Ivelina Dimova is an enthusiastic web developer with an immense passion for WordPress. She has gained vast years of experience in various web applications (PHP, Drupal, WordPress) and many other custom frameworks. Her experience is not only limited to the back-end development, but her contributions also expand to plugin and theme development.
She has also worked with WordPress Genesis Framework and Hybrid Core Framework. She has created entire projects for various clients from scratch. Her contributions don’t limit till here but also expands to WooCommerce projects including plugin customization and much more.
So let’s cut down to the chase and interview the professionally fabulous, Ivelina Dimova.
Cloudways: Ivelina Dimova, first of all, I would like you to tell our readers a bit about yourself. Can you share your career history with us? How did you start your career? Who inspired you? What challenges did you face during the initial days of your career?
Ivelina: Hello and thank you for having me! I started using WordPress in 2009 for my personal blog where I was writing about traveling and other random stuff. That was also the year when I visited my first WordCamp at Sofia, Bulgaria. It was a relatively small, but very inspiring event. I enjoyed the talks and the Q&A session with Matt Mullenweg. That’s when I decided that WordPress is something I really have to try. After this I started learning more and more, I was taking small tasks in some freelance project sites and after several years and job changes – here is where I stand.
Cloudways: You are currently working at Crowd Favorite! Sounds like a great company. What are your responsibilities there? Could you share any of your interesting stories?
Ivelina: Yes, currently I am Senior WordPress Developer at Crowd Favorite, where we build online solutions for big enterprise companies. For clients such as Disney, we work on complex hybrid sites that use WordPress and Laravel PHP framework to go beyond some of the natural limitations of standalone WordPress. These are highly complicated projects that challenge us to continue to learn and hone our skills. Among our other projects we have international finance companies across several countries – we are migrating them from licensed CMS-es to the open source world. That is an exciting development to be part of.
For one of our media clients, it was fascinating to see how it took months to map the complexity of the project. It’s exciting to see how an international press site that has thousands of people around the world asking for complex media files to be downloaded is built by a team of developers all around the world.
Cloudways: As I see that you have a vast amount of experience in creating REST API. May I ask which are your most preferred? Do you prefer Vanilla PHP or PHP framework to create these APIs?
Ivelina: Actually, I haven’t worked on the creation of the WordPress REST API; however I enjoy working with it. It is incredible how fast you can access external data or expose data from WordPress to another service, using the REST API. I have worked on several plugins related to this, and I am very glad it finally made it to the WordPress Core.
Cloudways: You have previously spoken in WordCamps. May I ask how WordCamps help the WordPress community to grow and expand? How does speaking in a WordCamp help you boost your career? Do you have a group of buddies that you love to hang out with at WordCamps?
Ivelina: My story and inspiration for working with WordPress started at WordCamp, so I value these events a lot. Of course, they are an excellent way to meet people and make new friends. In addition to that this is a great opportunity to give back to the WordPress community truly. Speaking at these events and interacting with the community is not just about contributing code to the project. You help bring fresh new blood into the tribe. You inspire people to learn and assist the culture grow into something that can be truly globally sustainable.
Cloudways: Ivelina, I found out that you have worked almost 6 years as a freelancer. Are there any projects in particular that you feel proud of? Can you share the most complicated or the most interesting project that you have worked on by far?
Ivelina: As I mentioned in the beginning, I have started with small freelance projects here and there, and this really helped me learn more and grow. I was working with various PHP frameworks like CakePHP, Croogo, and OpenCart, building mostly small websites and local online shops. After this, I was part of a few different companies, so I was left with insufficient time for working on additional projects. In any case working as a freelancer taught me a lot about time organization, tasks planning, and multitasking, which I am grateful for.
Cloudways: Ivelina, I was amazed while going through your LinkedIn profile. I observed that you have an incredible amount of experience in the field of development. Will you care to enlighten our readers as of how you initiated your career in the area of development? Why do you choose WordPress as your favorite CMS?
Ivelina: As WordPress passes 27% of the Internet, I am constantly reminded why it is so popular. It’s not that it’s written in a particular style, it’s not that developers at large love it so much, it’s because of two reasons. First and foremost it’s open source. While being free of cost is a primary motivator behind why most people look at it as a possible solution, the real reason why it’s adopted and kept by so many people is the W Admin interface. Think about it – there are hundreds of open source CMS projects, but WordPress is among the few that requires minutes for someone to start creating content. If you feel comfortable using the interface of Google Docs or Microsoft Word, you can quickly create pages and articles.
Besides, this constantly growing WordPress community is full of excellent experts in the fields of design, development, marketing and much more. This reassures people that their project will never be left without the appropriate support as it may happen with a system only a few know and use.
Cloudways: Being a WordPress developer, you must be quite well aware of different plugins. Can you specify which of them are your favorite ones? Which tools do you find handy when it comes to WordPress development?
Ivelina: Years ago I had a talk at the WordCamp Sofia, called “The Plugins You Need.” That was a presentation about how to start a simple website that relies only on pre-build plugins from start to finish. Things, however, have changed over the years, but I still think most of these are my favorite ones. As far as the tools are concerned – I am very passionate on the topic! For me, it is critical to set up a development environment where I can rely on a version control system – git, deployment system – capistrano, testing tool – codeception, and much more. For anyone interested in the topics – check my talk on development tools from 2016’s WordCamp Europe.
Cloudways: What are your thoughts on the businesses and industries that are built on WordPress? What opportunities do you see knocking on your doorstep in the near future?
Ivelina: The unique nature of the GPL and the WordPress ecosystem is one that creates the opportunity for both product and service companies to practice the purest type of capitalism. Think of it; there are plenty of plug-ins tо create contact forms yet more and more are coming out each week with a different approach or with a better way of doing things. Only the market will decide based on marketing, ease-of-use, support, etc. – all sorts of metrics which rely on not only the cleanliness of code, but also giving good customer service and being able to market your product. Same thing goes for services – there are plenty of companies out there who can build your website, but it comes down to quality and reputation to keep in business. I find that the way the open source community and products are bringing the development community together is amazing, I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
Cloudways: If you could change one thing in WordPress without having to worry about backward compatibility, what would it be?
Ivelina: The inability to add commas in tags! I know that it is a tiny thing, just my personal pet peeve.
Cloudways: Let’s leave WordPress for a while and talk about your personal life. You look like someone interested in photography. Would you like to share some of your favorite pictures with our readers? Also, tell our readers about some of your hobbies and interests. How do you spend your free time when you are off from work?
Ivelina: Free time is a strange term when you work in a distributed team and even more when you love what you do. However, if I have some, I love to spend it traveling, visiting new places, meeting new people. It’s always a good way of seeing things outside your environment, refresh your perspective and get more creative ideas. And of course, naturally with this, it comes the photography part, I am trying to get better at this so I can capture the best moments of my travels. Apart from these things I also love yoga ( I am also a yoga instructor ), hiking and swimming.
Cloudways: Cloudways is a managed hosting platform for everyone, offering 1-click installation for WordPress with great caching solutions and optimized servers. What’s your opinion about managed cloud hosting services such as Cloudways?
Ivelina: Managed hosting platforms are really the future, and not even hypertechnical people want their iron systems any longer. That said providers that handle the balance between managed system and also giving developers enough permissions to have a playground to try new things will clearly be the winners according to the next set of requirements that developers are looking for.
Cloudways: Just for our readers, can you please send us an image of how your workspace looks like? 🙂
Ivelina: As every remote worker will tell you – staying at home all the time is not creative at all! So I enjoy working from different cafes, coworking spaces, hotel rooms, etc. Here is a cute place I love: