Community Spotlight #2 — Shahin Rostami
If you’re thinking of giving a try to Strapi, you may want to follow our Getting started. But if you’d rather listen to a Senior Academic in Data Science and AI explaining to you what is Strapi and how to use it in just 12 minutes, for sure, we’ll redirect you to Shahin Rostami’s Youtube channel!
His videos on Strapi count more than 38,000 views and the Learn Strapi in 12 minutes 🚀 video alone counts more than 27,000 views.
We were curious to know who is Dr. Shahin Rostami and where his passion for transmitting his knowledge comes from.
What is your educational background?
The most recent major qualification would be my Ph.D., where I mostly focussed on neuroevolution and concealed weapon detection. I hadn’t originally planned to stay in academia for that long, the original plan was to become a software engineer. My career as a software engineer only lasted around 9 months before I accepted the Ph.D. offer.
When did you start using Strapi and why?
It must have been sometime around late 2018. I wanted to expose an API over HTTP to enable online functionality for a video game I was developing as a hobby. It was inspired by an old favourite of mine, Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast), and I wanted to allow players to share/attack/defend their custom-made stages.
When I was a software engineer (10 years ago) we mostly used everything .NET, but I wanted to use this opportunity to figure out what was popular. What followed is something that I’ve heard happens to most people… a great journey through forums, blogs, videos, web pages, podcasts, and trialling multiple solutions (without naming any) to the problem. I must have spent a week looking for a solution that I would be happy with, which turned out to be Strapi. Finding Strapi was a pleasant surprise!
Strapi ticked all the boxes, e.g. it was being actively maintained, it could be self-hosted, and it was open source! The community was extremely friendly, including the official-unofficial hero of Strapi, DMehaffy (Not Strapi Employee) who helped me solve a few things early on.
What is the thing you built with Strapi that you are most proud of?
There’s only one project that I can talk about freely at the moment, and that’d be the game that I started off making as a hobby. Hop Hop Fox!
Much like Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast), you have something adorable that moves forward until it hits a wall, at which point it always turns right. You can change their direction by placing down arrows. The overall aim is to navigate them to some the hot air balloon whilst avoiding enemies and obstacles.
I wanted players to be able to design their own interesting puzzle stages and share them. This also extended into selecting several puzzle stages to defend, whilst attacking the stages of others online! This is where Strapi came in. Strapi allowed me to store downloadable content designed by myself, and a large repository of user-made content. It was left running on my server for a year without any issues, until recently where I’ve taken it down in preparation for an upgrade!
Your videos on youtube are seen by thousands of people: How to use Docker, Unity, Strapi and so on. How important is the transmission of knowledge to you?
The transmission of knowledge is something I’m passionate about, it is the reason I returned to academia as a lecturer. Over the last 5 years, I have been leading modules and degrees in the many areas of computer science, ranging from class sizes of 20 up to lecture halls holding 300 students.
I started making videos to support students who couldn’t make it into class because of illness, part-time jobs, etc. I also wanted to make it easier for them to revise when the time came. One of my students encouraged me to put these videos on YouTube, and that’s how it began. It is very satisfying reaching so many people. With the videos on Strapi (e.g. Learn Strapi in 12 minutes 🚀), I wanted to give some back to the community by making a few videos that may end up helping someone.
What will the future look like for you and will Strapi be part of it?
After 5 years, I’m currently a Senior Academic in Data Science and AI, and I’ve decided to go on sabbatical for at least a year to try some different things! It begins in March, and I have a few fun projects lined up. Some of these projects involve Strapi, including the re-release of my hobby project above. I’m working more on sharing notebooks on https://shahinrostami.com, and I will be working on a few more educational/instructional videos on YouTube, including videos for Strapi!
Feel free to ask any questions you have by posting a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you want to be featured in the next Community Spotlight, send us a message here and we’ll be happy to discuss.
And if you liked Shahin’s story, you can also start making your own tutorial on Strapi. All kinds of tutorials are welcome!