Charlie Hileman, Developer in Carrboro, NC, United States
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Charlie Hileman

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Full-stack Developer

Carrboro, NC, United States
Toptal Member Since
August 27, 2021

Charlie is a full-stack engineer with extensive back-end experience and a scientific background, having worked recently in medical technologies. He's proficient in cloud services such as AWS, in addition to Linux, Docker, and DevOps. Charlie possesses exemplary communication skills and excels at working with both technical and non-technical teams.


React, JavaScript, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kubernetes, Docker, GitLab CI/CD...
Amazon Web Services (AWS), PHP, MySQL, Linux
Linux, JavaScript, PHP




Preferred Environment

MacOS, Linux, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Python, Node.js, React, Docker, Kubernetes, C++

The most amazing...

...project that I've built is a web-based medical simulation system that's been used to train physicians around the world.

Work Experience

Lead Software Developer

2014 - 2021
  • Designed and built a web-based medical simulation system used to train physicians.
  • Led the migration to continuous integration and development (CI/CD).
  • Served as the primary architect for system design and server architecture.
  • Acted as the lead for the medical simulation drug database and logic engine.
  • Set best coding practices and created the design for multi-level unit testing.
  • Collaborated with non-technical stakeholders to set the new product design and requirements.
Technologies: React, JavaScript, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kubernetes, Docker, GitLab CI/CD, Linux, Node.js, Create React App, Next.js, SQL

Lead System Architect

2011 - 2014
  • Served as the primary technical lead in the complete rebuild of a legacy medical simulator.
  • Acted as the lead Linux guru and system architect for all systems.
  • Launched worldwide servers and applications on AWS.
  • Set development standards for code design and advanced unit testing.
  • Independently launched multiple standalone simulator servers with developer training in Ethiopia.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), PHP, MySQL, Linux

Senior Software Architect

2000 - 2010
  • Worked as an independent consultant and built numerous web-based applications for a large multinational with over 10,000 employees in 40 countries.
  • Delivered a range of projects including custom content management systems and a clinical trial online survey system.
  • Set up multiple servers and systems for hosting the web-based technologies.
Technologies: Linux, JavaScript, PHP

Software Consultant and Developer

1988 - 1993
Multiple consulting clients
  • Built process control graphical applications with object-oriented backends.
  • Developed a graphical visualization library for complex process control systems.
  • Constructed real-time graphical front end for silicon wafer manufacturing.
  • Created a natural-language compiler for the front end of a preventative medicine product.
Technologies: OOP Designs, C++, Unix, C#

Web-based Medical Simulations
In collaboration with another senior developer, I built the engine that runs hundreds of medical simulations for training doctors throughout the world. We created an authoring system that allows physicians to write the content and logic for running the simulation. We built a logic engine that was tied into a large drug database, providing the brain behind the simulations.

The medical simulations are international with versions in English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Authored cases are reviewed by medical professionals with specially formatted outputs. User results are recorded into Google Analytics and analyzed for clients.

Our design was optimized for complex medical situations by defining dynamic fields in a relational database. This simplified the schema and minimized changes.

This medical simulation system has scaled tremendously and continues to assist in training physicians worldwide.

Migration to Continuous Integration and Development

I led the development team to migrate a large system from AWS EC2 servers to the GitLab CI/CD systems, deploying through Docker and Kubernetes to containers. I built the Docker files that optimized caching and minimized build times, training other developers to use the same systems locally. I divided the smaller tasks into individual builds. I assisted other dev teams in preparing for future CI/CD migrations.

Deploying a Create React App (CRA) to AWS S3 and CloudFront
We needed a system that would support a React application internationally that was optimized with caching in remote edge servers and running an API on AWS EC2 with hosting all the React content on S3 without servers.

AWS CloudFront can handle both static and dynamic content, but there are issues when deploying content from CRA. I built an open-source deployment system to deploy to S3 and CloudFront which uploaded only what has changed and sent invalidation requests to AWS.

Web App Deployment Management

Prior to switching to Kubernetes, I built a system to manage multiple deployments of web applications. The client communicated to servers to obtain all deployments. The servers were updated using restricted RSync so that only the changed files were transferred.

Both the client and server-side programs were built in Python 3.6, using the AWS boto3 libraries. This was used daily by all development team members.

Google Analytics Stitcher and Combiner
Using unique identifiers, this system can get around the limitations of Google Analytics without the use of Big Query. Automated downloads are limited to just seven columns, but this system stitches the limited downloads together.

Preventative Medicine Questionnaire Engine
In an early attempt to provide people with personalized health risk assessments, I built a custom system to convert natural language questionnaires into compiled front ends. The questionnaires were written by medical professionals (never the developers) and could be easily changed to remove all technical complexities. The results were fed into an expert system, along with specific biomarkers. Then the participants were provided with individualized reports.

Survey System for International HIV Project
I set up and currently maintaining an "Open Data Kit" (ODK) server for recording of remote surveys, part of an HIV project in Guatemala. Due to some shortcoming in their deployment system, I provided changes to the ODK project to enable flexible deployments on enterprise systems.
1997 - 2000

Master's Degree in Marine Science

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

1992 - 1993

Graduate Studies in Plant and Soil Science

University of Massachusetts - Amherst, MA

1982 - 1987

Bachelor's Degree in English

Brandeis University - Waltham MA


AWS Solutions Architect Associate



Node.js, React


Amazon CloudFront CDN, Google Analytics, GitLab CI/CD, Docker Compose, Create React App


Python, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, C++, C#, Python 3, Bash Script, SQL


Linux, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Docker, Unix, Kubernetes


MySQL, Amazon S3 (AWS S3), Amazon Aurora, MongoDB, PostgreSQL




Serverless Architecture


Writing & Editing, OOP Designs, Unix/Linux Virtualization, Full-stack, Life Science, Medicine

Collaboration That Works

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