Toptal is a marketplace for top Shopify developers, engineers, programmers, coders, architects, and consultants. Top companies and startups choose Toptal Shopify freelancers for their mission-critical software projects.
Markus is a front-end developer, founder, and former head of IT and infrastructure with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in performant web apps (e.g., React apps) and Shopify, having launched multiple custom Shopify online stores and themes. Markus has worked for Fortune 500 companies like Sony and was a speaker at the Web 2.0 Summit.
Alexa has over 15 years of experience in designing and developing websites. She focuses on WordPress, Shopify, and React to create a variety of projects, from simple landing pages to sophisticated storefronts and progressive web apps. She has been called a “mad scientist,” but don’t worry; she has lovingly left the purple comic sans and lime green backgrounds in the past.
Taylor is a senior full-stack web developer with over ten years of experience developing various web applications and websites for multiple clients. He has begun his development career in the industry and has worked in diverse environments, from large teams with established products to smaller startups in the early stages of development. Taylor transitioned to working as a freelance web developer about eight years ago and now works with multiple clients and teams on various exciting projects.
Alejandro is a full-stack developer and Shopify expert with a background in eCommerce through Shopify and marketing, mainly focused on email campaigns and flows. He has experience on web projects from the point of view of agencies but also as a brand, so he has the full scope of a project.
Majid is an experienced, innovative, full-stack web developer who loves working on exciting and challenging projects. He is full of energy, experience, and enthusiasm and always strives to bring out the best in him in every project he contributes to. Majid has worked on various projects, from bespoke systems to eCommerce solutions for many well-known brands. These are the types of projects he is eager to perform.
Afif is a senior web developer with about ten years of experience in building eCommerce, portfolio, blog, corporate, and many other websites for clients like Axa Insurance and PillowtalkDerm. He specializes mainly in PHP MySQL with various platforms and content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Symfony, and Laravel. Afif has also built some websites using Shopify and PrestaShop.
Robert is a highly motivated professional with enterprise-level experience. With a combination of excellent communication skills and a laser-like focus, Robert is capable of moving big ideas from design stage to implementation. As a full-stack developer, Robert utilizes a wide breadth of skills and knowledge to tackle the specific problem at hand.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaToptal Member Since November 8, 2015
Goran is a talented computer programmer with 15 years of experience. He has extensive experience in dozens of programming languages and platforms and is always striving to learn more. He is interested in a wide range of software engineering topics and always on the lookout for new and exciting projects.
Dusan is an engineer with Ruby on Rails experience. He believes that improving the tools you use (editor, code style, tests, CI) and sharing data (API, user notifications, reports) are imperative for an app's success. That's why Dusan writes modern, well-tested, and maintainable code that connects various services. Open-source software makes him a better programmer and gives him the tools to implement web ideas.
Paul is a software architect who has built platforms and solutions for Fortune 100 companies to startups. He has worked in all three clouds and is not necessarily tied to a technical stack but will use the best tools for the job. Having worked in many different high-paced environments, Paul can adapt, learn, and apply new technologies at a high level.
Shopify developers are experts in building, modifying, and integrating e-commerce websites on the Shopify platform. This guide to hiring Shopify experts features interview questions and answers, and the required developer skills that will help you identify the right fit for your company.
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What our clients think
Clients Rate Toptal Shopify Developers4.4 / 5.0on average across 257 reviews as of Oct 3, 2023
Tripcents wouldn't exist without Toptal. Toptal Projects enabled us to rapidly develop our foundation with a product manager, lead developer, and senior designer. In just over 60 days we went from concept to Alpha. The speed, knowledge, expertise, and flexibility is second to none. The Toptal team were as part of tripcents as any in-house team member of tripcents. They contributed and took ownership of the development just like everyone else. We will continue to use Toptal. As a start up, they are our secret weapon.
Brantley Pace, CEO & Co-Founder
I am more than pleased with our experience with Toptal. The professional I got to work with was on the phone with me within a couple of hours. I knew after discussing my project with him that he was the candidate I wanted. I hired him immediately and he wasted no time in getting to my project, even going the extra mile by adding some great design elements that enhanced our overall look.
