Alex Dytrych

Full-Stack Developer & Designer
Teacher & Facilitator

She/her • London, UK / Remote • Updated July 2018

A photo of me! A woman with pink and blue hair, wearing a stripy t-shirt and a suede jacket.

I'm a freelance full-stack JavaScript developer & designer who specializes in creating delightful, playful, high-performance web applications with tech like React, Node.js, and PostgreSQL. I have over 6 years experience building apps, games, and tools for the web.

I spend a lot of time thinking about coding, computational thinking, and how we teach it. As a teacher/facilitator, I've designed & delivered degree-level software engineering courses, taught business executives to build their own IoT devices, and introduced 7-year-olds to game design. I'm also the creator of Erase All Kittens, an award-winning game that teaches children aged 8+ to code.

Work History

Developer & Designer • Airtable
  • Freelance / Consulting
  • Product
  • UI/UX Design
  • JavaScript
  • React.js
  • Data Visualisation

Airtable was looking for help developing Blocks - apps embedded in your spreadsheet/database. With only rough direction and customer feedback, I designed, and implemented several Blocks. The Blocks I created are key features for large Airtable clients, such as well known social media and video streaming companies.

I also improved the Blocks SDK itself. I added new features for tighter integration with the rest of Airtable, and made several API UX changes to make things faster and easier for other developers working on the platform.

Educator & Facilitator • Ada College
  • Freelance / Consulting
  • Education
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Games
  • Agile

At Ada, The National College for Digital Skills, I've designed and delivered several courses and programs. My recent work has been on the 2-year degree-equivalent Digital Innovation Apprenticeship. The course has seen candidates go from absolute beginners to valued members of their software teams at companies like Google, Facebook, and EY.

I co-led the software engineering modules. My personal focus is in ensuring we emphasize the "soft" skills required to be a successful developer. As a result, students learn faster and more collaboratively, in a highly self-directed environment. I also supported delivery of modules on user-centered design, agile methodologies, data structures, and algorithms.

Product Designer & Lead Developer • Verto
  • Freelance / Consulting
  • Product
  • UI/UX Design
  • Games
  • JavaScript
  • React.js
  • GraphQL
  • PostgreSQL

At youth politics charity Bite The Ballot, I designed and built Verto - a playful survey & interactive video platform. With the help of a colleague, I took BTB's team right through the product development process. I facilitated ideation sessions, produced initial prototypes, and tested with some real-world users.

After several design iterations, we built out and launched the platform - testing as we went. My focus was on the technical architecture; UX; and the playful, high-performance frontend. The project has been a huge success - the playful surveys have a very high completion rate beyond our initial expectations. BTB has started to become self-sufficient by offering Verto to comercial businesses.

Software Engineer • Music Glue
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
  • React.js
  • Redux
  • GraphQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Ruby

As a Software Engineer, I helped design, develop, and architect a rewrite of Music Glue's e-commerce system. We replaced a legacy PHP & MySQL monolith with a collection of Node.JS & PostgreSQL services, exposed to clients via a single unified GraphQL API. The new system was orders of magnitude faster and more scalable, with far greater flexibility for our users.

On the client-side, I architected a light-weight, performance-oriented React/Redux shop frontend used on all Music Glue stores. We set a tight performance budget and were able to keep quite comfortably within it. I also created a new theming system that dramatically increased the customization options available to customers.

Co-Founder & CTO • Drum Roll HQ
  • Co-Founder
  • Product
  • UI/UX Design
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
  • React.js
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB
  • Pixi.js
  • AWS

As co-founder & CTO, I was responsible for all the technical work on our product Erase All Kittens, an award-winning game that teaches children how to code. I started the project in my bedroom, and by the time I left, we had introduced hundreds of thousands of children to coding.

I was responsible for the educational content, and much of the mechanics & puzzle design. I created a custom browser-based game engine to support E.A.K.'s core mechanic - the ability to edit the HTML and CSS source code to levels in real time, as you were playing.

Developer • Decoded
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
  • PHP
  • PostgreSQL
  • Real-time
  • Go
  • Angular.js

At Decoded I worked on a range of internal and external software products. Notably, I designed and built the live coding environment Decoded used to deliver all their coding workshops. The web-based editor was designed to have the lowest possible barrier to entry and a very tight feedback loop to help new coders understand the effects of their changes.

Talks & Publications

Co-Author & Consultant • JavaScript Made Easy • DK
The book on Amazon. A short exercise book for children aimed 7-11, introducing them to programming in JavaScript with a series of short, fun projects. The book was published by DK, part of Penguin Random House.
Talk • Intro to GraphQL
Check out the slides. A talk about GraphQL I gave at Node Workshops London. What it is, how it works, how it compares to other technology, and how to get started with it.
Talk • Teaching Tech
Check out the slides. A talk I gave at Queer Code London about how everyone in tech - especially those who are new to the industry - has something to offer when it comes to teaching others.
Talk • Error Handling in GraphQL

Watch on Skills Matter. A short talk on our use of GraphQL at Music Glue. I discussed the decision to make error states an explicit part of our graph schema for extra resilience if a service went down.