTSD when I first exit but more [00:19:07] than I do so now. Having already that philosophy of how to learn how to code while suffering from PTSD or any type of anxiety based disorder, we already baked that into our curriculum because we’re very wary of that and I’m also very wary of the fact that people may not want to share the post-traumatic stress because not everyone’s post traumatic stress is the same. Some people get theirs from sexual assault, some from actual combat. I’ve seen people who have gone from training exercise that went horribly wrong. I’m trying to give people their safe space while I focus on giving them the skills that help them get jobs. That’s really our main focus.

I think about the concept of the social aspect of learning how to code in regards to post-traumatic stress or anxiety disorder, or some feeling of incompetence just because we don’t come from a technical job or MLS or AFSC whichever language you’re using for your job title or job code. I’ve seen it all when it comes to teaching how to code and learning how to code and it really helps me become a better instructor and better teacher for our veterans.

Aimee:          I have a question. I know personally that this is not necessarily true but military is not exactly, well, this type of military, we’re not talking about like the NSA stuff, we’re just talking about button ground or active duty, that kind of thing. It’s not typically known for the most up to date technical skills, or the most up to date technology [00:21:01]. The technology is pretty old.

Jerome:         The military sells to the local theatre, right?

Aimee:         Yeah. How does that affect how you’re teaching people and how does that affect kind of like the stigma potentially tied to some of the veterans when they go out and look for jobs?

Jerome:        Roger that. What helps with the teaching, with regards to the teaching in that concept of the way militaries technology stack is really low bar or not the highest bar when you think of like going to New York or San Francisco’s tech bar. We usually fix that within quali phase, especially when they start doing more front-end work where we’ve seen huge leaps imbalance when it regards to just because why we focus on, we had called it crawl, walk, run and we try to alleviate all those problems into quali phase when it comes to, this is the technology stack. This is how they think about technology in the military. This is how the real world thinks about technology. I know it’s going to be a shocker for some of you and we’re okay with that.

Our biggest thing in class and in session is doing quali phase go ahead and get into, what I like to say, 21st century. I know that most military bases are still using technologies that were hot during the first go four which is kind of scary when you think of it but that’s what we really focus on giving them from that 2004 also to maybe up to 2016 way of doing things.

Regardless of jobs, I believe that comes from what we focus on our stack, how we teach and how we allow our veterans to get that message across for job hunt. We focus on [00:23:04] interview skills and that comes well into their portfolio and their capstone project. We focus on our main stack we like to call WC stack is an angular post [00:23:17] rails and we focus on teaching them how to use bower to connect Angular Rails together and do a lot of those more fluid tooling things.

I think that actually helps when it comes to their GitHub and their portfolios and how to teach them how to use AWS and Heroku as well. When the employer sees that, it really shakes them, “You know what, this is a great idea.” The interview, I feel like is our biggest strength because that’s how we made Vets Who Code. A lot of the resources and networks that we have now came from and me literally and physically going out there interviewing companies, turning the job down, and pitching their director of developments or the higher manager, is what I do.

I think six months has been the first time since we’ve started, I don’t need to have really go in there and perform and then now you know my skill set, turn around now, let’s talk about Vets Who Code. Now, I just got out of the phone with some people at ESPN who I don’t have to do that but it’s really shocking to be in this environment like, “Oh, I don’t have to do a code challenge or anything first? Do three interviews?” I think what really helps us is that the code, the interview is what Vets Who Code was built around first and foremost, it’s how we got our name out there. It was going out there, doing this and kicking butt at the interviews and turning the jobs down.

That’s how people like Gary Reed, that’s how he heard about us, it was through an interview and decided. “You know what, I’m not going to do this but I can help you find a bunch of people who can do this and I can teach these people. We actually have a person who is a big supporter of Vets Who Code now who we’ve just helped her get a job at Bare Media. I think she just started last week as a matter of fact. It’s really cool that we’re able to build these relationships based upon our hard work and interviewing and doing what we like to say skills pay the bills and then turning around and being able to make that transition for other people significantly easier when it comes out to like helping people get jobs.

Aimee:          You think that people’s military background is actually an asset, not necessarily a detriment when people are going to look for jobs? Because I do feel like unfortunately sometimes, it can be a detriment?

