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.
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 fifth annual Florida DrupalCamp is now open for registration! DrupalEasy is proud to be a sponsor for this year’s FLDC as well as being involved in the planning and execution of the camp through not only myself, but also through our network of contractors and graduates from our two local DrupalEasy Career Starter Program sessions.
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.
The first-ever Brevard County Drupal Code Sprint took place on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at the Cocoa Village Civic Center. A total of 12 sprinters attended in-person, along with 2 virtual attendees who joined in via IRC and a Google+ Hangout. The sprint was in support of the MediaFront module, a front-end media solution that provides HTML5-based media players for supported browsers and falls back to a Flash-based player when necessary. The MediaFront module maintainer, Travis Tidwell (travist), could not have been more accomodating and helpful, as he participated in the sprint for 10 straight hours.
The sprint was a success; we were able to improve the MediaFront’s documentation, fix some bugs, perform some structured testing of the module in various operating systems and browsers, and make some progress on several other issues. DrupalEasy was proud to sponsor the sprint, providing the facilities, drinks, and snacks for the participants.
3.. 2.. 1.. and lift-off of a new career!!! Here I go off to explore a new world that just 6 months ago I’d never even heard of! The strange blue teardrop world of Drupal!
For the past 20 years, I have been blessed to work my dream job as an engineer in the Space Shuttle Program, what a ride! The retirement of the shuttles meant a new direction in my life, and since there’s not a huge demand for rocket scientists these days, it meant seeking some new doors to open up and see what’s out there.
I happened upon a chance to enroll in a 10-week web development course called DrupalEasy Career Starter Program, so I dove right in not having any computer background, but realizing the web is the future! I successfully completed the class and am now starting an internship and an introduction into the community of Drupal. With all the helpful support in Drupal, it’s not a program you learn - it’s a universe of mutual relationships you join... so here’s my first step towards growing in the community.
The DrupalEasy Career Starter Program (DCSP), a one-of-a-kind 10-week, multi-modal Drupal training program is proud to announce the graduation of all 20 of our students from the class of 2012. This is the second year of the DCSP in Brevard County, Florida and we’re excited to watch this year’s graduates become (even more!) active Drupal community members and developers.
Through a grant from Brevard Workforce, the DCSP’s goal was to retrain 20 unemployed IT professionals and turn them into Drupal professionals. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet in 2011, approximately 8,000 skilled workers lost their jobs at Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County. Our available pool of talented IT professional was HUGE. This year’s DCSP effort received 202 applications for just 20 slots. The vast majority of the students selected had zero Drupal experience coming in. The rest of this post will give you an idea of how much Drupal knowledge and experience they have going out...
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.
We all want rock stars on our projects. But the reality is, there are more projects out there than there are experienced Drupal developers to handle them. How can we make more rock stars? WE Drupal. Work Experience (WE) Drupal was developed by Brevard Workforce, our super innovative, Drupal-embracing local workforce agency as a follow-on program for the Drupal Career Starter Program to help jumpstart careers for developing Drupal talent in the region. WE Drupal provides DCSP grads with a salary while they work for companies and organizations within the Drupal Community for up to 10 weeks.
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...