How to Become a WordPress Developer in 2022
WordPress is used by 37.8% of all websites on the internet, according to W3Techs.
Users don’t require technical skills to create a WordPress website, which is one of the reasons for its great popularity. Instead, they may quickly change their design with a theme, write and publish content, add multimedia, configure settings, and more – all without touching a single line of code.
A total lack of technical expertise, on the other hand, might lead to issues down the line. For example, some new users have trouble protecting their website, storing their data, totally changing their layout, and rebuilding it. These are just a handful of the reasons why people hire WordPress developers.
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In summary, WordPress developers can handle the more technical aspects of building and maintaining a WordPress site that the ordinary user lacks the knowledge or time to do.
WordPress development is a profitable sector that draws both enterprises and independent freelancers due to its big proportion of the CMS market and the vast user base it attracts. According to research conducted by Delicious Brains, the majority of WordPress developers earn between $45,000 and $150,000 per year.
What is a WordPress developer?
A WordPress developer is a specialist who specializes in the WordPress platform’s infrastructure and environment. They might concentrate on upgrading the WordPress program or developing new goods, such as plugins and themes. They may also assist clients in creating, customizing, and managing WordPress sites.
Because WordPress development is such a large topic, this is a broad definition. However, we’ll look at the duties and job descriptions of WordPress developers in more detail below so you can have a better picture of what they do daily.
What does a WordPress developer do?
The back-end or front-end development of WordPress sites is normally the responsibility of a WordPress developer (or both). Creating custom WordPress themes and plugins is a common example, but it’s not the only one. For example, WordPress developers may be engaged to create a sitemap or wireframes for a new site, transfer an existing site to the WordPress platform, or redesign it to improve its SEO and conversion rate, in addition to providing these resources.
Alternatively, rather than working with customers on individual sites, WordPress developers may evaluate and troubleshoot the WordPress codebase as a whole to improve the program for everyone.
This is simply a small percentage of what WordPress developers do. Let’s look at a WordPress developer job description to get a better idea of what this profession entails. Indeed.com has the following job description.
Check out the services page of WordPress design companies for a more in-depth look at what WordPress developers do. Here’s the page for WebDevStudios, for example.
Given WordPress developers’ variety, it can be tough to determine where or how to begin earning the skills and expertise needed to pursue a career as a full-time professional or part-time freelancer in this industry.
We’ll walk you through the essential stages to become a WordPress developer to help you get started and prevent feeling overwhelmed.
How to Become a WordPress Developer
- Master the fundamentals of coding.
- Read up on WordPress specifically.
- Choose your focus area.
- Create a development environment for testing.
- Become an active member of the WordPress community.
- Build a portfolio.
- Create your technical resume.
Step 1: Master the fundamentals of coding.
These are just a handful of the coding tasks that a developer could be requested to do.
Step 2: Read up on WordPress specifically.
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of coding, go into WordPress-specific resources to learn more about what makes this CMS so special. The resources listed below might assist you at various stages of your road to becoming a WordPress developer.
WordPress Codex: The WordPress Codex is the official online handbook created by WordPress developers. It covers everything from the fundamentals of website creation to the most technical areas of WordPress, such as including AJAX capabilities in your custom plugin.
Envato Tuts+: This website offers anything from how-to lessons to courses to WordPress ebooks, among other things. Their WordPress how-to lessons cover a comparable breadth of topics as the WordPress Codex, but with the added benefit of photos and videos for visual learners.
WordPress Developer Resources: WordPress has developed a collection of official developer resources, including a code reference and handbooks for APIs, plugin and theme development, the block editor, and more. As developers advance, this is an additional need.
Recognize the Code: This e-learning site offers three unique learning paths: one for plugin creators and two for theme developers for those who prefer video instruction. This class is for experienced developers since you’ll learn how to create a plugin or theme from the ground up.
Step 3: Choose your focus area.
When it comes to becoming a WordPress developer, you have three options. First, you have the option of concentrating on the core program, plugins, or themes. You may work in all three areas, but you should be an expert in at least one of them.
Here’s a short rundown of these areas of growth. Later on, we’ll go into plugin and theme creation in greater depth.
Core Development: The WordPress core is created and edited by developers in this section. The WordPress core is the software that may be downloaded from the WordPress website. While co-founder Matt Mullenweg oversees the WordPress core team, anybody may inspect and analyze the code, report security flaws or bugs, and contribute code. For essential contributors, there’s even an official guidebook.
Theme Development: Custom themes are created by developers in this field. They can make it for individual clients, give it up for free in the WordPress Theme Directory, or sell it on a third-party marketplace or website. A theme developer’s manual is also available.
