How To Contribute To WordPress When You Are New

How To Contribute To WordPress When You Are New

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Entering a room filled with WordPress contributors, and often times well known professionals, can be daunting. Especially when you’re new to the community. I know it felt like that for me when I walked into Contributor Day at WordCamp Europe Sevilla; I didn’t know what I could do to contribute, I had no clue what team could use me most.

Now that I am more acquainted with my role as contributor, I hear new community members say the same thing I did: “I don’t know where to start.”

The Secret To Becoming a Contributing Rockstar

Let me tell you something that will blow your mind:

Contributing to WordPress means showing up for the party.

A Contributor Day is not aimed at getting existing members to contribute more. Existing contributors show up during these Days to help new members get settled into a contributing role. We’re there, not to make you feel like you don’t know anything, but to pass on knowledge.

Continuously showing up for these events means that, step by step, you will get integrated more into the community. People will start recognizing your face. You will get the opportunity to work along side folks who can show you the ropes, and you get to pick up tasks that will inevitably lead to you becoming the person others will want to talk to.

Picking Your Team

If you’re still unsure on what team you should pick, think about this: what do you like most when playing around with WordPress?

Do you like finding solutions for others? Come join the Support team.

Do you like making the site look good? Design can use your knowledge.

Know more than one language? Help others around the world by helping out in Polyglots.

It’s up to you! Above all, remember: whichever team you pick, existing contributors will welcome your efforts. You only need to show up.

Share The Love

If you are an existing contributor, think about what it was like for you when you first started out. How can you make the joining experience better for those who follow you? How can you help them help you? Extend a hand, and help make the WordPress community a better place than it already is.

Extending A Hand During WordCamp

During any WordCamp, I enjoy meeting the people I already know; often times I only get to see them two or three times a year, so we need to make the most of it.

Yesterday, during the thank you dinner for WordCamp Netherlands, I was talking to friends when I noticed one of the attendees looking a little lost. Because I hadn’t seen them before, I decided to say hello. As it turned out, not only was this their first time volunteering, it was also their first experience with the WordPress community.

I’m happy I said hello. Happy to include a new person into our midst, and let them know everyone is welcome. That’s what our community needs to continuously think about, I believe.

I’m going to work a little harder at extending hands to people I do not know during WordCamps. Are you?

Beating Imposter Syndrome When Working In WordPress

Foto credit: Henk-Jan Winkeldermaat

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Imposter Syndrome hit me hard last year. As I dived more into the wonderful world of WordPress, I realized how little I actually know; about code, about the on-goings of core, of who’s who, and of design. That’s a scary thing to realize, and it doesn’t help that I suffer from chronic self-doubt.

Starting work at Automattic both improved that feeling (because, well Automattic) and made it worse. There are so many intelligent, intensely productive, and knowledgeable people who work at this company, that standing out becomes a difficult feat to achieve.

What changed

The best thing I could have ever done was start going to Contributor Days. Not just because it gives me a sense of giving back, but also because being able to talk with other community members puts in perspective what I actually know. It’s a lot more than I thought!

Yes, the WordPress community has its issues and dramas. It’s not perfect. But you wouldn’t believe how much kindness and passion exists in these contributors; people have helped me overcome my fear of showing my code, have been willing to spend time and energy on my projects, and discuss ideas.

beating your self-doubt

If you, like me, find it difficult to see the good in yourself, going to these Contributor Days is an amazing way to quickly get rid of the doubt. You are amazing, you know much more than you think, and people do want to hear what you have to say.

The only thing you have to do is get out there, and be part of the community.