Faces of WordPress: Brett Shumaker

Brett Shumaker

Brett Shumaker

How were you first introduced to WordPress?
I first got into WordPress in 2008 just after I graduated from Austin Peay State University. I had a B.F.A. in graphic design and no design job. I was connected with a local freelance designer who wanted to start building websites for her clients. We looked at Joomla, Drupal, and even (I think) a very early iteration of LightCMS before landing on WordPress.

What do you like about it?
I love the community aspect of WordPress. I’m a self-taught developer so it was very helpful early on that there was a place I could go to ask questions and get feedback. It really helped me understand what was going on with my code so I could start to move beyond just copy/pasting code into my projects.

What do you do with WP now?
I’m currently the lead developer with Ah So Designs here in town. I’m responsible for building all custom functionality our clients need. This can be anything from integrating with third party services like Instagram or Placester to setting up e-commerce and custom post types. In my freelance work, I’ve been focusing on custom plugin projects.

How as the WP community helped you?
Locally, it’s allowed me to meet and work with other developers. Being self-taught and working for small companies, I was always the only dev in the building so I never had anyone to bounce ideas off of to know if I was “doing it right.” I’ve also gotten connected with clients, and I got my current job through the local community.

Did learning WP lead to any significant changes in your life?
Definitely. WordPress has opened up a ton of career opportunities for me. Having a design background along with the ability to code some fairly complex functionality allowed me to go full-time freelance for a time. Knowing that I can fulfill both design and development tasks for a web project made that transition a *little* less scary.

What would you tell a new developer?
Use the codex, be ready to level-up your Google skills, and GO TO YOUR LOCAL MEETUP. And when you get to that meetup, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Anybody who knows more about development than you has been at your level before, so they know how it feels.

Anything else we should know?
Love dogs and have three: Lyla (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), Ellie (English Bulldog), Molly (Italian Greyhound, Lab, Pit mix). From Ohio but have lived in Tennessee since 2003. Huge Ohio State fan…deal with it.