Former student, Isaac Canonico had worked several different jobs in many different industries, yet still he couldn’t find his niche. After using his initiative to seek out the right career path for himself, Issac made the decision to take a risk in software development and he chose We Can Code IT as a starting point. About two months after graduating bootcamp, Isaac was able to secure a position as an application developer and is now working with a large client. Learn more about his journey in his story below.
I guess you’re capable of a lot more than you think you are at times. I had learned that, but never in such a concrete way as when going and doing this program.
What was your education and career background before attending We Can Code IT?
It was kind of varied. I worked in retail as a sales person. I had done fine dining. I had done a little bit of inside sales for a distribution warehouse company. I worked as a debt collector at one point too. I worked all of those jobs for at least a year or a little bit more, but I never knew that one thing I wanted to do which eventually led to me searching for answers. Education wise I went to Columbus State for two years and got an Associates degree. Other than that I just did some online coursework, but nothing else substantial besides that.
What made you decide on We Can Code IT?
I had known somebody who was involved, and she had told me about the results that she found using WCCI. I heard about it well before I was interested, and didn’t think much of it. Then when I began looking into programming and knew that I enjoyed it…honestly a big part of my decision involved just talking to people that I knew. So I knew somebody that was looking into Tech Elevator, and I had talked to my friend that had gone to WCCI. From my experience the overwhelming difference was that WCCI just seemed a lot more personable, a lot more welcoming, and just interested in what I can bring to them and what we can do together. So that was kind of a no brainer for me. The curriculum seemed fairly comparable, and the price was a little bit better with WCCI I think. I don’t really remember exactly, but I was more than pleased with my experience. Just meeting the staff and instructors, and even meeting people that were going there; that and the friends I knew kind of made it all add up for me.
What was your level of coding experience before attending We Can Code IT?
Just a little bit. Very little to be honest, I dabbled. I had messed around a little bit with Swift, an app. One day a couple years ago I had read about it and was interested in it. So I started learning just some of the principles behind computer programming in general, but it was all tailored for Swift which is like an Apple iOs development language. I hadn’t gotten too far. I had some knowledge, but nothing substantial to be honest. I didn’t really even do a whole lot on my own exploring it until I enrolled in WCCI.
Everyone was family there, and they all knew each other. They all liked each other and were happy to have us.
What were some of your first impressions of the We Can Code IT staff and instructors?
Everyone was very unique. It was clear that everybody had their own personal style; both with their attire itself, and with their personality and with their teaching method. The teaching method of WCCI definitely stood out. We were able to teach each other on teams. There was in class instructions, but not as much as I had expected. It was kind of a letting us figure things out on our own approach which I liked. It kind of felt like a home I guess. Everyone was family there, and they all knew each other. They all liked each other and were happy to have us. The facility was obviously nice and clean. They had put a lot of thought into providing a good facility for us to use. I was surprised that we were all going to be in just one room with a long table. There were no desk or like dividers. It was just open, and I liked that a lot.
It felt like I got a whole suite of skills that benefited me, and ultimately I got to accomplish what I wanted to.
What did you learn most from your experience at We Can Code IT?
I learned how much more you can accomplish when you have support, and you have the tools, and you put your hardwork in. Taking that risk was pretty scary, and I felt like it taught me a lot about what you can do when you go out on a limb to do something that you really want to do. I guess you’re capable of a lot more than you think you are at times. I had learned that, but never in such a concrete way as when going and doing this program. I learned the skills I needed to get a job; how to interview and how to apply. Obviously the coding part of it was great, but I feel that was maybe only half of what I learned at WCCI in addition to the soft skills and on the job training. It felt like I got a whole suite of skills that benefited me, and ultimately I got to accomplish what I wanted to.
Did We Can Code IT make your coding experience easier?
Yea. Absolutely yea. I think definitely having the project, having deadlines, having a team to work with, having instruction, having some direction; all of that I needed for sure. I had the enthusiasm and I knew I enjoyed it and I wanted to do it, but to have somebody just kind of provide some of the bumpers and like a start and finish really made the world of difference.
What was the job search process like for you?
I was pretty vigilant from early on. I asked the career advisor what was the earliest I can start applying to jobs for. I know a lot of my classmates wanted to wait and focus on either one or the other more, the coursework or the job seeking. For my part I wanted to start as early as possible. I did a lot of mock interviews and white boarding. All the tools that we got, I started working on them pretty early on. I did applying pretty early on and a lot of networking early on to try to land a job by the time I got out. That was my plan. It didn’t happen, but I got to go through the interview process at a couple different places that I was really interested in. I didn’t get the jobs, but I loved the experience and met a lot of cool people from it. I’d say it’s pretty rigorous.
The interview process can be strenuous. It can be stressful, and a little confusing. With one company I think I had adopted a total of 6 or 7 interviews. It was a couple of different teams that I tried. I tried one team, and it didn’t work out. Then I tried with another team. It felt like an endless string of stressful sit downs. That was definitely difficult. I was getting pretty frustrated, but I knew eventually something would work out.
Just through networking really I got in contact with somebody from where I work now. They told me about what they were doing, and what they’re working on and what they needed. They asked me if I could see myself doing it and I said yes. So I got an interview set up, and went through the process. I loved the people I met there, and I loved the work that they were doing. It seemed like they really valued what I could offer, and also were willing to help me learn. It seemed like a no brainer. So that was probably about two months or two and half months after I finished the program that I got the offer.
The career advisor was….an insistent and unending source of support.
Did We Can Code IT staff help support you through your job search after you graduated?
Absolutely. The career advisor was my main point of contact. She was an insistent and unending source of support. (laughs) She was checking in on us. She was asking us questions we may not have thought of to ask. If I was in the program I was going in every day or every other day to check in with her, and after the program we were on Slack. She was giving me a lot of guidance for sure.
So tell us about you new career. What has the experience been like so far working in your new role?
I’m an application developer. It’s a Fortune 500 client that I’m working with, but the company is HMB. It’s a consulting firm, but they have me at a really large client of theirs downtown. We’re supporting their main frame application. So I’m on a team that covers a certain spear of the applications that are running on main frame, and also some online programs that users actually use. It’s a lot of troubleshooting of different bugs, but we also get projects where we get to do enhancements on existing software applications. I’m really enjoying it. I’m on my second project right now. I’ve learned a lot about a lot of technologies that I would never have learned of in other positions in Columbus. I think it’s somewhat unique in that way. The people here have been very helpful, very supportive, very laid back, but also challenged me. They give lots of pushes in the right direction. They’ve been really transparent about letting me know how I’m doing, and also asking me to let them know how I’m feeling about the position. So it’s been very very pleasant. They have lots of good equipment. They really encourage further learning. I’ve been very very happy so far.
Anything else to add about We Can Code IT?
My advice is if you think you might be interested in IT check it out. Coding is a great place to start, and WCCI is an amazing place to learn. I would tell people to give it a chance. I loved it, and I’m really thankful for it for sure.