WordPress is a very popular platform, and it is, therefore, no wonder that you will find numerous job opportunities in it. You can do jobs such as theme development, plugin creation, back-end support, core development, among others. It helps when you can narrow down your focus and identify your niche.
We know how challenging it can be, but our article below will walk you through everything you need to know about becoming a WordPress developer. Let us first start with the basics.
What Does A WordPress Developer Do?
A WordPress developer has the relevant experience to do basic coding and infrastructure development on WordPress. You do this intending to improve the platform or create new products. You will be in charge of things such as:
- Plugin and Theme creation and customization
- Code development and troubleshooting
- Designing and building client WordPress websites
- Maintenance of the sites
- Improving accessibility to WordPress
Types of Developers:
There are various types of WordPress developers, all focusing on a particular area. All of them work together to ensure the smooth running of the platform. You can, therefore, focus on:
- Core development – It requires that you learn about WordPress core software. You will be in charge of developing code and recommending any changes to the core. As the name suggests, maintaining the core functionality is essential for the smooth running of the platform in its entirety.
- Theme development – you will be in charge of creating themes for the websites. Whatever you come up with must be customizable so that the clients can design their website as per their preference. You must give clients options for different layouts, colors, fonts, among others.
- Plugin development – You will be in charge of developing plugins for the websites. Whatever you come up with should enhance and improve the functionality of the sites.
Why Should You Consider A Career As A WordPress Developer?
WordPress would not run efficiently if it were not for the support it receives from the developers. There would be no plugins or themes for the websites or any support for the clients. WordPress is one of the leading website builders, and there are very many people using the platform.
You will never run short of work to do and have the opportunity to make some good money doing what you love. The best part is that you not even have to go into it as an employee. There are very many WordPress professionals who work on a freelance basis. It means that you get to control your hours and can work at your convenience. As a career path, WordPress Development has a lot of potential for growth and, most importantly, job satisfaction.
Steps to Becoming A WordPress Developer
You now have some clarity about what being a WordPress developer is and what some of the roles are. We will now look at some of the steps you need to take to succeed in the field.
1. Have An Understanding Of The Skills You Require
There are some necessary skills you need to have to become a WordPress developer. You must learn HTML, PHP, CSS, MYSQL, among others. You do not have to know all of them, but you must ensure that you sharpen your skills in at least one of them. To give you a better understanding of the different languages you need to learn, read on.
- Personal Home Page (PHP) has evolved into a hypertext preprocessor because its functionality exceeds the homepage only. It will help with functions such as accessing databases, auto-generating files, data encryption, among others.
- My Sequel (MySQL) is an open-source database management system. It will help with administrative features and the retrieval and storage of data.
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is not very difficult to master. You will learn markup codes or elements which determine how the different aspects of the page display. Such elements include paragraphs, heading, page titles among others,
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) will dictate how the elements look, including fonts, colors, layouts, stylistic aspects, click effects, among others.
2. Arm Yourself With Relevant Knowledge Regarding WordPress
It only makes sense that you try and get to know as much as possible about anything before you set out to become an expert in it. For instance, if you have an interest in cars, you would spend hours trying to get to know everything about them. The same applies to WordPress Development. You will find a ton of resources on the online platform, which will start you on the journey of becoming an expert at WordPress development. WordPress also offers very many tutorials that are easy to understand.
The WordPress sandbox, for example, will give you the chance to work on the platform and get a feel of WordPress in total. Consider investing in taking and completing some of the courses. Not only do you get to speed up the learning process, but you have the benefit of learning in a structured manner. The guidance is especially useful for beginners, and the resources you get will be necessary for referencing even later in your career. Tutorials such as WordPress 1101, WordPress Apprentice, WordPress for beginners are excellent for anyone who is serious about becoming a WordPress developer.
Take advantage of WordPress Codex, which has everything you may need to know about WordPress; consider it the Wikipedia for the Platform. Also, take time to view the blogs and video tutorials so that you keep up with everything that is happening.
