Meet Alison Barrett, WordPress Expert

alison Join Alison for WPSession #5: WordPress Unit Testing on Saturday, November 30!

Where can we find you on the internet?

My development blog:
Twitter: @alisothegeek

When and how did you get started with WordPress?

In 2008, I was working at a small agency in Minneapolis, where I was one of two web developers. I discovered WordPress somehow—I can’t remember what led me there—and I decided to try it out on a client project at work. We started building all our client sites on WordPress after that.

What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?

I usually turn to blog posts I find through Google. Before working at Automattic, my WordPress education was almost exclusively through blogs and online tutorials. Since joining Automattic and becoming more active in the WordPress community, I’ve made lots of friends that I can go to for help, too!

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

For me, nothing beats empowering the user to put their own content on the web using WordPress. Even though I’m not working with clients in an agency atmosphere anymore, I still remember how great it felt to see a small business owner or manager of a non-profit realize they could put content on their new site without a developer’s help. Getting your message online is a powerful thing, and WordPress lets anyone do that.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned/discovered while unit testing?

My favorite moments in unit testing are when running or writing the tests reveals a problem with the code I didn’t see before. It feels great to know that the extra work of writing out unit tests pays off like that.

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Consume all the information you can. Read tutorials, find blogs, and follow other WordPress experts on Twitter. Play around on a local WordPress installation. Read core code. The more information you take in, the more you’ll be able to do and figure out on your own. Chances are you’ll be considered an “expert” long before you believe it yourself.

Bonus Question: What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

Learning drives everything I do as a hobby. Right now I’m learning to speak Spanish. My favorite games are those that have a steep learning curve or take practice to master. When I read, it’s usually non-fiction books; the fiction I do read is sci-fi/fantasy because I love learning about these complex imagined universes. I recently re-read the MYST novels and reignited my passion for the language from the videogames (D’ni). In college, I spent an entire summer learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube without needing to memorize turn sequences. I’m a nerd when it comes to learning.