Contributor Spotlight: Jamie Madden

Welcome to another edition of the Training Team’s Contributor Spotlight!
In this series, we introduce one of our many valued contributors and invite you to learn more about their journey.

WordPress contributor Jamie Madden's profile photo

Meet Jamie!

Jamie Madden had been involved in open-source long before WordPress’ first release. He made his first contribution to the Red Hat kernel in 1999. Since then, he’s been contributing to the WordPress documentation, testing, and, of course, Training Team.

“I discovered WordPress when Matt (Mullenweg, WordPress co-founder -R.S.) started posting about it on the B2 Evolution forums. I have been around since the beginning. First, it was for personal projects. By 2006, I was using it professionally with my friend in our small agency, building websites and plugins for niche sites.”

An Australian living in Vietnam with his wife, Jamie has over 25 years of experience in IT in software development, infrastructure, backend server admin, customer support, and more. He also founded a multivendor marketplace pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party for WooCommerce and is now working in the emerging field of AI.

A pack of fish swimming in the sea. Photo by Jamie Madden
This is not a screensaver (photo: Jamie Madden)

Besides software, Jamie is also a passionate scuba diver with technical certifications who is looking to add dive master to the list soon. “If I’m not in the ocean, I’m on a mountain snowboarding,” he says. “I enjoy learning new things, and my current area of interest is languages. I’m studying Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish and dabbling in a couple more.”

What motivated you to start contributing to the open-source project? What drew you to the Training Team?
“I’m passionate about open-source and open standards and have been interested in this since I got involved in IT in the mid-to-late 90s. I have been a tutor, teacher, and trainer on and off over the years, and I find that training is essential when learning to use new open-source tools. It was an opportunity to contribute to the Training Team as a subject expert.”

Jamie also regularly reviews lessons and has been part of the team’s dev-squad since it started. “We hold regular meetings to triage code-related issues on the Learn website. The #meta-learn channel on the Making WordPress Slack is also where other training folks can come to ask developer-related questions.”

When asked about a memorable moment in his journey as a Training Team contributor, he picks a recent one: “I got to co-lead the Training Team Table at this year’s WordCamp Asia with Wes Theron. Meeting so many faces in person and onboarding new contributors has been a highlight.”

Could you share any challenges or obstacles you faced when starting to contribute and how you overcame them?
“The biggest challenge for entry when contributing to any open-source projects—no matter if it’s development, marketing, documentation, or other areas—is documentation. The Training Team Handbook, the Developer Resources, and SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at have been staples in my contributions.”

Jamie Madden underwater, during technical scuba training
Soon to be Dive Master. Jamie underwater

What advice would you give to someone interested in contributing to WordPress?
“Everyone learns differently, so ask questions, be curious, and start building. That’s how you learn WordPress and find where you could contribute most.”

(In)Frequently Asked Questions

Which tutorial changed the way you work with WordPress?
“All the BlockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. Editor tutorials that Wes produces.”

Name three things you must pack for WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more..

  1. My name badge from the last one
  2. A spare bag for swag
  3. Comfortable shoes

If you had all the time in the world, which other open-source project would you contribute to?
“I would go back to contributing to the PostgreSQL team. I used to contribute to the docs team 20 years ago.”

Thank you, Jamie, for all your dedication and contributions to the Training Team and the WordPress Open-Source Project!

Are you interested in contributing to the Training Team?
Check out our Getting Started guide or join the Guide Program for mentorship with an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!