Jerome:        I don’t feel like it’s detrimental. Anything can be positive if you allow it to be. I don’t feel like it’s a detriment for our veterans because like  what I tell people, what is military problem solving and essentially going overseas or you’re in deployment, you’re solving problems the entire time. You might not have all the tools to solve the problem but that problem still has to be solved not only when you think about documentation. Every military veteran out there had to read some type of boring SLPs or had to go through death by powerpoint or something. Telling somebody to read the Rails guides or the Ruby doc, that’s absolutely nothing because they’re like, “At least I’ll be able to do something on the computer and no one’s yelling at me about this.” That’s where we come from, the creativity that comes with problem solving and learning how to solve so many problems [00:26:55] cohort correlates really well into how to learn, how to solve problems in JavaScript or Ruby.

For those who don’t know, most veterans have like when they go to deployment, underneath their belt they can do pretty much anything 550 cord and duct tape.  You might have seen some people [00:27:15] and I’ve some MRE wizards. I don’t know if you guys know about MREs but they’re essentially gross freeze dried meals. I’ve seen some chefs like you want a problem solver, a guy they can make MREs taste amazing regardless of what’s in that bag. It’s like, that’s a problem solver. That’s what we bring when we find these veterans and we bring them to players. Most of our veterans, we teach them how to integrate into their developer society, things in that nature. They’re able to get jobs on their own just from the they showcased when they are on their own interviews and that’s what we’re really about. We do partnerships, we [00:28:00] money from hiring managers that want to partner with us we just focus on helping the veterans. For me, every veteran who gets a job is a W and I’m trying to keep my dues as they say.

Aimee:          Somebody once told me this, and I think it’s definitely true so typically in the military you could say the best of the best and unfortunately sometimes the worst of the worst but the best of the best in my experience the drive that the best of the best have and it’s like unparalleled.

Jerome:         Yes, I can definitely agree on that you have to find that. Once you find that talent, and then turn around and focus on cultivating giving it the quality construction that it needs. You’d be amazed of what you see and that’s one of the things that we try to talk to other employers about. The opportunity of teaching veterans like giving veterans, not only giving the veterans the opportunity and the mentorship because we’ve really gotten away from this as a society in which we used to invest in people versus what was on their résumé but as we gotten more data focused and we try to minimize [00:29:14] in regards of using computers that are using technologies that focus on what’s written on their resume and looking for keywords, things in that nature. We’re no longer focusing on that person, we’re just looking for a person that can do a job to the point where we won’t want to lose money. I totally understand that but that’s one of the things that we focus on with our veterans. We try to keep for their skill set because that actually hurts veterans because veterans don’t have that advantage.

The average veteran, they’ve been in the military four to six years. They’re counterparts have been out, building their network for four to six years. That’s one of the things that we are always thinking about. We’re thinking about the technologies that companies are using to screen our resumes. We’re thinking about our relationships with tech recruiters. We’re thinking about our relationships with our managers. It’s a really unique concept of how we look at it in regards to focusing outward almost like ERA counter talent agency because we’re trying to dissect all of these tech agencies that are always trying to recruit talent while also trying to build that talent that they’re looking for. Really weird, very unique concept that we have.

Charles:        What’s in the future for Vets Who Code?

Jerome:         Oh man, well what’s currently in the future is in three weeks. I have to go back to San Francisco. I’ve been invited to Facebook as a guest of honor to speak about Vets Who Code so that’s crazy. Last week was crazy too. We were invited to Dreamforce and while there, we took one of our veterans with us and after I did my Dreamforce obligations, I had the opportunity to give this veteran a bunch of tours at various companies. We visited Facebook, Twitter, the Instagram leg of Facebook. Facebook, for the record, we’ve never gone.

Facebook is like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but not the current, the Johnny Depp one, but like the Jean Wilder one. It’s insane. They have restaurants and coffee shops everywhere. I was doing my pace count in there and I couldn’t get pass 60 before we ran to like another café. It’s crazy. Every 60 steps, there’s a place for coffee. Who does that? It was mind-blowing opportunity. We’re focusing like a lot of our fund-raising all the way through Giving Tuesday and then we’re going to take a small break for the Holidays, get our troops grad, and get them some jobs and then get back on the road in March. Try to take a little break I can so I can have my wife not be furious with me for all the time I spent working with vets and get back into the job of teaching veterans how to code.

