Meet Courtney Robertson, a dedicated and accomplished professional who shines as a Developer Relations Advocate at GoDaddy Pro and a WordPress Training Team faculty member. As a professional educator, Courtney masterfully blends her teaching expertise with her passion for technology.
In 2006, while teaching high school business and technology, she stumbled upon open-source software and found WordPress a perfect solution for her students’ blog needs. Courtney Robertson attended WordCamps in 2009 and later contributed to WordPress Training, becoming a team rep by 2015. Teaching WordPress at a vocational school in 2016 and joining The Events Calendar further enriched her expertise. By 2022, she joined GoDaddy as a Developer Advocate, championing open source, contributing, and fostering collaboration.
Next week, she will attend the Community Summit and WordCamp US at National Harbor, Maryland. WPExperts’s Community Manager Zubair Siddiq conducted her interview related to her journey with WordPress and her expectations from the upcoming Community Summit and WordCamp US 2023. Let’s read what she answered!
Q#1 How long have you been in the WordPress industry?
I started using WordPress in 2005 and contributing in 2009. I began teaching WordPress in 2014.
Q#2 What are your responsibilities at GoDaddyPro as a DevRel Advocate?
Much of my work includes connecting with those who build websites for others as well as connecting with the contributors to WordPress. I help convey what is happening in the Core software, PHP compatibility, and planning for our presence when sponsoring WordCamps. This includes coordinating content for releases, events, and social media.
I help our staff anticipate updates and get involved in contributing to WordPress, as well as other open source projects. GoDaddy is a member of the OpenJS Foundation (https://openjsf.org/about/members/) and participates in several other projects as well. In May, I had an opportunity to connect with many additional open-source communities at Open Source Summit North America.
Q#3 What does the WordPress Training Team do? What is your role in representing such a team?
The WordPress Training Team helps people learn to use, extend, and contribute to WordPress through learn.wordpress.org.
Our scope of who we help Learn WordPress is vast, addressing many learning pathways and stages of learning.
I have served several terms as a team representative. This year, Pooja Derashri, Destiny Kano, and Ben Evans are team reps. The role of a team rep is to facilitate meetings, and they do so beautifully.
My role this year has also encompassed advising as training team faculty and organizing what content needs to be revised or created for each WordPress release. I’m excited to be the first Training Release Co-Lead alongside Courtney Patubo Kranzke in WordPress 6.4. This will help the training materials available on LearnWP be ready closer to or at release. I believe tools like ChatWP https://wpdocs.chat/ have increased the need for our content to be as current as possible, as technical support needs these resources readily available.
I have also been contributing to the Marketing team, facilitating Meta (DevOps) team meetings, and helping launch the initial cohort of the New Contributor Mentorship Program.
Q#4 How many WordCamps have you attended? Are you excited about the upcoming WordCamp US 2023?
I’ve lost track of how many WordCamps I’ve attended. I am fortunate to attend camps as part of my job now and funded by my employer, GoDaddy. Before that, I had also attended many camps. I live just west of Gettysburg, PA, USA. I am within driving range of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, New York City, Buffalo, Baltimore, and Washington DC. These have all hosted WordCamps before the pandemic. I even attended the first WordCamp US, which took place in Philadelphia.
The first camp I attended since working at GoDaddy was WordCamp Europe 2022. This was my first international camp and the first time I didn’t drive to a camp.
I am very excited about the upcoming WordCamp US. I see a huge groundswell of contributors joining or reviving their interests. In some ways, I am glad that this event will be close to home.
Q#5 What are your expectations from the Community Summit 2023?
I am most excited about the session on improving cross-team collaboration and procedures. I think it will improve how the 22 teams within WordPress can work together on one larger goal in a way that works for all of us, and also improves what unites us.
Q#6 Where do you envision the future of WordPress as an open-source CMS?
WordPress’ growth has grown and maintained its market share of the web to 43%. I know the future must involve a younger generation of users, extenders, and contributors. I hope to see the project learn from other open-source communities, as well as contribute programs and procedures that support other open-source projects. In the CMS space in particular and in the shorter term future, I’d love to see a revival of blogging as our source of content. The syndication efforts that Jetpack has been pioneering to cross-post from our own websites to the Fediverse, projects like the IndieWeb, and using our domain names as user names in BlueSky really have me excited about the blogging future again.
Q#7 What is your opinion about the WordPress community?
The WordPress community is the strength of the project. I recall being one of 5 women at my first WordPress event. It was not a diverse audience by any means. We faced some challenging times through a pandemic and in reviving our community events. But in the midst of all that, I see us continuing to be better together as a welcoming and helpful community.
Q#8 Do you have any suggestions for newbie WordPressers?
If you are wanting to learn more about WordPress and open-source, come to https://learn.wordpress.org. We are even launching live cohorts of courses.
If you are ready to get involved, head over to https://make.wordpress.org/contribute. Whether your first encounter contributing is at a WordCamp Contributor Day or online in one of the 22 different teams’ meetings, it can be scary. That’s okay, and we really do love to help folks join in. Do it afraid if you must.
Remember, we are they. We each have a voice. We each can leave feedback or share ideas. The catch is to do so where the teams are gathering.
Q#9 Name your favorite WordPress folks?
Rather than verge on who is popular, I’d like to say this differently. My favorite WP folks are those who share their thoughts on issues that participate in how WordPress happens. I love connecting with full-time, part-time, and self-funded contributors alike.
Meeting with the extender community is always invigorating. Seeing the needs of their customers and unique ways of solving problems always gets me thinking. The staff in those companies vary, but talking with the product managers and developers always helps me stay grounded in things that depend upon WordPress working.
And users, customers, site builders, site owners, and even site maintainers are all a huge part of why the rest of us do what we do.
Q#10 What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
When I am not WordPressing, I’m often found hanging out with my 2 young kids. I also play a 7-string electric violin, a mandolin, and dabble in 3D printing.
I suppose one of my hobbies is still WordPressing: http://thewpcommunitycollective.com
Time To Say Goodbye!
It was an informative and interesting interview with Courtney Robertson. Our readers will surely learn more about her while going through this interview. We wish all the best to Courtney for her future achievements and contributions. It’s time to say goodbye until the next interview. Stay connected!