Huda Elzubair: My journey with WordPress

7 min read
Huda Elzubair

My first encounter with technology & WordPress

Back in my younger days, I was the go-to kid for fixing desktops and TVs. It’s a title I proudly carried.

Following that passion, I graduated with a shiny Information Technology degree in 2013. After graduation, I took up software development as a career and navigated into the Java waves when it was the coolest kid amongst the coding languages. Java, in my humble opinion, is like the superhero of programming languages – solid and scalable, ready to save the day.

Discovering WordPress

Then, I got into education sector where I was a teaching assistant at Napata College. During this period, I was assigned the responsibility of editing content for an educational website. It was here that I was introduced to WordPress for the first time in 2015.

This open-source framework stole my heart with its user-friendly magic. I was truly impressed by the ease and efficiency with which one could create a dynamic website using WordPress, not to mention its open-source nature and free accessibility. I often wondered how building a similar dynamic website from scratch would have consumed an extensive amount of time and effort compared to the streamlined process offered by WordPress. Also, did I mention that it is free?

WordPress saved me from the complexities of website development and web design. I started delving deeper into WordPress, which served as my gateway into PHP development, the main language WordPress was built with.

As I started getting more clients (mainly friends and family) to build their websites, my focus shifted to building and maintaining websites. There were many clients requesting for web applications along with their websites and a growing demand for web applications. Therefore, I delved into and eventually embraced PHP and Laravel for backend web development. Through learning PHP, I discovered numerous open-source systems tailored for education, such as Moodle and Koha. On top of that, I was introduced to the world of website management with WordPress.

Simultaneously, I explored modern frontend frameworks like Angular, leveraging Typescript. This versatile tech stack not only provided the flexibility and ease of hosting for PHP, but also delivered the performance and interactivity associated with modern frontend frameworks, propelling my business to new heights.

Starting a WordPress business & empowering female web developers though Jasmine Code

As our client base expanded, my colleague and I took the plunge and established our business, Jasmine Code. Our primary missions were to build efficient software solutions and champion the inclusion of more women in the realm of software development. Our solutions forte lies in providing dynamic website solutions, with WordPress serving as a cornerstone.

What set Jasmine Code apart was our predominantly female development team. To further our commitment to diversity in the tech industry, we initiated paid training programs aimed at nurturing young females' entry into this sector. We’ve also held a free workshop to share our knowledge about web technologies.

To our delight, we were able to secure clients who matched well with our vision. Some were drawn to our team's composition due to the nature of their work that requires only ladies, while others were motivated by a shared commitment to supporting gender inclusivity. The confluence of our mission and the support of like-minded clients propelled Jasmine Code into a unique space within the software development market.

We've encountered challenges along the way, and it hasn't always been an easy road. In my country, software development was a relatively new profession and the lack of female entrepreneurs within this field added another layer of complexity. We had to tackle the challenges of establishing the credibility of our services and overcoming stereotypes by showing that a team of professional female web developers can build high quality outputs and products. Overcoming these obstacles became a pivotal aspect of our journey at Jasmine Code.

My hopes and dreams for the future

Coming from a teaching background, I have always found joy in sharing knowledge. A wonderful opportunity presented itself when I collaborated with the GoDaddy team, particularly Maja and Nada, to conduct a workshop on WordPress Plugin Development. As I continue my endeavor to share more knowledge, I hope to start a blog or YouTube channel, contributing additional resources to the WordPress community, particularly in the Arabic language.

Beyond that, I am thrilled about delving deeper into the field of Artificial Intelligence. My goal is to integrate its value seamlessly into the WordPress ecosystem, enriching the user experience and functionality. The prospect of bridging education, technology and innovation is an exciting journey I intend to get myself on.

My career advice for females looking to crave a career in tech

Learn how to code

Technology is everywhere, and being equipped with even basic coding skills can boost your career. Having these skill sets can give you an advantage and open up new opportunities for you.

Follow your passion

Find what truly excites and motivates you within the vast field of technology. Whether it's coding, web design, computer networks, Information System, Data Science or other areas, pursuing your passion can drive your success.

Embrace continuous learning

Stephen Fluin, Developer Advocate for the Angular team at Google, once said that raising a child is a gradual process, starting with meeting the little needs of a baby and adapting to bigger things as they grow. However, technology and specially software, is like having a smart teenager from day one, and you must learn how to take care of it. It may be a bit challenging, but it keeps you learning all the time. As a mother of four kids, these words always ring true for me.

Technology is always changing. To keep up, keep learning. Stay in the loop about the latest trends and tools by checking official updates and keep a lookout for documentation about new releases. Take part in online classes, workshops and conferences to learn more and keep your knowledge relevant.

If you're a mother or caregiver, you might need to take a break from your profession due to caregiving responsibilities. When you return, you might discover that the knowledge base of technology you have been working on has evolved significantly. From my personal experience, I find following official documentation of these technologies and joining tech communities can help you keep track of what is happening.

Join communities

For me, I believe in connecting with other women in the industry and seek out mentorship opportunities. It is important to be part of networks that can provide you with guidance, support, and a sense of community.

More importantly, always remember to help other women. There are many great female tech communities where you can contribute to empower other women along their journey. One example is ngGirls, a community for women in angular.

While I am not aware of an active community for women in WordPress, I know many talented women in this field. Perhaps it's time to consider creating one.

Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Many people experience imposter syndrome, where you might find yourself feeling less confident and questioning your skill sets. You need to understand that it’s very common to feel this way, and your abilities are more than what you think of them. I have faced this many times throughout my career, but kicking negative thoughts out of my head and celebrating small achievements helped me through that.

Seeking supportive environments

Search for workplaces and communities that actively promote diversity and inclusion. Believe me, supportive environments empower individuals to excel and contribute their best. If you haven't found such an environment in your current workplace, why not take the initiative to create it yourself? ;)

Develop strong communication skills

Effective communication is key in any profession. In today’s remote work culture, it is crucial to enhance your ability to convey ideas clearly.

Always remember, you’ve got this. I’m rooting for you!