Faculty Spotlight: Anthony Le (Game Development)

What did your parents say when you told them that your plans were for your future? Were they happy about your decision, or did you change your mind all on your own? One of the benefits of obtaining a degree in technology is that your skills and career path are destined for a long life. Your passions are what shape your future, and that rings true no matter the circumstances. That is the theme for our Faculty Spotlight this month as we sit down with Anthony Le, a senior Game Development and Software Development instructor for Coleman University, who started out with a very different career path in mind.
Enrolling as a medical student at UCSD, Le realized that he was not meant to enter the field of medicine. After a thrilling class in physics, Le found that he was more interested in the mechanical way that the world worked, rather than the biological. From there he began his career in technology through computer programming and artificial intelligence. We asked him about his life in technology and his passion for teaching at Coleman University.

1. What was it like moving to the US?
We moved out to the United States in the 1975 after the Vietnam War when I was nine years old. At the time my father worked for a shipping company in the US and the first place we were brought to was Camp Pendleton. So all of my family came to the US at the same time. We settled in Bayou la Batre, Alabama because that’s where my father’s shipping company was based. It was also the setting for the movie Forest Gump. At the time the southern states were very anti-communist, and my family was deeply Catholic, so they welcomed us with open arms and we had a better time adjusting. We went to Alabama, and I had the BEST time. All of these people, our neighbors, town folks, would come over every day and give us stuff and check in to see if we were okay, so my experience in Alabama was wonderful. However my Dad didn’t like it as much as I did, because he wanted to be back in California with the rest of his family, so he rented a big U-Haul and drove everybody back. That was 1976, and my family has lived here in San Diego ever since. I went to Serra High School in Tierrasanta and graduated at Mt. Carmel in Rancho Penasquitos. I was yearbook photographer there and won several drafting and photography awards from the Del Mar Fair.

2. So you stayed in California for college and went to UCSD. Is that were you became interested in technology?
I love UCSD. It is a great school and much bigger than it was when I was there. That feeling of being on a college campus, making friends in the dorms—it was like its own city. I changed my major several times while I was there. My family wanted me to be a doctor and get a good job, so I started out with bio-chemistry and I quickly discovered that I didn’t like it, but I loved my computer science classes. Turns out one of the faculty members at UCSD was a family friend and he was teaching physics, so he got me into that and I became a TA for his program and for the computer lab. Physics simulations were really my first computing job at UCSD. I fell in love with computer programming after that and changed my major to Cognitive Science, which was a nice mix of biology and the physiological makeup of the human body. I learned and dreamt about how those mental processes can one day be emulated with computing. So that was around the time when an Artificial Intelligence major was introduced at UCSD, and I jumped on that program and that was my final change of major. I also have minors in philosophy, psychology, and astronomy (because I love studying the planets).

3. What were you like as a student?
I was a very active student. Besides being a TA in the computer lab, I was a member of the Vietnamese Student Association, and I became president and tried to get our club more involved with other club events on campus. I organized an International Volleyball Player’s club and organized a Hands Across UCSD event for the campus, and it was really tough to get all of the logistics together, but it was a really fun to try to get everyone involved. By that time my sister and my cousin were attending UCSD, so it became a family affair. Overall, UCSD was an amazing experience, and that is where I cultivated my love of learning.

4. Once you graduated with your degree in A. I. where did you go? Did you create robots?
I wanted to work in computing, and my relative had a chain of computer stores, so I started working for them when I graduated from college. I was in charge of writing programs for diagnostic and performance testing and for keeping tabs on all of the inventory and OCR (optical character recognition) programs used to process all the orders. Unfortunately, this chain did not win out over its competition, so my relative moved into a different field—buying and selling prescription medications from Canada to patients in the US. So I wrote all the programs to scrape and accumulate all of the data on prescription medications (this was before Big Data was around) and price match for the lowest prices. Then the government changed the law and we could no longer sell lower-priced prescription medication from abroad. With my 20 plus years of programming experience, I ended up getting into teaching through my wife at the time, who knew the Vice President of Coleman University was looking for programmers who had real experience and wanted to teach. I came to Coleman when the Game Development department was still in the process of creation, so I was involved in writing the courses for Game Development. We had to write six classes and establish a certification program. I wrote Course 2 and Course 5, which were about Engine design and 3D rendering (for networked first-person shooter (FPS) and third-person shooter (TPS)). The algorithms for 3D rendering use the same technology and mathematical calculating processes as Artificial Intelligence and neural network programs. It’s the summation of a lot of values and the manipulation of numbers simultaneously. It is a lot of complex ideas, and that is the challenge of teaching: getting students to relate to the material and understand it, so they will be excited to learn.