Paul Fenley, Director
K Dunn & Associates
The developers I was paired with were incredible -- smart, driven, and responsive. It used to be hard to find quality engineers and consultants. Now it isn't.
Ryan Rockefeller, CEO
Toptal understood our project needs immediately. We were matched with an exceptional freelancer from Argentina who, from Day 1, immersed himself in our industry, blended seamlessly with our team, understood our vision, and produced top-notch results. Toptal makes connecting with superior developers and programmers very easy.
Jason Kulik, Co-Founder
As a small company with limited resources we can't afford to make expensive mistakes. Toptal provided us with an experienced programmer who was able to hit the ground running and begin contributing immediately. It has been a great experience and one we'd repeat again in a heartbeat.
Stuart Pocknee , Principal
Site Specific Software Solutions
We used Toptal to hire a developer with extensive Amazon Web Services experience. We interviewed four candidates, one of which turned out to be a great fit for our requirements. The process was quick and effective.
Abner Guzmán Rivera, CTO and Chief Scientist
Sergio was an awesome developer to work with. Top notch, responsive, and got the work done efficiently.
Dennis Baldwin, Chief Technologist and Co-Founder
Working with Marcin is a joy. He is competent, professional, flexible, and extremely quick to understand what is required and how to implement it.
André Fischer, CTO
We needed a expert engineer who could start on our project immediately. Simanas exceeded our expectations with his work. Not having to interview and chase down an expert developer was an excellent time-saver and made everyone feel more comfortable with our choice to switch platforms to utilize a more robust language. Toptal made the process easy and convenient. Toptal is now the first place we look for expert-level help.
Derek Minor, Senior VP of Web Development
Networld Media Group
Toptal's developers and architects have been both very professional and easy to work with. The solution they produced was fairly priced and top quality, reducing our time to launch. Thanks again, Toptal.
Jeremy Wessels, CEO
We had a great experience with Toptal. They paired us with the perfect developer for our application and made the process very easy. It was also easy to extend beyond the initial time frame, and we were able to keep the same contractor throughout our project. We definitely recommend Toptal for finding high quality talent quickly and seamlessly.
Ryan Morrissey, CTO
Applied Business Technologies, LLC
I'm incredibly impressed with Toptal. Our developer communicates with me every day, and is a very powerful coder. He's a true professional and his work is just excellent. 5 stars for Toptal.
Pietro Casoar, CEO
Ronin Play Pty Ltd
Working with Toptal has been a great experience. Prior to using them, I had spent quite some time interviewing other freelancers and wasn't finding what I needed. After engaging with Toptal, they matched me up with the perfect developer in a matter of days. The developer I'm working with not only delivers quality code, but he also makes suggestions on things that I hadn't thought of. It's clear to me that Amaury knows what he is doing. Highly recommended!
George Cheng, CEO
As a Toptal qualified front-end developer, I also run my own consulting practice. When clients come to me for help filling key roles on their team, Toptal is the only place I feel comfortable recommending. Toptal's entire candidate pool is the best of the best. Toptal is the best value for money I've found in nearly half a decade of professional online work.
Ethan Brooks, CTO
Langlotz Patent & Trademark Works, Inc.
In Higgle's early days, we needed the best-in-class developers, at affordable rates, in a timely fashion. Toptal delivered!
Lara Aldag, CEO
Toptal makes finding a candidate extremely easy and gives you peace-of-mind that they have the skills to deliver. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone looking for highly-skilled developers.
Michael Gluckman, Data Manager
Toptal’s ability to rapidly match our project with the best developers was just superb. The developers have become part of our team, and I’m amazed at the level of professional commitment each of them has demonstrated. For those looking to work remotely with the best engineers, look no further than Toptal.
