The Software Engineering Portfolio for Nathan Karasch


Expertise & Accomplishments

  • Identifying technical solutions to meet strategic business goals
  • Communicating effectively and proactively to facilitate synergy and transparency
  • Leading development teams and empowering the team members to continue successfully supporting their projects autonomously
  • Designing and implementing web-based applications, including user interface, backend logic, REST API, ER database modeling, third-party integrations, and security
  • Delivering value in all software development phases, including requirements gathering, architecture, design, development, integration, testing, deployment, and support
  • Researching and identifying the best technologies for use within a given project
  • Effectively presenting technical topics to both technical and non-technical audiences
  • Innovating internal tools to streamline development and increase productivity
  • Aligning product development to business goals, technical requirements, and end user satisfaction
  • Selecting and integrating various cloud services to create scalable project infrastructures
  • Providing leadership, mentoring, and direction for emerging developers


05.2018 - Present
05.2018 - Present

Development Manager / Application Developer

Zirous (West Des Moines, IA)
  • I currently work as the Development Manager at Zirous. While most of my time is spent doing application development for various clients, my mission as Development Manager is to strengthen our strategic positioning for new application development work and to promote continued success in existing development services.
  • Primary responsibilities as Development Manager:
    • Consult on technical architecture and design considerations for pre-sales client engagements.
    • Help kickoff new client engagements, laying a good foundation for the project to support long-term success. This includes establishing standards in development strategy, architecture, design, documentation, communication, etc. as well as setting up task management systems, code repositories, initial infrastructure, and other tools and technologies used by the team.
    • Provide leadership, mentoring, and direction for emerging Zirous developer resources.
    • Research and understand current technology trends as they pertain to business strategy.
    • Provide direction and strategy recommendations for Zirous company leadership.
    • Continue supporting existing billable work.
  • At Zirous, we've provided IT Solutions to our customers for over 35 years. Our ultimate goal is to improve our customer's business process by leveraging cutting edge technologies. We aim to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability with Identity Management, Integration, Data Analytics, Hadoop/Big Data, Cloud, and Database.
  • Our company is generally platform-agnostic, meaning we're not necessarily a 'Java shop' or likewise tied to any specific tech stack. We use whatever technology best addresses our clients' needs. That being said, our strategic partnerships with companies like AWS, Microsoft, and Oracle allow us greater access and support to leverage those technologies in our solutions, so oftentimes the best solution involves using familiar technology and following best practices.
03.2017 - 12.2017
03.2017 - 12.2017

Research Assistant

Iowa State University (Ames, IA)
  • Delivered two unique, scalable solutions for aggregating and managing the clients' research data.
  • One solution moved the client's existing spreadsheet data management process into a relational database with a web interface.
  • The other solution played audio samples for the research participants, collected survey responses, stored the survey data alongside correlated demographic information, and provided an administrative interface to upload audio or download survey results. More information can be found on the L2 Speech Ratings project page.
  • Gathered requirements; generated proposals; designed, implemented, and tested the software; and deployed the final products.
  • Leveraged ISU’s Drupal website infrastructure to provide an interface for data management.
  • Designed the database schema for both projects, creating custom rules to join tabular data along common keys to reduce duplication and increase data cohesiveness.
  • Architected and implemented a custom web application to serve as an audio-rating platform.
  • Adapted to client requests to migrate the solution to Amazon Mechanical Turk midway through the project.
  • Maintained open lines of communication with the clients to solicit feedback throughout the design and development process to ensure the solution was meeting the clients' goals.
05.2017 - 08.2017
05.2017 - 08.2017

College Tech Spec Intern

Leidos (Eagan, MN)
  • Iteratively developed and released the next generation of functionality for the Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) project's platform.
  • Worked on both frontend (JavaScript) and backend (Java, bash, perl) development efforts to deliver features for the Winds Aloft portion of the platform.
  • Quickly identified as the JavaScript expert and trusted to deliver key user functionality.
  • Designed and implemented a dependency analysis tool that constructed a graph of script dependencies to facilitate runtime optimization.
  • Rewrote several existing scripts to decrease test runtime by multiple orders of magnitude (from several minutes down to a fraction of a second).
  • Architected a major refactor to enable common code reuse.
  • Created a browser extension to facilitate more efficient development processes.
  • Given a classified clearance level to work on FAA projects.
  • Delivered status updates and live demos to 100+ stakeholders on a bi-weekly basis.
05.2016 - 08.2016
05.2016 - 08.2016

Software Engineering Intern

Workiva (Ames, IA)
  • Worked on the same spreadsheet application as during the previous summer. This summer, however, the product was in production.
05.2015 - 08.2015
05.2015 - 08.2015

