For this month’s Aries staff interview, we sat down with one of our daily heroes: Ryan Balukas, Principal Systems Administrator. Ryan works in the Aries IT department and frequently saves the day when it comes to all things technical, from the smallest “oops” issues to the more complex problems. Read our interview with Ryan to learn more about how he stays up-to-date in his field and what a day in the life of an Aries IT department member looks like.
Tell us about yourself.
I have been working at Aries for about 11 years. Prior to Aries, I was working for an internet service provider doing technical support during the day while taking night classes. When Lyndon hired me at Aries, I was still completing my Computer Science degree for the first few months of employment. I am very passionate about new technology and anything related to the outdoors–skiing and cycling to name a couple.
What have your roles at Aries been?
My roles at Aries have all been directly involved with the IT/Operations team. I first started as an IT Specialist doing a lot of desktop support and helpdesk. Once I started to get more involved with our hosted environment, the role developed into a Sr. Systems Administrator role followed by Principal Systems Administrator. My role essentially moved from desktop support into configuring the enterprise level systems and infrastructure which hosts Editorial Manager. This includes projects ranging from SAN implementations, to highly available server cluster builds and networking, to full datacenter build outs/migration.
How do you stay up-to-date in your field?
Since the tech industry evolves so quickly, I read a lot of blogs and documentation for software/hardware and processes that can make a direct and immediate impact to our infrastructure at Aries. Being able to create test environments to trial new technology has always been great way to learn and understand the pros and cons and has helped to stay current.
Tell us about your department and the people you work most closely with.
The IT Department at Aries is a group of three of us that work for Maurice Martini, Director of Operations. We are responsible for the entire internal infrastructure that the Aries employees rely on to do their jobs, as well as all of the infrastructure which hosts our SaaS offering, Editorial Manager. The IT team has a very wide range of technical skills which allows us to build new infrastructure and troubleshoot issues quickly. One of the things Maurice strongly encourages across all of his teams is to share knowledge and learn as much as possible, and I think that has really allowed all of us to grow. We also work closely with database administrators and engineering to ensure quick and reliable code deployments for our customers.
Describe your typical work day.
The work day is very dynamic in the IT Department. One day we can be installing servers, setting up networks or deploying code to production, and another day we can be repairing a desktop. There is always something to do!
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I really like that we are able to get exposure to so many different areas of technology. We are not required to specialize into one specific IT function. I love finding new products that make our jobs easier and more efficient. I also really enjoy the people at Aries–everyone helps each other out.
What are you currently watching, reading, or listening to?
I enjoy watching Parks and Rec and The Office. I also enjoy the Zwift Coaching podcast, which is a podcast that focuses on cycling training.
Tell us about some of your hobbies or interests outside of work.
When I am not at work I am typically riding my mountain/road bike, trying to keep up with my wife on the ski slopes, or playing video games.