Beth Downey

Beth Downey, a self-taught front-end WordPress developer with sprclldr, started her career in graphic design but later decided to transition to web development.

“As wonderful as design is, the subjectivity of it can be frustrating. Code is like math, it either works or it doesn’t. It’s like baking versus cooking.”

She started web development by teaching herself HTML to code MySpace pages—”stupid-easy” work that got her interested. After taking a CSS course tailored for print designers, she knew she wanted more. In 2012, she started working with WordPress and hasn’t looked back.

“Once I got a little taste of the magic happening, PHP got slipped in on me,” she says. “I like to say that web development is like Fraggle Rock. HTML and CSS are the Fraggles, that’s what everyone is looking at. Meanwhile, the Doozers underneath are doing all the work but no one knows. That’s PHP.”

Her origin as a graphic designer gives her a unique perspective on the development process. At Sprclldr, she and founder Kenneth White work with designers and small agencies to create custom themes.

Understanding the design aspect lets them stay true to the visuals, while WordPress makes all that “Doozer” work of site functionality easy.

“Because WordPress is so malleable, it’s different than other platforms, in my experience. You have so many different ways to do something,” she says. “But someone can walk into it and figure it out if they have just a modicum of experience with the internet.”

The openness of the WordPress community supports Beth’s drive to figure things out on her own. At MeetUps she found the opportunities to learn were abundant. “People are extremely generous with knowledge,” she says. “You almost don’t even have to ask. You can show up and learn. People want to make it easier for others.”

Her advice to anyone interested in learning more is to do exactly what she did – go to meetups and be open to what others have to offer.

“Attend as many WordPress meetups and Wordcamps as you can,” Beth says. “There is knowledge being distributed for free in the WordPress community. It’s yours for the taking. Everyone is still learning and everyone has something valuable to share.”

As part of the build-up to WordCamp Nashville 2014 Faces of WordPress will highlight members of Middle Tennessee’s great – and growing – WordPress community. We will feature WP users at all levels, newbies to advanced developers. And mark your calendar. This year’s Big Event is May 3, 2014.

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About D'nelle Dowis

D’nelle is the chief distiller of awesomesauce at Berry Interesting Productions, where she nurtures little website seedlings into healthy, hardy WordPress blossoms. She works from anywhere there’s wifi, fancying herself location-independent, but can most often be found kicking around Lakewood, CO, occasionally with her husband, Chris and/or their dogs, Annie & Cece, in tow. She loves sunshine, yoga, Apple products, and the oxford comma all a little too much.