Growing and Giving Back
The WordPress Community taught me so much. Keep making efforts in good faith and results will follow.
It takes time to build trust.
Everyone has the potential to grow.
You can’t ignore diversity so might as well embrace it.
Sometimes the process of gaining such new insights was painful, but I still feel I’m lucky to have been given challenges that made me grow.
To give back, I want to continue helping communities outside of the English speaking world. I believe that’s the most powerful thing I can do to remove the barriers on the web and the vast world that it touches.
Timothy has been a freelance graphic designer since about 2014. He started by doing gigs from his room while still at University and from home. Earnings from his freelance jobs increased his interest in entrepreneurship and he started to consider starting his own creative agency.
How Timothy was introduced to WordPress
Timothy first came into contact with WordPress in 2016 when we were to use it to implement our final year projects website speechanalyser.com. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver.
With WordPress, the process of customizing blog design through edits to PHP files was straightforward and enjoyable, so I got addicted to working with WordPress right away. I almost had no experience beyond HTML and CSS before then, but I was surprised that I was able to create a dynamic site myself.
We decided to use WordPress, and Our new blog looked like it came from the future. We used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog we decided to open a content and media publishing agency (Ronzag Web Services).
While we got a few web redesign and design jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, we lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going our separate ways. Then in his first real job after college , Timothy finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learnt how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes.
This Forced me to look for my long time old friend and work together again, also we started a move to teach the world how to Install WordPress
With that knowledge alone I got my first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at my job. I soon realized that “only” free WordPress themes would not take me so far, especially with my limited code skills. Therefore, like many WordPress designers in developing countries, I turned to using pirated themes instead.
I knew that it was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help me rise above the competition.
The WordPress community from Timothy’s perspective
Timothy has a lot of interaction with the WordPress community. Also I search for solutions from blogs about WordPress and always talk to or ask people from the community for a solution.
I believe that this interaction is the result of a glass ceiling — the WordPress community is partially online and partially in-person, but there is a local group in Uganda. And because Uganda, like many other developing nations, lacks a way to pay online many can’t access premium support, online learning, or most other types of professional development. No matter how welcoming the people of WordPress might be, it can still feel like it mostly belongs to those with enough privilege to conduct business on the internet.
WordPress & inclusion
As most freelancers know, it’s really hard to learn while you also still need to earn. Add pitching to clients and shipping graphic design projects… there are only so many hours in a day.
I have a programming background and have always been more of a creative person. In order to grow as a web designer/developer, I needed to learn PHP. Again, without access to a credit card, that was complicated. Also, free coding training wasn’t as widely available as it is now.
I wish that more developers would consider alternative ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins (whether that’s because of available infrastructure or otherwise) Just Like one of the Community Members (GoTechUg) is Doing providing free content Online. He wishes that WordPress tutors and developers would open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners in developing countries who cannot access plugins, courses, and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.
WordPress has allowed me to build an income I would have no other way of earning and it makes a huge difference. I believe sharing stories like mine will hopefully make WordPress products and services become more universally available. In addition, I hopes that more aspiring, self-taught developers will find courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.
I kept translating Codex, themes, plugins It was the first time for me to experience being part of an open source community and working together with people I’ve never met in person (and without being paid!).