This week, I published Ryan Bergman's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:

  • Ryan's journey started with a TI-99, and all you could do with it was to program it. Learning to code in involved type-in-programs from the Byte Magazine and saving programs on cassette tapes.
  • Bryan fought his way through high school with what he later recognized as ADHD and dyscalculia. Because of this, Bryan developed a real love-hate relationship with anything maths-related. So he ended up becoming a "total art nerd" (sic). He briefly studied graphic design in college before dropping out. He joined the National Guard, drifted for a few years, and finally returned to college, changing his major to city-planning, a.k.a. SimCity in Real-Life.
  • When he was about to reach the job market as a junior city planner, he doubled back as a graphic designer. During his university time, he had learned some HTML, so he found a position as a front-end graphic designer in a dotcom tech startup doing Newsletters/eZines (before they were cool).
  • In his next job, Ryan worked on a learning management system and discovered a learning culture, which literally changed his career path. He worked with Coldfusion and discovered pair & mob programming and automated testing. But most of all, he had to maintain software written by "real programmers." They had produced awful code, and it took him a while to realize that he himself was not in the wrong. It took him a long time to get rid of his imposter syndrome. Following this rewrite, the company experienced a re-org and asked the help of a few XP and Agile consultants. The company really embraced this movement and became a recognized Agile force in the De Moine area.
  • "We watched in amazement how the contractors, who didn't know the domain, make all the same mistakes we had made for so long before them." Letting a new team rewrite a new software will invariably result in some surprises like this. Ask me how I know 😅
  • Ryan then joined JohnDeer, and the breadth of the domain has kept him there since. There are so many challenges to solve.
  • Ryan joined the "larger agile community" in about 2010. He now calls it "his family." He loves to be with like-minded individuals who cherish the original idea of agility, like the coaches he met a decade earlier and from whom he learned XP. Talking about conferences, Ryan dropped this sentence: "The sessions are a way to get interesting people to conferences so that I can talk to them for free." I couldn't agree more. The "hallway track" is the best!


  • Find your thing, be curious about it, and don't expect anyone to dig for you


  • "When Javascript came out, I thought 'nah, who needs that'... I still feel like that though"
  • "I don't hate Perl; I hate other people's Perl. But my Perl is perfectly fine, and there is nothing wrong with it, and it is completely readable."
  • "Agility has a bad reputation nowadays, mostly because of all those agile consultants trying to sell you big agile transformations"
  • "The sessions are a way to get interesting people to conferences so that I can talk to them for free"

Thanks, Ryan, for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the show notes on

Did you listen to his story?

  • What did you learn?
  • What are your personal takeaways?
  • What did you find particularly interesting?