Ebonie Butler

Senior Web Developer YIKES, Inc

Ebonie Butler, also known as Metal & Coffee, is a full-time web developer, part-time livestreamer & part-time radio DJ based in Philadelphia, US. She is passionate about representation in the tech and gaming industry.


In this episode, we talk about WordPress development with Ebonie Butler, senior web developer at YIKES, Inc. Ebonie talks about finding her way back to her pursuit of coding as a career after challenges she faced in undergrad, falling in love with working in WordPress, and what being a WordPress developer looks like.

Show Notes


Printer Friendly Version

[00:00:05] SY: Welcome to the CodeNewbie Podcast where we talk to people on their coding journey in hopes of helping you on yours. I’m your host, Saron. And today, we’re talking about WordPress development with Ebonie Butler, Senior Web Developer at YIKES, Inc.

[00:00:19] EB: You’re kind of just working in your own little world, making things look nice or adding this functionality and not really worrying about too much about what’s going on at the core level of WordPress.

[00:00:30] SY: Ebonie talks about finding her way back to her pursuit of coding as a career after challenges she faced in undergrad, falling in love with working in WordPress and what being a WordPress developer looks like after this.


[00:00:54] SY: Thanks for being here.

[00:00:55] EB: I really appreciate you having me. It’s so great to be here.

[00:00:58] SY: So how did your coding journey begin?

[00:01:01] EB: I grew up in a pretty technical family, I’d say. My father has a degree in computer science.

[00:01:08] SY: Nice!

[00:01:09] EB: With a master’s in computer science. So I always had some exposure to it, and it was just definitely different as a person of color, as a black woman to kind of have that early exposure, which I really appreciated. But most of the exposure was due to my dad not really wanting us to touch his computers. And so eventually he was like, “Hey, I built y’all your own computer.”

[00:01:36] SY: Oh, nice!

[00:01:36] EB: “You and siblings are going to share this. And if you break it or download something that completely destroys it, you have to resolve it yourself and fix it yourself.”

[00:01:45] SY: Okay.

[00:01:47] EB: And so that is honestly where my really, really early computer and tech experience started because I ended up having to do some sysadmin type stuff, like clearing out the OS operating system, reinstalling it, diagnose viruses, run virus scan software. And eventually, the more you do that, the smarter you become with not messing up your computer. So yeah, all for the love of. computer games, I learned how to do that along with my siblings, so we can keep playing our computer games and really, really have fun and just indulge.

[00:02:29] SY: So with that exposure and getting your very own computer, did you always know that you wanted to get into computer science professionally?

[00:02:38] EB: Yes, definitely. Because even though I think most people who have exposure from their parents don’t necessarily want to be what they want to be. But in my case, I actually was really, really interested in programming and learning the inside and outside of computer, hardware, software, and how to build my own program, how to build my computer. So that interest is always there because essentially it was so easy for me to pick up. So all through elementary school, middle school, I was building my own websites here and there. Well, not even building the full on website, just making updates to various websites doing really custom coding in terms of my own MySpace and Tumblr, though I feel like a lot of people got some exposure to CSS, cascading style sheets, because you kind of had to learn how to do that, if you want to change the color, change the font and make your MySpace page so cool. But it was really cool to experience that because I really connected it with what I had been exposed to growing up and doing those things growing up just really continue to solidify my want to pursue computer science in college.

[00:03:54] SY: So tell me more about that college experience. What was it like taking those computer science classes, any challenges you faced either in the education socially and things like that?

[00:04:05] EB: Yeah, definitely. I grew up in the outside of Philadelphia, so to get more city experience and just to have a nice little change of pace I moved to Philadelphia and went to Drexel University and they had a really, really, really great computer science program. So I spent my freshman year and my sophomore year in computer science classes and honestly really struggling, not only because the classes were hard, which is what I expected. I was the only woman in my classes most of the time. I’d say I only met one other woman in my class maybe out of six classes. And I also was one of few as well black people in my class, one of two, sometimes the only one. So it was hard. I felt like I was handling it well at the time, but kind of looking back, it was definitely a stressful experience. And basically I will say that I wasn’t really a stranger to standing out too much because growing up, I was always into rock music and metal music and just very different from what people would have perceived me to have been like. So I was so used to feeling different, and as an outsider, that was in the groove of feeling that way, but I knew that it was stressful for my mental health to constantly be in that kind of situation where I feel like I have to be on guard and just feel different and never feel comfortable. And that is one I kind of had this experience that pretty much killed my want to be a computer science major. That happened probably near the end of my sophomore year. I was in this class that was teaching us binary trees and recursion, like really difficult concepts and algorithms that everyone was struggling with. And at the time, I had been very, very hesitant about asking for help. And that’s just something that I struggle with in general. I feel like a lot of people can relate to. It’s hard to ask for help, especially when you’re an outsider, you’re different, you don’t look like everyone else. You kind of just want to keep on not standing out. So you don’t draw attention to yourself. So it was that moment that I realized that, “You know what? I’m going to step out of my comfort zone.”

