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Today the Dedication of Worldwide Magento Developers for One Goal Leads to Magento Success – Interview With Matheus Gontijo

Wajid Hussain Oct 07, 2016
matheus-gontijo

Matheus Gontijo is a hard working, respected Magento Software Engineer based in Curitiba, Brazil. Besides being interested in applying the best practices in his day-to-day work, he is also passionate about personal development, traveling and helping the community. He holds a degree in System Analysis and an MBA in Project Management, and he is certified by Magento as a developer and development plus.

In this interview with Arpatech, Matheus shares how his career started and provide our readers with some of the most relevant insights he has been having since then.

Arpatech: Matheus, you have vast experience in Development side. How did you start your Development career? What challenges did you face when you started your career? Share your first job experience with our readers.

Matheus: I would like to start off by saying it is an honor to be interviewed by Arpatech. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did!

Initially, I started working in a company that had many short projects; they lasted around 2–3 weeks and most of them were HTML + CSS only. Later down the road, I started playing around with PHP, and I became fascinated with the idea of creating solutions through computer coding. These solutions could impact core businesses in big companies as well as make human life a lot easier. I instantly fell in love with the new world I had just discovered.

Today, a few years later, I stop and look back at my journey. Understanding how the programming world works is an easy task now. However, it was very challenging on day one when I everything was still so new to me. There were way too many different programming languages, frameworks, platforms, paradigms, and methodologies to learn and I did not know where to start. I need to confess that I was confused at the time. I could head towards many different directions but, thankfully, I found Magento!

Arpatech: Currently, you are working in Crimson Agility as Magento Software Engineer. When did you connect yourself with Magento? What was the thing that made you Magento Developer, when did you develop your first Magento project?

Matheus: Right after I had started my career as a developer, I spent a few months devotedly studying PHP and OOP. I spend quite some time working on personalized projects based mainly on Zend Framework and a bit on WordPress.

One day our salesperson brought us our first eCommerce project. We chose Magento for several different reasons, but I personally really like working with Zend Framework because of its beautiful code and flexibility. It seemed to me more enterprise-like as it was widely adopted by the industry.

I began working with Magento in the mid of 2011. Our project basically consisted of creating an online store for a client that sells auto parts in a physical store. It seemed pretty simple at first and since I did not have any knowledge about Magento at that point, I had to do my research. I dove into tutorials, blog posts, discussion forums and so on. StackOverflow was a major help to help me come up with solutions for that problems I was facing at the time (and to this day it is still an important source!).

If I could give any piece of advice for a developer who is just starting out, I would say that:

It may sound a bit cliche, but if you want to keep things simple it is going to be easy and you can finish your projects relatively fast — it doesn’t matter which method you use or what you do. However,  the bigger your projects get the more experience you will need. You will have to understand the platforms a lot better (what do they offer? How can they be useful to your project and, most importantly, how to maintain them in the upcoming months or years). There’s no magic trick, you will not get this experienced overnight so get familiar with the platforms you use and always seek for the best practices! I don’t want to sound negative, but there is no point in calling yourself a specialist if you are not giving your best. Any other good Magento Developer should be able to complete, modify or extend the code you have written.

Also, when you become more experienced things, the work you put into your career will pay off. You will be getting job offers from all over the world: Brazil (that is where I am from!), USA, Europe, Asia. Doesn’t it sound amazing?

I am currently working in Crimson Agility (an American Magento Solution Partner), and it has been a great pleasure. I am proud to be a part of such a talented team for over a year now. Together we have been collecting amazing experiences in Magento, and I am learning a lot. Thank you so much, guys!

Arpatech: You are a developer very involved with the community. Which platform are you using to connect yourself with Community? Do you participate in the discussions of the Magento social communities? Which platform do you suggest to a newbie for learning and increasing their Magento knowledge? What’s your advice for developers who wanted to kick start their career with Magento?

Matheus: Yes, I have been talking basically with everybody I can! The top #1 breakthrough in my career was to understand the importance of being open to personal development. If you don’t allow yourself to open to it, you will hardly grow. Can you imagine having the opportunity to get help from hundreds of thousands of the most awesome developers in the whole world? Take a look at the open source model: PHP, Zend Framework, and Magento could not be where they are today if it wasn’t for hundreds of thousands of developers from all over the world working together towards the same goals. The more you expose yourself to improvement, the bigger you grow. Therefore, being involved is an intelligent decision, which undoubtedly will make you step out to the next level!

  • Twitter: is a potential source. You will find the best people are there, it’s unbelievable! You may follow the hashtag #realmagento and follow all of them.
  • Blog: since you know who the best guys are, everything you need to is feed yourself with their content. Most of them have useful blog posts that may help you to discover things you may never heard of.
  • StackOverflow: You can find out the most popular posts, tags and users, creating a special list of high level content.
  • Events: I’ll dig a bit more in the next answer.

Stay tuned and on the last answer I will link some guys ;- )

Arpatech: You have been an attendee of Magento Developers Paradise 2016. Share some of the best moments from this event. How many Magento events are you going to attend in this year? What are the advantages of attending Magento events like Magento Imagine, Meet Magento, Magento Developers Paradise? How newbies increase their knowledge and connect themselves by attending these events?

Matheus: What a great experience it is to attend these events! There is nothing compared to going out there and meeting up with awesome developers.

