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Building my career, thanks to the opportunity of open source

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This year, I have the honor of being one of the featured speakers at Florida DrupalCamp (February 23 to 25, 2024.) I will be speaking about the opportunity of open source. Working with open source has created tremendous opportunities for me and led to a fulfilling career and life – beyond what I could have ever imagined.

I've written about my journey from delivering beer to becoming a software engineer previously, and I was able to keynote DrupalCon London 2017 about how open source is a community and provides opportunities. This time, I want to focus on the impact of so many individuals on my career path. I met these individuals by working with Drupal and open source software. I want to inspire newcomers to leverage our open source community to help build their skills and career opportunities. I want to inspire existing community members to foster our open source community and realize the impact their actions can make on others.

It is extra special since Florida DrupalCamp 2014 was my second Drupal conference and the first time I had spoken at a conference. I had spoken once at Drupal 414, a Drupal user group in Milwaukee run by David Snopek, before that. If you're curious about that story, I wrote about it back in 2018 when I got to go back to FLDC a second time.

When I think back to 2000, in middle school, when I was first exposed to HTML via Dreamweaver, thanks to an extracurricular program at school, I would never have thought this could happen.

When I think back to playing Diablo 2, Counter-Strike, and Ultima Online in our clans/teams/guilds and building their websites, I would have never thought this could happen. Little did I know ripping off concepts from PHPNuke and XTemplate to build our team sites, bespoke forums, or ladder systems would lead to something.

Or would I ever think that playing Ultima Online on custom shards running RunUO and scripting custom NPCs or quests would lead to this?

These early open source projects taught me so much about programming. They allowed me to experiment, learn, and solve various challenges.

Back then, it was just fun and turned into a way to make some great online friends and take some fun road trips where we got to meet up. Who would think this guy 👇 would be here?

Friends I met playing Diablo 2 in 2001, after finally meeting them in 2006.

I always considered coding a hobby that would only become a career if I finished college (my original plan) and moved to a bigger city. Not all of that panned out. But I wouldn't trade this wild ride for anything else. It allowed me to meet my wonderful wife, have our three kids, travel, and meet amazing people while building a fulfilling career.

If you have questions for me about your journey or mine, reach out! If you're at Florida DrupalCamp, come say hello! If not, let's catch up at MidCamp in March. Fingers crossed, I'll be at DrupalCon Portland, so maybe there? Or, feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to chat.

I'm available for one-on-one consulting calls – click here to book a meeting with me 🗓️