[00:06:37] SY: Good for you.

[00:06:37] EB: I am having a hard time right now, learning all this stuff. And so I decided to schedule a tutoring session with my teaching assistant for that class to see if I can grasp the concepts a little bit easier. And that teaching assistant was a middle-aged white male. And you can kind of just tell by the way he acted around me. I’m sure everyone can identify with, like, when you feel a bad vibe with someone who does not believe in you, you kind of can see that.

[00:07:09] SY: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:07:12] EB: I pushed through. I was just trying to keep my game face on and I started asking my questions and getting everything wrong because he was very intimidating. And I just remember being so flustered and almost sweating. And then about 15 minutes in he’s like, “You know, I don’t think this is for you. I think you should like consider something else because you’re not grasping this at all.”

[00:07:38] SY: Oh my goodness! I’m always shocked when teaching professionals say that kind of thing to students, whether it’s a TA, a professor or a teacher, like I’m always like, “Isn’t your job to help us get it? Isn’t that your entire purpose?” If we don’t understand it, how do you look at us and go, “Oh, you were the problem,” and not, “Oh, maybe I didn’t teach this properly or I didn’t approach this the right way”? I’m always shocked when I hear stories like that.

[00:08:06] EB: Yeah. And I definitely heard more stories like mine, it was just so shocking and ridiculous to hear that these perceived professionals are trying to gatekeep certain communities, but of course that’s another topic, but gatekeeping starts very early. I will say that.

[00:08:25] SY: So after that experience and it sounds like that was kind of maybe the final straw, one of just a series of feeling like you didn’t quite fit in, didn’t quite belong, what got you across the finish line and into software professionally despite those obstacles?

[00:08:44] EB: Well, after hearing that, I actually ended up changing majors and just accepting defeat initially. And so I eventually spent about eight years not doing what I wanted to do. So from 22 when I graduated, up until 30, it was an interesting position and job that I was doing. I was a general assistant engineer working in government contracting. I learned a lot. I definitely value all of those years I spent there and learning about space and orbit and all that fun stuff. But at the end of that eight years, I just knew that I didn’t want to be there for the long term and I needed to make a decision right now before I get kind of kept in this field whether or not I want to leave and learn coding again or just stay and this will be my career path for the foreseeable future. So it was around 29 where I decided I’m going to start studying coding after work and I’m going to start going to community classes in the city and I’m going to meet people who are also looking to career transition from whatever their career is now to being a developer, a programmer, despite having a one-hour commute to work and back and not even getting home till 6:00 PM and having to wake up at 5:00 AM. I spent at least two to three hours as soon as I got home. Practicing front-end development back in development and essentially just struggling to build my own website was I feel is a common first struggle.

[00:10:26] SY: Oh, yeah. For sure. For sure. Absolutely.

[00:10:28] EB: Yeah. So that was in 2016 where I started that journey. I was still working in the government contracting and that whole year I was getting used to studying after work. I was meeting people in the Philadelphia tech scene who were trying to do same things that I want to do and also meeting current developers who were very, very encouraging for me and even offered mentorship for me to get to where I am now. And about a year and a half after starting to learn how to code, I got my first developer job at YIKES.

[00:11:05] SY: Nice! So during the time when you were working in government contracting and you weren’t coding professionally yet, were you coding on the side at all? Were you kind of keeping up with that interest or that hobby in any capacity or was that kind of set aside for that time?

