Photo of Chris Aquino, smiling

Chris Aquino

engineer / manager / author / teacher

👋 I'm a full stack developer, an engineering manager, a technical writer and an instructor.

I'm well-suited for roles like:

  • Architect
  • Software Engineer
  • Engineering Manager
  • Developer Success Engineer

I've got over two decades of experience building software, managing teams and educating the curious.

  • I've done full-stack web development using modern languages and tooling.
  • I've managed humans (as many as two dozen), focusing on individual growth and team collaboration.
  • I wrote a book based on the web development course I created.
  • I taught hundreds of students, ranging from senior engineers to complete novices.

In a nutshell, I enable teams and end-users to do their best work.

  • - Email is still 🆒, right?
  • Resume - if this site is the director's commentary, the resume is the movie.
  • LinkedIn - messages welcome!
  • GitHub - a few goodies here, but somewhat unused in favor of self-hosting my repos.
  • Mastodon - make 🐘 not war

Professionally, I have:

  • Shipped production systems in TypeScript, React, Node.js, Express.js, GraphQL, Apollo, Python, Django, MySQL, PostgresQL and Redis
  • Written tests with Jest, pytest, and WebdriverIO.
  • Used Jenkins as a CI/CD pipeline.
  • Deployed Docker-ized microservices to AWS.
  • Manually provisioned Linux servers.
  • Debugged production errors across multiple services with Splunk.
  • Written tech specs, reviewed code and mentored other engineers.
  • Worked closely with Product and Design to scope high-level features and plan development in phases.

But also:

  • I'm actively learning Go.
  • I use Linux (NixOS) and OpenBSD on my personal machines and for hosting.
  • I've taught Redux and used it for personal projects.


This isn't my entire work history, just assorted tidbits and anecdata from recent roles. It's intended to supplement my resume, not replace it. (a.k.a. SurveyMonkey): 2022-2023 Senior Software Engineer II

Photo of my two monitors and my laptop.
Back in the saddle, working from home as a dev
  • After being away from a "tech job" for 4 years, I was hired by SurveyMonkey as a Senior Software Engineer.
  • I worked on a React front-end and a Python backend with a thin layer of GraphQL in between.
  • My team was small (4 engineers) and we moved quickly. We did a lot of A/B testing and met weekly with Product and Design to plan and discuss features.
  • I debugged and triaged production errors in prod during on call rotations.
  • I helped instigate the adoption of TypeScript within my team.
  • I joined two guilds: TypeScript and Education.
  • For the TypeScript guild, I helped create and present a talk on migrating to TypeScript for the company's annual engineering conference.
  • For the Education guild, I helped formulate better ways of doing internal training for busy engineers.

DigitalCrafts: 2017-2021 Lead Instructor & Director of Education

Photo of me presenting during a graduation ceremony. About a dozen people in frame, looking on.
I'm the blurry one, presenting during my students' graduation ceremony
  • I spent the first 3 years teaching full stack web development.
  • I racked up hundreds of hours of public speaking experience and can break down complex technical topics for the layperson. (My drawing skills, however, did not improve.)
  • During my last year, I managed the creation and launch of two new programs: UX Design and Cybersecurity.
  • I hired engineers and taught them how to teach. I hired instructors and taught them how to write.

Big Nerd Ranch: 2012-2017 Developer, Manager & Director of Web Engineering

Photo of book: Front-End Web Development, The Big Nerd Ranch Guide. On top of book, small gold trophy with label that reads 'You wrote a book'
The label on the trophy: "You wrote a book"
  • Aaron Hillegass hired me as the first member of the web development team.
  • I interviewed and hired 4 more engineers.
  • We merged with a smaller company that was backend focused (Ruby on Rails). After some shuffling around, my little web team turned into a department of approximately 15 direct reports.
  • I reduced my total number of direct reports by mentoring a couple of budding managers.
  • We did web app development for startups and enterprise customers. (Some of this was during the jQuery days. We did amazing and terrible things.)
  • I created Big Nerd Ranch's Front-End Web Development bootcamp. After a couple of years, I wrote a book based on it.
  • The bootcamp was offered in two flavors. We did on-site corporate training for companies small and large. (For examples of large companies, you probably have one company's fruit-themed products or spent time on another company's site pressing the 👍 button.)


Nearly all of these are content managed websites built with Python, Django & PostgreSQL - then deployed to a Linux VPS.

Except for Synchronicity Theatre, my version of these sites are no longer up. 😿

  • Synchronicity Theatre, theater company in Atlanta, GA
  • Chattahoochee Riverlands Project, historical site in Atlanta, GA
    • Interactive web-based map, backed by Wordpress
    • Created in conjunction with Good Thinking, a non-profit headquartered in Atlanta
    • Ah-ha moment: figuring out how to use Wordpress as a JSON API
  • Souper Jenny, restaurant in Atlanta, GA
    • Mailing list functionality (management and sending) created and integrated into CMS
    • I learned never to write an email blast tool ever again.
  • Function, design firm in Decatur, GA
  • Brick Store Pub, gastropub in Decatur, GA

Nerdery (🤓 🤖 ⚡ projects)

A small box with a button on top and three USB cables coming out of the sides
One of my contraptions: the USB footswitch

Here are some things I've hacked on in the last few years:

  • Wii Nunchuck MIDI Controller (work in progress) - it basically sounds like a theremin right now
  • My (long neglected) Gemini capsule hosted at gemini://
  • Raspberry Pi powered temperature regulation system for my BBQ smoker
  • ThinkPad running pfSense, replacing my ISP's router
  • Another ThinkPad running Proxmox, which in turn runs things like Home Assistant and Syncthing
  • My two hand-soldered, farm-to-table, 3D printed USB footswitches
  • Raspberry Pi USB MIDI Host - it's a like chat room for synths and MIDI controllers
  • Git server running OpenBSD, manually installed to an SBC


Electronic musical instruments with glowing LEDs and pink cables
My tiny modular synth setup

A few more tidbits about me:

  • I'm a slow thinker, an obsessive tinkerer and a good listener.
  • I think engineering, teaching, writing and managing are the same skill exercised through different media, at different speeds.
  • I appreciate it when something "just works" but prefer understanding it from first principles.

I play a bit of guitar, have recently discovered modular synthesis and am finally learning music theory thanks to alternative keyboard layouts.

Like many devs, I've got the SICP, TAOCP and other books that I'll eventually (*cough cough* never) get through. In the more immediate future, I'm working through these: