Zak Miller, Developer in Cary, NC, United States
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Zak Miller

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Software Engineer and Developer

Cary, NC, United States
Toptal Member Since
April 27, 2021

Zak is a versatile senior software engineer who has built web services, web apps, imaging libraries, and mobile apps specializing in distributed systems. He designed a unique solution to gather statistics of the annual homeless count used by non-profits across the country. He has served as scrum master on teams, as the developer representative on projects, and managed contractors to speed up development.


Plotly Technologies
Apache Kafka, CockroachDB, PostgreSQL, GraphQL, Kubernetes, APIs...
Hyperion Data
Vue, Vuex, Firebase, Cloud Firestore, Go, OpenLayers, Git, TypeScript, GeoJSON...
TypeScript, React, JavaScript, Rust, Python 3




Preferred Environment

Visual Studio Code (VS Code), WebStorm

The most amazing... solution I've built is used by non-profits across the country to gather and deliver the annual homeless count.

Work Experience

Staff Back-end Software Engineer

2021 - PRESENT
Plotly Technologies
  • Led a team of five to develop the back end and supporting architecture for Plotly's flagship product
  • Architected a fault-tolerant, event-driven system using Kafka, Kubernetes, and CockroachDB.
  • Built a fast and reliable GraphQL API that allows users to easily scale their data science and ML dashboards with a click of a button.
  • Assisted the product owner to narrow requirements to balance building the product quickly while ensuring a solid foundation for future development.
Technologies: Apache Kafka, CockroachDB, PostgreSQL, GraphQL, Kubernetes, APIs, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Next.js, NestJS, Node.js, React, Helm, Leadership, Architecture, Software Architecture, CircleCI, WebSockets, CI/CD Pipelines, Webpack, NPM


2019 - PRESENT
Hyperion Data
  • Developed a Vue.js web app used by thousands of volunteers across the country for the annual Point In Time (PIT) count.
  • Created a Vue.js web app for monitoring the point in time count where administrators can see the data coming in real-time, contacted volunteers, cleaned up data, and exported it to various formats.
  • Spoke to non-profits across the country to identify standard practices for the Point In Time (PIT) count.
  • Built a Go Web API and back-end functions in TypeScript.
  • Collaborated with and managed a contractor to speed up development.
Technologies: Vue, Vuex, Firebase, Cloud Firestore, Go, OpenLayers, Git, TypeScript, GeoJSON, Node.js, JavaScript, REST APIs, APIs, Cloud, DevOps, Netlify, Front-end, HTML5, CSS3, User Experience (UX)

Individual Contributor

2018 - PRESENT
  • Added additional refactoring capability to Nicoespeon and Abracadabra, a JavaScript and TypeScript refactoring VSCode plugin.
  • Fixed a bug in Microsoft and TypeScript (some valid refactorings weren't being recognized).
  • Added minor functionality to multi-organization Material-UI, one of the most common UI frameworks for React.
  • Identified, reported, and diagnosed a bug in HuggingFace tokenizers - a machine learning library written in Rust and Python.
Technologies: TypeScript, React, JavaScript, Rust, Python 3

Senior Application Developer

2018 - 2019
Ultimate Medical Academy
  • Identified a pain point (it was difficult to see what data was available, where it was available from, and to manage to query it from different sources), suggested a solution (GraphQL), built an MVP, and shepherded it into mainstream use.
  • Served as the developer representative for the architecture team, suggesting broad improvements to the way we were doing things.
  • Developed a dynamic rules engine to flexibly and transparently control scheduling outreach to students.
  • Introduced unit tests, integration tests, and load testing to a company that desperately needed those ideas.
  • Designed and built multiple web service APIs (some by myself, some with others).
  • Contributed to the development of an Angular web app to streamline the enrollment process for students.
Technologies: Angular, C#, .NET Core, Azure, SQL, GraphQL, Git, APIs, REST APIs, Cloud, DevOps

Software Engineer II

2015 - 2018
  • Standardized the process for handling support requests across five SDK teams.
  • Standardized the Git and CI/CD processes across five SDK teams.
  • Designed and architected a major new feature (programmatic comparison of PDF files).
  • Served as scrum master for a team of five and interfaced with other scrum masters to keep the teams aligned.
  • Added functionality to support PDF/A and Acroforms in the PDF imaging library.
Technologies: C#, C++, SDKs, Digital Imaging, GitLab, Jenkins, Agile Software Development

I am the CEO and lead developer for Hyperion, an app to help non-profits across the country with the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. The PIT count is an annual census of the homeless population done by tens of thousands of volunteers across the country.

Historically, maps were handed out to volunteers showing them where to look for people experiencing homelessness. Each volunteer would bring a small stack of surveys to fill out with pen and paper. The surveys are often fairly complex, and the entire PIT count needs to be completed within 24 hours, and the bulk of the survey is often conducted at night. This led to hurried and often illegible answers, missed questions, and an all-around poor experience.

I wrote an app that tells volunteers where to go with a map (such as Google Maps), shows them exactly the questions they need to ask (hiding the others), and instantly reports answers to the administrators (with geotagging and timestamps attached). The administrative dashboard helps administrators move volunteers around during the count, clean up the data, and more.

Swipebite is a flutter app that lets groups of friends swipe at nearby restaurants. You can look through 50 restaurants in about a minute and find one that you and your friends are excited about. I wrote the app by myself.
2011 - 2015

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science

University of Florida - Gainesville, Florida, United States


Vue, REST APIs, Node.js, Vuex, OpenLayers, React, Google Maps, Yelp API


Git, WebStorm, GitLab, Jenkins, Helm, CircleCI, Webpack, NPM


TypeScript, JavaScript, C#, GraphQL, C++, SQL, Go, Rust, Python 3, HTML5, CSS3


Cloud Firestore, Google Cloud, PostgreSQL, CockroachDB


Firebase, Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Docker, Apache Kafka, Kubernetes, iOS, Android, Netlify


Agile Software Development, DevOps


Flutter, NestJS, Tailwind CSS, Angular, .NET Core, Next.js


Startups, APIs, Computer Science, Cloud, SDKs, Digital Imaging, GeoJSON, TypeORM, Service Workers, Leadership, Architecture, Software Architecture, WebSockets, CI/CD Pipelines, Front-end, User Experience (UX)

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