Envision Ecommerce Interviews Marius Strajeru – 2 x Magento Master & 1 x Magento Pioneer
Envision Ecommerce has just kicked off a ‘Blog Interview Series’ with the industry’s leading influencers and well-reputed thought leaders. Here is our first interview with the dynamic Magento Expert: Marius Strajeru.
Meet 2 x Magento Master and 1 x Magento pioneer winner, Marius Strajeru, who ranks number 1 contributor on Magento Stack Exchange. He is a person who doesn’t need any introduction in Magento world. Being a Magento addict for the past 9 years, he is consistently making notable contributions in Magento forums & communities. He loves to change ideas and conclusions to solve Magento related problems – both his own or others’.
Talking aside Magento, Marius revealed that he loves to spend most of the spare time with his Family and also loves to play tennis and football. Speaking about the Ultimate module creator tool, Marius said,” I’ve just released the beta version of the module”
Let’s start the interview and get to know more about Marius:
Envision Ecommerce: Marius, we know your C# lab teacher was your first inspiration who made you consider a career as a developer. Later, at your new job, your team lead forced you to work on a Magento based e-shop project. We will not repeat the same questions here 🙂 ! But we are eager to know how you delivered that project as you said “No” to this question of your team lead – “Do you know Magento?” What Magento learning resources did you follow (any specific book, tutorials, blogs, etc.) or you’re still following? Your answer would be an inspiration for newcomers who don’t know much about Magento but want to connect with it.
Marius: Ah. I see you’ve been stalking me 🙂 . I was lucky on my first Magento project for 2 reasons. The first was that for the first month I didn’t have to produce anything. I had 20 days for learning. And I started looking for resources online like any developer does. I didn’t have much luck with that since Magento was just starting and the official forum was kind of slim, the Magento related blogs were not that many. These resources helped up to one point but not very much. The second reason I was lucky, and the most important… I had a project manager that was (still is) a Java and .NET guru, Adrian. He didn’t know any PHP but he helped me a lot to reverse engineer Magento. He helped me understand the design patterns and the ORM concepts in general and he took the pressure of interacting with the client. And I filled in the blanks with hours of work and digging down into the core. Just for the record, yes, I did screw up the core on my first try and had to manually update everything from Magento 1.0 to 1.1.
And one more comment. My TL did not force me to work on the Magento project. I had the option to say no. But I was young and crazy so I didn’t pass the chance of a challenge.
Envision Ecommerce: Is there something you’d like to do differently if you were to start again with your career journey?
Marius: I never thought about this. I honestly don’t know. Could I have earned more money? Probably. Could I have learned more things? Definitely yes. Am I happy with my current work and achievements? Yes. I don’t know how to tip the balance. One thing is clear. I regret nothing.
Envision Ecommerce: Currently, you are working at Arnia Software as a PHP Developer for 4+ years, what major challenges did you face in this time frame? How did you overcome such difficulties and what memorable moments and achievements you achieved there till date?
Marius: Arnia Software is the longest job I had so far, and it is still going because I am surrounded by a group of great people that I call my friends. Arnia is my family away from my family.
I think the biggest or stressful challenge I had was about 2 years ago when for almost 6 months I had to juggle 6 projects at the same time that were in maintenance. This took it out of me because every client was working on Monday and Tuesday to get a new list of changes or bugs and I they communicated it on Wednesday. And On Wednesday, all throughout the day, I hate to talk to each one of them to understand what they mean, to explain when the changes will be done and to convince them why it not a good idea to do some of the changes. Then, until the next list came in, I had to develop everything. I managed to do it, with ups and downs obviously, but I’m glad that period is over.
Envision Ecommerce: Being an active member of Magento Forums & Magento communities, what are the most common questions you encounter with Magento developers and store owners? Means what kind of common issues cause quite a problem among developers and store owners lately?
Marius: For store owners/managers is simple. Most of them struggle to understand how the configurable and bundle products are set up in Magento 1. I saw this on Magento Stack Exchange and in real life. 100% of the clients I’ve worked with had this problem.
For Developers is not that easy. I would say that a lot of questions are related to checkout customization, product prices and doing all kind of frontend tricks, but you can find a lot of questions related to anything.
Envision Ecommerce: As a 2 x Magento Master, how do you envision the future of Magento after the release of Magento 2? How do you think Magento 2 will impact the eCommerce industry?
Marius: I don’t like to make predictions. I just go with the flow. One thing is certain. The release of Magento 2 spawned some controversial opinions in the community. Some people embrace it, others dismissed it. I’m sure that Magento 2 will impact the e-commerce industry but overall I’m not sure if for the best or not. I’m hoping for the best of course.
Envision Ecommerce: We noticed your last Ultimate module creator with a Version 22.214.171.124 – October 27th, 2015 (from your blog), do you still write Magento Modules? What is your suggestion to all those who write Magento Modules?
