How I became a Shopify Developer: Anthony Farrugia
Welcome Anthony! First question: How did you get into coding?
Initially, I learned to code only to become a better designer.
Earlier in my career, I was really into web design and UX/UI. And then I remember going into a hole, reading and self-teaching myself off videos that a certain Mike Locke was putting out. He had a great youtube channel focused on design, but he instilled this idea in me that knowing the basics of HTML and CSS can be a huge asset as a designer.
When I started learning those skills, I designed websites differently. I’d only design what I knew could be completely executable by a developer on the other end. And that’s how I fell in love with coding. I ramped up very very quickly and became good at it.
And so how did you eventually become a working developer?
I was always into computers of some sort. I loved flash when I was younger. I used to do fun stick man animations if you recall those. And when I went to University, I was taught how to properly learn Flash. Unfortunately - that technology was basically redundant by the time I left.
Nevertheless, I found a job at a Candle company, making website updates and maintenance on their design / packaging. That’s how I got into it all. That was only part-time though, so I still went looking for full-time roles, and eventually stumbled upon a crazy tech company that promised the world and it would be the next Google. They did everything from real estate to online dating, to building a competitor to Shopify - all at once. I didn’t think too much of it and joined.
Over time, I became friendly with the team and they started giving me more and more dev based requests. I was an asset to them because in the midst of chaos, I was able to give experience-led coding feedback. I didn’t just sit down and code anything - I challenged the team on what we were building.
Eventually - that all fizzled out, and 3 team members decided to team up with me to start the 60-person company we run now, which is exclusively focused on serving the dev needs of car dealerships in Australia.
Congrats :) And when did you start to get into the Shopify world?
I was looking for extra responsibilities outside that normal 9-5 job, and I’d receive the odd freelance request here and there. Most of these were Shopify based & I enjoyed those projects.
Eventually - I went looking for a platform where I could pick freelance opportunities I wished to work on. And somehow, I stumbled upon Storetasker and that’s when things really started to pick up.
What do you most like about Storetasker?
I like the simplicity of it all.
I remember telling my partner about it like: “I just go on Storetasker, identify the leads that are interesting to me & work on them directly”.
She called “BS”. Much like I did, she couldn’t believe how simple this all was. But of course, in reality - it literally is that simple.
Let’s quickly touch on the hiring piece of your full-time role: How do you identify a good vs. bad candidate?
A lot of it comes down to personality, culture fit and willingness to learn. We’re looking for team players. We try to get a feel for that as much as possible during the interview, and then that gets followed up with a standard technical test.
Last question: What advice would you give to a younger developer?
The internet is the best tool. I didn’t learn much in school - there wasn’t much real experience gained. So instead, I spent a lot of my time picking cheap requests on ‘99 designs’. I don’t agree with 99 designs strategy as I feel it cheapens our trade but I do like that clients would brief their jobs through. I would just use these as ways to build up my portfolio and treat them like a real client.
Too many times, I interview candidates with 5+ years of experience - but no portfolio to show for it. You want to stand out when applying for jobs, especially if you are going up against 50+ applicants. I got to a point where if somes resume had no portfolio, I would just delete it.
So go on the internet; get inspiration and build up a good portfolio. That’s my advice.
Anthony - Thank you! Thankful to have you on the network.