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How to Become a WordPress Developer?

by Nathan Zachary

WordPress developers are responsible for creating WordPress themes and plugins. They should have different programming skills such as javascript, PHP, CSS3, and HTML5. They are professionals who focus on improving the WordPress software and creating new products such as themes and plugins.

To become the Best WordPress developer all that is required from you is your commitment. You must be willing to commit a few hours each day for a week and voila! You are all set.

Skills a WordPress Developer Must Have 

If you wish to become one of the best WordPress developers then the following are some of the technical skills that a WordPress developer must-have.

  • Programming languages: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, javascript.
  • Themes and plugin installation.
  •  Web design.
  • Plugin development. 
  • Database management.
  • Page builder.
  • Digital marketing and SEO.

To become a WordPress developer, you need: 

  • Master the fundamentals of coding.
  • Read up on WordPress specifically.
  • Choose your focus area.
  • Create a development environment for testing.
  • Be active in the WordPress community.
  • Build a portfolio.
  •  Create your technical resume.

Step 1: Master the fundamental of coding 

WordPress developers should know the basics of HTML, CSS, javascript, and PHP as it is essential for debugging, troubleshooting, and extending the functionality of the platform.

Step 2: Read up on WordPress specifically 

Once you know the basics of coding, start reading up on the WordPress-specific resource to understand what makes this CMS( content management system). Following are some of the resources that can help you in becoming a WordPress developer.

WordPress codex is an official online manual that has been specifically written by WordPress developers to help aspiring developers. This manual can be considered the ABC of WordPress coding. Starting from the basics of how to create a website to adding AJAX functionality in your custom plugin, this manual has it all. It also includes various other technical aspects that would be of great help.

EnvatoTuts+: This is one of the best websites for beginners. You will find the A to Z of WordPress which includes the how-to tutorials, courses, ebooks, and many more.

Know the code: If you are looking for tutorial videos then this site provides three distinctive learning courses namely 1) learning plugins and developers, and 2) theme developers. However, this program is specifically meant for advanced developers.

Step 3: Choose your focus area 

If you plan to become a WordPress developer then based on your preferences and your area of interest, you may choose from core software development, theme development, or plugin development. 

  • Core Development: The developer specializing in core development works in creating and editing the core software of WordPress. The WordPress core is the software that is available for download on the official website of WordPress.
  • Plugin Development: Development in this area creates custom plugins. They can create a plugin for individual clients. However, it is the choice of the developers whether they wish to release the plugin for free in the Theme Directory of WordPress, or sell it in a third-party marketplace or the site.
  • Theme Development: The developer in this area creates custom themes. Just like the developer of the plugins, the theme developer creates a theme for their individual clients. Here as well, the developers may release the plugin for free in the WordPress Theme Directory or sell it on the third-party marketplace or site.

Step 4: Development environment for testing 

It is essential to set up a development environment so that any type of developer can test at ease. This way it will not only speed up the development process but will also typically result in a better product.

Your development environment can either be a local or remote environment, where you’ll store all your WordPress core files. This way you will be able to test and make any new changes in the browser any time you want. Internet connection is not required for you to build a theme. The theme can be checked and tested from various perspectives. This is an important step, especially if you are planning to release your theme to a larger audience and wish to guarantee utmost compatibility.

Step 5: Being active in the WordPress community can be of great help

Being active in the WordPress community means your interaction with other community members will increase which will ultimately lead to the overall improvement of your WordPress experience. Active community members can be developers, designers, marketers, writers, and much more. The only criteria for being an active community member are knowing a bit about WordPress, investing time to learn a bit more, and making an effort to share what you know with others.

Step 6: Build a portfolio 

Building a portfolio of your own is one of the greatest ways of “to show, not tell”. Let your portfolio do all the talking.  This is one way through which you can, besides improving your work, increase the chances of being hired as a freelancer or a full-time employee in an organization.

Step 7: Create your technical resume

For the role of a WordPress developer, a technical resume is as important as your portfolio for applying for any job application. If you work as a freelancer, then you can repurpose your technical resume. This will be helpful in providing necessary information on your personal website.

Speaking of a technical resume, it might sound quite confusing. Here are some key points that must be included in your technical resume.

  • Key skills
  • Professional experience
  • Education
  • Projects Completed

If you are a beginner and do not have much information to put under your professional experience, then include illustrations of your skills and personal projects in other sections to display your expertise.

An Insight on WordPress Theme Development and WordPress Plugins

WordPress Theme Development

An important fact that you need to know is that WordPress themes and WordPress core are separate from one another. WordPress themes are actually collections of templates that can be modified in accordance with how you want the site to be displayed without touching the WordPress core software. This is the plus point of using WordPress. Since the presentation styles and the template files are separated from the core software, the appearance of the site will be least affected when a new version of WordPress is released. This actually saves a lot of your time, work, and effort.

The advantage of becoming a theme developer is that their production goal differs and they have various means of accomplishing it. It depends on their personal choice of how they want to develop the theme of their own website or that of their clients. Some might choose an existing theme and customize it using the available features and built-in settings while others might prefer to customize it completely or start from scratch. Irrespective of whichever way you choose, never let go of the opportunity of theme development as this will give you a chance to enhance your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript skills.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are software bits when plugged into the website to help in extending the functionality of the site. Just like the WordPress theme, modifying the plugins will not affect the core software. Editing the core software to change the functionality of the site will be completely erased when a new version of the software updates because WordPress codes overwrite existing codes when updated. The ecosystem of plugins is enormous. And you might feel that there is no scope for new plugin developers as the market is already flooded with a huge number of plugins. But it is the other way round. There is always room for new plugin developers as there is always the requirement for new and improved plugins to enhance the functionality of a website.

 Thus, if you choose to become a WordPress developer then it is not only a lucrative career but an amusing and interesting choice. Although you will need resources and time to invest in learning and experimenting, it is one such career option that is not only well-paid but will also provide you with flexibility at work.

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