WordPress announced that mentoring at WordCamps would count toward Five for the Future (5ftF) contributions. This is a wonderful opportunity as we have written numerous times in the past about how important WordCamps and meetups/conferences are in general. This is also great for those who may not be strong in the areas of teaching, translating, or contributing to code – just to name a few. While talking about this with Dan Knauss of Post Status, Dan had a wonderful idea. It would be a great benefit if 5ftF extended the mentorship contribution part to mentoring in the WordPress community in general.
Well, why should they do that?
WordPress is severely lacking mentors. A few months ago, I wrote about the different reasons that newbies are turned off from the WordPress community. A lack of mentors was one of the main reasons that I listed. The feedback that I have been getting from various mentees of mine is that no one is talking to them about WordPress in a good light. The reasons they listed for not being interested in joining the community are that they are being told:
- The pay is too low.
- The tech is outdated.
- There are no beginner resources that focus on development.
- A lack of diversity in leadership, communities, and voices.
Now one does not have to go outside of the WordPress community to see and hear people speak on every single one of these issues. I can’t refresh my Twitter feed without seeing someone argue about it at least once every hour. However my point isn’t, “Well if they join the community they can be proven RIGHT by family.”
My point is, that if they were able to get a mentor in the WordPress community, they could find out about companies like ours that pay above average for WordPress developers. They could see the wonderful things that community leader and mentor Courtney Robertson is doing to make tech easier to learn and more accessible to others through Learn WordPress. And they could see the different members of the community elevated like groups such as the WordPress Accessibility Team, BlackPress, and Underrepresented in Tech. In addition to newbies getting much-needed info, elevating these platforms could also get more seasoned members in the community to help!
Changing the narrative
The WordPress community is full of amazing developers, marketers, writers, designers, and more. It seems like every other day I’m meeting an amazing person that cares about the community. However, as Kim Lipari mentioned, “We’re not a small village anymore.” WordPress powers almost half the web, and as we shout that loudly and proudly, we should make our community look more like around half of the web’s users. We do that by getting more people in the community to speak to those outside of it. Mentoring at a WordCamp is excellent and should be done more, but what about those that don’t know what WordCamps are? What about those who don’t know that WordPress is as big as it is? What about those that love WordPress, know about the meetups, the WordCamps, and all the fun publications and podcasts, but don’t know how to have their voices heard?
Well, that’s on us. We need to go out and find them. Bring them on at our companies or projects. Give them advice and show them all the ways that WordPress can change their lives. Grow our community and make it more diverse. And as always help others.