Laurent Alis, Founder
Toptal makes finding qualified engineers a breeze. We needed an experienced ASP.NET MVC architect to guide the development of our start-up app, and Toptal had three great candidates for us in less than a week. After making our selection, the engineer was online immediately and hit the ground running. It was so much faster and easier than having to discover and vet candidates ourselves.
Jeff Kelly, Co-Founder
We needed some short-term work in Scala, and Toptal found us a great developer within 24 hours. This simply would not have been possible via any other platform.
Franco Arda, Co-Founder
Toptal offers a no-compromise solution to businesses undergoing rapid development and scale. Every engineer we've contracted through Toptal has quickly integrated into our team and held their work to the highest standard of quality while maintaining blazing development speed.
Greg Kimball, Co-Founder
How to Hire Shopify Developers through Toptal
Talk to One of Our Industry Experts
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Within days, we'll introduce you to the right Shopify developer for your project. Average time to match is under 24 hours.
The Right Fit, Guaranteed
Work with your new Shopify developer for a trial period (pay only if satisfied), ensuring they're the right fit before starting the engagement.
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How much does it cost to hire a Shopify developer?
Hiring a Shopify engineer can be expensive, especially when you need to build a custom or public Shopify app, as this task can become very complex quickly. And creating an app is not a one-time task: It is a long-term process that requires maintenance and adoption, adding costs for the support of project management, infrastructure, and tooling. As a point of reference, Glassdoor lists the average total pay for a front-end Shopify expert in the United States to be $87,796 as of June 29, 2023.
How do you hire a Shopify developer?
When hiring a Shopify engineer, you should first narrow down the role expectations—for example, whether you require a theme, custom storefront, or app developer—and the complementary skills that will drive your project toward success. Next, you should write a clear and well-considered job description, including project scope, technologies, and expectations. Finally, you should prepare detailed interview questions, catering to your developer type, and choose a developer with all the critical Shopify proficiencies you desire.
How in demand is Shopify?
According to BuiltWith, Shopify is the leading e-commerce technology in the United States, with nearly one in three websites using e-commerce technology trusting Shopify. And the number of merchants using Shopify grows larger each year, as new platform features and tools like Shopify Plus debut. Shopify experts are in high demand since the platform is a clear leader in the SaaS e-commerce market.
Why should you hire a Shopify developer?
Though the Shopify e-commerce platform may enable you to perform specific tasks yourself, an experienced developer ensures the optimum solution for your business and workflows. And though getting started with Shopify is simple enough, site upkeep becomes complicated as companies grow, and the platform has many advanced features and frameworks that require expertise. It is worth the initial investment to hire Shopify developers—it will save you time and money in the long term and allow you to stay ahead of the competition.
How quickly can you hire with Toptal?
Typically, you can hire a Shopify programmer with Toptal in about 48 hours. Our talent matchers are experts in the same fields they’re matching in—they’re not recruiters or HR reps. They’ll work with you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics, and match you with ideal candidates from our vetted global talent network.
Once you select your Shopify expert, you’ll have a no-risk trial period to ensure they’re the perfect fit. Our matching process has a 98% trial-to-hire rate, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best fit every time.
What technical skills are required for developing custom functionality on Shopify?
Markus is a front-end developer, founder, and former head of IT and infrastructure with more than 20 years of experience. He specializes in performant web apps (e.g., React apps) and Shopify, having launched multiple custom Shopify online stores and themes. Markus has worked for Fortune 500 companies like Sony and was a speaker at the Web 2.0 Summit.
Shopify Engineers Enable Online Sales on the Leading E-commerce Platform
With global retail e-commerce sales expected to reach approximately $8.1 trillion by 2026, there is no question that this industry is still growing fast. Moreover, nearly one in three US websites using e-commerce technology (and millions of merchants worldwide) trust Shopify as their online store system, making it a leading software as a service (SaaS) solution.
How hard is it to find a developer for such a popular e-commerce technology? Hiring someone to quickly modify your theme, change colors, or add an input field is easy. But minor UI modifications, especially if performed without care, may significantly impact your store’s performance and scalability—or even break your store’s functionality. Therefore, it is crucial to find Shopify developers who are experienced and have a thorough understanding of Shopify’s architecture to support your long-term vision and strategy.
