by Alexa Schmidt, Asst. A&E Editor
Manhattan College alum Tim Hamling graduated in the spring of 2018, and has since relocated to Aberdeen, Maryland to work for the US Army. He job is to sustain and maintain software systems that are currently being used by soldiers out in the field.
Hamling got the job through a Scholarship for Service program. The scholarship is called the SMART scholarship (Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation), which is run through the Department of Defense. The government helped cover the college tuition, and in return, a job is offered straight out of college to work for the government.
“Since I only started working a few months ago, I am currently in a recent-grad rotation program in this software division. Each rotation looks at a specific “area” that’s pertinent to software engineering. So, for example, my current rotation focuses on Independent Validation and Verification (IV&V). This means that I help test technology and software systems to make sure that they work correctly and are ready to be delivered to the soldiers,” Hamling explained.
“Another rotation in the program focuses on Cyber Security, which has quickly become one of the most important aspects of security and defense. Since technology is so pivotal to nearly everything used by a modern, 21st century soldier, it is important that their systems and applications stay up-to-date in order to protect against cyber-related threats from adversaries,” he said.
Hamling cannot get into specific details about his job, but he can make the connection between his job and everything he learned at MC.
“I feel like there isn’t a direct overlap, but rather more of a ‘conceptual’ overlap. Let me explain. At MC, I studied computer science. Most of my classes from freshman to sophomore year focused on teaching me how to code and how to learn a few different basic programming languages. When I was an upperclassman, the classes looked more deeply at specific topics, like parallel processing, data mining, operating system design, and neural networks, to name a few. While these topics are certainly more specific, they are still likely not the kinds of things that someone is going to focus specifically on in a job for the rest of their lives,” he said.
“The thing that makes technology so amazing is that it is constantly evolving and changing. The kind of technology that existed in 2018 when I graduated was unimaginable in 2014, which was the year that I started attending MC. With technology advancing at such a fast rate, it’s impossible to build a curriculum to teach students about the most up-to-date tech,” Hamling said.
The job was challenging in the beginning stages, especially because the Army uses a lot of abbreviations and acronyms. Hamling is still learning a lot about all the processes and how the different departments get funding and all the steps required to make a department run smoothly, but he’s picked it up quickly.
“I was not prepared for all the specific types of technology that I was going to encounter at my job. However, all of my tech-related classes at Manhattan College had taught me concepts. I learned how to use my current knowledge to learn new things. While the technology may be new, the underlying themes are related to things I have studied and learned about. This is why I called it a ‘conceptual overlap.’ I was taught concepts at MC, and these were the thing I was able to carry over and use in my job,” Hamling said.
Because of all the computer-heavy work he had to do in college, Hamling is used to sitting at the computer all day. He admitted that work can be slow at times, but the best part of the job is the satisfaction of knowing that, at the end of the day, he’s helping the soldiers that are out overseas defending the nation.
“I definitely plan on staying with the government. The job comes with a lot of good benefits, and it’s great job security. Plus, it’s really easy to move places and work at a new Army base if I want to change things up,” Hamling said.