For over a year now at Smellycat Productions, I’ve been working intensely with WordPress. Just like many other developers, a lot of my experience with WordPress has involved learning through the timeless practice of trial and error. Tons of my learning has come from the web, as many WordPress designers/developers and users share things they have found that work or don’t work.
For over a year I’ve heard about these events called WordCamps from my co-worker Will. Throughout my time working with him, he has attended several WordCamps, both live and through online stream. When he told me that he would be attending an event fairly close to our area, he asked me if I wanted to go. I hesitated at first, and then after some verbal arm-twisting by Will, I figured I might as well go. This turned out to be an excellent decision.
Taken straight from the website, WordCamps are informal, non-profit, community-organized events that focus on everything WordPress, put together by local WordPress enthusiasts. Each allotted time slot has several tracks, different speakers from multiple perspectives; in this case, there was a Developer track and a User track. Speakers on the Developer track spoke about ways to work on the backend, the behind-the-scenes of a website, and how to make it easier for clients to use WordPress. Speakers on the User track spoke about ways to improve and better optimize their website on the front, from visuals to content to search engine optimization.
This event in Baltimore was one of the smaller attended events, which works for me as I am not one for a large crowds and sitting 50 rows high in an auditorium. I learned a ton at WordCamp Baltimore from the Developer tracks on ways to make WordPress easier for clients to use. I also learned from the User tracks on ways to help clients improve upon their site with SEO keywords and videos. Learning from both tracks has helped me, as a developer, improve my work with a client. My improvements have helped make the clients happy and even more excited about their new website as they embark on their journey.
It has been a few weeks since WordCamp Baltimore and I have already applied what I learned from it to my work. Though I normally would not hesitate to say “Nah, not this time,” I could not be happier that I went to the event. I learned quite a bit and feel inspired to give back to the WordPress Community at large. Next time there is an event close by, I won’t be so hesitant, as they’re a fun way to learn new or different techniques for improving my skill-set.