I currently work at Bluehost.com as a Perl/Full Stack developer. The tools I work on are rolled out to over a million customers. In the past I have worked as a Project Manager, a Tech Support agent, Billing agent, an assembler in a fireplace factory, and a stockboy at JC Penny’s.
In 2013 when I started working at Bluehost, I knew nothing about computers, or the internet for that matter. I could maybe write some HTML tables from a class I had in junior high school. In the billing department I learned as much as I could by reading our internal wiki and paying attention in the internal tech support chat rooms. I was introduced to PHP and WordPress, with which I built my first website that hosted flash games. A few months later the provider I used for flash games went out of business and my site died. After my flash games site died I thought that I was pretty hot stuff. I decided to try my hand at freelancing. I was able to get a gig building a web hosting review site. Somehow I was able to install enough plugins to make my limited knowledge of WordPress “work”. To this day I am still embarassed that I actually got paid to build that site. But then again, we all started somewhere.
After 9 months I had learned enough to move into a tech support role. While in tech support I continued to learn about Linux administration, cPanel, Apache, and all the rest. In the mean time I had applied for a Project Manager position and got the job. For the next year I managed projects related to one of our strategic business partnerships having to do with WordPress. During that time I continued to hone my PHP skills and started contributing to WordPress core. As of this writing, January 21st 2015, I’ve had 31 patches accepted into WordPress core and was recognized as a notable contributing developer in WordPress 4.3 for my work on live previews of menu structures (also known as the menu customizer). I maintain a couple plugins in the WordPress.org repository. Seriously Simple Spam Blocker, which is self explanatory, and Dashboard xkcd, which displays the latest xkcd comic in your dashboard. As I’ve said before, it’s my favorite WordPress plugin.
In May of 2015, I moved into the Perl / Full Stack developer position. In the months I’ve been in this position I have learned an incredible amount. Many thanks to the managers and supervisors who have given me opportunities to shine and progress. I still continue to contribute to WordPress core and work on Bluehost’s WordPress tools. As a matter of fact, by working on our WordPress tools I have learned more about WordPress core and WP-CLI than I could have otherwise. One of the best things that ever happened to me was getting laid off from working in a fireplace factory. Because of that I was introduced to WordPress and because of WordPress (and a lot of hard work, long hours studying code, and a few people willing to put up with my ignorance) I’m where I’m at today.
The WordPress community specifically the core development team, has welcomed me with open arms. I entered the fray as an unknown, and I’m still largely unknown, but I’m ok with that. Knowing that 31 little pieces of my code are floating around 25% of the web is enough for me. But I, from the bottom of my heart, thank the WordPress community. Because of WordPress I have been able to provide a higher quality of life for my wife and son, both of whom deserve everything I could possibly give them.