5. Did you find that you had a passion for teaching after you began at Coleman?
Turns out, from all of my experience as an eldest sibling and as a TA in college, this is my calling. It fits me, because I can explore what I love to learn, and using what I know about AI and how the brain works thus far, to facilitate and transfer that knowledge to another person, using a many sensory modalities as possible. For me this was a fateful event, and I went with it. That was over 7 years ago. Now, I am focusing on helping our students learn physical computing, like how to program robots, sensors, GUIs, and different hardware devices to enhance their job placement. Our students are so excited to learn and Game Programming is very competitive, so I am working on introducing physical computing using Python and C into Game Development and Software Development. Even though I love games and created my first game using the VIC20 and Commodore 64, I am not a gamer per se, I am more into computing. I want to bring more programming into the Game Development program. When a student is hands on and sees his or her creation, and it’s something that’s tangible, that is the experience we want. Computing is a tool with a specific language and you need to understand the syntax to express how you want to control the technology.

6. What do you look for in a potential student at Coleman University? What advice do you have for a new Coleman student?
What I love ideally, is excitement. When students are excited, they are learning and progress goes up exponentially. My advice is perseverance. You cannot learn everything in one try. It is a process and especially with programming, you have to do it in many different ways and solve many different errors. In solving errors you learn something new. You can read about it and watch it, but until you do it and spend the time fixing it, you will not actually learn. The more you put yourself through this process the better prepared you will be, so use repetition and that will help you excel and gain experience. Education is an investment, so I would advise anyone who is learning a new skill to keep in mind that commitment to an investment. I will always give students a chance to solve things on their own, and then I step in to help by providing strategies and hints. I often discuss the various ways that people solve the same problem, and my motto is if you don’t agree, at least try it once, and if you realize you like it you can incorporate it into your own style. Be open minded.

 

We want to thank Mr. Le for taking the time to sit with us and discuss his passion for teaching and computer science.  If you are interested in pursuing a technology-focused degree and learn from instructors such as Anthony Le, do not hesitate to call us. Classes start every ten weeks and financial aid is available for those who qualify. Call (858) 499-0202 today!

 

Faculty Spotlight: Tommy Mitchell (Game Development)

This month we wanted to showcase another of our amazing instructors on our blog, and our spotlight is on Tommy Mitchell. A Game Development instructor with many years of direct experience in the field, Mitchell’s knowledge of the game industry has become a huge advantage for Coleman University students. Having been a fan of gaming since he was six years old, it is more than safe to say that this subject is a passion for him; one that he shares with our students.
We sat down with Tommy to discuss how he got started in Game Development and what it takes to be successful in the industry.

1. How did you get into Game Design and Development?
Well that’s a bit of a long story. I have played video games since I was 6 years old so I’ve always been pretty active with that. I used to play about 2-3 days per week and it just became an obsession. However traditional art became my forte. When I graduated from high school, I had a partial scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Texas for their art program. As I was going through my courses I was approached by a professor who had recently established a game design program on campus called Guild Hall and she wanted me to join. I went through those courses for two years which put me in the pipeline for a game development degree. So I have a traditional art background, but I went from painting canvases to digital art and sculpting.

2. How did you apply your degree after you graduated?
Once I graduated I was called up to work for a small gaming company in Austin Texas called Midway. During that same time I was hoping to pursue more education in game design, so I applied to schools in San Diego that offered higher degrees. Once I had been accepted, my company offered to hire me back once I had finished my education. So I moved to San Diego in the hopes that I would have a job waiting for me back in Texas once I was done. I attended ITT Tech for their Digital Entertainment and Game Design program. I received my bachelors degree, while also doing freelance work. In 2009 I was lucky enough to get an interview with Sony and I was hired on as a game tester. I did game testing for about a year and a half.

3. Wow. So you lived every teenage gamer’s dream then?
A lot of people think that with game testing you’re just constantly testing games and having fun, but it is serious software testing. You have to look for bugs and issues, marking their coordinates in the game, and making sure that you are sending that information to the developers. Your job is to find as many ways as possible to break the game. After a year of testing I was promoted to being a character artist. The first game that I worked on for character design was God of War 3, just small portions  of the background design, which was really fun. Then I was put onto the teams for MLB The Show, and Star Hawk. After a couple more promotions I was given a project management role, around 2011 for a game called PS All Stars. At that same time I started working at Coleman University.

4. So how did you become an instructor at Coleman?
Once I had graduated with my bachelors I was interested in getting my master’s degree, so I came to Coleman to pursue my degree in Information Systems Management. I was going to school and working at the same time. I graduated in July of 2010, and continued working at Sony. After a big project that I was working on was finished, I stopped in to talk to Career Services and catch up with my instructors. I found out that Coleman had started a Game Design (as it was called at the time) program and they were looking for instructors. Career Services took my information and forwarded it to the dean of the program, who called me ten minutes later asking for me to come in and interview. Two weeks later I was a full-time instructor for Coleman.

5. What classes are you teaching now?
I instruct Level Design 1, Intro to Digital Sculpting, the Programming Capstone, and Fundamentals of Game Design. Mainly I teach students the basic structures of game design. It is a very fast and competitive career path to go into, so you need a strong knowledge of every aspect of design.

