2013 - A Year of Experiences

2013 was a good year, particularly for my career.

That�s it in a nutshell really. When the year began I was still working for St. Edward�s University as a web developer and, thanks to some incredibly poor management, bored out of my mind. It was time to find some more rewarding work and in April I left St. Edward�s for a small digital ad agency called Springbox where I was primarily a quasi-frontend developer (they called it backend but I don�t think I wrote more than 100 lines of anything but JavaScript and CSS the whole time).

Springbox, at least after I got past the fact that it wasn�t exactly my favorite kind of work (I'm not a front-end developer), was actually a pretty good place with some pretty good people. On top of that while I was working there I was also able to continue to teach at St. Edward�s and even earned my first book credit as a technical reviewer on WordPress for Web Developers (affiliate link) by my friend Stephanie Leary.

Throughout all of this I was still working on Better WP Security for my own company, Bit51. By May I managed to officially monetize support for the plugin which then had over 1/2 a million downloads and was starting to literally take me places beginning with WordCamp Miami in April.

After starting the paid support for Better WP Security, the Summer found me speaking at WordCamp Austin in May, attending another WordCamp (San Francisco) in July, starting another technical review, this time for a for a Backnone.js book (affiliate link), and developing my own course for St. Edward�s University. The latter was really an honor as after only one semester as an adjunct I was given my own course on computer security for the computer science department. Any of you who has ever taught as an adjunct probably knows how rare it is for an adjunct to get their own course, especially in their first year at a school. It was a rewarding but busy summer.

By Fall all of these projects were unfortunately starting to catch up with me. I was working full-time at Springbox, teaching at St. Edward�s University, working on the Backbone book for Apress and still trying to get ahead with Better WP Security (which crossed 1 million downloads in October). While I can�t say it was bad it was definitely a bit more than I could chew. After looking at my options I realized I needed to get down to 1 project for a while and make that project a pro version of Better WP Security which had proven to have significant income potential as a free product. As a paid project I figure the sky is the limit.

So in the midst of 4 jobs and a few more conferences (I attended HighEdWeb in October and WordCamp London in November) I managed to hook up with Cory Miller over at iThemes (makers of BackupBuddy and Exchange) and after a little negotiation I decided they would be the perfect partners for helping Better WP Security reach the next level. On November 15th I left Springbox on good terms (I even found my replacement as I left), followed quickly by finishing both the Backbone book and my class (after telling Apress and St. Edward's that I wouldn't be taking another project or class for a little while) and joined iThemes full time where I�m currently in the process of building the next-generation WordPress security plugin which will launch in the first quarter of 2014.

What a road. From higher education, to book credits, to speaking, travel and about 1.4 million downloads for Better WP Security. I would call that a success . Now I�m looking forward to 2014 with a job I love and, more importantly, my wife and best friend at my side. Our goal is to make 2014 about more than our career and really enjoy our time together making the most of where we live and what we want to do outside of the office.

Wow, catch all that? I almost have to make a list to keep track of it myself.

Jobs:

  • Jan - Dev - Bit51
  • Jan - Apr - St. Edward�s University (Web Developer)
  • Jan - Dec - St. Edward�s University (Adjunct Faculty)
  • Mar - Dec - Apress
  • Apr - Nov - Springbox
  • Dec on - iThemes

Book Credits

Speaking

  • Apr - Austin WordPress Meetup
  • May - WordCamp Austin
  • Sep - Austin WordPress Meetup
  • Oct - Detroit WordPress Meetup (virtual)

Conferences

  • Mar - SXSW
  • Apr - WordCamp Miami
  • May - WordCamp Austin
  • July - WordCAmp San Francisco
  • Oct - HighEdWeb
  • Nov - WordCamp London

Travel (trips where I spend more that one night away from home)

  • Chicago, IL
  • Carbondale, IL
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • London, UK
  • Panama City Beach, FL
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Chicago, IL