One of the cool things about Apple is how accessible its senior execs are. Steve Jobs started the practice of making his email address public knowledge, and would often respond to users’ comments. Tim Cook continued that philosophy, and has said he spends hours responding to people’s emails.
Over the weekend, an email posted to Reddit featured Craig Federighi’s message to a young fan wanting to pursue coding. Here’s what Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering had to say.
“There are many different roads to this destination. I think the following were most important to me:
– Dedicate yourself to your studies — there’s so much knowledge available to you in University — take advantage of this special opportunity.
– Go broad and deep. You need to be an expert in your area of specialization, but inspiration comes [from] tapping other disciplines. Also, engineering and design are team activities, so find opportunities to continue your development in written and spoken communication.
– Work with great people. My greatest learnings have come from working around people whose work I admire.
– Follow your heart. Several times along the way I was forced to choose between options that looked good ‘on paper’ (i.e. to my analytical mind) and opportunities that ‘felt right.’ Listening to my heart ultimately paid off in ways I couldn’t have anticipated at the time.
Hope this helps!
Craig Federighi’s advice to coders
It’s pretty great to see someone in Federighi’s position take the time to answer a question with so much thought put into it. And his reply mirrors Cupertino’s focus on the importance of coding. Apple executives frequently push coding as a necessary life skill. The company launched its Swift curriculum to help with that. It also stages a number of coding events at Apple Stores around the world.
Federighi studied for a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He followed that up with a Master of Science degree in computer science from the same school. He joined Steve Jobs’ company NeXT, then came to Cupertino when Apple acquired NeXT in 1996. After leaving Apple for a decade, Federighi returned in 2009. He has been there ever since.