Sam Gates, Developer in Chicago, IL, United States
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Sam Gates

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Web Developer

Chicago, IL, United States
Toptal Member Since
June 3, 2020

Sam is a developer with five years of experience in web development and WordPress. He's worked on various projects—WordPress shops, websites, apps, and plugins—for multiple industries, including music festivals and sports gear, among others. Sam has the experience, knowledge, and decision-making skills to evaluate new tech and know when you don't need them and when you sometimes do. Sam takes pride in his projects and strives to build useful, maintainable, and accessible tools.


PHP, WordPress, WordPress Design
Flask, Python, Vue, Laravel, JavaScript, PHP, WordPress
Learner's Chess Academy
Airtable, Zapier, Zoho, PHP, WordPress




Preferred Environment

Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Linux Servers, Linux, MacOS

The most amazing...

...thing I've built is an interactive Zoltar-inspired fortune teller giving you a reason to go to Riot Fest—it garnered around 50,000 views in less than a week.

Work Experience

Web Developer

2021 - 2022
  • Redesigned and implemented a video streaming platform for OnlyFans called
  • Integrated with Gravity Forms for user submissions.
  • Added custom features like a hero slider, infinite scroll, and a "dark mode."
Technologies: PHP, WordPress, WordPress Design

Web Developer

2017 - 2020
  • Built websites, plugins, and applications with a range of technologies including WordPress, Vue.js, Laravel, Flask, and React (for Gutenberg).
  • Handled DevOps tasks such as writing Git Hooks and other Python scripts and integrating projects with GitHub Actions for WordPress theme and plugin deployment.
  • Hired, onboarded, and oversaw developer interns who helped us to build websites and develop a Gutenberg plugin.
Technologies: Flask, Python, Vue, Laravel, JavaScript, PHP, WordPress

Web Developer

2016 - 2017
Learner's Chess Academy
  • Automated coach's reports with Zoho, using their relational database system and custom scripting language to keep track of their, and students' progress at schools.
  • Automated the Learners' Scholarship application system, with Airtable on the back end and Zapier for automation.
  • Wrote a "Queen of Katwe Contest"-winning description of chess camps run by Learner's Chess Academy in El Salvador, with a $10,000 award, which further funded the initiative.
Technologies: Airtable, Zapier, Zoho, PHP, WordPress

Riot Fest Fortune Teller

I built a Zoltar-inspired fortune teller who gives you a reason to go to Riot Fest. It garnered around 50,000 views and some fun engagement on a subreddit, based on Easter eggs that we hid in the app, like hints about which bands would be playing.

I took it from static HTML to its current state, which included deployment and server configuration.

Wells Lamont Snow
I built a Vue.js single-page application with a headless WordPress back end for adding products, team members, and other data complete with custom fields. I used an Express.js server for handling third-party API calls to Vimeo and Instagram. I also took it from static HTML and JavaScript to its current state which included Git Hooks for deployment to staging and production environments, Express server configuration, and static page generation for SEO goodness.

Food in Neighborhoods Website
I built this website for Food in Neighborhoods, half as a vehicle for a forum plugin that I needed an excuse to develop. It has a great look with really minimal design and code. A great example of what you can accomplish (on a small budget) with buy-in from the client.

C9 Blocks Plugin
I developed a blocks plugin for creating page layouts with the new Gutenberg Editor, built on React. I built the first blocks for primary features and hired a developer intern to work on the plugin. I also documented and automated deployment to the WordPress repository with GitHub Actions.

WordPress Importer Plugin
This WordPress plugin creates complex CSV imports. It can use the output from previous import steps as input for later steps (e.g., adding post meta, or connecting a new post to a new user).

I’m particularly proud of the custom scripting language for string manipulation, complete with GUI, syntax highlighting, and so on.


WordPress API, Vue 2, Node.js, GSAP, D3.js, jQuery, Vue


WordPress, Linux, LAMP, Adobe Suite, MacOS, WooCommerce, Visual Studio Code (VS Code)


Writing & Editing, Front-end, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes, Gravity Forms, GitOps, WordPress to PDF, Linux Servers, Zoho, Airtable, WordPress Design


PHP, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python


Flask, Laravel, Express.js


Gutenberg Editor, CodeMirror, Webpack, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), Zapier, Sketch


Relational Databases

2006 - 2010

Bachelor's Degree in Humanities

University of Louisville - Louisville, KY, United States

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