[00:11:22] EB: I actually was due to one of my side hobbies. I am a metal DJ on the side. And so when I was working in government contracting, I was actually managing my own website where I would showcase some music reviews and talk about music, et cetera, et cetera. And that did involve a lot of upkeep and a lot of coding that I didn’t even realize that I had been doing till recently. And so being able to manage your own website and fixed issues as well as small customizations to your website, via CSS in a small little HTML tweak, I was definitely doing that in between. So in order for you to, at 29, say, “I’m going to try this again and I’m going to switch careers,” I assume that you had to believe in yourself again, right? I mean, you had to say this time will be different, this time I’m going to make it. this time there was a chance. What gave you that change of heart, that change of perspective? What made you feel hopeful?

[00:12:29] EB: Well, it’s definitely a very specific experience. I had been just playing with the idea of giving it another try and learning how to program for about a couple months prior to officially starting. And I was in an Uber, I believe, I think coming back from a concert and the Uber driver was so excited in ranting and raving about how he is just doing this and make a couple extra bucks and he’s taking a programming class on Udemy and Codecademy and he’s very motivated to learn how to code and make that money.

[00:13:11] SY: Nice.

[00:13:12] EB: And so I feel like that was the final push I needed amongst all the subtle pushes I was getting for the past couple of months where I was like, “You know what? He’s doing his thing now. It’s time for me to do it.”

[00:13:27] SY: What made the experience different this time around? Why were you ultimately successful this time? Right now you’re a professional developer. What changed? What was different?

[00:13:37] EB: I think one of the key things is that I really put an emphasis on trying to find a community where I can see myself and really relate to other people who are like me. Looking back, it was exponentially hard to be around a bunch of people who didn’t look like me, a bunch of white male and trying to fit in and try to learn alongside without feeling intimidated, without having anxiety, without being stared at, because that was definitely a thing. And so I really, really put a strong emphasis on being around fellow women, fellow people of color, and kind of even creating study groups where I kind of facilitated us learning code together and really uplifting each other.


[00:14:49] SY: So tell me a little bit more about your learning journey the second time around. Paint that picture for me a little bit.

[00:14:56] EB: I started out using freeCodeCamp. I feel like that’s a very common place to start and it’s a very great resource.

[00:15:01] SY: Great resource. Yeah.

[00:15:02] EB: Yeah.

[00:15:03] SY: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:15:04] EB: And especially if you are really, really interested in web development specifically, their starter resources and the guidance and tracks to work through are really, really essential and really awesome and free of course. So that’s where I started. I also use Codecademy because they not only offered front-end dev tracks, they kind of let me dive into C++ and Java and PHP server side, mostly server side languages that I was potentially interested in to see if that kind of thing stuck with me. Another resource that I used was Girl Develop It.

[00:15:44] SY: Yeah, a good one.

[00:15:45] EB: They had a very, very strong chapter in Philadelphia where they had consistent classes about twice a week on the weekends, which is very, very convenient for someone who’s working full-time. So that was a huge resource for me. I’d take at least one class every week. I rarely missed a class that’s for sure because it was definitely not only my opportunity to learn something new, which is always about. It was my opportunity to meet other women who were doing the same thing that I was doing and really excited and motivated to become a coder or a UX designer in anything in that realm. They were very, very excited like I was. So it’s so cool to meet them, as well as just going to tech events when they would come around. I’m very fortunate to live in a fairly big city and where a lot of tech events do happen. So I did make it a habit to attend, for instance, Philly Tech Week. It’s twice a year, full week of really cool talks and places and experiences that you can go to and learn about the tech scene in various aspects of it. And so I think having all those resources at my fingertips kind of kept me motivated and disciplined and accountable because now that I had a community around me, a support group around me that was watching me, I definitely was motivated to stay on track just like they were.

[00:17:14] SY: So you are studying or taking advantage of community resources, local resources, online resources. How did you actually break into that first job?

