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4 min read Personal

Dear 20 year old Software Engineer

I initially wrote this article for a Medium publication at Mar 21, 2015. Almost 9 years ago! The original blog post is still available at Medium

Before writing a letter to 20 year old me, it’s better to introduce myself. I am a Computer Engineering student at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve worked for more than 5 companies which ranges from startups to corporations.

I’ve experienced different environments, I’ve learned different programming languages, but most important of them all, I’ve tried every position available that I can be in within the range of my age.

Currently, I am working as a Software Engineer at Signalive and currently developing Snapmail in my part time.

Dear 20 year old me,

I know you are trying to achieve your best. Within the time you live, you keep improving yourself. Learning new programming languages, testing different environments, developing different mobile applications.

For what? You know that don’t you?

You are trying to improve yourself to be better, and finally, to earn more money. It’s true what they say. More money doesn’t bring you happiness. But as the elders say, you have to make a mistake to learn what does it mean to “make a mistake”. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

It’s important to teach. Don’t worry, I don’t mean College. While teaching something, you are going to figure out what things that make you excited and more passionate.

Do what makes you passionate. I’ve always read different stories in Medium. Computer Engineers was always frustrated by the work load of their jobs. It’s true. Computer Engineering is not a joke. A lot of people are going to depend on you. Not to fail. Not to disappoint. But not only in Computer Industry, but also in life too.

A lot of friends including loved ones are going to come up with different applications, and going to involve you into it. Don’t hesitate to say no. In long term, saying no to something that doesn’t make you feel excited, will make you happy.

Try everything. Don’t worry. Your professors are going to say, “this area of computer engineering is not for you” but it is ok. Try that. Don’t hesitate. If you are going to fail, you should fail because of the choices that you make, not because of others.

Language doesn’t matter. Don’t ever forget that. While learning different programming languages, you are going to love one more than another. Don’t limit yourself with just that. iOS or Android, Native mobile application or hybrid mobile application, they all serve to one purpose. To achieve to your task.

Try to balance. It is important to balance your love life, friends and family. If you are going to work hard, you should know that one of these 3 portions of your life is going to feel unloved.

Set small but efficient goals. If you don’t make your goal achievable, it will frustrate you. But most importantly, it will demotivate you. Set small goals in the path to success.

You have read a lot of stories from Facebook. Stories that involve commonly made mistakes. They all say “Don’t work hard”. Being a workaholic isn’t a good thing. You are going to regret it when you get older. (Trust me, you are going to get older.)

You have used a lot of open-source projects. A lot. Don’t forget to contribute to them. Contributing to open-source world will improve you more than anything. You will feel more ambitious then ever. Don’t be afraid. It will motivate you, I promise.

Sincerely, Yagiz Nizipli