Previously in the Women of Drupal series, we talked with Brooke Lowell (babblingbrooke) about building confidence in tech and the reward that comes with taking charge and leading your own Drupal projects. You can read what she had to say here.
With a global community of more than 1 million members, Drupal thrives from a commitment to diversity and freedom of expression, bringing together users, developers, strategists, editors and sponsors with vastly different backgrounds and life experiences. We hope Acquia’s Women of Drupal blog series will inspire more women all over the globe to get involved in tech and contribute to Drupal, so that they can continue growing their impact in the open source community.
The Women in Drupal group, which provides career guidance and networking opportunities to encourage more women to get involved with Drupal. Today women represent about 17 percent of the community. While this is a significant improvement from the gender imbalance in open source as a whole (only 3% of contributors in GitHub’s 2017 Open Source Survey identified as women ) we still have many more hurdles to overcome towards achieving stronger female representation in the open source software community.
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For our latest blog covering women doing amazing things with Drupal, I spoke with Diana Wiener, Acquia’s director of customer success life cycle management about the major role Drupal plays in supporting customer security and how the work she does leaves a global footprint.
In the interview, Diana speaks to the international assistance she’s been able to provide as a Drupal expert. She also looks to the future, predicting the positive economic and social impact that open source technology will bring to developing countries.
Paige: How did you get your start in tech?
Diana: When I was eighteen years old, I took the graphic design skills I learned on my high school newspaper and went to work for a digital print company. That turned into contracting for larger print companies for troubleshooting and training, which turned into web design, which led me to my first start-up experience in Austin, Texas. Eventually, I went to college and law school. After seven years in law, I decided to return to my first love: technology. That brought me to Drupal and to Acquia.
Paige: How did you first discover Drupal?
Diana: I had a good friend, Amye Scavarda, who got into the Drupal community in its early days. During my unhappy stint working in insurance defense litigation, she encouraged me to learn Drupal. She thought that the Drupal community, and Acquia in particular, would be a good fit for me. So I started learning Drupal. When Acquia created a new support position (Support Coordinator), I applied and got the job.
Paige: What Drupal function, project or contribution are you working on and/or most proud of?
Diana: I am deeply proud of the work I’ve done to assist various Acquia customers in their success on a global enterprise scale. From critical infrastructure services to educational institutions to governmental agencies to global commercial businesses, I have been able to assist global leaders across many countries and industries in achieving their goals. There are times when successfully supporting our customers has meant ensuring their services remained stable and their applications were available in the face of natural disasters, terror attacks and even national revolutions. I am very proud to be a part of that.
Paige: What are some challenges you've faced; technical and career-wise?
Diana: Drupal has grown a great deal in the seven years I’ve been involved in the community. The technology has changed as has the scale on which Drupal operates. That rapid increase in users and application use cases has meant the community has faced growing pains and that, in turn, has created interesting challenges for creating, supporting, scaling and keeping Drupal applications secure. Since my job focuses a great deal on assisting customers to ensure their technology stack is up-to-date, sometimes the greatest challenge is making sure application administrators understand the benefits of maintaining their application.
Paige: What inspires you? What keeps you passionate about your work?
Diana: I think I am most inspired by the variety of challenges that come with Drupal at scale. Some of the customers we work with host huge events with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors. Others require the kind of resilience and persistence in their application availability that is necessary to give their users confidence even in the most urgent circumstances. I’m truly impressed by all the ways Drupal powers the world.
Paige: What does the future of Drupal look like, in your opinion? More adoption, new features, any major changes?
Diana: Open source technologies, like Drupal, have the benefit of being adaptable by anyone who has access to the internet, a little time and a strong work ethic. As digital technology reaches these new users and more parts of the world obtain access to the internet, these free, robust tools can allow anyone with the determination to learn. This will create space for connected communities, lean supply chain management, good job opportunities and expanded customer bases for goods and services. I believe that the Drupal community will only grow as a result, and I am proud to be an ongoing part of that community.
Paige: What advice would you give your younger self/someone who is just starting out?
Diana: Be willing to admit when you don’t know something! Don’t put off asking for help; the sooner you ask, the sooner you get better. When I was starting out, I often felt foolish or embarrassed about admitting when I didn’t understand some aspect of the technology. I underestimated the kindness and patience of the people in the Drupal community. Also, accept that there will always be more to learn! Technology is a rapidly evolving subject area, so it helps to be comfortable with having new things to learn all the time.