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 UI-leaning engineer, and I want to spend my life building high-quality, sustainable software. 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

Engineering

Design

React + Redux

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

Team Links Organizer

Design

Figma

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

OWL Website

Design

Development

HTML/CSS

Nunjucks

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

Engineering

Devops

NodeJS

Express

IPFS

web3.js

Jest

MongoDB

Docker

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.

Repl.it

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 repl.it

notes.e-worm.club

a colorful etherpad document

B.A. Thesis: Campeones de la WWW

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

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