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Drew Blincoe: A Veteran's Personal Experience at Eleven Fifty

May 20, 2020

“I knew I was meant to do more, so I dropped everything and attended Eleven Fifty in hopes that this would be the career I would fall in love with. ”Meet Drew Blincoe, U.S. Veteran and a recent graduate of our Web Development program. Drew left the Marine Corps in 2016 and started school for criminal justice with aspirations to become a police officer. Drew was working full time as a Correctional Officer while applying for the Police Department. After working for a year and a half as a Correctional Officer, Drew decided, “I need something more in my life.” He had this feeling that he was meant to do more with his life, and this was when he decided to come to Eleven Fifty.

Why bootcamps are appealing, especially for Veterans

“The most appealing thing for me about a coding bootcamp was that it was not a 4-year degree, it was hands on, and it was relatively short. As well as the fact that my G.I. Bill fully covered it.” That’s right. Many veterans are able to get financial help for our programs because they qualify for the G.I. Bill.

Challenging? Yes.  Rewarding? Absolutely.

“The most challenging was dropping my whole life. I had a fiancé, three dogs, and a cat that lived in Evansville. So me dropping everything and having her support me through this was our biggest challenge.” However, Drew explained that the most rewarding was the friends he made as well as accomplishing something he never thought was possible. Above all, the best reward he gained from Eleven Fifty was a career he loved. When answered Drew insisted, “yes I said it, I love going to work.”Drew also explained to us how Eleven Fifty has impacted his life since graduating, professionally and personally. “Eleven Fifty has offered so many things from connections, friends, and provided me with the necessary starting skills to pursue a career that has truly improved my life.”

Advice from a Veteran

“Don’t be discouraged if you have no technical skills. I had prior knowledge of coding but not everyone does, but what truly makes a developer is someone who loves to learn. Your life experiences and willingness to learn will be more valuable as a developer than a degree or certificate will.”Drew might have been nervous, but his willingness to drop everything and take a leap of faith into an unknown career path paid off. We asked him if there were any words of wisdom he would give to others considering a career change into coding? He answered, “It won’t be easy at first. The hardest part is getting that first job. For me I applied to over 50 different jobs, and the place that I finally go accepted to had told me no 3 times prior because I did not have a degree. But I knew this is what I wanted to do and I would not give up so easily. Persistence will pay off, so never get discouraged.”

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