Nicky Veitch had a career in IT, and she came across Joomla when she was searching for a solution to sell digital products. Creating her first website was so much fun that she decided to make a career switch. Nicky is quite active in the Joomla Community, which she describes as ‘friendly and welcoming’.
Thanks for participating in this interview, Nicky! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Melbourne, Australia with my husband, 2 kids and cat. I like travelling, walking, sports, technology, coffee, sunsets and binge-watching TV.
I’ve worked in IT/tech since 1990-something – started in tech support and worked up to management. Along the way I got a modem and dial up account, and taught myself HTML back when IRC and personal homepages were a thing and CSS hadn’t been invented yet. In 2016 I graduated with a degree in Internet Communications. It is a humanities degree focussed on the human dimensions of the internet, how people network, collaborate and share information through internet communications, media and design.
How did you get involved with Joomla and the J! Community?
In 2006 I wanted to sell a digital product and after much web-trawling eventually found my way to open source CMS. I set up WAMP and downloaded Joomla and WordPress to test them (and Mambo, I had no idea Joomla was forked from this until I installed it and thought I’d made a mistake). I chose Joomla 1.0 with Virtuemart 1 because with some modifications I could make it work the way I wanted, and most of the other now-well-known options didn’t exist yet. It was a massive learning curve but I had so much fun with that first site, I decided to switch my professional focus to the web instead.
I couldn’t get to a JUG at that stage, but I joined the Joomla Forum and spent a lot of time searching for solutions. In 2007 I built my first professional website in Joomla, for a local primary school. My first J! Community event was JoomlaDay Melbourne in 2013, where I met some of the current Melbourne JUG members as well as a couple of people I now know are well-known in the community, but as a newbie back then I’d never heard of! I tried to get to the Melbourne JUG after that, but small children and study made it challenging to juggle everything so I only got to attend a couple of times.
What do you do for a day job?
Today I own a consulting business delivering fully customised digital solutions to small businesses. We focus on ’best tools for the job’ and while Joomla is the best website tool in many cases and is also my favourite, we don’t limit ourselves to just one solution, or try to ‘fit a square peg into a round hole’ if the customer’s requirements are clearly in a different direction.
Do you use Joomla in other ways?
Over the years I’ve donated Joomla websites to several local community organisations and sporting clubs my kids are involved in. The arrangement is usually that they pay for ongoing hosting and a maintenance plan, and we are listed as a club sponsor. I enjoy being able to contribute to my local community in this way, and we tend to get new work through the sponsorship links so everybody is happy with the arrangement.
Are you involved in the Joomla community?
Once I finished my studies I decided it was time to get out there, and the Joomla Administrator exam had just been announced, so I hopped on a plane to Vancouver to attend the 2016 Joomla World Conference and sit one of the first exams. I didn’t know a soul when I arrived but it was an amazing experience, everyone was so friendly and welcoming and I came home with a whole swag of new knowledge, ideas and friends.
I went along to the next Melbourne JUG event and put my hand up to become the JUG co-organiser. In Australia we operate as ‘Joomla Australia’, which means most of the major Australian cities have a local JUG which runs regular meetings (in non-Covid times), and we also share management of the JoomlaAu website, email, social media and organisation of the JoomlaDay Australia event. It’s a great setup, it allows us all to share knowledge and resources, and also provides a better experience for new people coming in or people looking for support. I’ve also been involved in several global Joomla teams including Showcase Directory, Certification, Marketing, Social Media and the JCM, and I help out in the (unofficial) Joomla! No Spam Facebook Group.
How did Joomla change your life?
Prior to getting into the world of Joomla, I was an IT Manager. I loved the job but it was long hours and a lot of staff, which made it difficult to maintain once my daughter was born. Learning Joomla enabled me to set up my own business and become proficient at something I enjoyed, that I could also make marketable. Joining the community allowed me to expand my network across the world. Even though the hours can still be long, I have a lot of flexibility around what I do and when I do it.
What did you learn and / or gain personally from being a J! Volunteer?
The biggest gains when volunteering are always meeting new people and improving your own knowledge.
Do you have a memorable Joomla-moment?
JoomlaDay Melbourne 2013 – my first Joomla event.
Joomla World Conference 2016 in Vancouver – hotel bar with 3 other Joomla ladies, none of whom I’d met before, celebrating all of us passing the Joomla exam. Meeting 2 other Aussies who lived in the US. Karaoke (not me, highly entertaining).
JoomlaDay Australia 2017 in Sydney – setting up/supervising first Joomla exam in Australia, with the closest support person in Malaysia if something went wrong (thankfully it didn’t).
Joomla World Conference 2017 in Rome – 9 hours sightseeing walk around Rome with a friend I met in Vancouver. Seeing friends again, meeting new friends face-to-face. Gifting a bunch of toy kangaroos, koalas and Tim Tams. Introducing Vegemite toast to people clearly unprepared for it (sorry-not-sorry).
2018 – Joomla exam preparation and exam with Melbourne JUG friends (was so nervous for them all, and so happy when they all passed!). Joomla exam for Brisbane JUG when I was up there on a holiday for a week, walking in having never met them before!
JoomlaDay Australia 2019 in Brisbane – all of it. Great event.
2019/2020 – Project managing a team with Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth JUG volunteers to launch the new Joomla Australia website.