Hello my name is...

Alex Nakagawa

Full Stack Developer @ LA Clippers by day β˜€οΈ
Open-source contributor & water-sport athlete by night πŸŒ™

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Pho 🍜

Hi Alex, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi, I’m Alex. I graduated from UC Berkeley in the spring of 2020 and now code full-time. The two pillars of my career involve sports and education, which I have the privilege of experiencing in the beautiful city of Los Angeles.

Can you tell us what you do as a Full Stack Developer at LA Clippers for those who are unfamiliar?

I’m a full stack developer for the LA Clippers Planning, Strategy, and Resources division of the Front Office, which is a fancy way of saying I work in creating digital products for the coaches and executives to aid in analytical decision-making. The specifics are all, unfortunately, under wraps! However, all the products I come up with are taken through rigorous ideating and development as one of two software engineers on the team.

How did you decide to pursue development?‍

I played sports my whole life (basketball competitively since age 5), but it never occurred to me that I’d have the opportunity to work for a professional team until college. Some late nights soul-searching for a career direction led me to apply the computer science skills I was learning in my classes to create products for teams within the athletic department of the school. That pivotal moment led me to my first internship at the National Basketball Association, and through the connections and friends I made within the world of sports, the rest was history.

Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?

The world of sports is a very tightly connected field. There are many ways to get involved, and none are necessarily more effective than the other, but my favorite method is to start applying what you learn in school to projects in your free time. Gauging how much you enjoy doing something outside of school in your free time is a good litmus test to how much you will enjoy it as a career! Go into every experience with a growth mindset and learn from others as much as you can.

What are some must-have resources (books, tools, podcasts, etc.) you would recommend for your industry?

Twitter is a treasure-trove of free resources on sports analytics! People like Michael Lopez (Director of Analytics for the NFL) publish free resources on the web on how to get into sports analytics. For entrepreneurs, I recommend podcasts such as Indie Hackers. For overall exploration into human behavior and psyche, Ezra Klein’s podcast with the New York Times is one of my favorites.

What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?

Team-player, assertiveness, detail-oriented

Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?

You must always be willing to get things wrong! It’s a part of learning as a software engineer. There are times when it gets frustrating for me when I make mistakes, but I’ve learned to get better at reminding myself to embrace the challenges that come everyday.

What would you like to say to your younger self?‍

Listen to others more, they sometimes know you better than yourself!

Best advice you've received/heard?

Control the things you can control, and if you can’t, be forgiving to yourself and try again.

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