6. On that note, what are the misconceptions that incoming students have about getting into the Game Development field?
Whenever we have student orientations I am the first person to tell students that if you think that you’ll just walk into a studio and start testing video games, you should throw that idea right out the window. This program is not about that. You are learning a skill set that is very complicated. Even when you’re done with a class meeting, you still have to do more work on your own outside of class. The industry’s first question in an interview will be “what else have you done?” You can create a portfolio that includes your class assignments but companies do not focus on that, they want to see how you applied your skills to an outside project. You need to develop more than programming skills. Game Developers have increased hand-eye coordination, critical thinking, and problem solving skills due to the requirements of this industry. In this industry you will be asked to work long hours and even work overnight to meet deadlines and finish projects, so putting in more hours for professional development will only benefit you. In our program there are really two tracks. The first is more of a programmer role, and the other is the designer role. Each one takes a lot of time to master and you have to do it all of the time, which includes participating in game focused events. Luckily for our students Coleman hosts the Global Game Jam every year, and that has a huge impact. Organizations look for that specifically, as well as your online presence through LinkedIn and Twitch. Networking is a lot more involved in job placement than people realize. Passion is important in this field and students need to have that in order to succeed. I would also recommend that students be prepared to freelance while they are looking for work. Once a project is over you may not have a residual income coming in so be prepared by getting into other projects ahead of time. Be willing to learn as many skill sets as possible. Ask peers who may have a better grasp than you to help you learn more. As long as you communicate the desire to learn, people will be willing to teach you.

7. What are your opinions on the rise in online celebrity gamers, or the professional gamers that compete in world competitions?
Well, social media and online exposure is actually a huge boost to developers looking to get hired by a company. These feeds and uploads are being watched 24/7 by companies looking for new hires. If a studio likes a candidate they will be brought in for testing or interviews. Having a vlog or Twitch channel is a big help for getting yourself noticed. I had two students who were invited to work with famous game vloggers and were flown to a vlogging convention in San Francisco because of their popularity online.

8. Considering your passion for art and your background in it, what are some of the recent games that have come out that you feel are visually/artistically incredible in their style?
I’m going to be a little biased with my answer. I would have to say two of the games that I actually worked on within the last five years. I was an Associate Producer for The Last of Us and I really loved the artwork that was developed for that. Even though I was brought in around the third phase, it was my first big title as Associate Producer and I was freaked out because I was working on that and teaching at the same time! My second choice didn’t do so well commercially, but I really liked Order 1886. I consider that one to be a steampunk version of Van Helsing. You were acting as a werewolf hunter and it was almost like its own cinematic movie. I helped design some of the Demon Dogs that were within the game. The other game that I can think of is Unfinished Swan, you are playing as a little boy who falls into an open world through a book which is all white. As you work your way through the game, colors and structures start to appear and you create your world that way. The first color that is initiated is black so you can create figures and outlines then add color as you go. We tell students when they are applying to a company and want to showcase their best work with a demo, that if you can turn down the volume and run through it and still understand the story no matter where you are, then you have done a great job. I look for that specifically when I am hiring for studios.

9. Can you tell me the most important traits that you look for in a potential Game Development student?
Definitely, I look for a student who is passionate for Game Development and who is an open book. They don’t come into the classroom thinking that they have everything handled, that they only have to learn to do a couple of things. You have to be very motivated and hungry to achieve your goals because this field is very competitive. You have to realize that you and 20-30,000 other people are applying for the same jobs at any given time. Challenge yourself every day to get better; you can’t stay in the same place. You have to reinvent yourself, and the best thing about being in the game industry is that it is not hard to find something new to learn every day. There is no ceiling on what you are capable of in a work position, because the technology in this field is constantly changing so you have to change with it. Confidence is also really important, being able to look someone in the eye and provide straightforward answers will help you stand out from the crowd in an interview and in class.

10. Last question: tell me about your favorite project that a student or group has produced at Coleman?
It was a capstone group in 2014. It was a very unique group with plenty of colorful personalities that also had a lot of motivation and passion for what they ultimately wanted to do. They created an amazing 2D game, with almost every aspect being hand drawn and conceptualized by this group. The project lead was a really shy and laid back student so I purposefully put him in a leadership position. Within hours of their first meeting they came together and completed their concept. This group came in every day that they could and worked on this project, which was incredible. Once they had a finished product, they published it online and received a lot of praise for their work from other developers and programmers. I use this group as an example to motivate students, because it is this type of project that they should be striving for. The capstone is a great way for students to really figure out what it is that they want to do.

If you love gaming and creative art, think about joining our Game Development program! Tommy is just one of the amazing instructors that we have in the program and there are opportunities here for you to grow and establish an exciting career. Call Coleman today at (858) 499-0202 for more information and to schedule a tour! 

Reflection on a March: The Fight for Science

This post was written by Norbert Kubilus, the President and CEO of Coleman University. We will be posting more guest blogs from our staff and faculty throughout the year so please subscribe for more. 

Earth Day 2017 was a wonderful day for a march in San Diego. I joined thousands of scientists and engineers, university professors and K-12 teachers, researchers and laboratory technicians, and people of all ages and from all walks of life in support of scientific research in the United States … and to protest proposed research funding cuts by the current administration. Organizers estimated that 15,000 people were at the San Diego March for Science start at the Civic Center. I would not be surprised if there were over 20,000 of us marching that day in San Diego, joining maybe a million more across the United States.

