Sunday, August 5, 2012

An introduction

Hello and welcome! If you're here on this blog and you're the least bit interested in software development, then there may--may--be something for you here in future posts. And if you find any value in it, you might be a little bit curious about the guy who wrote it ... so ...

I'm Ryan.  I'm a married father of two, a rabid Star Wars fan, and a software developer at Pearson Digital Learning in Chandler, Arizona.
I was young enough that I’m not sure exactly when the first time I actually used a computer was.  But assuming you don’t count the Atari 2600 or Colecovision, it was probably the single Apple IIe we had in my elementary school class.  And it was love at first sight.  I clearly remember being 11-years-old when my father brought home a Compaq Portable, a suitcase-sized so-called “portable” computer with no hard drive and a tiny green-on-black screen, which his company loaned him on the weekend.  Every moment with that machine was precious.

At 16 I landed a job at the now defunct software retailer Software, Etc., and that same year borrowed a book on C from the store (we were allowed to do that back in those days).  I don’t even remember now in the pre-Internet days where I found a C compiler--maybe MS-DOS shipped with one--but my first program was a simple sales tax calculator.

Eventually I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Computer Science, and spent the next couple of years experiencing the fantastic boom and bust of the dot com industry.  Through my career, I’ve bounced through shops specializing in Visual Basic, C++, Perl, and PHP.  But since 2005 I’ve spent most of my time in the Java world.

I’ve worked for startups and multi-billion dollar companies both, been laid off twice, and built software using waterfall and agile approaches.
In short, computers and software have been part of my life for most of the last 25 years.   It’s a career I knew I would want even as a child, and as a middle-aged adult I’m still thrilled to be a part of it.

So why am I blogging?

I'm not sure, really. This is actually my 2nd shot at keeping a blog. Several years ago I kept an internal blog at Pearson which I think two people ever read, and when one of them left the company I lost the motivation. In recent months, however, I've found myself wanting to do it again, mostly because I find that recording my experiments and thoughts in the "published" word helps me focus. My readership here may never grow even as large as the last, but hopefully some of my successes and failures will help someone else.

By the way, the term "code spelunker" is something I thought was original, but it turns out I was just Googling the wrong term. Nonetheless, I think it adequately describes what you'll find here.