Charles:        One other question that I’m wondering about is, is this a program for people who can’t afford to go through another system or do people have to pay? Or if people can’t pay do they go somewhere else? Or do they do come here? What’s the deal?

Jerome:         We only accept those who cannot physically afford to go to a code school because the way it is a non-profit. We focus on not only aptitude but we focus on impact as well. If you already have the means to go to one of the school, I really like General Assembly’s model. If you have the means to go to those types of schools, things in that nature, I wouldn’t recommend you to go to ours because I don’t want you to take a spot away from a veteran that may need it more.

That’s what we look for, we look for veterans, we look for spouses, we look for dependents that actually, they have that aptitude, they have that drive but they also they may not have it in regards to they don’t have a job, they can’t afford to go to a for profit code school or maybe they think they could have a chance of getting a scholarship but they’re not for instance. Let’s say you’re in Mobile, Alabama and you’re looking at General Assembly but when you go up to general assembly and like any other locations, that costs higher than being in Mobile.

We’re looking for veterans like that and you know what, they think they might be able to get intuition but they’re not thinking of the soft skill, not soft skill but those soft cost, like the housing, food, transportation, things in that nature. They really add up. I’m originally from Memphis and Nashville which is three hours away is $5,000 per person more expensive between Memphis and New York is three times that much. Memphis and San Francisco is ridiculous. We’re not even moving to San Francisco. I’ll travel to San Francisco but I have to become musk before I move to San Francisco.

That’s like what we’re trying to focus on. That’s 100% free rails veterans that we get in our program. All our tools, all our time is free for them. That’s what we focus on because I know that we have some really talented ladies and gents out there that they’re just need opportunity to get to the next level. That’s what we focus on.

Charles:        One thing that came up that we talked about a little bit was whether or not there was a stigma around veterans. I’m curious, is it easier or harder for veterans to get hired? Do you find that it varies by company?

Jerome:         I think when we first started, it was harder, a lot harder because it was like 2014, everybody learn how to code was just getting started what we [00:36:46] started. I actually remember, I try to initially start a program by giving veterans the technology in my own town around 2011 when I was in the non-profit scene and people were like, “No, we’re not really sure about that. I don’t know.” It was unheard of because the whole ‘if I learn how to code’ movement hadn’t really jumped off the rails like it is now.

After our White House invitation, it gets pretty easier and keeps all the tools and resources that we we’re using and being able to pull that help because these are trusted resources and tools that were already in the community, that people already trusted so they already, “You know what, okay, that helps us. That helps ease our minds. These people are working with them. It made it significantly easier for us. As well as just being able to go in, I think, like I said, I’m also [00:37:48] when we’re doing that, working with companies, me going in and interviewing already when I get a recommendation for a job for the veterans, they already did the leg work by the time one of our vets came in. It was really amazing process of how just being able to focus on that skill set. That skill set-based education approach really helped us. That’s pretty much it for that. It’s gotten a lot easier as the time go on. We still focus on keeping those numbers low because we want to ensure quality product. It’s not about having 10,000 people in our community, it’s about having 10 people that can go out there and get jobs. That’s what we focus on.

Dave:            You’ve probably had quite a few people now come to the program. You’ve been doing it for how long?

Jerome:         Since 2014. We currently have another person who just got a job a couple of weeks ago. We’ve had 80, we have not been counting to it just yet until we get a few more, so far 80 veterans in 14 states have all gotten jobs. We got 100% success rates so far.

Dave:            That’s great. Congratulations for that. As you look back over all the people that you’ve helped through this program, are there any stories of people that stand out to you?

Jerome:         Yes. One that stands out is [00:39:23] Allen. He enjoys freelancing but one of the things that was always hurting him when it came to freelance positions and like getting jobs, projects, and I guess contracts was the fact that he do not HTMLs, CSS, and JavaScript. And he had recently gone through, he just had an addition to his family and he came to use because he had a design degree and what was hurting him in projects was that he didn’t know how to code. He tried to go back to his school, he went to a for profit college and he just realized that his for profit college is one of those department education that decided that they were not meeting the standards and they discontinued.   

