Employee Interview: Alex Hays

Today, we are in conversation with Alex Hays, Parallel Works’s latest full-time addition to the team as a Software Engineer. Alex is a recent graduate of The University of Chicago with a BA in Computer Science.

Q: Where are you from and where are you based now?

A: I’m from Jacksonville, Illinois originally, a small town in the central part of the state. After graduating from the University of Chicago this past June I moved to Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Q: What attracted you to Parallel Works initially?

A: During undergrad I was interested in parallel programming and the web, so the opportunity to continue both of those interests at Parallel Works couldn’t be passed up.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of working in PW currently?

A: Parallel Works is such a young startup, so there’s a constant stream of new and exciting projects to work on. The projects are not just limited to one specific technical area either. Since Parallel Works enables scientists and engineers to run their own work in the cloud, there’s a lot of opportunity to work with and learn from technologies across different scientific disciplines.

Q: What has been an area that you’ve had to work in that was unexpected?

A: Since joining I’ve contributed mostly to our deployment pipeline and other internal developer tools. It’s an interesting area to work in, and I didn’t anticipate the opportunity to help design and build critical tools for the rest of the platform. I’ve also come to appreciate the coordination and problem solving that goes into DevOps work. 

Q: What is your favorite programming language and why?

A: I don’t have a favorite language, but if I had to say it would be Python. It’s the right tool for so many different problems. It’s flexible and overall just an enjoyable language to solve problems with.

Q: Where would you like to travel to next and why?

A: I’m looking forward to going somewhere warm this winter but haven’t quite decided on a specific place yet. Something I haven’t done in a while is camp out and go canoeing. If you ever want to do both I’d recommend the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. Good water and amazing views in the middle of bluff country.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I enjoy exploring Chicago, especially for new coffee shops and restaurants. There’s so many options for both here, so it’s always an adventure. When I’m not out doing that I’m probably listening to music or enjoying a show on Netflix!

Q: What’s your favorite lunch to get when you’re at the Polsky Exchange?

A: You haven’t had a real lunch in Hyde Park until you’ve went to Shinju Sushi or The Medici on 57th street.