Related Read: WordPress For Beginners (All About WordPress)
3. Think About Your Area of Focus
As we have already indicated above, there several career paths with regards to WordPress Development. We can become a coder, theme developer, among others. There is so much variety, but you need to focus on one area so that you can develop the skill appropriately. No matter which area you focus on, you must take the time to learn the basics first. So what are some of the tasks you can expect to undertake, depending on the area of focus you opt for?
- Core development – some of the tasks you will need to undertake to include identifying and finding a solution to bugs, responding to user tickets, giving suggestions on how to improve WordPress track, improving translations, among others. The main advantage of core development is that you get to develop your knowledge base and can apply your new knowledge to so many other areas.
- Theme development will allow you to express your creative side. Themes are essential for the stylistic aspects of a website, and if you have a Talent in graphic design, this is the area for you. You will need to have a basic understanding of CSS and HTML so that you can develop their elements.
- Plugin development is another exciting area because you determine how functional the core files will be. You can also use plug-ins for other things, such as beautifying your website. You will need a basic understanding of HTML and PHP. The main advantage of this area of specialty is that there is not much competition, and you are likely to land jobs very quickly. You can also sell your plug-ins in some of the marketplaces.
- Other areas of development include API development for WordPress applications. You need a more thorough understanding of coding practices to be able to do it well.
4. Understand And Prepare For Any Pitfalls
You should not go into WordPress Development, thinking that you will not come across some challenges. You may have to contend with technical issues such as poor functionality and display of web pages that could result in system crashes. You also have to deal with things such as bugs and website downtime. WordPress has tutorials on debugging practices that you must have a good understanding of. You must have the knowledge to resolve such issues quickly so that the website continues to function efficiently.
Another major area of concern is with regard to security on the online platform. Some hackers are out to get information and use it for their own purposes. Learn how to secure your website as well as do things such as backup to ensure data safety.
5. Local Development Environment Setup
For plugin or theme development, it is a good idea to work locally so that you can test and troubleshoot within your system. If you work in a live environment, you could have situations that could end up being catastrophic. You may, for example, be trying to sort out our client and find that you are not able to do it within a specific time. You will inconvenience the client due to downtimes and have to deal with a very frustrated client.
Setting up a local development environment will require that you follow specific steps. You need to set up a server stack for the operational infrastructure. You can easily download the server stacks and do not need much experience to use them. You will find fantastic guides to set up the software. The next step requires that you set up an area that will allow you to work on your code. Think about the text editor you can use, including notepad, Atom among others. Use an editor that will enable you to work with other developers through sharing and collaboration.
6. Take Advantage Of The WordPress Community
You may feel that you can tackle some of the development work on your own, and you very well might. It is, however, a good idea to join the WordPress community so that you get to connect and learn from other people who have the relevant skill. You get fantastic support and the latest information on any emerging trends. The community will also give you a fantastic avenue for making connections that can land you some plum jobs in the future.
If you get the opportunity, you should also join ongoing projects. You get fantastic insights on how WordPress Development occurs. You also have the chance to participate and give your input, thus giving you an opportunity to develop your skill level. You also become part of a project, and it will help you build your profile as an expert. Most importantly, you never know who is watching, and you might end up getting a gig out of it.
Make sure that you participate actively and have a presence within the different forums so that you establish yourself as an authority. Listen carefully to what other people have to say so that you can continue to improve upon your knowledge base. Go a step further by starting a blog and share the content on all your platforms, including their social media. Take advantage of linking and guest posts so that you let more people know about you.
WordPress Development is exciting, and you have the opportunity to get into a very lucrative career. You will need to take the time to understand the basics first so that you know exactly what you are getting into. It also helps if you can pick an area to focus on so that you can really develop in that area. Like any other job, you will face specific challenges, and you must, therefore, prepare yourself adequately to deal with them.
Most importantly, take advantage of the WordPress community to improve upon your skillset and to build yourself as an authority. By developing rich content in the blogs and having the right thinking, you will have a following that will translate into good business for you. You must invest time and sufficient effort into the process, just like you would any other job. The advantage is that there are so many people who are using WordPress for their websites. It is, therefore, unlikely that you will never run out of work. You must, however, ensure that your skill level is above your competitors so that you land the lucrative jobs.