Oggie Astardzhiev, Upskill SFCC: The program WILL boost your career
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Oggie Astardzhiev, Upskill Salesforce Commerce Cloud: The program WILL boost your career

Upskill
01/09/2021
"Do this. Do this with us. We need your energy, and we have the competence to drive your career to the moon (and beyond). Our industry is moving at an unseen speed, the skills you'll get are transferable, there is nothing to be worried about ".

This is the advice that Oggie Astardzhiev, the lead trainer of the first free Telerik Academy Upskill program for Salesforce Commerce Cloud

"If this does not turn out to be your passion – it will at least not be a stale moment in your professional journey,"
he adds with a smile.

photo of oggie astardzhiev, lead trainer telerik academy upskill salesforce commerce cloud

And we agree with him – for two main reasons. 

Firstly, Oggie has 13+ years of hands-on experience with Salesforce Commerce Cloud from the yearly Demandware days. He has been acting in Operations, Incident Management, and Platform Optimization roles and has tight connections with the SFCC Support and Administration functions.

So yes, he knows his way around one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world today. A platform that is on the rise, especially with the exponential growth of online retail since the pandemic.

"The SFCC platform is slowly but surely becoming an undisputed leader in its segment and overall e-commerce," explained Oggie, adding that with SFCC: "the client's imagination is the only limit."

Secondly, the free Upskill SFCC program is powered by the leading e-commerce companies in Bulgaria - Isobar/Merkle, AIOPSGROUP, Tryzens, Forkpoint, C4 Nexus, and ZaUtre. They all feel the need for well-prepared SFCC developers, and they are eager to meet and hire you.

As Slavy Slavov, VP Delivery of AIOSGROUP, said during our career webinar:

"The demand for SFCC developers is insane! If we could find and hire 50 SFCC devs, we would do it right away. It's the same for all other SFCC companies because of the growth of the eCommerce sector, accelerated by the pandemic. And this is a trend that won't change any time soon."

By this point, one thing is clear - there is an immense demand for SFCC developers. And together with leading SFCC companies (our partners), we will help you to become one.

But maybe you have so many questions about the technology, what makes it so popular, the program, and why this is an excellent career step for every front-end, web developer, or even student with OOP experience. 

Don't worry - we talked about all of this (and a little more) with Oggie - your future trainer and mentor.

Oggie, we all know you as the lead trainer of Upskill Salesforce Commerce Cloud and as a Director of Operations at Isobar, but can you share something more about you?

I'm 36 years old, have a wonderful family and two exceptional children, and I have been working IT-related jobs for the last 17 years. 

I had the chance to start working with (what is now) Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) in a Start-up environment relatively early in the platform's life. I've considered myself quite fond of the Internet and related technologies for my entire adult life. It's always been crucial for me to try and understand the principles of how something works, at least to the extent not to consider it "black magic". 

Besides the work-related stuff, I'm one of the biggest Lego fans you've met!

Can you give us some background into what you were doing before you became an SFCC expert? How did you decide to work with the platform?

As with many things in life, starting work with Demandware/Salesforce Commerce Cloud B2C was a bit of a lucky coincidence.

I've had an exciting job in the Online Marketing/Survey creation field, and I was slowly becoming an expert in a very specialized technology stack. A good friend suggested I try for a job package that my at-the-time self was only dreaming for. I nailed the interview and got the job. I came into this with a fresh mind, (only) theoretical programming knowledge, a lot of desire to prove myself, and some attention to details I didn't know I had at the time.

The rest is history.

What does it mean to be an SFCC developer?

As a start, it's a job like any else in IT – you receive a brief (story, task, call it whatever), you work on it, you use the platform capabilities to your advantage, try not to reinvent the wheel, try for a well-structured, secure, and fast code. Truly transferable skills on the market!

The job itself is rewarding and sometimes - challenging. One great benefit is to see what you have done and how it performs in a live environment. I do not remember a cancelled project – all end up live soon after you've worked on it. And this may be super satisfying.

photo of oggie astardzhiev, lead trainer telerik academy upskill salesforce commerce cloud

 

What technical abilities the SFCC developer must have?

