Introduction to my sabbatical project

Welcome to my blog chronicling my Fall 2009 sabbatical project. My purpose was to gain insight and experience into what the software development industry doing today and where it is headed. I also wanted to know what the software development world would think of the job we were doing in teaching software development at Adams State College. Finally, I was also seeking to understand todays culture of software development, where it came from, and where it was going.

Over the course of a semester, I met with, video interviewed and observed over 30 software developers from 14 organizations. I traveled to Silicon Valley California, Bismarck North Dakota, New York New York, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Raleigh North Carolina, and of course Denver Colorado. I got to see, first hand, the workings of small startups, virtual companies, web developers, research contractors and consultants. More importantly, I got to see not just the way people actually do their work, but also how they feel about their work, their discipline and in many cases their avocation. I got to see what motivates the people in the field.

What I witnessed was inspiring. Whether developers work on customer account data bases, ground water analysis, I-phone apps or cutting edge multilayer video games, they all love what they do. While working on this project I got to record their passion. From the woman who wants to build a better medical information system because she credits the Mayo clinic’s system for saving her father’s life, to the politico who would change the world though automated analysis of voting records, they all love what they do, and like me once you get them talking about their projects you can hardly slow them down.

On this blog you will see edited video interviews with 35 software developers talking about what they do, what they love, and where they think the software world is going.

As a side project, I asked all my interviewees how they would define the words “nerd” and “geek”, and whether they considered themselves a “nerd” or a “geek”. These answers will appear in the future as a separate topic so if you’re interested keep checking the site.

I am also interested in continuing my exploration of software development culture. So if you’re reading this and want to participate let me know by email ( and I’ll try to arrange a visit.

Develop On!


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