I have been attending events as much as I can. Obviously, it is way easier to go to local events, to meet people who you are close to and create a near stable network. That being said, I started to expand my horizons in the past year or so, and I am trying to attend international events. I believe understanding the relevance to be connected with people is a key. They lead and give directions to the entire industry.  You have to follow these big guys in the community!

This year I had the opportunity to attend Magento Developers Paradise, which took place in Croatia. So, I came all the way down from Brazil to Europe. During those four days of intense networking, I could sit down with CEO’s and CTO’s from many different Magento companies (agencies, consulting, training, module creating, etc.). I also had the pleasure of meeting the best of the best Magento Developers who have years of wide experience working with the platform. I made many friends that work with Magento from literally all over the world. I was able to sit down in many different tables and have dinner with a lot of interesting people. I had the chance to talk about important topics that gave me valuable insights.

Other than that, I have a funny story to tell! Is there anything better than to meet face to face with the people who answered very useful questions on StackOverflow? That happened to me during Magento Developers Paradise! I was having several issues with a module I was working on and a German developer helped me a lot. He said the module I was working on was obsolete and he gave me other useful alternatives. It matched perfectly to what I was looking for. Can you guess who I met in one of the parties of the event? Yes, Simon who had helped me so much, ha! He was amazed to hear me tell about how I had accomplished my goals in that project based on his instructions. His advice helped me save time and it allowed me to do things the best way possible.  That  was just one of the many great things that happened to me in that event.

I will be flying to the Netherlands in the next few days in order to attend to Mage Unconference. This conference — I mean this unconference — will have a different format. No predetermined talks or agenda, there will be just a panel for discussions in which the present attendees will come up with questions, share thoughts or comment on whatever they want to talk about. That’s going to happen full time during two days.

So, look for a local Magento meetups in your city or state/province. If you can’t find anything, maybe it’s time for you to start doing one! But, please, don’t keep going alone any longer.

Arpatech: What do you expect after the release of Magento 2? What’s your expectation with Magento in coming years? Do you think merchants can increase their sales with Magento 2?

Matheus: To be honest, I didn’t play around with Magento 2 very much. However, I do believe it is a significant accomplishment. It is not a new platform for the future, it’s a platform for now. During its ~8 years, Magento has been constantly improving and a major release was, in fact, needed to be made since it became “old”. The highlights of M2 are usage of Composer, Dependency Injection, jQuery, and support for Tests. Finally the core team published the platform in GitHub and have been receiving pull requests from any developer. The most wished thing has eventually happened: contributions from the community have already merged into the master branch!

I wouldn’t say merchants can increase their sales just by adopting M2, considering it doesn’t rely on the platform alone, but the set of all areas (design, usability, marketing, analytics & etc). The platform has a considerable part among them and yes, by making M2 part of it, the impact certainly will be positive.

Arpatech: Magento uses modules and extensions. Name some of the most important extensions that you recommend to use with every Magento website?

Matheus: Every single Magento store has its own particular rules, consequently it makes my job hard to answer this question. In a general perspective, my shoot for every Magento store would be:

  • OneStepCheckout or FireCheckout – Default Magento checkout is great and works very well, however, OSC brings a straightforward manner to accomplish sales. Customers love it.
  • AOE_Scheduler – Provides an advanced system to better manage cron scripts
  • AOE_Profiler – Breaks down the profiling process!

Arpatech: Matheus, let’s put Magento aside for a bit and talk about your personal interests 🙂 I follow you on Facebook and I saw that you love traveling. Which sport you like most? How you spend your time besides work?

Matheus: SOCCER! As a good Brazilian I’m unfathomably passionate about soccer! Soccer is part of Brazilians’ Religion hahaha! To be honest I have been neither watching nor playing it as much as I would like to lately. But during Saturday’s morning I’m leading a Soccer Group in my neighborhood. Young guys from 13-21 have the opportunity to play, laugh, have fun with each other, and – the most import part – to listen a brief Bible reflection for the coming week. It’s not something big, but I may confidently tell you, it’s making a huge difference in their lives.

matheus-gontijo-hangout

Disclaimer by Matheus: I was taking the picture, that’s why I’m not there!

Besides work I like to hangout with friends: picnics, parties, and traveling – it’s wonderful!

Arpatech: Every one of us likes to follow some influencers. From whom do you get your inspirations? Name some Magento influencers who have inspired you with their work.

Matheus: 

  • Alan Storm: I started my career finding so much this guy on the web. Alan has been doing a great job on his posts.
  • Marius Strajeru: If there is anybody more influent than this guy on Mage StackExchange, for sure I don’t know. Thank you so much Marius.
  • Fabrizio Branca: Deeply knowledge in how the machine within Magento works.
  • Ben Marks: This gentleman has been running the marathon of traveling the globe to connect the most effective Magento guys from all over. Also, he is a pretty good person!

Do you want more? Go to StackOverflow User Reputation and find out the best of the bests! By the way, feel free to follow Matheus on Twitter:

Wajid Hussain

Wajid Hussain

Community Manager at Arpatech
Wajid Hussain has a vast experience in Magento and PHP fields. He is currently a Community Manager at Arpatech. He keeps himself engaged with latest e-commerce and Magento trends and also happens to be an avid football fan. You can follow him on Twitter at @wajidstack or contact him through e-mail wajid.hussain[at]arpatech.com
Wajid Hussain