Michael Cole, Full-stack Developer in Dallas, TX, United States
Michael Cole

Full-stack Developer in Dallas, TX, United States

Member since May 15, 2014
Michael is an expert full-stack web engineer, architect, and consultant with over two decades of experience and a degree in computer science. He has led, consulted, and supported teams in startups, manufacturing, defense, film, and healthcare. Building MVPs and startups, he has experience working on the front end, back end, and DevOps. Michael freelances to broaden his knowledge and participation in the future we are creating through technology.
Michael is now available for hire


  • Toptal Clients
    DevOps, Meteor, AngularJS, Node.js
  • Drama With Friends
    JavaScript, TypeScript, Hasura, Node.js, GraphQL, Kubernetes, Docker, C++...
  • Michael Cole
    HTML5, Drupal, MySQL, Symfony, PHP, Node.js, AngularJS, Express.js, MongoDB...



Dallas, TX, United States



Preferred Environment

Windows, Linux, Git

The most amazing...

...project I've built recently is a WebVR/Canvas visualization of the n-body problem with WebAssembly and Web Workers for performance.


  • Lead Developer, Team Augmentation, and Indie Contributor

    2014 - PRESENT
    Toptal Clients
    • Led the development of a prototype of a law office management app.
    • Consulted for an enterprise company digesting 1,200 legacy applications.
    • Oversaw the creation of an MVP of a team personality assessment app.
    • Augmented a team that built a data scraping microservice for an auto sales app.
    • Created the MVP of a medical information visualization app.
    • Handled DevOps and application architecture for an enterprise API and networking app.
    • Led the technical side of a mortgage lending company as both a developer and its interim CTO.
    Technologies: DevOps, Meteor, AngularJS, Node.js
  • Entrepreneur, Architect, Developer

    2020 - 2021
    Drama With Friends
    • Worked on Drama With Friends, a casual multiplayer game designed to cultivate positive relationships. The project is currently paused to evaluate the scope, vision, capability, and execution.
    • Evaluated Hasura, Apollo, Parse, and PostGraphile as GraphQL servers. Configured Hasura and an auth microservice using Docker and Kubernetes.
    • Created development, stage, and production environments using Docker, Docker-compose, Docker-for-windows, WSL, Kubernetes, and Digital Ocean.
    • Used a TypeScript code generator to create TypeScript types from the Hasura GraphQL schema, having it as a central "type library" for microservices. Converted Node.js microservices to TypeScript.
    • Built an external Node REST API server for an Unreal Engine game client to detect configuration. Evaluated UE4 plugins for mobile "deep links", allowing the client's game to start from the web page.
    • Built an internal Node REST API to start game servers as Kubernetes Jobs in the cluster. Packaged a UE4 Linux dedicated server into Docker.
    • Implemented a web server in UE4 with C++ to handle /healthz and other Kubernetes cluster events (player presence and more).
    • Implemented a TypeScript tool to parse plays (e.g. Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Nights Dream") into a machine-readable JSON. Implemented a UE4 C++ module to import that data into the game server to start blocking scenes for players.
    • Built two Unreal Engine plugins to provide C++/Blueprint Scripting interface to REST APIs using UE4's "subsystems".
    Technologies: JavaScript, TypeScript, Hasura, Node.js, GraphQL, Kubernetes, Docker, C++, Unreal Engine
  • Freelance Web Application Developer

    2011 - 2014
    Michael Cole
    • Developed custom web applications for a variety of agencies and clients.
    • Designed custom PHP web applications using Symfony2, Doctrine, MongoDB, CodeIgniter, LinkedIn, and OAuth.
    • Designed custom MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node.js) web applications with MEAN.IO.
    • Built custom Drupal web applications with Drupal 7, HighCharts, a custom REST API, and Drupal Commerce.
    • Contributed to open-source software such as Drupal Quickstart (open source development environment for Drupal), Passport-Freshbooks (a Node.js OAuth Passport strategy), and New Heights (a custom jQuery plugin).
    Technologies: HTML5, Drupal, MySQL, Symfony, PHP, Node.js, AngularJS, Express.js, MongoDB, MEAN Stack
  • Lead Developer and Director of Engineering

    2006 - 2010
    Secorix, Inc.
    • Worked on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Self-Assessment Tool (CIP SAT), which is a self-assessment platform using CIP for assessing the physical security of US military bases worldwide.
    • Acted as a developer to deliver the first phase of the project. Before my involvement, the project was in danger of being incomplete.
    • Collaborated on the proposal, estimate, and SOW for the second phase.
    • Managed the development team and led the second phase. Delivered the second phase on time and budget. Added multiple assessments, import/export, themes, database refactoring, and performance refactoring.
    • Built a corporate website using a tool and template easy for marketing to customize.
    Technologies: MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, LAMP, PHP
  • Transportation Captain and Picture Car Coordinator

    2003 - 2009
    Independent Movie Production
    • Worked on a variety of independent films, including The Darwin Awards, Valley of the Hearts Delight, Unflinching Triumph, and All About Evil.
    • Organized a team of eight and planned logistics for production locations and company moves.
    • Located antique car enthusiasts to bring their cars to set.
  • Data Integration Manager

    2002 - 2003
    • Transformed Edusoft's data integration process. Previously, the company was selling more than production could fulfill.
    • Upgraded the manual database integration process for K-12 test data.
    • Cut CPU time from over five days to twelve hours, and then scaled up the process for larger sized customers.
    • Hired and trained a team of four to triage and improve the process.
    Technologies: Java
  • Programmer

    2001 - 2002
    Kenamea, Inc.
    • Developed integrated testing environments for QA.
    • Conducted automated testing for continuous integration testing using Java and VB.
    • Wrote a JavaScript unit-testing framework using JUnit.
    Technologies: VB, Ajax, JUnit, Java, JavaScript
  • Consultant

    1997 - 1999
    Cap Gemini (now Earnst and Young)
    • Worked for clients in US and Europe.
    • Wrote manufacturing test software used in workstation factories worldwide.
    • Redesigned a survey tracking system for a medical company.
    • Redesigned a distributed database for an insurance company.
    Technologies: MCSE | Business Intelligence, Sybase, Shell Scripting, Java


  • WebVR / Web Assembly Prototype

    As an engineer, I needed to understand where VR fits into the web. WebVR and the browser are a capable platform for experiencing VR. Phones and desktop browsers are supported today, but the tools are not as complete as specialty engines like Unreal Engine. This is a prototype using WebAssembly to visualize the n-body problem using WebVR on your modern mobile phone.

