Magento Training Process: An Internal Custom Solution

Derrik Nyomo

magento_logoCreating a topnotch development team takes a lot of consideration and time, but it is a critical part of establishing a successful company that can take on any challenge a customer may present. A well-trained and knowledgeable development team is always an asset, especially when working with the relatively young Magento platform. Because of its recent addition to the eCommerce scene, as well as the fact that it is open source, experienced Magento developers can be hard to find. However, they are crucial to a successful eCommerce project. We have seen far too many eCommerce nightmares that could have been prevented had the client selected a more experienced eCommerce consultant.

While we at Briteskies pride ourselves on selecting only the best to join our development teams, there is often a need for more training once someone joins the Briteskies ranks. Our company values the continued education of our team members and their passion to stretch, learn and grow through achievements and certifications. This commitment to training, combined with the difficult nature of finding experienced developers, led to us creating our own system of training members of the Magento team.

When we are considering a new member of the team, a cultural fit is just as important as having the qualifying skills. This homegrown training system takes someone who is a great fit for Briteskies, but who has little to no Magento experience, and turns him or her into a skilled Magento developer in just a few weeks.

The Briteskies internal training system is a one-to-two week course covering fallback systems, basic workflows and system architecture, as well as more advanced topics such as custom module development and API integrations.

According to Derrik Nyomo, Magento Developer, Network Administrator and mastermind behind the training process, this system gives us the ability to hire people with PHP or Web experience and give them a working understanding of Magento so they can start completing tickets.

Derrik created this system based off of Magento fundamentals training from various resources. Using examples from books and other sources, Derrik takes the trainees through the process of building their own site as a training exercise. This usually involves learning about and executing install scripts, collections, custom blocks, admin blocks, and forms, among other things.

“They come in knowing next to nothing [about Magento] and by the end of the course they have a working site that has its own theme with a working admin module,” Derrik said.

Trainees commit three hours a day to training plus homework to complete on their own.

“We want them to complete tasks on their own and then come together afterwards to discuss how they got it done and why they did it that way.”

Derrik also covers development methodology such as syntax and correct development techniques.

For Greg Crane, the most recent Briteskies intern to go through the Magento training process, working through the process with others was incredibly helpful.

“I was going through a lot of Magento books beforehand, but I learn a lot better by talking it through with someone. So discussing with Derrik and other people in the office brought a lot of clarity to some of the more confusing parts, like templates and how modules fit together.”

While still an internal resource, this process has the ability to be applied to clients as well.

“Going forward, if a client wanted to manage their site, we could potentially teach client developers. It’s just an internal class right now though,” Derrik said.

This system is great for Briteskies because it allows us to create the best possible development team and work environment, no matter what obstacle stands in the way. This also provides our clients access to a development team that is not only highly skilled in the platform, but that works well together and enjoys working as a team to bring about the best possible solution.

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