This hiring guide defines the attributes of a top Shopify candidate—differentiating between Shopify app developers, custom storefront developers, and theme developers—and offers custom interview questions and job description tips for each type of expert.
What attributes distinguish quality Shopify Developers from others?
The first step of your journey is to vet candidates for the core Shopify developer skills required to work on this e-commerce platform, including proficiency with standard Shopify platform features:
Partner accounts – Every serious Shopify website developer must actively use a Shopify Partner account, which enables the setup and management of Shopify apps and the creation of development stores, as well as providing communication features.
Performance and scalability – Since page speed directly affects e-commerce sales, performance and scalability are critical for any online store. Developers should understand Shopify’s architecture and how customization options may influence overall performance.
APIs – The Shopify GraphQL and REST APIs are extremely powerful and enable developers to securely access almost all Shopify resources, from the product catalog to customer data and orders. Look for candidates familiar with these APIs who can use them efficiently.
Community – Experienced candidates are typically active members of the Shopify developer community. Being involved in Shopify’s ecosystem of experts, partner developers, marketing specialists, and e-learning channels helps developers troubleshoot problems and stay up to date on the latest developments.
Storefront options – The Shopify storefront is the first thing customers see and use, and it must be intuitive and performant to stand out from competitors’ sites. Engineers create stores with ready-made themes or code a storefront from scratch using Shopify’s developer APIs and tools. Shopify experts know the available options and can support you in finding the best path for your business.
However, Shopify expertise requires more than being proficient in Shopify tools alone. Shopify candidates should also possess an assortment of related web development skills crucial for building online stores:
HTML – HTML defines the structure of a webpage and is an essential Shopify developer skill when creating templates for Shopify themes.
CSS – CSS adds styling to a website or online shop. Candidates should be familiar with vanilla CSS or popular CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Tailwind.
Liquid – Liquid, Shopify’s templating language, provides access to data displayed from the Shopify back end (e.g., the product title and price on a product detail page); engineers working on custom theme development or modifying an existing theme need to understand Liquid.
TypeScript – TypeScript is a strongly typed programming language that adds static type-checking to code for better tooling support. Many modern teams prefer using TypeScript for web development, as it helps identify errors so developers can correct them early in development.
Aside from possessing these essential technical skills, the best Shopify experts have also mastered relevant soft skills and custom design capabilities (e.g., UX development and web design). An excellent user experience is crucial for your online shop. It increases customer loyalty, builds a strong corporate identity, and distinguishes a business from its competitors. Look for candidates who can speak to their experiences in delivering successful solutions to previous clients.
How can you identify the ideal Shopify Developer for you?
To hire a suitable candidate for your business needs, it is important to determine whether your developer will work primarily on building the storefront, themes, or apps generally. Shopify storefronts are where visitors browse and buy products, and there are two ways to create them: using themes or building custom storefronts. Different skills are required for each scenario.
Most merchants start with a ready-made theme from Shopify’s theme store. In this case, theme developers can create custom themes or modify existing ones.
But some merchants want complete control over online shops to meet special business requirements (e.g., performance metrics) or to connect to external systems. For a completely customized Shopify store experience, you should hire storefront developers familiar with themes and app infrastructure to employ Shopify’s Storefront API.
Finally, though they still contribute significantly to UX/UI, app developers focus on business logic, such as extending an online store’s functionality, checkout, or administration, or implementing security features and third-party API integrations. They can publish public apps available for every online store or create custom apps for one specific use case.
Let’s break down the required skills for each developer type in greater detail:
Theme Developer Skills
Custom Storefront Developer Skills
Hydrogen is a collection of React components that make it even easier to implement custom storefronts. It is one of the best, high-performance headless e-commerce solutions since its storefronts can be deployed to Oxygen (Shopify’s highly scalable hosting platform). Hydrogen and React experts are strong candidates for Shopify storefront web development projects.
