Development Team Q&A

Meet Daniel Woolfson, Head of Development, and Rafal Chmiel, our Development Intern, who talk about their experience at Magium.

A brief introduction…

I like to build teams and help them create something meaningful.  I have always enjoyed learning and have gravitated towards leadership roles in software and technology.  My job title is Head of Development & Test at Magium Commerce and within this I ensure that all the Magento Developers can do what they enjoy the most i.e. code.

My name is Rafal and I am a Computer Science student from York St John University. I have completed a summer internship at the PureNet Group as a Trainee PHP Developer focusing on WordPress. Currently, I am undertaking a sandwich year placement at Magium Commerce as part of my course.

Why coding / development?

Daniel

“Coding is, at its core, a creative activity. This is what I like about software development – in that you can let others define the story – but you can decide how the chapters are written. I always wonder how things work.”

Rafal

“My interest in programming started when my father enrolled me in a two-year Microsoft .NET home learning course at the beginning of high school. Since then, I ran and contributed to many open source projects focusing mainly on APIs. I gained work experience via internships, online courses, and freelance web development. Coding has been something I excelled at and enjoyed since a very young age.”

What do you do when you don’t work with code?

Daniel

“Badminton. Badminton. More Badminton. I also try to attend as many tech meetups in York as possible.”

Rafal

“My passions lie in audio, mechanical wristwatches, and a little bit in art and fashion. Both my parents came from musically artistic backgrounds and I attended a music school in Poland and played percussion. I often go to concerts with my dad. From a technical perspective, I’m very much into hi-fi equipment and horology. My most prized possessions are my Japanese electrostatic headphones and my Swiss watch. If I weren’t into computers I would probably be a sound engineer or watchmaker.”

What do you like most about your role at Magium?

Daniel

“You can suggest change, you see change, you can be part of it.”

Rafal

“As a trainee, I like that I can improve my technical skills as I work. No two projects are the same, which means the approach will be different. Solving real-world problems and coming up with solutions that people will actually use is in my opinion the best way to learn.”

How has your skillset improved since joining Magium?

Daniel

“I have improved my knowledge of defining and managing backlogs at a large scale whilst making sure the voice of the client is still heard clearly.”

Rafal

“When I first joined Magium, my PHP/WordPress skills were good. After a few months here, I now know the ins and outs of WordPress and my PHP skills have significantly improved — not to mention my team working and time management skills. Working on real-world projects has accelerated my learning of these technologies and abilities. Having built upon my PHP practice, I am now able to work on Magento projects as part of my sandwich year placement.”

Tell me something you’ve learned since you joined Magium.

Daniel

“Before I joined Magium Commerce and PureNet, I merely used to go online and buy something online. Now, when I need to buy anything for myself, I cannot help but notice the user journey, cross sells, up sells, mini baskets, personalisation and one-page checkouts. There is so much to learn about eCommerce!”

Rafal

“I have learned a lot about how software is developed in a real-world environment. I observed how projects are managed and learned how to use time management tools to aid my development process. I studied the theory of these skills in university, but now I got to experience them and actually use them first hand.”

What are your career aspirations?

Daniel

“I would like to continue in working with medium to large scale teams helping them to overcome uncertainty. I do have an interest in giving back to the technical community as much as they have provided for me over the last 20 years. Being involved in running local events for others to learn and for me to learn from them is a good direction at present.”

Rafal

“I’m looking forward to acquiring enough work experience and skill to become a senior developer. From there I might think about a managerial position or running my own business.”

Who’s your role model and why?

Daniel

“Judy Murray. She became a very good junior tennis player, and afterwards, an accomplished tennis coach. She then trained and supported a future world number one. I want to do that for Software Developers.”

Rafal

“I don’t have one specific role model. I look up to people who excel in their field, people who are perfectionists and people who devote their entire lives to their craft — be it musicians, artists, or engineers.”

What’s your proudest achievement?

Daniel

“Becoming Chair of my Badminton Club at the age of 23. Then learning how to do it.”

Rafal

“My proudest achievements are my first and second year first-class results. From before university, I am very proud of my open source contributions to projects like the GitHub API wrapper and Ruby standard library.”

What motivates you?

Daniel

“Seeing more happen than I could do on my own.”

Rafal

“Knowing that hard work and constant development in my academic and professional life will lead me to having a successful career, which in turn will allow me to enjoy my passions and hobbies.”

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