Ryan Offord is the enterprise data architect for LateRooms.com, where he specialises in designing and building data platforms for high concurrency, high availability and high performance, and is a fan of simplifying complex systems.
Offord began his career working in support with a successful online motor trade business called Portfolio Europe back in the mid to late nineties. After leaving in 2000, he progressed through various roles from developer to development manager before deciding to specialise in data when he joined MoneySupermarket in 2007. He moved to LateRooms in 2009 and has progressed from DBA to Enterprise Data Architect since then.
Offord's Hot Seat follows those of Barnardo's assistant director of information services Tom Rees and charity Conservation International's vice president of IT Scott Mills.
V3: What does a typical day involve?
Offord: Most days vary a fair amount but usually involve talking to a lot of people across the business about data, development, the live site, future plans and technologies. It's nearly always focused on data but I get involved in a wider range too.
What would be your dream job?
I enjoy most of what I do today and it gives me a great balance of work and life.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
I have an HTC One and Chromebook for personal use, and an iPhone 4 and iPad for work.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
I'd have to say Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo series on the PlayStation, for his quest for perfection. I have a passion for cars so have spent plenty of time playing Gran Turismo too.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
FusionIO for our Data Storage Layer. It's enabled me to do a lot to remove the 'the database is a bottleneck' stance that people often take. I've had to learn a lot about storage over the years to get more performance out of databases so being able to move to a NAND flash-based solution was something I wanted to do for a long time. If, like us, your data is too big to fit in memory and a large proportion of it is used throughout the day, then you have to have fast IO.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
Taking an extremely busy and complex system and making it a lot calmer.
What was your first job?
My first proper job was working for British Gas in its Debt Recovery Centre on the finance team building spreadsheets.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
The rate of change and sheer amount of new technologies emerging.
What keeps you awake at night?
Very little apart from my kids keeps me up.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
The last book I read was Lost Wife, Saw Barracuda – True Stories from a Sharm el Sheikh Scuba Diving Instructor by John Kean. A really humorous and lightweight read.
Who is your favourite musician?
For me it has to be Eminem.
Where's your favourite place for escape?
I love Egypt as I'm a keen scuba diver. I've been fortunate to go several times and aim to go again when I can. The country is fantastic and the people are wonderful. The diving is out of this world. When I can't get there it usually ends up having to be diving in a quarry in the UK somewhere - even in winter.
E-readers or real books?
My Kindle has pretty much taken over for the majority of my book reading.
What's your favourite film?
Of all time, either Point Break or Home Alone. Most recently, World War Z.
Windows or Mac OS?
At the moment Windows 7 works well for me.
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