App Developer Skills
Whether you publish custom or public apps, the requirements for Shopify app developers are similar. However, public apps are installed on many online stores. As a result, public apps have stricter requirements that call for a more experienced engineer, as apps must be submitted to Shopify for review. Still, all app developers should understand the difference between embedded and nonembedded apps, and be familiar with Shopify App Bridge and theme app extensions.
How Shopify Developers Compare to Other E-commerce Platform Engineers
If you are looking for a web engineer for your online store, you may wonder whether a Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, or Magento developer could fulfill your needs. Because the Shopify platform is mature and has specific functionalities, we recommend finding a Shopify developer for hire as the best option. Still, we briefly examine how other developer skills might compare:
Shopify versus Wix developers – Wix has excellent ready-made e-commerce store solutions for specific use cases that experts can implement quickly. But Shopify engineers work with drastically different APIs, frameworks, development environments, and patterns, so a Wix developer may have a steeper learning curve when getting started on Shopify.
Shopify versus Squarespace developers – Squarespace is an excellent website builder. But if e-commerce is the primary reason for your online presence, Shopify is a more mature solution with better e-commerce functionality, and Shopify experts will best serve your needs.
Shopify versus WordPress developers – WordPress is open-source software with e-commerce features via third-party plugins (e.g., WooCommerce). WordPress developers work with complex APIs that are incompatible with Shopify and typically code in PHP, which is not commonly used in Shopify development. Therefore, hiring a WordPress developer would result in higher training costs compared to hiring a Shopify developer.
Shopify versus Magento developers – Magento (now Adobe Commerce) started as an open-source software product and was acquired by Adobe in 2018. Magento developers can use this tool to provide enterprise-grade support for large-scale products, but Shopify engineers can employ Shopify Plus to implement similar functionalities.
Overall, many web developers who are skilled in one of these platforms are often proficient in many. While you should prioritize Shopify skills first, there is some overlap between these developer types and, in some instances, you can make do with a web expert who’s proficient in another platform.
How to Write a Shopify Job Description for Your Project
Your job description for Shopify developers will attract experts to your job posting and project so it is important to get the details right and enumerate the job’s perks. Provide information about the business goals, technology stack, responsibilities, and team working style.
You must also tailor your description to your desired developer type, depending on whether you seek a Shopify expert to work on the storefront or focus on app development. Be precise about the required skills and project scope to find your ideal fit. You may find this web developer job posting template helpful as a starting point to modify for your specific needs.
What are the most important Shopify Developer interview questions?
First, we examine the questions that assess a theme developer’s core competencies to test applicants’ abilities to work with theme customization and user interface elements:
What is the difference between Shopify Online Store versions 1.0 and 2.0?
With Online Store 1.0, Shopify’s theme editor limited sections to the home page; with Online Store 2.0, Shopify introduced sections on every page. This change also requires developers to render templates using JSON files in version 2.0 (instead of Liquid files). In addition, Shopify enhanced meta fields and introduced theme app extensions and new developer tools.
How would you update and publish a live theme?
Various options exist to update and publish a live theme. Developers can use the online editor in Shopify admin to update the source code directly; changes are live immediately. Alternatively, they can download the theme sources, then edit and re-upload the theme. The best option is to use Shopify’s CLI tools for theme development with GitHub integration for source control management and team collaboration.
What is the difference between layouts, templates, sections, and snippet files?
Layouts are the base of a theme and contain elements shared with all Shopify store pages. Templates are files unique to the online store’s different page types (home, products, cart, etc.). Sections are reusable and customizable blocks of content that can be added to templates. Finally, snippets are even smaller reusable chunks of code.
How would you assess and improve your theme’s page speed?
Shopify automatically creates a speed score based on Google Lighthouse performance metrics. Developers can find this report in the themes section of Shopify admin and use its insights to improve performance.
How would you support multiple languages and currencies in your theme?
