Who I am, what I do and where am I going...
Who am I?
My name is Ashley Nicolson. I’m passionate about open source and people. I’m a programmer (primarily in PHP), mentor and on occassion, speaker. I live in bonnie Scotland (weggie) with my husband, 3 year old daughter + baby due 2020 and two fur babies (kitties). I work for SalesAgility, the maintainers of SuiteCRM, at the head quarters Stirling, Scotland (though currently remotely).
This blog, its contents and opinions are my own. I blog about open source, education, scotland, community building, management, exciting places and experiences. I also have a podcast, Scotland Open Source, that I interview Scottish open source developers, advocates and companies to help promote themselves, their projects and generally discuss the importance and impact of open source in the Scottish tech industry.
I love video games, meeting new people, supporting others to achieve amazing things, and try to apply “openness” to a number of aspects in my life.
“Open source represents the concept that, purely through the distribution of code and software, humanity is demonstrable by the passion and dedication of people making the world a better place.”
What do I do?
I’m Head of Communty @ SalesAgility. My day to day is bridging the gap between the community, our internal teams and the project itself. This includes setting up community teams, encouraging participation, organising community content creation, events and all the interpersonal aspects inbetween.
I started off as a software engineer, then inched my way into team leader to then be promoted to Head of Product (& Community). I have now since dedicated my time fully to being the voice of the Community and their champion for the SuiteCRM roadmap. During my time I’ve played a pivotal role in growing and developing the company’s open source community, with SuiteCRM contributions from the community growing by more than 750% between 2015 and 2019. Currently, our community forum is made up of about 49,000 active members including partners.
I am also the co-founder of the Scotland Open Source Users Meetups (SOSUM), which have over 100 members. SOSUM meetups bring people together around Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), with a focus on discovering projects, discussing the impact of FOSS on the industry, and exploring ways to promote a healthy open source ecosystem. SOSUM meetups are open to all skill levels and are a combination of talks, workshops and demonstrations about all aspects of open source. There are also announcements on the world of open source, debates on open source ethics, and discussions of how to support and manage online communities and projects.
I’m also part of the Ladies of Code community in Glasgow, which is a network made up of over 750 women, all eager to learn digital skills.
To help promote open source I partner with schools across Scotland delivering educational activities on open source. I’ve taught over 100 primary school children on open source participation and technologies in 2020 (before COVID-19 struck). Looking forward to picking that back up again when schools return.
Where am I going?
I would love 💖 to get open source into the computer science curriculum in Scotland. With this, I want to increase girls’ computer science enrollment, instill a positive experience with open source, and increase awareness of the importance of open source in education. I’m working with a number of teachers in Scotland on how to create suitable course material to encourage open source participation and learning outcomes.
I am also looking to mature and develop SOSUM meetups so that they become a voice for the open source community in Scotland. This will include regular corporate sponsorship to assist with hosting, and to facilitate thought provoking discussion around open source life, work, and its impact on industry and society. I’m currently raising awareness of open source through the Scotland Open Source podcast but feel there is more to do. Whether this be to organize more workshops, conferences, and events around open source. Do get in touch if you wish to sponsor, attend, or expand upon these ideas! I’m all ears 👂