January 12, 2017
2016 was the inaugural year of our new top contributor program: Magento Masters. Many have asked what it takes to be a Magento Master, so we figured it would be great to spotlight our 2016 Magento Masters and let you get to know them and why they decided to get involved and contribute within the Magento Community.
Let's get to know Miguel Balparda, Community Developer at Nexcess:
My name is Miguel Balparda and I’m a full time traveler. Every time I say that, everybody laughs, so I’m not sure what to say. I work for Nexcess as a Senior Developer. I live with my girlfriend in Argentina but I travel most of the time.
How and when did you first get involved with Magento?
I started working with Magento five years ago with my company in my hometown. I used to do support for extensions and I actually liked that at first. I thought Magento was a really complex system, but then again, here we are now and I think it has grown a lot, and we’re really happy.
What made you decide to contribute to the Magento Community?
It took me awhile to contribute back to the community because I didn’t understand StackExchange or the other forums at first. After a couple years of only consuming the site, I actually tried to start contributing and then, well, it has been an amazing experience. I get to learn a lot from other developers and I get to see where the platform is right now only by looking at where other developers are struggling.
How has the Magento Community impacted you?
The Magento community helped me a lot when I started and it’s still helping me today. Everything I learned, I learned it from the forums. It’s that simple. I like the certifications and the Magento U courses, but, to be honest, most of the things I know, I learned it from the Internet.
What might the Magento community not know about you?
One thing most other people don’t know is that I love sports. I’m not only watching them, but actually doing sports. I have played rugby, tennis, handball, soccer—with different levels of intensity. I try to train a couple of times a week at least, because it’s really important to do some heavy lifting—or probably running—because I’m, I don’t know, probably 10 hours a day on the computer? You need to be really healthy to support that kind of time.
What is one piece of advice you would give other developers?
My advice to other developers is very simple. If you can, travel around the globe or go to another city. And then? Try to work remotely. There hasn’t been so many liberties in a long time for developers, and I think it’s time to take them and try to be working anywhere—not inside an office or near the other people—but anywhere. It’s really easy to do, and I really enjoy that because you get to meet new cultures (you can even go to the supermarket and see what’s in there). If you can do that, just give it a try. It’s not for everybody, but, trust me, it’s going to be really good. If you have any questions, you can find me anywhere. So, just give it a try.
What is your most memorable career experience?
I think being an active contributor in the Magento StackExchange helps me a lot in my professional career. I learn new things everyday. I can actually understand how the platform is going, where are the other devs, what are the most common issues, and stuff like that. If you have a chance, try to contribute to your favorite open source project or go to the new community forums at community.magento.com or Magento StackExchange. It’s up to you, but then again you should really try to contribute back and see if you can help others because others will help you if you need it.
What is your favorite Magento event to attend or organize?
The event I enjoyed the most was definitely Meet Magento Vietnam last year. It was the first time I traveled for my current company and I didn’t know anyone there. I went to Vietnam, I met my bosses, I met some of my coworkers, and it was really fun. I was really scared because it was my first time doing that, well, not the first, but probably the second, but it was just really, really good. I actually enjoyed the traveling. I actually enjoyed the new culture.
If you could ask anyone at Magento a question, who would it be? What would you ask?
If I can ask a question to anyone at Magento, I would ask Ben Marks if I can have his job when he’s tired. But then again, I’m not really sure if you can be tired of traveling and getting to know people in other places, so, we’ll see.
Community Developer, Nexcess
Miguel is a Magento Certified Solution Specialist, full-time traveler, and sysadmin in his free time. For the last four years, he worked around the globe as a senior developer for some of the biggest Magento projects in more than 25 countries. Since joining Nexcess, Miguel helps maintain Turpentine, an open source project and one of the most popular Varnish extensions for Magento. When he’s not working, he loves to train and BBQ.