Alvin took the circuitous route to software development. He managed to get a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University, while all he was really trying to do was play baseball. Once he became a practicing engineer, he realized he liked software and programming more than engineering. So in approximate order he taught himself Fortran, C, Unix, and network administration, sed, awk, Perl, Java, Python, Ruby, JRuby, Groovy, PHP, and Scala.
During this process he started a software consulting firm, grew it to fifteen people, sold it, and moved to Alaska. After returning to the "Lower 48," he self-published two books ("How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary", and "Zen and the Art of Consulting"). He also created devdaily.com, which receives millions of page views every year.
These days he runs his consulting business, Valley Programming (valleyprogramming.com), and his 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, the Zen Foundation (zenfoundation.org).