Afgan Vet Finds New Career with Claim Academy

Russell Brooks, 30 years old, a recent Claim Academy graduate, spent eight years in the navy reserves with one deployment to Afghanistan. But life as a civilian was difficult and he had trouble finding a job he enjoyed.

“Before claim academy I was bouncing around from job to job not really knowing what I wanted to do. I first heard about coding bootcamps, and it sparked my interest to research if there were any in the St. Louis area. That’s how I found Claim Academy,” commented Brooks.

Interested in a job in technology, he started to take online coding classes. However, he found that he needed more. “I knew Claim Academy was the best opportunity and the fasted way for me to start a tech career.”

Claim Academy is a St. Louis-based developer boot camp that offers classes in Full Stack Java and .NET/C# programming. Students like Brooks attend a 12-week program that include daily lectures, guided mentorships, pair-programming with fellow students and guided workshops. The program culminates in a project presentation open to companies looking to hire on graduation day.

With a Veteran’s scholarship through St Louis Workforce Development center, Brooks graduated from Claim Academy in October 2016.

Brooks’s courses included long hours of studying, but according to Brooks, the hard work was definitely worthwhile. “My life has completely changed. I now have a career and a job that I lovegoing to,” he says. 

He also enthusiastically recommends Claim Academy. “Yes, I highly recommend it. You will find a job. Companies need programmers and many are willing to teach and work with the inexperienced.

And his advice for future students, “Study a lot. Don’t get discouraged if it’s not making sense at first.. programming is really hard but gets easier with practice just like everything else.

Russell Brooks is a Jr. .Net Developer at Preferred Systems Solutions.

4 key things to concentrate on while you are selecting a laptop for programming

Processor :
A Processor is the logic circuitry that responds to and process the basic instructions that drive a computer.

Good Processors present in the market are Intel i3 or above.

Although you can get cheaper laptops with Intel celeron processors, they are not recommended for programming.

RAM (random access memory) is the place in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data for current users are kept so that they can be quickly reached by the device’s processor. RAM is a temporary memory.  

Minimum 4GB Ram is highly recommended for programming .

Hard Disk :
A hard disk drive (sometimes abbreviated as Hard drive, HD, or HDD) is a non-volatile memory hardware device that permanently stores and retrieves data on a computer.

Minimum : 32 GB HDD is highly recommended for programming .

Operating System :
An operating system (OS) is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer.

Both windows and mac OS works for programmer but its advised to start with a windows OS specially OS above Windows 7 . / Mac (using parallels you can use windows in mac but you need to pay for that).

For .Net programming Windows is advisable.

For Java Programming either Windows and mac works .

*Chromebooks DO NOT Support either .net or java IDEs.


Ideal System configurations for a beginner in programming :

OS: Windows 7 or 10

HDD: 32 GB and above.

RAM : 4 GB or above.

Processor : Intel i3 or above .


Other features to check when you buy a laptop .
A good screen size is always recommended .

13 – 14 inch is recommended if your laptop is used in different locations and can be easily moved with less weight.

15 inch is recommended for laptops which doesn’t move much.


Graphic Card:
Don’t waste your money on this until you want to develop games.

Aegis Strategies’ Powers stops by to rave about Claim Academy and the grad the company hired

Nick Powers, Vice President of Aegis Strategies, LLC, an enterprise technology solutions company located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, visited Claim Academy March 7 to meet with the Java cohort. Aegis Strategies supports both government contracts requiring security clearance and general contracts with some of St. Louis’ largest companies and most successful startups.  Aegis has hired 75 new employees in the last 3 years and found itself on the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Businesses in America at #952 last year.

According to Powers, Aegis Strategies is hiring for as many as 10 tech-related positions in the near term. He encouraged attendees to apply for positions through the company’s career site. He raved about the Claim Academy graduate that they hired from an earlier Java cohort. Powers said, “He scored the highest score on our pre-employment Java test we’ve ever seen. Higher than any other candidate that we’ve ever hired — 20 points higher. I can’t emphasize enough the quality of Java training education that you are getting here at Claim Academy.”

Aegis Strategies has an amazingly high 4.6 out of 5 star rating on One of the reasons why its scores so highly with its employees is because Aegis offers excellent benefits for its employees and their families. Plus, unlike many government contractors, Aegis makes it a point to keep employees between contracts, rather than laying them off. “We find a project for them to do that can help Aegis Strategies win additional business. So far that strategy has worked so well that the employees we have kept on have all been assigned to new client projects with our company.”

Learn more about Nick Powers | Learn more about Aegis Strategies, LLC


Nick Powers (right) of Aegis Strategies with Claim Academy Founder, Ola Ayeni.

Founder of PluggedIn HQ visits Claim Academy

Colleen (Liebig) Jenkins, the founder of PluggedIn HQ stopped by Claim Academy on Friday, March 3, to share with Full-Stack Java cohort students how they can take advantage of PluggedIn HQ’s startup job posting and matching services when they graduate.

The Java students were interested to learn about PluggedIn HQ’s career matchmaking platform that connects job seekers with-high-growth start-up companies. Class members were encouraged to build a profile on the PluggedIn HQ site, get matched to available opportunities and to instantly connect with employers who have expressed a mutual interested with the candidate. Continue reading “Founder of PluggedIn HQ visits Claim Academy”

Look who’s been stopping by at Claim Academy!

Claim Academy, the software developer boot camp, invites leaders from St. Louis top companies and our distinguished Java and .NET C# alumni to visit with our current cohorts to tell students about their organization’s company culture and hiring practices. Visitors often also share with students how they got started in coding, what they have learned since being on the job and best practices to help the Java and .NET C# students succeed.

Here are just a few of the people who have stopped by in recent weeks:

Stephen Zoller (left) and Kerry Kinkade of Bi-State Development

Two leaders from Bi-State Development – Kerry Kinkade, CIO, and Stephen Zoller, Manager of IT Operations Development stopped by to share about Bi-State’s business culture and to tell Java cohort members about recent changes affecting their business including a corporate name change (formerly the whole company had been named Metro). Bi-State leads regional economic development in Greater St. Louis and Metro East Illinois. In particular, its various entities (including Metro (MetroLink), the Gateway Arch, the St. Louis Downtown Airport, St. Louis Regional Freightway, and the Bi-State Development Research Institute) plan and implement major transportation initiatives across the Greater St. Louis and Metro East areas.

Continue reading “Look who’s been stopping by at Claim Academy!”

Stay At Home Developer

Stay-at-home parent to software developer? It’s doable!

How do you transition from being a stay-at-home parent to becoming a successful software developer? It’s not easy, but it IS doable … AND highly lucrative!

According to research by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 37% of stay-at-home parents have left work voluntarily at some point in their careers. Among women with children, a whopping 43% have stayed home for a significant period. Getting back into the workforce after a lengthy time can be daunting, especially when employers are concerned about rusty skills and resume gaps.

Learning in-demand skills like Java developing or .NET C# coding can help parents re-entering the workforce to land high-paying jobs. For example, by joining an intensive coding boot camp like Claim Academy, returning workers can land a lucrative Java or .NET C# Developer in as little as 12 weeks full time or 20 weeks part time. Continue reading “Stay At Home Developer”