Becoming a Shopify Developer in 2020 (The Truth)

Shopify is one of the world’s top eCommerce platforms, used by millions of eCommerce websites. If you want to expand your web development business, Shopify development is a good area to get into.

If you are not quite sure how to get started, then this is the guide for you.

I have spent 9 years on Upwork myself and have taught hundreds of other people how to become a successful Shopify developer.

Why Is Shopify Development a Good Opportunity?

Shopify is one of the fastest and easiest ways to set up and launch an eCommerce website. Shopify developers help companies to build and launch eCommerce websites that have been customized for their needs. 

There is a huge demand for online freelancers and agencies to provide these services to businesses right now. Demand is high, and supply is low! Meaning it is a great opportunity, with high-profit margins.

What Shopify Developer Services Can I Provide?

There are three main services you can provide to clients as a Shopify developer:  

1. Shopify Theme Implementations

Companies require a Shopify developer to implement and set up the theme for their new Shopify website.

2. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) 

Once a client has an online store, they require help to make their website convert higher (ie – make more sales). Shopify developers can help to optimize their websites to help with this.

3. Build Shopify Apps 

This is when you develop an extension to the standard Shopify store. It is especially a “mini SAAS” (software as a service) that you are building within the Shopify Platform. This can be sold to clients directly, or once you are more experienced through the Shopify App Store.

What Programming Languages Do I Need to Know To Develop On Shopify?

  • For Shopify Themes you need to know LIQUID, HTML5, and CSS3
  • To build Shopify Apps, the best language to use, especially in the beginning is Ruby on Rails. You can also use PHP. Anything that uses JSON REST API with OAuth will work.
  • If you offer CRO services, you don’t necessarily need to know any programming languages as it is a combination of marketing and tech/ development. The best way to provide this service is to: Follow industry best practices for Shopify, use testing services like Optimizely, and carry out Google content experiments. You should A/B test multiple versions of a page to find out which one converts better. 

How Do I Get Clients as a Shopify Developer?

The best way to start as a Shopify developer is to join freelancing platforms like Upwork where you will be able to find leads without having to spend any money upfront. 

Upwork lists multiple projects for Shopify developers. Clients ask for proposals from Shopify developers when they require Shopify theme implementations, help setting up a Shopify store, CRO or they want custom apps built.

Demand is extremely high now (due to Covid-19) and you can find projects that range from $6000 to $25,000. If you are a new Shopify developer, you should start by building stores first so that you can learn how the platform works before trying to sign up clients to build custom Shopify Apps.

The Bottom Line

There is a huge demand right now for Shopify developer services. If you are just getting started, start small by first offering theme implementations, and once you build up your skills you can try to secure projects with much more complexity. The best way to find clients is to sign up for freelancing platforms like Upwork to find leads and to reach out to potential clients.


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Aleksander Vitkin

Aleksander Vitkin has helped over 700 people with a sincere interest in entrepreneurship and contribution, to start profitable businesses and quit their jobs.

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