More than 300 people from all over the country converged on the sixth annual Florida DrupalCamp the weekend of March 8-9. We made some changes to several aspects of the camp based on feedback from previous years, most of which attendees embraced. Perhaps our most significant deviation from previous camps (and from most DrupalCamps) was that we did away with the keynote speaker. We had a couple of reasons for doing this. First, our venue's auditorium wasn't large enough to hold all of our attendees (or to even come close). Second, we found that it is difficult to find a single keynote speaker that a large majority of the attendees will be interested in. Our solution was really well-received: double-length sessions with "featured speakers" well-known in the community.
Right now, there are nine, highly motivated people on the East Coast of Florida who are burning the midnight oil... focusing evenings on classes and labs, and days on projects and resources to master the Drupal skills that build new careers and make them valuable members of the Drupal Community. They are the select few of the 2014 Drupal Career Starter Program, and in less than two months, most will be ready for work experience as interns.
For the sixth consecutive year, Florida DrupalCamp will be one of the largest gathering of Drupal users in the southeast United States. Taking place on Saturday, March 8 (sessions) and Sunday, March 9 (community day), there’s no better way to level-up your skills, network with the Drupal community, and to remind you how awesome it is to be involved with this amazing project. Along with numerous other organizations, DrupalEasy is once again proud to help to sponsor and organize Florida DrupalCamp. Our amazing team of organizers from around the state (as from outside of Florida as well!) has decided to rethink a couple of the standard DrupalCamp “things” in an effort to make the event more productive for attendees and sponsors.
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. tl;dr: We're getting ready to graduate 18 such developers - contact me if you'd like to see if one of them is a good fit for your organization. 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.
Thomas Edison said, "There is far more opportunity than there is ability," which still holds true in many technology sectors today, especially in the Drupal Community. For years we’ve sailed onward with a pretty lean "experienced" talent pool – sometimes overextending ourselves, our employees, and our contractors. We’re good, but we lack numbers. And if we keep on this way, we are not only going to lose market share for Drupal, we’re going to lose talented people to burnout and discontent.
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.
Florida DrupalCamp 2013 invited four local non-profit organizations to take part in our annual Coding for a Cause event. Held the day after the camp sessions, over 30 volunteers help with site-building, theming, and content management tasks for the lucky organizations. This year's event focused on four local 501(c)(3) non-profits that were selected from the application process. Each selected organization was required to agree to:
I've been on the road a lot lately, touting the opportunities that Drupal offers to workforce and economic development efforts of regions and states. Thing is, before we can get to all the advantages for regions to develop a Drupal-talented workforce, we have to educate a lot of government leaders, commissions and committees on what Drupal is and does.
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.