Software Engineer Abdul Aahad Ahmed Advocates the Open Source Magento Commerce Ecosystem

by Fayyaz Khattak  August 12, 2016

Abdul Aahad Ahmed is working as the MTS-1 Software Engineer at Magento Commerce. He has 11+ years of experience in Web and Desktop Application Development which includes Software Design, Development, and Deployment phase. He also focuses on learning more about Software Development Analysis, Implementation, Team Management & Project Management Services.

 Abdul Aahad Ahmed

Abdul Aahad moved to the USA in November 2014 where he got a great opportunity from Magento Commerce, which is actually like a dream come true for him. He is the first person from Pakistan who got Certified in Magento, back in 2012. Also, Abdul Aahad is the first from Pakistan to join Magento Commerce as well. Without further ado, let’s read the amazing interview.

Cloudways: Abdul Aahad, you are working as the MTS-1 Software Engineer at Magento Commerce. You have 11+ years of experience with several Web and Desktop Applications which includes their Design, Development, and Deployment. You’re also focused on learning more about Software Development Analysis, Design, Implementation, Team Management & Project Management Services. Tell our readers more about your career history.

Abdul Aahad: I started as a designer from one of the small software houses in Karachi, Pakistan named “AppSys”. Although I was good at programming, I tried to prove myself as a designer, which didn’t work for long and I ended up with coding. I worked as a developer from then on and enjoyed programming which turned into a career as a Software Engineer.

I never kept myself away from coding throughout my career, and for the entire 10+ years, I always tried to keep myself engaged in something related to programming. I started Biztek Professional back in 2008 with my friends, and we took Biztek from scratch to being called a great IT Company dealing in ecommerce technology, specifically in Magento. I don’t take all the credit of establishing Biztek as a great organization, but it was a joint/team effort. Initially, we were just 4 guys working on open source e-commerce, CMS, CRM and custom applications developed on LAMP stack and I was leading all these projects from client communication to project delivery. I started working on Magento on most of the projects, leading their technical discussions, project plan, development, and deployment. During all of my work, I learned about different technologies, their architectural implementation, their security implementations and how data is organized in an optimal way in the database.

One of the best open source platforms I used and learned is Magento/Zend framework. It provides great details on object-oriented programming in PHP and modern implementation of design patterns, implementation of a relational database using entity attribute value (EAV), which gives a great way of object-relational mapping. Moreover, I got extensive knowledge on Linux environment as a system administrator.

I moved to the USA in November 2014, and I started my career as a Technical Architect with Plumtree Group Inc. where I worked for almost 1 year when I got a great opportunity from Magento Inc., which is actually like a dream come true. I was the first person from Pakistan in 2012 who got Certification in Magento, and I’m the first from Pakistan to join Magento Inc. as well.

I believe in the open source world of ecommerce, which means Magento!!! There is no replacement or alternative ecommerce solution available with robust features and great community support.

Cloudways: You are the technically strong person with complete hands-on understanding of open source PHP based applications. Also, you are a Magento Certified Developer. What challenges did you face initially and how did to tackle them? How did you manage your personal and professional life?

Abdul Aahad: Before getting married, I don’t think I had a personal life because programming became my passion, and I was enjoying my work. After I had got married, I realized that I needed to strike a balance between personal and professional life.

I worked so much on Magento backend development (module/extension), customization, explored Magento deeply and also worked on Zend Framework which gave me enough knowledge to follow the Magento developers guide to understanding the Magento core and prepare myself for Magento certification. My advice here for those who are applying for certification is that they must go through the developer’s guide and implement all sample tests.

Cloudways: As the Software Engineer at Magento Commerce, tell our readers about your workflow. What are the most important points which you mainly focus on? Are you working on Magento 1 or is your mind totally diverted to Magento 2?

Abdul Aahad: Magento is great! It’s a great organization, and I love working here! I believe there is lots of stuff I still need to learn and adopt. Magento has all the required workflows, development and collaboration tools which help me organize my work and set priorities accordingly. I believe, based on these types of best practices, I am always able to focus on the tasks I am assigned. Right now, I am working on both Magento 1.x, 2.x and also working on Magento testing framework, which is actually great added value for development.

There is a variety of work at Magento — both at the product level and project level — and more importantly, the team I am working with, Expert Consulting Group, is exceptionally fantastic and helpful.

