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How Being a Veteran Makes Me a Better Developer

I’m from a small town in the North Country of upstate New York. I had good grades in high school, but my family didn’t have much money and I didn’t know what I wanted to go to college for. I joined the Air Force under the delayed enlistment program when I was 17 years old. When I signed up in 1998, I wasn’t thinking about patriotism or serving my country, those things came later. The military was a lifeline and I was going to grab on and hold on for as long as I could.

In basic training we were taught the Air Force Core Values:

  • Integrity First
  • Service Before Self
  • Excellence In All We Do

I learned these values in name during bootcamp, and in spirit throughout the rest of my time in the military. These core values have shaped me as an Airman and as a woman.

I’m nearing the end of my Vets Who Code journey, and I can see the Air Force core values working their way into my life as a junior developer. When I see a problem, I solve it. And when I solve it I strive to do it the best I can. And when I don’t know how to solve it, I speak up! I’m not afraid to admit when I don’t know the answer, because I know that sometimes teamwork is the better answer.

Whether I’m doing a daily code challenge, working with my mentor, or trying to blog my way through this process, I am living these values.
Another thing I carry with me from my time in the military is my sense of humor and ability to work myself into a new team. Being curious and knowing how to laugh at myself have been invaluable learning how to code.

Vets Who Code has been an amazing adventure. It’s been a great mix of my old world and my new one and I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned, both in skills and about myself. I’m smarter than I thought I was and can problem solve with the best of ‘em and I’m looking forward to wherever I’m headed next.

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