Faces of WordPress: Bryan Belanger (2015 Speaker)

Bryan Belanger

How were you first introduced to WordPress?
I was first introduced to WordPress around 2007. I was just starting to get into web development and was using WordPress for my personal site and a couple of freelance projects. Instantly loved it and how the dashboard was set up compared to other CMS’s I had used.

What do you like about it?
The community first and foremost. It’s easily one of the most giving and nurturing communities around when it comes to web development. From helping out small business owners, or development discussions on the forums or at meetups, the community is incredibly helpful and accepting. I’ve worked in several other frameworks and communities where an elitist attitude can arise, but I have not experienced that in the WordPress world. Also WordPress has come so far in how you can extend it for large scale websites. It’s an incredible tool to have when building for the web.

What do you do with WP now?
I design and build custom themes for different clients at Snapshot Interactive. A large majority of our client’s websites are built and maintained on WordPress, so I’m in the code for it pretty much every day.

How as the WP community helped you?
I learned WordPress sort of in tandem with learning PHP. My general mentality is to dive in and break things and see how it all works, and so the WordPress community in a sense really helped me grow my development skill-set. Anytime I’ve had questions about how to approach different scenarios, WordPress community has been instrumental in helping me figure out how to tackle it, and grow as a developer in general.

Did learning WP lead to any significant changes in your life?
It’s helped me grow my development chops, as well as opened a lot of professional doors for me. WordPress is widely used, and being able to develop custom themes has helped me find incredible opportunities I wouldn’t have had before.

What would you tell a new user? A new developer?
Have fun with it and reach out to the community. Whether you’re a new user, or a new WordPress developer it never hurts to try new things with it to see what works and what doesn’t. If you’ve hit a roadblock, more than likely someone has encountered that as well and would be happy to give some feedback. Also if you’re a new developer, the documentation is some of the most organized out there, take time to search and read through it and see the example code. Don’t be afraid to dive right in to the deep end.

Anything else we should we know?
Snowboarding is one of my favorite things in the world. One day I would love to do a heli-drop in Alaska! Oh also I love the Green Bay Packers and they shall rise to glory again!