Mark Shust

Mark Shust

Let Magento Kill You

I noticed a funny image online of a bright neon sign hanging in an office someplace. It read: “Find what you love and let it kill you”.

That lead to me tweeting this out:

It was all in good fun, as I’m sure we’ve all had our ups & downs learning, debugging, and working with Magento. But I think the number of engagements this tweet had is very telling.

Let’s chat a bit about why Magento is difficult, and why I think this tweet resonated with a lot of people.

Magento is hard to learn

Learning Magento nowadays almost seems like a covert, black-ops mission: only few shall pass. Unless there is a top-notch talent on your team who can train developers, you’re left a bit in the dark.

Currently, the best way to learn Magento is by taking an in-person training session from Magento U (not on-demand, but in-person). Their instructors are top-notch, or at least they were when I attended the training. Being able to ask a question to instructor when they are sitting right in front of you is pretty awesome. That said, being able to shell out $3,750 for an in-person training session is a bit beyond the reach of most people still in the “learning” phase.

That leaves googling Stack Overflow, tinkering & breaking, or randomly stumbling upon blog posts written a few years back from Alan Storm or Vinai Kopp. It’s a tough journey.

Magento is hard to teach

If you were not aware, I’ve been working on a new educational course which teaches the basic concepts of Magento 2. I started working on it at the end of April, and it’s the end of October now. Granted, passively working on it, but working on it nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, I looked at all of the material I created (nearly 80 lessons!) and thought to myself: “If I was a newbie, this is not how I would want to learn Magento today.” So, I basically shelved everything and started over.

I know Magento 2. I also consider myself a decent teacher, able to explain advanced concepts simply. However, I still had a bear of a time trying to figure out how to present this to a beginner. You only have shoshin once, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Trying to rekindle the beginner brain is difficult.

I’ve since situated on a great, simple curriculum, and I’m on the path to complete my first Magento learning course within the next few weeks. But, that’s not my point. It’s hard to learn Magento because it’s hard to teach. It’s hard to formulate all of the many advanced topics that you need to learn to understand the core concepts, and then present them in a way for a beginner to magically understand.

It’s taken me over 6 months to come up with a way to present this information in a thoughtful manner that I’m finally happy with, and I don’t believe any other training program has done this yet (which is why I’m doing it). It’s not only hard to learn, and hard to teach, but…

Magento is hard to understand

If you can make it past learning Magento, your next step is to understand it. I cannot believe the number of people I’ve interviewed for an architect position who couldn’t answer the question: “What is dependency injection, and why would you use it?“.

Now, I hate technical interviews myself, as they don’t usually correlate with a person’s on-the-job capabilities. Give me a GitHub profile or some code snippets from a few modules you’ve written or worked on, let’s hop on a quick phone or video call, and I can tell within a few minutes if you have what it takes.

Everyone wants someone with working Magento 2 knowledge, and there are some “need to know” concepts that you just need to understand about the framework to “get it”, especially if you are applying for a Magento senior architect level position.

Most developers just can’t grasp the concepts. But, there’s a simple reason for this. It’s because they aren’t letting Magento kill them.

Let Magento kill you

Let’s go back to this image:

Find what you love and let it kill you

There’s something I haven’t touched base on yet. I love Magento. I’ve been through so many ups and downs over the last 10 years, that it’s amazing that I’m still doing this. But I persisted, and you should too.

I’ve decided to let Magento kill me. And you should let it kill you to.

This means drowning yourself into it. Jump into the deep end. Become captivated about everything Magento. Passionate not only about learning about it, but truly understanding everything about it. Go deep.

I’ll leave with this quote from perhaps my favorite movie documentary ever, the inspirational “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. Take this, apply it to Magento, and let it kill you. I know I am.

“Once you decide on your occupation…you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success…and is the key to being regarded honorably.” — Jiro Ono

Piece of sushi