Nathan Chan, Developer in Portland, OR, United States
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Nathan Chan

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Augmented Reality (AR) Developer

Portland, OR, United States
Toptal Member Since
January 9, 2020

Nathan has over a decade of experience in varying engineering roles. He started at Microsoft and continued as a full-stack developer for several years before transitioning to iOS. He has recently been a freelance iOS developer focused on developing augmented reality (AR) apps for various startups. Previously, Nathan led an iOS team in building AR apps that integrated with physical toys for kids, promoted problem-solving, and developed digital literacy via 2D games and AR activities.


ARKit, Swift, iOS, iOS SceneKit, VisionOS, Augmented Reality (AR)
ARKit, Swift, iOS, SpriteKit, Core ML, Augmented Reality (AR), Objective-C
Python, iOS, React, JavaScript




Preferred Environment

Slack, Git, Xcode, MacOS

The most amazing...

...thing I've developed is an iOS app that pairs with a physical teddy bear, bringing it to life in augmented reality to help kids role-play as a doctor.

Work Experience

Freelance iOS Engineer

2020 - PRESENT
  • Worked with multiple clients spanning various industries, primarily focused on augmented reality projects involving prototyping, research, development, and App Store launches.
  • Focused on developing apps in Swift and building custom features and functionality using ARKit, SceneKit, SpriteKit, and other core Apple libraries.
  • Provided high-level technical guidance and product direction for early-stage and experimental projects, particularly in the augmented reality space.
Technologies: ARKit, Swift, iOS, iOS SceneKit, VisionOS, Augmented Reality (AR)

Lead iOS Engineer

2017 - 2020
  • Owned multiple iOS apps developed for kids that merged physical toys and digital experiences using augmented reality. The flagship product was an AR teddy bear sold in many retail stores.
  • Worked initially as the sole iOS developer, built out a small team of mobile developers, and fostered a positive engineering culture to deliver quality user experiences across a suite of apps.
  • Acquired by BEGiN, whose mission was to provide children with the best educational start possible, the seedling team was brought in to enhance their subscription offering with a physical product paired with a digital AR experience.
  • Launched an iOS app for BEGiN that utilized AR and machine learning to encourage kids to learn through play while interacting with the real world.
Technologies: ARKit, Swift, iOS, SpriteKit, Core ML, Augmented Reality (AR), Objective-C

Senior Software Engineer

2013 - 2016
  • Owned the core functions of SurveyMonkey Audience, a marketplace business bringing together market researchers looking for insights and survey-takers incentivized by donating to charity.
  • Led multiple cross-organization initiatives, including API implementation and UX integration projects to launch survey-taking functionality in the SurveyMonkey iOS and Android apps.
  • Made key contributions to an entire site redesign, with a focus on responsive design for mobile and tablet, A/B rollout plans and key metrics reporting.
  • Led a rewrite of the entire customer-facing checkout flow using React and Redux.
Technologies: Python, iOS, React, JavaScript

Software Development Engineer in Test

2009 - 2012
  • Played a core role in the feature design and testability of the data migration process of SharePoint Online customers to the data-center infrastructure.
  • Authored automation for the migration process which saved hundreds of developer hours for the core engineering team.
  • Drove and ensured the high availability of the entire SharePoint Online service to meet a 99.9% uptime SLA, while working closely with an operations team.
  • Authored several monitoring-and-debugging tools to increase efficiency and reduce on-call engineer investigation time by several magnitudes.
  • Helped shepherd the team’s growth from seven engineers to over 200.
Technologies: SQL, Windows PowerShell, C#

AR Shoe Fitting iOS App

Contributed to the development of this project, which aimed to support an innovative shoe company that used AR to scan users' feet to find the perfect-fitting shoe.

The initiative of this project was to improve the user foot-scanning experience, which captured photos of each foot and fed them into a back-end computer-vision model for 3D reconstruction for shoe fitting. We successfully launched a working prototype using various ARKit features, including plane detection, vision libraries for shape detection, and SceneKit to create a spray-painting experience. The prototype accurately captured and uploaded photos with corresponding camera and geometric data to reconstruct a 3D model of each foot, bundled in a user-friendly app experience.

Parker: Your Augmented Reality Bear iOS App
This project involved an augmented reality app to encourage kids to role-play as a doctor, promote problem-solving, and develop digital literacy skills via 2D games and AR activities.

I was the lead iOS engineer on the project, managing a small team of engineers to develop and launch numerous innovative features.

The app was almost entirely built in Swift, using the latest Apple SDKs.

HOMER Play: Mail Adventure iOS App
HOMER Play is an interactive iOS app utilizing augmented reality and machine learning to encourage kids to learn through play while interacting with the real-world.

I was the sole engineer on the project, working closely with designers and product managers to develop innovative experiences to get kids off the couch.

The app was built entirely in Swift, using the latest Apple SDKs, including ARKit and Core ML.
2004 - 2009

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science

University of Toronto - Toronto, Canada


Firebase iOS SDK, SpriteKit, React


Git, Xcode, Jira, Slack


ARKit, iOS SceneKit, Core ML, Windows PowerShell


iOS, VisionOS, Firebase, MacOS, WatchOS


Swift, Python, Objective-C, C#, JavaScript, SQL, HTML, CSS


Augmented Reality (AR)

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