[00:17:24] EB: Near the end of my year and a half of studying programming, I had been accepted into something called a fellowship that was being offered by Interactive Mechanics, which was an agency here in Philadelphia. The goal of the fellowship was basically to take on an apprentice to really show them what it’s like to be a coder or day in their life, especially at a web agency because web agencies tend to have a lot going on all the time. You have a lot of various clients. You have a lot of websites to manage. You’re constantly jumping around to various websites, doing a bug fix here, creating a website from scratch there, and then you’re kind of being pulled in all these directions. So it was super nice to be an apprentice there. Along with shadowing them and being able to see what they do day to day, I had my own final project to do with the presentation at the end of the fellowship where I would give and show this thing I built to the entire agency as well as anyone who would like to attend to see. So my final project was basically building a WordPress theme from scratch. It was definitely the most intense project I’ve ever done. Looking back now as a WordPress developer myself and having built a ton of themes four and a half years later, going back to the mindset that I was in when I was building my first theme ever, it was very, very hard. I was touching PHP. I was touching HTML. I was doing JavaScript things. I was doing CSS. All of those four languages are what make up a successful WordPress theme. And I also had designed it myself and it was definitely not the best. I’m not a designer, but I did it myself. And so that was my final project that I ended up presenting at the end of the fellowship. And I believe within the next month is when I nailed my first dev shop at YIKES.

[00:19:29] SY: Tell me more about this apprenticeship. What kinds of things were you learning and working on?

[00:19:34] EB: So for the apprenticeship, I actually was kind of thrown in the fire, which I definitely wasn’t mad at because I’m someone who personally likes when I’m meant to fend for myself for a minute. And I’m told, “Hey, here’s what we need you to do. Here’s some resources for you to check out if you need some guidance, and also here are your coworkers that you can bug when you run into issues.” And so that was definitely unintentional though because I believe my bosses were on vacation. And I had just got the job and they kind of needed someone to kind of be able to jump in and start working on stuff. But I didn’t come with like zero experience either. I had built things before and I kind of understood the infrastructure. So after I was kind of thrown in there and got my first theme up and running and went through a code review, which I loved, I love when other developers review your code and tell you what you can do better and just really make you a better developer, which I adore. So that was the majority of my apprenticeship, just building this theme, and then shortly after is when I fully got the go that I was like a full-time employee.

[00:20:56] SY: So now let’s get into just WordPress itself. Can you tell us a little bit more about what it is and what it looks like to use especially as a developer? I think a lot of us have probably heard of or familiar with just kind of open up a WordPress blog. When it comes to being a developer and working with WordPress, what does that look like?

[00:21:17] EB: Well, I’m sure a lot of people know that WordPress is probably one of the most popular content management systems out there and a lot of websites use it. Almost 30% on the internet they use WordPress. A lot of the popular stuff like Sony, Walt Disney, even Beyonce’s website is WordPress surprisingly.

[00:21:34] SY: Oh, wow! That’s cool. Great bragging rights.

[00:21:38] EB: It’s really cool. Yeah. Exactly. And so from a developer perspective, it is a really, really cool way to quickly spin up a blog, a new site, any type of a very, very intensive content management system that requires a little bit of customization because sometimes clients just need something really, really simple, and you don’t want to build something from the ground up. And that’s where WordPress comes in. The UI is super, super usable and super, super customizable as a developer as well because WordPress from a coding perspective makes it really easy for developers to hook in and add customizations with the less likelihood of breaking the entire framework, which is the goal, right? You want to be able to make changes and customize things without the fear of breaking the core functionality of a content management system and they make it so easy for you. So as a WordPress developer, I am always building a lot of themes, which is basically the appearance of the website, just the visual, the design and all that fun stuff. I’m always building themes in making it work with WordPress really well, but I’m also building plugins, which is another concept that basically adds a very specific functionality to the backend of WordPress. So for instance, if a user needs to have a very customized workflow for approving posts, our blog posts that need to be seen and published, but need to have verification first, you can actually create your own plugin to be like, “Hey, I’m going to make sure that this post goes through a review process and make a new page for it.” So the user, i.e. the editor can go to this very specific page and review this post before it actually gets published. Anyone who does not have the user role are the capabilities to publish a new post we’re going to make sure that it’s locked down. We’re going to have the editor handle that and then we’re going to allow the editor to actually publish the post. So you can change the workflow to make it how you want it, but you can keep it simple as well. So just make it really easy to hook into the core functionality and just make it work for your client, which has been really, really nice as a WordPress developer.

[00:24:12] SY: What’s the most challenging part of learning WordPress development?

