Meet the Speaker: Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson will be speaking as part of the Freelance and Business Owners track this year. He will outline strategies for adding ‘products’ and ‘product thinking’ to the existing list of WordPress-related services freelancers provide.

Kyle works at Ninja Forms and is host of the Plugin Architect podcast. He was kind enough to answer a few questions so we can get to know him better before he takes the stage on October 29th.

Q1: Why do you choose to participate in WordCamp? What is the impact of plugin architect WordPress/WordCamp for you?
A1: Before getting into WordPress I spent some time looking into Drupal, which has a surprisingly large developer community in the Chattanooga area. Looking to move from all custom work to using a CMS the community aspect and the resources of a local camp were much desired. Shortly after that camp I discovered a local WordPress meetup hosted by a company in my home town, the WP Ninjas. This was my first real introduction to WordPress, and while I was looking at Drupal, the local WordPress community pulled me closer. WordCamps are the recurring representation of the community that I saw in WordPress and my chance to meet more people in that community.

Q2: How do you primarily work with WordPress?
A2: My day to day is developing for Ninja Forms, the drag-and-drop form builder for WordPress. We recently released a sweeping UI and codebase change with Ninja Forms THREE that has kept me more than busy for the past year. Outside of that I maintain a website for my developer podcast, Plugin Architect, and build sites for Non-Profits and small businesses on the weekends.

Q3: What have you learned is the most helpful “rule of thumb” in managing a freelancer-lifestyle?
A3: By far, scheduling seems to be the most important consideration, as it can be one of the biggest factors to your success, but also your biggest downfall. Every client loves a freelancer that can keep a schedule, but failing to do so will lose many projects over time. This affects more than just the workday and can bleed into your social life, or lack there of, if not managed correctly.

Q4: Any apps/tools you find super helpful?
A4: phpStorm with XDebug has changed my life (thank you Iain Poulson!). Also, is a fantastic resource for PHP developers, second to none.