I’m not seeing a Drupal job in my future. At one point recently I was taking that pretty hard. I helped troubleshoot an issue a past colleague had, and as I took them through the steps and the site set up and the integration that had occurred with CiviCRM I felt sad that I had all my knowledge was going to be lost. It’s part of the transition from one job to the next, how many organisations have lots gems of brilliance because someone left with no time for a handover – false economy if you ask me.
I’m driven by making a difference, and now at 35 I’m pretty determined to make the next move as strategic as possible. I’m not sure what that looks like still; but six months ago I had a shitty network and limited connections, to now having a kick arse network within Drupal and not for profit organisations in Australia, and other awesome digital networks. I haven’t quite worked out how to get myself in a financial position to mobilise these networks, I’m still hopeful it will come.
If I can be in a position to initiate the technology build then it will be Drupal all the way. But I’ve learned that it’s hard to convince people to move away from technology that they know, whether through experience, a slick sales pitch, or mates. I’d never want to set an organisation up for a technology fall, so even in situations where I know that Drupal would be better, I’ve gone along with Wordpress because I know they can get support.
I’m not sad about not stepping into another Project Manager role (although I’m getting broke so at some point it’s a leap I may take), but I am very sad about the job ads for Drupal people in Australia. Most of the ones I see are from recruiters, recruiters that don’t even allow remote wok (what’s with that?), but those recruiters were fed the specs in the first place.
One recruiter told me that they had zero applications for a State Government agency site, despite trying to recruit from overseas. The site is basic, the content is flat and doesn’t reflect the significance of their work, and it’s not that pretty (nor accessible). I’ll vehemently argue against why they thought they needed a full stack developer in the first place. It’s false economy, and sets up an understanding that Drupal is too complicated to be suitable. In two years my bet is this site is no longer on Drupal, they will get a high quote for migration to D8, not be happy with what they have in the first place, they will never have improved it, and they will move to whichever system the CIO of the day favours.
In fact I had this very conversation with an organisation two weeks ago. They have multiple Drupal sites, the migration was complicated and required much time and energy, and to even consider switching is crazy, but they are considering it. The saying "throw the baby out with the bathwater" is apt.
If someone like me, a confident builder, master at engagement and finding the strengths in others to get stuff built, excellent at training and managing techs and non-techs, with an innate understanding of organisations and end users, can’t see a place for themselves in the local Drupal economy, how do new people feel?
There’s only two things stopping me from setting up a Wordpress shop and building all the sites, one, it’s not really my bag, and two, I’d always know it could have be done better in Drupal.
Another reason I'm not seeing a Drupal job in my future is because particularly in Australia the market is just too tight. I'd like to be in a position where I was initiating projects using Drupal, but I'm concerned about the availabiltiy of developers, people with site building skills, and site managers - and themers - always, always a shortage of themers. It compounds the mindset for funders that Drupal is an inappropriate CMS choice.
The Drupal community works so, so hard to push for inclusivity and welcoming new people in. From the outside looking in I'm still not sure of specifically what gets done incredibly successfully - although clearly the attraction of coders via DrupalCons and other events is one - and where new strategies are needed - although I see a need to increase design and theme capacity and bring in people with talent that way.
These issues aren't Drupal specific problems, they are community building problems. In every sector and every community people struggle with how to increase enagement and participation. I wholehartedly believe that people want increased engagement and participation, politically and socially now more than ever - I have a feeling our communities have reached the point where their future success or decline hinges on it more than ever before.
There is opportunity, I'm not sure at this point specifically what it means for me, but journeys are about finding these things out; and finding likeminded people that feel the same.