aaron maxwell

Resume & CV

Aaron Maxwell – amax@redsymbol.net
Updated Jan 2016

Aaron Maxwell is a technology entrepreneur and author, with a strong background in software engineering and scientific research. He has written three books and dozens of essays; contributed to open-source and free software; and impacted audiences around the world with his public speaking. He currently lives in San Francisco, CA, USA.


Browse Aaron's years of open-source work:

Technical Skillset

  • Deep understanding of concurrent software systems, and building them in a way that is scalable, maintainable, and - above all - robust. Can clearly articulate the trade-offs of the different tools for building concurrent systems: processes vs. threads vs. async models vs. hybrid (e.g. goroutines); synchronization constructs; message-queuing solutions (e.g. POSIX queues, SQS, AMQP); locking strategies, and how to avoid having to use locks; OS-level facilities like epoll/poll/select. Can implement concurrent components and systems in C, Python, Java, and more.
  • Fundamental mastery of the AWS cloud computing platform, and its many dimensions of scalability - including but not limited to: VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), EC2, load-balancing with ELB, messaging with SQS (and scalable non-AWS alternatives), autoscaling architectures, using EBS under high I/O requirements, custom monitoring metrics/analysis/alarms via CloudWatch, the AWS API and different toolkits for instrumenting it (e.g. boto). Written numerous technical essays and taught workshops on building scalable web applications on AWS.
  • Have designed and implemented substantial, scalable web applications, with fully automated deployment and control systems - most recently a high-availability, multi-scalable-tier VPC deployment that received coverage in Techcrunch and other pubs on lauch. (It handled the launch traffic just fine!)
  • World class expertise in Linux and Unix; developing in Python (both 2 and 3); the HTTP protocol; and devops - which I define as the automation of infrastructure and deployment.
  • Am extremely productive working on my own, and even more as part of a team.
  • Excellent understanding of security practices, including PCI-DSS compliance of web ecommerce systems.
  • A degree of Linux system administration ability that is unusually high for a software developer.
  • An outstanding writer. I've written dozens of highly technical software articles, extensive tutorials and manuals, three books, and deep and insightful works explaining obtuse engineering topics to nontechnical audiences - some of which have been published on Mashable.com and similar pubs. Complete list.
  • Excellent communicator. I have given very well-received talks both to audiences of business and marketing professionals while wearing a suit and tie, and highly technical presentations to rooms full of software engineers (no ties in sight!). More prosaically, I can clearly and effectively converse with team members of a diverse range of skillsets, from engineering (obviously) to marketing to legal to C-level management.
  • Passionate and powerfully effective teacher. Years of experience teaching myriad topics to a range of audiences - from teaching online marketing concepts to non-technical entrepreneurs; to teaching short workshops in unit testing at a local Python meetup; to teaching multi-day, hands-on, technical trainings in countries where I don't speak the native language.
  • Mathematical ability. My background is in theoretical physics. I'm able to read an academic paper describing an algorithm or technique in mathematical notation, and produce code implementing it.
  • Regular contributor to opensource. Aaron Maxwell on Github. Additional code for my Python newsletter.
  • Fluent in many programming languages, including (sorted by descending fluency) Python, C, bash, Javascript, PHP, go, Java, Lisp/Scheme. In the past I've also been productive with C++, and Perl, though I'm honestly a little rusty with those. Able to quickly become productive in languages and frameworks which I have never used before.
  • Of course, am well versed in important software engineering practices: working with both centralized and decentralized version control systems (Git, Mercurial, SVN, etc.); automated testing (unit tests, integration tests, mocks, TDD); excellent API and code documentation; object-oriented and functional programming; refactoring; code reviews; agile and iterative development.

Impact & Experience

Author & Trainer, Aaron Maxwell's MigrateUp

Nov 2014 - present

Wrote and published his third book, Powerful Python. Designed, recorded and published a 3.5-hour video tutorial in livecoding a RESTful API server from scratch. (Source online.)

Started an email newsletter on intermediate-to-advanced Python programming (archives) and built its subscriber base to thousands of Python developers worldwide, as of 2016, and growing. See also source code of software developed specifically to illustrate certain technical concepts in the newsletter.

Technical Trainer, NewCircle

Jan 2015 - present

Taught over a dozen multiday classes through NewCircle, in topics including Python (beginner and advanced); devops; and more. All were delivered to groups of working professional software professionals, at companies such as Salesforce; Symantec; Qualcomm; Intel; and NASA's JPL - while consistently earning stellar ratings from students in the after-course evaluation, consistently earning a median rating of 9/10 or higher.

