I’m pretty excited to share that I have submitted my application to be part of this community called Toptal. Short for “Top (Freelance) Talent”, it boasts of providing access to the “top 3% of freelance talent” globally. It would be such an honor and prestige to be part of the top talents in the whole world, and given the high standards, it might be a good place to get quality clients as well. I think I have a fighting chance, so I decided that it is worth a shot.

Toptal. Hire the Top 3% of Freelance Talent.

An interesting (but optional) part of the application process is to post a blog that demonstrates “the depth of experience and interest in joining the Toptal network”. Thus explains this long and rather self-serving introductory post.

Hello, Toptal Community!

Hello, world. I am Ardee Aram. I am a software developer with 13 years of experience, inclusive of Node.js (my primary interest at the moment), Ruby on Rails, and PHP (old flames, learned lots, but I rarely start a project with them now). In addition to that, I am also an AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate, with strong interest in AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS), AWS Lambda, AWS API Gateway, AWS OpsWorks, and Serverless solutions. Should you need help with the aforementioned technology, just send me a message and let me see how I can help you!

13 years of professional software development experience

I taught myself programming when I was 9 years old (back in 1994) via Professor Dos, and the language available back then on my MSDOS 6.22 was QBasic. I remember working on a text-based, turn-based, “fighting” game, which surprisingly my cousins enjoyed playing a lot.

My first professional (read: paid) programming experience was during my student assistant days in college at the University of the Philippines (Diliman). We were maintaining our Java/JSP-based registration system of the university.

Since then, I’ve been developing web application solutions and have been building up skill and experience, both in the capacity of individual contributor and lead, on business domains such as enterprise resource planning, education, car manufacturing, small businesses, media, e-commerce, healthcare, and cryptocurrencies. I’m thankful that I’ve been around and worked on different domains as it gave me unique perspective and tool sets, and can “mix and match” solutions to come up with better ones for new problems.

I currently work as the Director of Engineering of FirstTree Ventures, a blockchain and cryptocurrency group of companies. I lead and mentor 5 - 8 IT professionals of different specializations.

For a detailed list of my work experience and project involvement, you may visit my LinkedIn profile.

Okay, so I have employment opportunities. Why freelance then?

First off - I plan on leaving my current employer to pursue freelancing (yeah, they know this already so we’re cool). So if I take your project, rest assured that you will get full attention from me, 40-45 hours per week. You have my word.

To answer the second question. I am extremely lucky to work in the software development industry where it is not difficult to look for employment. Work is bountiful, choices are many, LinkedIn headhunter messages are plentiful.

So why sacrifice a cushy, secure, stable job and go rambo as a freelancer?

Simply, because of him:

I want to have the flexibility of schedule to be a more “hands-on” dad to my kid. I want to be there to read him bedtime stories before sleeping. I want to be there to take him to the playground or Kidzoona or McDonalds when work is done. I want to be there when this kid needs me, because he won’t be a kid forever.


Aside from contributing to open source projects at Github, I read books on software development, leadership, and personal growth, go places with my wife, and binge on some Netflix series.

Here’s my number, so call me maybe?

Alright, there you go. I survived writing this post and I hope you, my dear reader, survived as well. So should you find yourself needing assistance in Node.js, Ruby on Rails, and AWS, just message me via the following channels:

Ardee Aram

Cloud Architect. Experienced Node.js Developer. Husband. Father. Problem Solver. Eternal Student of Life. https://ardeearam.io