Hello. I'm Ryan.
One common question I get asked is: After a decade and a half in a predominantly print-related career field, why make the jump to front-end development? For me, it’s been less of a leap and more a continuous journey of pursuing my curiosity and passion for creative problem solving. It started in college, where I was in a band with big dreams and a tiny budget. We wanted to promote our new album and concerts with a website, so I got a book on Flash and hacked away.
Whether it was learning to listen to customers’ needs as a salesman, or learning to deal with a fast-paced environment and rapidly iterate as a designer at a newspaper, I’ve learned something valuable from every stop along my journey. I love solving problems and I love continually learning, two things that have led me to pursue front-end development. What follows is a brief summary of that journey.
Freelance Front-End Developer and Web Designer — Fort Worth, TX
My most recent freelance project was a website redesign for Olive — The Beauty Lounge, an upscale salon based in Mansfield, TX.
- Build and maintain custom WordPress themes
- Interview the client, discuss business needs, establish goals, and carry out solutions
- WooCommerce, Google Maps, and social media integration
Senior designer — Inprov, LLC, Southlake, TX
Inprov is a donor development agency based in North Texas that works with non-profit and charitable organizations.
- I work with organizations to produce promotional materials with tight budgets and deadlines to create opportunities for high return on investment.
- One of the challenges I face every day is creating new and interesting ways to present the same message in a recurring format.
- When our company rebranded I jumped at the opportunity to build the new company website.
February 2004–November 2006
Graphic Designer — Port Arthur News, Port Arthur, TX
The Port Arthur News was where I had my first job in graphic design. It was a fast-paced environment with ads conceived, written, and delivered often over the course of a single day.
- I designed and built newspaper ads for everything from realtors to car lots.
- I prepared submitted work for press (tabloids that our press printed) and learned the intricacies of the printing process.
- In my last year, I developed and maintained assets for our website.
March 2003–February 2004
Sales Associate — A&S Music, Nederland, TX
A&S was a mom-and-pop music shop in Southeast Texas with decades of history in the area. This was really just an excuse to be surrounded by music equipment and meet some amazing musicians.
- I learned to listen to customers’ needs and connect them to the best solution available within their price range.
- I learned the process of selling to customers and regularly met or exceeded sales goals.
- Did I mention I was surrounded by music equipment all day long?
If you really must know what I did before June 2003, drop me a line in the form below. Trust me, it’s not that interesting (spoiler alert: it involves working at a mall).
My artist colleagues and I send a status report to our art director every day. I realized tracking a dozen emails, each packed with dozens of active projects in completely different formats, was a panic-inducing productivity black hole. This React/Redux app is meant to save management from a daily mountain of project status updates by centralizing all updates into one uniformly-formatted web page.
- Gain basic UX experience by interviewing potential users and testing possible solutions
- Establish a firm foundation in React
- Better understand the Redux Flow philosophy
- Still in development/early real-world use
- Initial app API is complete
- Currently designing and developing UI
What I've Learned So Far
Throughout this project I've become better acquainted with test-driven development using Mocha and the Expect library, particularly knowing what to test for and how to maintain tests over the build process. Outside of programming and workflow experience, I learned how hard it is to design a solid, scalable API. I enjoyed the challenge, and I’d love to grow more in API design, as well as software architecture design.
Everybody loves tracking project statuses, right? Because the company I work for juggles so many different projects at one time, it’s important that each department gets what they need when they need it. Since the art department is at the center of the process, we help by tracking all the jobs and everything we need to complete them, such as copy, images, and direction. At first, I would send a formatted email listing out the status of every project I was working on, but as my workload grew, I knew I needed an easier way to track dates. So I built this Angular 1.x and PHP hybrid as an early attempt to solve this problem.
- Create a useful, web-based replacement to handwritten to-do lists
- Eliminate repetitive, hand-typed daily emails to management
In real-world, daily use.
What I Learned
- Programming fundamentals
- Complexity Theory (Asymptotic Notation)
- Memory (Stack and Heap)
- Data Structures
- 100% grade on all projects submitted
- Certified passing completion
June 2013–June 2016
- Web Design
- Web Development
- Ruby on Rails
- 341 Badges
- 26,500 Points Earned
Lamar University, Beaumont, TX
August 1998–November 2002
B.S. in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast/Film
- SETCAST Scholarship
- McFaddin-Ward Academic Scholarship
- President’s List
- Dean’s List
- Graduated Summa Cum Laude
Is there something I haven’t answered? Please drop me a line in the form below and ask me anything. I promise to get back with you as soon as possible.