Renan Savidan, a WordPress and WooCommerce specialist is with us today for an exclusive interview so without further ado, let’s hear it from the man himself.
WPJuicer: Thank you Renan for taking the time out and joining us today. Let’s start by listening to your story. Please tell our readers about yourself and what do you currently do?
Renan: Hi, thanks for welcoming me on board!
I am currently living in French Guiana. It’s a step on my way to Latin America.
I have been an independent worker for almost 3 years as a WordPress & WooCommerce specialist, and I started working from anywhere exclusively remotely since January 2018.
WPJuicer: How did you enter the world of programming and web development? Who inspired you and what resources did you refer to for learning and development?
Renan: Let’s say I entered the world of programming by the back door 😉
I was about 30 years old when I chose to start a new career in the IT field.
It led me from the Reunion Island to France (continental) where I validated an official developer professional certificate.
I started as a maintenance/support technician in Paris and it took a few years before I got a job I was really happy about. I passed a bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences at the university meanwhile, which helped I guess.
These different work experiences taught me all I needed to start my own freelance activities.
I met some great teachers on my way, at school; I met others at work, where you learn differently.
These real people inspired me a lot and gave me a good professional base.
WPJuicer: What are your views on WordPress freelancing? Is it a viable career?
Renan: WordPress was a great option for me as a freelancer and still is.
The demand is huge from my perspective and the WP ecosystem is so vast that there is work for many different kinds of workers.
I like analogies, let’s try that one: some mechanics do extreme engineering for the F1 championship, some other work for big car companies as project managers, in R&D labs, some sell cars, others run their own small garage somewhere in the countryside…
In my opinion, there is a lot of room and options and you wouldn’t be wrong to start a career based on WordPress (roughly 1 third of the Internet runs on WordPress these days).
WPJuicer: Could you please describe your typical workday? Are there any projects that you are proud of? Can you share some of the most complicated or most interesting projects that you have worked on recently?
Renan: That’s a good question. I have no absolute rigid rules.
The way I organize myself depends on how busy I am, with work, missions, clients: all invoiced activities, but not only. As a business owner, there are recurring tasks, I work on side projects; daily life is also about cooking, shopping, traveling, socializing…
I really need flexibility as a habit and something very useful I usually do is to schedule meals, sports sessions, etc. on my agenda.
Last year, I worked for the union of French psychologists. They needed a whole new website to manage subscriptions and migrate content and all customer data from their old systems.
I built the solution on WooCommerce and WooCommerce Subscriptions and I developed many customizations (checkout, products).
To be honest, I didn’t need more complexity, but in addition, I had to migrate the data from MongoDB (NoSQL) to MySQL, that was a real challenge too.
Here is the website (Psychologues), my client and I were very happy with the new website.
WPJuicer: There are thousands of plugins available at WordPress.org repository. Which plugins are must for you to install with every WordPress installation?
Renan: As you just said, there are many choices and it depends on the projects you work on too.
But here is a shortlist I would recommend:
These plugins are all from Automattic that’s why I trust them a lot.
These days I am working on a few projects without any added page builder, exclusively with Gutenberg and I am very happy about it.
- Site Kit by Google seems promising
I feel better if the back office remains simple enough.
WPJuicer: WordPress has the best community that expands with each passing day. Where do you see this huge community in the next five years?
Renan: In my opinion, WordPress is here to stay. A good reason is that it’s widely being used, and even if there were other tools to replace all websites, it would probably take a while.
Another reason is that huge evolutions are possible, which first is better to ensure that the technology lasts, and second to attract talents, users.
As an example, Gutenberg was a huge step and at the beginning, people had more questions than there were answers. It was even felt kind of threatening by the community.
But when I attended Europe WordCamp 2020 online, I think it was no longer the case.
In 5 years I think I will still be busy as a WordPress expert, as many people as part of the community; if you ask me to see further with my crystal ball, I would just remind you that there are plenty of examples in the past, technologies appear, disappear…
WPJuicer: Everyone follows industry influencers. Name the WordPress influencers who have inspired you.
When I attended my first WordCamp Europe, June 2017 in Paris, it was like wonderland 😁.
I met some WPMU Dev team members, they were really cool persons.
I remember Bet, an American woman I met at the same time, she is a WordPress business owner.
Though we had no opportunities to meet again, that was some good time, and they all gave me so much information about the new career I had chosen.
For sure there are loads of other talented people, right now I am thinking about Leo Gopal. He advocates for mental health among the community, in addition to all his other activities.
WPJuicer: What do you look for in a managed WordPress host?
Renan: I like to build servers (on the Cloud, GCP, AWS, etc.) for my own websites. I enjoy Linux, command lines, and system administration tasks.
I don’t provide hosting for my clients, and often I just have to stick to the solution they chose.
To answer your question I would say: performances (depending on your needs), ease of use, a good user interface, and a few options like easy backups and restores, enhanced security, easy cloning features by instance …
WPJuicer: Who should we interview next, and why?
Renan: I said a word about Bet Hannon. She is American, from Oregon, and she has been working with WordPress for a while if I remember well. I bet she would be a good candidate.
WPJuicer: Besides work, everyone wants to feel a bit relaxed from time to time. What do you do during your free time? (Can we have a pics)
Renan: As I said before, It makes more than 2 years I mix work and travel.
In this context, I like to do tourist kinds of stuff: museums, photography, local experiences, etc.
Jogging is almost essential to me, I like to watch movies at the cinema, learn different things (social business by instance), etc.
And I try to share cool pics or interesting short stories on social networks. As I am always away and abroad it keeps me connected with my people.
WPJuicer: Any other thoughts or things you wish to mention?
Renan: Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to speak about my work and tell a bit of my story.
There is really something cool about being part of the WordPress community, if you want to discover how it feels, I encourage you to go to a WordPress event nearby, there are many, like WordCamps.