Jonathan Desrosiers is a WordPress developer who is active in the WordPress community. He took some time to share his thoughts and advice about WordCamp RI 2016.
Q:Jon, In your professional life, when you’re not helping to speaking at WordCamp RI or attending meet ups, what do you do? What role does WordPress play?
A:WordPress, for me, is huge. I have made my living with WordPress for over 7 years now. The WordPress community is amazing, and I always try to give back in whatever way I can. I have spoken at WordCamps and meet ups in the past, contributed to WordPress core, and even helped teach people WordPress 1-on-1. I also use WordPress for personal projects when I am trying to start my own sites. It has helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Q:WordCamp RI is two days of all things WordPress. For someone attending for the first time, what advice do you offer to get the most out of WordCamp?
A:I recommend that you bring your favorite notebook and pen, business cards, and an open mind. WordCamps are full of information and people that you can learn from and network with. Don’t feel overwhelmed if there are a lot of sessions or get frustrated if there are two you want to see in the same time slot. The talks are recorded, and eventually make it on to WordPress.tv. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! I guarantee every speaker is passionate about what they will be presenting and would love to answer any questions you have.
Q: You’ve been very active over the years as a presenter! Tell me about that.
A: I have spoken in some form at WordCamp RI since 2012. Even though I am from southeastern Massachusetts, I see WordCamp RI as my “home” WordCamp. I went to college in Providence, have been employed in Rhode Island, and have also been very active in the WordPress RI meet ups. Rhode Island has a large number of creatives. Sharing my knowledge and helping others grow is very rewarding.
Q: After WordCamp RI is over, there is the After-Party. What is that? Why should I attend?
A: The After-Party is a great opportunity to network with the other attendees and speakers or ask more questions about something you found interesting in a session. I know people who have developed long term business relationships with other agencies and even gotten full time jobs because they networked at WordCamp after-parties.
Q: What’s this Happiness Bar everyone is talking about? Why would I want to stop by?
A: The Happiness Bar is a designated location where you can go for help with a WordPress related issue you are having. Volunteers will be there to sit with you 1-on-1 and help walk you through steps you should take to try to solve your problem. They will do their best to solve your issue with you. But if they can’t, they will at least try to provide you with resources to point you in the right direction.