Overdue Update

One of my many usual New Year’s resolutions (along with eating less and exercising more, of course), is to blog more. I have made a commitment to blog weekly, with Monday nights being my go-to blogging night. So, being today is the first Monday of 2016, it is time for a long-overdue update.

My last post at the end of July was actually a re-post from the 50onRed blog, where I was given the opportunity to do a guest post during my internship there. I am happy to say that, almost 6 months later, I am still there. In September, at the end of the internship, I was offered a position as a CMS Developer with our content team to build and manage several viral content sites. The job has been fun, enjoyable, and rewarding, It is a great feeling to come into work everyday to solve problems, build, and be creative with code.

The title of “CMS Developer” is a little odd, one that you don’t often see. The CMS in this case is WordPress, and I often introduce position to others as a WordPress developer. I work with the other content team members: the director, and three content writers. As a team, our goal is to create and publish viral content across several properties. My specific role in this endeavor has been to launch three sites as WordPress multi-site network, provide support for the content writers, make modifications to the the theme, and select or write plugins to extend functionality of the sites. In addition to working with the AudienceDrive sites, I have also worked with our senior designer on the marketing sites for 50onRed itself, and some of its core products.

I have learned a great deal in the position. It has been fun learning the secrets of WordPress. Every day I gain a better understanding of it’s core and large feature set. I have greatly improved my skills at theme development, and have learned how to develop plugins from scratch. I even got to attend WordCamp US 2015, where I was able to add more to my arsenal of WordPress knowledge.

Outside of 50onRed, I have continued to work with CodeForPhilly on YadaGuru, the college application reminders web app (you can read more about it here). Back in September, we did some user testing of version 1 of the app with high school students. Based on their feedback, we are currently redesigning the UI to be more mobile-friendly, and adding the ability to send reminders via SMS. Our goal is to launch version 2 of the app in May, and get it in the hands of juniors who will be preparing to go to school.

With a full-time job and CodeForPhilly (along with my lovely wife and two girls), I haven’t been focusing on side projects as much as I’d like. One of my goals for 2016 is to broaden my skill set outside of work. I’ve already started with one project, a redesign of this blog template (now that I know what I’m doing), I’ve completed penciled prototypes, and have started to work on building the theme. I plan on sharing my process here as I work, with the goal of deploying the new theme by mid February.

I’ve barely scratched the surface with everything I’d like to share. I will be going into more detail on everything mentioned here in the next couple of blog posts. Till then, thanks for reading!

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