Stefan Mischook has been writing code for almost three decades now, and through the course of his career, has worked on some incredible projects. We got a chance to chat with him about his professional journey, his YouTube channel, his books on web design, and more.
Shahzeb: Stefan Mischook, it’s lovely to have you for this interview. Could you please tell our readers about yourself?
Stefan: I started writing code in 1994 for my non-tech-related business. When I sold my position there I started freelancing as a web designer/developer and eventually started building my own SAAS products. Currently, I run StudioWeb.com which provides a platform used by schools to teach code and other subjects.
Shahzeb: So when and why did you start your career with teaching code? Any interesting stories you can share about your journey?
Stefan: I created my first video-based course in about 2002-2003 named Web Design 1. Yes, an original title. It got a great response, so I started building other courses. It came naturally to me, probably because I come from a family of teachers.
I’ve been teaching and mentoring people since that time, and I hear back from old students all the time – it’s a great feeling!
My students have gone on to have great careers as developers, some have worked at FAANGS, some have started successful businesses, and one of my students is a co-founder of a company that is now worth nearly $500 million!
Shahzeb: You have great projects such as killersites.com, killerphp.com, and csstutorial.net to your credit. Which one is your favorite? How much time does it normally take to create a similar project?
Stefan: No favorite. I wrote a lot, and so I figure I’d create websites for my writing. I couldn’t say how long it takes to build a site with good traffic. It all comes down to the content now. In the past, it was more work to set them up, but with the sophistication, we see today in CMS’ and hosting, it is far less of a technical issue, as it is a content + elbow grease issue.
Shahzeb: Stefan, you also wrote Web Design – Start Here: A No-Nonsense, Jargon Free Guide to the Fundamentals of Web Design. Could you tell us a bit about this book? Who should read this book and how does it help developers improve their work?
Stefan: This book was designed for total beginners. It not only teaches your HTML5 and CSS3, but it teaches key concepts that every web designer and developer must understand. With the solid foundation the book provides, people find it much easier to jump deeper into the coding game.
I also wrote the book to be evergreen: nothing in there is outdated because the foundational principles of coding and the Web do not change anymore.
Shahzeb: Stefan Mishook Youtube Channel has a significant share. What makes it unique and what makes it different from other similar channels?
Stefan: Hmmm! I got a great video bokeh! That’s the blurry background. Seriously, I guess it is my experience. Most YouTubers are relatively young and not experienced in the industry. I believe my experience (from 1994) as a developer and entrepreneur, is obvious to people.
My goal is to teach people how the coding game really is, to expose students to key concepts, to help them to think like an advanced developer, and to dispel the myths about development that you find perpetuated on the Web.
Shahzeb: How do you think your background in Psychology helps you be a better developer and teacher?
Stefan: I know how the mind works. I know how memory is engaged, and what causes the brain to retain information. I am not a psychologist, but it was my major in university.
Shahzeb: What motivated you to help teachers teach vocational code? Who were your mentors and inspirations in this journey?
Stefan: My father was a vocational teacher. I personally learned a trade (photolithography) before going to university. Vocational skills are invaluable. Coding might be the most valuable vocational skill .. and you don’t need to go to college to make a big salary as a developer.
After I left my first business. My coding skills became a godsend. No doubt, if you can code, you have a superpower!
Shahzeb: What were the most memorable projects you’ve worked on?
Stefan: Studio.Web Why? Because I learned how the schools worked. In terms of the most memorable, it is either my dating website or my work building e-learning software for big pharma (Aventis, Merck) back in the day.
Shahzeb: Which type of web hosting would you prefer for your clients? In your opinion, what are the benefits of hosting a site on a managed solution rather than a conventional shared hosting?
Stefan: You choose the hosting option based on the needs of the project. When you are starting out, I say (most of the time) go with conventional, and then scale up as the project demands. It’s important to have a hosting company that will make the process easy. They are your partners in that regard.
Shahzeb: What do you think about managed hosting solutions like Cloudways, that provide an optimized best hosting for PHP stack with features to deploy their web apps?
Stefan: Managed hosting is the future. Developers shouldn’t have to be server admins. They should concentrate on their apps, not on configuring and updating servers. I am 110% all about Cloudways hosting strategies. Build your apps, stop tinkering with servers.
Shahzeb: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
Stefan: Part of my work is my hobby now; I enjoy creating videos, doing live streams. I am still very curious about tech trends, so talking about what’s going on is fun for me. I still like learning new things. I am an autodidact – it is just fun for me.
I also like searching around YouTube – much better than any other streaming service, since you have all these independent content creators.
When I was a little younger, I loved to get into the ring, but getting punched in the face isn’t a good look for a tech vlogger! 🙂
Shahzeb: Whom should we interview next and why?
Stefan: Elon Musk, because he is an interesting guy. 😀
Shahzeb: Could you share some snapshots of your office space or your current workstation in the COVID-19 pandemic situation for our readers?
Shahzeb: Thank you once again, Stefan.
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Shahzeb is a Digital Marketer with a Software Engineering background, works as a Community Manager — PHP Community at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious and aims to learn & share information about PHP & Laravel Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at [email protected]