Over 20 years experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security.
Most interested in deployments and infrastructure, building developer tooling, automating tasks that were previously manual, and managing development projects.
Ryan Parman is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, Flailing Wildly, is where he writes about ideas longer than 280 characters. Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.
If we were having coffee…
I have been building things for the web since 1998. I’ve lived through the browser wars (both of them), I’ve worked on multiple high-profile projects, and have maintained server clusters that have had hundreds of millions of dollars flowing through them (figuratively, of course).
I have experience with startups, not-so-startups, Fortune 500s, and heavily-used open-source projects. I have lots of experience working with large teams, as well as across teams, to get projects completed.
I have experience taking the long-view on things that people might not understand today. I understand that “perfect” is the enemy of “done”, but conversely that “we must not ship crap.” I understand that the “minimum viable product” version of a motorcycle isn’t the chrome wheels or a nice chassis, but a tricycle. I understand that it’s easy to ship something, but hard to maintain it. You need diligence, focus, patience, and lots of really good documentation to be successful.
I believe that for any software that you write, documentation is worth 50% of your grade. If you have spectacular code, but you skip the documentation (or write really bad documentation), you get an F . I also believe that your code doesn't function unless an automated test confirms it. I frequently ask myself, “What happens to the projects I own if I get hit by a bus?”
I excel in teams that care about the customer or end-user, and want to make things better tomorrow than they are today. I excel in teams where I am given the latitude to make decisions, and work across teams to deliver the best possible customer experience. I excel in teams where merit and experience trump job titles.
Let’s work together to create something amazing.
Technical Skills and Software
High Proficiency (7–10)
Operating Systems: macOS, CentOS, Amazon Linux
Standard User Experience Skillset: Human–Computer Interaction Design, Contingency Design
WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 web accessibility guidelines
HTML5 & CSS 3: Application Cache, Geolocation, History API, Native Video, Selectors, Media Queries, Data Attributes, Building custom Icon Fonts, and more!
Standard Software Engineering Toolbox: OOP fundamentals, dependency injection, polymorphism, performance, character encodings, Git, Linux, Makefiles,
tee, and other fundamentals, compiling software from source and maintaining in-house RPMs.
PHP Development Toolbox: Composer, Packagist, PHPT, PHPDocumentor, Monolog, Symfony Framework Components, Slim Framework, Twig, Guzzle, AWS SDK for PHP, cURL, SimpleXML, DOMDocument, iconv, mbstring, APC, Xdebug (cachegrind), SPL, magic methods, PSR recommendations and more!
Cloud Computing Services: Most of the individual AWS services (not much with the more specialized/newer ones), Google Compute Engine, Google Storage, Google IAM.
Environments: PHP’s Zend Engine, Vagrant, Nginx configuration, PHP-FPM configuration, Docker
Infrastructure & Deployment: Ansible
Metadata Formats: RSS, Media RSS, Atom, Microformats
API & Scalable System Design: Understanding and designing highly-scalable, distributed systems for running web applications and web services (e.g., cloud computing). ReSTful web service API design
Services: Artifactory, JIRA, Confluence, GitHub Enterprise, Phabricator, Toran Proxy, Pingdom, New Relic, Papertrail, GitHub.com
Hashicorp Packer, Atlas, Terraform
Average Proficiency (4–6)
Operating Systems: Windows, Ubuntu Linux
Standard User Experience Skillset: Copywriting, Interface Design, Information Architecture, Product Marketing, Community Development
Standard Software Engineering Toolbox: MacPorts, Homebrew, RubyGems, pip, npm, apt-get, rake, ant,
Unit/Integration/Functional Testing: PHPUnit, Selenium, Behat, Mink, PhantomJS, iOS Driver, Travis CI, RubyUnit
Environments: Python, Ruby, HHVM
Databases & Key-Value/Document stores: MySQL, Redis
Metadata Formats: RDFa, Dublin Core, FOAF, CommonTag, OpenSearch, Swagger
Visual Design Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Pixelmator, Acorn
Odds-and-ends: Organic search engine optimization, Apache Web Server configuration, Markdown, HTML5 Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)
Limited Experience, or Interesting Things I'm Starting to Dabble In (1–3)
Persona/user research, Sass/Scss, Haml, DocBook, Memcache, Couchbase,
Golang, Swift, Node.js, OSSEC, Sensu,
Work Experience & Notable Projects
McGraw-Hill Education — Seattle, WA
Engineering Manager, Site Reliability (October 2018 – Present)
Owned, and was the key decision-maker for the development of company-wide, reliability-oriented projects such as:
ECS-optimized Amazon Linux Base AMI for all Amazon ECS applications. Modified the version vended by AWS to meet Level-2 CIS Guidelines for both Amazon Linux and Docker. Underwent deep collaboration with security, operations, and various business units to ensure strict compliance with requirements. Achieved high levels of opt-in adoption, which gave security and operations orgs higher levels of confidence in the product development teams.
