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 + -)



Founder & CEO at Langbase.com — Ship hyper-personalized Al apps in seconds · Ex VP DevRel Eng. Rapid · Google Developers Advisory Board (gDAB) founding member. 🧑‍💻 AI/ML/DevTools Angel InvestorAI/ML Advisory Board member San Francisco, DevNetwork

🎩 Award-winning Open Source Engineer & Dev Advocate 🦊 Google Developers Expert Web DevRel 🚀 NASA Mars Ingenuity Helicopter mission code contributor 🏆 8th GitHub Stars Award recipient with 5x GitHub Stars Award (Listed as GitHub's #1 JavaScript trending developer).

🌳 Node.js foundation Community Committee Outreach Lead, Member Linux Foundation, OpenAPI Business Governing Board, and DigitalOcean Navigator. 📟 Teaching thousands of developers Node.js CLI Automation (100 videos · 22 Projects) & VSCode.pro course. Over 142 million views, 24 yrs Blogging, 108K developers learning, 200+ FOSS.

✌️ Author of various open-source dev-tools and software libraries utilized by millions of developers worldwide WordPress Core Developer 📣 TEDx Speaker with 100+ international talks.

As quoted by: Satya Nadella · CEO of Microsoft — Awais is an awesome example for developers.
🙌 Leading developers and publishing technical content for over a decade 💜 Loves his wife (Maedah) ❯ Read more about Ahmad Awais.

👋… Awais is mostly active on 𝕏 @MrAhmadAwais


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Comments 2
  • Tejaswi
    Posted on

    Tejaswi Tejaswi

    Reply Author

    Nice slides, nice quotes and cool(funny) pics (but the sides were overflowing – may be because my monitor is not wide screen).
    Any interesting questions you faced there?
    With WordPress showing its interest in JavaScript development( eg: Calypso) , do you think we as WordPress learners must also learn JavaScript and the likes?

    • Ahmad Awais
      Posted on

      Ahmad Awais Ahmad Awais

      Reply Author

      These slides were intentionally built for 1920px resolution. You might wanna zoom out to view them (CMD/CTRL + -)
      Yes, you should definitely learn JavaScript. I have been learning JS for more than two years now and I cannot emphasize enough about its importance.