6 years back, I’d have never thought I would be where I am right now. At that time, I was a 12-year-old wondering how softwares were made. Despite the fact that I was born in a middle-class Indian family, my parents never forced me to opt for something I wasn’t interested in. Unlike other middle-class Indian children, the bar of expectations wasn’t set that high and I think it turned out to be for the best.
My parents always supported me and constantly motivated me to learn whatever I liked. Eventually, from wondering about how software was made, I started wondering same about websites. For some reason, I felt more interested in websites than software. For starters, I felt coding in HTML was easier than working with C/C++
Now that I’ve bored you already, let’s get to know each other too. I am Suyogya Shukla, a WordPress developer from Kanpur, India. I work with ThemeIsle as a Support Ninja where I make sure our users are always happy with our products. Let’s go ahead now.
At the age of 12; still in class 6th, I started to learn about web coding. I started with HTML and learned how to make a really basic webpage. After understanding the basic concepts I wanted to start making a website already. I went ahead and googled – “How to make a free website” and the webs.com’s listing lead the page. I immediately clicked on it and started playing around, until I realized that it was WYSIWYG editor and it wasn’t possible for me to customize it a lot (Not that I knew how to!)
At this time I had no idea about domain names and hosting. I researched some more and was introduced to the process of putting your website online, but it cost money! I decided to make a small website locally and then show it to my dad hoping he’d be impressed and provide me with the money I needed to put it online. While learning HTML, I came across this cool language called “CSS” which would apparently make a website look and work better.
Next thing you know, I was all over w3schools.com and YouTube watching videos about CSS, playing with the examples and much more. It took me a good 2 weeks to understand the basic concepts. I could finally change fonts, play with colors and do a lot more! While I liked how I had more control when I coded my own website, I still missed the easy content management webs.com and other WYSIWYG tools offered. This had me thinking again. What free software can I use to have the same level of control over my website but is just as easy to use when it comes to content management? This, in turn, initiated another research and I was finally introduced to this awesome software which went by the name of “WordPress”!
Over the years I would work on a lot of WordPress based websites and continue to learn more about it every day. I worked for various small design agencies, as a freelancer and a lot more until one fine day in 2016 when I saw a “hiring” notice on ThemeIsle’s website and decided to give it a shot. After an initial trial period of some 2 weeks, I was hired. I worked part-time (three hours/day, to be exact) for a year because I had school. Two months back, I started working full time. I work with the support and development team (more involved in support as of now, but I eventually want to get into full-time development) where I continue to learn new things every day.
It’s a Real Career Option!
For everyone who thinks WordPress is just a blogging tool, you’re wrong! Sure, it’s a blogging tool but it is used for so much more. It’s a real career option with a lot of room for growth. Given you are passionate about WordPress and the technologies used in it, you’d be able to find a job easily.
The best thing about the WordPress ecosystem is the people. They’re just so nice!
WordPress ecosystem is indeed competitive like any other but in the best way possible. Even if you’re another company wanting to know how some other company manages things or what technologies they use, they won’t hesitate to tell you about it. Almost all of the WordPress enthusiasts go to WordCamps where they meet new people and share knowledge.
Another good thing about choosing WordPress as a career? The flexibility. A large part of the people who work on WordPress, do it remotely. The company WordPress.com, Automattic, is a completely distributed team with people working from different parts of the world. Want even more reasons to choose WordPress? The earning potential. Companies in the WordPress ecosystem are known to pay generously and the best part? You get to work with the folks who are just as passionate about WordPress as you are.
Engineering isn’t the only way to go
This is for all the Indian parents who are pushing their children to join coachings for IIT and other examinations right now, without their children wanting to – DON’T. Engineering isn’t the only way one can get a job. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with it but forcing your children to do it because you think there’s no other way? That isn’t right.
Introduce your children to WordPress, introduce them to the world of web programming and see if they like it. Why not promote them to do something they like than to burden them with the weight of engineering when they don’t like it?
For all I know if my parents had forced me into engineering I would’ve missed out on everything. Give your children the room to grow.
Make them learn new things, introduce them to WordPress and all other cool things ( not just tech related! ) and leave it up to them to choose a career path :)
Working Remotely Is Fun
Let’s talk about working remotely now. It’s fun. You don’t have to wear a suit or any kind of uniform. You get to work in your PJs. Does it get any better than that? Oh wait, it does. You get to choose your working hours. You can decide to work 3hrs in morning and 3hrs at night or you can work 6hours at a stretch. Fellow night crawler? You can work at night. Apart from that, it gives you a lot of freedom. You can work from wherever you want. You can go to a beach and work. You can work while traveling, basically, you can decide to work from anywhere, anytime! It’s all up to you.
Flexible working hours allow me to concentrate on learning new things on a personal level and maintain a healthy Work/ Life balance. But over time, you might get bored working from home. ( Not sure about you but it did happen with me! )
My two cents? Take some time out and go vacationing.
Join a co-working space and see if that helps. All in all, I love having the freedom to work from anywhere and the best part still remains that I can work while wearing my PJs.
Let me put it this way; I love WordPress. I have been doing some UI/UX work for a while now and I liked it. I am planning to learn more about it while learning more about WordPress development in parallel. For now, I am starting a small WordPress studio, Made With WP, with my friends (and colleagues) – Hardeep and Rohit. You might remember Hardeep talking about it in his essay. It’s the same project. I am working on my first WordPress theme and hope to see it in the theme directory soon. I am pretty good with HTML, CSS and comfortable with JS and PHP and I plan to learn more about them.
Apart from that, I am the co-organizer of WordCamp Kanpur. I have been to two WordCamps so far and run an active meetup in my hometown, Kanpur. I gave my 12th exams this year and I plan to study more about new things as much as I can. Also, I am 18 years old as I write this.