I can trace my start with WordPress back to 7th Grade when I was 12. That year at school, I learned a bit about Wikispaces and Wix and I saw something I would want to do and have as a hobby: build websites. As I dabbled with website building more and more, I eventually found WordPress.com. I saw a really cool platform and I really enjoyed the interface and the options I had to build a blog/website. Flash forward to 8th grade, I got hosting setup and decided I want to do something in the web industry and decided to start a business. Kind of an odd step for someone in middle school, but I envisioned an opportunity to do a lot of cool things with my new found hobby.
It was the Spring of my 8th Grade year where I discovered that WordPress had a huge community full of developers, designers and people who were just passionate about building websites. I wanted to get involved, so I did some research and eventually stumbled upon WordCamp Central, where I saw that there was a WordCamp coming near me. That WordCamp was WordCamp Minneapolis 2013. That WordCamp was what really pushed me and inspired me to become more involved in the community. (Shout out to Kiko Doran who I met at WCMPLS and who would become my mentor that summer and who really helped me decide that I wanted to be a developer). It was a bumpy start and I wasn’t really brave enough to start writing plugins or themes, but I saw an opportunity. An opportunity to share my work, to join a community of open source, and to really start building some awesome themes or plugins. I wanted to take WordPress far beyond the basic install, and I saw development as the way to accomplish this.
After that, 10th grade started and I was back to building stuff and keeping it to myself. It was around December where I decided to get into releasing plugins, free and premium. And now we land to the year 2015, where we currently are. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at 3 WordCamps and have had 2 internships. One at The Pods Foundation where I was the “Niktern” working on different parts of the Pods project, and I admit, that did push my developer skills a bit farther and started to push me out of my comfort zone. Recently that Internship concluded and now I’m an intern at Rocketgenius Inc. where I help out with Gravity Forms-related stuff. It’s nice to get up every day and be part of such an amazing community and I hope to keep contributing and building plugins. That’s the kind of attitude I believe YOU should have when working in the WordPress world every day.
Jumping into the WordPress community is not a scary thing to do. In my opinion, if you’re interested to share your knowledge at a local meetup or at a WordCamp, I say go for it. Blog about your knowledge of WordPress or join the WordPress slack channel and get contributing. The WordPress community isn’t a close space and most people are very approachable. Joining the WordPress community can open a lot of doors into becoming a better developer and even an opportunity to find a new career.