Owain is an Umbraco MVP, an Umbraco certified master and works on Umbraco projects on a daily basis. When not coding, he enjoys running, spending time with his wife and building lego!
Not one, but two MVP posts today! I know! I spoil you.
The second blog is from an amazing and inspirational developer who I have had to pleasure of going to CodeCabin with also.
If you ever see her name on a speakers agenda at an event, I highly recommend you try and see Emma's talks.
Go grab yourself a coffee and I hope you enjoy reading all about Emma.
How did you first hear about Umbraco CMS?
I took a role that required I pick it up and was sent straight on to my level 1 training in my first week there - with Doug Robar.
How long have you been part of the Umbraco community and what do you like / dislike about it?
I've been in since then. That was Dec 2015. I love that we have a community. People are really generous with their time and expertise. There's no shortage of people who want to collaborate or help. Mostly, egos are in check and folk are approachable, regardless of their perceived status. I think it's due to all this that there's a lot of innovation. Technical innovation and other kinds too. Interesting side projects, blogs, talks, workshops.
Dislike - well, due to all the time, energy and love ploughed in by the community, people can become a little proprietary. Those who have kindly given their time to help build up the product often feel they have ownership over the direction it goes in. This means that there's a tendency for things to flare up; for relatively small things to snowball and for feelings to get hurt. It can make for a bad atmosphere and factions to start forming.
Have you been to Codegarden? If yes, what did you think about it, if no, is there any reason why?
Yep - fantastic few days. So much learning to be had. A range of sessions that means you'll find plenty you'll like once you're there. People are friendly, obviously, and that means you'll often find yourself talking to people who have a lot of experience and insight into the product. It's also a great place to give a talk because you won't meet a friendlier audience.
How did it feel when you received the notification that you were being awarded an MVP award?
I cried. I was really shocked. I had this need to do a mental run through of all the things I'd done to earn it and I really didn't feel I had. In my case, I felt as though in the year after I received the award, I really started to earn it.
Has being awarded the MVP made you look at things differently / has it changed anything in your day to day life e.g. asked to do more Umbraco talks? Asked more Umbraco questions at your workplace?
I get hit up on Linked in for jobs more. I haven't been asked to do talks any more than before. Personally though, I tend to do more work around the project than I did before. I feel as though I have a duty to do a little more. Being invited to the Retreat magnified that effect too. Once you've been singled out, you feel you have a responsibility to contribute plenty.
If you could offer a new member of the community one bit of advice, what would it be?
Say yes. Sometimes it's difficult to see why you're the right person to speak about a certain tech, or method, or whatever. If you're asked, say yes. And once you've done a bit of that, don't be afraid to put yourself forward. It can be daunting but once you've had the experience, you'll find it easier each time. You will get so much out of getting involved. Others will get a lot out of your involvement too!
Tell us about 1 of your most favourite things whether it's a band, a colour, a bit of software you couldn't live without, an item of clothing, a book, anything but tell us why you love it so much.
I have a set of wireless headphones that I could not live without. I listen to music everywhere I go - I won't go out with naked ears!
What does a typical day look like for you during the working week?
Up at 6 to get the kids out of bed and fed and washed and ready for school, coffee in hand. A dog walk before the working day starts. I drop the kids to school and then back home to knock back a bowl of coco pops. More coffee. Get back home to my desk. Open Slack, open Skype, open teams. Reply to people, say good morning and then start my working day proper.
The morning I'll fire off emails to folk and then crack on with whatever build I'm doing. At the moment, that's a website build and an integration between the software product I help maintain and a third party system. I factor in 45 mins for some PR team work at the end of my morning when it's possible and then I usually head out for lunch. I like to get away from my desk whenever possible.
Back at my desk for the afternoon, I'll chat some more on Slack, get back into work. There'll be coffee here too. That gets interrupted at 315 when I go to collect the kids. I bring them home, remind them of their chores (maybe 8 or 9 times) and then I get back to my desk while they do homework. I work until about 530 and then cook dinner. I love to cook so I usually spend at least an hour in the kitchen. It's absolutely how I unwind and I love to eat.
What do you do in your spare time? Hobbies?
I have a dog, an allotment and a campervan so I tend to be out and about plenty. Then there's all that parenting. I love music so I get to gigs and festivals whenever I can. I have a crochet habit too and my output can be pretty high when my workload isn't too high. I take on freelance projects too so I will often build sites for clients at the weekend or in the evening. I read a lot so there's always that. I basically never watch tv as a result of all this. Don't ask me if I've seen anything. It'll almost always be a no.
Anything else you'd like to share with the Umbraco Community?
Really just a thanks for having me. I often wonder if I'd still be a developer if not for the way I've been looked after here and I'll tell anyone who'll listen that I was 'raised' by this community. It's a joy to give back because I am really grateful for everything that was given to me, freely by others in the community.