Michael Houghton, Developer in Limerick, Ireland
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Michael Houghton

Verified Expert  in Engineering

PHP Developer

Limerick, Ireland
Toptal Member Since
April 21, 2014

Michael is a back-end developer with 20 years of experience. He brings a great balance of technical and business expertise to the table. His framework of choice is Laravel, and he is an experienced back-end software engineer. Michael has worked on large-scale back-end projects, including large accounting software systems, eCommerce websites, and large order management systems. He has worked with companies such as Apple, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, and KPMG.



Preferred Environment

Sublime Text, Git, MySQL, PHP, Ubuntu, Laravel

The most amazing...

...career achievement I've experienced was building PHP applications for companies such as HSBC, Marks & Spencer, and Apple.

Work Experience

Senior PHP Developer

2022 - PRESENT
The University of Colorado
  • Converted a legacy PHP application (from 2004) to Laravel.
  • Helped build new features for a web application related to helping the university with its accounts.
  • Streamlined existing features, refactored code, and built unit tests on top of existing code.
Technologies: PHP, Laravel, MySQL, Linux

PHP Developer

2022 - 2023
  • Worked on the core client management tool for KPMG Ireland.
  • Built a reporting building tool using PHP and Elasticsearch.
  • Helped debug issues related to the client management tool.
Technologies: PHP, MySQL, PHPUnit, Elasticsearch

PHP Developer

2022 - 2022
  • Implemented better practices for Apple's web applications, including test-driven development.
  • Contributed to the back-end API work and the front end using Vue.
  • Upgraded existing Laravel applications and implemented new features.
Technologies: PHP, Laravel, MySQL, Vue

Senior Web Developer

2021 - 2022
  • Contributed to developing a customer portal for Marks & Spencer through Ardanis, a Dublin-based software consultancy firm.
  • Took an active role in linking the portal to an API provided by HSBC and integrating with a payment provider called Global Pay.
  • Made use of the tech stack that mainly consisted of Symfony and React, handling the back-end aspects of the portal.
Technologies: Symfony, PHP, Docker, Unit Testing, Continuous Deployment

Senior Web Developer

2019 - 2021
  • Served as the lead developer, helping develop hundreds of new features for the company over an 18-month period. The website is written in Laravel.
  • Built a website application similar to Facebook that allowed residents of a nursing home to see photos of their loved ones.
  • Wrote the API for the native app in Laravel with full tests.
Technologies: Laravel, PHP, CSS, HTML

Senior Laravel Developer

2017 - 2019
  • Made a significant contribution to Mclowd, an Australian-based accounting software platform designed to help individuals manage the accounting returns for their pensions.
  • Joined the Mclowd team in 2017 to help implement Laravel into their existing software.
  • Implemented new features for the accounting software over a nearly three-year period.
Technologies: Laravel, PHP, HTML, CSS

Senior Web Developer

2014 - 2016
Adam Block Design
  • Served as a senior web developer at Adam Block Design, an eCommerce platform that allows sororities in the US to purchase clothing and apparel.
  • Contributed to the business working as the lead developer for a two-year period, seeing the business grow considerably over this time.
  • Built several eCommerce systems for the company and maintained a large order management system.
Technologies: PHP, CakePHP, CSS, HTML

Senior PHP Developer

2012 - 2013
  • Joined the team at Ixian, a large New Zealand-based digital agency.
  • Developed hundreds of websites, mainly using CakePHP.
  • Built custom CMS and eCommerce platforms for clients based all over the world.
Technologies: CSS, HTML, MySQL, PHP, CakePHP

Freelance Web Developer

2007 - 2012
Freelance Web Developer
  • Built web applications with CakePHP for several clients between 2007 and 2012.
  • Managed a remote team and worked with clients based all around the world.
  • Constructed hundreds of web applications during this time.
Technologies: CSS, HTML, MySQL, CakePHP, PHP

Lead Developer

2006 - 2007
  • Led the development of ActionCOACH, an international business-coaching company, developing a community-based website using PHP, MySQL, and Zend Framework.
  • Managed a team of five developers in Brisbane, Australia, and facilitated communication with the Las Vegas head office.
  • Helped build a community website for their members to communicate and help manage sales.
Technologies: CSS, HTML, MySQL, Zend Framework, PHP

Founder | Lead Developer

2004 - 2006
Elive Limited
  • Founded Elive as a company with two business partners.
  • Helped guide Elive to its current status as one of New Zealand's largest online stores.
  • Continued to support the business, even after leaving, as an active director by providing web development expertise.
Technologies: CSS, HTML, MySQL, Laravel, PHP

The University of Colorado

I helped The University of Colorado upgrade its legacy accounting system from a legacy PHP application to Laravel. The project was handled page by page, and I was able to integrate Laravel into the existing application and convert the application to Laravel on a page-by-page basis.


Helped develop unique features for a communication platform for Irish nursing homes that helps managers organize shifts for their employees. Worked within a scrum environment with other developers, building many features, including an SMS notifications system within the software, which automatically sends and receives SMS messages.


One of New Zealand's largest eCommerce websites selling IT related products. The website lists thousands of products online and handles hundreds of orders per week.
The website was originally built in 2004 and has evolved and improved over time.

Gladwin Brothers

I built and managed five different websites for a London-based restaurant group. As part of the development, I built software allowing their customers to reserve tables and order delivery. During COVID-19, I helped build click-and-collect software for restaurants to stay open during a challenging time.

NZ Protein

I helped develop the first version of the website in 2011 and recently helped upgrade and convert the NZ Protein website from CakePHP to Laravel. I developed an advanced management system for the company to handle and process hundreds of orders per week.


I joined the Mclowd team in 2017 and originally implemented a wrapper solution to migrate their existing vanilla PHP codebase to Laravel. Since then, I have helped with hundreds of features enabling the company to boost revenue.
2003 - 2005

Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Business Management

University of Auckland - Auckland, New Zealand


LinkedIn API, Stripe, jQuery, Dropbox API, PayPal API, Facebook API, Campaign Monitor API, Mailchimp API, Vue, Vue 2, Infusionsoft API, Amazon API, eBay API


Sublime Text 2, GitHub, Basecamp, Bitbucket, Git, Eclipse IDE, Xibo, Sublime Text, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)


Laravel Livewire, Laravel, Bootstrap, Zend Framework, CakePHP, Symfony, PHPUnit


HTML5, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript


Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Agile Software Development, Scrum, Unit Testing, Continuous Deployment


Ubuntu, Linux, Docker

Industry Expertise

Project Management


MySQL, PostgreSQL, Elasticsearch


Technical Project Management, Business Management

Collaboration That Works

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