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College Football Player to Music Producer to Programmer?! An Amazing Interview with Skillcrush Student, Cody Romness

Think Skillcrush is just for gals? Think again! We’ve been very fortunate to have a number of very talented, supportive, fun guys in our class – everyone from a business analyst single dad wanting to transition to a more creative career, to a renaissance man and Harlem Globetrotter, dribbling and pixel-pushing with the best of the best.

One of our most curious students is Cody Romness. Cody played football as a Safety for the USC Trojans in college and found his way into the music industry after graduation – but not without side hustling and working hard. Cody is committed to life-long learning and often sends me emails debating the finer points of UX and design deliverables, constantly seeking out better workflows and ways to keep improving his typography skills (all this while asking great questions and helping his fellow students!).

I sat down with Cody to find out what about his new skills has him most excited and learn how he takes the football mindset and applies it to learning to code.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a recent 25 year old chasing the dream in Los Angeles, CA. I produce music and work on an Internet talk show about the music business.

And since I’m sure everyone’s dying to know, here’s a quick timeline of my life. I was born and raised in Minnesota. Migrated to Palm Springs, CA for high school. Started a band. Played Football. Graduated from the University of Southern California (Fight on!). I played football as a Safety for the Trojans and majored in Music Industry and good times. Post college, I produced a big fitness event with a partner, tended bar after that money ran out, and then forced my way into the music business.

2. Why did you decide to learn to code?
If you’re going to be an entrepreneur at this wonderful time in the world I think you’d be crazy not to learn code. Are you going to have a business? Sweet! Well you’ll probably need a website, right? Who’s going to build it…? I’d rather be able to get something started, gather momentum, then hire professionals down the line to take it the business to the next level.

3. What is something surprising or cool that you’ve learned in one of the Skillcrush classes/in the Blueprint?
The world of Typography! My goodness I did not know such effort and design went into how type looks. I completely took the world of “information design” for granted. I didn’t even know information design existed until Skillcrush opened my eyes. Plus it’s rad that there are a TON of websites on the internet dedicated to typography.

4. What is your favorite thing about Skillcrush classes/coursework?
I really like the Skillcrush website, its color palette, and the design/development. It’s a good example. Also I think the Skillcrush ladies do a fine job of organizing the course and sending the emails out every day. My instructor Dee is always available to answer my questions. Plus, the female touch on all the details is pretty awesome.

5. What was initially the most challenging concept for you with HTML and CSS?
Right now, I’m bogged down a bit in CSS. Getting the HTML layout and details is a little hard too. But it’s like learning a new language. You can’t expect to be fluent right off the bat! You have to stumble around with the locals, go out to eat at the local restaurants and spend some time in the culture before you’re smooth with the language.

6.If you had to pick one new skill you’ve learned that you love the most, what would it be ? 
A sharper eye for design. What looks good, what works, and why that is.

7. What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn to code but is nervous?
Tighten up that chinstrap on your football helmet and go in full speed for the tackle! You’re going to get knocked down but you’ll be one less knock down closer to achieving your goal.

8. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
If I have to tell you want to do… I picked the wrong guy! Or another one: You don’t ask, You don’t get! If you had to draw the caricature of a Music Business professional it would be Steve, the guy I work with. Complete with head to toe golf outfits, cigars, ray ban glasses, and the mouth of a sailor. Those two lines I’ll carry with me forever.

9. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Music is a huge part of my inspiration. Especially a well written, timeless song and the elements that go into something like that. Athletics are big for me as well. Just the athletic mindset, the concept of an opponent, the attitude, the hours put in practicing when everyone else left the field… That just fires me up. I also get inspired by people just out there in the world, being who they want to be and owning it. Lastly, my Mom is a big inspiration for me. She’s a badass.

10. What tech skills do you want to learn next?
Adobe Creative Cloud is absolutely amazing. I would love to get better at Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects. Plus they integrate perfectly with content creation for building a web presence. The stuff that artists and other creatives are doing with those programs is insane!

11. How do you use technology to unwind or relax or have fun?
I would have to say reading Esquire magazine. That magazine leads the charge of innovation in electronic publications. Their magazine on the iPad set the bar for great content with great information design.

12. What’s your personal motto?
Remember who you are and how you got here.

13. If you could visit anywhere in the world right now, money is no object, where would you go?
Heli Skiing in Alaska.

14. What music do you listen to when you code?
Classical. It’s the only style I can listen to and stay focused on the task. Otherwise I start focusing too much on the music!

Deepina Kapila

Dee is a fun-loving instructor with diverse tech experience across Fortune 500 companies, early-stage start-ups, government agencies & non-profits. Dee works at mobile product design studio Funsize, in Austin Texas where she lives with her husband, 2 border collie mixes, & 2 cats.

In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, reading on her Kindle & scuba diving in her hometown (Curaçao - an island in the Caribbean!).

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