Home People You Shall Not Pass (Up Alex Pate) | He Knows What He’s Tolkien About

You Shall Not Pass (Up Alex Pate) | He Knows What He’s Tolkien About

by Kristyn Back

Alex Pate is ready to join the front lines of the tech startup world after finishing a 12-week program at The Iron Yard. With a badass beard even Gandalf would envy, Alex exemplifies the best of up-and-coming tech talent in Atlanta (multifaceted, experienced, tenacious). He’s not one to walk away from a good problem so don’t pass him up or he may make your favorite Nintendo character’s mustache disappear.

What program did you just complete?
I just finished the Front End Engineering course at The Iron Yard. It’s a 12-week program that quickly ramps you up from building static sites in HTML and CSS, to slightly more complex sites with jQuery, CSS preprocessors like SASS and REST services to building more complex web apps with frameworks/libraries like Angular and Backbone. This was a great experience for me. While I had been playing with programming before attending, they really gave me the structure and mentoring that I needed to build some amazing things.

What past tech projects have you worked on?
My background is mainly in Document Management Systems, specifically as used at law and accounting firms, this gave me a lot of experience with writing SQL. I was also a system admin. I had to administer VMWare, Windows servers, Linux servers, Databases and just about everything else that touches a network. Programming-wise my final project at The Iron Yard is a Nintendo sprite editor named Nixel. It lets you load a NES ROM and edit the sprites to your liking, for example, you could remove Mario’s mustache. Then, it lets you patch the ROM so you could play it on an emulator with your new sprites.

What are your best technical or creative skills?
Troubleshooting, tenacity, and being interested in how things work. I find it difficult to walk away from a good problem. I enjoy taking things apart just to put them back together. I also tend to read a lot, even about things I don’t yet understand. It’s surprising how often I’m able to learn something small from reading that helps me understand an unrelated problem.

What’s next on your list to learn?
I like to have an understanding of what my programs are actually doing, so I plan on going through an algorithms and data structure book and implementing some of them. After or during that, I’ll look into picking up a new language, possibly Ruby. However, I’m leaning towards Clojurescript or Go. For web-based, I want to learn about more about WebGL and D3.

What’s your ideal internship/job?
Going to work with a team of smart people that enjoy their work and that push themselves to try new things. A place where you get to work on multiple projects and I’m constantly being challenged and able to learn new skills. And with me being a newer developer somewhere that values training and mentorship.

Interested in startups?
I’m definitely interesting in startups, especially the culture. This idea of not being afraid of failure, to just pivot to something else and to keep pushing if it doesn’t work is a trait I think we should all have.

Post graduation plans?
Professionally I would love to get a job where I could keep refining my skills. With my personal time I would like to get back to seeing the world and continue working on side projects. Germany has been on my travel list for too long, and my NES emulator isn’t going to finish itself.

You may also like