As most of the people who would be reading this blog would know by now, today is the 10th Anniversary of the first relase of WordPress. All over the world, people are taking some time today to reflect upon this milestone, and of their time with this software. Even while celebrating Memorial Day here in the US, I’ll be hosting a party tonight at the Geek Easy in Orlando.
I myself have been with the software just around five years, since 2008 and right around the release of version 2.5. I remember when I started searching for a new way to easily manage websites, since up until that point I’d been hand-coding them in HTML. I was not yet professionally building websites, but doing so for school assignments, for friends and for fun. During my travels through the world of website management, I discovered a free platform that I could easily install via Fantastico on my hosting control panel. I began building in earnest with this tool, first for myself, then for friends, finally for some clients. I admit that I can’t recall which client was the first to pay me to build with WordPress as opposed to static work, but I do recall building a website for an employer on the job, making my regular hourly to do the work.
From there I’ve been offered a great many opportunities. I’ve held a few jobs relating to computers in other ways, such as database management for a radio station and was a computer technician for a while (I much enjoy playing on the web to fixing problems where the easiest answer is “buy a new computer”). I’ve had several jobs with other companies specifically as a WordPress developer, slowly growing my skills over time. There’s no way I can honestly say that I’m not still growing and learning new things on a regular basis. In a few more years I’m sure I’ll look at where I am today and shake my head at that youthful folly.
Last year I decided to take the plunge into freelancing full time. I had already been doing so for a few clients, and wanted to free myself up to pursue passions. To continue with honesty, I’ve not made the most that I could of this time, but I’m still enjoying myself and making plans for the future. I help organize the Orlando WordPress Meetup, as well as WordCamp Orlando. I teach and do support, build custom plugins and themes and try to be a general resource in the area for my fellow WordPress aficionados.
I imagine that if a few years ago someone told me that I’d be focused so heavily in one thing that I’ve planned a party and based most of my life around a piece of software, I’d have thought that they were crazy. Now that the time has come though, I can see many paths that I’ve been offered, and the one that I’ve taken has the possibility of taking me to that ideal, to the place that makes me satisfied with my impact on the world.
Thank you WordPress, thank you Matt, and thank you to the rest of this wonderful community for all that you have done. I want to be here in ten more years celebrating again.