Ryan Bigg

Who? · Books · Blog · Setup · Work · Now · Mentoring

I am not currently looking for work.

I am currently working a 3-month contracting gig as a Rails developer, from the 10th of May with the potential for on-going work thereafter.

My current contract is:

  • 4-days-a-week as a TypeScript / React / Ruby developer, working in a team of around 4 people.

Past contracts

  • ✅ 3-days-a-week as a TypeScript / React / Ruby developer at a small company, primarily focussed on improving their frontend code, upgrading jQuery componentry to TypeScript-powered React.
    • In addition to that: I research and implemented platform stability measures by working with other developers to add additional Ruby tests, a CI system, and monitoring through logging and AppSignal.
  • ✅ 2-days-a-week upgrading a Ruby on Rails application from Rails 5.0 to 6.1, and tidying up other deprecation messages / warnings in the build logs.
  • History

    Feb '21 -> Ongoing — Freelance contractor

    Working as a part-time "mercenary for hire" across a variety of tech stacks, but primarily focussing on Typescript-based React with a Ruby on Rails.

    To share my knowledge, I write books about tech. I sometimes overly-procrastinate on that by tinkering with my custom-made TypeScript / React / Hanami / GraphQL book review tool.

    December '08 → Current — Tech Book Author

    I have contributed extensively to documentation for Ruby and Rails. I started writing documentation for Rails in December 2008. The two guides I am best known for are the Getting Started guide and Active Record Querying guide. I also wrote the Engines guide and the Asset Pipeline guide.

    During 2010, I was contacted by Manning to write a book for them called Rails 3 in Action. This subsequently went on to produce a second edition, called Rails 4 in Action.

    After the success of Rails 3 and Rails 4 in Action I decided to strike out on my own and become a self-published author. I do this through Leanpub and have published four books (Multitenancy with Rails and Toy Robot), The Toy Robot: The Elixir Version, and Active Rails. I'm currently writing a fifth book called Joy of Elixir.

    You can read more about these books over on my books page.


    December '20 -> Feb '21 — Seachange + beach holiday

    Largely an operational role: moving an entire household from Melbourne to Warrnambool. Spent a lot of time on the beach.


    May '20 → December '20 — Covidence

    Covidence provides workflow tooling that assists researchers with their systematic reviews.

    My role at Covidence was as a senior full-stack developer, leading efforts across the codebase ranging from compiling a design system in React, CSS & TypeScript to standardise the different components across our application.

    I worked on a re-work of one of Covidence's major features called "Extraction", and was part of the team that launched (and maintained) Extraction 2.0.


    December '19 → April '20 — Coder Academy

    Coder Academy runs bootcamps for first-time developers, with the aim of getting them into their first ever developer job.

    At Coder Academy I was the Lead Educator for the Code Like a Girl cohort. I was training a group of 14 junior-junior developers in Ruby on Rails. I was then made redundant in this role due to the impact of COVID.

    Alongside this work, I was also working in a small team to improve the curriculum for Coder Academy across all of their campuses and bootcamps, focussing primarily on Computer Science Fundamentals, Ruby on Rails and JavaScript curriculum.


    August '16 → November '19 — Culture Amp

    Culture Amp aims to improve the culture of companies around the world.

    From August 2017 until November 2019, I was the Junior Engineering Program Lead at Culture Amp. This job involved recruiting and mentoring junior engineers in Ruby and JavaScript (and lots more!) with the goal of training them up to be the next great engineers at Culture Amp and in the wider developer community.

    My work at Culture Amp prior to being the JEP Lead, involved working as a Senior Developer with a small (~5-8 people) team of developers to maintain our large Rails monolith and to write event-sourced microservices in Elixir, along with frontends in React, and associated tech.

    The role of Junior Engineering Program lead was made redundant at the end of 2019 and I chose to take a redundancy payout rather than continue in a different role.

    I loved working at Culture Amp because I got to do what I love: mentor and grow junior developers. I also get lots of opportunities to help out other developers by working with them on difficult issues.


    January '15 → August '16 — Marketplacer

    I worked at Marketplacer as a Senior Developer. Marketplacer is an application which powers sites such as BikeExchange (also in the US and a few countries in Europe), TiniTrader and BikeExchange. The overall goal of the application is to make it easier for stores and private sellers to sell their goods online.

    My day-to-day work involved working on new features for the Marketplacer application, and leading the Core development team. It was here that I was first introduced to Angular and React and where I learned I had a strong preference for React over Angular.


    July '14 → Jan '15 — LIFX

    At LIFX I worked on a small team of 3 developers building their Cloud architecture using a mixture of Ruby and Go. I wrote core parts of their API in Ruby, as well as a message broker that communicated between the Ruby API and LIFX lights located all over the world.

    This architecture allows users of LIFX lights to control their lights wherever they are in the world; and also provides integration with Nest. For example, if there's smoke detected in the house by a Nest smoke dectector, the LIFX lights will flash red.


    November '11 → July '14 — Spree Commerce

    I was hired as the Community Manager for Spree after showing a very keen interest in the framework. I posted a lot to the user group and then one day Sean Schofield (the CEO of Spree) asked if I wanted a job which was essentially being paid to maintain open source. I said yes.

    At Spree I was _the_ Community Manager. This is a fancy title which means my primary responsibility was keeping the community happy. I did this by leading the development of the Spree ecommerce framework, answering posts on our user group, writing documentation and giving talks all over the world about Spree. In one instance, I was flown to London to consult with a large surf clothing distributor.

    2005 → 2011 — Various

    My formative years. Spent this time working for various companies and freelancing, doing whatever PHP or Ruby on Rails work came my way.