Zach Sherman

Let's fix software

Software is broken. The computer programs of today are slow, riddled with anti-features, and near-impossible to modify or extend. It is time for programmers to stop pretending we're the smartest ones in the room and build high-quality tools that serve people, not big tech companies. Let's swap bloated web apps for interoperable tools that do simple things well and replace user-tracking with design processes that actually include users not just their data.

I'm a hungry young engineer, and I want to spend my life building high-quality, sustainable software and helping others to do the same. I recently graduated from UChicago, and have industry experience building customer facing products in a fast-paced environment.

As a product engineer at Open Work Labs, I was responsible for everything from front-end codebases to the design language of the company. My expertise in design and programming helped me create simple, clean tools that solved concrete problems.

In college, algorithm-heavy CS classes drove me to self-teach web and games programming, cultivating my ability to quickly teach myself any technical subject. I have since immersed myself in the world of functional programming and interface design as I strive to build software that is simpler, easier to extend than today's walled gardens.

I also spent all four years at UChicago organizing communities on- and off-campus. Organizing campaigns against powerful interests instilled the leadership and initiative that I have carried with me ever since.

Used professionally: HTML/CSS/JS, React, Redux, Typescript, GraphQL + Apollo, NodeJS + Express, Jest, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Git, Figma

[ the funkier version of this portfolio ]

Open Work Labs

Product Engineer (July - Nov 2019)

  • built frontends with React + Redux
  • built backends with NodeJS, IPFS, and MongoDB
  • led design sprints: sketches, prototypes, and user-tests
“I had a blast working with Zach! He brings great energy, healthy skepticism, a strong set of values, and an insane amount of talent. I have’t worked with many people that can pick up new skills and deploy them so quickly. From product strategy to dev ops, he’s able to make great things happen, fast.” - Thomas O’Brien

GitHub Activity App



React + Redux

functional prototype of an app to organize any GitHub repo's activity

Team Links Organizer



prototype of an app to track your team's work across various web apps

OWL Website





a screenshot of a website with a really cool owl logo

I am responsible for all the design and code for the OWL site, including the logo. I also contributed significantly to the copy. We wanted to capture our no-BS, playful attitudes and emphasize our belief in the power of open, transparent work. This site was crucial to establishing the OWL brand early in its existence.











Quasar is a NodeJS server that allows file or dag pinning to IPFS nodes via (ethereum) smart contract events, effectively using the ethereum blockchain as a permissions system for storage of files and objects. I wrote significant parts of the application logic, and was personally responsible for docs and deployment setup.

Product Engineer (April - May 2020)

Over the course of a short term contract, I worked directly with the CEO to quickly prototype a new system for publishing and sharing repls.

  • designed and built the new publishing flow
  • quickly picked up Apollo, GraphQL, and PostgreSQL
  • efficiently implemented the new system in an unfamiliar, convoluted codebase

Personal Projects

(from 2019-20)


End-user Programming with the 'CLUI'

A deep-dive exploring the possibilities for end-user-programmable interfaces based on the 'Command Line User Interface' concept from

a colorful etherpad document

B.A. Thesis: Campeones de la WWW

screenshot of my thesis homepage - images of various pieces below the title

I analyze how early Latin American wielded playful mechanics of interaction and aesthetics to undermine neoliberal rational-choice narratives. I designed and built the website myself.