What it means to be a PHP Magento Developer – The real path of a software engineer

When it comes to digital transformation and having access to a first-hand dedicated team always ready to take action, Zitec’s Continuous Improvement Services (CIS) department is here to deliver. CIS is one of the most agile departments in taking care of ultra fast implementations and well rounded site maintenance. The team adopts various state-of-the-art technologies and the latest trends in terms of practices and development stack. But what it actually implies to be part of this team, you will find out in the following interview. 

For this, we talked with Andreea Pintilie, a PHP Magento Developer in the CIS team. She was eager to talk with us about her career at Zitec and what it means to continuously improve, both personally and professionally. In the following lines of this interview you’ll learn more about how CIS helped her be better at managing, maintaining, safeguarding and improving any website and application.

Who is Andreea and how did the Zitec story begin? 

To begin with, I studied Mathematics & Computer science, with an intensive Computer science profile in high school. After that, I enrolled in the Faculty of Automation, Computer, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, where I studied for 4 years. And I wanted to continue learning anything related to this domain, as much as I could.  

So, in 2019, I moved from Galați to Brașov, with an aspiration to start a job that I could eventually turn into a career. The first job I landed provided me with a cozy atmosphere of a small company, as I was working along with no more than 10 other employees. There, I took a deep dive into Magento 1 and all I needed to learn about the platform. 1 year and a half later, I discovered I was eager for more so I started paying attention to new growth opportunities. 

This is how I learned about Zitec, where I discovered an amazing diversity of clients and projects. This time, involving Magento 2. That was enough for me to understand that my learning trajectory and career contouring had to be carried on within this company. In March 2023, I will be working for Zitec, more precisely within the CIS team, for two years, as a PHP Magento Developer. 

What does a day in a PHP Magento Developer’s life look like?

Mostly busy, but the fact is that I gain so much satisfaction from what I do, that it feels like time passes really quickly. Specifically, I write code and develop new modules or features that are seen in the back-end of the website. I also fix bugs, update security patches, troubleshoot UI issues or handle version upgrades.

As a Magento Developer, I specialize in building and maintaining eCommerce websites. I handle projects in both Magento 1 and 2, developing Magento modules, coding the templates, troubleshooting interface issues, or testing website performance.

There are multiple projects each member of the CIS team is working on monthly. However, we have a clear project plan that allows us to schedule the priorities. This helps us work in an efficient way, while not feeling any pressure. 

For instance, at the moment I handle various main maintenance projects, and this gives me the opportunity to do my job at my own pace, without hustling. One of them is Brico Dépôt, which is benefiting from an intervention subscription agreement. Via this agreement, I was responsible to constantly interfere and solve various issues. These can range from incorrect order flow, customer order that undergoes any type of blockage, new accounts with malfunctions or incorrect data, any return flow, and many more. For this project I worked for about 6 months. Other projects I enjoy working on are Arctic & Beko. Here’s the exciting part: the CIS team is monitoring the sites and ensures any data-base issues or site crashes will be fixed in no time. Together with the UX design and the Front-end teams, we also develop custom landing pages and continuously improve user’s experience. Pretty cool, right? 

Of course, there are busier periods as well, like Black Friday or Christmas time. These weeks are a bit more chaotic because it is quite likely that I have to work simultaneously on various projects to fix whatever impediment rises, urgent tasks or performance tests on the website. 

Tell us about your growth opportunities so far. What have you learned as a Magento Developer?

I started as a software developer, a junior. Now, I am an engineer, which means I advanced to a mid-level position. During this period, the biggest advantage for me was the move from Magento 1 to Magento 2. At first, Zitec gave me the opportunity to work on Magento 1 – it was the comfort I needed to get used to all the company’s processes. Then, with the move to Magento 2, I got the challenge that I wanted – to learn more. 

Since now, I have had various projects that allowed me to grow. I remember the VTEX project. This was a project that we didn’t know much about. However, I was grateful I was given the chance to learn what it entailed and to have direct contact with the client. This gave me courage to be more confident during client sessions and express my point of view. 

More than that, the fact that I have constant discussions with my team manager helped me focus on learning non-programming soft skills as well. In these sessions I learned how to approach the clients, to apply new methods, to answer to or get out of difficult situations.    

What particular skills were you required to have, to be part of the CIS team? 

1️⃣ Independence 

2️⃣ Flexibility 

3️⃣ Efficiency and performance

4️⃣ Creativity and authenticity 

5️⃣ Humor and respect

6️⃣ Speed 

[which actually are the values that our team follows

On the hard-skills side, I needed to have knowledge on testing and debugging, developing Magento modules, as well as the know-how to perform continuous improvement on written code. Code-review is very important because it helps the team understand how to write functional, correct and efficient code. 

Knowing JavaScript, HTML, PHP, CSS and MySQL is a must. In addition, since I started my job at Zitec, I have gathered more knowledge in Redis – an in-memory cache system, and Varnish – an acceleration web application. Moreover, I have learned to use Nginx, Linux, Docker and Magento 2 Commerce Cloud – quite important for a Magento Developer.

1️⃣ Magento modules development 

2️⃣ Continuous improvements on written code

3️⃣ Knowledge on JavaScript, HTML, PHP, CSS and MySQL

What exactly does Zitec’s CIS team do in the IT environment?

