This is the second of four (ok, it was three, but there is so much good information!) weekly blog posts that encapsulate the advice, tips and must-do elements of career building in the Drupal Community from the panel of experts collected for DrupalEasy’s DrupalCon Austin session; DrupalCareer Trailhead; Embark on a Path to Success. It will be listed with other career resources for reference at the DrupalEasy Academy Career Center.
DrupalEasy was really jazzed to host the career how-to session with community leaders, living Drupal success stories, and a panel of talent-hungry recruiters from Drupal organizations around the world At DrupalCon Austin. Drupal Career Trailhead; Embark on a Path to Success provided so much great information on mapping out your Drupal Career, and so many people asked about follow up, that we realized it warranted some further dissemination.
Calling all aspiring web developers! DrupalEasy Academy’s super popular Zero-to-Drupal workshop, (and all the awesome learning resources that go with it) is available anywhere, live through our online classroom June 18th and 19th (and on scheduled dates every other month!) Register now!
Getting involved with Drupal core development is scary. There's a lot of really smart people involved and it can be intimidating. The learning curve can be steep and an "easy" task can turn into hours of frustration. Your inner voice tries to convince you that you don't know enough to contribute to Drupal core, and your fear of embarrassing yourself has you referring to Drupal core contributors as "them" instead of "us".
Luckily, the Drupal community provides a cure for all this. DrupalCon sprints. Imagine a day where the entire community comes together looking (stalking, perhaps) for new contributors, regardless of their skill level, sits them down at tables with some of the most experience developers in our community, and takes the time to take them from zero to productive in less than a day. Sound exciting? It should - and if you're going to be in Austin next week, then there's only one place you should be on Friday, June 6.
Most Drupal shops always seem to have a few pet projects on the to-do list that are perpetually 2-3 months off - those pesky bill-paying client projects always seem to get in the way. If only there was some way to throw some person-hours at them as a way of gaining some momentum and making some progress. It's actually not that difficult to find the right developer (if you know where to look), the payoff could be great (especially if it can be an additional revenue stream for your organization), and it could help max out your karma score.
Bringing on a new Drupal developer who is hungry for experience could be the perfect solution since many of the posted job openings for Drupal talent are for (seemingly) everything but junior developers.
The Drupal community has a problem, or perhaps it's better to say a perception problem. We tend to look at contributions to Drupal through code-tainted glasses.
This isn't really all that surprising, seeing how we are an open-source software project. We'd be nothing without the plethora of talented developers who, over the past 12 years, have helped make Drupal one of the top content management systems available today. It's also fair to say that two other types of contributions are well-known: documentation and community organizing. Both play a vital role in the health of our project. Without strong documentation it would be (even more) difficult climb the Drupal learning curve, and without community organizers, I doubt anyone would argue that our growth wouldn't be nearly as fast.
But there is another huge contribution that needs to come into view. It's one that I'd argue is equally as important as code, documentation, and community organization if the project is to grow and develop; and that is mentoring. A lack of guidance among newbies is creating longer paths to proficiency, and we are destined to keep struggling with seasoned-talent shortage if we, at least some of us, don't shift our priorities a bit. We've got plenty of awesome code, but it's no small issue that our supply of developers, at the level we are all looking to hire, is becoming a handicap to the development of Drupal.
We feel it is so key to Drupal's future, that we've made it an integral part of our 10-week Drupal Career Starter Program.
tl;dr version: we're looking for mentors, you should apply.
Everyone seems to need more and better Drupal talent. There are too many instances where projects are delayed, or even turned away or lost because we can't find the people with the proficiency to do the work. Even though high demand for Drupal is a relatively good problem, it is still one that begs for a solution. There's a plethora of training programs (including through DrupalEasy) out there for the self-motivated, tech savvy, Drupal-aware. The issue is, even with the mass of training available and promoted through the community, we still can't fill the gap, especially for the community's long term needs. This dilemma exists for the same reason that we face awareness challenges of the Drupal CMS overall; there is no sizable list of behemoth companies with huge marketing budgets or focused, funded, grand scale efforts to raise awareness outside of the community.
Florida DrupalCamp 2013 took place on April 20 and 21, 2013 at the Florida Technical College in Orlando, Florida. Attended by almost 300 people, the camp featured 42 sessions, a fantastic keynote by Ryan Szrama (rszrama), 30+ volunteers, great food by 4Rivers, and four lucky organizations who benefitted from the all-day Coding for a Cause event.
The beginning of the New Year seems like a good milestone to provide a progress update on the DrupalEasy Career Starter Program Work Experience (WE) Drupal. Eleven DCSP grads are interning with Drupal organizations all over the country, engaging their new-found Drupal knowledge and abilities in a variety of tasks, and gaining critical experience every day. Most of the interns are between one-third and one-half complete with their Work Experience, and reviews are super encouraging.
Some amazing organizations from far and wide stepped up to serve as WE Drupal Hosts, and help the eager 11 jumpstart their careeers, including the Drupal Association, Lullabot, WebEnabled, Radiant Blue Technologies, Cloud Nyne, Urban Rethink, Orange County Library System, Proctors, and DrupalEasy. Overall, the feedback from the hosts has been extremely positive, while the general reaction from the interns has been...overwhelming.
This weekend I participated in the Brevard Code Sprint for the MediaFront Module. I must admit, being new to Drupal, it did cross my mind that I’d be more of a hinderance than a help. I couldn’t have been more mistaken! The dozen folks from the Drupal community were great to work with.
DrupalEasy was fortunate enough to be be hired to develop version 2.0 of TechWell.com - a software development news site by Software Quality Engineering (SQE). TechWell.com covers a wide range of topics including agile development, software testing, quality assurance, and project management. This mini case study will detail some of the modules and techniques we've used to build the site.
We're a little over halfway through the second edition of the DrupalEasy Career Starter Program (DCSP), and in addition to learning the Drupal basics, our twenty students have also been learning how to leverage the various "satellite technologies" in the Drupal universe (Git, IRC, SSH) to interact and contribute to the Drupal community.
In case you're not familiar, the DCSP is a 20-week program that is aimed at jumpstarting our students' Drupal careers with 10 weeks of classroom training followed by a paid internship with an organization that uses Drupal. We call it "multi-modal" training because in addition to the classroom training, students are also assigned a community mentor, participate in mandatory lab hours, contribute back to the Drupal community, topped off with real-world experience in the form of an internship with one of our WE Drupal host organizations.
It never fails - regardless of the skill level of the Drupal workshop that I'm teaching on any given day, the topic of Drush always sneaks its way into the conversation. Normally, it's because I have to quickly download a module to demonstrate something that has come up in class. Rather than navigating to the module's project page, I just quickly jump to the command line and do a "drush dl whatever" and hope that no one notices the witchcraft I just invoked - this inevitably results in the nerdiest student in the class perking up and wanting to know what the magic is that they just saw...