Kenny Shumard '04
Majors: Computer Science and Math
Residence: Boise, Idaho
What are you doing now?
I've worked at Digium, an open source telecommunications software company, for the last 7 years, in a variety of roles ranging from tech support to software development to middle management. I have been the company's "training manager," which means I create and develop technical training on our telecommunications software. I oversee a team of 3 other trainers, and I manage the business of training by working with vendors, partners, and customers to drive revenue.
What experiences did you appreciate most in the SJC Computer Science Department?
The program had a small number of students while I was there, which meant that I knew all of the professors and other students quite well. The camaraderie and opportunities for collaboration that this engendered were highly motivating -- there wasn't really a competitive nature to it, but everyone was always curious what everyone else was up to and would try to get in on the cooler projects. Unstructured/unplanned collaborative learning was common and incredibly effective. There were continual chances to learn organically and to develop and follow my own interests. Knowing other students in my major so well helped keep me challenged and engaged. Having small class sizes and few total students meant that I was never just a number, and I was able to develop meaningful stories and memories based on a greater number of shared experiences.
How did Core integrate with your major?
I didn't have a strong Computer Science background before coming to SJC, so a lot of my formal education was in a sense exploratory -- I learned about technologies and ideas in my major that I hadn't encountered before. This mimicked my experience in Core. Much of the content of the Core Program was new to me and presented in a way that was open and inviting. The environment in my major and in Core (and at SJC as a whole) was welcoming and encouraging -- I loved having a chance to learn, in a place that made it easy to do so. The rigor and scope of Core in particular has helped shape the way I look at the world and perceive challenges. I feel like the broad education within Core has fostered an ability within me to think more carefully and deeply about things than some of my work peers who haven't had the benefit of a liberal arts education.
What advice would you give to a prospective student looking to major in Computer Science at SJC?
Don't stop learning when you leave the classroom. Your instructors are insightful, educated, intelligent people who want to help you reach and grow your potential -- but you have to put in the time both inside and outside the classroom. Be curious. Also, take advantage of the numerous clubs and activities available through SJC. Get involved!