You imagine the horror of having a degree that just disappears one day. We have been focusing our work particularly on hemp stack to help him transition and get up those skills and he’s now successfully using that to make more money that he was doing in the software and just the graphic design industry by itself which really helps us. Especially when you think about the concept of, this person who came in, he did not want to get to the point of going to a full job type feel, you want to like stay freelance and now he’s freelance. He’s getting paid money to do what he wants to do his way. To me, that’s really cool.

We also have a veteran about a year ago. He’s name was Adrian and he came to our program, our coursework and he now works at Marble in New York as a front-end web developer. He came through and he was just a person that needed, he had the aptitude, he just needed that extra push. Now, he works at Marble. We really enjoy stories like that.

We try not to put our veterans out there as much because we really like to focus on the product of what we do to be a story as opposed to like when I used to work in non-profit. I was used to veterans. I was like, [00:41:35] I really didn’t like that. I think maybe it was just like my point of view as a veteran coming through, I really despise that. I found out a lot of veterans were uncomfortable with that either. So, we really focus on trying to make sure that our mission statement, what we do, how we do it, our methods, are more of that story and about the product versus using the stories of the veterans because we don’t want them to feel like they’re being exploited. That’s honestly what some of the veterans have said. “You know what, when our [00:42:11] our stories and stuff like that, we feel exploited.” We try to always respect that, that’s why we try to focus more on the product of what we do.

Charles:        Well, I have to say that I have family that have been in the military, I have a lot of friends that have been in the military and this is just a really cool project that’s helping people. You get cool when you’re in the military but it’s a sacrifice. I think we all appreciate that and recognize that. I’m sure that you could use some help here or there be it money or connections or other things. What are the best ways for people to really make a contribution either with time or money to Vets Who Code?

Jerome:         Roger that. If you are looking to mentor, please contact us at vetswhocode.io. We’re always looking for high-level mentors or just go through our form and state to us what you want to do. We’ll definitely be in contact with you within 72 hours. I have a bunch of emails to answer currently this week because of that. Now, if you want to donate, we have to ways of donating now. We use a new technology that’s actually based out of Nashville for our donor management system called Kindful.

Aimee:          That is awesome.

Jerome:         Kindful is awesome.

Aimee:          That’s where my mentor is and my bootcamp. He’s the CEO there.

Jerome:         What’s his name?

Aimee:          Pete Brown.

Jerome:         [00:43:48]. I know the CEO, I don’t know the [00:43:50].

Aimee:          I just had to plug that. Carry on, sorry for the interruption.

Jerome:         We use Kindful. I’m not sure who she’s plugging there. It’s easier for you to donate regardless if it’s PayPal or Stripe or you just want to put your own information in there, you can go from there and do it. We also, for companies that are looking at donating and have some fun, we use what we call SwearJar for your slacks. You can put a slack bot in your company slack and then you can set it so that they are based upon how many people are swearing or the type of gifts they’re sending. It’s in a small donation. You can have like monthly setting and things in that nature. It’s fun.

Charles:        So good.

Jerome:         We felt like, there’s a great company in NYC.

Charles:        See, if you put a SwearJar in some of the slack channels I was in, I will be trying to get other people to swear so that they would give you money.

Jerome:         We’ve seen that. Some companies have [00:45:03] or like some people are like crazy givers and they can put like a balance limit on how much you’re going to give monthly based upon it and in your slack channel as well. We give the companies control, how much you’re going to give, like their maximum amount. We have some people that they would honestly, if you just [00:45:21], run their company out of business. That’s one of the ways.

Just continue talking about us and sharing about the work that we do. That’s what we really love to talk to people about. If you’re a hiring manager, please email me at jerome@vetswhocode.io and we’ll definitely set up a time to talk and see if we have someone that will be a great fit for your company.

Charles:        Sounds good. Well, let’s go ahead and on that note, get to some picks. Dave, do you have some picks for us?