Simply put: maintenance, consultancy, execution. I like to say that we, at CIS, act both as consultants and implementers

A project usually reaches us after our Zitec’s eCommerce team takes over the first-hand development aspect and features creation. But, as every project is a living organism, after any type of implementation or release, bugs can appear and certain improvements need to be set in place. Here is where CIS steps in: we make sure that everything runs smoothly. Our CIS team is of utmost necessity in the lifecycle of an online business because it maintains everything under control:

  • possible errors encountered by the buyer (e.g. when adding an item to the cart)
  • updates on components and extensions and security patches updates
  • process automation and digitalization 
  • website maintenance, version upgrades and modules development
  • consultancy on how to scale online activity 
  • third-party integrations (e.g. CRMs, ERPs, payment processors, delivery services)
  • custom landing pages for various campaigns (e.g. Black Friday, Christmas, New Year) 

That’s where I get a lot of experience from. We are dynamic, flexible and have a high responsiveness rate when dealing with critical inquiries. We take on several projects and we help clients with our advanced technology. A huge benefit is that CIS has specialists on various technologies – Magento, WordPress, Symfony and VTEX. So I have the opportunity to learn from all of these.  

Let’s talk about the clients. How does CIS serve the client? 

We knock out emergencies

CIS colleagues are always there to help, especially in case of emergencies. Any business owner needs to understand that once their website development is done, the story doesn’t end there. Website maintenance, constant website improvements, creation of landing pages for different campaigns, upgrades and potential problem solving is something that they need to take into account. The CIS department is here to make all these things happen.

We stay ahead of time, but in line with other departments 

We can provide the necessary support so that a business doesn’t stagnate, but instead it grows nicely. In addition, together with the UX Design team, we offer consultancy on website optimization, visual enhancements, or improvements on the customer experience. Hence, we offer our clients the opportunity to have a fresh and updated website. 

Our team works at a fast pace and with multiple minds synchronized. Hence, we solve problems and find all sorts of out of the box solutions. This also allows us to offer a much faster response time than regular teams, finishing projects ahead of their deadlines. Which, by the way, we take very seriously. For instance, we redesigned Beko’s website and we finished the project before the schedule.

Technologies. Lots of them

Let’s not forget about the multitude of technologies we use: Magento, WordPress, Symfony and VTEX. Besides these, our clients have access to fixed costs, transparency, a dedicated, professional team with experience in various industries, from retail & distribution, logistics & transportation, technology, finance, to health & lifecare. Personal assistance is another plus the clients can benefit from. We offer the guarantee of a project manager who talks directly to the customer, while 2 developers focus on development work. 

Signed partnerships or not, you benefit from our audits 

Equally important is the fact that Zitec performs audits to any client, including those who don’t want a subsequent partnership. This audit can be implemented in several areas: the CIS team handles the maintenance or code issues, Security & Data Protection checks any security threats and breaches, the Design team verifies the front end, and so on.   

Now, the fun part. What do you really like about working in the CIS department?

Without a doubt, the teamwork. We collaborate, communicate and help each other a lot. Although we have the monthly planning I was telling you about, we always keep us informed regarding the blockers we may have. When necessary, we take over tasks from one another, so that we manage to complete everything without exceeding the deadlines. Our technical leader, Vlad Preda, constantly helps all the other colleagues to develop. Also, we have daily meetings with our PMs who help us get out of critical situations in case of any bottlenecks.

Then there is the humor – especially thanks to our very own manager, Ionut Cocias. He is the one who keeps our spirits up and always encourages the team. There is a lot of emphasis he puts on mental health, not feeling the pressure on certain tasks, and receiving appreciation for your work. 

When we talk about software, what is challenging for you as a CIS developer?

Handling several projects at the same time, it is necessary to be up to date with absolutely everything about each project. I have to learn quickly what has been done so far on the project, what the client needs, what the deadlines are, and so forth. 

In particular situations, in case of urgent campaign releases, the client can also opt for 24h monitoring/maintenance. Thus, we need to mobilize our forces to help. This is quite rare, and it happens when we have a certain agreement with the client, but well…it can happen. 

What would you advise a friend who perhaps is looking for a job as a PHP Magento Developer?

To apply to Zitec without doubting it. We can all discuss the big projects we handle here, the financial and medical benefits, the extra work activities and teambuilding that usually come with the job. However, I feel that people are valued here, and this for me is very important because lots of other companies don’t focus on the employees’ mental well-being. 

Zitec also offers the possibility to develop yourself on a personal and professional level via courses on growth and development. There are courses on psychology, financial education, coaching sessions or consultancy on how to obtain different professional certifications. You can learn a lot through the many projects, diversified tasks and different clients we have. And you can do all these either from home, remotely, or working from one of our offices.   

A story that never ends

Andreea started her journey with a strong wish to learn, to be inspired, to gather more professional experience and to overcome new development challenges. For her, finding the right team, being guided by the right mentors and making the most of the given opportunities were the factors that have helped her achieve her personal objective of becoming a better PHP Magento developer.   

When it comes to your job, it is always important to search for whatever gives you the excitement, appreciation, satisfaction, challenges and opportunities, and the best environment you need. This is one lesson Andreea was taught throughout her career path. And her wise deCISion opened doors to everything she wanted and even more. We shall watch her closely and see what other exciting things await her in the near future.  

    

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