It Is Great How Welcoming WordPress Is To People Of Other Career Backgrounds

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Ryan Kienstra

kienstra profile
Today, we are going to list the interview of Ryan Kienstra from Austin, Texas, United States. Currently, he is helping self-taught web developers to get their first job in the WordPress field. In the interview, he mentioned that he used to be a musician. Also, he mentioned that WordCamp Europe and the US are the great to meet friends and teammates in person.

Before WordPress, I was a trombonist in Chicago and Los Angeles. I played in big bands and taught lessons. And I learned WordPress while working on a cruise ship.

Q. How did you get to know about WordPress? Share if there is an interesting story.

Ans: After working in music, I needed a new career. I had never done coding before, and had no traditionally marketable skills.

So I started learning about development, and stumbled upon WP as being a great way to build sites.

I still wasn’t sure about WordPress, so I looked at Drupal and Joomla also.

But it was great how welcoming WordPress was. They added plugins I wrote to the directory, and helped me with code reviews.

Zac Gordon’s courses on Treehouse helped me create a theme, and got me started in WP.

Q. What’s the most interesting project you have done to date in WordPress? What were your responsibilities?

Ans: A block creation plugin, Genesis Custom Blocks.

I was really lucky to join my friends Luke Carbis and Rob Stinson on it when it was called Block Lab. They had the idea and got it off the ground.

I’m a developer on it. It’s been fun hearing from users. Having your own product that you can really own from the technical side is a thrill.

Gutenberg has so many components and hooks that have been really useful.

Thanks to the Gutenberg team for making so much of their editor available.

We’ve built a lot of our plugin using parts of Gutenberg.

Q. Have you ever been to any WordPress meetups or WordCamps? Share your thoughts on WordPress Community.

Ans: WordCamp US and Europe were great, seeing teammates and friends in person is essential. It’s really hard to recreate that time with remote work.
wordcamp Ryan Kienstra

Q. How does your workstation look like? Can you send us a picture?

Ans: Sure, posted a picture below
kienstra workstation

Q. What interesting feature do you think you would like to see in WordPress and is currently missing?

Ans: An admin notification API.

It’s understandable to not add one, it would probably break backwards-compatibility for a lot of plugins.

There’s no easy solution, and there’s no blame for not doing this.

Gutenberg already has a good system for this.

So maybe this would happen if /wp-admin goes to React completely.

Q. Out of the current plugins and themes which one do you like the most and why?

Ans: Yoast, as it has a really nice integration with Gutenberg.

They figured out a good solution to SEO, one of the biggest challenges of a CMS.

Q. Any awesome technology you want to share other than WordPress?

Ans: CI/CD is fascinating, especially automating releases. Anything that gets us back to writing code.

We used to do manual SVN deployments of the plugin, and now CI/CD takes care of it. It’s like making our lives 5 hours longer every release.

Q. Do you like/love what you currently do in WordPress?

Ans: I really like working on the plugin Genesis Custom Blocks.

Q. Where do you find yourself after 5 years

Ans: Ideally working full time on my own developer tool product with a big user base. Also, producing tutorials on the tool.

Q. Share something about your life other than work

Ans: I used to be a musician, so I still play trombone most days. It’s a great stress relief after work.

My friend in Mexico City had a band that I played in until the pandemic. That was really nice to stay a little active in music.

It’s great how welcoming WordPress is to people of other career backgrounds.

Q. To whom you give credit for your success?

Ans: Weston Ruter and XWP. They gave me a chance to get started in WordPress and tech. They were very patient in mentoring me.

Q. Can you give us some reference for whom we should conduct an interview next and why?

Ans: Hm, I’m not sure

Q. How do you reward yourself?

Ans: Taking some time off to play the trombone.

Q. Any suggestion for WordPress beginners?

Ans: Learn from the code as much as possible. For example, if you’re learning to write blocks, look at the blocks in the Gutenberg repo.

The code is the most up-to-date way to learn, as WordPress is changing quickly.

Also, it’s good to find a few repos to contribute to. This will get you code review feedback, one of the best ways to learn.

Maybe Gutenberg or repos from a WordPress agency. It’s hard to find the right repos, but they’re one of the fastest ways to improve.

About Sonnal S Sinha

Sonnal S SinhaSonnal S Sinha is a passionate writer as well as WordPress and WooCommerce rockstar who loves to share insights on various topics through his engaging blog posts. He runs a successful website design and digital marketing company. With 15+ years of experience in WordPress theme development, he strives to inform and inspire readers with his thought-provoking content. He helps thousands of small and medium businesses and startups create a unique online presence. Follow Sonnal S Sinha for your regular dose of knowledge and inspiration.

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