Speaker Spotlight: Andrea Zoellner

Andrea is a writer, translator, information designer and all-around WordPress enthusiast.

She started using WordPress in 2013 and in two short years, went from knowing nothing to using WordPress 60 hours a week for a variety of projects and clients.

Follow @andreazoellner on Twitter.

Andrea will be giving a talk titled “How I Made a Career Using WordPress Without Knowing a Line of Code“.

What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

This might sound silly, but I was pretty excited about Emoji support. I’m sure there are far more crucial and important updates to WordPress, but being able to use the same vaguely meaningful drawings across all my platforms has been a revelation.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

When the call for speakers went out, several colleagues and friends encouraged me to apply. I had some ideas for Beginner Track topics, but I was terrified at the thought of being a presenter. But I didn’t want to let feelings of inadequacy keep me from giving it a shot though, and that’s exactly what my talk is about.

What is your talk going to be about?

In general, I fall into the content end of the WordPress spectrum. But in my experience, communications professionals and writers have a lot to contribute to the tech industry. I want to encourage beginners who think using WordPress professionally or learning to code is beyond them. I took a chance and pivoted my career towards more technical roles over a year ago and discovered it’s possible to leverage your unique skill-set for all sorts of WordPress-related projects.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

If people are curious about the tech industry but afraid of the technical learning curve, I’m hoping they’ll feel encouraged and empowered by my talk. I want them to think: “Hey, I CAN do this”.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

I’m going to use this opportunity to highlight the tremendous work of fellow speaker Kathryn Presner (I hope you’re going to see her talk!). She’s a Happiness Engineer at Automattic and has encouraged me and many others to hone their skills, learn to code and even become WordCamp speakers. She’s also involved in the Montreal grassroots initiatives Girl Geeks and Ladies Learning Code, mentoring young women to get involved in the tech industry.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

While this goes against everything I preach, I’m terrible at keeping up a regular blogging schedule. I need a WordPress bot that threatens to post a really embarrassing blog post if I miss a post day. That fear would be motivation enough.

And someone should figure out how to make a portmanteau of the words feature and future. It’s a puzzler.