Student Spotlight: Rod Hammond

Several times a month, we spotlight one of our students, sharing details of his or her story. This gives us a chance to talk about our diverse student population, how they discovered Skill Distillery and where they’re taking their newfound skill sets. We want to give prospective students a sense of our community and introduce our ambitious graduates to hopeful employers. 

Skill Distillery: Where are you from? 

Rod Hammond: I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona.

SD: What was your highest level of education before Skill Distillery?

RH: I received an MBA from Arizona State University and served in the U.S. Army for more than a decade. 

SD: And what were you doing before Skill Distillery?

RH: I was working as an IT Project Manager in several private companies. Prior, I was the department chair and a professor of Military Science at Arizona State University.

SD: That’s a big jump from then to now. Why did you decide to learn how to code?  

RH: I had learned  basic programming in college and wanted to learn more. I became excited about pursuing a professional career in programming and saw this as the fastest and best path to get me there. 

SD: Why did you decide to join a boot camp focused on Java? 

RH: I knew that Java has been adapted to more platforms than any other programming language. It is used by more Fortune 500 than any other programming language, and its similarities to C++, python, and other high-level languages means that you have the basic learning blocks, and it is easier to jump into other languages with a shorter learning curve.

SD: Did you have any programming experience prior to SD? 

RH: Yes, C and Pascal from college.

SD: Why did you chose Skill Distillery? 

RH: Because I wanted to learn Java, and I appreciated the work  that the school has done to support veterans in transitioning, who wanting to learn programming using the GI Bill?.

SD: What about the program surprised you the most? 

RH: I’ve been impressed by the professional level of classroom instruction and personable nature of the staff.

SD: What was the biggest challenge? 

RH: Preparing for the Java OCA exam.

SD: What are you doing next? 

RH: I have a few weeks left in the program, and I am hoping to find a company where I can match up my new skills, and years of prior experience skills into a new career.

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