Monitoring-as-Code which leverages Terraform and Python to streamline the process of generating and maintaining dashboards and monitors in Datadog and New Relic across a large, heterogeneous swath of applications. Trained development teams in adopting "full-cycle" development practices where the development team owns day-to-day operations of their services including deployments, support, and on-call rotations.
Formed a leadership group to develop a more rigorous process for developing, patching, vending, and maintaining re-usable Terraform modules that are used by large numbers of product development teams across the company. Standardized their development, contribution, and usage guidelines, adopted an Apache-style "incubator" for developing new modules, and adopted a process for shipping LTS-style packages of modules.
Took over engineering management responsibilities for the Site Reliability group in MHE's Seattle office. Worked to integrate our office better with the larger, developing SRE practice across all offices. Joined the SRE leadership group to help guide and participate in the development of better processes around reliability, which we then worked with product development teams to adopt and apply.
Staff Software Engineer (October 2016 – October 2018)
Ryan led the development of multiple tier-1 services as part of the educational content authoring pipeline, leveraging REST, GraphQL, API design, AWS, Amazon ECS, Docker, Terraform, ePubs, and security best practices. Led the technical direction of the projects, socialized them, documented them, and provided ongoing guidance around their design and use.
A member of the core team developing a newer approach to deploying applications, which leveraged continuous integration and continuous delivery. While many applications and processes were built around larger deployments occurring every few weeks, this team was charged with developing and defining newer processes which allowed deployments that were both more frequent, and more reliable.
Introduced a more hands-on monitoring style, which enables development teams to be more actively engaged in their own operations instead of relying exclusively on an external, third-party vendor used by other groups in the company. This enabled us to provide significantly-lower MTTR during incidents, and by digging into application-level metrics (instead of exclusively infrastructure-level metrics), we were better able to provide valuable data which addressed KPIs/SLOs for the kinds of experiences our customers were having.
A member of the core team that was migrating all new infrastructure to "Infrastructure-as-Code" tooling such as Terraform, Packer, etc. Identified patterns across applications, and began the effort to streamline infrastructure maintenance with shared, re-usable Terraform modules.
Co-Owner, CTO, Producer (February 2015 – 2018)
On the technical side, Ryan built the entire The First-Time Offender’s Guide to Freedom website, soup to nuts. Ryan also produced the eBook, authored by E. M. Baird.
Ryan runs the unit, integration and functional tests using PHPUnit, Behat, Mink, and Selenium. Ryan leverages Amazon SES for sending email, Amazon S3 for static file storage, Stripe for payment processing, Linode for web hosting, MaxMind IP-based geolocation, and Google Books and Dropbox for ensuring that customers always have the latest errata fixes.
WePay — Redwood City, CA
DevOps Engineer (April 2015 – September 2016)
Ryan worked as a member of the DevOps team, working to improve how WePay provisioned cloud infrastructure, deployed updates, managed security patches, monitored applications and infrastructure, and streamlined the process of planning, developing, deploying and maintaining new micro-services throughout the company.
Ryan started and led a year-long, cross-company effort to upgrade the monolithic application’s software stack from PHP 5.4 to PHP 5.6. This required cross-team collaboration across all of the major engineering teams, QA, and replacing over 200 servers across multiple environments with zero customer-facing downtime.
Ryan was the owner and maintainer of multiple tier-1 systems including Artifactory, GitHub Enterprise, Toran Proxy and Phabricator.
Senior API Engineer (April 2014 – April 2015)
As a member of the API team, Ryan was involved in developing new API endpoints to help expand WePay’s business and support its partners. In particular, he was instrumental in developing WePay’s MFA-as-a-Service offering (patent pending). Ryan also continues to be heavily involved in the security of WePay’s products, coordinating fixes with teams against other priorities, and fixing the issues himself in many cases.
Amazon — Seattle, WA
Web Development Engineer II, Amazon Web Services (March 2010 – April 2014)
Ryan is the creator and visionary behind the AWS SDK for PHP — AWS's SDK for rapidly building cloud-based web applications (launched September 2010). He invests heavily in supporting the needs of developers by taking the time to listen and understand the needs of developers, and is involved in PHP-related industry groups on behalf of AWS.
