My WordPress story

Step and repeat banner with the WordPress logo and the Cowboy Wapuu

WordPress celebrates its 15th anniversary on Sunday, May 27. That’s the day back in 2003 that Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little released WordPress version 0.7 to the world and created what would become the most-used content management system on the web.

As with a big anniversary like this, there are a number of meetups planned on Sunday to celebrate and some people are telling their stories about how they came to WordPress and how it’s helped them. While I wrote about my WordPress story last fall for the WordCamp DFW 2017 website, I figured with this big anniversary that I would share that story here.

So here’s my WordPress story.

Introduction to WordPress

If you haven’t read my bio, I actually wanted to be a sports journalist for the early part of my life. My life practically revolved around sports, and I eventually found a passion for writing stories. So it kind of made sense to combine the two.

Eventually, I found myself on the staff of the high school newspaper. And that year was the first year that the paper had an online website. And we just so happened to being using WordPress to power that site.

So over the next few years of my high school career, I became more and more interested in this “WordPress”. I wanted to learn more about it and how it worked and how I could create my own site with WordPress.

And then came wanting to learn how to build WordPress sites and how to learn web development.

Learning web development with WordPress

The summer after I graduated high school I began to really learn web development. I sat through and went through the assortment of “For Dummies” books over CSS, PHP and JavaScript. The goal was to create a custom theme for a arena football site I ran on WordPress at the time.

I somehow accomplished that goal and then started classes at the University of Texas as a journalism major. Eventually, my passion for covering arena football subsides (though not my passion for writing), but my interest in web development only strengthened. I began to learn more and to find my place in this WordPress community.

Eventually, I began working on a theme for the WordPress theme directory. The process took almost two years, but eventually Nuovo found its way to the directory. It was incredibly rewarding to see my hard work on display for the community to see and use. Eventually, I released three more themes for the repository and created four plugins as well.

It was time to go to the next level.

Developing professionally

In the summer of 2014 I received an opportunity that, looking back on it now, changed the trajectory of my life. Through a set of really fortunate events, I got connected with Christopher Harris at Faith Growth, a web development company build websites for churches. And soon I had a development internship.

Before this moment, web development had just been something I did on the side. Now I began to realize that this was something I could do for a living.

Through this internship I started to refine my skills. I learned more about working with web development in a team environment, and I learned actual coding standards, using Git and version control, documenting what the code does and so much more.

I also discovered the joy of helping people. I began putting my writing background to use and started writing case studies for the work we were doing. Hearing people be so happy with their new sites and the work that we had done was incredibly rewarding.

So when the opportunity came up to be a junior developer at Faith Growth. I took it, and I haven’t looked back.

The community

But my favorite part of WordPress is hands down the community around it.

In 2016, I attended my first WordPress event, WordCamp DFW. I was blown away by the number of people there for a simple content management system. Granted the actual number of people was likely under 300, but considering WordPress and the community was just something online, seeing so many people talk about it in real life was pretty astounding to me.

In 2017, I began hanging out at the Ft. Worth WordPress User’s Group meetup. There I met more people who have helped me grow as a developer, both in WordPress and just in general. Then I made the crazy decision to the be the PR and social media organizer for WordCamp DFW 2017, and that brought me further into the community.

And there I got to really see the best parts of the community in action up close. I saw people who were very experienced help people trying to learn the ropes. I saw old friends meet again and catch up. And I saw new friendships forged. All of this because of this content management system.

WordPress is no longer just a content management system to me. Instead, it’s now what I do for a living, part of who I am and where I go to meet amazing people. The last 15 years on the internet have been monumental, both in good and bad ways, and WordPress has been a big part of that.

So here’s to another great 15 years of WordPress and the awesome community around it.

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