Well, coding skills! The language you'd work with is JavaScript, and you must understand the development concepts of OOP and MVC. The platform's proprietary pseudo-HTML language and APIs are yet another "read, use and learn" thing that will not scare anyone. 
In a normal situation, you'd often work on the full stack implementations from the backend data processing and storing to the beautiful presentation of this data in the browser. Or you'll specialize in the platform integration with the hundreds of supplementing third-party services through the Rest APIs.

I'm a front-end developer - why should I choose SFCC as my next career step?

The jump into the SFCC programming patterns is going to be easy. 

Look at an SFCC career from the egoistical perspective – there are many front-end developers you are competing against on the market. Working and having practical experience in a large ecosystem provider as Salesforce stands very well in a CV. Add on top of this the fact that SFCC is an e-commerce enabling platform, in a period of human history where people stay at home and spend money on e-commerce. There's hardly any better and a future-proof field full of opportunities.

Oh, and you'll have the ability to work for international brands that you may identify with - this should check most boxes on the "is it worth it" sheet.

What do you see for the future of SFCC?

The platform is becoming an undisputed leader in its segment and overall e-commerce. The platform is fast to adopt future-proof capabilities as headless implementation where you are not bound to the single storefront provider. You can combine internal and external solutions into an immersive customer experience. 

It also has the most robust merchandising engine on the market by a mile. It allows for light touch retail management or extreme customizations with pretty much the same ease. The client's imagination is the only limit. 

And the platform prevents you from tripping and falling into the depths of self-hosting nightmares and database deadlocks. Now, you move over the initial, "but this is so limiting, I need the control" and reach "this is liberating, I can do whatever I want" you can build the world on top of the SFCC solution.

How does SFCC impact the overall e-commerce business?

SFCC has a particular sweet spot in online retail. They are the best solutions for brands and companies that operate on international scales. It's one of the platforms that enable pretty much-unified experience regardless of the language, currency, or country-specific shipping partners. Clients looking to expand rapidly to new markets are also a good match.

End users rarely care what's the underlying platform – they want fast and functional sites that are easy to navigate and return the correct product matches for them. Yet – what SFCC provides is a stable environment, industry-leading uptime, and the comfort of knowing there'd be no nasty surprises (as long as the developers have learned through the Telerik Academy Upskill SFCC program, of course!)

photo2-oggie-astardzhiev-upskill-salesforce-commerce-cloud-the program-will-boost-your-career

 

What's the biggest challenge you've had as an SFCC expert?

I've had my challenging moments. Through a combination of sub-optimal code and platform load, we've indirectly caused a performance issue that resulted in 500k GBP lost revenue for just a few hours on a customer (many, many years ago, it was Sunday.). This is an unimaginable scale of a problem.
Yet, what really matters is how you learn from this and how to handle it better when stuff like this transpires again. I'm also long enough in this industry to remember when we were considered quite an exotic location to deliver e-commerce projects in Bulgaria. Whereas now people know what we are capable of. 

The chance that is ahead of us to turn Bulgaria into a go-to place for top Salesforce Commerce Cloud professionals is worth all the past troubles and turbulences. We can do this together.

Why is Telerik Academy Upskill SFCC a great way for professionals with relevant experience to augment their skills?

You will have access to trainers regarded as leaders in the industry, with all relevant experience, knowledge, ability to answer all of your questions and participate in the most comprehensive SFCC training program in Bulgaria (and working Sandboxes).

This WILL give you a career boost, should you, of course, be motivated and willing to really put yourself in this new challenge. The program elements that the colleagues in Telerik Academy have prepared are another layer of value for your own soft skill abilities and your successful presentation later in your professional life.

I AM looking forward to meeting you. And talk about Lego and Salesforce Commerce Cloud!

Thank you, Oggie!

Take your career to the next level with Telerik Academy Upskill Salesforce Commerce Cloud! Your tuition fee is covered by our partners, powering the program - Isobar/Merkle, AIOPS Group, Tryzens, Forkpoint, C4 Nexus, and ZaUtre.
Upskill
01/09/2021

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