Ahmed Denison-Afifi, Software Developer in Chicago, IL, United States
Ahmed Denison-Afifi

Software Developer in Chicago, IL, United States

Member since July 14, 2017
Ahmed has five years of experience building iOS and Android applications. He was previously a senior software engineer at Zynga working—across mobile and web—on games such as Farmville, Running with Friends, and Looney Tunes Dash. While at Zynga, Ahmed also developed and delivered iOS applications for the Neuroscape lab at UCSF. Additionally, Ahmed has spent years helping startups polish their ideas into shipped products.
Ahmed is now available for hire


  • Fanhero
    MongoDB, Sails.js, Node.js, Phoenix, Elixir
  • Gruper
    Firebase, Xcode, Swift
  • MSH Labs
    Swift, iOS, Phoenix, Elixir



Chicago, IL, United States



Preferred Environment

Android Studio, Sublime Text, ITerm, Xcode, MacOS

The most amazing...

...product I've released was a mobile game which received an Editor's Choice designation in the App Store and was installed by over 100 million players.


  • Elixir/Phoenix Developer

    2017 - 2018
    • Migrated an active Node.js API to Phoenix while restructuring to optimize for Elixir/OTP capabilities and minimizing reliance on external service such as RabbitMQ.
    Technologies: MongoDB, Sails.js, Node.js, Phoenix, Elixir
  • iOS Developer

    2017 - 2018
    • Optimized an existing Firebase implementation, denormalizing the JSON real-time database and allowing for a more responsive interface.
    Technologies: Firebase, Xcode, Swift
  • CTO

    2016 - 2018
    MSH Labs
    • Used Phoenix WebSocket technology to create a highly real-time iOS application.
    • Leveraged AVFoundation to create a media capture mechanism to share details about events.
    • Implemented an innovative interface for friends to share events in their lives.
    Technologies: Swift, iOS, Phoenix, Elixir
  • Senior Software Engineer

    2013 - 2016
    • Created a cross-platform data patching system to allow iOS and Android players to fetch new levels and content.
    • Developed a Unity sample project demonstrating Zynga shared technology implementations.
    • Leveraged the Java Native Interface to share C++ code between iOS and Android games.
    • Implemented a rolling buffer of tracking calls in C++ to be batched and uploaded while minimizing the frame-rate impact.
    • Volunteered with the Neuroscape Lab at the University of California, San Francisco to build Meditrain—a meditation application used in clinical trials.
    • Volunteered with the Neuroscape Lab at the University of California, San Francisco to build ACE—a battery of cognitive tests used to assist in clinical trials and openly distributed to other labs.
    Technologies: Unity, PHP, Objective-C, iOS, Java, Android, C++
  • Lead Developer

    2011 - 2013
    • Created a PHP RESTful back end using the Symfony framework.
    • Utilized PhoneGap to build a cross-platform mobile application.
    • Developed an initial Android native client.
    Technologies: Android, JavaScript, PhoneGap, PHP


  • MSH

    The team wanted to build a highly interactive and fluid interface—heavily leveraging iOS animation capabilities and real-time server communication.

    I joined the project during the ideation phase and brought the product from a set of mockups to a production-level application available in the App Store. I built the majority of the iOS application as well—deciding on the architectural patterns used along the way to support a robust, lively application. In addition to the iOS application, I built a Phoenix web application running on Heroku which leverages WebSockets to support the real-time nature of the application.

  • Looney Tunes Dash!

    Zynga's cross-platform 3D game exploring the Looney Tunes' universe.

    I led the Android development for the project—building a cross-platform architecture utilizing C++ to run on both iOS and Android. I also regularly assisted in building the iOS front-end in addition to leading the Android development.

    Looney Tunes Dash! received an Editor's Choice from the iOS App Store after the release and reached an audience of over 100 million players

  • Meditrain

    Dr. Gazzaley of UCSF's Neuroscape lab wanted to build an immersive, adaptive meditation app for use in clinical trials measuring the effects of meditation.

    I was responsible for both architecting and building the iOS application which supported engagement features like a calendar and progress-tracking as well as the core meditation experience with an adaptive loop.

    UCSF's lab was extremely pleased with Meditrain and there is a patent filed and pending.

  • ACE

    Dr. Gazzaley of UCSF's Neuroscape lab wanted to build an engaging, interactive mobile cognitive assessment tool that evaluates multiple dimensions of cognitive control quickly and without ceiling or floor effects.

    I was responsible for the architecture and implementation of the iOS application, including 11 cognitive tasks and their adaptive algorithms.

    UCSF was satisfied with our work on ACE and intend on making it freely available to the public worldwide.

  • Farmville

    While working at Zynga, I spent time building growth features for the famous web game Farmville. I worked in PHP writing both the front-end and back-end code to implement features designed to bring in and retain users.


  • Languages

    Swift, Objective-C, HTML, C++, Elixir, Java, Bash, YAML, Bash Script, JavaScript, Groovy, XML/XSLT, Scheme, Python, PHP, Ruby
  • Tools

    Zeplin, Xcode, Git, GitHub, Sublime Text 3, ITerm, Sublime Text, Android Studio, Apache Ant, Vim Text Editor, Emacs, Sketch
  • Platforms

    iOS, Android, MacOS, Firebase
  • Frameworks

    Phoenix, JNI, Unity, PhoneGap, Ruby on Rails (RoR), Sails.js
  • Paradigms

    Reactive Programming, Continuous Integration (CI), Test-driven Development (TDD), Continuous Deployment, Agile, Pair Programming, Functional Programming, REST
  • Other

    WebSockets, AVFoundation, iOS Camera, Location Tracking, GitFlow, HTTPS
  • Libraries/APIs

    jQuery, Google Geocoding API, Google Maps API, Twilio API, Firebase iOS SDK, Node.js
  • Storage

    SQLite, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB


  • Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science
    2009 - 2013
    University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley, CA, USA

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