Ali Zaini


Stitch (Y-Combinator)

2023 - 2024

Joined an early-stage Y-Combinator start-up, quickly adapting to pivots to new ideas until the start-up shutdown 😞 Got to do some fun work in San Francisco and check out the start-up scene there!

  • Published a React library to npm for creating custom widgets to be used in our low-code drag-and-drop app builder. This was further extended into a system that automatically imports React UI libraries for usage as widgets. This worked by extracting TypeScript properties for the components and using an LLM to format them with icons and default values
  • Engineered automated deployment infrastructure utilizing AWS and Docker, including a Go-based agent for log transmission from EC2 instances to S3, enhancing user visibility and enabling commands such as updates and disabling installations
  • Implemented a job processing system for installations to increase completion rates by providing progress tracking, background task execution, and email notifications
  • Constructed a dashboard which pulled from users’ emails, calendar and GitHub to generate a prioritised to-do list of tasks
  • Implemented GitHub OAuth to get user’s access token, enhancing user experience, security and allowing access control
  • Created the web-apps using Next.js and Tailwind CSS and setup systems for background tasks like fetching new calendar events
  • Rapidly prototyped features in hours - not days - based on feedback from user testing sessions. Produced compelling demos to showcase to investors

Software Engineer @ Palantir

2022 - 2023

Worked and learned a lot but left for something different.

  • Worked on Slate, an advanced low-code application builder in Foundry.
  • Spearheaded the integration of AI/LLM features into Slate, making our team the first within the company to incorporate these capabilities.
  • Successfully transitioned from hackweek projects to customer availability within just two weeks. Collaborated closely with the legal team to ensure compliance with data privacy requirements
  • Migrated key components of the application from legacy Angular.js to modern React, improving performance and maintainability
  • Optimized backend requests from the frontend, reducing load on services & databases and minimizing crashes & support issues.
  • Provided exceptional support to our product, including direct assistance to customers. Conducted on-site visits to assist customers and gather valuable feedback on upcoming features.

Summer Software Engineering Internship @ FactSet


Had an amazing summer internship at FactSet where I worked on the Digital Cards API. The project was add support for the Slack Block Kit, but I ended up getting to do a lot more.
I refactored the API and added a new card, added Slack support for all the cards and then created a Slack application which utilised the API to provide FactSet's financial data in Slack!
Beyond that, I got to work with some other interns around the world so they could utilise my API and I worked with some of their APIs. It was a great experience and I got to work with a ton of people and learned a lot both technically and professionally.

  • Extended a finance data summary API to support both Slack and Microsoft Teams, working mainly with TypeScript. The changes involved releasing a version 2 of the API while maintaining backwards compatibility for the previous version.
  • Developed a Slack bot/app/application which consumes the API and allows users to search for companies to get recent events and financial information. Deployed on AWS Lambda using serverless computing
  • Participated in Scrum meetings, including stand-ups, going through backlogs, conducting priority poker, sprint reviews and retrospectives
  • Contributed to open-source projects which were used during the internship to add useful functionality

Spring Software Engineering Internship @ BlackRock


Attended the Spring Software Engineering Internship at BlackRock where I learned a lot about what BlackRock does and the role of software engineering in the company.
This was the first and only Spring Week event I'll probably ever end up attending (as an attendee at least 😉) and I really enjoyed it. The people I spoke to were really knowledgeable about what they did and gave me a great insight into the role of a SWE at such a large company.

  • Worked in a group to present suggestions on how to improve the current system BlackRock had for handling index reconstitutions. Presented our finding to everyone including senior members. We even made a small working demo!
  • Worked with "buddies" and shadowed various software engineers at work to learn about what they do. Got to speak with senior members of the company and learn about their work
  • Learned about Asset Management
  • Worked on various coding challenges
  • Met a bunch of interesting people and engaged in fun group activities such as a virtual escape room

Teaching Assistant @ KCL

2020 - Present

I'm a teaching assistant for Programming Practice And Applications (core module for first years) which involves teaching Java and some best practices to first years, some of whom are new to programming.

  • Teaching multiple classes for 4CCS1PPA every week.
  • Prepare lessons and attend TA meetings to ensure all the students get the most out of the lessons because what they learn during it is core to their future programming abilities
  • Work on developing captions for lecture videos, working closely with the module lead

Foreign Money Exchange/Transfer Consultant

2017 - 2018

Worked as a foreign money exchange consultant at a bureau de change in London. It was pretty straightforward: I took money and either returned a similar amount in the requested currency or sent the money to another country using Western Union, Ria or our proprietary system.

  • Many customers dealt with the MENA region, where my Arabic skills were useful
  • Assisted customers with computer services such as printing documents etc.
  • Dealt with packages as the place was also a DHL service point.
  • Set up computer systems and creating proprietary software to produce a spreadsheet for managing daily expenses.
  • Provided tourists and regular customers with financial services

GCSE + A Level Tutor

2016 - 2020

I tutored both in-person and online (through video-calls) in Mathematics, English (GCSE), the Sciences and Computer Science including programming. My students attained A-A* in the subjects I tutored with massive improvements.

And more to come...

Do contact me if you have any interesting opportunities!