iMedia graduate returns to share advice, WordPress expertise
David Kennedy G’10 visited with this year’s Master of Arts in Interactive Media cohort, discussing his own experiences in the graduate program as well as his role creating themes for WordPress, responsible for about 25 percent of websites around the world.
Before David Kennedy G’10 explained his work designing themes for WordPress, the world's most popular content management system, the Interactive Media graduate shared two pieces of advice with this year’s iMedia students during his Oct. 27 classroom visit.
First, Kennedy explained the importance of collaboration, noting that every one of his successful projects worth mentioning was the direct result of teamwork.
Secondly, and most importantly, he stressed that students need to learn the ability to teach themselves. Kennedy emphasized the point with personal anecdote, recounting that he learned Flash software as an iMedia student.
“Of course, Flash is pretty antiquated by now,” he said. “But the fact that I learned Flash and never really used it, doesn’t really matter. What I learned was a programming language, and I figured out how to teach myself things as I went along. That was the most important lesson because in this industry, where everything moves so fast, every day there is some new tool to learn.”
Following his short advice session, Kennedy walked through his own career path, which led him to Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and many other web products. (“We don’t make WordPress, we contribute to WordPress,” Kennedy noted. “That is a pretty important difference and it is pretty easy to confuse.”)
From there, Kennedy discussed his role as Automattic’s “theminator,” his actual job title, where he oversees the creation – and troubleshooting – of themes and their design. His job also includes serving as a designer for Twenty Seventeen, the next default theme for WordPress.