There are many fascinating career paths out there for programmers and developers, but some of the most interesting careers and companies are created out of the need to solve a specific problem. Alex Schmelkin, the Chief Marketing Officer and a founding team member of Unqork, experienced just that. Keep reading to learn more about his career path and advice for up-and-coming coders.
As a kid I was always coding and tinkering. I’m a self-taught programmer and taught myself how to program websites in the early days of the Internet. In the years leading up to Unqork, my customer experience agency, Cake & Arrow, started focusing on the insurance and banking industries.
Fast-forward a number of years and many, many enterprise applications delivered later. Myself and the other founding members of Unqork all got together to solve one of technology’s most pressing problems: it takes too long, too much money, and requires way too many people to create software for large organizations that really makes a difference. So we developed a new, no-code approach to create software for big companies that allows them to build sophisticated applications without having to write a single line of code. For those young coders learning Scratch, it’s similar in that you can drag-and-drop commands, while also building software for banks and big cities like New York.
Now, three years later, Unqork has quickly become the new way for forward-thinking companies and organizations in highly-regulated industries to build really complex software without needing to write code.
When we were just getting started, Unqork was focused on companies in the insurance and financial services industries, like: Liberty Mutual, John Hancock, and Goldman Sachs. Over the past 2 years, we’ve also expanded our work in the public sector, working with city governments, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies like Maimonides Medical Center (one of the biggest hospitals in Brooklyn).
Most recently, our no-code software powered Covid-19 pandemic responses for two of the country's largest cities: New York City and Washington, DC. These support and management hubs ensure residents have access to essential resources and, in NYC, enabled the delivery of over eight million meals to residents while employing more than 11,000 out-of-work delivery drivers.
That sounds like problem-solving at its finest! What two pieces of advice would you give to young people interested in coding?
One: Focus on what you love. Be obsessively and endlessly curious.
One of my mentors used to say “passion is the best predictor of success.” Why? Because if you're super passionate about something you’ll be more motivated to learn about it, you’ll seek out and find yourself in conversations with the top experts in the field, and you’ll read voraciously while others, who are less interested, will get distracted along the way.
Following your passion also applies to being a coder. I’d encourage you to build things you’re really passionate about. I advanced my coding skills the fastest when I was working on projects that really caught my attention, and, as you probably already know, it’s much easier to code and debug something when you’re invested in seeing the amazing end result.
Two: If you’re looking to make a difference, you need to be a problem solver.
Someone, who is willing and eager to observe a situation, identify the problem, and find the best tool at their disposal to create a solution.
For a coder, that means being willing to use both programming languages and tools outside of your normal toolbox. Asking yourself how you can most effectively and efficiently create a solution will enable you to make a huge difference.
Thanks for chatting with The Coding Space, Alex! For more information about Unqork and their no-code platform, you can visit their website here. And to unlock your child’s passion for problem solving, check out our virtual summer camp, Camp Coding Space Online, today.