Cloudways: If Magento was not developed, which platform would you have recommended for E-commerce? How would you describe your relationship with Magento as the platform?

Abdul Aahad: If you are talking about open source specific platforms, then I think there are a couple of options like SaaS-based ecommerce cart and other open source ecommerce platforms e.g. Shopify, Opencart, Woocommerce (WordPress), Vmart (Joomla), Prestashop.

As I specialized in Magento, I think Magento is the most powerful and robust ecommerce platform. You can also leverage its free community version as a platform for open source development and use Magento marketplace for module/extension developed on community edition.

Cloudways: Let’s talk about Magento events like Meet Magento, Imagine Commerce, etc. In your opinion, how much importance do they have in the Magento Community? How do you support the Magento Community and where can we find you in future events?

Abdul Aahad: I think it’s a great question. These type of events really bring the community together. By sharing the success stories, new ideas, technology, growth, issues/concerns about the product and future plans really brings great strength in this ecosystem.

Cloudways: Previously, you have been involved in different startups and large organizations. What do you think, what are the biggest challenges currently facing startups, especially those which are running their e-commerce business on Magento?

Abdul Aahad: I believe the most important thing for any organization regardless of whether it is small or large, is to have solid processes in place in terms of Business Management, Project Management, Client Management, Team Management, Development Standards, Design Expertise, Support Management Process, Quality Assurance Processes, Deployment strategies, and knowledge of tools for management and collaboration and the best level of communication.

Development/Engineering resources (with the relevant degree in computer science), and a company culture where each individual abides by all the required processes in their daily jobs.

Cloudways: Do you think Magento 2 will get control of the E-commerce market in the future? Magento 2 is facing big challenges in the growing E-commerce industry. In your opinion, what functionality improvements are more competitive today, catchy frontend features for customers or backend refinements for admins?

Abdul Aahad: Well there were some big challenges, but Magento worked exceptionally well to handle the migration process from magento 1.x to 2.x. Migration to magento 2 involves four components: data, extensions, themes, and customizations. There are steps/guides available on successful migration e.g. Migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

There are lots of features in Magento 2:

  1. Clean file structure. Now every module has its own view directory which has its template/layout/css/js files and folders.
  2. New layout elements and nodes (one big config.xml is also divided into sub .xml).
  3. Magento 2 doesn’t use bootstrap and uses LESS and CSS in theme, which actually enhances performance.
  4. Improved performance and scalability.

Cloudways: What main differences have you personally observed between Magento 1 and Magento 2? If I say “5 things of Magento 2 you are most excited about” what would be your answer?

Abdul Aahad: 5 things about Magento 2 are:

  1. Simplified file structure.
  2. Performance and scalability.
  3. Layout breakdown from one big configuration .xml to multiple configuration .xml files.
  4. Magento UI Library / CSS Pre-processor.
  5. Automated Testing Framework.

Cloudways: How do you spend your free time? Share your leisure activities and hobbies with our readers. Do you like sports and entertainment? What about hangouts with family and friends? Do you like traveling to new places?

Abdul Aahad: Right now, I don’t have much except trying to work on one product (which I can’t disclose), and I’m also working hard on some other opportunities. No major sports/entertainment for me, until I reach my goals/target, INSHAALLAH.

Cloudways: Everyone has some inspiration for their success in personal and professional life. Name some influential people, who inspired you the most.

Abdul Aahad: Well, there are lots of great/successful people, but I do pick something from them. Some motivational factors influenced me, but as I am a self-made person, I keep doing my hard and smart work and whatever position I am at, it’s all because my strong belief on ALLAH. I never lost hope, and I kept trying my best. Next are my parents – without them I am nothing – I took some of the inspiration from my father. He always says:

“Always keep your prayers and don’t feel you are defeated by someone or something. Keep trying and never give up. At some point, you will get success.”

And my mother always says:

“Be patient with yourself and be wary of others.”

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About Fayyaz Khattak

Fayyaz is a Magento Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed Magento Hosting Platform. His objective is to learn & share about PHP & Magento Development in Community. Fayyaz is a food lover and enjoys driving. You can email him at m.fayyaz@cloudways.com

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  • Muhammad Fawad Rafi

    I think Faisal Khalil was the first Magento Certified from PAKISTAN, as his name was also mentioned at that time on Magento Commerce site, after that Abdul Ahad got certified.