Ahmad Awais


Talk: Personal Development for a WordPress Developer

Ahmad AwaisAhmad Awais

This last Saturday, I was invited, at our local WordPress Meetup Lahore, to speak. It took me a week (which is quite normal) to understand what kind of audience would be there. I am a Full Stack WordPress developer, which means there were a number of topics that I could talk about. But, what good a talk would do if the majority didn’t understand it.

The Audience

When I knew that most of the audience at the meetup was going to be computer science students and fresh freelancers, I was in the bit of a pickle. While I wanted to talk about continuous integration, CLI-based deploy routines and bash functions for advanced Git workflow, the audience was probably looking for very basics of software development. The people who were still struggling with the idea of choosing the right direction for their careers.

The Preparation

After telling my inner-self(the workflow addict) to shut-the-f**k-up, I started with the very basics. I have an odd process of preparing a talk. When I commit to presenting somewhere, I start writing the slides on a daily basis (even if the day when I get to present it, is months away). Yup, I know what you are thinking. Who does that?

Well, I do. I believe that one cannot just sit down and write something good let alone something inspirational. Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think a lot of what people call intelligence boils down to curiosity.

The Recipe

By writing the slides on a daily basis what I really meant was noting the points and saving the thoughts that I can speak about. I use Trello and Google Keep for this process.

Google Keep

Google Keep has become a part of almost my every other workflow. I have it installed in my Android and since I use Google Chrome, there is a Google Keep app for your Mac or PC. I can save any thought anywhere via Mobile or Mac and share it with my teammates. To add to it, my notes and to-do lists are synced across the devices.

Paper and Pen

So, when I am always thinking about points and making notes then in the end, i.e. one week before I get up on the stage, I start reviewing all the collected random thoughts and notes. From here on out, I shift from Google Keep to a simpler workflow with a paper and pen. In a day or two, I end up rearranging the notes and dividing them into a few useful categories.

HTML5 Slides

Now, all that’s left to do is prepare the slides. I used to do that with Powerpoint but then all the presentations started to look the same, everyone can spot a PPT from a mile away. Then I shifted to Prezi but I wanted to have more control. This particular slide was built with Flexbox, Gulp, Jade, Stylus and BrowserSync all on top of the Google slide deck JS.

Being a front-end developer for so long, I guess I got spoiled by HTML5 templates powered by JavaScript with CSS3 2D/3D transitions and animations. One can use Google’s HTML5Slides, Reveal.js, Deck.js, etc. Or you can try GUI like Slides.com which basically uses Reveal.js behind the scenes.

Personal Development

Personal development is an important aspect of my life. I embrace a holistic approach to software development. This means that I think that if you want to be a better software developer—a better anything, really—you need to focus on the entire person, not just one or two areas of your life.

In this talk, I talk about three important aspects in the life of software developer i.e. self-learning, career directions, risk analysis and ended it with a little bit about WordPress community, how to contribute and finally capital_P_dangit(). Here are the slides. These slides were intentionally built for 1920px resolution. You might wanna zoom out to view them (

Here are the slides. These slides were intentionally built for 1920px resolution. You might wanna zoom out to view them (CMD/CTRL + -)




WPTakeaway: Premium WordPress Newsletter!

Takeaway my professional opinion about Full Stack WordPress Development, building a business, growing a family, and everything web! Delivered to your inbox twice a month. 👻 I hate spam! Pinky Promise!

🔥 Ridiculously hard-working Full Stack Web DeveloperRegular WordPress Core Contributor 📣 TEDx Speaker ✌️ Spends 50% of his time building FOSS (Free & Open Source Software) used by over 10,000 Developers 🎖 WordPress Advocate & 🙌 Community Evangelist 👻 DevOps fanboy 😂 Cracks silly jokes 💜 Loves his wife (Maedah) 🍕 Learn more about Ahmad ↣

Say 👋 on Twitter @MrAhmadAwais | Subscribe to the WordPress Takeaway!