Designed from scratch two full multi-day courses - one in Advanced Python development; the other, Effective Devops with Ansible. Each include full courseware guides and dozens of hands-on, in-class programming exercises. Each were taught to multiple groups of software professionals, achieving a medium post-class student rating of 9 out of 10, or higher, every time.

Software Engineer (DevOps & Test Automation), Lyft

August 2013 - Nov 2014

Instructor, NewCircle/Marakana

August 2013 - October 2013

Traveled to client locations and taught live, hands-on workshops on topics including web app development in Django; and scalable cloud architectures.

Software Engineer (Cloud Architecture), Grokr

October 2012 - Apr 2013

Designed and implemented scalable, secure cloud architecture based on Amazon Web Services. Leveraged AWS cloud services such as EC2; auto-scaling; and VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) to build secure, highly scalable and flexible systems that handled expected and unexpected load bursts, and are able to quickly evolve during development iterations. Implemented multiple high-performance MongoDB replica sets on EC2 with robust reliability.

Founder, Mobile Web Up

June 2010 - April 2013

Market analysis to determine high-quality, underserved need in marketplace. Designed, implemented and iteratively expanded the original core software, Mobilize by Mobile Web Up, used to create and host clients' mobile websites. Developed, deployed and iteratively updated original digital marketing strategy to establish early success stories and paying clients.

Software engineer in testing/QA, SnapLogic

October 2007 to April 2009

Designed and implemented a distributed, fault-tolerant, evolvable QA infrastructure for automated testing of a large, multi-(process, threaded, platform, language) software product. Includes unit and integration test discovery, advanced reporting, code coverage measurements (both per-test and aggregate), static source code analysis, performance benchmarking. Built a quality monitoring service with automated alerts based on events, such as drops in code coverage. Designed and implemented a multidimensional benchmark performance tool capable of spanning multiprocess integration tests, complete with an extensible plug-in architecture for new metrics, and data analysis and report generation. Leveraged existing open source tools as possible, extending as needed. Contributed code implementing significant functionality to the BuildBot Figleaf projects. Presented overview of our automated QA approach at Pycon in March 2009.


Summer, 2008

Conceived, designed and implemented FindForMe.net, an automated book shopping assistant and advanced Amazon affiliate. Service consists of web site plus several attendant programs, implemented in Python 2.5 using Django 1.0, which make use of the Amazon Associates Web Service to continually scan inventory of thousands of independent booksellers, alerting user when books become available at their preferred price.

Web development

May 2006 - Sept 2007

Multiple mid-size Web development projects for SnapLogic, Inc., and for various clients of RadicalFusion. Using Agile practices and test-driven development, worked individually, and in teams of up to 5 developers, in both supporting and technical lead roles. Select projects include: created a "community forge" site based on Python and Django for SnapLogic, integrating user registration with central LDAP back-end, and integrating site functionality across separate Django (Python), Trac and Drupal (PHP) websites. Isolated and created fix for mod_python issue affecting Django; submitted patch was accepted by upstream and integrated into trunk (http://code.djangoproject.com/ticket/4710). "Updates" server used by SnapLogic client software to query for new versions from customer installations.



Latest book: Powerful Python.

Also wrote two math books: Inner Algebra and Integrate Your Brain. Content available online at http://boostmath.com.


Wrote many articles in intermediate and advanced Python programming topics for my Powerful Python newsletter. Ongoing.

Articles and Essays

Multiple technical, professional and personal development essays published at http://redsymbol.net/articles/. Wrote many marketing-serving articles for the Mobile Web Up blog. Chief editor of the mobile business newsletter. Quoted in important industry publications including Mashable, Inc.com, ReadWriteWeb, most of which are documented at http://mobilewebup.com/in-the-news/. Wrote well-received articles for Mashable. Wrote technical essays on cloud computing implementation using Amazon Web Services at the AWS Journal, with cloud computing software shared online.


  • B.S., Physics, UT Dallas, May 1998. Summa Cum Laude
  • Graduate work in biophysics, UC San Francisco, 1999-2000
  • Graduate work in computer science, SFSU, 2007-2009

Aaron also regularly and systematically partakes in training in many aspects of entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, and other topics, with the goal of continually increasing the value and impact he provides to the world.