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We're a little over halfway through the second edition of the DrupalEasy Career Starter Program (DCSP), and in addition to learning the Drupal basics, our twenty students have also been learning how to leverage the various "satellite technologies" in the Drupal universe (Git, IRC, SSH) to interact and contribute to the Drupal community.
In case you're not familiar, the DCSP is a 20-week program that is aimed at jumpstarting our students' Drupal careers with 10 weeks of classroom training followed by a paid internship with an organization that uses Drupal. We call it "multi-modal" training because in addition to the classroom training, students are also assigned a community mentor, participate in mandatory lab hours, contribute back to the Drupal community, topped off with real-world experience in the form of an internship with one of our WE Drupal host organizations.
We all want rock stars on our projects. But the reality is, there are more projects out there than there are experienced Drupal developers to handle them. How can we make more rock stars? WE Drupal. Work Experience (WE) Drupal was developed by Brevard Workforce, our super innovative, Drupal-embracing local workforce agency as a follow-on program for the Drupal Career Starter Program to help jumpstart careers for developing Drupal talent in the region. WE Drupal provides DCSP grads with a salary while they work for companies and organizations within the Drupal Community for up to 10 weeks.
How many times do you find yourself building the same bit of functionality on Drupal sites for various clients? Whether it be a photo gallery, multi-user blog, or slideshow, as Drupal site builders, we often find ourselves re-inventing the wheel. Personally, I’ve been asked to build slideshows on many client (and volunteer) sites that I’m involved with. Over the years, I’ve developed a recipe for a powerful and flexible slideshow that often exceeds the needs of all but the most particular clients. I recently added the ability for the slideshow to be responsive, and now seems to be a good time to share what I’ve done. At the end of this post, I’ve provided the slideshow as a Features that you can implement on your sites.
The second edition of the Drupal Career Starter Program kicked off last week with 20 out-of-work, eager IT professionals looking to jumpstart a new career in Drupal. They’re looking forward to spending 10 weeks learning the fundamentals of Drupal in the classroom, working their way up the Drupal Ladder during their lab hours, and transitioning into a paid internship with one of our Work Experience (WE) Drupal hosts. As if that wasn’t enough to jump-start a Drupal career, we’ve also matched each student with a DrupalEasy Community Mentor that will help guide the student in their 5 mandatory hours of community contributions each week. 20 students and mentors multiplied by 5 hours per week for 10 weeks equals 1,000 hours of community contributions.
It never fails - regardless of the skill level of the Drupal workshop that I'm teaching on any given day, the topic of Drush always sneaks its way into the conversation. Normally, it's because I have to quickly download a module to demonstrate something that has come up in class. Rather than navigating to the module's project page, I just quickly jump to the command line and do a "drush dl whatever" and hope that no one notices the witchcraft I just invoked - this inevitably results in the nerdiest student in the class perking up and wanting to know what the magic is that they just saw...
The success of mentor-protégé relationships driving greatness in all kinds of fields stands the test of time, from Socrates and Plato, to Max Plank and Albert Einstein, Emperor Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker (maybe not the best example), and even Dries and Webchick. Philosophy, physics, and even IT are better, and better recognized, because knowledge was shared and ideas were nurtured. There are thousands more examples in hundreds of disciplines.
Now is a great time to take a cue from history and apply the mentoring strategy to the Drupal project with a focused effort. DrupalEasy is ramping up our second Drupal Career Starter Program (DCSP) in August, and one of the enhancements to the program this year is that students are required to put in 5 hours of community time at the direction of a mentor. In a few weeks, the 20 eager protegés, vetted for technical ability and attitude, will be ready to devote 5 hours per week to the Drupal project at the direction of 20 DrupalEasy Community Mentors (this is where you come in!)
Great feedback from my "Tinkertoy Git" Tampa meetup and DrupalCamp Nashville presentation has inspired me to make it bigger. Much bigger. The expanded full-day "Blue Collar Git" workshop covers not only the basics of the distributed version control system, but also delves into remote repositories, resolving conflicts, and working with patches.
As the explosive growth of Drupal continues, so does the eco-system of vendors and products around it. Included is the plethora of Drupal books that continues at a somewhat unbelievable pace. It seems that there are at least two to three new releases each month. Unfortunately, in the rush to quench the tech community's thrist for Drupal knowledge, sometimes less-than-stellar books are being served up before they're fully baked (cooking pun #1).
Florida DrupalCamp 2012, held on the truly scenic Rollins College campus in Winter Park, Florida was another great gathering of the growing, and ever enthusiastic Florida Drupal Community. Rather than the typical blog post of all the great sessions (of which there were many), or the great networking (which there was), this post will focus on the some of the planning, logistics, and lessons learned from the organizers’ viewpoint.
This was central Florida's fourth annual camp, which has grown sequentially in size and scope, with more than 300 people, 40 volunteers, and 7 tracks of sessions (thanks Don Vandemark). A few highlights included our full-day beginner track, which proved extremely popular (thanks Gaelan Adams) with more than 60 attendees. Building on the experiences we’ve gained from past years, we once again held Coding for a Cause day where we attempted to build three sites for local non-profit organizations. Our partner in the event, the Central Florida Computer Society (CFCS.org) was as always instrumental in our success, acting as our fiscal agent as well as providing numerous volunteers throughout the day.
In part 1 of this post I shared how I got started on the line of thinking that we as a community are planting a lot of seeds, spreading the fertilizer, but not doing much tending to the Talent crops. In the second part of this post, I’ll share just how some of the numbers support the ideas behind why newbie developers are having some issues crossing the gap, or, to go with the opening theme for this second post, blooming...
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