Today we have Aurooba Ahmed as the guest in our WP-Professional of the Month series. She is an independent web developer and is a well-known face in the WordPress community. She has several WordPress contributor badges under her belt. She is a WordPress core contributor, WordCamp organizer and speaker and Translation, Marketing and Test contributor. She is also one of the organizers for WordCamp US this year.
Aurooba also has some handy little plugins to her name. Our readers will remember her as the author of Super List Block, our Plugin of the Month in February 2022. Her products are solutions to the problems she faced in her own projects.
You are well-known in WordPress circles and meetups. How did the journey start? How did you get introduced to WordPress?
I found WordPress when I was looking for an easy way to help my dad update his nonprofit website while I was in high school, but I was introduced to the WordPress community much later in 2015 when I moved to Calgary and found the WordPress Meetup here.
Where are you based? Does your location influence your work?
I’m currently based in Calgary, Alberta – right by the Rockies. One of my biggest professional goals was to never let my career be tied to a physical location, so I could move freely. So no, location doesn’t influence my work directly in any way.
Please share some projects you are currently involved with
What makes WordPress so special to you?
I appreciate both the software and its ecosystem (the ease of use, the millions of plugins to choose from) as well as the community (the friendly helpful people who make the community so awesome). It’s special because it has both of these things, I don’t know if every software-related niche is able to boast of having both a thriving ecosystem and a friendly welcoming community.
What is your favorite a) plugin b) Theme c) Hosting and why? (other than your own works)
That’s a tough one. I suppose my favourite plugin is Gravity Forms, it’s so powerful and I can do so many things with it without too much work, it truly makes my life so much easier.
I don’t have a favourite theme, unfortunately! It’s been ages since I used a theme, if I do reach for a theme it’s usually the latest default theme.
My favourite hosting is WP Engine, I love the power they put in the hands of devs and the performance is excellent.
What do you think about the future of WordPress?
Blocks Block Blocks. And React.
What would you like to see implemented to WordPress as a Core feature?
The ability to duplicate posts.
As a person involved with several plugins, please share some marketing tips.
Share your work. Share your progress, share the problems (and solutions!). When you open up to your community about the projects you’re working on, they are more likely to engage with you, celebrate with you, and help you figure out what’s going wrong. It’s an excellent way to give (you are teaching/sharing what you’re learning) and also a great way to engage (in turn, people ask you questions or ask for your help and then you can help them).
You have been involved with WordPress since a teen. What advice would you give a WordPress beginner?
The advice I would give a beginner is to not rely on plugins and extras at first, but learn what you can do with just WordPress itself. It’s easy to start using certain plugins and extras as a crutch, and ultimately that’s a disservice to yourself and to your project.
What do you think about women’s participation in the WordPress ecosystem?
It could be more balanced. There are many women in WordPress, but not necessarily an equal distribution of women in all the different aspects of WordPress. I’d like to see that become more balanced and equitable.
We had so many acquisitions in WordPress in recent times. What are your thoughts on it?
We are in a season of changes and transitions. There are new spaces opening up and old spaces changing. More than anything, I think there is a huge amount of opportunity and maturing happening in the WordPress space, and I, quite frankly, think it’s thrilling.
Life has both success and failure. Please share one mistake that you made earlier in your career.
Oh I have made so many mistakes, but I do my best to try and learn from them and not repeat them (much). I think one of the most important mistakes I made was saying ‘yes’ to everything that came my way even if it had red flags in it. This happened to me a couple of years ago, when I was in a serious scarcity mindset. I said yes to projects even when they were priced too low, had red flags in the scope, or the client was iffy.
Choosing and acting from a place of scarcity ultimately always comes back to bite you. In this case, the result was 15-18 hour workdays and weekly panic attacks for 3 months straight – not very good. Choose from a place of openness and abundance.
What is Aurooba like away from WordPress? What are your ways of chilling?
Away from WordPress, I can be found curled up in the corner with a book or playing board games with my family and friends. I also love to host dinner parties – not because I like to cook (because I don’t) but because there are few things happier than sitting down over a meal with loved ones, laughing and chatting away.
The WP-Content team wishes all the very best for her future endeavors and hopes to see her with more wonderful WordPress products.
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