Geek of the Week: Drupal Developer Angela Byron

Drupal is an open source content management platform that’s way sexier than that description reads. Mess around with Drupal and it won’t be long before you come across the work of Angela Byron. I heard about Angela (aka Webchick) before I met her at OSCON this past summer because she won a rather prestigious award. When we had the chance to meet, I found her humble, hilarious, and happily approachable. Last week, Angie took the time to answer some questions from dotFiveOne.

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Geeks Acting Geeky At OSCONHow did you first get involved in programming and computing?

I’ve been obsessed with video games since I was like three years old (Pong, baby!), and so from the get-go wanted to learn more about how computers worked with the eventual goal of writing my own games. I used
to type up the Commodore 64 BASIC programs in the back of 3-2-1 Magazine (the kind that were 10,000 lines of code that made a little box move in a circle) and kind of hack them around to make them do different things but otherwise didn’t do a whole lot other than type my term papers up on computers until high school. I mostly stuck with my Nintendo.

But then, in the mid-90s a friend introduced me to the Internet, and suddenly I found a new obsession.  I was completely blown away by this fantastic technology that connected humans from all over the world. My focus then shifted to learning everything possible about how it all worked: how the boxes were put together, what all the buzzwords like Linux, Perl, TCP/IP, FTP, IRC, and HTML meant, how to make web pages, how to make web *applications*, how security kept things from falling apart, and on and on and on.

What do you love about the work you do?

Damn near everything.  My “day job” is with Lullabot, a Drupal consulting shop who work with big-name clients like Sony and MTV. We help them architect their sites on Drupal, connect them with resources in the community, help support their development teams with code reviews and performance advice, and generally guide them along the path to being good citizens in the larger open source community. It rocks!

And part of my time with Lullabot is paid to work on Drupal itself as well. I use those hours (as well as just about every waking moment in which some other people might have a little thing called “a life” ) to do things like module and core development, documentation improvements, managing various initiatives to get more contributors involved, and (as of like last week) co-maintaining Drupal core itself.

Every day I get to work with fantastic, awesome people from all over the world, all of whom are doing their little part to make the website-building tool that we all use that much better. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.

What’s one thing that drives you nuts?

That my cursed body insists on getting sleep once or twice a week. Argh!

Other than hacking at Drupal, what’s the geekiest thing you do?

Hm. That’s tough. I do so many geeky things.  I’m frequently standing in long lines at the grocery store or whatever scribbling in one of those logic puzzles magazines or playing Picross DS. Does that count?

What does “geekspace for women” mean to you?

I guess a community that showcases all the cool, awesome stuff that women geeks are doing out there, and lets us meet one another and hang out virtually (perhaps with various “meatspace” meetups as well). Did I guess right? :D

Angela says that she can always be found in IRC at irc.freenode.net in #drupal as ‘webchick’, though she also has her own site. Thanks to Angela for taking the time to talk to dotFiveOne!

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