Employee Spotlight – Ryan Lanman
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in the DC area (MD fo’ life!). I am the middle child in between two sisters, both of whom I am pretty close with. I was recently married (June 2015) and live with my wife in Bethesda, MD. I do not currently have any kids. I started with Northstrat on December 8, 2014.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) in Harrisonburg, VA. A few years later I completed a Master’s Degree at Johns Hopkins University, also in Computer Science.
As a Software Engineer at Northstrat, what is your daily routine like? Or is there one?
My days are fairly different from each other but generally consist of introducing new features, fixing bugs, or solving the problem du jour (AKA firefighting) on my project. As long as I am doing technical work (i.e. – writing code and solving problems), I am happy.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
I’ve really enjoyed having some opportunities to inject new technology and processes into the project team. Some of my prior experiences have been with a lot of the same technology and concepts that my current project is working with, so it enabled me to learn quickly and see where they might be able to make some improvements.
What do you enjoy most about working for Northstrat?
I really enjoy the people and the social events. The management team really, truly seems to care about every single employee as an individual, and not just a warm body who is charging a contract. It is real refreshing to experience that in this industry.
What made you decide to become a Software Engineer?
I knew I wanted to do something with computers since I was pretty young. I was always fascinated with the idea of making a machine do what I tell it to. I wrote my first “program” when I was in third grade (my buddy and I used a QBASIC guidebook to write a grid-based treasure hunt game). I took my first programming class in 9th grade and I was hooked. I knew from that point on that I would go to school for Computer Science and go into the Software Engineering field.
Did/do you have a mentor? Tell us about that person.
I’ve had mentors at both of my previous companies (whether they knew it or not). My first mentor taught me what it was like to simply be passionate about the work that you do. He was constantly reading software blogs and articles related to new technologies in his spare time, which he would often share with me. He would show off cool side projects that he had worked on. In addition, he taught me some excellent practices that I still use today. My second mentor taught me how to be more disciplined in my coding and practices. While I admittedly don’t follow every single practice he taught me over the years, I believe that he is responsible for a lot of my maturing as a developer over the same period.
Any advice for young people who want to pursue STEM?
Think about the things that you like to do in your spare time that might not seem like they are related to school or education. This may help define a path for you. For instance, if you really enjoy building Lego spaceships, maybe Aeronautical Engineering is in your future. That video game you play that requires you to solve small logic puzzles may indicate that you are interested in computer or software engineering.