Math and Science
Bachelor of Science in Zoology
Professional Test Manager
Jim Hazen earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Colorado State University in 1986. In addition to the core courses for his major, he chose to focus on computers. This gave him a solid foundation in science, biology, and medicine, as well as computer technology. His first job out of college was at a hospital in Los Angeles where he worked in the nuclear medicine department performing computer tomography tests on culinary care patients. Here, he combined his medical knowledge with his computing ability. He now works in the computer industry, testing business software. Outside of work, he devotes much of his time to his family. He also has a passion for underwater photography, which has been enhanced by the knowledge he gained while studying zoology because not only can he capture beautiful images, he now has a full understanding of what he is photographing, the species, the behaviors, as well as the beauty.
Why did you choose to major in zoology?
I wanted to be the next Jacques Cousteau. I was very interested in marine biology and wanted to spend my days in the ocean studying sea life. However, after studying abroad in California and learning that the majority of a marine biologist’s time is spent in the lab, I was turned off from that career. This, plus living in Colorado — a land-locked state — led me to look for a major that was like marine biology, but based on land animals. So, zoology was an easy choice.
What did you like about majoring in zoology?
I enjoyed learning about biology and the different animals at the macro level. I enjoyed learning how things are put together, how they function, why they function, and how their different parts interact.
What did you not like about the major?
I never liked the taxonomy memorization, having to classify animals according to kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. It just wasn’t one of my strong suits.
Why did you focus on computer studies in addition to zoology?
After doing some research and contemplation, I decided that I needed to augment my degree and expand my career options after I graduated. I was mathematically inclined and excelled in classes such as genetics and population biology, and since computing is based mostly in math, it was an easy transition. I wanted to combine my zoology knowledge with my computing abilities in areas such as epidemiology.
How are you able to apply what you learned while earning your degree to your career?
I use scientific methodology every day. I’m able to see software as a biological system, seeing its make-up, how it functions, and what might cause it to malfunction. The analytical skills I obtained while studying zoology have been transferred into my career and allow me to look into the software I test and really break it down.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in majoring in zoology?
First of all, understand what the degree will give you and know what you want to do with it. A zoology degree alone can be very limiting. Zoology gives you a solid foundation in science and medicine, so you should expand on the degree to give yourself more career options.