Veteran Pete Fittante spent his career in the military as a First Class Petty Officer, then as a First Class Diver. After a somewhat difficult adjustment to civilian life, Pete transitioned into tech as a network administrator leading teams at National City Bank. He eventually found out about software development and the great pay, small-team orientation, and flexibility it offered. He attended We Can Code IT using VA benefits, and started the next chapter of his life.
Pete Fittante, First Class Petty Officer and First Class Diver
Coming from the military, why was coding bootcamp a good fit?
I was a supervisor, way back in the day, in charge of reenlistments. I was trying to get this young lady to reenlist. This young lady said the tech industry was booming and she wasn’t going to reenlist because she wanted to get a better paying job in tech. She did get in IT and was very successful, that’s what turned me onto IT.
After I left the military, I became a member of the wide area network recovery area at National City Bank. I was part of the project that developed and implemented their online banking system. Also on this team were other guys. They were developing the code. I spent a lot of time in their office with them doing testing, and thought… these guys have it made! And they were making a lot of money! Once I understood what they were doing, I thought, “this is for me.” Plus it’s the type of job that offers flexibility. At some point, I want to take my show on the road. I want to be able to work and drive my RV around the country. I can do that while still working as a programmer.
Why a coding bootcamp after the military?
When people come out of the military they are used to structure. Coding is all about structure. All about challenges. All about teamwork. Those 3 things are what you learn in the military.
What’s the biggest challenge that Veterans’ face when making that leap?
It’s realizing they aren’t military anymore. It’s learning to adapt to the way the civilian world does business because it’s not the same at all. The culture is different.
When I came out of the military, one of my first jobs was as a supervisor. I was taught to be a leader in the military with a very, “in your face,” and “get it done” approach. It was a very different leadership style than in civilian life. You might have an outstanding worker in civilian life who is having challenges, so you need to help them, not just order them around.
Why did you choose We Can Code IT?
A friend of mine went through We Can Code IT and recommended it.
You see, I ended up getting my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, but I still didn’t feel ready. I didn’t feel I had the modern skills needed to be successful. We Can Code IT taught those skills and prepared me for real-world software development.
When you go to the website for We Can Code IT, you don’t see guys who all look like me. It’s a very diverse organization. We Can Code IT caters to a diverse crowd, and I liked that. I looked at the success stories. Again, it was a very diverse crowd.
At other bootcamps, I didn’t see that. Then I did more research and saw Mel’s story. I knew I wanted to be part of that.