Marius: I have been working on Magento modules. I put together a sample CRUD module for Magento2 (that might be outdated now, not sure). And I’m continuing the work on the UMC for Magento 2. With a different approach and a different architecture. I’ve just released the beta version of the module. It does not do yet what the Magento 1 version does. It only generates the files needed for the backend to work. I hope I have the time to work on the additional modules that will generate the API, frontend files, catalog entities relations. Don’t hold your breath.
As for advice for the extension developers, nothing fancy, just the usual. Follow the Magento standards, don’t reinvent the wheel and keep it simple.
Envision Ecommerce: Share your most memorable awards and achievements in your professional life till date?
Marius: The Masters awards are by far the ones that give me the warmest feeling. It means a lot to me that my work and my spare time invested into the community is recognized. Other than that, I haven’t received any award since high-school. But these are far away. I can barely remember.
Envision Ecommerce: As a part of our interview process, we request you to share a picture of your workstation or the best moment that you have captured in any events. Please share.
Marius: Here is how my desk looks like. Very tidy, right?
Let me explain the items in there.
• Laptop, extra monitor, mouse and headset. These are obvious. I will not explain further.
• Some tea in case I’m thirsty or get a cold.
• A tennis ball from Acquia that I got at Imagine 2017 hoping I will get it signed by Serena Williams. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as I wanted it.
• A picture frame saying “Sarcasm Loading… Please wait”. A present from one of my colleagues. I don’t understand why 🙂
• A ping-pong paddle. We have a ping-pong table at the office. I use it occasionally.
• On the right side near the monitor, there is a stack of papers and a pen. No, I don’t take notes on them. Other than Magento.stackexchange I like to take a look from time to time on https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/ (don’t click if you don’t want to get addicted) where I try to solve various puzzles. Most of them math related.
Envision Ecommerce: As a well-reputed member of Magento Stackexchange for more than 4 years, what are some of the most significant benefits of using Stackexchange? And how do you compare Stackexchange with other Magento forums and communities?
Marius: Stackoverflow (including the StackExchange network) is a developer tool. You are a developer you go there for answers.
The benefits are obvious. There is a high chance that you are not the first that has a certain problem. If you don’t find a solution you can at least get a hint from StackOverflow.
The difference from blogs or forums is the gamification. You help other people by solving their problems or by asking good questions and you get badges and fake internet points. This gives you a feeling of satisfaction but it also makes you addicted.
Envision Ecommerce: Marius, we know you have been blogging. So when did you start blogging? As you said, “I think I’m better with code than with words” – in one of your blogs, so can you please share with our readers some of the secrets behind your blogging logic?
Marius: There is no secret and no logic. I started that blog a few years ago when someone accidentally deleted 300 of my posts on the old Magento forum. The blog was supposed to be a backup for my forum posts. After my posts got deleted I thought that each time I offer a solution to a problem and post it on the forum I would post a copy of it on my blog. But since magento.stackexchange.com came along I kind of neglected my blog. I added 2 posts lately that are not tech related. I did that after I saw that a lot of people blog about their experiences at Imagine 2017 so I decided to share mine. You should not follow the blog, it does not have much future.
Envision Ecommerce: You have attended many Magento-centric events, like Meet Magento, Magento Imagine, Meet Magento Romania, MageTitans Italy, etc. Which Magento-centric event have you attended lately? Please share your experience and what are the benefits of attending such event?
Marius: Last one was Magento Imagine 2017 in April and before that, it was Meet Magento Romania 2015 in October. These are my favorite events. By far the biggest benefit of such an event is the networking part. I get to meet the friends and chat with them on the internet. And, you get to meet the Magento team members. You get to see that they are regular people and quite friendly.
The fact that you can see awesome presentations is just the side-effect 🙂
Envision Ecommerce: After talking a lot about your professional life, let’s move on to your personal interests, how you spend your time besides work?
Marius: I spend most of my spare time with my family. My wife and my 4-year-old son. We play a lot of board games because my son enjoys them very much.
Starting mid-July I will start saying “with my wife and my sons”.
Other than that, I play tennis once a week and from time to time football.
I also enjoy reading, but I don’t have much time to do it, so I just do it on my way to and back from work in the subway.
Envision Ecommerce: We found something about you, “Always Be Yourself! Unless You Can Be Marius Then Always Be Marius!” 🙂 – What would you like to say about this?
Marius: Yeah. That. I was hoping people forgot about it. I all started as a joke made by my friend David Manners on Twitter and then Sander Mangel continued it suggesting that should be on a t-shirt. Someone, Fabian Blechschmidt took it seriously and made a t-shirt. With friends like them, who needs enemies?
So, this is what exactly we get to know about Marius Strajeru. We at Envision Ecommerce hope that this conversation is sufficient to inspire all the Magento developers & newbies out there to attain such great heights like Marius.