Hand made signs were the order of the day. Many signs reflected themes seen on signs across the nation. Others were truly local San Diego, which has one of the largest scientific research communities in the United States. One sign really struck me as we walked down Broadway to the Embarcadero. It read: “I have never seen polio … thanks to science.” The young woman carrying was from the Salk Institute and certainly born after polio became a disease of history in the United States. She never experienced a polio scare, and she could not know the memory she triggered for me. The March for Science 2017 quickly became very personal.

In the early 1950s, the polio epidemic in the United States reached a record high of 58,000 new cases in a single year, nearly three times the annual outbreak of the previous decade. Summer polio “scares” were real, resulting in public swimming pool closures and cancelling various community events. Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine came to market in 1955, and the March of Dimes launched its children’s vaccination campaign.

The memory triggered for me was of my first “march for science” — 62 years ago. On a crisp autumn day in 1955, my elementary school class marched — OK, walked — the half mile or so to the Public Health Office in Verona NJ with our teachers to receive our first polio shots. Thanks to Dr. Salk, his vaccine and the National Polio Immunization Program, the annual number of U.S. polio cases fell to 5,600 by 1957 and less than 200 by 1961.

Paralysis was a lifelong sentence for those who contracted and survived polio. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I first met victims of the polio epidemic, teenagers my own age who were left crippled for life by polio. As a young adult, I also had co-workers worked who were polio survivors. They all walked only with the assistance of heavy braces … and an apparent resentment for their fate.

On Earth Day, I remembered all of them as I was able to walk unencumbered along the San Diego habor. Thank you to young woman from the Salk Institute and her sign for the memory. And thank you Dr. Salk, your University of Pittsburgh research team and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis for giving us the first effective polio vaccine.

Norbert J. Kubilus, CCP MBCS is President & CEO of Coleman University, a private non-profit teaching university founded in 1963 and located in San Diego, California. Its degree programs prepare graduates for technology-focused careers. visit www.coleman.edu

Faculty Spotlight: Thomas Byrne (Cybersecurity Program)

Part of what makes Coleman University so unique to San Diego is the incredible faculty that we have on our campus. Technology and its development are not pastimes for our faculty; their careers and passions are built around it. We sat down with one of our Cybersecurity instructors, Mr. Thomas Byrne, to talk about his passion for technology and teaching. Hopefully we can show you something new and exciting about your instructors!

Mr. Byrne (far right) stands with his First Robotics Team at the Central Valley Regional in March of 2016. This photo was taken after the team had secured a spot in a semi-final for the second time that month!

1.So, Mr. Byrne, what drew you to technology and network security?

I grew up with technology and thinking back here are some of my memories: I was literally amazed at my first RED Led watch in the mid 1970’s as well as PONG, which I had hooked up to my TV. I thought to myself “this is the future, these digital readouts.”  Then one day in 1982 my father, who worked at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach as a Branch Chief Engineer, brought home a Compupro 8/16. It ran CP/M off of 8-inch floppies. One of my favorite games to play on the computer was “Colossal Cave Adventure,” which was a text based adventure game that made you visualize the world you were exploring. I spent a lot of time exploring that cave and one day I got stuck in the cave and actually phoned the author for a game hint in the help file. That was cool, knowing that I could phone the creator of the game. The hint was “Did you get the axe? Did you throw the axe at the Minotaur?” Ooops! I also read a lot when I was a kid, and I eventually came across tech magazines in the electronics store. I read an article and found out that you could punch a hole on the back of that huge floppy to make it double sided; it was so exciting to learn that I could double my storage!  I learned to program in Assembly, which meant manipulating the CPU stack, and I watched my dad write code to track expenses and even predict when airplanes were flying overhead as they landed in LAX. I also received my HAM radio license back when you had to learn Morse code and was communicating with people in Japan and Germany… so that’s how I sort of got hooked on technology, it was my fun time. As for network security, I like to be secure and wanted to learn how to maintain my systems against threats. I saw all the virus activity and did not want to lose my data, so I researched how to stay safe online and really liked understanding how the hackers think and what motivates them. I also learned how vulnerable this technology is, and I wanted to do something about it.

2.How long have you been teaching at Coleman? What inspired you to become a teacher?

I was hired as an Instructor in August of 2010. Before that I was a corporate trainer for Luxottica. I always was someone who could learn and then explain almost any topic and gain insights on it. I really like helping people understand difficult concepts in cybersecurity. This is a huge positive, as a lot of the material can be difficult until you understand it. I try to make it easy to understand, so that my students can remember the material down the road and make use of that knowledge. I try my best to cut through the noise to the essence of what’s really important to know.

3.Do you have a piece of advice or information that you want all of your students to know before they graduate?

