PATH is an environmental variable in Linux and other Unix-like
operating systems that tells the shell which directories to search for
executable files (i.e., ready-to-run programs) in response to commands
issued by a user.
Since I decided to install software into '/opt', I had to make sure that '/opt' was listed in PATH; it was not. I amended the '/etc/profile' file with
at the end of the PATH variable. Note: editing '/etc/profile' will affect all users on the system, you should use the file in your home directory if you just want it changed for that specific user.
Symbolic links are like shortcuts or references to the actual file or
directory. Most of the time these links are transparent when working
with them through other programs... Symbolic links are used all the
time to link libraries and make sure files are in consistent places
without moving or copying the original.
Amending the $PATH variable only addressed part of the problem. Adding /opt to the $PATH variable only added that directory and not the specific application located inside. I also needed to create a symbolic link - or symlink - in the /opt directory to the specific application so it was searchable in my application launcher.
ln -s /opt/applicationFolder/executable /opt/applicationName
This creates a symlink for the the executable located in '/opt/applicationFolder' in the directory '/opt/' with the name 'applicationName'. Had to logout/restart to see changes.