Since its inception in 2008, SiteLock has been committed to protecting all websites, including those built on WordPress. In 2016 we also made a deeper commitment to the WordPress community as a whole by participating in the WordPress Global Sponsorship Program. Through consistent attendance and speaking engagements at numerous WordCamps across the country over the past two years, we’ve been honored to give back to the community by sharing our knowledge and passion for WordPress and website security. As a testament to our continued commitment, I’m very pleased to announce that our presence in the community continues to grow this year with the addition of the smart and talented Jamie Schmid!

Jamie has a wealth of experience with WordPress and has been involved in the community for many years. You may already know Jamie or have attended one of her many speaking sessions at a WordCamp near you. If so, then you know that she cares deeply in the mission of WordPress to “democratize publishing” and the power of sharing knowledge freely in the community. To learn more about Jamie, her story, and why she decided to join SiteLock, check out my interview with her below.

What’s Your WordPress Story?

I started my career as an illustrator for a toy company, and within about a year, took on the additional role of website manager. It was my first time working with a CMS. While I thought it was cool, I was frustrated by the inability to do most edits myself – those had to be done by a third party team trained on the CMS build. That experience led me further into web development as a whole, and eventually, I found myself working with nonprofits on Joomla! and Drupal sites. In the nonprofit sector, there is a large turnover of volunteers, and a lot of time was spent training new people how to update and edit the website.

In 2010 I built my first site in WordPress, and by 2012 I was working as a full-time WordPress developer at an agency in Milwaukee. As I learned about custom post types and fields(ACF!!), I saw that they were not only valuable for the frontend development of the site but the Admin experience as well. With the freedom to customize the Admin menu, I could now craft the intuitive admin experience I had always wanted for my content managers.

Among other things, this meant very little time needed for training people to use their WordPress site. This was HUGE! Within two years I had trained myself on all things WordPress, spoke at my first WordCamp (WCMilwaukee 2013) and became an enthusiastic member of the Midwest WordPress community.

How Have You Utilized WordPress in the Past Few Years?

I use WordPress so much! Around 2012 I made a conscious decision to stop dividing my time between all the different CMS platforms and development areas out there, and start learning WordPress full time and in-depth. Since then, I have been a dedicated WordPress developer, working specifically on WordPress-related projects.

I have been a WordPress freelancer and consultant for about 5 years, and during this time I have done project management, content architecture, design, frontend development, plugin development, you name it. I even use WordPress as my personal asset management system for keeping track of design and code components, and as a CRM for managing clients.

I love finding new uses for WordPress and new ways to make it do things I hadn’t considered before. That isn’t to say WordPress is my only solution for everything – but it does keep me aware of product features and has me thinking about new ways to build things.

What’s Your Favorite Part of Attending a WordCamp?

I love all the people I get to meet, and the friendships and connections that come out of that. WordCamps aren’t just full of nerdy developers speaking boring developer talk (although, ahem, we are definitely there, and we definitely do!) — there’s designers, project managers, nonprofits, bloggers, business owners, students, beginners and more! You’re just as likely to bump into the owner of one of WordPress’ biggest agencies, as you are a casual food blogger using WordPress.com. Everyone has their own story, and we can all learn from each other.

Also, I love adding stickers to my laptop from all the places I’ve been. So if you come bearing stickers…. Come find me at WordCamp, we should talk. 🙂

Why Did You Choose to Join SiteLock as a WordPress Evangelist?

I am continually reminded of how fortunate I am that I love my career. I am a self-taught WordPress developer and none of that would have happened without our amazing community. Everything came from the Codex, Stack Overflow, and my friends and colleagues wanting to help me get better. It caused me to circle back with more and more enthusiasm each time I learned something new. The support system in WordPress is unlike any other community I’ve seen, and I owe a lot to that.

I believe in giving back wherever you are able, and I love speaking at WordCamps and helping people out in the various communities online. My Evangelist position with Sitelock means I can reach and help even more people. My wide breadth of experience in this industry means whatever concern or issue you have, I’ve probably struggled with it too. I understand frustrations, difficulty in finding answers, and not even knowing the right question to ask. People took the time to help me and now I’m excited to help others.

Website security can be a particularly confusing path to navigate, especially when you have a gazillion other tasks on top of it. I want to help make it easier to understand, help people reach out with their questions and concerns, and give back to the community in a meaningful way.

Where Can You Meet Jamie in Person?

We’re excited to be a gold sponsor for WordCamp Miami for their 10th-anniversary event happening March 16-18th! Jamie, myself and other members of the SiteLock team will be running the sponsor booth and hope you’ll stop by and say hello. While at the booth you can learn about how we protect websites utilizing our deep malware scans, our advanced web application firewall, and of course, congratulate Jamie!

If you’re not attending WC Miami, you can also tweet to Jamie.