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2023 Codesmith Year in Review

2023: Codesmith Year in Review

2023 was the year that software engineering became central to all organizations

Grads are working in climate tech, mental health, education, and leading engineering teams across industries—Abby Chao at a family of three firms, Kelsey Graner at Fusion Medical Staffing, and Darryl Amour at Paypal.

They’re founding and exiting organizations as well. Cam Greer (co-founder at heds), Shray Bansal co-founded Moment and ran their engineering team as CTO (which sold to Patreon).


Course Report interview with Codesmith Alums: Abby Chao, Darryl Amour & Kelsey Graner

But it’s gone hand in hand with a period of unprecedented interest rate rises, a fall in VC-backed investment, and IPO market drying up and resultant ‘big tech’ layoffs. Albeit big tech is investing in talent again as the year ends and doing some remarkable work extending into healthcare, finance, and outside of their traditional domains.


"Big tech hiring should return and VC investment will increase as new opportunities emerge and interest rates steady and begin to fall."


In fact, traditional organizations in finance, healthcare, and media are emerging as new tech firms and have built mature engineering teams. JPMorgan, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and NYTimes have all hired multiple grads this year and are working on problems at a new scale of complexity (there’s a reason Amazon went after e-commerce before healthcare). This means opportunities for grads to work without compromising on engineering culture or impact.

In a startling coincidence, pioneering AI tools are emerging to help make this scale of complexity tractable - GPT-based copilots. It can feel uncomfortable to have support on writing code but it highlights the core capacities of software engineers, not code alone but converting the needs of users, orgs, and society into tech/software. These tools are starting to enable people to tackle unprecedented challenges.

But technical communication becomes ever more important as every solution is built via engineers. Satya Nadella talks about 1bn developers. It’s not always a comfortable realization—the centrality of tech—it’s all the more important to establish the right values in what is built.

It requires leaders in tech who remember their journeys—empathy for knowing how technology works under-the-hood and what it’s like to be a software engineer, but equal empathy for users and those who haven’t journeyed into technology.

Our main route to impact is via the software engineering immersive and continued to be so in 2023.

We’ve brought together more than 30 talented cohorts this year from all backgrounds. The most common majors were Computer Science, Economics, and most common colleges were UCSD, UCLA, and NYU.

Residents came from 13 countries—mostly from the US but also Nigeria, Poland, the UK, Japan, and Brazil. 

There were exceptional scholars in the community—recipients of the Edie Windsor Scholarship, Black Engineering Scholarships, and cohort scholarships.


"Remote work will continue to dominate although with hybrid a close second. Almost no engineering teams are going to be in-person only."


Beyond the immersive, we’re part of a larger community. Admission to Codesmith is designed to ensure you’re ready, so it’s a high bar—but for that not to exclude there has to be enormous support equal to that bar—so we have 100s of free workshops each year and the CSX learning platform. We had 13,388 attendees at our 565 workshops this year and folk completed 210,294 CSX challenges!

And from our Data Science Machine Learning group, we had grads getting offers at ML, AI, and data science roles at Thomson Reuters, Five Rings Capital, and Tower Research Capital.


We had some great alumni events around the country:

  • How Google SREs Modify Production Resources Securely and Safely with Codesmith alum Brett Beekley (Live from Google HQ) - link
  • Fetching Data During Render with Robert Balicki (Former Meta engineer working on Relay)
  • An Angular Workshop with Mark Thompson, DevRel Engineer at Google - hosted via OSLabs

And Happy hours and get-togethers in NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and London—and Holiday parties in NYC, LA, SF, Denver, and CDMX! 

There were some incredible contributions to the wider community too—especially in open source. Some highlights were Tensorflow.js (used by companies like Alibaba) where alums created preprocessing layers and interfaces used for computer vision. Kenny Nguyen, one of the creators of gRPSeek spoke at this year’s gRPC conference at the Google Cloud Campus.

Kenny Nguyen at the 2023 gRPC conference at the Google Cloud Campus

Codesmith Alum, Kenny Nguyen: one of the creators of gRPSeek at this year’s gRPC conference at the Google Cloud Campus

I got to teach User Interface Hard Parts to a tireless audience in Minneapolis at Frontend Masters and was very grateful to the Codesmith community for many 100s of hours of under-the-hood walking through the code of the DOM.

Outcomes were strong for the year with 500+ offers in 2023. CIRR (Council on Integrity in Results Reporting) is reporting outcomes in January for 2022-23 and they’ll publish our full results. In the meantime, there are analyses of shifts in the tech field and employment patterns that capture the trends for grads.

  • Remote (57%) and hybrid (36%) offers dominate - only 7% were fully onsite
  • Mid-level roles were flat (77%), decrease in junior/entry (from 10% to 7%) and senior (16% to 12%) - we think there was some ‘downleveling’ as interviewing.io describes
  • 55% work in JavaScript but 45% work in other languages - lots in Python, Java, Ruby, and increasingly in Rust and Go - this would make sense given the language-agnostic approach the program tries to instill
  • Median days to offer for 2023 increased from 97 days in 2022 to 123 in 2023 - this reflects the slower hiring market
  • Median salary fell in the first half of 2023 but rose again in the second half to ~$122k in Q3 of 2023


Some predictions for 2024:

  • Software engineering will continue to grow in importance to all industries (healthcare, finance, energy) and fields (policy-making, education, creativity) with high-quality engineering culture available in surprising places
  • And these companies and organizations will try to tackle problems previously viewed as intractable (health with new tools (software engineering copilots and AI-powered products) but also better-led engineering teams)
  • Big tech hiring should return and VC investment will increase as new opportunities emerge and interest rates steady and begin to fall
  • There will be frontier opportunities for AI tools and new platforms (like the Vision Pro) similar to the rise of web tools (and open APIs) in the 2010s. We’re integrating some of this in the immersive and the Data Science & Machine Learning team is launching an AI program
  • Machine Learning and data engineering teams beyond generative AI will be a growing part of every company and software engineers who can work closely with these teams will have an edge - we’re adding an ML ops minor available as part of the immersive program
  • Remote work will continue to dominate although with hybrid a close second. Almost no engineering teams are going to be in-person only


We’re all looking forward to the year ahead!