Q & A with Laura Eagin

Laura Eagin is a web developer and designer in Vancouver, BC. We are thrilled to have her host an upcoming Wordpress Workshop on Jan. 26. Join us to learn more about creating professional website with WordPress, including her list of favourite plugins, how to choose an appropriate theme, and resources to learn more. Get your ticket here today!

  1. Can you tell us about Camptech, your role there, and what it's all about?

    Camp Tech offers half-day and one day workshops for adults interested in acquiring new digital marketing skills. Camp Tech classes are fun, friendly, professional and very practical. We create a welcoming environment for those who are hesitant around technology and we teach skills that can be put into practice right away. Some of our most popular classes in Vancouver are WordPress for Beginners, Intro to Google Analytics, Writing Killer Web Content and Email Marketing with MailChimp.

    As the City Manager for Camp Tech in Vancouver, I connect instructors who excel in their field with students who are eager to push their business and career to the next level. It's such a positive role - I love the mentorship aspect and I'm thrilled to be part of a women-lead organization like Camp Tech. It inspires me to be more involved in mentorship. Helping students feel confident and empowered about tech is the most rewarding thing I can do.

  2. What things should every young professional know how to do in WordPress (or web development, in general) and why?

    Take a few hours to get to know the basics in HTML and CSS. I promise it's not bad and it won't take you more than a week to grasp the concepts. I know it's intimidating at first, but between online courses offered at Codecademy and in-person web development classes similar to those offered at Ladies Learning Code, you can absolutely do this. No matter what is powering the website (WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, Drupal or a hand-coded website) the output is the same: HTML, CSS and Javascript. With a good grasp of those first two, you've got a good chance of understanding what is happening behind the scenes. You'll be in a much better position when talking to a developer or when you look for the solution yourself.One of my most valuable WordPress skills is Googling. Yep, you read that right. I Google like it's my job and I'm not afraid to jump straight to a search tab when I encounter a stubborn problem. One good place to start searching is the WordPress codex, but an even better and often more frequently updated resource, is the support thread on each theme or plugin. There's a fantastic community of developers and webmasters who have struggled with everything that WordPress could throw my way. Go and dig and see if your question has been answered before - chances are it has.

    When I started out doing WordPress web development, I did something that I now know is called cowboy coding. It's... not recommended. Cowboy coding is when you edit a website on the fly. It's too easy to break a website or to lose your changes and be unable to revert. I have to admit that at first I was using this element of risk as a motivator - if I broke something on a website momentarily then my adrenaline would shoot through the roof and I knew I had to fix it as soon as possible, so I did. I don’t recommend that you do this - it's something I'm glad I stopped doing long ago. Set yourself up for success and a lot less stress by working in a smarter way. Never work on a live site, always work on a copy and then push those changes to the live website. Some people work on a local copy that is off-line and others work on a password-protected staging website online which your web host can help you make. Lastly, save your work often and the best way to do this is with version control. Get to know your options with Git, GitHub and BitBucket so you can always roll back a change you've made. This advice may sound very web-development focused, but I know writers, designers and researchers who take this advice to heart and apply it to their work as well. It's smart to work smarter!

  3. What piece of advice would you give to the members of Young Women in Business Vancouver in regards to professional and/or personal development?

    Professional or personal development is more than just a nice idea - it's critical for your success. We know how fast technology is changing and we see how that change affected generations before us. There are too many people for whom technology proved to be a real hurdle at one point or another in their career. Strive to become the first person in the office to know that new skill that no one else has mastered yet. It will take a while to master it, but the first step is the most important one. Do it!