I am Sander Mangel, 35 years living in Italy at the moment. I grew up in the Netherlands, in a small village before moving to the big city for university. Originally studied to go into film, ended up being a developer.
The Journey Began
How Magento Came Into My Life
After that first job, I moved on to another agency who was looking for a developer to build out their Magento team. That was my first experience with Magento 1. Wasn’t an easy start but after more than 4 years there I gained a lot of knowledge. The hardest part was the lack of documentation and active community. It required digging into Magento code, trying to understand how it worked.
My Valuable Advice
For retailers Magento is a great platform to work with. Having said that, it’s not for everyone. Retailers should be aware of high investment cost and Total Cost of Ownership.
For smaller and mid SMB Magento is often too complex and underutilized in terms of functionality. Think about the requirements and use cases, and look around for various solutions, not just Magento, in order to make a well balanced decision. Or hire an Ecommerce Consultant of course!
For developers, Magento is a big beast, while it’s good to have a basic grasp of both frontend, as well as backend and DevOps, it makes sense to specialize in specific parts of the system.
Best is to find a good agency with strong senior developers that can give you solid training.
Importance of Magento Certifications
Certification is mostly important for your CV, companies are always happy to see a certified developer. For the community itself, I don’t think it’s too important.
To get prepared, the training guide by SwiftOtter is the best, it gives you a lot of valuable information and I highly recommend it!
Magento & Beyond
The ecommerce landscape has changed. Where Magento used to be absolutely dominant we now see many more interesting platforms. And I think we should take a cue from that as developers. Adobe is moving Magento more and more up-market which means Magento is more suited for big, international projects for large retailers, but for smaller companies in the SMB space, it’s probably not the best suited solution. Personally I like to broaden my horizon and look at other solutions such as Shopware as well so I can advise my clients the solution that fits them best.
Sometimes that is Magento, and sometimes not. And I think this will be the reality even more in 5 years while ecommerce projects only become more complex.
My Love for the Magento Community
As COVID has changed the events over the last years I can’t wait to get back out again and meet people in-person. Digital events are just not the same!
And I hope to see the community coming out as well! Over the years I have met so many fantastic people. From Fabian Blechschmidth who introduced me to the community to David Manners, Anna Völkl and Marius Strajeru who I still talk to daily, I’m grateful for the friends Magento has brought me.
What makes a great community is first and foremost a willingness of community members to share and help each other. Not for internet points or fame, just because we want to help others succeed. And I hope we keep that spirit!
How I Keep Myself Updated
It’s mostly Twitter I follow for inspiration. That’s all you need to keep updated!
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
Outside of work I love to spend time in nature. Whether it is attending the veggie plants in the small garden, or hiking in the hills, I love the green! It helps me relax and keep healthy, especially since I spend most of the time sitting throughout the day.
For me, my favorite travel destination is the next new hiking trail I get to walk! And that’s how I reward myself. After a long day of work nothing better than to do an amazing walk!