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Mark Shust

Written by Mark Shust, a Certified Magento Developer, Architect & Instructor in Cleveland, Ohio.
Follow me @markshust

I'm an educator 👨‍🏫

February 11, 2019   ·   6 min read

I started freelance web development while I was in high school at the age of 15. A couple of years later, the guy I worked for urged me to learn PHP, but it sounded much too hard for me. So I remember taking a trip to a brick-and-morter Borders bookstore (the younger millenials will have no clue what I’m talking about), and remember looking at two different books; one on Perl, and one on PHP. I looked at both, and looking at a bunch of Greek, I was intimidated, left them on the bookshelf and walked out.

A couple years went by, and I wound up at a mundane job doing “case shifting” for a teleradiologist firm. It involved remembering a list of doctors, their medical restrictions (medicaid & medicare), in which states they were licensed, and what their subspecialty was (knees, brains, wrist/ankles, etc.). I actually liked the job quite a bit, as it was something I became an expert in and allowed my mind to otherwise wonder. There was a sheet of paper called the “tally sheet” which we used to keep track of how many cases were sent to which doctor, by literally passing the sheet back and forth in our small office and “tallying” case load.

I always thought the tally sheet was obscene, and knew in the back of my mind that I could build something better. So, I scoured around AltaVista (the best search engine at the time), and managed to cobble together a bit of code here & there to build an “electronic tally sheet” out of PHP and MySQL. Then one day we launched this new electronic list of doctors, their case limit (which we could update every day), and plus & minus icons next to each doctor’s name. It sure did beat that piece of paper. On that day, a programmer was born.

Not too long after, the itch got me, and it was the first major career shift I had: I’m a developer 💻. I’ve been down the rabbit hole since.

I've got mad computer skills

Some time has passed, and I’ve been primarily a Magento developer for the last 8 years or so. Magento has taken me through a lot of ups & downs. It’s a very complex framework to build, and has an extremely high learning curve. Working at agencies has been ok, but my role has been mainly to conduct code & architecture reviews, as well as to train and mentor other developers. While Magento training material has increased substantially since Magento 1 (the devdocs are awesome!), there is a gap in the market:

Magento (as well as some other platforms) are still very hard to learn.

I believe one of my biggest strengths is the ability to convey complex information simply. My blog has been a testament to that over the years. I’ve always enjoyed writing technical blogs, mainly as a reference for myself, but realized others found the posts helpful as well. Over the last couple years, I’ve also created a handful of screencast lessons & courses on Egghead (with more to soon come), which have provided me with an alternative method of helping others. I’m a very visual learner myself, so this method of learning has always resonated with me.

The itch has gotten me again, and I realized something: I’m an educator 👨‍🏫. I always believed in the back of my head that I would be a teacher of sorts, but the traditional education schooling system has never resonated with me (I believe in certifications and doing real, actual work as opposed to getting degrees in isolation). So as of today, I’ll be devoting just about my entire time creating:

  • Screencasts
  • Blogs
  • Technical documentation
  • Live workshops & training sessions
  • Other educational material

… all with a focus on Magento 2. I believe the Magento framework is absolutely amazing, however with great power comes great responsibility. Learning Magento is extremely difficult, and I want to be able to help programmers of all levels learn the framework, become more productive, and ship code quicker

I also believe strongly in skunkworks, project tinkering, and 80/20 time; going indie will also help me devote ample time to my other side projects and ideas. For example, I created a mobile app for liquor inventory with React and Node.js, this blog powered by Gatsby, and many custom Magento modules which I had to discontinue because I no longer had time to support them. Working for myself and controlling my own schedule will help me bring all of those back into the mix, along with other ideas my brain has been pumping out. It will also give me ample time to spend with my family, and provide me with the flexibility I’ve been looking for in a job, and a career trajector that is aligned with my long-term interests. Being trapped in the corporate jungle of meetings all day long is not how I want to spend the most productive years of my life.

My first soirée into this is developing a curriculum and screencast course about how to Setup a Magento 2 Development Environment with Docker.

Setup a Magento 2 Development Environment with Docker

The screencast course will be completely free, and you can signup here to be notified when it gets released.

I currently run the most starred GitHub repo for Magento & Docker, however I know it can be difficult for some programmers to understand how to setup a new Magento project with Docker, and the few intracacies of running a development environment within it.

I have a lot of exciting courses and projects planned, and hope you can take the journey with me! I’ve very excited to do what I know I’m meant to be doing: teaching, helping, and educating others. Signup for my newsletter to follow along with me on this new journey.