An alpha geek is someone who experiments with new technology, and often has a high level of proficiency with technology. As the “alpha” implies, alpha geeks tend to run at the forefront of the pack, and they are often used as indicators to predict the future of technology. In an office environment, an alpha geek's services may also be in demand when coworkers struggle with computer problems.
This term appears to date to around 1995, when it was originally used primarily to describe someone with a lot of skills when it came to using technology. By 2002, people were also using the term to describe early adopters, whether or not they were skilled users of technology. This is an important distinction: an alpha geek with tech skills may, for example, tinker with new devices to explore their capacity, while an early adopter might simply settle for appreciating new technology, but not exploring it excessively. Some early adopters are actually quite useless when it comes to fixing technology or probing into how things work.
Alpha geeks are often literate across computing platforms, and they may feel comfortable in a wide range of programs and environments. They use an assortment of devices, ranging from the latest cell-phones to high-tech kitchen gadgets, and many feel a need to be seen as ahead of the pack when it comes to technology. This can lead an alpha geek to pursue obscure or sought-after technology to impress people. Alpha geeks also tend to be early adopters of new developments on the Internet.
In the case of people who are technologically proficient in addition to being interested in new technology, alpha geeks may regard “cracking” new devices as a personal mission. When something is released on the market, these alpha geeks buy it for the purpose of taking it apart, deconstructing it, and exploring the ways in which it works. Often, this can lead to benefits for the company which releases the product, as alpha geeks may identify potential security weaknesses and other problems which weren't caught during development.
You can usually identify an alpha geek rather easily. Alpha geeks tend to own a lot of technological toys, and they often relish obscure arguments about technology. They may also provide a great deal of advice, unsolicited or otherwise, to friends and coworkers. This can sometimes be rather useful; a consultation with an alpha geek before a new purchase can sometimes save heartache later.