Ryan worked with the AWS Elastic
Beanstalk team to provide PHP
support for the platform (launched March 2012). In addition to working
with the PHP community to determine the configuration for a PHP
container that would fit the greatest number of developers, he developed
a rigorous internal test suite for testing containers which has been
used as the basis for testing by other language-specific teams. He also
had early input on adding support for
git push deployments.
Ryan was heavily involved in the creation and development of the AWS SDK for PHP 2 — a best-of-breed SDK (backed by Guzzle — a best-of-breed HTTP framework) that takes into account the numerous changes in the PHP language and community since Tarzan/CloudFusion was first written in 2005 (launched November 2012).
Ryan also works with the AWS Design team on the AWS Management Console, where he lends his experience as a web developer and software engineer to bridge the gap between the design and engineering disciplines in an effort to build a high-quality, robust, user-friendly console for interacting with Amazon Web Services.
CloudFusion (née Tarzan) — Open-Source Project
Creator and Developer (Early 2005 – March 2010)
CloudFusion is a fast, powerful PHP toolkit for building awesome, cloud-based web applications in a fraction of the time! Design decisions are made in the best interests of performance, ease of use, and overall usability. Goals are to provide a high-performance developer toolkit for leveraging Amazon's cloud infrastructure, to grow the community and, and to build useful user-centric apps based on the toolkit.
Rearden Commerce — Foster City, CA
Senior User Experience Developer (July 2008 – March 2010)
WarpShare — Morgan Hill, CA
Co-Founder and Chief Information Officer (September 2006 – March 2010)
WarpShare's mission is to support artists by eradicating digital media piracy in a manner consistent with a free and open future. With a next-generation file transfer protocol, socially-aware service, and a solution that turns traditional, television, and online advertising on its head, WarpShare is poised to be the first to provide the content industry with a successful, internet-native business model for the 21st century.
SimplePie — Open-Source Project
Creator and Co-Developer (July 2004 – October 2009), contributor (ongoing)
Ryan is the creator, evangelist, and co-developer of the SimplePie project — a PHP library that enables web developers to simply and easily integrate news feeds into their websites and web applications.
After recruiting additional development resources in June 2005, Ryan began to shift from a primarily development-focused role to a primarily people-focused role, where he currently works to ensure that people are aware of, and can easily use SimplePie through support, documentation, tutorials, plugins, and evangelism.
Consulting and development services (2007 – 2009)
As a freelance developer, Ryan leverages a deep understanding of best practices in front-end development, layout and design, information architecture, usability, accessibility, and web culture to provide value to clients. He provides guidance to people and teams about how to maintain best practices after the project ends.
Yahoo! — Sunnyvale, CA
Front-end Developer (Contract), Yahoo! Messenger (November 2007 – January 2008)
Ryan lead the front-end development of the Spring 2008 re-launch of the Yahoo! Messenger website. He collaborated with a core team of developers to provide increased usability, accessibility, organic search engine optimization (SEO), and simplified maintenance, resulting in exceptionally tuned performance for 29 locales.
Ryan was involved in tuning the front-end stack for performance, where they employed semantically valid HTML/CSS, caching, gzipping, image spriting, code minification, and reduced HTTP requests, resulting in exceptional performance.
Stryker — San Jose, CA
User Interface Developer (May 2005 – September 2006)
Ryan was a core member of the team tasked with re-building the company intranet site around Oracle Portal. His time was spent writing and discussing functional and technical documentation, conducting usability interviews, and creating a fresh UI that employed user-centered design principles, web standards, and AJAX technologies.
Ryan was also a member of the Endora Marketing Team, which was geared towards spreading information about the company's move to Oracle's ERP software. In that capacity, Ryan maintained the Endora website, wrote numerous articles for the monthly newsletter, interviewed project leads, and created fun little ERP-related polls to help drive interest in the project.
Ryan worked with the eBusiness team to improve maintenance and development for the UI of the GlobalSource project. He also re-engineered the Stryker Endoscopy public site to follow modern web standards, and built a PHP-based templating system for the site that significantly sped up development.
Digital Impact — San Mateo, CA
Production Specialist (March 2004 – April 2005)
Ryan coordinated with Campaign Managers on email campaign integration, with responsibility for email content and change requests, and ensuring that the content format was consistent with client requirements. He performed the quality tracking and reporting of campaign integration-related metrics, and consulted and troubleshot on text and HTML templates.
Ryan maintained HTML code guidelines, provided optimal design and processing, and provided suggestions for strategic and process improvements. He also acted as syndication expert for the internal RSS development team.
