Letter to the Graduating Class of 2022
With graduation for many students around the corner, I thought I would share a bit about my own engineering journey in college and the realizations I’ve come to throughout my career that inspired me to cofound CodePath.
As a technology leader who has spent years teaching students, mentoring other fellow engineers, and building products, I have seen that most forms of creation can be thought of as a type of engineering. In my view, engineering is taking an understanding of the world and applying that knowledge to solve a problem by creating something in the world.
What is so exciting about engineering is that no two people will create in the same way - everyone is different. There are an unlimited number of ways to manifest things we think of in our heads and bring them forth into the world. One thing for certain, though, is that if a person is given proper time to explore and have access to resources and mentors, they will find an area of interest they naturally feel drawn to and can go deeper to create something truly satisfying and meaningful.
Through my life, I have come to see my work at the intersection of three different types of engineering - learning engineering, software engineering, and business engineering - each with their own skills and journey of self-discovery in their own right. I’ve gone into detail about each of them below.
Three ways of bringing unique forms of your own imagination into the world
- Learning Engineering aka Teaching/Mentoring. While I was in college, my friends and I had a strong desire to learn as many of the practical skills we possibly could - web and mobile app development, advanced databases, cybersecurity, game development, and more. We wanted it all. So, I decided to start running workshops and events through a student club on campus where people could come to learn, practice, deepen our knowledge, and welcome other students to join. As it grew and grew, I realized we were not alone. I also realized that I wasn’t powerless - I could create the learning experiences that I and so many of my friends were craving.
- Software Engineering aka Development. Software engineering is the ability to bring abstract, initially vague ideas in your mind or in the minds of a collection of people to reality. In software, this brings it into digital reality and perhaps, if you play your cards right, into other people’s digital attention. There’s nothing quite as powerful for those who love engineering as the process of materializing an idea and then watching others begin to use (and hopefully) benefit from it.
By senior year, I was hanging out with a new friend in CS who loved making stuff, and so we started working on a fun side project we had brainstormed - a simple framework for making web apps together. We worked on it in our free time, and when we finally put it on Github, we had a bunch of people reach out to say they liked what we were doing and if they could help out. Never could we have imagined that the project, which started out as a way for us to pass the time, would end up becoming a framework with just shy of 1M developer user installs. It was then I realized that to engineer is to bring your imagination into the world.
- Business engineering aka Entrepreneurship. Business engineering is the ability to bring abstract ideas about how you can provide services or products to others to life. This has a lot of overlap with other types of engineering, but also significant differences. This includes things like learning leadership skills, communication, strategy, team building, designing revenue models, management processes, marketing, and product development. Business engineering can be perhaps one of the most satisfying and challenging forms of engineering.
At the intersection of these three forms of creation - learning engineering, software engineering, and entrepreneurship - is where I happened to find my love of creation. These are also the reasons why I co-founded CodePath. CodePath is first and foremost a personal and professional exploration of all three of these interests as well as a vehicle for learning and developing through helping and supporting others on their paths. To us, CodePath is an answer to our personal quest: “What would the students we knew have wanted to learn, know, and had access to?”
I hope that my story can help this year’s graduating class perhaps make better sense of some of the paths that could lie ahead. And as always, the CodePath team and I will readily stand by, helping you to not only build the confidence and skills you need to succeed in tech, but to ignite your genuine interests and passions that may last a lifetime.
While there is a lot of uncertainty today, if you stay true to yourself and give yourself permission to explore your own interests and curiosities, then you will embark on a fulfilling journey of self-discovery and a successful engineering career.
Wishing you the best on your continued journey,
Nathan Esquenazi, CodePath Cofounder and CTO