WordCamp US 2015 Community Summit

Welcome to the Community

Welcome to the Community

Over 50 new people will be joining the WordPress community this week. I couldn’t be more excited.

WordPress as a Community

My friend, William Jackson, has shared his enthusiasm and excitement for the WordPress community many times. His zeal reminds me of what it means to have people that are welcoming. WordPress is both content management system and a community.

My current students are career changers and new to website development. They are new to the community. They are undergoing a rigorous 10 – 18 weeks toward an entry into full-stack development, and I get to teach the WordPress portion.

A huge part of that instruction involves more than just how to use the plain WordPress product. Every tool or brand may be a potential employer, or something used on the job later. An overview of why we use this or that matters. And behind each brand are people that use the tools, build the products, and show up online to network.

WordCamp US 2015 Community Summit
WordCamp US 2015 Community Summit

We have a lot of unofficial outposts as a community: Twitter lists, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Reddit threads, and more. I’ll be doing my best to balance overwhelming people with a very real benefit to connecting to all these outposts. It is an ongoing part of professional development, a chance to ask questions to others, and can be just fun. I’d like to think whether at a WordCamp or elsewhere online, as humans, we practice the Code of Conduct in our interactions.

I will personally commit to the Pac-Man theory in inviting others in to our circle. Check out the song my friend Scott wrote about being the introvert at the party, and remember to be welcoming and inclusive as we are all learning.

Also, bringing new users up to speed around what does Full Site Editing (FSE) with the Block Editor mean for current developers? How do we juggle always be learning with a home-life balance? We are mid-way through block development overhauling the WordPress we’ve known for ages, and new people may or may not grasp what that juggle looks like. Why is everything changing so fast? What do I need to do as a professional to be ready for all that?

I’ve got some work to do. But because I know a whole community of people who are excited about new community members, users, diverse qualified applicants, and more… I feel pretty great about connecting our students.

How’d I get here?

Call it the 10 year overnight success perhaps. I’m a former high school computer programming & business education teacher. I have instructed WordPress in a traditional classroom setting.

I am a mom of 5 with 2 littles I can hold. I’m open to speak with anyone experiencing miscarriage and infant loss.

I then took some years mostly off the radar to be with my children. I worked part-time around nap schedules and doing what I was capable of work-wise in that season.

Robertson family in 2017

In the few moments I am not working or chasing preschoolers, I garden and play an electric violin.

Enter: Code Differently

This summer, Code Differently invited me to teach the high school summer dev shop student paid interns how to use WordPress. The students in this group reached a proficient user level and could build websites with a page builder.

To conclude our time together, half the class spoke at WordCamp Philly. In the current climate of racial tensions, pandemic, and general unrest – it was an honor to teach these upcoming stars and then yield the stage to them. Jump to 22 minutes in (timestamp) to catch the replay:

The students spoke only a few weeks after Mike Little, the co-founder of WordPress, along with other key community member discussed how to increase diversity and youth in the WordPress community. This session spoke deeply to the motivation I had in upgrading from a fantastic experience working in technical support and document writing (around my kids nap routine) back to a full-time working mom. I wouldn’t make that switch for just any employment opportunity.

I’ve done some digging about and have not found other coding bootcamps that are covering what powers over 38% of the internet or spending time with any content management systems. The participants in our program will have an advantage in the application process within their technical competencies as well as familiarity with social networking within the community. Those skills are priceless.

Learn WordPress

Around all this… you can also find me over at the WordPress training team. We create the lesson plans that can be found on Learn WordPress.

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Courtney Engle Robertson

From high school business education to the WordPress Training team, Courtney helps people of all skill levels get their message out. She lives in south-central Pennsylvania, loves coffee, plays the mandolin, and has a very large vegetable garden.

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