James Shakespeare

James Shakespeare

Freelance software engineer in London

I'm available for new contracts! Message me if you need a product engineering specialist for your next project.

9 months ago


I build robust, good-looking digital products that are easy to use.

Over a 15 year career I have been involved with every stage of the software development lifecycle and have written, tested, and shipped code that has been used by millions of people.

  • Full-stack web development for >15 years in the UK and US; soft spot for browser-based technology
  • React and React Native expert (>8 years)
  • Fluent JavaScript (>10 years) and TypeScript (>5 years)
  • Passionate about mentorship and team-building
  • AMA about my Mastermind specialist subjects: web accessibility and design system governance!

Work Experience

2022 — Now

Recent clients:

  • Capi Money (capimoney.com/) - Full-stack web development using NextJS and Vercel for this YC23 startup helping businesses in Africa pay their international suppliers by providing reliable, fast and affordable sources of EUR, USD or GBP.
  • Money254 (money254.co.ke/) - a popular Nairobi-based financial services marketplace. I built a web application for comparing and applying for personal loan products in Kenya using React and TypeScript.
  • JustParent - Over a 6 month contract I helped this early-stage startup design and build several greenfield products including a dynamic pricing tool (React, TypeScript) and a user dashboard (Python, Django). I also set up internal tooling and processes, advised on product and technical decisions and best practices, and interviewed and onboarded their first engineering hire. JustParent has since pivoted to Harriet (hrharriet.com/)
2021 — 2022
New York, NY

Mobile app for low-cost cross-border remittances. One of two React Native engineers supporting an app with >$1bn in annualized volume.

  • Technical lead for US and Canada launch, requiring sweeping changes for localization and compliance. US-Ghana is now the company’s second highest volume corridor.
  • Designed and developed a detailed in-app transfer status indicator to reduce CS queries.
  • Implemented app-wide redesign of input components to improve form conversion and a11y.
  • Delivered full localization of the app into Vietnamese and Portuguese.
  • Shipped a new app screen for users to view and search their full transfer history.
2019 — 2021
New York

Online media outlet with a focus on business news.

  • Led web team within the Quartz product engineering department.
  • Achieved 3% reduction in bounce rate while increasing average time spent on qz.com from 2.5 to 3.25 minutes by leading the redesign of the homepage.
  • Increased W3C WCAG accessibility rating for qz.com from A in 2019 to AA in 2020.
  • Delivered 20% increase in traffic after launching redesigned regional site for the UK.
  • Spearheaded the development of Quartz’s design system and built Prism UI (prism.qz.com), qz.com’s component library
2019 — 2019
New York
  • Scaled membership from 5K to 22K by coordinating development of the Quartz membership program, which generated $2.5M in subscription revenue.
  • Led development of user accounts, article comments, checkout flow, and premium formats.
  • Optimized internal tooling to reduce local server startup times by 80%.
  • Migrated all qz.com stylesheets from Less to Sass modules
2018 — 2019
New York
  • Developed new features and products for qz.com, which has 20M hits per month.
  • Co-authored parser that converts raw WordPress content to structured blocks for consumption.
  • Added $500K in revenue by designing bespoke template bought by Mercedes and JPMorgan.
2011 — 2013
Web Developer at Traffic Digital


2015 — 2016
Brooklyn, New York

Taught foundational front-end web development skills to high-school students in Brooklyn twice a week for the 2015-16 school year. Created learning resources, conducted pair-programming and follow-along programming sessions, and set external learning goals to help students build and publish their first websites.


2007 — 2011
Bachelor of Science, Multimedia Technology and Design at Brunel University

First Class Hons

2006 — 2007
Foundation in Graphic Design at UAL London College of Communation