Zack Steinkamp

[email protected]
Scotts Valley, California


I have been building web applications since 1995, and at mega-scale starting in 1999. My interest and experience through the years has been very broad -- frontend, backend, data infrastructure, networking, security, devops, visual design, usability, infrastructure, people management, hiring, and work flow optimization.

In May 2024, I left the full-time world to focus on family, friends, and positive community impact.


March 2023 - May 2024


Senior Architect

  • Member of the NGINX Experiments, Research, and Development (NERD) Team. Worked as an embedded resource in various product teams as well as developing new product prototypes.

  • Led an initiative with the NGINX Amplify team to help expand the brand through improvements to usability, community, and platform capability to resonate better with modern application developers.

  • Contributor to njs-acme - an open source njs (Javascript) extension to NGINX to automate SSL/TLS certificate creation and renewal with ACME compliant services such as Let's Encrypt.

  • Held a multi-faceted leadership role in a 30 person team building a new cloud-based product offering.

    • Helped to define product strategy, organizational strategy, technical architecture

    • Led the team responsible for breaking ground on new SaaS foundations: developer experience, production environment (IaC), CICD, observability, repository strategy, development workflow.

    • Brought new management and development practices that shifted company culture toward a happier, more efficient, more engaged force with higher product quality and more satisfied customers.

May 2022 - Nov 2022


Staff Engineer

  • Engineer in the Stripe Atlas team, whose mission is to minimize the time and effort required to start a new company. Stripe Atlas eliminates the need to engage the services of a lawyer for most entrepreneurs.

  • Built and released user-facing features such as a Stripe payments discount for Atlas customers, share vesting for solo-founder companies, and accurate share purchase date collection to optimize founders' tax liabilities.

  • Member of the department-level incident review committee, where significant user-impacting events were discussed along with strategies for remediation and prevention.

  • Helped to shape the operating mechanics of the team, with an eye on optimizing efficiency. This brought a focus on important discussions, learning sessions, peer 1:1s.

  • Caught up in Stripe's Nov 2022 layoffs, which primarily affected new hires like me.

Jul 2017 - Feb 2022


Principal Engineer / Sr. Engineering Manager

  • Hired to build the Splunk Value Platform (SVP) -- a suite of applications used primarily by Splunk sales staff and channel partners that have improved customer acquisition and expansion success rate by over 70%.

  • Key player in shaping the Splunk IT organization's strategy and tactics around management, agile practices, hiring, product/operational analytics, infrastructure, and automation.

  • Hired and mentored engineering and design staff, which have grown to be a highly regarded and decorated team within Splunk.

  • Architected and built a flexible, simple, maintainable application platform using React, Sails.js, Node.js, Postgres, Redis, AWS ECS, and Docker.

  • Developed a super efficient local software development workflow and toolkit, leaning heavily into the capabilites of Docker.

  • Led initiative around metrics and monitoring, establishing standards and practices as well as delivering department-level dashboards.

  • Developed a system to quantify team member technical area aptitude to inform hiring decisions and personal development plans.

  • Developed a written skills matrix to show team members a clear path to growth and promotion.

  • Involved in all key departmental hires in all roles (engineering, design, product management, senior leadership) and took the lead in developing a set of guidelines to help all interviewers be more effective.

Jan 2015 - Jul 2017

Hoopla Software

Software Engineer -- Digital Office Signage and Metrics Platform

  • Primary engineer responsible for AngularJS-based web frontend, Backbone.js TV app, Amazon FireStick app, and Rails-powered marketing content management system.

  • Engineered many back-end services and service features using Ruby on Rails, MySQL, RabbitMQ.

  • Designed a secure, flexible network architecture in Amazon EC2 / VPC.

  • Co-created devops infrastructure using Ansible, Amazon EC2, Docker, bind, rsyslogd, Splunk.

  • Co-created an automated continuous build/test/deploy system using GitHub, Jenkins, Docker, Ansible.

  • Creator of the #wflt (What's for lunch today?) Slack channel and the Cheerleader Zack emoji.

Jul 2014 - Jan 2015


Software Engineer -- Real Time Data Stream Processing

  • Significant contributor to DataTorrent's visual stream processing editor, dtAssemble. This tool allows teams to build and deploy real-time data processing flows by connecting ingest / transformation / output nodes in a directed acyclic graph. Technologies used: AngularJS, Bootstrap, JSPlumb.

  • Assisted in enhancements to the product's Java-based web API server.

  • Contributed to DataTorrent's (now Apache Apex) Malhar open-source library of stream processing operators.

Sep 2010 - Jul 2014


Expert Engineer / Director of Engineering

  • Managed, mentored, and enabled a platform infrastructure engineering team responsible for ops automation, application frameworks, data infrastructure software, and real-time metrics.

