Magento U in Amsterdam!

We asked Vinai Kopp, one of our expert Magento U course instructors, to share his experiences teaching the five-day Fundamentals of Magento Development Fundamentals of Magento Development course in Amsterdam. Here’s his story:

I had the opportunity to teach Magento U’s Fundamentals of Magento Development in Amsterdam. The course started on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m., with everybody a bit excited and uncertain about what to expect over the next five days. After a round of introductions it became apparent that the developers with whom we were to spend our week were a really nice group.

We started the class by covering some basic ground to make sure we were all on the same page. Then we dove right into learning about the Magento configuration sub-system, how it’s built, and how developers should use it for maximum effect.

From there, we started learning about Magento developer tools, Factory Methods, and Class Rewrites and Event Observers. We covered not just how to use them, but how each works. This included reviewing core code—something every Magento developer should be comfortable doing. Each theoretical lesson was followed by practical exercises to integrate what we had learned so that it would become part of our regular skill set. The students asked a lot of excellent questions, and spirits where high.

We spent the second day covering the main steps of the Magento request flow, which included creating and rewriting Action Controllers. During one of the breaks a student started implementing a custom router, which was a topic we had just covered in class. It was personally gratifying to me to see a student apply what he had just learned in class to a real-world task. It showed that the material we were covering was valuable, and that the time students were investing in learning the material was well spent.

On Day Three, we focused on the design sub-system, covering Design Fall-Back, best practices for implementing themes, and modifying XML layouts. The practical exercises soon had everybody feeling at home with these elements of Magento. Then we started learning about the Magento ORM and working with the database, which took us into Day Four.

We covered the basics of ORM, including setup resources, classes, and scripts, and then Magento EAV models. Besides covering EAV theory, we focused on real-world concerns, such as what it’s good at, where to watch out, and how to use it in daily situations. Attribute backend, source, and front-end models were covered at depth.

We spent the final day of the course working with the Magento admin panel, starting with the ACL, system configuration, grid and form widgets, and finally, third-party extensions.

A question that was asked several times was whether completing the Fundamentals of Magento Development course gave you enough knowledge and experience to pass the Magento Certified Developer exam. My opinion is that the course can give you valuable training to become a better Magento developer, which in turn can help you get the experience you need to earn your certification.

The best thing to do after the 5 days is to practice and gain more experience, though that part will be much easier and quicker than without the training. A thing I say in almost every training is:  “The first three times you do something are the hardest, but you get to do the first one or two times during the training where you can get help if you need it.”

After many years of web-development, Vinai Kopp started developing Magento modules as part of the community since March 2008. He joined Magento Inc. in October 2011 as a manager of developer education. He also serves as a Magento certification board member and is a known speaker as a technical subject matter expert on Magento. Vinai has co-authored of the German Magento Developer Handbook published by O’reilly. He enjoys getting to know developers and projects. In his spare time he likes travelling, spending time with his wife and his two children, and running.

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