  • Quasar and FeathersJS Integration (Vue, Node, Express, Socket.IO)

    Quasar is a front-end framework that uses Vue.js and Vuex for state. FeathersJS is a back-end Node/Express framework with multiple transports (REST, Socket.IO, Primus)

    For this experiment, I created integration code and authentication forms to learn both frameworks and foster open source. The Quasar team picked up the idea for their Quasar app extension.

  • MapReduce Talk

    I really enjoy giving this talk on MapReduce. MapReduce is a parallel processing algorithm, and this slide deck creates an interactive where the audience creates a dataset of animals, and then map/reduces it to answer questions. From there, we look at some JS code examples and finish with a MongoDB map reduce of the Wikipedia title database. I've done this talk in Calgary, Vancouver, and Portland and it's always a hit!

  • Web Workers, Services Workers, and PWAs Talk

    This is an introduction to web and service workers that sets the stage for understanding how to create offline first PWAs.

  • Medical Visualization App

    A really cool project I built from mockups to beta in six weeks. It involved visualizing medical data for doctors so they could search by symptom or disease for related information and indications. It's a MEAN stack app (Mongo/Express/Angular/Node.js) built with a Neo4j graph database to facilitate stronger graph search.

  • Simple Numbers Tools

    My client designed SNTools.me for an accounting consultancy. The consultancy wanted to automate and market their expertise in analyzing a company's financial numbers. They were managing the process with lots and lots of spreadsheets.

    As the lead implementer on the team, we built the web app reports and upload API, and managed the integration with a third-party .NET connector. The app allowed users to analyze their Quickbooks data, upload a summary, and see custom reports and aggregation. We built a customizable report calculation and display engine using an RPN calculator with tokens.

    We used Symfony2, Doctrine, MongoDB, Backbone, REST API, Quickbooks, and .NET integration.

  • Drupal Quickstart

    Drupal is a LAMP stack CMS similar to Wordpress.

    I created a downloadable PHP development environment using VIrtualBox VM. At the time, setting up a debugging environment in Linux was a big challenge for devs coming from Windows.

    Drupal Quickstart packaged a working dev environment into a downloadable VM that just worked. This decreased the learning curve for new open source contributers.

    I also created YouTube tutorials for the project which got 50,000+ views.

  • Powma.com

    This website serves as my consulting page and portfolio. This site was built using Node.js, Express, Underscore.js, jQuery, and Wintersmith (a static site generator).

  • WebVR Part 5: Design and Implementation (Publication)
    With all building blocks in place, it is time to wrap up our WebVR journey and demonstrate how everything is implemented. In the last part of our WebVR series, Toptal Full-stack Developer Michael Cole goes over design and implementation in detail, explaining how the experience comes together.
  • WebVR Part 4: Canvas Data Visualizations (Publication)
    Unlock the mysteries of the canvas component for your own visualizations. We have completed the simulation math, and now it’s time for some creative play. In Part 4 of our WebVR series, we use the canvas element to make three rapid iterations to visualize the gravitational orbits of the planets in our simulation.
  • WebVR Part 3: Unlocking the Potential of WebAssembly and AssemblyScript (Publication)
    What if you could incorporate clever features from other programming languages for your JavaScript project, without too much hassle? That is the general idea behind WebAssembly. In Part 3 of our WebVR series, Toptal Full-stack Developer Michael Cole introduces you to WebAssembly and AssemblyScript, outlining how they can be harnessed to create a browser-backend for web apps.
  • WebVR Part 2: Web Workers and Browser Edge Computing (Publication)
    WebVR is bringing virtual reality to our browsers, but how do we make sure we have enough computing power to deliver a good experience? How do we make the most of multi-core, hyperthreaded processors? In part two of our series, Toptal Full-stack Developer Michael Cole explains the basics of browser edge computing and the role of web workers.
  • WebVR and the Browser Edge Computing Revolution (Publication)
    Virtual Reality (VR) is making inroads into various industries but is not mainstream yet. WebVR and edge computing have the potential to boost adoption and bring VR to a wider audience. In this series of articles, Toptal Full-stack Developer Michael Cole introduces you to the basics of WebVR and edge computing, complete with elaborate examples.


  • Languages

    HTML5, JavaScript, TypeScript, GraphQL, C++, WASM, CSS
  • Frameworks

    Express.js, Quasar, Unreal Engine
  • Libraries/APIs

    Node.js, Stripe API, REST APIs, Vue.js, WebVR
  • Paradigms

  • Platforms

    Docker, DigitalOcean, Linux, Kubernetes, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Windows
  • Storage

    NoSQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Hasura, Neo4j, PouchDB, MySQL
  • Other

    Full-stack, Web Development, Shell Scripting, AssemblyScript, WebAssembly, Progressive Web Applications (PWA), Service Workers
  • Tools

    Git, Zapier


  • Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science
    1993 - 1997
    University of Nebraska Omaha - Omaha, NE, USA

To view more profiles

Join Toptal
Share it with others