Agiledrop is highlighting active Drupal community members through a series of interviews. Now you get a chance to learn more about the people behind Drupal projects.
This week we talked with Amber Matz, Production Manager and Trainer at Drupalize.Me. In addition to these two important roles, Amber is actively involved in a number of projects in the Drupalverse, the current most notable one likely being the Builder Track at DrupalCon Seattle. Have a read if you’d like to find out more about her journey with Drupal and her insights on its future.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself. How do you participate in the Drupal community and what do you do professionally?
My username on drupal.org is Amber Himes Matz. I participate in the Drupal Community in a number of ways. The bulk of my volunteer time lately has been consumed by the program team for the Builder Track at DrupalCon Seattle, where we review, select, schedule, and support speakers and sessions for the upcoming ‘con. I’m working on (as I am able) moving two issues forward, Add experimental module for Help Topics and new Draft "Getting Started" Outline & Guide. I’m also part of the Community Cultivation Grants Committee and like to keep tabs on what’s happening amongst Drupal camp organizers in Slack. (In February 2019, I was the lead organizer for the Pacific NW Drupal Summit in Portland, OR.) Professionally, I work on Drupalize.Me as Production Manager and Trainer for the platform, which features Drupal tutorials in both written and video format.
2. When did you first come across Drupal? What convinced you to stay, the software or the community, and why?
I was a web developer for an organization for many years working mostly with PHP and MySQL on the backend and HTML/CSS on the frontend. I coded a LOT of forms and form processing scripts. I discovered Drupal as an escape from that tedium. I stuck with it because I needed work and wanted a better job, which I eventually got. I stay with the Drupal community because of a rewarding and satisfying job, great people (local, global, and online), and the opportunity to travel.
3. What impact has Drupal made on you? Is there a particular moment you remember?
My career benefited greatly and singularly from showing up to a local Drupal user group meeting. From that first meeting, I made a connection which lead only weeks later to a job interview and my first job as a dedicated Drupal developer (which ended up being Developer + Client Manager + Project Manager). After this job experience, I was hired at Lullabot as a trainer for Drupalize.Me. (Drupalize.Me is now part of a sister company to Lullabot.)
4. How do you explain what Drupal is to other, non-Drupal people?
Drupal is a platform to structure and present loads of content in a scalable way.
5. How did you see Drupal evolving over the years? What do you think the future will bring?
I think the challenge for the Drupal community is to provide straightforward and accessible means for anyone to install, use, and customize Drupal. The great “tout” of Drupal is its scalability. And it certainly has and does scale. This presents a great challenge. How do we provide functionality, tools, documentation, and training for a platform that can be used for such a wide range of use cases? How do we make it easier to use the kinds of tools that are necessary for such a complex platform? I know that a lot of people are hard at work on these kinds of problems. I think the future of Drupal will mean gaining a better understanding of our user base and not assuming that everyone falls into an “enterprise” category or whatever.
6. What are some of the contributions to open source code or to the community that you are most proud of?
At the moment, I’m most proud of the line-up of speakers for the Builder Track for DrupalCon Seattle. The program team worked really hard choosing speakers and in the midst of a lot of changes to the ‘Con.
7. Is there an initiative or a project in Drupal space that you would like to promote or highlight?
8. Is there anything else that excites you beyond Drupal? Either a new technology or a personal endeavorment.
I’ve been a web developer since about 2001 or so. That has added up to a lot of raging against the screen. I have discovered open source hardware and the “maker” community and have discovered the joy and pleasure of coding on a variety of microcontrollers and single-processor boards in a variety of applications from breadboarding to learn concepts in electronics to sewing with conductive thread to making a variety of fun and whimsical projects. Working with physical computing objects has brought back a level of sanity to the otherwise (come on, admit it) insane world of web development.