Wasseem is a professional developer. He is the founder of 7php.com as well as PHP Mauritius user group. He has been conducting interviews of PHP pioneers and legends. He always seems active in PHP conferences. He has attended various conferences including sunshine php conference in Miami, 2015, and PHP north-westµ conference in Manchester in the oct of 2014. He has interviewed PHP legends like Cal Evans himself.
HostNOC: Please tell us about your career? How did you start your career in PHP? What was the motivation behind it?
Regarding my Career:-
Wasseem: In brief, I transitioned from Junior Software Developer >> Software Developer >> Senior Developer >>Team leader >> Country Manager >> Chief Digital Officer.
The longer parts..
I started as a junior software developer for a Danish-based company, known as FrontLab Ltd. My first ever CTO (Mr. Ruvan Fernando) and CEO Mr. Brian Bramsted – were the two most influential people in my career. Ruvankinda shaped my programming lens, while Brian helped me use that lens to “take good photos”. I am eternally thankful to both. I’m lucky that to-date, Brian still gives me invaluable advice when I’m in need.
I have breezed through various companies during my 11yrs+ of career so far, (which you can find on my LinkedIn profile, though not much detail as I do not believe in LinkedIn as much as in my own drafted CV).
I have to say that I really appreciated the position of Country Manager while serving a great company termed as Redbox Digital – where I met the amazing Jonty Sutton (CEO/Founder) and Steve Desmet (CTO). Both great people from whom I’ve learned good stuff. I am thankful to Mr. Jonty for the trust he has put in me since day-1 to construct, shape and lead his company in Mauritius.
Presently, I am Chief Digital Officer (CDO) for a startup known asTeamonite, since the last two years – this is quite special for me as well, since I have been the architect behind and involved in every step of the project, business decision making & including hosting aspects – and above all creating a sound dev team behind. Teamonite is already a success in Mauritius, and our esteemed Mauritian Prime Minister, the Honorable MrJugnuthPravind Kumar, honored the launch. I am thankful to my current boss Mr. Kendall Tang – who is yet another amazing person. Hopefully, our project is going to hit the overseas market – though I cannot reveal which country we are going to be in yet. But it’s going to be big.
Regarding how I started my career in PHP & motivation:
I would kindly invite you (and readers) to go through my article here on 24DaysInDecember to know what drove me. I narrated my life and PHP there.
HostNOC: Please tell our audience about 7php, what is its core purpose? What prompted you to start it?
Wasseem: The core purpose of 7PHP is to engage and showcase the People behind PHP, aka The PHPeople. PHP is just a language. What interest me are the people behind the scene. These are the drivers of the language, they make the community around it – aka PHPc. They are what guarantees the sustained success of PHP. I have them in my heart, there is no other community as generous, sincere and helpful as PHPc. Those who know PHPc closely will understand what I’m saying.
PHPc is the best thing that happened in my life.
HostNOC: You are a shining star in the PHP community, which personalities have inspired you a lot in the Past?
Wasseem: I am humbled that you are giving me this consideration. But honestly, I believe that each and everyone in the PHPc who are constantly navigating audaciously through the shoppy seas day after day is the shining stars. They make PHP & the world a better place, be it core PHP contributors, PHP bloggers, authors of PHP-based systems, PHP mentors, Meetup organizers, conference organizers or simply someone in real-life, helping someone else or a child learn PHP – including you, interviewing me regarding my PHP life.
Personalities who inspired me in PHPc are:
Every single person in PHPc is an inspiration to me. I cannot name them all, but I would like to mention the following two people in no particular order:
Special thoughts also for Chris Tankersly, Rafael Dohms, Stefan Koopmanschap, Andreas Heigl, Matthew WeierO’Phinney, MihailIrintchev, Adam Culp, Mark Baker, Stuart Herbert, Derick Rethans, Michelle Sanver, Sara Golemon, Erika Reinaldo, Eric Hogue, Paul Dragoonis, Jeremy Kendall, Chris Hartjes, Chris Cornutt, Jordi Boggiano, Rasmus Lerdorf, Davey Shafik, Clark Everetts, Jeremy Mikola; dang, the list goes on. Everyone has been so exceptional to me, truly!
HostNOC: You have been conducting interviews of PHP mentors, coaches and the legends of community. Share some memorable experiences, please.