There is a job for you, as the world certainly needs trained cybersecurity professionals. It will not be handed to you though. One piece of advice I have is to be very flexible in your careers and gravitate to the areas that interest you. Learn everything you can about security and technology; we live in amazing times and the whole world is going through a digital transformation right now. The world needs your help, so study hard and keep up with all the changes in technology and security. The Internet is a great human resource, so use it; learn how to find good sources of information and never stop learning. It’s very important to learn to interact with others in a positive way and become a good communicator. Be a positive person. Technology is hard for many so help them understand it.

4.Where do you go for the most accurate and up-to-date information on what is happening in technology?

I take advantage of my commute time and listen to podcasts. I’ve got my podcast apps, and I can tie into any podcast out there. I listen to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Security Podcasts, etc. It really comes down to about five companies that are at the head of technology development. It is all interesting to watch and hear, like a big game to see who will come out with the next trend.

5.What are some basic tactics that you would recommend to the public, who may not be fully aware of online cyber risks?

First of all, don’t believe in total privacy online. If you’re on the Internet regularly, you are not doing it privately. If you’re using the Internet you’re going to be in some database somewhere. In regard to keeping your own computers and other devices secure, try not to click on links that you don’t recognize, use two-factor authentication whenever possible, have a password manager for your personal emails and other log-ins, keep up with the news, and don’t go to websites that you can’t verify. Most importantly, don’t allow any action on your devices that you do not personally approve. So if an email comes up with a link that you do not know, reverse it, call the company directly and ask if they contacted you. You need to initiate the connection instead of assuming a provided link is good.

6.What are you involved in outside of the classroom that involves technology development?

Well, I am a mentor for First Robotics. My son wanted to start a robotics club at his high school with two friends, after seeing that other schools around the city, such as Hi Tech High had them. They started a robotics team for Mission Hills High School in San Marcos. I met with them and let them know that I wanted to help out, so I met all the parents of the other students and we worked together to start a robotics team. It’s a lot of work! You have to form the team, and it costs about $4000 to compete in these competitions, so that takes a lot of fundraising. You’re given parameters like the weight of the robots, which has to be 120 pounds, and the cost, which has to be less than $4000, and so on. So you need to get sponsors. We got started in the robotics competitions in San Diego four years ago, and our first project was a defensive robot which was required to have the ability for aerial assist. In that first competition we placed 23rd out of 60 teams, which was pretty high for a rookie team, considering that some of the other teams had been doing this for at least ten years. From there we ended up going to St. Louis to compete, because we won Rookie All Star; we were up against teams from across the nation, but there are also about 30 countries that do this every year as well. Right now there are about 6,000 teams globally that are a part of this competition. We were up against the best and that motivated us to come back even better the next time. So in the following years we have been semi-finalists in both the national and international competitions. This year we were semi-final and quarter-finalists. There are a lot of scholarships attached to this, so students can get money from Boeing and other companies who are looking for engineers to sponsor. Our team is so successful because we have so many mentors who specialize in every aspect of building and implementing.

7.What is an up and coming technology or technology trend that you are really excited about?

Well people like to say that my head is in the clouds, because I am so invested in cloud computing! This is the next paradigm shift in major technology. A cloud service run by major corporations like Google and Microsoft provides the advantage of a powerful storage facility, with massive processing power, and servers that can shift their computing power to adapt to any situation. In regards to hacking, people are going to start seeing the value of the cloud, because it offers more security at less expense, and it is consistently updated. The ability to share and store information will connect the world and give everyone access to technology.

 

We want to thank Mr. Byrne for taking the time to tell us about himself and his passion for technology. Keeping students motivated and engaged is a full-time job and there is a lot more beneath the surface here than you might think. Join us again next month for another spotlight on our incredible faculty at Coleman University! If you would like to know more about First Robotics and the team that Mr. Byrne is mentoring follow the links below.

https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

https://www.facebook.com/team5137/

 

Tips for Developing a Well-Crafted Resume

This post was written by the Director of Career Services, Robert Sweigart in preparation for the upcoming Job Fair, on March 28, being hosted on our campus. Thank you to Mr. Sweigart and his team for working so hard to help our students find their dream careers! Contact your Career Services adviser for help with your resume, or email careerservices@coleman.edu.

At Coleman University, our diverse student population includes those seeking their first job, returning veterans, students interested in changing careers, and individuals returning to the workforce after a leave of absence. What they all have in common is the need to create an appealing, professional resume that catches an employer’s eye.

Today, employers spend only a few seconds on each resume they receive. Therefore, employees need to develop a resume that differentiates their work background from the competition. Coleman’s career services advisors work one-on-one with students to provide personalized professional development services, and our experience shows that when it comes to resumes, one size does not necessarily fit all.  There are requirements and recommendations that we have for each of our programs. What suits your resume is not guaranteed to work for your peers. The basics of a resume are the same, however each resume is unique. If you need help updating your resume or would like to have it reviewed make time to visit your Career Services Advisor as soon as possible so that we can help you get into the career you really want.

