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Interview with Chris Wiegman, WordPress Developer at iThemes

October 24, 2014

5 Min Read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are few people who are destined to teach and guide the mankind to the glory of success. Even though they get so many opportunities where they can earn more and live a privileged life, but they follow their devoted passion and eternal love for teaching, the most sacred profession of all. I have met people in my family who have completely dedicated their lives to education.

Chris Wiegman Interview

Today, I have the honor to interview Chris Wiegman, who is a passionate and an inspirational teacher, a role model in the truest sense of the word. He is a real epitome of unparalleled professionalism, who loves his work to the core. He practices what he preaches. Chris is currently working at iThemes. He is handy with the security of their plugin. He is also one of the many admins of Advanced WordPress, the most interactive WordPress group on Facebook.

In this interview, he has shared his valuable ideas and personal interests and much more. Enjoy reading!

Cloudways: You are working with iThemes.com. How is life with them? What are your core responsibilities as a developer?

Chris Wiegman: They’ve been great. I completely focus on working on iThemes Security which is exactly what the plugin needed to move forward from where it was at this time last year.

Cloudways: You were teaching Computer Science. How was that experience? Why did you leave teaching children and become a flight tutor?

Chris Wiegman: I love teaching and I love flying. I was actually a full-time pilot before I got into programming. While I loved teaching at the university level, it just didn’t give me the time I needed to get back into flying so I decided to teach that instead. While I’m not actively doing either at the moment due to a pending move, I look forward to being able to teach and fly again at the same time.

Cloudways: You have spoken at many WordCamps. Did you ever organize one? What do you think how these WordCamps are benefiting the WordPress people?

Chris Wiegman: I’ve been on the committee that has been organizing WordCamp Austin for the last 3 years. WordCamp is unique as it is one of the few conferences in this industry that appeal to hobbyists as well as professionals and allow both sides to see what is going on and learn from a combination of experiences that just isn’t there in any other tech conference.

Cloudways: WordPress has the best community that expands with each passing day. Where do you see this huge community in the next five years?

Chris Wiegman: It’s hard to say 5 years out but if the current trajectory indeed indicates that the community will continue to grow in size and really start to grow in diversity. So much of the community has historically been developer-or-designer-heavy, and a shift to groups such as business and content folks has really started taking off as of late. These are the people who will, in my opinion, have the most to offer over the next 5 years or so in the WordPress community.

Cloudways: WordPress security is always an issue. Don’t you think WordPress core team should come up with a solution in the next update to completely solve this issue?

Chris Wiegman: To completely solve the issue is neither impossible or desirable as the only software that is 100% secure is that software that isn’t used (you can’t hack what isn’t there). That said, the core team is moving in the right direction very quickly in providing tools that make the average WordPress user more secure. That movement, combined with education and 3rd party tools, is where security will really grow over the next few years.

Cloudways: There are a lot of WordPress communities on different social networks like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc. You are the admin of one of the largest WordPress group Advanced WordPress on Facebook. What do you think about these communities and how they are beneficial for the WordPress users?

Chris Wiegman: They’re quite beneficial. Any channel that reaches a user is a successful channel in my opinion. Fortunately, WordPress and the WordPress community is large enough to reach out to users in channels such as AWP. This is so unique and so valuable as, in most projects, the user has to really hunt to answer the types of questions that they can now easily find in these groups.

Cloudways: What do you do other than WordPress development and home? Share with our users about your interests in movies and traveling? Anything else that you secretly admire?

Chris Wiegman: Sometimes I think my problem is that I want to do too much. On top of getting back into flying, I’m an avid reader, particularly of historical fiction and my wife and I love getting outside and trying new places and new things. One of our bucket list items is to hike the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain as something of a culmination of many of both of our interests.

Cloudways: WordPress 4.0 comes up with some amazing features. What do you think about this major release? Which features you like the most in the recent update?

Chris Wiegman: The ability to install in the desired language, to me is a big deal. So often we forget that WordPress is a global platform and that many, if not most, of our users do not speak English. The ability to make the product more convenient and accessible to them is something I think has far more potential than many do realize.

Cloudways: There are thousands of plugins available at WordPress.org repository. Which plugins are must for you to install with every WordPress installation?

Chris Wiegman: The only two plugins I seem to use on everything are iThemes Security and Jetpack. Everything else is dependent on the project but these two offer enough of the right features that they can improve key elements for just about any site.

Cloudways: WordPress has the solution for almost all kind of websites like ecommerce, blog, polls etc. Big industries are using WordPress as a solution for their websites. This becomes an attraction for the new web developers to choose WordPress. What are your suggestions and advices for newbies?

Chris Wiegman: Use the community. WordPress’ ability to scale to so many applications is relatively new yet something, we’ve seen in other platforms for a while. While it adds flexibility, the learning curve involved tends to scare so many away, more often at times, when their question is a simple Facebook post away. My advice to folks getting involved, is to use the community; ask questions; watch tutorials and generally don’t be afraid to get the help you need. We all were new to WordPress at some point and it is the easy availability of help that had convinced many of us to stick with it rather than moving on to something else.

You can follow Chris Wiegman (@ChrisWiegman) on Twitter.

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Waseem Abbas

Waseem Abbas was WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves to help people with their WordPress worries. He is a self-proclaimed "food explorer".

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