Alumni Engagement @ 42: How it has a Positive Impact on both Alumni and Cadets
On Friday, August 10th, 42 Silicon Valley hosted our second annual Alumni Dev Panel which was a big hit! There were 12 alumni from companies such as Paypal, Microsoft, and Netflix, with various positions where they can flex all of the amazing coding and soft skills that they learned while at 42. After the panel, which lasted for about two hours, we hosted a Cadet/Alumni Mixer where alumni spent a lot of time with the cadets and even bought them pizza. The event had a relaxed feel to it, and alumni were great about sharing their story about their own journey from 42 to employment with cadets who were in attendance. These personal testimonies inspired a lot of cadets, especially those who did not attend a traditional college or university. Josh Trujillo, an event coordinator at 42, shared, “It was really good to see a lot of former cadets, I started with a lot of people who were on the panel. Seeing people who were successful reminds us why we do what we do.”
Alumni Give Back To The 42 Community
We want to thank the alumni who were able to participate in this alumni dev panel, and for engaging with cadets who are inspired to follow their own amazing journeys. Read below for quotes from some alumni who shared their perspectives about the panel:
Julia Iliuk, Software Engineer at Netflix: “It was very exciting to come back to the school, even though it’s been only a little over a month for me. I saw many familiar faces, I was happy to find out so many of my cohort’s classmates found full-time jobs. The most memorable moment for me was the after-panel informal discussion with the new cadets – a lot of people just came up to me to ask genuine questions and they were truly interested in the answers. It is funny – I still have this impostor syndrome, I doubt my skills even though I got a job already, and I don’t feel like I have any authority in advising others. At the same time, I saw that people need to hear what I was saying and it inspired them and gives them hope.
I’m going to repeat a few of those things here for those, who missed the panel:
1. You’ll always be doubting your experience and skills and that’s normal – as Aristotle put it, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” We’re from 42 and we’re bound to constantly keep learning.
2.Participate in as many school events/hackathons as you can – it not only will give you experience, but also a chance to get hired. At least, that’s how I found my current job.
3.Soft skills. This point is underrated, but it’s very important to be able to communicate your ideas properly and to always be on time, with a positive attitude and so on. You know the gist – practice it with your fellow students and while interviewing. Start with companies you’re less interested in and work your up a list.”
Robert Passafaro, Software Engineer at Ujama: “Coming back to 42 for the panel was a mix of emotions. It was the place I found my passion. Not once but over and over again. The feeling of having the support of the 42 family is overwhelming. I was happy to try and share pieces of advice to cadets as I remember what being in their position was like. You are worried that you aren’t doing the right things. This feeling never fades. My piece of advice to cadets who are grinding, struggling and learning everyday is to not forget when you found that passion. Hold that feeling close and you will never fail.”
Robin Schramm, Software Engineer at Microsoft: “The alumni panel was a lot of fun. It was so 42 — casual, funny, warm. So many hugs and even a few tears (mainly from Momma Jamie). And then seeing all the old cadets looking proud with their new jobs, that sense of confidence and achievement in their voices — it was a really special experience. It gave closure to the journey we all started two years ago, that tremendous leap of faith we took together. But then on top of all this, seeing the newest crop of cadets was also pretty surreal. All that ambition and joy and enthusiasm. They asked lots of great questions and made us feel as though no time had passed. 42 is a one of a kind place: small town feel, world-class educational experience.”
Inspired Students, the 42 Cadet Perspective
We also want to thank the students who came out in full force to welcome alumni back to 42’s campus. You asked some great questions during the alumni dev panel, and we can’t wait to host another inspiring night like this again in the future. Below are words that cadets shared about what the event meant to them:
Marc Tan, 22: “I have not attended an alumni panel before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a student, this acts as a showcase that shows me the 42 program produces success. Many in the community who come from non-traditional paths usually face worry and concern with regards to their time at 42 and their future. Having this alumni panel, with faces that talk about their own stories, definitely have an impact on the morale of the community, and that’s a big hitter considering how rigorous and harsh the program can be. Personally, I enjoyed seeing familiar faces and catching up. Robin was my favorite speaker because he presented very well. His story and his analogies were humorous and relatable. Might be because he’s an English major, or not.”
Zeid Tisnes, 22: “It was nice to hear everyone talk about their job experiences, having a different idea of what they were saying gave me a picture of what I will expect. Seeing them succeeding at their company gives me bliss because it also gives me hope with pursuing a job without a degree. Hearing their struggle gave me more motivation to push myself, we will experience similar struggles, but you don’t need to worry because you aren’t alone. One story that caught most of my attention was Robin’s story on how 42 projects changed his perspective on what it means to struggle and how to work through it. Liliia shared how she was more willing to learn stuff on her own at 42, that I feel that kind of initiative is pretty important for learning and especially getting jobs.”
Eileen Liu, 24: “It was really exciting to see peers and friends that have entered the job industry and to hear about their success. Being able to interact with them and ask them questions that you can’t find on Google was very helpful and I really hope to see more events like this. Not only did I receive valuable job advice, I also learned priceless life advice during the panel. It confirms that 42 is a place where any type of person can come to learn and thrive. ”