Post-Event Report: WordCamp Miami, WordCamp San Diego, and MinneBar

WebDevStudios (WDS) passionately believes in giving back. One of the ways we choose to do this is by participating in or volunteering at WordCamp events and technology conferences. This past weekend, March 24-26, we had three (count ’em, THREE) of our own WordPress experts conduct informative presentations at WordCamp Miami, WordCamp San Diego, and MinneBar. Needless to say, WDS is everywhere. And we like it that way.


Now, it’s one thing to go to a WordCamp or tech conference event, but it’s another thing to present. One has to apply to do so, and, of course, get accepted. So, when one of our team members is accepted as a presenter, we celebrate! It’s a big deal.


First, there was Jodie Riccelli, Client Strategist, who presented at WordCamp Miami. While it was not Jodie’s first time in Miami, it was her first time speaking at a WordCamp event. Her session topic was Talking to Clients About Scope and Specs (Using Wapuu). Specing out a website project is an intricate challenge, which is why we rely on Jodie to manage this task for our WDS potential clients. That’s why tackling this topic at WordCamp Miami and sharing her expertise with a roomful of eager learners was a priceless experience for those in attendance.

“It was nice to see some of my talk being quoted on Twitter by attendees,” she says.

Another highlight was when the crowd agreed upon a name for her Wapuu stuffed toy.

“It was an 80s-themed event and they named her Punky Wapuuster,” says Jodie. “It was amazing. Every time I look at her, I will be reminded of the awesome people in Miami.”

But the good times didn’t end there, because Jodie also got to mix and mingle with a couple of our coworkers: Gary Kovar and Kailan Wyatt, both who attended WordCamp Miami. Since the WDS team is a distributed one, spending time with teammates is always something special.

Catch Jodie at the following events: PressNomics, WordCamp EU, and WordCamp US. She also applied to speak at WordCamp Jacksonville, so keep your fingers crossed for her.

Back on the West Coast, Support Technician, Russell Aarron, presented his session The Many Ways to Updating Your WordPress Website at WordCamp San Diego. For those of us who work with WordPress daily, we tend to think keeping one’s site updated is an easy chore. But having worked with clients who have not updated the core, plugins, and/or theme in months (or even years), Russell knew his topic of choice was an important one, especially for beginner WordPress users.

“Most of the people in my session didn’t have a backup or know what a backup is,” reports Russell. “In showing them the many ways to update their plugins, people seemed more likely to try or learn other programs like GIT and third party sites like I had seven people come up to me and thank me for my talk.” Sounds like Russ may have just saved a lot of sites from errors or worse.

Russell thinks that attending WordCamp is important. Here’s why:

“There’s great networking and access to potential job openings,” he advises. “Plus, there are meet and greet events with WordPress experts that you see and hear on podcasts.”

Find Russell at WordCamp Orange County next.

Lastly, and certainly not least, we had our newest team member and Backend Developer, Jeremy Ward, presenting at MinneBar. While it was his third time attending the conference, it was his first speaking at it. The lure for Jeremy is that MinneBar has an “unconference” approach to its event. Plus, it’s considered one of the (if not THE) largest tech conference in Minnesota, and it’s free!

Jeremy’s topic covered Meta Fields and All: Developing a Reusable Components Framework in WordPress, and while he enjoyed presenting, he also enjoyed attending another presentation, one that turned into an open forum discussion about junior developers in the industry and the challenges they face with finding full-time work and mentorship. Junior, mid-level, and senior developers were all in attendance, and moderator/presenter, Jenessa White, did a terrific job leading the conversation with questions related to her own experience as a recent coding bootcamp graduate. Now, Jeremy plans on attending Lone Star PHP.

“What I love about attending conferences is leaving a presentation with a newfound topic to be passionate about, and a list of resources I can use to find out more,” says Jeremy. “The best presentations don’t go overly deep into a topic; they give you a reason why you should care. Beyond that, they’re just fun, and a great way to meet others in your community who are faced with the same day-to-day challenges you are. Just getting to meet other developers and talk with them about their experiences makes the price of a ticket worth it in every case.”

To keep up with WDS and which WordCamps and tech conferences you can find us at, view the list of our upcoming events.


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