Candidates should thoroughly read the job description and tailor their resume to the needs of the company. Is the company interested only in candidates that hold a specific degree or certification? Does the company require candidates to submit a portfolio of their work? At Coleman, our graphic design and game development and design students are encouraged to refine their portfolios and post them online, so that they are easily accessible to employers. You do not need to bring an arsenal of technology and handouts to go with your resumes, but keep in mind that employers will search for your name online and it is pertinent to ensure that what they find will not disqualify you as a candidate. Update your portfolios, websites, or any other digital media that you curate, before you begin submitting resumes.

Keep in mind that many large and small companies utilize applicant tracking systems to assist in their recruiting efforts. These systems search for key words in your resume to add to their database. It is important that candidates include those key words from the job description so that they are not automatically disqualified before they even meet with an employer.

What other aspects should be considered when writing a resume?

  • Formatting is important. You may want to research resumes from peers in your field to determine whether there is a certain outline that should be followed, or speak with a career advisor. Use (but don’t overuse) bullet points. Avoid graphics, large blocks of single-spaced text, and varying font sizes.
  • Proper grammar and punctuation is critical. There is no place for slang words in a resume. If you have questions about grammar or punctuation, check out grammar books from the local library, view online sources, or seek out a career advisor or trusted friend for advice.
  • Place name, phone number(s), address, and e-mail address in the top left-hand corner. Create a professional e-mail address and take a professional photo for social media sites.
  • Write a succinct profile that highlights work experiences and the skills you have to offer an employer. This profile should entice a hiring manager to read further.
  • Resumes no longer include an objective. Instead, we recommend students write a summary of their skills, using bullet points to identify all the relevant abilities that pertain to the job for which they are applying.
  • The work experience section of the resume should include dates of employment in reverse chronological order, the name of organization, the physical location of the employer (city and state), the title of the position, and description of work responsibilities. Under each position, emphasize specific results generated (how you reduced costs, increased sales, overcame a challenge) and use action verbs.
  • Maintain a simple and direct resume. Do not exaggerate your experience or your qualifications as that is a good way to put yourself in a work situation that you may not be ready to handle. Be honest and concise with the information that you put onto your resume as it sets the tone for what an employer can expect from you as a potential employee, including your work ethics.
  • The Career Services Department strongly suggests avoiding using a template for your resume. Downloaded or borrowed templates are not guaranteed to look the same after they are sent off and employers will notice immediately if you have sent in a template resume, which will not work in your favor.

If you experienced a gap in employment due to illness or caring for a family member, be prepared to give a short response that explains the situation. Business Insider gives 3 tips for addressing a job gap: be honest and upfront, consider doing volunteer work or taking relevant classes, and, explain the skills acquired while you were out of work. Gaps in employment are not necessarily viewed as negative if it can be explained how time away from the workforce has strengthened your background as the perfect candidate for the job.

  • The education section should include the name of the institution, dates attended, and degree or degrees earned. Remember to include the major, minor, and important certifications. Make mention of academic awards if they are applicable to the position. Include a GPA if it is higher than 3.0, or if you do not have previous work experience.
  • Veterans are often concerned how to transferring their military experience into civilian terms. Many skills gained in the military, such as organization, leadership, responsibility, and technical ability can be easily translated to a civilian job.
  • Make sure that you include everything that an employer asks for with your resume submission, which may include a cover letter. The Harvard Business Review suggests a list of important cover letter aspects that will make your resume stand out. The Career Services Advisors at Coleman are here to help you with drafting your cover letters. Again, it is important that you make time to speak with them as soon as possible in order to be completely prepared for your career search.

Now that you have an understanding of what to include in a resume, we recommend omitting the following information:

  • Personal information, such as age, marital status, race, or number of dependent children need not be included. Hobbies should be mentioned, only if they are applicable to the job. There is also no need to include high school graduation information.
  • Irrelevant work history and nonessential extracurricular activities should not be listed. Think of your resume as your personal “elevator speech.” Only include work experience that highlights relevant skills and experience.
  • All employers expect job applicants to have references, so there is no need to include a statement such as, “References will be furnished upon request.”
  • It has become a more common practice among employers to seek out the private social media profiles of candidates in order to gain better insight into an applicant’s background. However, there is no need to include links or information pertaining to your personal social media profiles on your resume. It can be beneficial to include a link to your LinkedIn profile, so make sure that you have updated your LinkedIn before you start applying to employment opportunities. However, that is not something you are required to provide as part of a resume submission.

While we all live in a fast-paced world, it is important to take time with the resume process. Developing a carefully constructed resume could be the difference between hiring you, or the competition, for the next “dream” job.

Running is her passion: Leia Guillermo, Student Services, Coleman University

What would it take for you to run 23 miles in three days? Would you do it for money, fame, bragging rights, or for some cool gear?

Well, there is more than that in running a marathon for Leia Guillermo, a counselor in the Student Services department at Coleman University. In January, she completed her 38th marathon in Anaheim at the Disneyland® Star Wars Three Day Marathon. She ran the 5K, 10K, and the half marathon for a total of 23 miles, which is truly impressive! We interviewed Leia about her passion for running and her experience in the marathon community.

