Catching Up With … Zack Honig ‘12
President of CPUProdigy
Were you always interested in computer and technology? What made you decide to attend Hofstra?
I have been interested in computers and technology since I was a little kid. When I started, I didn’t fully understand exactly what I was getting into yet, but I knew that this was what I wanted to do, and this was what I was good at. I mean I was the kid who beat my big brother in video games with my remote controller upside down. If that’s not natural talent, then I don’t know what is. The main reason I attended Hofstra was because it was a well-connected private community that I wanted to be a part of. I met plenty of people, and the classroom sizes were very small. This gave me the opportunity to learn better from my teachers, and to know them on a personal level. The moment I started college, I jumped right into Computer Science with the intentions of developing and doing IT-related tasks on a daily basis.
What activities were you involved with as an undergraduate student?
As an undergraduate student, I was mostly working, and building my experience inside Hofstra and out. When I wasn’t working, I really enjoyed getting together socially with my friends. I was involved with the Computer Science Club, and Hofstra University Startups.
Can you explain Hofstra University Startups? What gave you the idea to start it?
I truly enjoyed encouraging students of all majors to become more involved with technology and to meet other people. Going to college doesn’t guarantee you a job, but if you meet the right people and gain many experiences, your chances of getting a job seems to increase. One day I was getting a cup of coffee with a couple of close colleagues, who were young entrepreneurs like me. We noticed that at the time Hofstra did not have an active entrepreneurship club. That was when we took it upon ourselves to start the club because we are all young, bright students with great ideas, and we needed to share our ideas with other people. You never know who has the funding or holds the missing puzzle pieces to help you complete your dreams. Over time, Hofstra University Startups has increasingly become more successful because we are getting more students involved and helping students gain valuable experience. The club is constantly participating in competitions at other universities looking for investors to fund ideas. Sometimes we lose, but it is through our failures that we will eventually succeed. That makes us real winners.
Are there any professors who served as mentors to you during your years as a student? How did they help you along your educational journey?
The entire Computer Science Department was full of mentors and friends. During my journey, the professors always showed me new tricks on the educational side and business side. They always looked out for me – we were family. I am especially grateful to them because they provided me with job opportunities, which helped significantly build my resume. It was an honor to work alongside these incredible people. My favorite class was Advanced Programming Languages. Ironically, I did horrendous in that class, but it meant a lot to me because it was the most difficult and challenging class I have ever taken. Through this challenge, I was able to learn more about programming and about myself. Whenever a challenge is in front of you, you have to push your way through and never quit.
Can you give a short description of your company, CPUProdigy. What are your responsibilities? What are some examples of your clients?
CPUProdigy LLC is a New York IT consulting company that I founded and currently run as CEO. We work with a variety of businesses and clients to provide the best solutions and all the necessary tools and resources to run your business within budget. Some of my work includes – but is not limited to – maintaining computer networks and backup systems, designing websites, and developing software. We have been in business for about one year, and we’re growing with our clients.
What career advice would you give graduating and current students majoring in computer science?
I advise all students to gain a lot of experience working in the field that you like, even if you are not getting paid to do it! Nothing matters more than building experience, and finding ways to do what you love when you are out there looking for a job. It determines your entry point, starting wages, and how happy you are going to be. My next piece of advice is to meet with many people and to stay in touch! Sometimes after college people lose touch with one another, and this defeats one of the main purposes of going to college – networking and meeting people with similar goals or who are on career paths that may someday intersect with your own.