Software Engineering Intern

Workiva (Ames, IA)
  • Developed the frontend (Google Dart) for the spreadsheet web application in the Wdesk platform. During this summer, the product was still in research in development.
  • Developed new features and fixed bugs in an agile (scrum/kanban) environment.
  • Headed a browser compatibility project, delivering key insights to the team for future development.
  • Wrote, tested, and reviewed code to deliver high quality results and customer satisfaction.
  • Designed and developed an innovative solution to bring one of the features in alignment with industry standards.
  • Worked with the Atlassian software suite (Jira, Bamboo, etc).
02.2009 - 02.2014
02.2009 - 02.2014

Infantry Rifleman

US Marine Corps (Twentynine Palms, CA)
  • As a Marine 0311 Rifleman, I trained for combat and deployed to combat zones.
  • As the Platoon Radio Operator, I operated radio communication equipment in support of a 30+ man element.
  • As Training NCO, I facilitated company training by maintaining databases, schedules, and personnel rosters for 180+ Marines.
  • As Company Police Sergeant, I interfaced with supply, ordered and inventoried company logistics, scheduled maintenance for the bachelor enlisted quarters, prepared all logistics for transport during field operations, and tracked thousands of rounds of ammunition and high-value items.
  • As Company-Level Intelligence Cell NCO In Charge, I lead the company intelligence effort, which included collecting and analyzing data, producing various types of intelligence reports, briefing company leadership, and debriefing combat patrols.
  • As a Rifle Squad Leader, I lead and supervised the training and development of a 12 man infantry element.
  • Meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal and to Corporal.
  • Awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for service in Afghanistan.
  • Awarded four Certificates of Commendation and various other awards during my time in service.
  • Named Battalion NCO of the Quarter in 2013.
10.2007 - 02.2008
10.2007 - 02.2008

Showband Musician

Carnival Cruise Lines (Miami, FL)
  • Lived and worked aboard a cruise ship playing drums.
  • Responsible for learning, rehearsing, and performing the music for the various shows.
  • Performed in the show band and various lounge bands.


Jan 2014 - May 2018

Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Bachelor of Science: Software Engineering

GPA: 3.98

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Named to the Dean's List each semester
  • Top 2% of Engineering Juniors - Spring 2015
  • Top 2% of Engineering Seniors - Spring 2016
  • Top 2% of Engineering Seniors - Spring 2018
Aug 2013 - Nov 2013

Mayfield College, Twentynine Palms, CA

HVAC/R Level I - Electricity Advanced

GPA: 4.0

Aug 2005 - May 2007

McNally Smith College of Music, Saint Paul, MN

Associate in Applied Science: Music Performance - Percussion

GPA: 3.94

Aug 2001 - May 2005

Central Lyon High School, Rock Rapids, IA

High School Diploma

GPA: 4.0

  • Valedictorian


  • Java Spring / Struts
  • Selenium / Cucumber / JUnit
  • Oracle SQL / PL/SQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • REST / Web Services
  • JavaScript (ES6) / Node.js
  • TypeScript / Google Dart
  • Node.js / Angular
  • Python / Perl
  • Linux / Bash
  • Git / GitHub / Bitbucket
  • GitHub Actions (CI/CD)
  • Bitbucket Pipelines (CI/CD)
  • Docker / Kubernetes / Helm
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Jetbrains Software
  • Atlassian Software
  • Adobe Creative Cloud

Relevant Coursework

ComS 227
Intro to Object Oriented Programming
ComS 228
Intro to Data Structures
ComS 230
Discrete Computational Structures
ComS 309
Software Development Practices
ComS 311
Design & Analysis of Algorithms
ComS 319
Software Construction of User Interfaces
ComS 321
Intro to Computer Architecture and Machine-Level Programming
ComS 327
Advanced Programming Techniques
ComS 352
Intro to Operating Systems
ComS 363
Intro to Database Management Systems
ComS 415
Software System Safety
ComS 430
Advanced Programming Tools
ComS 435
Algorithms for Large Data Sets
SE 329
Software Project Management
SE 339
Software Architecture & Design
SE 342
Principles of Programming Languages
SE 417
Software Testing
SE 421X
Software Safety Analysis
SE 491
Senior Design Project I
SE 492
Senior Design Project II
SE 494
SE Portfolio Development
CprE 281
Digital Logic with Verilog Design
CprE 332
Cyber Defense Competition
STAT 330
Probability & Statistics for Computer Science
Intro to Machine Learning (ud120)
Machine Learning (Stanford Online)
Baseline: Data, ML, AI
GCP Essentials
Learning R
Content Marketing ROI
Google 360 Suite Overview
Learning Graphic Design: Techniques
Microsoft Office Specialist - Word 2010, Excel 2010
NFJS 2019
No Fluff Just Stuff 2019 Conference, Des Moines