Investigations into that hazy realm known as "life after Brown" continue, with Adam Leventhal ‘01 sending back the latest report from the field. He’s the Chief Technology Officer of Delphix, a company that builds products that virtualize data, making it faster and easier to build and test applications, execute business reports, modernize systems, and migrate between data centers.
Adam is returning to Brown CS as an honored guest on November 5, 2014 to deliver a lecture to our undergraduates on what he describes as the lessons learned of entrepreneurship, the undervalued aspects of a computer science education, and making the educated choices that can help build a successful life after graduation. It’s going to be held at 12:00 PM in CIT 368.
To give you a taste of what to expect, we asked him a few questions:
Brown CS: I was interested in the “holistic engineer” concept that you mention on your blog. Could you tell us more about that?
“Sure. This is the idea that an engineer needs to consider the whole system, the whole body of work that makes a product successful. You can see examples of this in classes like CS 32, where you’re building software, but the who, what, and why are important. Another source is the UTA program, where you’re taking ownership of what you’re teaching at an early stage, thinking about pedagogy. Brown as a whole is about owning your education, and that’s part of what I mean about the holistic engineer: putting broad responsibility on the individual.”
Brown CS: You also talk about the importance of companies hiring great people, great engineers. How can our students work toward becoming those people?
“They’re probably already doing this, formally and informally. I think the biggest thing is to wrap your head around the way that other people understand. Other people don’t think the way you do, and being able to explain sophisticated concepts is a huge skill. I also want to stress the importance of finding the right time and the right place when you’re first going out into the workplace. You have options, so find your moment and take a chance. You should be excited to work with your future colleagues, and they should be excited to work with you.”
Brown CS: Finally, how are things different now than when you started life after Brown, and what does that tell you about the future for our graduates?
“This is a great question. The key thing for me is that the barrier of entry for startups and independents is so much lower. When I graduated, the Internet was the ‘go west, young man’ of my generation. We remember that time as this exciting bubble, but the way you’d build everything now is easier and cheaper: databases, colocation, Linux, open source software. Developers can easily buy computing time and storage, and collaborate through resources like GitHub. Even things like recruiting are easier due to social networking advancements. We really stand on the shoulders of giants, but not in a passive way. We can get right into their work, extend it, and get new benefits from it.”
We’re looking forward to hearing and learning more. Thanks so much, Adam!