Learning Magento: part 2. Educational resources and FAQ

This is the second part of Learning Magento series. If you have missed our first part, feel free to go and check it: it’s a collection of interviews of experienced Magento developers.

Today we will be talking on resources to study Magento. In other words, this article will be of use for those who want to become a Magento developer: we collected links, tutorials, books and frequently asked questions about Magento that’ll guide you through early stages of learning Magento development.

Note: this post is created for educational reasons, and we highly appreciate any additions or comments on the subject. If you want to share your experience or recommend particular sources of information, you’re most welcome to do that – and we’ll be delighted to upgrade the article with your contributions.

Pros and cons of being a Magento developer

We’ll start with the pros…

+ Established community, both online and offline. Magento gathered a circle of developers and e-commerce specialists, and a lot of events are organized every year.

+ You’ll work with a complex, but very well written and organized powerful platform.

+ Being a Magento developer certainly means you’ll get higher salary if compared to just PHP development. This factor formed due to several reasons: relative lack of Magento developers, high entry barrier and relative complexity of development, as well as a challenge of training junior developers.

+ High and rising demand in e-commerce.

… and finish with the cons.

Lack of technical documentation. This issue is not severe as it has been before, and most developers agree that today you can relatively easy find a solution for your problem, but still the volume of educational information is not so huge if compared with other platforms.

– Using a specific technology stack, where reliability is the main factor over implementing new technologies.

– The learning curve may discourage some people. You’ll have to learn a lot about how web applications work!

Technologies needed to learn Magento development

HTML/JS/CSS are used for frontend development, so it’s an essential part, we’re going to code for the web, right?

Magento is written on PHP, so you obviously need to know it. Ideally, you have to be a middle PHP developer to get the things right in Magento. Although you can start from a junior level, but this will require more time and effort not only to learn Magento, but also to upgrade your development skills.

OOP (object oriented programming) & MVC (model view controller) are used as architecture models in Magento, so make sure you at least know where to start. Referring to the previous point, OOP understanding means you’re not a complete junior!

MySQL database system is used in Magento, that’s why you need to get acquainted with it. Luckily, all the described technologies are quite popular and widespread, and used by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, so the knowledge will be of use anyway.

Magento certification

If you’re going to build your career around Magento, you should certainly include Magento certification into your plan. It’s not only a way to learn something new or upgrade your skills. Magento certificate is also a boost for your professional value and a certain advantage you can use to stand out from the competition.

Here’s the main link you need to follow to find out more about certification provided by Magento, eBay inc. company:

http://www.magentocommerce.com/certification/

To start with, you may want to read this helpful topic on Magento StackExchange:

http://magento.stackexchange.com/questions/81/studying-to-become-a-magento-certified-developer

Magento offers not only certification, but also training on various topics. Here’s the schedule of the upcoming training sessions:

http://magento.com/training/overview

Don’t forget to drop in and have a look at Merchant and Technical Track bundle delivered on demand:

http://www.magentocommerce.com/training/on-demand

You can search the web for developers’ impressions about Magento certification and how to get prepared to it. For example, here’s an interview on Magento certification completion by two Amasty developers:

https://blog.amasty.com/another-2-amasty-developers-have-passed-magento-certification-interview/

And here are impressions of one of Pixafy employees about Magento Developer Plus certification:

http://www.pixafy.com/blog/2012/11/becoming-a-certified-magento-developer-plus/

Here’s a nice collection of Q&A – make use of it while preparing for the exam:

http://quizlet.com/20443995/magento-certification-preparation-study-guide-answers-flash-cards/

And some revision notes for the Magento Developer Certification exam:
http://magecert.com/

Books

Learning without books? Nah. Learning Magento without books? Double nah. Here’s a collection of recommended books to start with Magento. As you read them, you may want to search for more!

Books to learn Magento development

Tutorials/articles/blogs

Feel free to check the following list of Magento experts on Twitter if you want to keep pace with the industry. Top Magento experts to keep an eye on

Recommended blogs and tutorials about Magento

Discussion

Magento forum is temporarily closed, but you still can read it and use the enormous amount of information on various languages still available there.

http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards

Magento StackExchange is a main place of community members to share ideas and communicate with each other while the Magento forum is off.

http://magento.stackexchange.com/

MageUnity is a relatively new community where you can find various Magento related topics, not only technical, BTW.

https://mageunity.com/

Magento Expert forum is another crowded platform for exchanging skills and experience.

http://magentoexpertforum.com/

Magento topic on Quora is also a more versatile discussion board, covering e-commerce issues as well.

http://www.quora.com/Magento

Are you a member of other Magento online communities? Share them in comments.

Online training

It’s important to know that online automated courses can provide you with steady basic knowledge, but you’ll need much more afterwards. Nevertheless, these links will be helpful if you’re starting from scratch:

codecademy

http://www.codecademy.com provides basic courses on PHP, HTML and CSS, and Javascript for free.

lynda-com

http://www.lynda.com/ is offering courses on PHP and stuff, and there are not only beginner, but also intermediate options.

udemy

https://www.udemy.com/courses/Development/ has a number of courses on technologies used in Magento, and you can choose any according to your budget.

Events

We’ve said this before and won’t be tired of repeating over and over again: Magento community is unique in its own way, and there are many events that prove this statement; you can simply attend one and see it with your own eyes. Meeting your colleagues, listening to technical speeches, participating in hackathons is a great way to learn Magento and make sure the knowledge you’ve got can be applied on real projects.

Magento Imagine is, probably, the biggest and luxury Magento and e-commerce event with top-notch speakers.

Meet Magento (BTW, we organized it in Belarus in 2014) is a series of events in various countries. Check the list – maybe there’ll be a conference in your country?

MageUC is the first Magento unconference taking place in 2015. Just in case you don’t like the usual conference concept.

MagentoLive is hosted by the Magento team, so it speaks for itself. A great event worth visiting if you have any connections with Magento.

Check the list of Magento meetups – maybe there’s a group in your country as well? You could meet other developers then.

And finally here you can find the list of upcoming events connected with Magento and e-commerce (the list is updated regularly).

FAQ about Magento

Here are the simpliest questions often asked by those who wonder if they should start to learn Magento.

  1. How to start with Magento? See answer
  2. Which programming languages are used in Magento? See answer
  3. What are Magento configuration and architecture? See answer
  4. How many days does it take to learn Magento development? See answer
  5. Is Magento easy to develop for? See answer
  6. Who are the most influential bloggers on Magento? See answer
  7. Is Magento development too difficult for a junior developer? See answer
  8. How to install or upgrade Magento? See answer
  9. What are the best practices for Magento developers? See answer
  10. What are main disadvantages of Magento for developers? See answer

Do you have any questions or want to add something from your experience? Welcome to the comments section.