AUSTIN, Texas — At 24, Adam Andre is a husband, homeowner, world traveler and soon-to-be graduate of a master’s degree program in software engineering.
He is also a full-time Soldier, serving as a first lieutenant with the Army Software Factory at U.S. Army Futures Command.
Last Wednesday, Andre, who is the youngest Soldier assigned to AFC headquarters in Austin, had the honor of helping to cut AFC’s Army birthday cake, as part of a longstanding Army tradition that calls for the youngest and oldest Soldier present to act as official cake cutters.
While Andre, a native of Texas, grew up knowing about the Army — his great-grandfather, grandfather, father and brother all served — and had an interest in one day serving, he didn’t realize until later on all of the career and personal growth that can come with being a Soldier.
“I just kind of always had the idea that I would eventually serve, so I decided to go through ROTC in college and get my commission,” Andre said.
“Originally, I thought I would just do my four years and get out, but landing at the Software Factory opened my eyes to what could be in the Army, and yeah, I’m real excited to be here, excited every day to be here,” he said.
Part of the appeal of serving as a member of the Army Software Factory — a first-of-its-kind, Austin-based innovation unit focused on building digital competencies across the Army at all echelons, offering Soldier-built solutions to Army problems and harnessing the innovative spirit of the nation through close collaboration with the tech sector — is the inherent challenge of trying something complex and new, Andre explained.
“I really like how it gives me the opportunity to continuously learn while I’m at work,” he said.
Even when the work is challenging, he feels consistently motivated to contribute and grow.
“A lot of our work is very brain-intensive work, so a lot of design, a lot of figuring things out. So by the end of the day, you’re really exhausted. But, again, that’s part of the reward of it too. Because at the end of the day, I really feel like I’ve accomplished something,” Andre said.
He also enjoys the variety of outside-of-work activities that the Army Software Factory’s downtown Austin location offers.
“Living here is awesome,” he said.
Andre and his wife, Carolina, especially like to explore the city’s many restaurants.
“We both really like trying different cultures’ foods, and Austin’s obviously a great spot for that,” he said.
In terms of broader benefits of serving, Andre sees how joining the Army has accelerated his educational and career goals, as well as his ability to be self-sufficient.
“I think it gives you a jump start to your life,” he said. “I had my education paid for by the Army, so if that’s something anyone’s interested in, I would urge them to at least look into it.”
“A lot can happen; a lot of doors can open for you in the Army.”
As an Army Software Factory cohort member, Andre has the opportunity to work alongside fellow service members and Department of the Army Civilians from around the country, as well as local industry experts, to identify innovative ways to support future Soldiers with savvy tech solutions.
He joined the program in January, opting for the software engineering track, and is currently undergoing rigorous training as part of an accelerator phase designed to get cohort members up to speed on key coding and development tools and procedures.
Andre previously served as a platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division’s Signal Intelligence and Sustainment Company at Fort Cavazos, Texas, but was seeking out more technical experience when he came across a posting on the Army’s Assignment Interactive Module advertising positions with the Army Software Factory. He found the chance to hone his software engineering skills, which he had previously been building through education and a college internship, through the role appealing.
“I kind of fell into it and also sought it out at the same time,” he said of his path to the Army Software Factory.
He views the Software Factory as an optimal environment for learning, where everyone is enthusiastic to grow.
“It’s great being a part of that, and being able to learn every day and push the Army forward into a new era,” he said.
Andre is also excited to be part of a team that is prototyping the future force and identifying new ways to support operations on fast-paced, multi-domain battlefields.
“AI in particular, and software engineering, is going to put the tools that our Soldiers need to win future wars in their hands,” he said.
As for the most rewarding part of his current role?
“Definitely being able to align my personal interests with being in the Army, and just coming to work every day and being surrounded by people who want to be here, who want to learn with you and are willing to take the time to really sit down and help you whenever you need it,” he said.
Andre additionally appreciates how Austin’s status as a tech hub often translates to beneficial Army Software Factory partnerships with industry and awareness of industry best practices. In the coming months, he looks forward to participating in hands-on software development projects, framing multifaceted problem sets and gaining his Additional Skill Identifier, all with any eye toward developing in-demand capabilities that will benefit the Army in the future.
“I’m definitely very happy to be here,” he said.