Wasseem: The memorable moments, I have tons of them since DAY 1 of 7PHP. I will mention a few below:-
That sense of ‘positivity, friendliness and welcoming’ that emanate from those #PHPeople, is something I NEVER saw anywhere – they are special and magical.
HostNOC: You have been in various international conferences, please share some memorable experiences attending those conferences. What do you think is the greatest advantage of attending international conferences?
Wasseem: If I have been to conferences, it has been made possible by so many people in The PHP Community. I am eternally thankful to these PHPeople. I am living in a PHPagic world! Those who follow me closely would know. I have been narrating these on my blog 7PHP and on my social accounts.
For me, meeting the people that make the PHP Community and especially people that I interviewed, has transcended the virtual (2D) friendship into a 3D friendship. Most of them when I met them for the first ever a time in my life, I got the feeling that we are really bonded. It was an incredible feeling. It’s like you met your best friend after 5yrs, that kind of feeling. There are so many emotions inside me & special moments I cherish, but I cannot describe them all.
Attending international conferences has the following benefits:
HostNOC: What’s the core reason behind your passion for PHP community? How do you keep yourself motivated?
Wasseem: The core reason is “the people, the community”. #CommunityMatters
As I mentioned here, if things were to turn south during my interactions with the first set of PHP interviews, it would probably have seen the last of my passion for PHP and hence 7PHP.
I am not sure if you mean motivation for the community or for my 7PHP interviews. So, I’ll address both.
Regarding the first one, I just have to close my eyes and reminisce the spectacular moments spent during conferences I attended, or on hearing Michelangelo’s voice, seeing Rafael Dohms teasing Michelangelo, or observing Jeremy Mikola with his creative moments that sparked my inspiration. It is exactly like when you love someone. Just to say, my motivation for PHPc is like that first true love kind of thing – there is sometimes absolutely nothing to do to trigger the motivation because it is the motivation on its own.
On the blogging aspect, while I think of PHPc in my daily life (yes, I really do, ask CodyBlou!), I was struggling to spare the time and energy & time for blogging consistently on 7PHP, due to so many real-life responsibilities, including job, families. But I will be back on track, I just know it.
HostNOC: Which PHP framework would you like to recommend to PHP newbies? Which ones should they learn?
Wasseem: I really do not believe in frameworks as such. I believe more in gluing together pieces of components. The main components that I use in my personal projects to create my own micro-framework are: “nikic/fast-route”, “pimple/pimple”, “symphony/HTTP-foundation”, “symphony/HTTP-kernel”, “phpmailer/phpmailer” & “sevenphp/savantphp”.
At a professional level, I have worked with Zend Framework (ZF) and Symfony Framework (SF).
But if you ask me which PHP frameworks to choose from amongst ZF, SF or Laravel, I have a predilection for ZF philosophy, since it makes more sense to me.
HostNOC: It would be an immense pleasure for us if you can share the pictures of your workstation with us?
Wasseem: Sure, see my office workstation below:
HostNOC: How much do you believe in maintaining a perfect work-life balance? When you are tired of coding, how do you rejuvenate your mind?
Wasseem: I believe a lot in achieving a seamless work-life balance. Initially, during my career, I bought in a false conception that you need to work 60 hours per week to be successful. But as I matured, I created my own way of life.
To invigorate my mind after a hectic workday, I always have a small soccer ball handy at home to juggle and throw back and forth every now and then. It helps me relieve pressure and to focus entirely on that moment.
Else during the week, I am currently practicing Table Tennis twice per week, I get paid coaching from one of the National players over here. It helps me to be serious & to commit myself to a sport. This year I managed to get two cups during a small inter-company competition – 1st runner-up for Single-men & 1st runner-up for double-men respectively. I’m not an expert (yet) in table tennis, but the commitment and passion are mounting.
HostNOC: When it comes to PHP hosting, you can’t compromise on server performance. HostNOCpromises secure dedicated servers as well as effective cloud server management. How do you see the future of HostNOC (opt)?
Wasseem: I believe the future for quality managed hosting is bright. That said, competition is getting harder each year. I believe if HostNoc gets its core objectives right consistently in intention & action, it will have an edge.
And to be successful in that niche, you’ve got to give a 101% diligence to customer support; nothing less.
I also think that the team behind your venture will play a significant role. With you on the team, it’s already a good step to get things right.
All the best to HostNOC and team! May the PHPorce be with you! 🙂