Ajay Coletta is a teacher, WordPress fan, and a Rock-and-Roller. He’s a professor at the site of this year’s WordCamp RI: New England Tech in East Greenwich.
Wait, what? Back up a second. Rock-and-Roller?? Yes. Read to the end of this post to get the scoop.
But first, Ajay (A C) talked all things WordPress and WordCamp with WordCamp RI (WC RI).
(WC RI) What is your favorite part of WordCamp?
(A C) Meeting people and learning how they use WordPress.
(WC RI) How much coding/web development/other will an attendee need to know to get something out of WordCamp?
(A C) The need for coding is really only for folks who want to do more advanced things with WP, there is so much to learn from WordCamp that does not require code.
(WC RI) What would you say to someone who says: “I know nothing about websites and will be totally overwhelmed.”
(A C) The concern about being overwhelmed is understandable, and applicable to many things in life, but the learning curve for WP is minimal and there is plenty of great support everywhere, so as long as you are willing, you are more than half way there.
(WC RI) What would you say to someone who says: “I know so much about websites and WordPress there’s nothing I could get out of WordCamp.”
(A C) The Internet and how we use it is constantly changing, the best way to stay on top is by networking with those folks who are completely immersed and you find them at Word Camp.
(WC RI) You’re the professor of WordPress classes at the New England Institute of Technology. With all the options for websites existing in the world, why do you focus on WordPress with your students?
(A C) In our GMW (Graphics, Multimedia and Web) design department, we had a meeting several years ago to decide what platform our students would use to build their creative portfolios. WordPress was the clear choice for the great online support, design flexibility and web compliance, including responsive design for mobile devices.
This is the first time Word Camp Rhode Island will be held at New England Tech; many are not aware of the fantastic programs, faculty and facilities at our stunning East Greenwich campus. Come out and experience it; I will be there. Let me show you around.
(WC RI) When does the learning stop for WordPress and the World Wide Web in general?
(A C) Our WordPress classes run in conjunction with our digital portfolio classes in our Associates & Bachelors degrees, and even though students have graduated, they often stay in touch because they understand that in order to stay competitive, learning a great CMS like WordPress should never stop.
(WC RI) What do you get out of WordCamp?
(A C) The opportunity to network, learn more about new features and WP events, and often align folks with students who could help them as interns or maybe even employment.
(WC RI) What is your level of comfort with creating and maintaining websites? What do you do with WordPress?
(A C) I feel I have good comfort with creating and maintaining websites for clients and myself. I am currently creating two new custom themes named after my twins “Sarika and Devie” – I thought it would be fun to include design & theme options that sort of represent their personalities: yes, my “child” themes!
(WC RI) What impressions do you come away with about the other speakers/volunteers/sponsors/the organizers?
(A C) I am always inspired by the folks at Word Camps and love being able to share my experiences with my students. In my courses I explain that many of the folks you meet at WordCamps build websites and blogs for a living using WordPress; they use the platform to offer services to clients who have real needs and are very willing to pay.
Besides being a teacher and creator of WordPress websites, Ajay is also a member of AIGA, DesignxRI and various Meetup Groups.
(A C) I love to teach and speak and am open to any opportunities. Let’s connect! www.eastsidemedia.com is a good place to start.
And now the part you’ve been waiting for:
(A C) I also love music and am thrilled to be in “Hey Nineteen” – A Tribute to Steely Dan. I have been playing drums and percussion for a while and this is my dream gig. I manage the band’s website www.hey19band.com and WordPress makes updating content and tracking and collecting info a breeze.
Check out hey19band.com and see a video testimonial from Rick Derringer. Really! (Hang on Sloopy, he’s going to Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo.)