Has it been nine months already? My how time flies. Roughly nine months ago, I got a PM on IRC encouraging me to send my resume to WebDevStudios. Within 48hrs, I was officially joining the team. I feel confident in the statement that it is one of the best career moves I have made so far, surpassing going freelance back in spring 2011.
While freelancing kept me in web development and helped me grow in both coding and business management, it was not the best fit for me. I did not enjoy having to hunt down work or new clients, and it certainly was not a strong point. What helped me stick to it for so long were a handful of wonderful people who kept providing work for me, and I helped by filling in where they were not great at. I was the coder/developer for a lot of designers/fellow freelancers. However, I was not as happy as I could be, and was not getting to the places I wanted to be with a career.
When I knocked and WebDevStudios answered, it was a crucial step that I was thankfully allowed to take. My position resulted in a shift of career specialty focus. No longer was I taking PSD files and creating functional themes. Instead, I got to move over to a lot more plugin style development and plenty more functionality focus over visual. I had coworkers who took care of the visual. I did not realize till months later that I was probably a bit burned out on theming websites for clients. The biggest change was probably that I once again had coworkers. All things considered, very intelligent coworkers as well as popular/well known people in the greater WordPress community, whose names are recognized worldwide. Being able to rub elbows and consult each other for questions/issues we have or feedback we needed was and still is awesome.
Another perk is that I am able to stop worrying about trying to hunt down work for myself or nudge people about invoices that I had sent. While I still work directly with clients and get feedback from them, I am able to focus more directly on what I enjoy and love doing, which is coding and web development. This is also development that further challenges me to do things I never thought I could before and be amazed at what my coworkers are doing in the same area.
Lastly, the position I have and my employment with the company has allowed me to do something that I longed for but never got to do when I was freelancing, and that was travel and attend WordPress/web development conferences. Within a month of being hired, I was already signed up to attend WordCamp Philly 2012, which was the first chance I got to meet all of my coworkers at the time, in person (we have had additions/departures since). It does not stop there as most of the company is slated to be in attendance at WordCamp San Francisco, which I am not afraid to say is likely the biggest WordCamp of the year.
In summary, I am happy with where I am and hopeful for what the future holds for me. I hope I am allowed to be with the company for the long haul, helping it and it’s owners get it to where they want it to go, and allow myself to grow even more as a web developer and employee.