An Amatuer’s Experience at a Wordcamp Meetup

The morning of 7th of June 2019, was a rather dull one. From 6:00 am, all indications were that this was going to be a boring day for me. I didn’t have a single chat on my WhatsApp and my facebook page wasn’t of any help.

I usually spend my Saturdays giving introductory lessons on WordPress to small groups at my Internet Café in Nabbingo. But on this particular weekend, I didn’t have anyone interested in this free lesson. This is my way of concretizing what I learnt at last year’s WordCamp in Kampala.

The first WordPress class I organised at E-zone School of Computing with the help of Rogers.

I insisted on going through my recent chats, that’s when I landed on a reminder that there was a meetup at Hive Colab in Kamwokya. I quickly decided that this was my time to attend. I went on to invite Maurice who happened to have attended one of my WordPress sessions. I told him that this was an opportunity to interact and learn from those that taught me.

By 10:00 am, I was at Hive Colab where Omukiguy and Franklin, the day’s speakers were eagerly waiting for us. We were later joined by Maurice, my student, Rogers Mukalele and another guy I only remember as Agaba from Virtual University, Uganda.

We had a small chat after the session.

What I learnt.

Franklin introduced a tool from google that helped one test how fast your page loaded. The site, which can be accessed here, did a wonderful job and moreover free of charge. The findings of what made your page slow and recommendations to boost your site’s load speed were sent to your e-mail instantly.

I then realized first hand that sometimes, ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’, just like Agaba said. From my first WordCamp in November 2018, I always concentrated on the visual appeal of the website. It hadn’t crossed my mind that how fast the website loaded was also important.

What I liked at this meetup was that, we were learning using our own websites. We tested the page load speeds of the websites of the members that were present. In fact, my page www.ezoneschool.com fared worst, loading in about 12 seconds. However, with the recommendations sent to my e-mail and with the help of Rogers, my website’s host, I managed to cut the page load speed to around 5 seconds, which is still too slow according to google’s standards. But to me, it was a big leap from over 12 seconds.

We then went through a session on Loops by Lawrence. What I remember is that I followed comfortably throughout only to end up where I started. This, I believe was for more advanced users. But this gave me a chance to know that I had a journey to make as far as WordPress was concerned.

The sessions were concluded with Lawrence recording short videos of me, Rogers and Agaba giving talking about our highlights of the day.

By slightly after 1:00 pm, we were done. The drizzle couldn’t allow us leave Kamwokya immediately so we decided to spend our lunch at a restaurant just a few meters away as we internalized the days lessons.

Why you should attend a meetup?

I came to learn that meetups like this one happen every second Saturday of the month. Whereas many of you might be busy like I thought, spending time with like minded people pays off in the long run.

Even when you think you know it all, there is always a problem that when discussed in a group could easily be solved. Interacting with peers helps you stay in the know of whats happening around us and also keeps us updated with industry trends or even clients.

….and that’s not all, you get to meet new people and sometimes even have a group day out, just for fun like it was at the bike ride below.

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See you at the next meetup!

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Stephen Dumba
E-zone School of Computing
+256 772 111 223 / +256 752 111 223

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