WordPress DC is Back in the Loop, WC Philly Draws Near

WordPress DC Reconvenes, WordCamp Philly Schedule Posted

As PHP might say,
“if (have_WordPress_DC_meetup( ‘place’ )) :
while (have_WordPress_DC_meetup( ‘place’ )) :
else echo “climb the walls for 8 months and feel less connected”;

Woot! WordPress DC finally got together again after finding a new spot to meet at. It was our first gathering since August(!) which I think set a record for the group, which has been active for at least four years. It was also our first get-together since co-organizer Aaron Jorbin moved to the Big Apple to take on a new job there. Several folks pitched in to fill the breach, including the always helpful and encouraging Tracy ‘taupecat‘ Rotton who stepped up to become one of our co-organizers, and we landed a room for the evening which could hold 80 of us (versus our old stomping grounds which could fit 100+).

Andrew Nacin, the lead developer from several of the last few WordPress releases, took us through all the major developments and features from WordPress v3.6-3.9 since we last met, and then we got to briefly catch up with each other before the room had to close. It was great to see everyone again and our June meetup is already on the books and has a waiting list. Andy also covered the present and future for WordPress, going through what he referred to as three of the pillars of what’s to come: API, Infrastructure and Education and Mentoring.

You can catch the full presentation HERE, archived on UStream.
After some basic housekeeping announcements, his talk starts at the 9:00 mark by going over v3.6. 11:50-31:00 covers in depth how the updates process introduced in v3.7 works and the thinking behind it. After finishing with v3.8-3.9, he shares his thoughts on API (46:00), Infrastructure (49:00), Education/Mentoring (51:50) and allows some time for questions at the end. Due to the angle of the camera and the lighting, his slides are glared out on the video but it is an incredibly informative talk nonetheless which I would recommend to any WordPress fan, user or developer.

*        *        *        *        *

It was really great to see everybody again and I hope I can figure out a way to keep my little apartment and stay in the area (immanent employment/rent issues) and remain a part of this great community of DC-area WordPressians. These folks have taught me so much during a challenging mid-career switch from code-averse retail manager and experimental rock music geek into a WordPress evangelist, trainer, web assistant and fledgling entry-level theme developer. 

Hence, the absence of these meetups for the last eight months while I continued my web and WordPress education, finally getting to a level where I’ve become a competent WordPress trainer and even started to build my first few WordPress themes, definitely left a tiny hole in my WordPress social calendar. Online community is one thing, but it’s not the same as eyeball-to-eyeball community.

Also, now that we’re up and running again, it felt very rewarding that instead of 85% of any developer-themed talk sailing right over my head, now only 30% did! Lol. During our inactive phase I also missed getting to regularly hear of various job openings our community knew of which were brought up at the end of every meeting. It was always great to hear just what type of positions and skill sets were being sought after in the area outside of the dry or incomplete descriptions usually found in the paper or on job boards.

It seems like all of the WordPress-centric job openings that I’m finding nowadays are either for mid-to-senior level web developers and communications directors who have fundraising experience (both presently out of my range or focus), unpaid internships disguised as entry-level positions, or are with places that seem to only want to interview someone with a CS degree (which is kind of silly considering that any CS degree from 2011 or earlier probably didn’t have responsive design, HTML5, CSS3, pre-processors, retina-ready 2x use, flexbox or a host of other recent web design and development topics included.)

WordPress site builds are indeed coming my way and paying some bills but remain an inconsistent source of income for someone still building up a customer base and a decent-sized portfolio while being underbid on the web by international developers and designers who charge $10/hour or less for work that doesn’t offer their customers quality follow-up support and which lowers the bar for what domestic clients expect to pay for their web projects. However, I’m keeping my head up, fingers crossed and continuing to send out applications for full- and part-time WordPress-centric work whenever positions suitable with my skill sets get posted.

Better still, in terms of improved educational and networking opportunities, next weekend after a 2.5 hour drive in the early hours of Saturday morning, I’ll be arriving at…


… WordCamp Philly! Yesterday the full Saturday schedule was posted. #wcphilly will have 28 presentations, 2 panel discussions, a keynote from WordPress v4.0 release lead Helen Hou-Sandi, a Girl Develop It happy hour and more. Three of our WP DC-ers will be presenting (Andy, Tracy and Russell Heimlich), as well as our old WP DC buddy Aaron Jorbin. I have a ticket for the main Saturday session and am pretty stoked to be attending only my second WordCamp. It’s going to be difficult trying to choose between four presentation tracks instead of just two! But I’m very excited about going and furthering my WordPress education and design/development skills amongst the usual excellent caliber of WordCamp attendees. And although I won’t be able to attend the After Party or Sunday Developer and Contributor Day, I’ll be back with my WP peeps yet again just three days later at the next WP DC meet up! When it rains, it pours.

Happy WordPressing in 2014, wherever you are.

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