Kevin Gessner

I am physically located in New York City, New York, USA. I use he/him pronouns.


Spitzer School of Architecture (City College of New York)

August 2021 - May 2024 (expected)

I am enrolled in a three-year Master of Architecture program at Spitzer, part of New York's public university system.

Architecture sits at at the intersection of human and material requirements, similar to the software projects I've worked on in the past. Buildings, cities, and environments as executed by architects are only successful when they meet both sets of demands. In the M Arch I program, I'm learning to strike that balance as I sharpen my design and research skills in the studio and classroom.

Through my studio work, I'm tackling problems taken directly from the streets of New York City: exploring how the cityscape can be a place of care, particularly for people traditionally underserved by public space. I'm gaining experience with Rhino, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, & InDesign, and Esri ArcGIS, in addition to studying materials, structural physics, and architectural history.

Where I’ve Been

Etsy Inc. (Brooklyn, New York)

Senior Staff Software Engineer, March 2018 - June 2021
Staff Software Engineer, March 2015 - March 2018
Senior Software Engineer, November 2013 - March 2015

In my time at Etsy, I've worked on both infrastructure and user-facing features, in a variety of areas, using PHP, Java, and Scala on the server and Javascript, HTML, and SCSS on the client. As a Senior Staff Engineer, I'm a member of the engineering organization's leadership group, helping to create a positive and productive culture that ships great software. I've been responsible for a variety of engineering and product development tasks centered around making the Etsy marketplace more successful.

I work with other engineers, product managers, designers, and more to deliver software that is fast, easy to use, and reliable. I serve not only as a key engineer, writing production code daily, but also as a technical leader, making technical decisions and directing the work of as many as six other engineers.

I've worked on several major infrastructure initiatives that fundamentally changed Etsy's systems. In 2018 and 2019, I led the engineering work to migrate Etsy's search infrastructure to Google Cloud. We re-platformed the multi-service architecture from running on bare metal to Kubernetes, providing a scalable foundation while improving reliability and operability. My work involved not only planning and system design but also execution of substantial technical work, while managing the team's backlog and ensuring the migration completed on time and on budget.

Earlier, I rebuilt Etsy's email dispatch system, which wass responsible for rendering and sending all mail outbound from Etsy. The rewrite increased send speed from under 100 emails per second to over 2000 emails per second. In its first year in production, the new system sent over three billion emails. I also developed a framework for building responsive emails, enabling engineers and designers throughout the company to make attractive, well-performing emails.

As part of the Buyer Experience and teams, I worked on several large, user-facing projects, including Etsy's homepage, product listing page, and sitewide navigation. These projects increased sales and see tens of millions of hits per day.

I'm particularly proud of the Editors' Picks project, which enables Etsy's marketing team to create, publish, and promote themed pages of products from around the marketplace. This involved planning, designing, and building an internal CMS; full-stack buyer-facing development; implementing APIs to power our mobile apps; and adding monitoring and tooling to keep things running smoothly. The marketing team has published over a thousand curated Editors' Picks pages for Etsy's worldwide marketplace.

Fog Creek Software (now Glitch, Inc., New York, New York)

June 2009 - October 2013

I was on the Kiln team at Fog Creek from its inception. Kiln (now spun off as FogBugz Dev Hub) is a source code managment web application built atop Mercurial and Git. The project involved server-side coding in C# in the ASP.NET MVC framework and front-end work in Javascript, CSS/LESS, and HTML. Additionally, parts of Kiln that interact with Mercurial and Git are written in Python.

Working on Kiln took me across a wide spectrum of development, from web apps to native, from UI designs to database optimization, from build and monitoring scripts to support tools and automated tests.

From June to August 2009, I participated in Fog Creek's summer software development internship program. As part of a team of interns and full-time employees, I helped to develop Kiln from a specification to 1.0 product in ten weeks. I then continued work on Kiln as a full-time Member of Technical Staff.

From April 2012, I served as Kiln Team Lead, guiding the product's development and managing the team of two to seven developers. This involved working closely with the system administration, sales, and support teams to deliver a world-class product. My horizons broadened from full-time development to a satisfying mix of planning, mentorship, and development.

Some of my proudest accomplishments include:

Personal and Freelance Contract Work

2006 – Present

I’ve created numerous websites and applications, both personally and under contract. FunctionFlip is an open-source keyboard-management utility for Mac OS X. FunctionFlip was featured as a Macworld Magazine "Mac Gem" shortly after its release in 2008. As of early 2017, FunctionFlip has been downloaded over 100,000 times.

Twitch is a streamlined launcher for OS X, previously available on the Mac App Store and now free. More of my personal projects are available on my website and on Github.

Contract projects:

StyleNet (Remote)

July 2007 – January 2009

StyleNet provides customizable websites for salons and spas. For most of my time at StyleNet, I was the sole developer on the 75,000-LOC PHP codebase. I worked closely with the cofounders on planning new features, despite not meeting them face-to-face for the first 15 months---this was an entirely remote position.

These features included online appointment scheduling, an internal CMS for clients to manage text and image content on their sites, and backend user management for the company. I also implemented a variety of templates for the CMS, converting Photoshop comps into live web designs.

Beyond working on the core StyleNet product, I built public websites and an intranet for a partner company. For part of this work I had two other remote developers reporting to me.

2 The Top Website Design and Promotion (Remote)

March 2006 – January 2009

2 The Top is a web development consulting firm. As a staff developer, I worked with a variety of clients, performing web development from the earliest design phases through final implementation and maintenance. Many projects involved building and customizing complete content management systems designed for power, speed, and scalability. Beyond coding, my work included interface design in HTML and CSS, as well as graphic design and copywriting.

Prior Education

University of Rochester (Rochester, New York)

August 2006 – May 2010

Computer Science Coursework: Data Structures, Computation & Formal Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Design & Analysis of Efficient Algorithms, Operating Systems, Programming Language Design & Implementation, Computer Models, Computer Organization

Mathematics Coursework: Calculus I–IV, Linear Algebra, Algebra I, Point Set Topology, Introduction to Complex Analysis, Introduction to Real Analysis, History of Mathematics

I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Mathematics. Recognized on the Dean’s List (Highest Honors) for six semesters of seven eligible semesters, my cumulative GPA was 3.73/4.00.

I was awarded the four-year, full-tuition Renaissance Scholarship, and served as the founding president of the University of Rochester Media Living Center in 2007 & 2008.


I've been a member of Boy Scouts of America (Troop 620, University Heights, Ohio) for much of my life, earning the Eagle Scout rank in September 2005, and serving as Assistant Scoutmaster for several years.

You can find me on Stack Overflow, GitHub, and elsewhere online as kevingessner.