Plugin Development: In this field, programmers construct bespoke plugins. They can design a plugin for specific clients, distribute it for free in the WordPress Theme Directory, or sell it on a third-party marketplace or site, much like theme developers. In addition, there is an official manual for plugin developers.
These are the three most common areas of attention, but there are more. APIs, for example, are becoming increasingly popular and profitable. When weighing these options, choose the most closely matches your talents and interests (and desired income).
Step 4: Create a development environment for testing.
For whatever sort of developer, setting up a development environment is critical. It not only expedites the development process, but it also usually results in a higher-quality output.
You may create a local or remote environment to store all of your WordPress plugin and theme files, as well as the core WordPress files. This will allow you to quickly test and evaluate changes in a browser. While it will appear to be browsing any other website on the internet, the data will be downloaded from your computer rather than from your site’s hosting server.
This allows you to work with a team of other developers to troubleshoot any concerns before publishing your security patch, custom theme, or custom plugin to the general public.
To automate the process, you may manually create an environment or use a development tool like DevKinsta or Local by Flywheel.
Step 5: Join the WordPress community as an active member.
WordPress has the greatest worldwide community committed to enhancing the platform compared to Joomla, Drupal, and other content management systems. You can communicate with these millions of users via support forums and Slack channels and meet them in person at WordCamp conferences and other community events around the world.
Actively engaging in this community can assist you in troubleshooting software or website difficulties, staying up to speed on updates and product releases, and networking.
Step 6: Build a portfolio.
You want to present as much proof of your talents and qualifications as possible when applying for any job. This is true in almost any profession, but especially in WordPress development.
A portfolio is an excellent approach to “show, not tell.” For example, a portfolio of your development work might help you be recruited as a full-time employee or as a freelancer.
Here’s an example of a portfolio for a freelance developer. One of his strengths is that it demonstrates that he’s worked on various WordPress projects, including a custom WordPress photography theme, an eCommerce business, and a review site.
Step 7: Create your technical resume.
A technical resume, like a portfolio, is an integral aspect of any job application for a WordPress development position. If you’re a freelancer, a technical CV may also be used to fill in gaps on sites like Upwork or as the basis for an About page on your website.
A technical CV’s important abilities, professional experience, education, and projects components are all included. It’s fine if you have little or no experience to list under your professional experience because you’re just starting started. Just be sure to fill in the blanks with clear representations of your talents and personal projects in the other areas. Here’s an illustration.
WordPress Theme Development
WordPress themes aren’t built into the foundation of the platform. They are, in reality, collections of template files that alter the appearance of a site without affecting the core WordPress program.
This is good since the site’s aesthetic will not be substantially impacted when a new version of the WordPress software is launched, and the site is upgraded. However, if the presentation styles and template files were not segregated from the core files in this way, all of your customization work would be lost when the core program was changed.
WordPress themes are extremely popular because they allow users to personalize their site without touching a single line of code. Some are free, but others cost $60 to $200 and are premium.
Theme designers have the option of creating a bespoke theme for themselves, particular clients, or the general public. If the latter is the case, developers may either submit the theme for free to the WordPress directory or sell it on a marketplace like Theme Forest.
Not only do theme creators have varied production goals, but they also have diverse ways of achieving those goals. Some developers would choose an existing theme for their clients’ sites, install it, and personalize it with the built-in options and functionality. Others will begin with a theme such as Underscores and tweak it with code to look and function precisely how the client or they desire. Others will begin from the beginning.
WordPress Plugin Development
WordPress plugins are little bits of software that “plug into” your site and add new features. Plugins, like themes, do not alter the WordPress core, which is excellent. However, if you add functionality to your site by editing core WordPress files, the code will be lost when you update your software. Because each update overwrites essential files, this is the case.
WordPress plugins are thus great for enhancing the functionality of a WordPress website. The plugin ecosystem is tremendously robust, with over 55,000 free plugins available in the official WordPress directory alone. That’s not even considering the tens of thousands of paid plugins accessible on third-party websites.
Depending on their purpose, these plugins might make little or major modifications to your site. You could, for example, add a WhatsApp share button to your articles and pages or construct a completely bilingual site using a plugin. In addition, there are plugins for checking for broken links, doing A/B testing, improving contact forms, creating stunning sliders, backing up your site, collecting emails, and much more.
You may believe that with so many plugins accessible, new plugin makers entering the market would oversaturate the market. That, however, is not the case. There are still a lot of holes in the market that you may cover by offering WordPress consumers a new or improved plugin that meets their demands.
The implode team, for example, launched the eCommerce Product Catalog plugin in May 2019. This plugin, which was created to make it easier to display and manage items on a WordPress website, has been downloaded over 10,000 times since its first release. This is an example of a product catalog you may create with this plugin.