Sage advice to new developers from a mentor

In this episode, Ryan Cromwell – who has his hands in many disparate technology jars – gives sage advice to new and aspiring developers and their managers to help everyone succeed and thrive. He is a mentor at a fantastic design shop and he talks about his experiences as a mentor and a technology-switching developer.

Ryan’s Bio:

Ryan Cromwell is a coder by trade with over 10 years of experience delivering solutions ranging from real-time customer loyalty systems and elegant user experiences to streamlined statistical process control software. Having worked with passionate, high-performing Agile teams, Ryan ventured into the world of training and Agile coaching to replicate those amazing experiences. Ryan’s passion remains delivering software as a member the Sparkbox Team in Dayton, OH. He is co-founder of Dayton Clean Coders, the Dayton Elixir virtual Meetup, co-organizer of Southwest Ohio GiveCamp, and all around software community ally. You can find Ryan at

Please say hi to Ryan on Twitter.

Episode Highlights and Show Notes:

Ryan: I do enjoy being a part of creative processes and creative teams but I don’t know how creative I am on my own…

Ryan: I feel like I kinda floated through high school and college. I didn’t really know what was going on… but I knew I loved programming.

Ryan: I know a lot of people who have been incredibly successful without going through a formal degree at all. I think there are so many ways to get into this experience as a software developer… There are so many paths to get into this industry and it’s so accessible to so many people that it’s really changed the landscape of education.

Arsalan: The software development industry, as a whole, is bending over backwards to fill positions. They’re trying everything they can.

Arsalan: One of the challenges we face – people who have been in the industry for a while and new people – everybody faces the same challenge in the software industry: how do you keep your skills up to date?

Ryan: I use Code School. I go and jump on Pluralsight every once in a while. I have learned how to learn.

Arsalan: Are you learning things just in time – as you need them?

Ryan: We do some Ember work here and I need to know what’s going on there. I need to know what’s going in ES6 and Rails… We are a design studio so we do sometimes need to learn just in time and I have gotten pretty good at that…

Ryan: I do believe that if you can teach something, it shows that you really understand it…

Ryan: Even though I have been web development for a long time, half of these people are going to beat my pants off in our organization without any trouble in HTML and CSS. I don’t even try anymore with CSS… They’re smart and I am willing to learn from them…

Ryan: I think most people out there generally have the best interest in mind of the people that they work with and they hire. That said, we need to be explicitly looking for people that are going to diversify the types of teams that we are on.

Advice For New Developers

Find something you love and learn it really deeply.

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