Today we have another Magento lover with us, Thomas Burman. He is currently a Lead Developer at Lewis Ecommerce in London, has 7 years of development experience, and multiple Magento certifications.
So without wasting any time, here’s my interview with Thomas.
Muneeb: Thomas Burman, you are currently a Magento developer at Lewis Creative Digital Commerce. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your career history?
Thomas: I’m Thomas Burman, a Lead Developer at Lewis Ecommerce in London. I lead a team of developers here on a day to day basis, helping to train junior developers, improve development processes, and ensure the quality of our development. I have been developing for around seven years. I started and developed my online store on Magento after playing with other technologies initially. I built this store while I was completing my degree in Computer Games Programming at DMU Leicester. After University I jumped into the commercial world of web agencies, Lewis being my third.
Muneeb: You are a Magento Certified Developer and a Solution Specialist. Tell our readers about the impact of these certifications on your career and how important they are for Magento developers.
Thomas: Any certifications on your CV will help you in your career. I’m lucky that I have certifications for Magento with it being such a specific product. Having both certifications have helped considerably in my career. I urge any developer that wants to follow the Magento way to take any certification they can because it shows the ability to learn quickly and your dedication to such a complex system.
Muneeb: Could you list any three key points on which you focus on before starting a Magento project?
Thomas: Planning – Planning and preparation are key to any development project. Running head on into a project will leave you in tatters, especially with Magento. Work closely with your project managers and designers until an agreed specification has been written (and signed by the client if there is one!).
Data planning – Magento uses some complex data structures and planning; where your data will be coming from and how you will be manipulating it is the most important factor for me – before ANY development takes place. Always try to break the data down into its base form, and then you can always build on top of it. Trying to implement a complex data structure right off the bat could make it difficult in the future to improve or update.
Client information – We work with clients on every project and each client has different integrations, shipping configurations, tax configurations, etc. that need to be addressed. It’s important to get all this information from the client before any work begins, for example, conversations with the client and their partners they want to integrate with, API documents and access, etc.
Muneeb: What advice do you want to give to our readers about learning Magento? What suggestions do you want to give to Magento newbies?
Thomas: My first piece of advice is when looking for example solutions online for Magento, look at the first search engine result, but then look at the second, the third, the fourth, etc. There is a lot of wrong or outdated information out there on the internet, so try not always to implement the first solution you come across.
My second advice is to get to know the Zend Coding Standards/PSR(1 & 2). Keeping a uniform coding standard will help you and any other developers working on the product when you revisit the project after it’s completed. Think about the architecture of your product before starting. This helps towards a quality end product and fewer bugs to fix.
Muneeb: How do you plan your day? And what do you do in your free time?
Thomas: I have an hour and a half journey to work – so I usually prep my brain on the way, whether that’s a simple sudoku puzzle or reading through some repo’s on GitHub/articles I find on a topic I’m interested in.
Porridge & cup of tea. You can’t start any day without some brain power! In the winter porridge fills you up, keeps you going all day and is yummy :). And I’m British – of course, I’m going to have a cuppa tea!
I’m always developing in my free time, whether that’s what I think will be a great new product to try and develop or maybe a Magento module. I’m recently looking at diversifying my knowledge into some other platforms, even if they don’t come up too much, it’s always good to know what others are getting up to in the OS world! Either way, it’s all learning which is important in our world!
Muneeb: Name some of your best friends who are also Magento developers? Who would you like to nominate next for an interview on Magenticians?
Thomas: Andrew Alabi is an FE dev in my agency – I’m sure he would like to answer a few questions for you.