Read about what WordPress is used for and figured you’d start developing for it? That’s commendable, even if you only stick to contributing to the WordPress code itself. By doing so, you’ll contribute to no less than a few million websites – WordPress powers about 40% of indexable ones on the Internet. But, whether you help the open-source project, want to earn money on the side, or become a full-time employee, it will take dedication, time, and effort to get there. Luckily, you have us to help by describing a journey of learning how to be a WordPress developer.
1. What does a WordPress developer do?
To help you decide what to focus on, these are primary things WordPress developers do:
Core WordPress developer works on the open-source WordPress codebase by reviewing code, analyzing changes, and reporting bugs and exploits. Any developer can also publish recommended changes to the WordPress code itself, too. To prevent buggy or broken code from ruining the functionality, it has to be reviewed carefully. The code is then accepted outright, modified slightly, or denied with or without comments about the reason by people who own WordPress, mainly the WordPress Foundation. Such developers are not only credited for their changes to the code but gain prominence in the community. Furthermore, if employed by WordPress Foundation or another business, they can earn a full-time income.
Themes are an integral part of every website built using WordPress. They must be appealing to visitors while adapting to different devices. Furthermore, themes must provide top-tier speed and performance of a website while remaining not only functional but with more features than the competition. WordPress developer can take care of the back-end, which covers the code that powers the theme, or the front-end, that focuses on the visual side. Specializing in both types is possible too, gaining them the title of a full-stack WordPress developer.
You must’ve installed tens of WordPress plugins up to this point and already know how useful and often, irreplaceable, they are. They can add a function that doesn’t exist in the WordPress core or modify (and improve) functionality that already exists without users writing a single line of code. Problem is, someone has to create those plugins first. And if you often find yourself struggling to find the right one, why not make it yourself? After all, as the well-known quote states, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
WordPress page components are designed to add extra functionality or content. Created similarly to plugins, only on a smaller scale and with size (but not capability) limitations.
5. A variety of tasks for clients
Besides the things above, you might also have these responsibilities as a WordPress developer:
- Consulting on projects, offering advice, time, effort, knowledge, and skills
- Hosting, building, maintaining, backing up, or migrating the front-end and back-end of personalized WordPress website(s)
- Helping design or redesign website structure to meet set goals
- Building sitemaps, wireframes, and other necessary resources
- Helping with SEO optimization, marketing, data analysis, and increasing conversion rate
- Doing security scans and performing performance/security analysis by reviewing new lines of code
2. Learn coding languages that power WordPress
Becoming a WordPress developer hinges on your knowledge of the following coding languages:
1. HTML (HTML5 if possible)
HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is made up of elements e.g. markup codes, each with opening and closing tags. Simply put, HTML entered on the back-end dictates how your website content is displayed on the front-end.
2. CSS (Preferably CSS3)
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) determines how the elements look on the frontend, from the WordPress header to the footer in WordPress. This includes visuals of page layout and settings, displayed colors, effects, animations, font types, colors, and sizes, and much more.
4. jQuery or AJAX
There are many uses to PHP (Personal Home Page/Hypertext Preprocessor) since it applies to performing tasks on your WordPress website. Some uses of PHP include troubleshooting by enabling or disabling PHP errors in WordPress, accessing the database, data encryption, code snippets, etc.
Both MariaDB (Maria Database) and MySQL (My Sequel) are database management systems that store and fetch data from a WordPress website. A WordPress database includes all posts, pages, tags, categories, comments, users and user permissions, custom fields, and much, much more.
3. Educate yourself on WordPress continuously
Here are things you can use to master WordPress:
- WordPress boot camp/Computer Science degree. Both are preferred ways to start but can be expensive and very time-consuming.
- WordPress Codex. Repository of up-to-date WordPress data and documentation.
- Theme Handbook and Plugin Handbook.
- WordPress Make. A host of related tasks you can start with.
- Developer Resources. Quick crash course into becoming well-versed in WordPress development.
- Core Handbook. A great starting place for core developers.
- Good First Bugs. Fix bugs marked as suitable for new WordPress developers. Very motivating and productive. Other developers can help by providing instructions, corrections, and feedback.
- Internet tutorials. Want to listen to audio or look at pictures or videos about the development of WordPress? there are numerous free (and paid) WordPress tutorials you can observe or follow along with.
4. Build a testing website
It doesn’t make sense to mess up your client’s resources if your ideas don’t turn out great. We taught you how to install WordPress locally. It’s quick, easy, free, and repeatable indefinitely.
5. Build a portfolio
A traditional CV or a business card might get your foot in the door. But what better way to showcase your skillset, artistry, and attention to detail than building a portfolio website in WordPress and letting that speak on your behalf?