How long have you been running in total?

“I started in 2013, so this March will be 4 years.”

What got you started? Do you just love running?

“Well no, actually I hate running! What happened was, when I was 13, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I had to have surgery to correct it, but before then I was super active and afterwards I was super discouraged. I turned in a lazy bum. Then, one day my friend asked me to join her for a run and I agreed to go, but I kept putting it off. The first 5K that I actually signed up for was an ’80s-them run. I just decided to do it and not care about how fast I could finish it.

Then, I just started joining more and more races. I joined a half marathon on a whim. My first half marathon was for UC San Diego Health. I don’t know how I got addicted to it. I hate running, and you have to get up so early in the morning! But, I think it’s the people I meet that keep me going back. Everyone has an interesting story.”

What is one of your favorite medals that you have ever won?

“Definitely the Star Wars ones. The one from last year was the Kessel Run and the medal was one of the coolest I have seen.”

What is something that you have learned about yourself in becoming a runner?

“You go beyond your own expectations or self-doubts. I discovered I could go beyond what I thought were my limits.”

So, are you a member of any running clubs in San Diego? How do you hear about all of these races?

“I meet people in the community who tell me about races they are planning to run, and I am currently a race ambassador, so I promote different races in San Diego. Through that, I also meet other ambassadors who tell me about races they are working for. This year, I am a race ambassador for the Hot Chocolate run on March 26th in San Diego. It’s a 5K and a 15K.”

Does the theme of these marathon help motivate you to keep going?

“Yeah, it has to be themed. The entry fee for the Disneyland ones are very expensive, but others, like the Rock ‘n’ Roll one in San Diego, are less expensive and still a lot of fun. I like big races; the smaller ones without a theme are not as much fun to me. The first half marathon I ever did was in San Diego and I run it every year because it was my first. It is the only one I run that doesn’t have a theme.”

Do you dress up for these themed runs?

I usually don’t dress up because I just want to get out there and start running. But, this year was the first time I ever dressed up for a race. I wore a Ren costume for the Star Wars Half Marathon. It was hard to run in costume! I am so impressed by all of the costumes I see because I know it’s hard to run wearing extra stuff, so I don’t think I will dress up again.”

So what’s next for you?

“Well, in 3 weeks I am actually going to Disney World® to do the Princess Half Marathon, which is a Beauty and the Beast theme.”

Will you see any celebrities there?

“You do see some celebrities regularly at Disneyland marathons. I see Joey Fatone from NSYNC a lot. Sean Aston (Lord of the Rings) is at almost all of the Disney runs. I also see celebrities from the running community, as well.”

Are there any marathons on your Bucket List?

“Yeah, there’s a marathon at Disneyland Paris. I also want to do to the Boston Marathon®, but you need to qualify for it, so it will have to wait.”

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into marathon running?

“Sign up for a run you think will be really fun. Once you have made that commitment, it will be more important for you to go and finish it.”

If you are interested in the Hot Chocolate run in San Diego, visit https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sandiego. Enter SDSWAG2 at checkout for a free visor with your registration.

Coleman encourages all staff and students to engage in health and wellness habits like Leia’s. If there are any marathons you have run and would like to share your success story, send an email to ssanchez@coleman.edu.

An Interview with Leticia Rabor

Leticia Rabor headshotThe faculty at Coleman is a diverse and interesting community. We have instructors from across the nation, and outside of it, who have a vast array of experiences and knowledge that make our university that much more dynamic. One of the strongest aspects of our faculty community is the continued effort to learn and grow. That desire to learn drove one of our Software Development instructors, Leticia Rabor, to fly to San Francisco for an exciting conference. We sat down with Leticia to discuss her time at the AnDevCon event and get some insight into what is trending in Mobile Development, which is one of the classes that she teaches.

When we asked her what motivated her to go to the conference, Leticia replied “it was beneficial for my personal and professional growth and I learned a lot from the experience”. The AnDevCon is an Android Development Tech Conference that has multiple events throughout the United States and acts as a networking and learning seminar for individuals in the field as well as companies looking to promote their latest developments. Big names like Google, Amazon, and Android Studio were present to meet with developers and showcase their newest creations. According to Leticia there were over 80 workshops being presented that weekend, and all of them were focused on the up and coming tech being created, and the next generation of mobile development for Android. One of the workshops that Leticia attended discussed Proguard in the Android SDK, a Java Optimizer that was led by the original developer/creator himself. According to Leticia there were multiple workshops that were also lead by original developers, such as one that provided an in depth tour of the Gradle Build System.

Leticia Rabor at AnDevCon

One of the best experiences she had was being a part of a “Design Sprint Workshop” presented by Google. Different teams of developers with various backgrounds worked together to create an application that would help match entry level or professional workers with mentors in their career community. The teams had the opportunity to apply the 5 phase framework to accomplish a specific goal. At the end of the workshop the attendees voted on the best designs. The purpose of the Design Sprint Workshop is to gain familiarity with the methods and walk away with a set of tools you can incorporate into your product development process. Leticia plans to bring this type of coding collaboration to her classes to allow students to better prepare for workplace collaboration, communication, and develop their design skills. We also discussed the special events for women in technology that were hosted by the convention. She attended an exclusive luncheon for “Women Who Code” where she was able to meet and network with hundreds of women in the field.