  • Conceived and implemented a secure, employee-friendly single-sign-on system used to protect over 500 internal company tools.

  • Participated in most aspects of obtaining and maintaining PCI Level 1 certification -- system design, engineering, documentation, evidence gathering, working with auditors, security design, international roll-out. Published a description of Groupon's PCI solution on the company public engineering blog.

  • Invented a real-time metrics collection, transport, visualization and alerting system using a mix of open source technology and homegrown software that handles millions of datapoints per minute.

  • Responsible for education, evangelization, and development of security best practices. Implemented a grassroots security program to build a strong security culture within the engineering org.

  • Identified and implemented significant front- and back-end performance improvements to the site, e.g. static asset fingerprinting/caching, CDN integration, Ruby garbage collection tuning, etc.

  • Built special-purpose systems designed to withstand sudden spikes of millions of requests generated by Groupon's NFL Super Bowl ads.

  • Co-designed and built Groupon's production operations infrastructure, configuration management, and tooling. This system scaled to over 1,500 engineers and 10,000 servers.

  • Heavily involved in a lights-on transition from PaaS provider to a dedicated datacenter, completed with 100% uptime for this mega-scale ecommerce site.

  • Core member of the planning team for Groupon's hack-week program ("GEEKon") involving 1,500 developers in 10 dev centers worldwide.

  • Member of Groupon's "Bar Raiser" program. Involved in recruiting and interviewing across the engineering org and beyond, averaging over 100 interviews per year. Instrumental in growing the company's engineering team from 25 to 1,500 individuals in 4 years.

  • Presented at various internal and external conferences on the topics of performance, monitoring, security, and devops.

Mar 2009 - Sep 2010


Sr. Principal Software Engineer, Symantec Health

  • Conceived and implemented a novel in-browser solution to display and manipulate 16 bits-per-pixel monochrome images in ways familiar to radiologists.

  • Involved in choosing datacenters, selecting hardware solutions, and installing hardware in datacenters.

  • Designed and implemented system/application monitoring and product analytics solutions.

  • Co-architected and implemented a scalable (hundreds of TB) yet inexpensive storage infrastructure with block-level deduplication and encryption.

  • Co-architected and implemented inter-datacenter file and database replication with block-level data deduplication.

  • Responsible for application security design and ongoing security testing.

Mar 2007 - Feb 2009


Co-Founder and CTO

  • Assembled an awesome team to build a web application to automatically ingest and visualize data, orgainzed by time.

  • Assisted in building a flexible, high performance, scalable application platform. at its peak was the most popular online timeline tool, with 2 million monthly unique visitors, along with several prominent customers in news media, education, and entertainment.

  • Technologically covered the gamut -- Machine setup, monitoring infrastructure, database administration, back-end architecture, security, Javascript/AJAX, product concepts, mockups, and graphics.

  • Shipped personal timelines four years before Facebook did. ;-)

Mar 1999 - Dec 2006


Apr 2005 - Dec 2006

Core Security Team (Yahoo! Paranoids)

  • One of ten individuals in this team. At the time, Yahoo was a 10,000-person company.
  • Served as an internal security advisor -- specializing in issues dealing with modern client-side web technologies (AJAX, Javascript, DHTML, Flash, Web Services).
  • Involved in developing company security policy, working with executive, legal, business, and engineering teams.
  • Developed and delivered coursework to train engineers and others in the company in security issues and best practices.
Apr 2003 - Apr 2005

Monitoring Infrastructure Team

  • Assisted in the design and deployment of a distributed, scalable performance monitoring and data collection system used throughout the company. This system, built using C, C++, Perl, and PHP components, collected millions of performance samples daily.
  • Designed and built web-based visual data analysis tools for engineers, production staff, management, and executives.
  • Developed and delivered a company-wide availability monitoring and reporting solution, covering 200+ web properties.
  • Eventually took over management and technical lead responsibilities of the team.
Mar 1999 - Apr 2003

My Yahoo! Development Team

  • Lead Engineer and Manager responsible for delivering a next-generation web portal product, in partnership with broadband internet providers (e.g. British Telecom, Rogers Cable, Pac Bell). This product was built on the My Yahoo platform, and extended with modern web technologies such as Javascript and CSS.

  • Conceived and implemented a PHP-based presentation layer that ran inside of My Yahoo's Apache module written in C. Worked with the inventor of PHP and his team to make this possible. This change improved engineering efficiency dramatically by eliminating the need to recompile the module when making markup changes.


Graduated 1998

Cal Poly, SLO

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in Information Systems / Computer Science.

  • Recipient of the 1998 Peoplesoft (Oracle) Information Systems Award -- Awarded to the Cal Poly MIS student who best demonstrates interest and ability in the Information Systems field.