[00:24:16] EB: I think it’s mostly boils down to understanding, I guess, the difference between PHP and working with HTML and CSS and where that actually comes in. Thankfully, WordPress does make it really easy for you to understand their documentation is wonderful and they make it really easy for you to build themes because honestly, all you have to do is to make sure that a certain set of files that you can literally download a boilerplate of a theme and a boilerplate of a plugin. So all you have to do is make sure that the specific set of files, whether it’d be a theme or a plugin is in its very specific place and WordPress actually just picks that up and recognizes it. And that’s pretty much the extent of how you get WordPress to recognize your customized code. From there, you’re literally just working within those files. You’re working with PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and you really don’t have to have complete awareness of WordPress and what’s going on behind the scenes to do that part outside of knowing certain WordPress functions that you need to grab information from the backend. You’re kind of just working in your own little world, making things look nice or adding this functionality and not really worrying about too much about what’s going on at the core level of WordPress.

[00:25:40] SY: And what does it look like using WordPress? Is there a specific coding language you need to know? Or what is it look like?

[00:25:48] EB: It is mostly PHP at this point, but there is a lot of JavaScript involved and a lot of React. So React in having knowledge of JavaScript comes into play due to the new block-based editor called Gutenberg. And I guess I really shouldn’t say it’s new. It was released in 2018 when WordPress 5.0 came out. It is still considered new because a lot of people are kind of still resisting the change, but it’s okay. It is a very nice editor. It makes it so easy for power users to edit their content and just visually it makes sense putting boxes together, putting an image right here, putting a paragraph right next to the image. All that fun block-based organization stuff you couldn’t do for 2018, which is surprising because I feel like a lot of people are already used to things like Wix where you can literally drag and drop different aspects, paragraph, images, files, links. You can drag and drop all that and also like medium too. That’s another example of a really, really good what you see is what you get kind of deal. So before that, you literally were either just entering into a text area, your content, and then you were entering different fields under that or you are actually inputting HTML into your page or your posts because you were kind of familiar with how to use HTML tags and you really wanted your posts to look like this very specific thing, but your theme couldn’t accommodate that so you learned a little HTML so you can make it look like how you want it to look like. So now, since 2018, you’re able to actually make it look like how you actually want it to make a look, like drag and drop blocks, have content organized into columns, three columns, and just really, really make it your own. And so that is what essentially Gutenberg is when someone says Gutenberg. And with the latest version of WordPress 5.9 that came out in January 25th, I believe, it’s actually just expanding the editor to different aspects of the website. And so it’s not something you’ll see right off the bat, unless your theme supports this new change called Full Site Editing. But that is the major change that came with 5.9 and it actually just reaffirms the new concept of everything being a block in building everything based off a set of blocks. And Full Site Editing refers to basically not only modifying and managing your main content area via blocks, now you’ll be able to modify and manage your header, your footer, sidebar, basically every aspect of the website with blocks and really give a lot more power to the user with how their website looks like. It is a very new thing. It is still buggy here and there, but it’s super fun to work with. It definitely changes the complete game as a theme developer, as a WordPress theme developer. I’m still learning how to make a new theme, utilizing all those new changes. You don’t even use PHP anymore, which is so strange.

[00:29:09] SY: Wow! Okay.

[00:29:12] EB: Yeah. And I still say that you should know PHP because the WordPress framework is still heavily PHP, but as a theme developer, building a new theme called the Block-Based Theme, you literally don’t use PHP at all, which is so strange to me. I’m still getting used to it, but it’s meant to make it more user-friendly and more user-focused. So it is a very interesting and really cool new change.

[00:29:37] SY: What would you say are the limitations of using something like WordPress to build websites compared to JavaScript and some other different frameworks?

[00:29:48] EB: There are very few limitations. Although I will say that if you don’t ultimately need a big content management system, although WordPress is really lightweight, if all you’re trying to do is build a very simple informational website, like your portfolio or just a landing page, WordPress might not be it because it does offer a lot of tools to manage a lot of content. And if you don’t really have a lot of content, then WordPress probably is not the road you want to go down.

[00:30:26] SY: And what are the benefits of using something like WordPress for development?

