3rd Biannual Alumni Dev Panel
On Friday, October 18th, over a hundred 42 Silicon Valley students attended the 3rd Biannual Alumni Dev Panel. Cadets had the opportunity to learn from 42 alumni about their transition to working as professionals in the industry. The panel consisted of 6 guest alumni from companies such as: Merit, Google, LinkedIn, Complete Genomics Inc, and Smule Inc. While responding to questions from the host, the guest alumni filled the room with laughter and inspired students with personal anecdotes. Following the panel was a reception that gave students the opportunity to connect with the panelists and other alumni who were in attendance. Creating an engaged and supportive alumni network is crucial to any institution’s success, therefore providing this forum, as well as creating other opportunities for students and alumni to connect, has been an on-going initiative at 42.
Networking / Community
Panelist Kyle Davis recalled that one of the things that initially drew him into 42 was the sense of community that he first felt during his piscine. He also pointed out how familiar it was for him to be back at 42. “My conversations with cadets [during the reception] led to talking about strategies used when working on a project or how different algorithms can be used to solve different problems.” Current cadet William North also commented that the alumni had a very positive impact on cadets, stating that, “Having the opportunity to talk with your peers after they’ve already spent some time in the field not only gives a personalized experience, but another avenue for potential introductions to companies.” According to research conducted by LinkedIn Newsroom, 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection. Panelist Aneesh Nazar concluded that it is important for cadets to see others from the 42 program succeed, and also, “that alumni be reminded of where they come from.”
When 42 Silicon Valley opened its doors to its first batch of students in September 2016, there was no indication of an alumni network. While 42 had been around for three years before the Silicon Valley campus started, there was yet to be a strong alumni presence in the U.S. Nevertheless, these cadets found encouragement from their peers who were able to pursue careers at different points in their journey through the curriculum. Now that 42 Silicon Valley has been open for more than three years, the amount of alumni engagement is growing. Cadet Dylan Sotomayor shared that, after attending the panel, the alumni’s perspective demonstrated that “there were people in a similar situation to me who were able to succeed.” Cadet Yerzhan Orazayev further elaborated about his own experience and takeaways from the panel. He stressed the importance of talking to people who have graduated or studied from 42 Silicon Valley and strongly believed that, “[alumni] will help resolve uncertainties that students experience.” Panelist Conan Wu confirmed, “As most cadets are at various stages of discovering their interests and understanding the industry, it can be valuable to get some perspective from alumni who went on different paths after 42.”
The Alumni Dev Panel inspired all attendees of the event. Panel participants were able to share their stories from their humble beginnings here at 42 to where they are now. While the current student population felt emboldened by the words of wisdom from this group of professionals, Conan added that it was also “inspiring to revisit the place that got me interested in programming.” Panelist Charlie Summers added that speaking as an alumni is “an amazing way to stay involved with 42 and to help build the community that helped build you.” The 42 experience is not entirely tied to the campus and reaches beyond the curriculum.
Written by Enzo Surdam and Andy Gardner