What WordCampers Are Interested In

About 10 days ago, we put up a survey of some out-of-box topics to see which what possible “workshop” or multiple session topics people might be interested in. 10 days isn’t alot of time for a survey, but we have gotten literally a mountain of responses (which is a good sign people are generally interested in a second day of a WordCamp Miami, although we already knew this from last year when we had standing room only at our Friday workshop sessions).

I won’t release numbers here, or the degrees of interest. Since we are letting the survey run as we accept speaker submissions, we don’t want to taint any responses. But on the other hand, we definitely see a trend. Here are the topics in order of interest as of now:

How To Build A Better Freelance / WordPress Business
Front-End Development
BuddyPress Mini-Camp
WordPress For Beginners Workshop
WordPress For Kids

Now, some interesting things about this ordered list. First the negative – I was sad to see WordPress for Kids bringing up the rear. I guess it makes sense that this would only interest you if you had a child and a child old enough to bring… and although we’ve gotten a ton of responses those factors would reasonably not make up many from a statical viewpoint. Perhaps we need to confirm by offering better targeted surveys. But for this type workshop we don’t need a large group at all. In fact, just the opposite. My wife is a teacher, and has personally explained how smaller class sizes with students allow you to give the one-on-one attention. Like I really needed that explained, of course. So all would we would need to about 20 kids, and compared to a 400-500 attendee WordCamp, that’s not large at all.

The beginners workshop is a bit of surprise, but might also be a factor of just happening to have more advanced developers fill out the survey. We are getting enough beginners and newbies signing up to our mailing list (which is approaching over 200 people in almost two weeks, so it’s not a small number) for us to definately not forget about anyone wanting to learn about WordPress for the first time, or get some reminders. I met a few of these personally during my time at Code Miami this past weekend.

Although it’s in the middle of the list, i’m stoked that BuddyPress has gotten many of those “i’m highly or somewhat interested” in responses. Could there be a potential for a BuddyPress Mini-Camp? BuddyPress is a niche, but it’s popularity is growing. A challenge might be to get qualified advanced speakers, since many of these are scattered across the globe, but at any rate i’m happily surprised at the responses.

The big story is the freelance business and front end development interest. These were practically tied in order of interest, with interest in freelance and business beating out front-end development by a narrow margin. I’m beginning to see this as more of a trend at WordCamps, both large and small. Started seeing a session or two appear about how to treat clients or about managing your own projects. Now i’ve seen sessions devoted to building WordPress businesses (and many of those suggestions and tips could easily be applied to any freelance tech business), even at the San Fran WordCamp in 2012.

So while WordCamp Miami is going to cover alot of bases – especially on it’s Saturday multi-track day – i’m excited and interested to see if these trends also appear in more WordCamps in 2013. More people are getting comfortable with WordPress… they aren’t beginners anymore. They want to start to learn about plugins like BuddyPress, become better designers and front-end developers to build better themes, and strengthen their freelance skills and business that they are using WordPress more heavily in.

If you are a designer, front-end developer, or have unique insight or experience in freelance (or own your own WordPress business) you might want to consider submitting a proposal to speak at WordCamp Miami 2013 this year. This is an educational event and there could be alot of people that could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

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