[00:30:30] EB: There’s so many. Well, as a full on WordPress developer, there’s just so many things you can do. It’s so nice to just have a really, really good starting point, a foundation, something already there to work from that already has all the core capabilities like managing posts, managing pages, having a homepage and having all the parts and the styling and the template tags all ready to go for you. And based on what you would like to do for your client, for yourself, building off of that is really, really easy, especially with a basic knowledge of PHP and HTML and some CSS. Knowing a little bit of those things, and I say that because I started out obviously as a beginner WordPress dev and I didn’t know PHP that well at all, I knew HTML, some CSS, but PHP was still a foreign thing for me, but I still got through and made some really, really cool themes with very, very minor PHP knowledge. So as a developer, you can customize so many things and WordPress makes it so easy for you to add functionality that was not even there and you’ll completely forget it’s a WordPress website because you’re able to add so much functionality and you’re wondering, “Oh, wow! This website also pinged this API and grabbed images from Spotify,” or something like that, just because a plugin did it or a theme did it. And someone built that. So if you see any functionality on a WordPress website where you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t know, WordPress can do that,” it’s probably a theme or a plugin that a developer built.

[00:32:24] SY: Right. Right. Coming up next, Ebonie talks about other great ways to learn WordPress development outside of an apprenticeship after this.


[00:32:53] SY: So outside of getting an apprenticeship, which is such a great opportunity, I wish there are more apprenticeship programs where people breaking into tech. What would you say are some of the other great ways to learn WordPress development?

[00:33:07] EB: There are definitely a lot of really good video tutorial tools out there. When I was really trying to grasp a lot of the core/advanced concepts of WordPress, learning WordPress, and one of those being action and filter hooks, which definitely was an eye opening experience, I utilized a lot of Udemy and Lynda courses. That actually broke down how WordPress themes work and how WordPress plugins work and what are some of the common ways to hook into WordPress and add X, Y, Z functionality and started working through examples and coding along with these video tutorials. Keep in mind that you can also use really cool HTML and CSS frameworks along with the WordPress, like a very common framework is Bootstrap. I know a lot of new developers learn how to create their first website using the Bootstrap framework. At my job, we use the Bootstrap framework in our themes because it makes things easier for us too. And so it’s very, very beneficial to learn HTML and CSS framework of your choice and knowing that you can definitely integrate that into a WordPress theme to make your developer experience easier for you. So yeah, Udemy, freeCodeCamp, of course, because you definitely need to have a grasp on the foundational knowledge of the core foundation of websites like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, that is literally all you need to make a website. Anything else is just a nice little icing on the cake. So having that core knowledge and then learning how WordPress, how they create a web page from their core infrastructure is really important.

[00:35:06] SY: You also do some learning in public. You stream through Twitch. Can you talk a little about that?

[00:35:12] EB: I started live coding about a year ago, I guess. My intention with my Twitch was actually to meet people and have fun. I originally was just going to be a gamer and play fun, little horror games on my Twitch channel, but I realized that there was actually a very, very fun community on Twitch for live coding. There’s a lot of programmers and developers on there who actually just code and talk their way through their thought process, which actually tends to be very helpful for people. And that’s why people tend to tune into these live coding sessions. And not only that, they ask their questions and especially if they’re a new and upcoming aspiring developer, they’ll ask for advice, which I found really, really good and really awesome. And so because I wanted to in general get into live coding and I wanted to learn online because I definitely will never claim to know everything, no one knows everything, I’m always learning something new, I decided to start streaming on Twitch while I tried my best to improve my skills with JavaScript and Node.js and React and Next. All those really, really high profile JavaScript frameworks that a lot of people tend to get anxiety or just have a hard time understanding, I decided to really, really hone down and start learning those frameworks on stream so people can watch me struggle and know that they’re not alone either. And it’s been actually going really well. I didn’t know I’d get this into it. And I’ve met so many people surprisingly, and so many people that we ended up collaborating on various coding projects, literally helping each other. So it’s just so cool to have that as a thing that’s like available to me and easy encouragement right there.

[00:37:19] SY: At what point did you decide to start learning in public? Is that something that you recommend people do from the very beginning? Is there kind of a right time in someone’s journey to start that process?

