This week I started my new journey as the WordPress Developer Educator at Delicious Brains. I could not be more enthusiastic about where this path will take me.
Why Delicious Brains?
Delicious Brains is a WordPress focused company that not only I admire but they have a solid standing in the WordPress community.
They build, in my opinion, some of the best free and paid developer-focused products for WordPress available.
WP Migrate DB has been my default plugin for exporting a WordPress database since I first started developing for WordPress. While I’ve never needed the Pro version, I’ve heard great things about it from people I trust. In my freelance days, I had the opportunity to build an extension for WP Offload Media (when it was still called Offload to S3) for a Codeable client. The experience of working with their code was a delight.
I also had the opportunity to incorporate some of their development team’s open-source packages into my own client projects.
Every time I’ve had the pleasure to work with their open-source code, it’s been well written, clearly documented, and easy to extend.
SpinupWP, their cloud-based server control panel for WordPress, is an exciting product in the self-hosted WordPress space, which was launched to rave reviews. I recently had the opportunity to finally try it out, and I can completely see why folks love it so much.
I had the privilege to share a beer or two with Brad and a part of the team in Berlin in 2019 and had continued chats with them since then online. They are always super helpful and friendly.
When I shared the news of my joining Delicious Brains privately with a few friends who work in WordPress land, they could not speak more highly of the company. As someone said to me in a private message, “They have a great reputation in the ecosystem.” And it’s true; you will probably find it hard to find anyone who doesn’t like the company, the team, or their products.
Finally, and more importantly, Delicious Brains puts out some of the best developer-focused content on the web. They are one of only a few WordPress developer-focused newsletters I subscribe to and make a point of reading every article they publish.
What is a WordPress Developer Educator?
The easiest way to explain that is to quote from the original job posting:
First, this is not a Technical Writer position. While we can appreciate talented writers who can understand technical concepts and explain them to a non-technical audience, this job is not that.
Our audience is developers, so we need a great writer with lots of experience in advanced web development. Or an advanced web developer who is a great writer and wants to explore development through writing full-time.
As the dedicated writer on our team, you’ll write tutorials, documentation, and marketing copy and help our team with their writing. You’ll also do a little customer support and might even help out with the development of our products and sites from time to time.https://deliciousbrains.com/careers/developer-writer/
But you’re a developer. Why throw it all away to be a writer and educator?
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a writer.
My earliest memories are of writing. I would create mostly fantastic stories based on Roald Dahl’s works or science fiction adventures in worlds I would create in my own imagination. As I grew older, this morphed into jokes, anecdotes, and cartoons that gave me an outlet for my teenage angst and an attempt to make sense of the world around me.
The writing was not something that I ever saw as a possible career path, and so it remained in the realm of a hobby. I didn’t anticipate how the introduction of the internet would change how we consume information and that creating online content would become such a large part of what we do.
I started blogging in 2009, mostly documenting things I learned as a PHP developer, and as time passed, I found that my love of writing could be beneficial to my job. At several companies, the developers were not big on writing things down, so internal developer documentation efforts suffered. This was before we had tools like phpDocumentor. That meant that I would often champion these internal documentation efforts, from new developer manuals to user-facing documentation. The sentence “Is there documentation for this?” is often something that you would have heard me repeating during a stand-up.
In 2016, when I became a freelance WordPress developer, I discovered something interesting. Not only could the art of writing help generate traffic to my blog, which converted into work, but it was also a way of sharing knowledge with a wider audience. Since discovering that my writing enjoyment could be beneficial to my freelance development journey, I’ve spent the past 4 years doing as much writing as possible. I’m proud to say I have published articles about various WordPress related topics for many online platforms, including WPTavern, the WordPress.com Go blog, Jetpack blog, and Smashing Magazine.
Craig at Castos first shared the Delicious Brains job posting with me more than a year ago now. And as much as I told myself I was happy where I was then, the idea embedded itself into the back of my brain and stayed there, popping up now and then. I never did take the plunge, though.
And then, a series of fortunate events occurred. I’d written a post for WPTavern about getting ready for the upcoming PHP 8 release. Brad from Delicious Brains included it in an email about their plugins being PHP 8 ready. I was amazed that he thought my article was useful to his developer community, and that idea in the back of my brain jumped up and started banging on the inside of my eyeballs. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Will you still be building software?
I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a developer, much in the same way that I probably never stopped being a writer. I don’t expect to do much product development in my new position, other than possibly coding examples for the developer-focused content I’ll be working on. I’ll still be taking part in any open source projects I currently contribute to, like WP Notify, or on my hobby side projects, like Dev Dad Jokes. It just won’t be what defines me anymore.
To be honest, I’m quite happy about that.