Hey there, I’m Jay. I’m a back-end WordPress developer, Star Trek Geek, Space Finatic, Gamer, and Father of 3 amazing ( and sometimes annoying ) kids. First and foremost, I’m a WordPress guy; tell me something can’t be done in WordPress, and I’ll prove you wrong. I can be found lingering on Twitter @plugish, over at Github @JayWood making ‘dem repos, or if you want to know me on a personal level, over on Facebook @therealjaywood.
Where it all Started
I guess I can say my journey into WordPress started my sophomore year of high school. My girlfriend’s dad ( now wife ) had given me a Tandy computer; which was the first computer I ever owned. I was quite bored one day and figured, “Let me take this apart and put it back together”… and it still worked, I was absolutely astounded…
A year later I joined the Vo-Tech center as a high school elective, and went with Computer Science, and was given the BEST possible teacher, Mr. Fox. He as a way of explaining things that may seem overly technical, but he can associate it with real-world situations, which makes it that much more intellectually palpable.
During our senior year, we were required to select a topic for our final exam. At first, I selected Flash ( when it was owned by Macromedia ), mainly because all the cool kids were doing it, and I wanted to learn animation. However, months down the road I found myself more interested in Action Script.
It wasn’t long after until I asked my teacher to switch my studies away from Flash and into HTML.
Fast forward to graduation, and a few months after. I moved into my parent’s apartment and wanted to start to learn websites, since in my senior year I learned a good bit about HTML and CSS. So, I immediately started googling to figure out what was the best CMS at the time. Bet you don’t remember PHP Nuke! Yep, that was my FIRST content management system. A year or so later I picked up Joomla; but it was a bit too bloated for what I wanted to do.
A few months later I picked up Drupal, and for the longest time it served it’s purpose. But I wanted customization, and something that was far more wide-reaching… so I found WordPress, and have stuck with it every since.
It wasn’t long after I picked up WordPress that I had an itch for plugins; so I picked up a book, PHP for Dummies. For two years I read this book, wrote code, broke code, and dabbled in MySQL storage. I literally taught myself PHP and MySQL in two years, at least the basics.
After a year or so I figured it was time to start freelancing. So I dabbled in some local businesses, calling myself a ‘professional web developer’ because I thought I knew all that there was to know about WordPress. Many people told me “you’ll never make money doing computers here” but I was determined to prove them wrong. For the longest time I was using premium templates, and a ton of plugins to achieve my goals.
As many have said, using plugins and themes doesn’t make you a developer. It wasn’t until one of my clients asked for a ‘custom plugin’ did it really hit me… I wasn’t a developer, I was merely a pawn who knew how to configure a website and plugins. So… given the fact I knew PHP at the time, and a bit of WordPress, I got to coding, and in a month or so, Content Warning v2 was born!
Local business are well and good, but overall I wanted to reach further, but given financial instability I elected to get a regular job. Near the start of my freelancing career, after two years of a regular job. I was working at our local K-Mart as a front-end manager for about 6 months. Well it was near Christmas time and I was given the order to restrict my fellow employee’s lunch time in favor of ‘having them on the registers’.
Well I went in the back to talk to the boss and to my surprise, the manager at the time was just sitting there with a few of his friends, twisting a pen, doing nothing. He could’ve covered for our guys… instead he’d rather sit and do nothing. So… I walked out, I handed in my ear piece, my badge, and left. Needless to say 6 months later the store closed down, so that must’ve been a good decision.
At this point I started my freelancing career. For two years my freelancing career was a journey, but it’s not without mistakes. Diving into freelancing has a learning curve, and I even blogged about it if you’d like to read it ( Common Freelancer Mistakes ). Overall, freelancing allowed me to build my portfolio, learn, and get the feel of the WordPress landscape.