About Ryan Cwynar, Software Engineer

So I’m Ryan Cwynar and I’ve been writing code for some time.

I built my first website when I was 15, and I went to a high school that had a four year computer science magnet program. So I have my roots in this field, but it hasn’t been my whole career.

As soon as I graduated high school, I accepted an appointment to the United State Air Force Academy and that took me on a long detour into the world of hard science where I studied physics and learned a lot about lasers and satellites.

I graduated from the academy and spent 5 years on active duty as an officer and a physicist before I separated in 2014. After I spent some time exploring my career options, I found myself getting pulled back toward this field and I began building software, eventually co-founding Fueled on Bacon. So here we are.

When I began doing this, it was fascinating to me that with enough time and effort, anyone could create a whole automated business out of thin air using software. Software is about using automation to magnify your reach and impact, and automate transactions.

The summer when I set out to become a professional programmer, I was learning how to build APIs to automate useful tasks, integrate them with payment processors, and build user interfaces with JavaScript libraries like Angular and ReactJS. Variations on those tasks have been my focus ever since.

When I started, my life was pretty spartan. I knew that I was going to be in training, and not skilled enough to get a job during that time, so I did some unconventional things to make ends meet.

I lived in a 2012 Chevy Express cargo van in Los Angeles for about a year and a half while I interned and made connections with startups and other developers at co-working spaces.

From there, things progressed quickly. I was spending so much time writing software that I made the leap to working on applications in production fairly quickly.

As I got into 2017, I co-founded Fueled on Bacon and was building a Chrome extension for a startup called ShadowBid which expanded into modifying their Node API. In this time, I also began working on solving problems in video transcoding pipelines problems for a different startup called RapidReplay.

Later that year, we received a contract to develop an entire co-working space management solution for a chain of co-working spaces. At the time, there weren’t any major platforms in existence to solve that problem.

I created API servers and interfaces to handle problems like booking conference rooms, managing user access to various co-working space features depending on what was authorized at their membership level, providing community features to introduce members to one another, and of course payment integrations to handle membership transactions. This project lasted for more than half a year and it was very very involved.

Toward the end of that project, we got lucky enough to receive a contract to build a website for the launch of an electric car company, which at the time was called SF Motors. Now it’s called Seres.

I tried creating that website in several technologies, but eventually it became a WordPress website. That website involved a lot of animation and a scroll locking features powered by some cool open source JavaScript libraries.

The proceeds from that project were enough to expand our team and encourage us to apply what we had learned about building applications and branding for ourselves, and so we dived into the Boastable project in the summer of 2018.

This was the first software as a service business where I got to see the entire process through from start to finish. We came up with the business idea, the name, the branding, and built the software in a matter of months.

For my part, I got to choose a lot of modern technologies to form the foundation of the application. I wrote a Node/Express API server to handle the authentication, surveys, membership management, and SMS delivery functions. This was integrated with Twilio and Stripe, and wrapped up into a pod of services that was deployed on a Kubernetes cluster on Google Cloud Platform.

The front end was written in Vue.js using the Vuetify component library. This choice dramatically cut down on the time required to go to market.

Since the Boastable project, I’d say I’ve felt like a fairly complete developer ever since.

We turned our attention to improving the outward appearance of the Fueled on Bacon brand in 2019 and got back into the flow of client work and automating business.

I’ve been able to flexibly automate solutions for clients in all sorts of verticals. Hotels, e-commerce experiences, and software as as service applications.

Nowadays, it’s mostly about keeping up on current technologies and refining my software engineering skills to be able to rapidly create and improve systems for clients.

And that bring us up to date.

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