Being born in a middle class Indian-family, you won’t always be the one to make your life decisions, usually it will be your family. It’s really simple; if you are good at science, maths or computers, you will try your best to crack IIT, and if you’re good at accounting/commerce then you will have to study hard to become a CA (Chartered Accountant).
I was also born in a middle-class Indian family, living in Kanpur. Just like every other family, my family had high expectations from me. I had my earlier schooling done in a Hindi-medium school and my bi-annual school fee was less than the price of a .COM domain.
When I was in the 8th standard, we had a geometry teacher who was really slow. He barely finished 30% of our syllabus in the entire year. And partly because of that, I failed that class. I kind of always blamed him for that, but it wasn’t like I was going to top the class, even if he had completed the entire syllabus.
After that, I got admission in an even lower-graded school, which was probably the worst school of our city. And because of that, for the first time in my life, I was one of the smartest students of the class. I took commerce as my primary subject. Why? Well, if you get high grades then you get science… and that explains the rest.
How WordPress Changed My Life
I didn’t like my school and the incomplete things that we were taught; my focus turned to the Internet. I used to stay up every single night to learn things such as Photoshop, Blender 3D and more. I was always learning new things, things that I wanted to learn.
In the April of 2012, I decided to create a blog. I didn’t have any money for a hosting or domain, so Blogger became the home of my pro-wrestling news blog. I had no knowledge of HTML/CSS. I found w3schools.com and learned all that I could. Long story short, it took me about a year or more to collect some money so I could buy a reliable hosting and domain. After getting the hosting, I instantly installed WordPress and migrated my Blogger blog to WordPress. Little did I know that it was going to change my life completely.
I always liked to add new features to my news site, so in just a few days, I had at least tried 50-60 different WordPress plugins & code snippets. I always tried to mess with the code to get things the way I wanted them to be, and in the process I crashed my website dozens of times. I fell in love with WordPress at the speed of light.
Soon I started a blog about WordPress tutorial where I posted code snippets & explained how things worked. Because of all this, I was getting better & better at WordPress. I was always a part of community. I tried every new beta release and reported bugs, and eventually developed some little plugins to give back to the community.
While I was doing that, I was completely broke. I didn’t even have a personal laptop which made things really hard. I had little to no money, so I started to look for a job. I found a web development company, who needed a WordPress developer. In the first day, they asked me to build a plugin for them and gave me a time limit of 7 days. I built that plugin in one night so they gave me another project. This time, it was a theme. I was really great at my work, but that place had no passion for the work. They were using WordPress 3.2 in 2014, the salary was low, I couldn’t handle a 10 hour-work day. Heck, I was 17. All this led to me quitting my job in just a little more than a week. In this time, I made 2 themes & 1 plugin for them.
While I hated working in that place, I learnt what I was capable of doing. WordPress themes that I developed for them was my first shot at theme development. After that, one day I decided to create my first WordPress theme. I named it ‘The Funk’, after the professional-wrestling Terry Funk. During that period, I also joined WordPress Theme Reviewer Team. The first theme that I reviewed was CW Business Lite by ThemeIsle.com. After ‘The Funk’ was approved by Theme Reviewer Team, I showed it to Ionut Neagu, CEO of ThemeIsle.com for some advice. He liked that theme, and also offered me a job at ThemeIsle.com. At that moment, Fiverr was my only source of income and I was really turned off by my last job, I wanted to say no, but I thought of giving it a try.
My First WordCamp
Back in the mid-2015, I decided to attend WordCamp Pune. It was going to be the first time I was ever going to travel alone, and I knew no one who was attending the event, but I was really excited to finally attend a WordCamp, hence I went anyway. It was an 8-10 hour event and I had completely lost track of the time with the amazing sessions. I met Topher, Andy, Jeremy Herve and many more people. Apart from the sessions, I ate Maharashtra’s famous Vadapao for the very first time.
It was literally the first time I met other active members of WordPress community in person. I got to see their amazing work, and listened to their stories. I attended an amazing session about accessibility which changed my perception towards a user-friendly web design.
I <3 WordPress
It’s been more than a year and I’m still working for ThemeIsle.com. I’ve developed a lot of new themes, such as DocPress, Photos, Latte & Kichu (nickname of my best friend, Deeksha Raj) on my own. I’ve worked on themes/plugins like Login Customizer, Zerif Lite, RokoPhoto, WP Product Review and many more. I’m even in the process of creating MadeWithWP.com, which will be a theme store plus a learning hub with free WordPress courses.
With the help of WordPress, I have been able to achieve things at the age of 19, which I thought I might never be able to do. And because of that, you will always find me contributing to WordPress everyday. No school or institute taught me this. My source of learning was my own work, my mistakes and the amazing things done by the awesome WordPress community.
Just so you know, I’m 19 years old as I write this and I’ve dropped college twice. I’d rather find a way to learn something that I want to learn, instead of wasting time in learning something I absolutely have no passion for.
I’m still learning various subjects with the help of the Internet, such as astronomy, history, science and even the ways of The Force. So the only thing that I want the young generation to know is that if you want to learn something then you don’t need to wait for someone to teach you about it. You can be your own teacher, just like thousands of people who learn everyday. Learning never stops, and there’s always something new to learn.