How to Become A Great WordPress Developer

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How to Become a Great WordPress Developer

Did you know that more than 39.5% of all the websites on the internet are powered by WordPress [1] Yes; this clearly shows that there is a large scope of WordPress in the digital world.

Maybe you were attracted by the gaining popularity of WordPress or the ease of use of it and want to become a WordPress Developer? Before we learn how to become a great WordPress developer, we will talk about what a WordPress developer is. If you haven’t setup your wordpress development environment, you can read our guide here to learn how.

Who Is a WordPress Developer?

A person who is responsible for either the front-end or back-end development or both for WordPress is known as a WordPress developer. Their scope of work is not limited to just these things but is very wide. They are plugin developers and WordPress will not be the same if there were no developers.

With a large number of websites being developed on WordPress, it is but natural that more and more people are turning to this field.

Hence, the competition is increasing day by day and to stand out, you need to be the best. The trick is to master one of the fields of WordPress.

7 Steps to Become A Great WordPress Developer

These 7 steps are a roadmap to achieve success in the WordPress environment. If you follow each step in the right order, you can become one of the best. Let’s look at the steps in detail.

  1. Master the Basics

Before you go ahead and learn WordPress, you need to make your base in coding stronger. If you are not an expert in coding, you need to go back and learn the basics of coding before you jump on to learning WordPress.

Didn’t we just mention in the beginning that WordPress doesn’t require any prior coding knowledge? Yes, we still stand by our words but what you need to understand is that you should not just limit your scope. What if today you are going to be a WordPress developer but after a few years, you change your mind?

Therefore, it is important to know the basics of coding. This will let you switch from one place to another and opt for other options too. WordPress coding is not independent of other things. For example, to set up the error logs in WordPress, the developer needs to know a little PHP.

Have you seen those random little posts on the sidebar in a WordPress site you are using? Yep, for that, you need knowledge of PHP too. Similarly, if your clients want to add external links that open automatically in a separate tab, the developer needs to know JavaScript.

See where we are going with it? For a simple, basic WordPress site, the developer does not need to know much. But, if the client asks to give them a unique and different site with higher functionality and customer engagement, knowing CSS and HTML is also important.

Through these 2 languages, the WordPress starter theme can be customized. Otherwise, it will not be possible. These are just a handful of examples, there is so much more that can be done. So, it is important to know the basic coding languages like CSS, HTML, PHP etc.

  1. Learn Specifically about WordPress

Once you are done with the basics, it is time to learn about WordPress. Even though there are many different development options in WordPress, you need to have thorough knowledge about the complete software.

There are many different courses available which teach you everything from the basics to the more advanced stages. Pick a course and level which you are interested in and enroll in it. Not only this but there are a lot of free sources available also.

  • WordPress Codex: The official WordPress manual that is written by the company itself. It is the Holy Grail of WordPress and covers everything from the basics of website creation to the most technical aspects. You can choose from courses, functions, hooks and even classes. To be the best, learning from the original makers is important. Go ahead and give the codex a good read.
  • WordPress Developer Resources[2]: This is another important resource to check out. Officially compiled and distributed by WordPress, it has all the resources that the developers need and also includes code references for different API’s, theme development and plugins, a block editor and so much more. This is also very important if you want to become more advanced in WordPress.
  1. Select an Area of Interest

When pursuing a career in WordPress development, there are 3 main categories you can go into. Either you can be a software developer, a theme developer or a plugin developer.

Most of the projects you will be working on may require working on all three areas. But, it is important to master one. The saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none” is applicable if you don’t specialize in any one of the following.

  • Core Developer: A developer who works with the core software of WordPress. These people don’t work on add-ins or plug-ins but make changes to the software code. Once a change is recommended and implemented, the entire outlook of WordPress changes.
  • Plugin Developers: Once the core software is made, only big changes are made to it. To enhance the functionality of the WordPress website, plug-ins are developed. These are applications that make the WordPress experience better.
  • Theme Developers: As the name suggests, they create themes for the website. People can customize their sites according to the look they like. You can change the layout, color and even style of your pages.

These are not the only areas you can specialize in. API’s and other things are also gaining popularity and becoming a lucrative idea too.

  1. Create a Development Environment

Often an overlooked step, creating a development environment is critical for developers. It increases the efficiency manifold and makes work quicker and aligned. It is not necessary to make a local environment, you can also establish a remote environment in which all your work will be stored.

This makes implementing and viewing the changes you make to the WordPress software easier and quicker. It looks the same when you open the browser. The only difference is that when you open the browser, the files will be loaded from the computer and not the server.

The setting up process is very easy. If you are unable to do it manually, go ahead and make use of tools like Local by Flywheel and DevKinsta to help you out. This not only makes your work streamlined but also allows for easy collaboration with others. You can debug issues in the development phase without actually making changes to the software.

  1. Join The Community

Reach out and engage with other WordPress developers. To do this, there are many support forums where different developers come together and brainstorm ideas about how to make the platform better. Networking is always a good idea, and to make it big in the WordPress field, you need to know the right people.

Being an active member of the community will also keep you updated with new releases, updates and even help you troubleshoot problems that arise in your work. You can always ask for help from the people of the community.

  1. Make Your Portfolio

How will anyone know how much effort you have put in to learn WordPress? The best way not to boost and still show your skills is to develop your portfolio. Companies prefer to see a portfolio of work done to see if the person is capable of handling their work or not. It will increase your chances of getting selected manifold.

  1. Make a Technical Resume

Lastly, a very important thing is to have a technical resume. If you are new and don’t have much to show on your resume, no issues. In this case, focus on adding your skills and related experience if any to the resume.

BONUS TIP

Being the best does not mean that you don’t face any challenges or have any problems coming your way. Being the best means you are ready to face the challenges.  For this, you need to be prepared. Work on the security of the website. That should be your priority.

 

Remember, there can be bugs in your code that can even lead to a massive systems crash. There are different skills you need to master to prevent or overcome these issues. Do proper homework to prevent this.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, becoming a WordPress developer is a lucrative job. Mark my words, it is fun also. All you need to do is be properly armed with knowledge and skills and you will be the best of the lot.

To help you, there are several resources available online in the form of courses, tutorials and even books. Join different forums, learn about WordPress and keep updated with it. If done right, you can make big bucks with time flexibility and without getting bored!

[1]https://www.searchenginejournal.com/wordpress-powers-39-5-of-all-websites/391647/#close

[2] https://developer.wordpress.org/

[3] https://stacksocial.com/sales/the-2021-wordpress-wizard-bundle

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