As a veteran, Cole Hart was able to finance his education at Turing using his GI Bill benefits. After graduating from Turing in January 2019, he went on to find his first tech industry job in February 2019.
I went into the Army as an Arabic linguist and served in the 82nd Airborne Division. I thought I was going to be a lifer in the military but after five years, I honorably discharged. I was disappointed that my original plan hadn't worked out and I decided to pursue a career in graphic design. I enjoyed design, but I missed the analytical part of my military work and found myself playing logic puzzle games often. I started researching jobs where I could use the problem solving side of myself without having to go back to school for a long time.
When I learned about Turing, I liked that it was a nonprofit, focused on outcomes and advancing underrepresented groups, like me, in tech. Most of all, I liked the community. One of the hardest things I ever did was learn Arabic in a year at the Defense Language Institute, but the bonds I made with my fellow students there were just like what I found at Turing. It was easy to make long-lasting friendships because we were all working long hours together toward the same goal.
Being in the military taught me how to connect with all kinds of people, and that has opened even more doors for me in this industry because it gave me the "soft skills" needed. There are a lot of different ways to be effective in tech, it's not always about being great at coding and problem solving. Sometimes it's through connecting with people and making sure you can facilitate communication through different teams. There isn't one way to be good at this, it's a multi-faceted role and I can truly say this is the career I was looking for. I'm so much happier now, and my wife and I are living a better life. We can afford to live in our own place, without roommates, and we eat healthier and exercise more - all things I can afford now and have time to do because I invested in myself.
I know from personal experience that it can be scary to be the only person like you in the room but at Turing I found that if you're coachable and ready to learn that is worth its weight in gold. As long as you are a lifelong learner, you have a place at Turing and you have a place in this industry.