Dave:            Yes, I only have one pick and it is utterly self-serving and that is that for those of you that don’t know, we have somewhat new podcast that’s called Soft Skills Engineering where we explore the non-technical side of software development. We’ve done 30 episodes and they’ve all been absolute gems. Just kidding. Some of them are really good.

Aimee:          No, they’re good.

Charles:        Yeah? Alright, endorse. And, we just procured are first sponsors so now we are a real podcast. We’re in Big Kid Shoes. Check us out @softskillseng on Twitter.

Charles:        Awesome. Aimee, what are your picks?

Aimee:          Okay, I have two. The first one, I mentioned awhile back the cracking algorithms book which is really, really good and I’ve been working through that but sometimes, I want a little supplement to that and I’ve picked a bunch of these on the podcast before but there is a GitHub awesome [00:46:53] called Awesome Algorithms. Whether you’re working through that cracking algorithm book or not, these are some good resources for that that I found this weekend.

The other one that I have, I am neither for or against this blogpost but it’s an interesting contrast to a lot that goes on in the JavaScript world by somebody who is pretty well-respected I guess. Uncle Bob Martin, he has a blogpost that came out at the end of July called The Churn. It’s a very short read. I’d probably wouldn’t necessarily have given this read given the title or just because I don’t know, I’m kind of tired of the debate back and forth but because it’s somebody who is so well-respected, I felt it was worth the read. Pretty short. I’ll put links for both in the shownotes. And that’s for me.

Charles:        Alright. I’m going to throw a quick pick out there. I’ve been reading this book and I like it so much that when I finished the audiobook, I actually stopped, closed the book and re-opened and started playing it again. It’s called The 12  Week Year. And it’s basically a productivity model for setting goals over 12 weeks and getting them achieved and it ties into your overall mission and where you want to go and it is awesome, really, really loved it. I’m going to pick The 12 Week Year. It’s a book. Like I said, it’s by Brian P. Moran and I don’t remember his co-author’s name but we’ll put a link to it in the shownotes. Yeah, that’s my pick. Jerome, do you have some picks for us?

Jerome:         Roger that. Of course first pick is going to be Vets Who Code. Please go visit our site. Send us a message or donate or send me emails, which way you want to contribute to our cause of helping more veterans.

Second pick is definitely one of my favorite gems. It comes with like crazy story. Practical JavaScript by watchandcode.com. That is a really, really great site for people who are coming from a more atypical background of learning how to code. Very crazy story.

This guy Gordon Zhu, he went to school in Pennsylvania and while he was in Philly and doing his college degree, he did a lot of tutoring in intercity schools. He end up learning how to teach people who may not have came from that really prolific background, how to do high level math. He, after graduating, went west, San Francisco, started working as a marketer at Google and then turn around and came a developer at Google. And one of the things that he really didn’t understand was how the way people are teaching people how to code or all the coding sources that came from JavaScript. He felt that they are really bad, poorly written when it came to people who didn’t came from that traditional CS background.

He started this site. His project became a full-blown site. It’s a really great product. He actually pitched it to me after hearing me on a podcast some time ago. I didn’t have time for it until we had a veteran who was having problems with JavaScript. He made time for it. It turned out to be wonderful. The veteran finally started learning. He just started clicking with him so I set up call with this guy and I let him speak to the veteran and he had actually helped. And then I met him in real life when I was in San Francisco. It was really, really cool type of way of how we interact with not only products that people share with us but the people who are building these products and how we use them to help veterans. I think that’s like my second, outside of us. Practical JavaScript would be my second pick.

Charles:        Alright. Besides Vets Who Code, is there any other place that people should go if they want to see what you’re doing or check out your open source or anything like that?

Jerome:        Roger that. Check us out on Twitter and we do a lot of stuff on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. We’re actually doing a really big debate right now about open source in our curriculum. That’s basically a 60%-40% split right now. We’re looking into that to take it to the next level and try to open source our curriculum in hopes that other people would be able to learn more about code.

Charles:        Alright, well thank you for coming Jerome. I’ll remind everybody to check him out on Ruby Rogues. We’ll catch you all next week.

Aimee:          Bye.

Jerome:        Great day.

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