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Changing Lives: Hack Reactor Remote Beta Veterans Scholarship Program

Sean Grogg is a tech lead for HCL America where he works with his client, Intel, as a software engineer. He makes four times as much as he did in his previous job. Owen Dismuke, a remote senior software engineer with Surge, is contracted out to another company and involved in active development. He makes over 75% more than he did in his prior programming role and over 90% more than he would in his active duty military role.

Grogg and Dismuke have something in common. They owe much of their success and their transition into mid-level careers in programming to Hack Reactor Remote Beta -- and they both took advantage of Hack Reactor’s scholarship program for U.S. Veterans. Veterans, members of the Peace Corps, VISTA and Americorps, who are interested in attending our online coding school, are eligible for a $6,000 scholarship.

Prior to the program, Grogg spent the last nine years as an Intelligence Specialist for the Navy Reserve. In his role, he was challenged technically and analytically--but he also had an interest in computer science. “Computer Science was moving at a slow rate and I was enjoying the pace at which I was self-teaching web development,” he said. “That is, until I hit roadblocks. Everything started to become too simple or too difficult and I knew there was a middle road somewhere that I was missing. I knew where I wanted to go, I just needed a hand in getting there. After some research, Hack Reactor proved to be the hand that I needed.”

Navy Reservist Sean Grogg went through Hack Reactor Remote Beta to become a software engineer. 

Navy Reservist Sean Grogg went through Hack Reactor Remote Beta to become a software engineer. 

Dismuke spent six years active duty in the Air Force as a Munitions Systems Craftsman, and is currently in the Reserves as a Vehicle Maintenance Craftsman, where he’s served eight years. He pursued a bachelor of science in CIS and was hired into his first programming job at the end of 2012 and completed his BS cum laude in early 2013. “During my second programming job, I was feeling imposter syndrome pretty hard and started looking for a way to quickly increase my knowledge and skills to the point that I felt I was competitive with my peers that went into the industry soon after high school. This is when I came across Hack Reactor,” he said.

Owen Dismuke spent 14 years serving in the Air Force (Active Duty and Reserves) and received a scholarship to attend Hack Reactor Remote Beta.

Owen Dismuke spent 14 years serving in the Air Force (Active Duty and Reserves) and received a scholarship to attend Hack Reactor Remote Beta.

Hack Reactor Remote Beta requires students to be present and working a minimum of 11 hours a day, six days a week for 12 weeks. Students who have served in the military have found that this experience trained them well for the intensity of the program. There were many other Veterans in both Grogg and Dismuke’s classes. They liked the versatility of the program, which allowed them to take the program from anywhere and interact with other aspiring engineers from all over the world. Both lived in Phoenix, Arizona at the time--Dismuke with his wife, newborn and responsibilities of being the sole financial provider.

“The family I built is the thing I liked most about Hack Reactor,” said Dismuke. “Being prior military, every shop becomes a sort of family over time. It was very comforting to see this family form and continue even after my time attending Remote Beta. The camaraderie between programmers is typically second to none in the civilian sector.”

Grogg agreed, “My peers are easily the best part. I went in looking forward to the curriculum, I came out friends with the people I had worked with to overcome it. The key takeaway for me was that the curriculum was a fixed asset--it’s only so useful in the grand scheme of things. The mindset to keep learning and doing, the people you work with that become your friends, the alumni that become a part of your network--all of these things continue to be increasingly useful as time goes on and definitely constitute a major part of the Hack Reactor Remote Beta experience.”

U.S Veterans that are interested in attending Hack Reactor are encouraged to apply. Applicants who advance in the application process should mention the scholarship during their technical interview to learn next steps.

Want to use the skills you’ve learned in the military to pivot into a career in software engineering? Apply to Hack Reactor Remote Beta today.

Read more:

Remote Beta Students Mentored by Uber Engineers at Weeklong Hackathon
Remote Student Highlighted by President Obama
Veterans Gain Career-Long Job Security at a Reduced Cost