Alvin Alexander took the circuitous route to software development. Initially he managed to get a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University when all he was really trying to do was play baseball. Then once he became a practicing engineer, he realized he enjoyed programming more than engineering, so he learned Fortran, C, Unix, network administration, and more.Once he got comfortable with programming, he started his own software consulting firm in his basement, grew it to 20 people, then sold it and moved to Alaska. After returning to the “Lower 48” he began writing books, including the 1st and 2nd editions of the “Scala Cookbook,” and a top-seller, “Functional Programming, Simplified.” He also co-wrote the “Scala 3 Book” for the official Scala website, and created, which receives millions of page views every year.Alvin is also a survivor of two types of cancer and two rare blood diseases. These days he’s starting a new consulting business, Valley Programming (, and hopes to one day get back to running his nonprofit charity, the Zen Foundation, which donates books on mindfulness and meditation to libraries and many other locations.