Ryan Shay Ninja Spotlight

Find out what the best chair is for spending a lot of time at a desk.

Bearded man with a funny bunny mask and a cigarette in his mouth.

Where in the world are you located?

I’m located in Raymore, MO which is on the outer edge of the Kansas City metro area.

What’s your role at Network Ninja?

Traditionally we don’t focus too much on roles or titles and everyone helps each other out as necessary. I try to be the person that any of the other guys can come to with questions. Sometimes I’m a developer, sometimes I’m a tester. Other times I’m on the phone with a client answering questions, or helping with imports.

For the last couple of years I’ve mainly been focused on building out and improving our staff management system, and adding new functionality to MainEvent.

3 monitors and a keyboard.

Current computer?

I currently use a 15" Macbook Pro Retina for travel and portability, but my main computer is a custom built desktop with 32GB of RAM, 6TB of storage and a Nvidia GTX 970 to play a few games now and then. It definitely needs some updating, but hasn’t let me down yet. I’m a bit of a keyboard snob I suppose, it has to be mechanical.

I currently am using three monitors, two 27″ and a 40″ that give me plenty of room to work.

Current mobile device?

I’ve used both Android and iOS phones in the last few years, but am currently using an iPhone 6 with T-Mobile.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

This is such a hard question to answer. I love gadgets. I believe the most recent things I’ve acquired would be an Occulus Rift and a Nest thermostat, but I use an AppleTV and an iPad on a near daily basis also.

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without and why?

Definitely my IDE, PHPStorm from JetBrains. After using several others, I’ve concluded that it fits my workflow better than any others and allows me to work across multiple projects at the same time.

Other software I use on a daily basis would be Navicat for database work, Skitch for screen shots, MobaXterm for terminal work and MarkdownPad2 for notes and documentation, which is what I’m currently using to write this.

What’s your workspace setup like?

My workspace is a cliche. It’s in the basement. I have a pretty large desk that gives me plenty of room to move around. Probably one of the best things I could have done for myself in terms of ergonomics was to break down and spend the money on a nice chair, an Allsteel Acuity. I spend a lot of time at my desk, so it was well worth it.

What do you listen to while you work?

It really depends on the situation. Sometimes I’m listening to something repetitive on Spotify to help keep me focused, and at other times I’m listening to a TED talk or some other video in the background as I work. There are times when silence is nice too.

big row of programming books.

What are you currently reading?

I’m actually not currently reading anything, though the latest book I read was Modernizing Legacy Applications in PHP by Paul M. Jones. I mostly read technical books, and enjoy reading books from people who have been around as programmers for a while. Anything by Martin Fowler, or Robert Martin (Uncle Bob), is worth the time. I think I’ve read a lot of the popular books for developers, including the Mythical Man Month.

How do you recharge?

I don’t really have a lot of downtime these days, but when I’m not focused on work, I definitely enjoy spending time with my 4 year old son and lovely wife. We try to take a vacation at least once a year just to get away and see something new. This year we spent some time enjoying the Rocky Mountains, next year, who knows!


Reading Time

4 minutes


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