WordPress is the CMS of choice for more than one-third of the websites on the internet, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s open-source, user-friendly right out of the box, and is backed by a supportive and welcoming community.
Among that community is Harry Jackson, InMotion Hosting Products Manager. Harry is a huge advocate of open-source software and has been working with WordPress for 15 years.
In that time, Harry has become a WordPress expert. Not only has Harry continually expanded his WordPress skillset and repertoire, but he’s also gained a wealth of knowledge by attending and participating in as many WordPress meetups, WordCamps, and other community events that he can fit into his hectic schedule.
WordPress events are known for their great energy and welcoming spirit and provide an avenue to help participants while simultaneously aiding in the continued growth of WordPress. WordPress users help the open-source software grow and evolve.
For any WordPress user, it’s worth your time and effort to get involved in the community in some capacity. Even if you just want to get your feet wet, simply attending events and getting a chance to interact with the community will help you find your WordPress team.
It might take some time finding your WordPress team, but you should take the time to do it.
Below is some advice from Harry on how to get the most out of WordPress, as well as how the community has helped him grow into the WordPress expert and advocate he is today.
What attracted you to WordPress in general?
I started using WordPress because I owned a recording studio back in the early 2000s and wanted to offer websites as a service to my customers that were looking for promotion. I knew enough HTML at the time, but was constantly searching for an easier way to have larger websites without the pain points hand-coding brought. WordPress quickly became the easy button for me at the time.
How long have you been a WP user? In what capacities have you used WP?
I started using WP around 2005. I built a few WordPress sites for local businesses and got a part-time job at a computer repair shop during my college years where I maintained their website. I helped them migrate from ASP to WordPress, and learned a lot in the process. Ultimately that was where I was hooked, and began my freelancing career.
When did you first learn about the WP community? Why were you interested in getting involved?
I learned about the community about a decade ago, mostly because of the support team in the forums. I didn’t become interested in getting involved until a few years later when I began working as a technical support representative. It was then I started researching and posting in the forums to help others and following the conversations about what was happening in WordPress itself and the community.
How do you describe the WP Community?
I think the Community is a great place to learn more about how WordPress is developed, and meet and network with other professionals with the same passion. It also allows you to give back at the same time, which is rewarding in and of itself. Over the years, my professional career has been centered around many aspects involving WordPress, and it is always great to meet and discuss that with others in that same area while simultaneously helping to improve the WordPress project.
What is your current involvement? What tasks/projects do you work on? Why do you enjoy it?
I am currently a Team Rep for the Global Make WordPress Marketing Team. I work on a variety of tasks including maintaining the Showcase on wordpress.org, but recently we have been focusing on onboarding and better engaging the newer community members as they discover the community.
How would you predict the community’s growth? How do you think the community will look five years down the road in relation to involvement and engagement?
I am very optimistic about the WordPress community and its future growth. As WordPress increases in market share, the community surrounding it is also growing. I think in five years we will see a lot more involvement from both people and companies that are using WordPress in and for their business. The Five for the Future initiative has been very successful in helping companies identify and react to the need to be apart of the community, as well as giving them a path to do so.
What advice would you give WP users who are interested in getting involved? Is there an experience requirement? What roles are available? Advice?
The best advice I would give to a user interested in getting involved is to be patient when finding your WordPress team. Take your time looking for a team to join and contribute to. There are great people in the WordPress Community that you can learn from and also teach, and as a community, we welcome that opportunity. Set aside some time to join Slack, and watch the conversation and interactions to see where your skills and personality best fit and just begin talking to other team members to help find your niche. Look for a local Meetup to see if there are others in your area that are interested.
Is there an experience requirement?
No, there is no experience requirement for any team. The WordPress Community is a place where you can gain the experience needed to fulfill your goals or at least get started on them. Whether your goals are to be a developer, a digital marketer, or an accessibility expert – there are plenty of experienced people in the WordPress community that you can talk with, learn from and get direction to help achieve those goals. We are all here to help each other grow and flourish while giving back to the WordPress project.
What roles are available?
You can find a list of all the teams and a brief description of what they do at https://make.wordpress.org/.
Each team has separately defined roles, and these are constantly evolving. If you are interested in WordPress, I recommend joining and finding out what the buzz is about — You will not regret it!
Harry Jackson is Products and Project Manager for InMotion Hosting by day, Batman by night. He has been with InMotion for over six years, earning Marketing Contributor, Marketing Team Rep, Meta Contributor, WordCamp Organizer, WordCamp Speaker and Plugin Developer WordPress badges in that time. He is a proud member of the awesome #MakeWordPress Marketing team.
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