[00:37:32] EB: I don’t think there is a right time. I think it’s just when you’re comfortable because I absolutely promise you there is someone who’s going to stop by your stream and be like, “Hey, I want to help you.” And that’s what happens every time I stream. I stream new stuff that I’m learning and there’s always someone there that’s like, “Hey, have you tried looking at this? Have you tried this? I can help you if you want, just let me know.” And so there’s never a wrong time to start. You can start right now if you want to. And if the idea gives you anxiety, if you’re like doubtful about people judging you, don’t be doubtful. There’s only a few bad eggs out there. Most people who are on Twitch watching live coding aren’t there to bring you down and make you feel bad. They’re there because either they’re working alongside with you and they want that co-working experience or they’re a senior dev and they’re looking to help you or they’re on the same level as you and they want to see what you’re doing and they want to build a project with you and struggle with you. It’s a very, very tight-knit community on Twitch for live coding. So don’t feel intimidated. And if you need help, reach out to me because I've only been doing this for a year. I’m a newbie still, but I’m having a great time.

[00:39:02] SY: That’s awesome. That’s great. Any final words of advice for people looking to break into WordPress development?

[00:39:10] EB: I would say that the WordPress community is very, very accepting and encouraging and will literally guide through whatever you would like to do and whatever aspect of WordPress you want to get into. They are very, very helpful, very, very passionate, a small tight-knit community, but they just want to share the world, share WordPress with the world. And so if you’re looking to get into WordPress, definitely reach out to someone in a WordPress community. Of course, you can reach out to me as well, but I can definitely get you in touch with more people who are just so passionate about WordPress and really, really want to share it. And so if you’re interested in getting involved in WordPress, we can definitely point you in the right direction and get you even a mentor if you’re interested.

[00:40:06] SY: Now at the end of every episode, we ask our guests to fill in the blanks of some very important questions. Ebonie, are you ready to fill in the blanks?

[00:40:13] EB: Absolutely.

[00:40:14] SY: Number one, worst advice I’ve ever received is?

[00:40:18] EB: This is not for you. Definitely the worst advice.

[00:40:25] SY: Number two, best advice I’ve ever received is?

[00:40:29] EB: be patient with everything you learn. For me personally, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to sleep unless I figure something out. And so that kind of leads to early burn out and being able to be patient with yourself and walk away from the computer even if you don’t want to is very, very helpful for your brain and oftentimes you’ll find that you’ll think of the answer later anyway. So that’s the best advice for sure.

[00:40:57] SY: Number three, my first coding project was about?

[00:41:01] EB: Metal DJing and music reviews.

[00:41:04] SY: Oh, interesting. Tell me more.

[00:41:06] EB: Yeah. This was a project I mentioned while I was still doing government contracting, but I have been a metal DJ for 14 years. And so I started out in college and after I graduated and gotten to government contracting, I wanted to create a music site to keep up with my past, to share with other individuals, especially as a person of color in this very kind of white male scene, I wanted to put myself out there as a black woman who likes rock and roll and metal and connect with other people. So I spun up my own WordPress called metalandcoffee.com. I think it legit still has the original appearance that it had in 2015 or ’14 when I started it.

[00:41:55] SY: Very cool!

[00:41:57] EB: It’s not that great looking, but I spun it up and did some minor code changes on there. And yeah, that was my first project.

[00:42:06] SY: Very, very cool. Number four, one thing I wish I knew when I first started to code is?

[00:42:12] EB: I wish I knew that it would just take time honestly.

[00:42:17] SY: Yeah.

[00:42:18] EB: I feel like all the answers I’m giving are very generic, but they are definitely applicable because I feel like as someone who just has a hard time being patient with herself, wanting to get things now, wanting things yesterday, learning that it just takes time was one of the most eye-opening things for me and it just really solidified my need for time management and putting at least two to three hours every night towards this thing and being consistent about it and not expecting to do a five or six hours study run and being able to get it just then.

[00:43:00] SY: Well, thank you again so much for joining us, Ebonie.

[00:43:02] EB: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:43:10] SY: This show is produced and mixed by Levi Sharpe. You can reach out to us on Twitter at CodeNewbies or send me an email, hello@codenewbie.org. Join us for our weekly Twitter chats. We’ve got our Wednesday chats at 9 P.M. Eastern Time and our weekly coding check-in every Sunday at 2 P.M. Eastern Time. For more info on the podcast, check out www.codenewbie.org/podcast. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

Thank you to these sponsors for supporting the show!

Thank you to these sponsors for supporting the show!