Alex Taylor

Meet our newest Product Developer, affectionately known as McTaylorPants… or Alex, if we’ve got our serious hats on.

Alex is coming to us from from a boutique post-production company in Vancouver called Skylab. He started out as a junior technician, and from there his role slowly evolved into developing automation and asset management tools in everything from Bash to Python and FileMaker Pro. This past fall that company was going through some fundamental changes, and he decided to take the opportunity to get more serious about development and enrolled in CodeCore – and loved every minute of it!

Brewhouse: Welcome, Alex! Let’s start with learning a little bit about what you were up to before joining the team.

Alex: Thanks! Well, I’ve got a BFA in Film from Simon Fraser University because I developed a passion for filmmaking in high school. In terms of programming and web development, I was entirely self-taught until I took the Web Developer bootcamp at CodeCore.

Brewhouse: Another Codecore graduate! Our former apprentice, turned full-time developer, Paulo, was also a graduate from there.

Alex: Yes, I know! He was one of the TAs for my cohort this past fall. Gabe, too.

Brewhouse: Nice! So when you’re learning a new skill like coding, most people screw up a lot in the beginning. What would you say is your most embarrassing professional screw-up, where you should have known better?

Alex: Ages ago, I was a camera assistant on an independent film shoot. I was in charge of unloading the film from the camera and into a light-tight film can for delivery to the lab. I was going a little too quickly one day and the lid on the camera popped open, exposing and ruining the entire 20-minute roll of shot material! The producers were very understanding, but I was pretty mortified. That taught me the value of taking your time and not rushing!

Brewhouse: I can’t imagine how terrifying that conversation would have been to tell the producers. So let’s shift and talk about career accomplishments. What single project or task would you consider to be your most significant?

Alex: At Skylab, we designed a completely unique and innovative post workflow for finishing Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. It was an exciting project to work on, and I’m extremely proud of what we managed to pull off with such a small (but dedicated) team.

RELATED: Alex’s 2007 final short film project:

Brewhouse: Speaking of dedicated team..ahem, what do you hope to contribute here?

Alex: I’m really proud to be part of this team, and I’m excited to keep honing my skills. My experience at Skylab gave me a strong aptitude for understanding and designing interconnected systems, and I think a lot of those concepts will translate nicely into web development. I’ve also developed a fondness for writing tests, so I’m loving Brewhouse’s ‘Test Everything’ mantra.

Brewhouse: We even apply that fondness to testing every type of coffee and tea out there! And on occasion, the local craft breweries.

Alex: Yes! And honestly, I was naturally drawn to Brewhouse as soon as I heard the name! The more I learned about the company, the more I liked: the small, tight-knit team; the emphasis on quality; the spirit of collaboration and openness. They’re all values that I hold personally so I was really excited to get the opportunity to come onboard. Plus you were willing to overlook the fact that I don’t (yet) drink coffee.

Brewhouse: WHAT?! You’re lucky you drink tea though. :) Looking out 3 - 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in tech?

Alex: I think we’ll see a full convergence of the mobile app and web app spaces. This is already starting to happen with projects like React Native, and I think as those projects evolve it’ll lead to a more seamless experience, not only for users but for developers as well.

Brewhouse: Makes sense. You must read publications or blogs that help support this opinion. What are some of your favourite places to learn?

Alex: @ThePracticalDev on Twitter is really great. I keep an eye out for Javascript and React tips in the Front End Newsletter. I also try to hit up the Rails blog every couple of weeks.

Practical Dev

Brewhouse: And one last question – what do you consider one of your greatest skills?

Alex: Being able to order Chinese donuts and soy milk in relatively fluent Mandarin while on a trip to Taiwan.

Although Alex does not drink coffee and is all about the single origin black tea, we saw such potential in him in the short time he’s been working with code. He’s been able to demonstrate a proficient ability in building high quality products.

In one of his first Creative Fridays, he shipped GifGrabbr – this is a great indicator of how he thinks about delivering value and pleasure to users through programming.

In addition, Alex is very approachable and keen to speak to customers, the real people we build software for, so we believe he will make a great Brewer and Product Developer in YVR.

They say that ‘all you need is love’, but some days all you need are pants. McTaylorPants, that is.


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