Speaker at AnDevCon

One of the most interesting presentations that she attended was a discussion on the development of Machine Learning at the Google Keynote Seminar. Machine learning is a key evolution in the fields of computer science, data analysis, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. Speakers from around the nation presented the latest advancements in this technology and what may be coming in the near future for this type of programming. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience for Leticia is making sure to encourage students to go to these events. She said “It is really important that students go to these conferences so that they can network and experience this for themselves”. After hearing about all the incredible presentations that were at this conference, it is hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to go! The next stop for this conference is Washington D.C.  in 2017. If you are interested in attending this event go to http://www.andevcon.com and sign up for their next conference.

Second speaker at AnDevCon    Presentation at AnDevCon

Elizabeth Sandoval Named Director of Admissions at Coleman University

Elizabeth Sandoval headshotSAN DIEGO Jan. 23, 2017 – Elizabeth Sandoval has been named director of admissions at Coleman University. Sandoval, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, has more than 20 years’ experience in the admissions field. Previously she was the director of admissions at IGH School of Nursing.

In her new role, Sandoval is charged with developing a training plan for the admissions team, coaching and overseeing a team of admission representatives, as well as working with both domestic and international students.

“I was an international student from the University of Guadalajara, and I understand the challenges students face when they arrive in the United States,” Sandoval said. “It is our goal to ensure that the enrollment process is seamless for everyone,” said Sandoval.

Sandoval earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in human and business psychology from the University of Guadalajara and continued her studies at the University of Phoenix, focusing on business management.

“We are pleased to have Elizabeth as a valued member of the Coleman team,” said Norbert J. Kubilus, president and CEO of Coleman University. “Her extensive knowledge of the San Diego area and commitment to leading successful admissions will be invaluable as Coleman continues to grow.”

About Coleman University
Coleman University is a private nonprofit teaching university founded in 1963 and located in San Diego, California. Its technology-focused undergraduate and graduate programs prepare individuals for careers and leadership in their chosen fields. As San Diego’s oldest school dedicated to information technology, Coleman University has historically educated a large number of the region’s business-technology professionals.

Coleman University Program Director Mentors High School Team for CS Championship

With the first two qualification rounds behind them, two teams from SET (School for Entrepreneurship and Technology ) Charter High School in San Diego are gearing up to participate in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition State Round, beginning January 15, 2017.

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program conceived by the Airforce Association to inspire students to work towards achieving a degree in Cybersecurity, as well as focusing on building a career in the field.

This exacting competition provides high school and middle school teams (in separate competitions) with operating system virtual images for which they are tasked with not only finding vulnerabilities, but also hardening the systems themselves. This competition will simulate a real world experience of being an IT professional running the network for a small company. The SET Charter High School students have worked hard to reach this milestone in their CyberSecurity skill development and this event is a great opportunity to show off what they have learned. The winning teams of this round, and the Regional Championships, will be given an all-expenses paid trip to Baltimore Maryland for the National Finals Competition, where they will be competing for scholarships and national recognition.

The two teams from SET are being mentored and monitored by Bill Reid, LCDR USN (Ret) the Program Director for Cybersecurity and Software Development at Coleman University.

Someone You Should Know: Brent Miller, Career Services Department, Coleman University

Brent Miller is a career services advisor for students in the Game Programming Development & Design (GDD), Software Development, and Graphic Design programs at Coleman University.  Miller enrolled as a student in 2011 and earned both an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in the GDD program. Upon graduating in 2014, Miller joined the Career Services department thanks to his exemplary work as a student and teacher’s assistant, working with more than 100 students in the GDD program.

As a career services advisor, Miller screens and submits résumés for jobs that match students’ qualifications and interests, and informs students and alumni of potential job leads and upcoming career fairs. Students and alumni are always welcome to visit the department for a copy of the career services workbook. The workbook contains valuable information about writing winning résumés and cover letters, interviewing techniques, salary negotiating, business etiquette, and more.  As students draw closer to graduation, Miller is available to ensure that their job searches are simple, efficient, and effective.  Brent also keeps abreast of industry trends and changes, and regularly meets with employers to discuss their hiring needs.

Miller is a military veteran who spent 11 years as a member of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and held the rank of Staff Sergeant.  As an infantry platoon leader, Brent led marines into combat. During enlistment, he served as Marine Corps Security Forces (classified secret), drill instructor, and operations chief.  He also completed two tours of duty overseas.  He was deployed in combat zones to Camp Rhino near Kandahar, Afghanistan, from 2001-2002, and at Ramadi and Ar-Rutbah, Iraq, from 2006-2007. While in Iraq, he was wounded in combat and retired from the USMC in 2009.

Miller encourages students who need career advising assistance to contact him at (858) 966-3978, or e-mail at bmiller@coleman.edu or stop by his office Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.