Ryan's client experience included Banana Republic, SBC (now AT&T), Hewlett Packard (HP), Sony Style, Lexus, MAC Make-up.
A full list of recommendations can be found on my LinkedIn profile. Here are a few of my favorites.
Will Merydith — Sr. Program Manager, Azure, Microsoft
“Ryan is one of the most customer focused individuals I have worked with. He takes great pride in his work and is constantly evaluating how to improve the end user experience. He backs his opinions with customer feedback and data, and I often relied on Ryan to help me deliver a better experience to user, in a short period of time.”
Brendan Dixon — Software Development Manager, AWS Website, Amazon Web Services
“What I appreciate about Ryan is his obsession to detail and customers. Ryan refuses to let business politics to ever interfere with doing what is best for customers. He invests himself to discover the best solutions and then make them available. I wholly trust Ryan's evaluation of front-end engineers and Information Architecture. Ryan would make a solid contribution to any team requiring solid front-end skills blended with a deep customer concern.”
Brian Thompson — Web Developer, Amazon
“Ryan has sort of become my informal mentor regarding my web development role within Amazon. He's passionate about what he does, he's extremely talented and his "can-do" approach to projects makes him valuable on any team he becomes a part of. Perhaps even more importantly than his direct contributions to a given role however is his steady presence in stress, the ability to absorb (and apply) new information and technology quickly and and unquestioned desire to see those around him succeed. I pride myself in my profession and look up to Ryan as a mentor, a colleague and a friend. Ryan Parman is an outstanding, well-rounded and positive leader who inspires confidence in those who appeal to him for technical help or simply solid advice. I hope Amazon never loses him for greener pastures.”
Kevin Barrack — Senior Interaction Designer, Rearden Commerce
“Ryan is suspiciously clever. How can he know so much? How can he have such good ideas? We may never know the answers to these questions. He is very approachable and has a warm sense of humor. Have you offered Ryan a job yet? No? Then you are a fool.”
Adrien Cahen — Front-End Software Engineer, Yahoo!, Twitter, Cask
“Ryan is a rock star. Through his work on SimplePie, he has a healthy understanding of PHP and server-side concerns. He is extremely proficient in all aspects of modern web development [...]. He is aware and respectful of standards-body recommendations, but he knows that in the end, user satisfaction (as opposed to developer comfort) is most important. [...] [Ryan managed] to go above and beyond the call of duty by proposing and implementing creative solutions to the hurdles that appeared along the way.”
Scott Emmons — Java Performance Lead, Rearden Commerce
“Ryan is one of those rare developers who not only wants a functional product, but wants it to perform well, be scalable, and use best of breed technology. Sometimes these goals mean ignoring the status quo and pushing the boundaries of the box — this is a good thing and ultimately keeps the technology moving forward and getting better across many aspects of engineering.”
Brian Emmett — Operations Algorithms Manager, Netflix
“What has always impressed me about Ryan was his internal motivation for continual improvement. Whether it's creating software in his spare time or researching and implementing bleeding-edge UI techniques, I've always admired his drive. Coupled with a rich technical acumen and superior interpersonal skills, it was always a pleasure to work with him [...].”
Amelia Catalano — Senior User Experience Engineer, Rearden Commerce
“I had the pleasure of working with Ryan at Rearden Commerce, where I witnessed first-hand his tenacious work ethic and excellent project management skills. Ryan is an accomplished and tremendously talented web developer dedicated to innovation and web standards. He stands out among the rest as an Open Source guru who excels in both front-end and middle-tier technologies, and I believe he is one of the best developers I have had the chance to work with.”
Matthew Clower — Architect, WePay
“Ryan has both an excellent technical perspective and the drive to fight for the common user. He has a very wide understanding of development's, web services', and online communities' concepts and finds the best way to accomplish the tasks at hand. The caliber of his work is a rarity among his field and he pulls knowledge and services from the most applicable sources while interfacing quickly, effectively, and concurrently with design, development, strategic, marketing, and executive teams.”
Groups & Accomplishments
- Voting Representative for AWS, PHP Framework Interoperability Group (2012–2013)
- Member, RSS Advisory Board (2007 – 2009)
- Patent, “Hive-based Peer-to-Peer Network” (US8103870B2)
- Patent, “System and Methods for User Authentication across Multiple Domains” (US15042104; Pending)
- Student guest speaker for the 2004 Silicon Valley College graduation ceremony.
Carrington College California (née Silicon Valley College) — San Jose, CA
- Bachelor of Arts, Design and Visualization, November 2003. 3.84 GPA
- Related Coursework: Web, graphic, multimedia, and publication design.