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In recent years, coding and programming jobs have been in abundant supply thanks to new tech startups around the United States. While many can take the traditional route of going to college and getting a degree in computer science, not everyone can afford skyrocketing tuition costs. Many companies have taken it upon themselves to offer programming and coding classes at reduced rates, sometimes even for free.

One group that these coding camps can benefit is military veterans, particularly because veteran unemployment is still so prevalent. The United States Department of Labor reported that 7.2 percent of veterans who have served since the September 11 attacks are unemployed. John Hampton, a 34-year-old veteran who was honorably discharged from the Army this year, pursued coding as a way to get back into the job market. He attended Iron Yard Academy, a coding boot camp in Greenville, South Carolina, and now lives in Atlanta working as an intern at a web development firm.

“There’s definitely a demand of veterans who want to find jobs in the tech industry, and at the same time there’s also a demand from the tech industry of getting well-trained software developers,” Hampton said, speaking about the many coding boot camps that have risen and are being backed by venture capital funding.

The G.I. Bill, a 1944 law granting veterans many benefits such as low-cost mortgages and loans, tuition assistance to attend school and unemployment compensation, has helped many veterans ease back into civilian life. These new coding camps, which have yet to receive G.I. Bill accreditation, are run by private businesses who give scholarships to veterans to help afford the boot camps which can cost as much as $12,000.

These coding schools are starting to adjust to the needs of veterans, lowering barriers to entry and allowing many to get directly hired into programming jobs. “These are the most in-demand jobs in most Western economies, the U.S. specifically,” said Clint Schmidt, COO of coding school Bloc. “These jobs are much more available to veterans if they’ve got the in-demand skills.”

“It just seems like there’s not a structure that supports them all that well through education that’s tailored for veterans,” said Flatiron School Vice President of Business Development Rebekah Rombom. “It’s a really hard problem, so we think about how we can be a part of the solution for veterans and other underrepresented groups in tech,” she added, stating that coding schools not only allow veterans direct entry into tech jobs, but help get minorities and women employed as well.

Coding schools aren’t the only ones catering to veterans—tech companies are opening up their own coding schools as well, some even situated on military bases. “There’s just not enough people to satisfy the need,” said Sean Kelley, Microsoft program director for military affairs. “This is an untapped talent pool.” The Microsoft Software and Systems Academy has been training active-duty service members in a 16-week program. The program expects 300 graduates by the end of 2015, and 80 percent of program graduates hold jobs in tech companies as prestigious as Apple, Amazon and Microsoft itself.

Veterans have many qualities that employers covet, and the tech industry could use more of them. “Military people are great in teams, they have leadership skills—these are talented individuals who are used to working in intense collaborative environments,” Kelley said. “So we feel that if you take all those intangible skills and add the fact that [veterans are] technical and learners that they become ideally suited.”

Operation Code, which uses a Slack channel to connect veterans with coding opportunities, has a list of coding camps that it has vetted and recommends. “Understanding how to code is understanding innovation. These are the white-collar jobs of today,” said David Molina, founder and executive director of Operation Code. “We’re talking about filling the country’s tech shortage with the men and women who served our country.”

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