Every month we are profiling one of the Web Services Department’s team members. This month we hear about Ryan Warner, one of the team’s Senior Web Developers, who began working with us in October 2019. Ryan is accountable for technical direction for the development, design, security, and systems integration for the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International) (OVPRI) web properties and mobile solutions.

(Bonus info! If you would like the lowdown on what the modern web developer uses to deliver the greatest of university websites, you can read Ryan’s latest post, Web Services Tool Box. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced user, you will find something useful on his list.)

How did you enter this career?

Like the majority of my colleagues, I had an extremely strong interest in technology as a young person. I was fortunate enough to have a computer in the home just as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) began offering service directly to consumers. Much of my free time was spent interacting with others on IRC and Usenet (which were early chat rooms and forums on the web) and maintaining my Geocities home page. In college I did a co-op at my ISP’s office; which lead to a part-time technical support position. In 2002 a customer came to the President of my ISP for some web development work, which they were unable to provide the service; it was granted to me as an independent contract and my journey began.

Where else have you worked?

Prior to joining the Web Services team I was working for Queen’s University in my second role, as the Senior Web Developer in the housing department. I had previously been a contributing member of the Elentra Consortium, the medical education Learning Management System spearheaded by Queen’s School of Medicine. Before joining the higher education industry I spent many years working for a company called iSTORM New Media, who provides web development and marketing services to the online gaming industry.

What are some of the technologies you have used along the way?

It would be impossible for me to make a full account of the tools I have used over my career, but I can say that I have always favoured open source platforms and tools. The majority of my effort has been spent writing PHP code that runs on linux servers and connects to MYSQL databases. It has been tremendously rewarding to see the technologies I work with evolve over the years, I think about how much work was required to achieve simple results in the past and I’m amazed at the complexity.

What are the best things about your job?

One of the most attractive parts of joining the Web Services team was the way that we operate as a team. Our staff hold a common core skill set based around the WordPress ecosystem, but each member has distinct and eclectic strengths that allow us to tackle any problem. I enjoy that my skills are fully utilized at Carleton, and that we are not restricted by artificial barriers.

Do you have some exciting projects you are working on right now?

I am excited to be working with NextJS to develop our future web properties; By moving to a more javascript oriented development stack, Web Services will be able to offer sites that perform incredibly well under any load, be more accessible, and search engine friendly! I am also excited to be working on an API aggregation and caching platform, which will be incorporated into our future NextJS built projects.

What music are you listening at the moment?

I do not spend much time in this world, but I can identify that my tastes bend towards the electronic genres. I am currently listening to Kids by The Midnight, Head of Heels by Chromeo, and Monochrome by Scandroid. Industrial and heavy metal used to dominate my playlists.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Guild Masters Guide to Ravnica, a campaign sourcebook blending Magic the Gathering with Dungeons and Dragons.

What do you do outside of school to amuse yourself?

I am a Dungeons and Dragons game master and regularly run games for friends and community members. Prior to moving to Ottawa I ran a weekly game for a youth group, and have played for many years.

What exciting plans do you have coming up in the next year?

My partner and I plan to adopt a silver golden retriever and name it Cheddar.

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