Student Spotlight: Robert “R.J.” Hickok

Robert "RJ" Hickok

Robert “R.J.” Hickok
Major: Computer Information

Robert “R.J.” Hickok turned a bad encounter with a computer into useful knowledge.

“When I was younger, I disassembled a computer and ended up breaking it. Specifically, I fried a handful of parts from not grounding properly,” he said. “My dad forced me to fix it. Since then, I’ve had a knack for computers.”

After visiting several colleges and universities, Hickok discovered that College of DuPage had more to offer for less money.

“COD is a blessing in disguise, a low-hanging fruit, the holy grail in the Chicago suburbs,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay at home, save money and work – it looks good on my resume that I’m working. I’m also working with great faculty members who all have incredible resumes. I was startled when I found out some of my professors’ previous work histories. For me to be working with such talented people for as little as I pay in tuition shows the power COD has.”

Hickok is pursuing his Associate in Science degree and then plans to transfer for a bachelor’s degree in computer science. After that, he wants to start his own company. If that doesn’t work, he will return to school for a master’s and then try another company.

In fact, he “tested the waters” and started a wedding planning website, the Wedding Circle, which he recently sold after a successful run.

His advice to prospective students is to think of College of DuPage as not “just” a community college.

“I put COD in my back pocket and almost went to a university thinking, ‘If the university doesn't work out, I could go to COD,’” he said. “I couldn't begin to tell you how happy I am that I decided to stay. I’ve saved a lot of money and have been able to work with and meet some incredible people.

“Whatever you’re interested in, take a class at COD. If you like the people you're working with and you like what you’re doing, you could be potentially taking the first steps into your career field.”

More about the Computer Information Systems program