All themes from the official Shopify theme store support multiple languages and currencies. Shopify has built-in support for these functionalities in Shopify admin (configured in the Settings > Languages and Settings > Store details menus). Engineers can use the Shopify Translate & Adapt app or one of the many third-party apps available to implement translations.
If you are hiring a Shopify app developer, ask questions to test a candidate’s understanding of app deployment steps and Shopify app technologies:
Can you describe the installation process for public and custom apps?
Developers install public apps directly from the Shopify app store and custom apps from your Shopify Partner account. Custom apps can only be installed for one live online store. Public and custom apps include Shopify’s OAuth flow during installation, and public apps might also include a billing flow.
Why is Shopify CLI useful to the development process?
Shopify CLI is a command-line interface tool that helps engineers build apps throughout the entire development process. For example, it simplifies tasks like generating a new app using templates or making updates in the app section of a Shopify Partner account.
What are Shopify webhooks? What is the difference between HTTPS endpoints and supported cloud endpoints (e.g., from AWS and Google)?
You can subscribe to webhooks to receive data about certain shop events, like an “order created” or “product updated” event, via HTTPS requests. However, the number of events you interact with can quickly multiply and overwhelm standard HTTPS endpoints. To address this concern, Shopify offers ready integrations with Amazon EventBridge and Google Cloud Pub/Sub designed to handle massive volumes of incoming events.
What are Shopify Functions used for?
Shopify Functions provide APIs that make it possible to modify Shopify’s back-end logic: For example, you can change the checkout flow, create new discount types, and customize delivery options. They are typically bundled in an app and can be installed like regular apps.
Finally, hiring managers searching for custom storefront developers may focus on customized storefront content options and related tools:
What does “headless” mean in the context of e-commerce and CMS tools?
Traditional e-commerce and CMS tools bundled their back ends and user interfaces. A headless system completely separates the user interface from the back end, which is instead accessed via APIs. Headless systems empower front-end web developers to focus on designing and implementing user interfaces, while intelligent caching mechanisms deliver fast results when accessing back-end data. Shopify offers various methods and official APIs for headless e-commerce solutions (e.g., Shopify Hydrogen or Shopify Plus).
What is Shopify Hydrogen used for?
Shopify Hydrogen offers a collection of ready-to-use React components. It makes headless e-commerce easy in Shopify by hiding low-level API calls.
What options do I have for hosting my custom storefront app?
These standard web applications can be hosted on a server environment of your choice. One popular option is using Oxygen, Shopify’s hosting offering for Hydrogen storefronts optimized for performance and scalability.
How do you manage an online shop’s content with a custom storefront app?
Because the Shopify theme editor is unavailable for custom storefronts, you have to find your own solution for editing content. Many headless CMS systems can be used for these purposes (e.g., Contentful, Storyblok, Sanity) and easily integrate with a custom Shopify storefront.
Why do companies hire Shopify Developers?
The Shopify e-commerce platform is known for its stability and scalability. It holds up well against stressors, like 2022’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, when it served more than 52 million customers worldwide with peak sales of $3.5 million per minute. Many online shops already trust Shopify, and others continue to migrate from their current systems to Shopify, making skilled Shopify experts necessary for any modern e-commerce business owner.
Shopify suits small sites and large corporations: You can start small and add features incrementally as your business grows. And for enterprise-scale applications, Shopify offers ready-made integrations into industry-leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle NetSuite, and more.
While it may be easy to get started with Shopify, the platform and its upkeep becomes quite complex as sites grow. And Shopify has become highly comprehensive over the years, with many new features and frameworks. Therefore, hiring a team of Shopify experts to address your use case scenarios is crucial to optimize your workflows and scale your online business.
Determining how to hire Shopify developers who meet your business requirements, whether working across themes, storefronts, apps, or a combination of these surfaces, will help you stay competitive in the fast-moving e-commerce industry. The expert guidance offered here will ease your hiring journey—from selecting essential qualifications and writing a job description to conducting advanced interviews—and help your Shopify store achieve its goals.
The technical content presented in this article was reviewed by Taylor Clifton.