Mickens received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001. In 2008, he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. After graduate school, Mickens went to Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, where he spent six years as a member of the Distributed Systems group. During the Fall 2014 semester, he was a Visiting Professor at MIT, working with the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group. In Fall 2015, he became an Associate Professor at Harvard.