Iris: If that makes sense.
Noel: Yes, It does, definitely. I’m curious, when you did get started doing programming, what were some of those maybe early things that you learned or were introduced to that made you kind of, I guess, realize that this is a really good decision? Or was it really difficult in the beginning and it took awhile for that stuff to appear? Or did you know really early on, "This is great. I made a great choice in this career"?
Iris: Well, the first few days sucked. I mean—yes, you might want to beep that out. Because our teachers are doing, counting, talking about binaries, and I had forgotten all the math. They’re talking about binary numbers and doing all the calculations. They’re talking about hardware as well, which I didn’t know anything about. I know now, but not then.
I was so frustrated. On the second day, I was like, "I want to go home." I was kind of upset and stuff, so my teacher drove me home and we had a long chat, and he said, "Iris, come back. We kind of need a personality like that. You just come back. Give it the rest of the week and you’ll see."
On the third day, when I came back—I did come back—we started programming. We did our first little console application, and I just realized I just got it. I would turn around and look at my classmates. Some of them just seemed confused and I was like, "What is the problem? I mean, this is logic."
For the first time in my life, I understood what was written. I mean, it made sense, communication. There were no feelings, no analyzing like that, no. It sounds like when somebody says, "Oh, do whatever you feel like," and that means, "Don’t do what you feel like. Do what I feel like." It was nothing like that. It was just pure, pure logic and it made sense, and I just fell head over heels over it. I just fell in love with working with that type of logic.
Noel: That’s cool. I’m kind of curious, too, that I noticed that—you and I were talking before the interview and that you mentioned you’d been actually able to kind of take an agile approach in that past career as a dietician. Did you know what agile was at the time, or was it when you discovered agile doing programming that you realized, "Hey, I was already kind of doing some of this stuff"? Is that why maybe it made so much sense to you so early on, was that you had maybe kind of personally chosen that approach already?
Iris: It wasn’t a conscious approach I made with agile. It’s something that I had put a name to afterwards as I see it fits the agile set of thinking.
I remember when I was studying at university, just so many years moving around between schools and so on, it has a very nonagile approach. Usually the courses, what you’re going to learn, has been pre-determined maybe ten, fifteen years ago. The clinical nutrition in Gothenburg hadn’t had a single change for almost ten years—very small, minor changes.
We’re talking about nutrition. Nutrition, like technology, is an area that is constantly changing because we’re still learning so much. I was just shocked that our course literature was outdated, and then the teachers’ information, sometimes with some teachers, was outdated. There was no evaluation, and it was certainly not so that the students were the most important bit. It was the process that was important, that you start in one end and you finish in the other end, and everybody goes through the same tube being fed the same information.
I hated that approach. In fact, that was kind of what got me kicked out of high school, because I kept asking teachers questions and it was regarded as something being disrespectful if you question something.
But what happened later when I finished nutrition, there was a very big change in clinical nutrition. We started having a nutrition evaluation process with patients where the patient was in focus. You still have the process, but the patient was the focus instead of the process itself, and it was kind of iterative.
That was when I started seeing that this started having this agile approach. I was really fascinated that they haven’t had this at school, and they really should. I kind of adopted that idea with changing the focus from the process itself to actually the person you are talking to and treating and giving recommendations to. I made sure I had carried that on when I was working as a teacher, that I had the same approach.
In contrast, the school, well, in university where we did have evaluations but nobody read them afterwards, the evaluations I had with my students, I used those to change the material and make sure I was always up to date, because you need to discuss trending things. There’s always new studies and everything is happening really fast in the field of nutrition, and even moreso with technology.