In 2008, I started working as a nurse, and I knew there is something more for me.

I grew up in a family of artists, and my father’s art influence to me was so great, that by 2009 when I was looking for something else to do besides nursing, I knew that art is the thing for me so I added tattooing to my career.

In 2014, I made one decision that had a big impact to my life. I moved to Japan!

When I arrived Japan, I couldn’t speak the language and didn’t know anyone. If this is the situation for any foreigner in Japan, you know that things will get real.

I often get lost and take the wrong buses and click the wrong buttons. Last May, I celebrated my 1 year of living in Japan and it has been an incredible journey. And despite of feeling like a green apple among the red ones, I found a place where I belong -DigitalCube.

DigitalCube is my workplace where I learn about open source, WordPress & the importance of contributing to WordPress.

Five For the Future

Organizations that want to grow WordPress should help by dedicating 5% of their people to working with something to do with the core – be it development, documentation, security, support forums, theme reviews, testing, translation and anything that helps move the WordPress mission forward.

make.wordpress.org is the right place to start.

The types of contributions range from translating & community up to the technical stuff like plugins & core. You can contribute regardless of your profession or technical level.

CORE

For contributors just starting out, there are “Good First Bugs”. You can also contribute by patch test and if you see a bug, create a ticket and suggest improvements to the software.

Contributing to the core will allow you to become familiar with WordPress core code, coding standards and processes. It’s also a great feeling to know that you were able to help with WordPress development. On the other hand, seeing your name on the contributor list is a great motivation, and we all need motivation to help us move forward.

PLUGINS

One plugin from Japan is Nginx Cache Controller that controls Nginx proxy server cache by Wataru Okamoto and from Poland, we have upPrev by Marcin Piertzak that displays cool animated flyout with related content that makes your site look sophisticated like New York Times.

When you create plugins, you can gain technical trust from the community, and when your plugins are in the plugin directory, you are showcasing your skills as a developer.

Besides LinkedIn, this is an extension of your professional profile. Especially if you are in the business of creating premium plugins it’s nice to have some free ones as well that lets people experience the beauty of your work.

THEMES

You can contribute by uploading your themes to WordPress Theme Directory, it will be reviewed and will await approval. You can also upload Commercial themes there because sometimes users don’t mind paying for something they know has support behind it. Also the GPL does not say that everything must be zero cost, it’s just the fact that when you receive your software, it must not restrict your freedoms in how you use it.

Another place where you can contribute is Underscores, which is a WordPress starter theme.

For example, my team member who contributed to Underscores led the development of IEMOTO which is also based on _s. IEMOTO is integrated with grunt init, gulp and Sass.  

When you create themes, it could inspire you to make a new kind of theme like Media Assembly Kit Theme. It’s a  web media developing framework, a modern development way of WordPress (using JSON REST API Template) that you can modify and use to make something cool.

Creating themes lets you get experience & skills and you can show these design skills to others , and this is especially beneficial to those with design companies. Doing so, you may also meet all sorts of clients with different needs that’s helpful on how you adjust your time and design to make your clients happy.

LOCALIZING & GLOBALIZING WORDPRESS

You can become a translator by joining the polyglot team. Simply get in touch with the contributors and they can help you get started right away.

When WordPress was localized into Japanese, we were able to appreciate and understand better. This led to the rapid increase in Japanese users and growth in Japanese market.

With better understanding of WordPress and how it works, Japanese developers made plugins and in relation to this, they made Multilingual Plugins that further help in Japan’s globalization.

Previously in our company, we only had Japanese sites. One day we started translating all our sites, services & solutions from Japanese into English.

As a result, Foreign users start to understand our services and their number grew rapidly. We also start thinking about our business in a global scale and start placing our software at a global marketplace.

ACCESSIBILITY

You can help make WordPress accessible. Accessible to those with disabilities, accessible in all devices and languages.  You can contribute in WordPress.tv by adding subtitles to WordCamp talks.

This photo was taken in WordCamp Brisbane in June 2015 . In this photo, the speaker has a sign language interpreter next to her.

By making WordPress accessible, you help in making the web accessible to all. Most importantly, you aid in advocating the mission of WordPress, which is to democratize publishing.

COMMUNITY

In Japan, we have various meetup groups like WordBench and (something that will make you hungry) WordCrab. First we talk about WordPress, then eat crabs after.

WordUps in different locations in Poland.

Ask members of the community for help on how you can get started with WordUp in your city.

By organizing WordCamps and local meetups, you help increase the number of WordPress users and developers in Poland. In return, you help grow the Polish market.

In addition, by being around people, it helps develop your public relations and verbal communication skills, and most importantly how you interact with people. This valuable life skill determines how you work with a team and how you communicate with your group & customers effectively.

DESIGN 

Steve Jobs said, “design in a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks, but if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”

Keep an eye on Make WordPress Design where they announce where they need help with designs related to WordPress.

This year’s WordCamp Polska 2015 logo design was by Katarzyna Karus-Wysocka and graphic elements by Magdalena Dymańska.

For freelance artists or design businesses, by helping in WordCamp logos and graphics, you allow designers & other agencies recognize you and your abilities. By doing so, you help users be empowered and be moved by your work of art and you help WordPress be memorable to people in various ways.

VOLUNTEERING

WordCamps are usually 2-day events and the organizers definitely need an extra hand.

You can also volunteer like Wojtek Rownanek, who takes beautiful photographs in WordCamp and local meetups.

Another way to volunteer is by sharing your time and knowledge by speaking. Volunteering definitely shows your community spirit, and by speaking you inspire others with your knowledge and story. Experiences in WordPress events expand not only your professional network, but also your network of friends.

OTHER WORDPRESS CONTRIBUTIONS

Writing books, creating blogs, tutorials and sharing WordPress tips like Tomasz Dziuda’s Dziudek.pl and Bartosz Romanowski’s WPZEN.pl.

In our company, our projects are 99% WordPress-related, so we wanted a convenient WordPress development environment that is also useful for collaboration.

Our WordPress Plugin Developer & Backend Engineer, Takayuki Miyauchi, created VCCW.

VCCW is a brilliant development environment for WordPress which is Vagrant-based.
Have fun developing WordPress sites, plugins & themes with VCCW.

SUMMARY

Contributing to WordPress allows you to share your talents and show your community spirit.

Contributing to WordPress lets you learn about the culture and it’s significant on how new innovations come to life.

Contributing to WordPress lets you learn about the most important value which is the value of sharing.

Businesses should be ready to listen & be sensitive to the needs of their community. After all, WordPress is about the people and the friends you make there. Our strong community is the foundation of WordPress.

Finally, fear no obstacles. There will always be obstacles in anything we do. They are simply part of our lives. Sometimes we just have to be brave and buy one-way tickets.

With contributing, we can be inspired by the beautiful story of Wojtek the soldier bear. Although he’s not human, he still contributed and lend his extra pair of paws to help the Polish army. Bear or human, developer or not, each of us has his or her own strengths – it could be translating, writing, speaking, organizing WordCamps, or developing plugins.

Wear your contributor badges and be proud of them because when it comes to WordPress, there is no small contribution.