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Alum Builds on Childhood Interest in Video Games to Obtain College Degree in IT


Justin Hennings is a Bellevue University alumni who earned his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in 2021. Justin is the Manager of Tech Support for Walmart Global Tech, a team of 15,000+ software engineers, data scientists, and service professionals within Walmart. Recently, Bellevue University caught up with Justin to learn more about his journey to obtain his degree.

What is your current job role and responsibilities?

IT Manager over a team that supports the Walmart Call Center associates by providing hardware and software troubleshooting for all laptops and virtual machines.

What got you interested in the field?

Ever since my parents purchased their first desktop computer that had Windows 95, I’ve been fascinated with IT. Watching my dad play Duke Nukem online with one of his friends really intrigued me. The idea that he was able to play a game with someone not in the same house was next-level technology so that’s when I really started to become interested in computers. I was able to “Frankenstein” one of my first computers together from old desktops that my friends and family no longer wanted because they were missing parts or had at least one piece of defective hardware. Taking a part and putting something back together was a lot of fun. Seeing the computer work after putting all that hard work of trial and error was the icing on the cake.

What degree did you earn from Bellevue University?

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree.

What inspired you to earn your degree?

Career advancement and growth was the biggest motivator. Seeing others in my career that have degrees and seeing how successful they are, made me want to pursue my bachelor’s at Bellevue University.

How did you decide to earn your degree at Bellevue University?

While working for Walmart, they implemented a new college tuition program where any employee was eligible for the Live Better U program.  I had previous debt from earning my associate’s. I had no plans on going back to school because I was having an already hard time paying off a large debt from the for profit school (I attended). Because Walmart paid for the full degree , that was enough justification to go back to earn my degree at Bellevue University.

What was your goal in earning this degree?

Mainly for personal and career growth. There were job positions that I was interested in applying for that required a bachelor’s degree.

How has your degree from Bellevue University helped you in your career? How have you been able to apply it?

I plan on working my way up to a senior management position and feel that the degree will provide some proof that I am ready and dedicated to take on the next challenge with my career.

How will it help you in future roles?

Knowing that I at least meet the education requirement for future positions will allow me to focus more on the job skills and growth for any open positions higher up in the management organization.

What is the biggest lesson you learned while earning your degree?

The biggest lesson that I have learned while earning my degree would making sure you are setting enough time aside to work on your school work. With having a full time job and two kids, it made it hard to have any free time. Start off by only take a class or two to fully understand how the workload will have an effect on your personal life. That will help knowing if you can take more classes.

Did online learning make it possible for you to earn your degree?

Online classes was my only choice for going back to school. Without this option, I would not have had the chance to go back to school. Online classes allowed me to go at my own pace and was much more flexible around my schedule.

What did earning this degree mean to you – on a more personal level? For your family (if applicable)? How have your family and friends supported you?

Everyone around me was really supportive and helpful during my time at Bellevue University. My girlfriend would help watch the kids while any homework so I can have that focus time in learning and getting the work done on time. I felt like I made it to the top of the high scores list when I finally graduated. Also, I felt that the hard work for all those sleepless nights finally paid off and that there was a reason why I worked so hard to get to this point in my life.

Any advice for someone thinking about earning their degree? Online learning tips?

If you are wanting to pursue a degree or you already have one in the works, don’t ever quit and just keep on going. It may feel that it’s not worth it or you will never get to the finish line, but you will. All the hard work will show and it will help you with your career. Make sure you have a good balance between school, work, and your personal life. Too much time in one category, especially school, can burn you out to a point where you want to just quit.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Special thanks to Walmart for the opportunity to go back to school. Without your Live Better U college program, I would not have gone back to college. Thank you!

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