Firstly, I too am a veteran! Coming across another female vet happens so few and far between so its great to see you!
I do not fit your criteria, but do hope you’ll take my point of view into consideration… You have two things going for you… you previously worked in IT so are already familiar with code, and this industry is such that with tenacity, you can learn on your own and be just as, or even more skilled than someone going into a bootcamp.
I understand your concerns with employability and your age…heres something to consider…do some research on the hiring process and read a few of the Got A Developer Job stories here on FCC and you’ll start to see a common theme… you don’t prove your value based on what you put on your resume, you prove your skills based on your portfolio and github, thats what gets you the interview, and how well you do on the tech interview is what gets you the job.
While a lot of younger people in the industry, there are also a lot of people who have looked to this as a second career. Granted, young men make up the majority of the tech industry, but Ive noticed a lot of effort being made to be more inclusive and less dismissive of atypical applicants. Of course, thats just in theory from where stand, but Ive read far more issues with entering the industry as a woman than due to age. As a 40-year old black female, I have every box checked when it comes to being under-represented in the tech industry… Thing is, thats not something you can control, and a battle you cant fight til you’re at that stage. What you can change and what you can do something about though is work on your coding skills…
Fact of the matter is, right now there is such a huge demand for good programmers…huge. There are a lot of people out there coming out of college with a CS degree, coming out of a 12 week bootcamp, learning on their own, who cant code worth a lick. People who chase certificates assuming thats enough to get them a job flood the job market. But, if you are devoted to really learning, have a strong portfolio and can pass the tech interview, you are ahead of the curve.
So yeah, speaking of the learning part…this is where Im going to say…be practical. If all you have left in savings is $3500, dont spend it all on a bootcamp, really… because going to bootcamp does not guarantee you a job. What you learn is, and if you can focus and dont need someone to tell you to study or tell you to do your work, then you very well can do this on your own.
Plus you’re a veteran, and employers across the board dig veterans…due to our training, its in our DNA to work well under pressure, pick up skills on the fly to get a job done, loyalty, integrity and tough as nails is how we come across to civilians…and if the employer is also a vet, thats just as good or even better as sorority / frat connection because we all hold our fellow comrades in high regard. It does carry with it a certain level of admiration and respect, esp as a female vet, because it takes a certain type of person to be able to serve in the military. I say all that because, you are looking at all the negative aspects of where you are coming from, and just want you to shit your perspective and see that you are coming into this with a huge positive.
Anyway! I hope something I said helps…!