Arlo Belshee, Developer in Asheville, NC, United States
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Arlo Belshee

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Software Developer

Asheville, NC, United States
Toptal Member Since
February 25, 2022

Arlo loves modernizing legacy code. He has focused on TDD, refactoring, and CI/CD for 20+ years and spent the last 12 years improving ugly code in projects up to 65 million lines of code with teams of up to 1,000. Arlo's advanced refactoring techniques reduce the cost of future stories, prevent bugs, and cost today's story less than leaving the legacy code alone. His enterprise experience includes Sunquest, Tableau, and Microsoft. You can count on Arlo for bug-free code, produced consistently.


Sunquest Information Systems
System Improvements, Architecture, Azure, C#, C++, Refactoring, Full-stack...
C++, JavaScript, NoSQL, SQL, Refactoring, Test-driven Development (TDD)...
C#, C++, JavaScript, Refactoring, Test-driven Development (TDD), SQL...




Preferred Environment

Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, C++, C, SQL, Test-driven Development (TDD), Refactoring, C#, NoSQL

The most amazing...

...turnaround was a 35-year-old, $1 billion ARR product that spent 90% of its budget on bugs. The release after I arrived had only two bugs and shipped none.

Work Experience

Principal Software Architect

2020 - 2022
Sunquest Information Systems
  • Created the first internal, open-source library to unify the handling of temporal data and time zones. It was adopted by three product lines, which could then support users in multiple time zones from one server, and reduced those ops costs by 30%.
  • Led the shift to CI and defined the build and branch strategy, shifting to trunk-based development. Led the push toward automated testing, which was adopted by two product lines that changed from annual to bi-weekly releases.
  • Standardized the cloud deployment model, separating the concerns of security, regulation, scaling, and code. The first new product got to market in six months while still meeting all system-level needs. The prior best was three years.
Technologies: System Improvements, Architecture, Azure, C#, C++, Refactoring, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Technical Leadership, XML, CSS, HTML, Technical Training, Relational Databases, Unit Testing, Patterns, Software Architecture, .NET, Node.js

Staff Technical Coach

2016 - 2019
  • Shifted 130 teams to trust the build system and stop on a failure, fixing it immediately. Reduced the broken build rate from 100% of the time on each of six branches to under 3% of the time, with the whole company on one branch.
  • Created a technical center of excellence to spread refactoring skills, wrote the curriculum, and trained trainers. Impacted 15 teams, reducing their lead time to release by 95% and increasing their velocity by 200%, on average.
  • Shifted the strategy to break up the monolith. Prior efforts ran three years with no results. In two quarters, the new strategy fixed the biggest problem, monolith-wide, and 25% of teams completely isolated themselves from the monolith in one year.
  • Created a new-hire program to teach refactoring, which trained 250+ developers over two years. The new-hire ramp-up time to first useful contribution went from six months to 2-3 weeks.
Technologies: C++, JavaScript, NoSQL, SQL, Refactoring, Test-driven Development (TDD), TypeScript, C#, Systems Thinking, Agile Transformation, Transformational Leadership, Instructional Design, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Technical Leadership, CSS, HTML, Technical Training, Unit Testing, Patterns, .NET, Node.js

Senior Developer, Engineering Excellence

2011 - 2014
  • Trained the Microsoft Office team to refactor legacy code while moving the products to the cloud. Reduced the bugs written per release by over 99%, saving $1 billion+ in operational and development costs over five years.
  • Designed the OData protocol for geospatial data. OData is one of the most widely deployed protocols for geospatial data exchange.
  • Helped teams across the company refactor their ugliest code. Contributed code to Windows kernel, Windows Server, Office, ASP.NET MVC, Visual Studio, and Roslyn (the C# compiler).
  • Drove the internal TDD community of practice. Engaged the Office, Windows Server, and Visual Studio teams to guide them from multi-month manual test passes to clean code and automated test suites with daily deployment.
Technologies: C#, C++, JavaScript, Refactoring, Test-driven Development (TDD), SQL, TypeScript, Systems Thinking, Instructional Design, Technical Instruction, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Technical Leadership, XML, XML Parsing, CSS, HTML, Technical Training, Relational Databases, Unit Testing, Patterns, .NET


1999 - 2003
Silver Platter Software
  • Raised $3 million in funding to create games with embedded advertising—a new idea at the time.
  • Created and led a team of 50 software developers. Developed multiple iterations of the first product, 3D-Crossword, shipping every week. Led the pivot to a second product.
  • Introduced extreme programming, which was new at the time, established weekly continuous improvement cycles that applied social science methods, and published three industry papers.
  • Created a library for running massively multiplayer games distributed on client machines with the security of server-side execution. Enabled a test game to execute with 98% lower operating costs.
Technologies: C++, Refactoring, Management, Architecture, Extreme Programming, Process Improvement, CTO, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Technical Leadership, XML, XML Parsing, Unit Testing, Patterns, Software Architecture

A simple tool to refactor database schemata by applying ordered migrations. This is mostly a tech demo, showing how to solve two key TDD problems. First, it uses micro-tests as a spec. The tests are both micro-tests and useful acceptance tests in the customer's language. Second, it isolates an annoying dependency—the database—using hexagonal architecture and contract testing.

Microsoft Word – Office 365 Port

The port from desktop to cloud was blocked by many internal functions that were written before Windows. They used hardware interrupts in application code to access keyboards and other devices, which wouldn't work on the cloud. I trained the developers working on that project to refactor across such a fundamental shift without altering behavior. They maintained exact functionality, completing the project 75% ahead of schedule, with junior developers, and writing only one bug. No bugs were ever found in their code production.

Builder Example
I built a quick tech demo for a client to teach techniques for better unit testing. This teaches the use of my commit notation, micro-commits, builder pattern, and custom assertions. Combined with a learning hour talk, this spread better unit testing throughout the client organization. They increased the number of unit tests created per day by 50%, and their tests were now readable by POS and abstract enough to support remodeling.


SQL, C#, XML, HTML, CSS, Python, JavaScript, C++, TypeScript, C




Node.js, Vue, React


Test-driven Development (TDD), Refactoring, Extreme Programming, Unit Testing, Management, Instructional Design


XML Parsing, Relational Databases, NoSQL, PostgreSQL


Architecture, Process Improvement, Systems Thinking, Technical Instruction, System Improvements, Technical Training, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Technical Leadership, Software Architecture, Agile Transformation, Transformational Leadership, CTO, Patterns