Michael Melanson, Developer in Guelph, ON, Canada
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Michael Melanson

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Software Developer

Guelph, ON, Canada
Toptal Member Since
February 22, 2021

Michael is a software developer with several years of professional experience, including building features and developing teams at Shopify and Amazon. Technically, Michael is extremely capable, with robust knowledge of Ruby on Rails and React, along with exemplary communication skills. Michael has also made notable open-source contributions, including Shopify's Liquid templating engine.


Ruby on Rails (RoR), TypeScript, Architecture, Technical Leadership, Go...
Ruby, Ruby on Rails (RoR), JavaScript, Ember.js, Git, HTML, APIs, REST APIs...
React, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, Ruby on Rails (RoR), GraphQL, Shopify, CSS...




Preferred Environment

Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Ruby on Rails (RoR), Rust, TypeScript, React

The most amazing...

...project was at Shopify when I worked on an internal hackathon with a team and prototyped a new Liquid template renderer as a bytecode virtual machine.

Work Experience

Staff Software Engineer

2021 - PRESENT
  • Designed and implemented a Stripe-based invoicing system for one of the company's new product initiatives.
  • Joined the company's Architect's Chapter as a founding member, helped establish the group's mission of improving the engineering culture at Clearco, and presented the first proposal to the group.
  • Designed and re-architected a major redesign of the external account integration system responsible for ensuring the company's adjudication process has a reliable data stream for producing accurate capital offers.
Technologies: Ruby on Rails (RoR), TypeScript, Architecture, Technical Leadership, Go, Web Development, Software Architecture, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Google Cloud Storage, SQL, JSON, Protobuf, gRPC, RabbitMQ, Apache Kafka, Full-stack, Stripe

Full-stack Staff Engineer

2021 - 2021
  • Wrote an API change policy to govern the evolution of the company’s APIs. This policy created a consensus on the team around how to evolve the API, leading to streamlined planning of upcoming features.
  • Planned a transition from weekly releases to continuous delivery, which will greatly speed the company’s release cadence. The plan is approved by leadership and is scheduled for Q3 of this year when I will lead the transition.
  • Designed an adaptive flow control algorithm based on TCP/IP congestion control to govern the ingestion of data from Sherlock (a newly acquired company) into Copper’s systems, enabling Copper to complete a major milestone in Sherlock’s acquisition.
  • Improved greatly the observability of the company’s Webhook delivery jobs for our operations and support teams. This has dramatically improved our support team’s ability to diagnose Webhook delivery issues.
Technologies: Ruby, Ruby on Rails (RoR), JavaScript, Ember.js, Git, HTML, APIs, REST APIs, PostgreSQL, Technical Leadership, Web Development, Software Architecture, Architecture, CSS, HTML5, SQL, Object-relational Mapping (ORM), JSON, Microservices, RabbitMQ, Full-stack

Senior Web Developer

2018 - 2020
  • Built and shipped several features, including leading the web development for purchase orders.
  • Managed and led the web development work of a project to port the transfers feature to React.
  • Mentored and onboarded team members to create the inventory web team as a founding member.
  • Managed an intern developer until their early promotion to full-time developer.
  • Built the parser/compiler of a prototype virtual machine-based Liquid renderer; this new engine is now in production and showing 4-10 times performance gains. My work "blew [the] mind" of the Shopify CEO.
Technologies: React, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, Ruby on Rails (RoR), GraphQL, Shopify, CSS, Git, HTML, APIs, Node.js, MySQL, Technical Leadership, Web Development, Software Architecture, Architecture, HTML5, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Google Cloud Storage, SQL, JSON, Full-stack

Software Development Engineer II

2016 - 2018
  • Implemented incoming message and call notifications to iPhone users of the Alexa application. As a critical component of the core experience, my code executes at least several million times per month with few defects and operational issues.
  • Led a project to transition the communications features of the Alexa application to React Native to allow faster iteration on a single codebase for iOS and Android.
  • Reduced unnecessary pages on the team's on-call practices by implementing suppression triggers—improving quality of life for on-call engineers by reducing night-time pages.
Technologies: iOS, Swift, Objective-C, React Native, TypeScript, JavaScript, Java, REST, Git, Amazon Web Services (AWS), APIs, REST APIs, Technical Leadership, SQL, JSON, Microservices

Principal Software Applications Developer

2015 - 2016
  • Served as a lead developer of IntelliTrust: the company's cloud-based authentication and authorization platform; designed the system’s service-oriented architecture and implemented its inter-service communication framework.
  • Designed and led the implementation of the project’s React-based front end.
  • Implemented a multi-tenant SAML identity provider that was capable of federated authentication with Google Apps, Office 365, Salesforce, and other SAML Service Providers.
Technologies: Java, Swing, React, Amazon Web Services (AWS), APIs, REST APIs, Software Architecture, Architecture, CSS, HTML5, SQL, JSON, Microservices, Full-stack


A software implementation of a RISC-V processor. It passes the compliance tests for the base instruction set and over 90% of compliance tests for three of the most common extensions. It can execute simple programs compiled via GCC and Selfie, a simple RISC-V compiler for C.


The web is great, but it was designed around showing hyperlinked documents. What if the web technologies were designed primarily for applications instead of documents and with the benefit of hindsight?

This project implements a custom TCP-based network protocol, a server-side application development framework, and a desktop client.

Spiking Neural Network Simulation

This side project implements a model of an artificial neural network that's fairly biologically plausible while still being computationally efficient. It includes implementing a neural model with synaptic transmission and a simple learning model implementing spike-timing-dependent plasticity.

I hypothesize that it should simulate a "brain" of similar complexity to a roundworm (C. Elegans) on a typical desktop machine, allowing it to learn to do practical tasks such as operating a simulated robot car.

Unnamed Kernel

This project involved implementing the basic features of an operating system. I wrote components such as UEFI loading, PCI discovery, physical memory management, heap allocation, system calls, graphical output, and partial support for disk access in this and other projects.
2004 - 2009

Bachelor of Computing Degree in Computer Science

University of Guelph - Guelph, Ontario, Canada


Amateur Radio (Advanced Qualifications)

Industry Canada


React, Node.js, REST APIs, Protobuf, Stripe


Git, RabbitMQ


Ruby on Rails (RoR), Ember.js, React Native, Swing, gRPC


JavaScript, TypeScript, GraphQL, HTML, HTML5, Java, Ruby, Swift, Objective-C, Rust, CSS, SQL, C++, Go


REST, Object-relational Mapping (ORM), Microservices, RISC-V


JSON, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Google Cloud Storage


Shopify, iOS, Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Apache Kafka


Software Development, APIs, Web Development, Full-stack, Architecture, Technical Leadership, Software Architecture, Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Simulations

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