My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

Democratize Publishing Part Deux

I started out by first switching over my focus from self-hosted WordPress development to building and using sites with WordPress.com. Since I was initially coming from a self-hosted WordPress background, having the flexibility to customize a site as much as possible was an important point for me. So I decided to invest in a WordPress.com Premium plan to get set up with domain mapping, get access to their premium themes, as well as have access to CSS editing.

I also needed to get comfortable with the dashboard interface that WP.com uses β€” Calypso. Going from wp-admin to Calypso wasn’t such a big transition as I thought it would be, but there are some notable differences between the two that may take some extra adjusting for others.

My first project was to setup my personal site while exploring as many features as possible with WordPress.com. In the meantime, I decided I would also start volunteering in the WordPress.com public support forums. It’s been said to be a good starting place for getting practice with resolving issues and problems current users have with WordPress.com.

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My first reply in the forums was followed up by a veteran member of the WordPress.com community… (nbd)

Advice for new volunteers, please kindly read:

Read those before diving in and you’ll be gold πŸ™‚

I continued to contribute in the forums every day whenever I had a chance. I’d hop on in the mornings before work, sometimes during my breaks while at work, and then again in the evenings. I learned so much about the fundamentals of WordPress.com just from helping others in the forums, and it felt good to know whenever I’d get responses like these from the people I helped:

β€œTHANK YOU!!! Perfect – all set up now!β€œ

β€œIt worked perfectly and wonderfully! My warmest thanksβ€œ

β€œThanks again for the info, much appreciated!β€œ

β€œYou have helped me in more ways than one. Thank you!β€œ

β€œThanks for the very informative response! Answered my question 100%… πŸ™‚β€œ

β€œThat was so helpful…thank you!β€œ

β€œYour help is so appreciated! πŸ™‚β€œ

β€œExcellent. It worked. Thank you for your assistance.β€œ

β€œHi! Thanks, this is great.β€œ

β€œThe code worked! Thank you very much.β€œ

If you’re wondering by now if I had applied yet, well, I hadn’t. There were a couple reasons why.

First, I’m the type of person who goes all out whenever I have my sights on a goal. In this case, I was applying for a position in a field that I had very little experience in. All my technical knowledge of IT, programming, and web development up until this point were self-taught, so I felt that when applying I needed to have an extra edge to stand out.

My knowledge of the Japanese language & its culture, as well as my physical location of actually living in Japan might have played an important role.

In the following interview with Japanese web site, SV100, Matt Mullenweg talks about WordPress and the kind of presence he wants his company to have in Japan.

“For me, when I think about the future of our business in Japan, I’d really love to grow β€” [aside] so Naoko has more colleagues there β€” right now we have only one or two people in Japan. I’d love to have 10 or 20. The reason I want 10 or 20 people in Japan is because then they will be able to truly understand and create something tailored to the Japanese market better than I could in a whole lifetime β€” or any people not from Japan. So I do truly believe in that to really localize a service, you need the people who are embedded in the culture every day to be able to tailor it.” β€” Matt Mullenweg

*this interview was published when?*

April 2016??

*looks at Automattic employee map to see if there’s still 2 people in Japan.*

yup, still 2.

*Matt wants how many people in Japan?*

10 or 20??

me after seeing the map and watching the interview

It was time to start networking! I looked to see if there were any upcoming WordCamps in Japan on WordCamp Central.

Low and behold there were!

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WordCamp Kyoto on June 24-25
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WordCamp Tokyo on September 16-17

These were perfect opportunities to meet people in the industry and to learn about what the Japanese WordPress community is like. I was really excited to find out since I had never been to a WordCamp before. I’ve only read (HeroPress) and seen (WordPress.tv) so many good things πŸ™‚

I won’t talk too much about my experiences that I had at both WordCamps since I already wrote separate blog posts for those. I welcome you to check them out if interested:

WCKyoto.png

After writing up my post on WordCamp Tokyo, I decided it was time to finally apply!


Jump to a Section

  1. Oh So Bittersweet
  2. Post-University Life
  3. Sapporo: My Second New Home
  4. My ALT Experience
  5. Living On The Poverty Line
  6. #NotAboutThatLife Part One
  7. #NotAboutThatLife Part Deux
  8. Learn To Code The Hard Way
  9. Democratize Publishing Part One
  10. Democratize Publishing Part Deux
  11. Welcome To The Chaos

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Movement. Growth. Ambition. Everything Builds.

12 thoughts on “My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Paulo. Even though I knew the outcome I still held my breath a little there at the end, nervous for you! The GIFs were perfect too. Congrats on finding a career you love and on your beautiful family as well!

  2. I believe they’re always hiring. Lol. How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses? I’m planning to apply, and I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog. I think I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application.

    1. I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog.

      Thanks for stopping by! And I’m glad you were also able find something useful πŸ™‚

      How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses?

      In total, give or take 3 years β€” a bit long, but this was on top of a full-time job, parenting, and not having any background in web development. And I literally dipped my hand into everything i.e. programming, digital marketing, design, etc.

      I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application

      Yeah, that would definitely help! If I were to look back on what I could have done to prepare more effectively, maybe I would’ve considered focusing more on CSS proficiency, WooCommerce, and making sure I know how to work & navigate the WordPress.com platform like the back of my hand πŸ˜„

      I’d be glad to answer any other questions, so feel free to shoot an email anytime: https://peaeb.blog/contact/

  3. What a journey! I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.
    I’m currently learning JavaScript with TreeHouse and Codecademy at the same time, using the second to practice rather than as the primary source of learning tool. I’ve also learned CSS, HTML and Python from Codecademy but I might need to practice and start working on some websites of my own, to experiment and stuff.
    While the degree I’m pursuing at university is not related to tech at all, I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

    1. I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.

      Nice, and best of luck! If you haven’t already, check out the Happiness Engineer blog:

      https://happinessengineer.blog/

      I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

      Absolutely. Being self-motivated to continuously learn is an invaluable quality to have. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually find that many opportunities start opening up for you πŸ™‚

  4. Hey,
    This is the very first time, I read any post for word by word without any break. Most of the time, I read few sentences and just get the overview.

    But your post and the journey to Automatic keep me curious to read what will happen in the next line.
    It will really awesome.
    It also encouraging me to do my preparations for Automatic.

    Thank you for inspiring. πŸ™‚

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