If you need some heavy lifting done–whether at the gym or on campus–John Belak is your guy. That is, as long as he doesn’t have to climb a ladder to do it. The native from Canton, Ohio is the current president and co-founder of Neumont’s Fitness Club, but also admits to being terribly afraid of heights “so much so that I get anxiety from simply seeing other people on ladders or balconies.”
Besides a passion for weight-lifting, he is also one of the friendliest people on the planet. (He considers “talking to people” one of his main hobbies.) In fact, John is such a force for good that when you’re around him; it’s hard to imagine him being negative about anything. Though he did confess to hating holiday music "in most forms,” it doesn’t look like there’s much use for “Jingle Bells” in the Bachelor of Science in Technology Management degree. So we’re giving him the full benefit of the doubt.
We caught up with John via email; and he had this to say about his Neumont experience so far.
NU: First off, how much programming experience did you have prior to coming to Neumont?
JB: Before coming to Neumont, I didn’t even know what code looked like, let alone how to write it.
NU: And your favorite programming language?
JB: I’ve only had experience learning Java while at Neumont, due to the mandatory Intro to Computer Science and Object-oriented Programming classes. Being in the Technology Management degree here at Neumont, I didn’t have as many opportunities to learn different programming languages in a classroom environment. I have, however, dabbled in a bit of Python for another class assignment, and it was an interesting experience. I think that maybe because I got to explore that on my own that I’m a bit more partial to Python over Java at this point, but there aren’t any programming languages that I prefer overall.
NU: What’s a project you’ve enjoyed most during your time at Neumont?
JB: In my 7th quarter, I had a class called System Analysis and Business Modeling Project. This solo project consisted of conceptualizing a future technology and modeling a business around it, completing work such as market research, identifying competitive advantage, and more. This is what I felt like the Technology Management degree was leading up to, and as a result it was very rewarding to be trusted with this kind of assignment. I was so excited to give the final presentation that my passion for the project made me give my best, or at least my favorite, presentation to date.
NU: What’s been the most surprising thing about your Neumont experience?
JB: I was not prepared for how close-knit the community is here at Neumont. More often than not, you’ll know everyone here or at least know someone who does. This makes the community pretty open and friendly, to the point where you can ask most people for help with just about anything. That, coupled with Neumont’s student support department, ensures that there’s always someone looking out for you, and that surprised me a lot.
NU: Tell us a tech trend you’re interested in and why.
JB: Personally, I like watching the advancement of wearable technology and smart devices in general. The whole idea that everything we interact with on a daily basis can be connected is really exciting to think about, and it’s even better considering companies like Vivint are working today to make that a reality. We’ve got a bright future ahead of us and I’m excited for what we have in store.
NU. Finish this sentence, “While attending Neumont, I’ve experienced:”
JB: Growth. Physical, emotional, mental, you name it, I’ve experienced so much growth since I moved to Utah. Coming straight out of high school to college was a daunting experience, especially considering I moved two time zones away. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else for these past two years and I look forward to the years to come.
NU: And looking towards the future - your dream job?
JB: I’d be happy with a management position, primarily. Project management, program management, you name it. A lot of people strive for an executive position in a company, and I’m no different. But hey, baby steps, right?