Sam Forrest

Community Corner is back!

It's been a long time in the planning but I've decided to bring back another series of the Umbraco Community Corner blogs.

The first person to kick things of is someone who is keen to get involved in the Umbraco Community and I'm so excited to introduce him to you.

I asked Sam a few questions and here are his answers. If you are going to Umbraco Spark in March, he will also be there so be sure to say hi to him.

If you know someone or you would like to feature on Community Corner, just get in touch with me via any of the social channels that I'm on. Links are in the footer.

About you

Sam Forrest Profile Image

Umbraco Community:

How did you first get involved with the Umbraco Community?

I first became aware of Umbraco, and the community, through my first dev role with Spindogs. Discussing Umbraco with the .NET team in my current role has really sparked my interest regarding Umbraco. I will also be attending Umbraco Spark in March, which I guess will be my first experience meeting devs from the wider community!

What aspects of the Umbraco CMS or community do you find most appealing?

From what I have seen, the Umbraco community is really tight-knit, which I like. Also, all of the Umbraco developers I have ever spoken to have been really knowledgeable about both Umbraco, and C# generally. I find that really inspiring!

Work History:

Could you provide an overview of your professional background and how it led you to your current role?

Before becoming a developer, I had been a primary school teacher for a few years. In the months before the COVID pandemic began, I started to feel very disillusioned with teaching in general: the long hours, the marking, difficult parents, etc. Then, during the first lockdown, a friend of mine showed me some small JavaScript projects he had been working on, and from there, I was hooked! I started teaching myself frontend development, and six months later, I landed my first dev role!

Open Source and Collaboration:

Why do you find open source communities, like Umbraco, important in the software development industry?

I find open source communities important because they are a great learning resource. My experience with the Umbraco community has demonstrated to me how open the community is to new devs, and how much they are willing to help you overcome any hurdles you face when learning.

Umbraco Projects:

Could you share details about any specific Umbraco projects you've worked on and your role in those projects?

All of the Umbraco projects I have worked on so far has been in frontend capacity (other than changing the odd title here and there). However, recently I have started making more of an effort to make small backend fixes when I come across them, in an effort to learn as much as possible!

What challenges have you faced in your Umbraco projects, and how did you overcome them?

When I first started using Umbraco, I found the local setup process quite difficult. I overcome this by always asking other Umbraco devs questions, and noting down the answers. Now, I have a small (but ever-growing) bible of knowledge I rely on.

Are there any particular features or aspects of Umbraco that you find fascinating or challenging?

One aspect of Umbraco I have found both challenging and fascinating in C#. Before now, my experience was mainly around frontend languages and Python (Flask, Django, FastAPI), which I have used outside of my current role for hobby projects. Learning a whole new syntax - and the conventions around the language - has been challenging, but really gratifying at the same time.

Community Involvement:

In your view, what makes a thriving and supportive community like Umbraco's?

Helpfulness. I have been so impressed with how much time everyone has for each other in the Umbraco community.

Learning and Growth:

How do you stay updated with the latest developments in Umbraco and related technologies?

I follow several Umbraco related social media accounts, and I am constantly chatting the ears off the .NET team in my current role, so they keep me up to date.

Can you share an example of a skill or knowledge area you've developed through your involvement in the Umbraco Community?

I have improved my knowledge of how a backend interacts with a database through learning umbraco. Before now, my main point of reference for this sort of thing was Django, but seeing how it is done in another context has really helped my understanding.