Start your WordPress developer career.
With over 76 million users, WordPress is definitely the most popular CMS (Content Management System). The advantages of the system make it not only popular but also really demanded among businesses.
There are many job openings and freelance projects available because people keep looking for someone to build a new one or improve an existing WP website. WordPress is also popular because it does not have a steam learning curve. To start a career as a WP developer, you would have basic web development skills - HTML, CSS, JS and a basic understanding of PHP.
One of the main pros of WordPress is how well it scales with your skills. Even if you don’t have the technical backgrounds, you can easily and quickly create a simple WP website. There are thousands of free WordPress plugins and WordPress themes available on the web. Each of them can add certain functionalities to your site. However, they may not always realize all your ideas. That’s when users start to search and create solutions on their own and, in a way, become WordPress developers. There are many ways to start learning WP development but the best way would be to start with the web development basics.
WordPress development offers many opportunities
For starters, let's clear up one moment. Not everyone learns WordPress development to land a full-time job. Among the most common reasons to learn WP development are:
- The default settings do not cover your requirements;
- You can not find existing plugins and themes that cover what you need so you have to create them;
- You would like to become WP developer to build and sell plugins, themes, or websites you build;
- You want to become a contributor to improve WordPress and connect with its community.
Whatever the reasons, there are some basics to start with. Let's talk about the first thing it is advisable to study before becoming a WordPress developer. There are many ways and ways, but each person should find the best for themselves. However, there are some common things without which it will be difficult to gain experience.
What tools do you need to start?
All you need to start are listed below:
- Any text editor you prefer (Notepad ++, Sublime Text, etc.)
- Local development server
- Installed and working WordPress
Learn the basics of web development
An important criterion for studying WordPress programming is familiarity with the technologies used to build this platform and work with it. Here’s what you should be skilled at (list below).
- HTML. This is the hypertext markup language which is the first thing any web developer learns. It’s used to form any web page. This one is the simplest to learn.
- CSS. Cascade style sheets define how a web page would be displayed on a user’s browser. It is used to add the looks, to style the content of the site (for example, colours, sizes, fonts, padding, and spaces). You can even make your web pages interactive with CSS.
- PHP. WordPress core is based on this scripting language. PHP programming is required for anything related to WP back-end. This includes system logic, database access, content creation, storage, and output.
- MySQL. If your website has a database, you would need to use MySQL to access this data and operate with it. Every time you need to store any data or find anything in your database, you are doing it with the help of SQL.
Of course, that’s not the complete list but that’s more than a good start. If this all seems overwhelming to you, then it is better to focus on HTML and CSS, to begin with. These technologies are easier and much easier for beginners to master. You can do a lot with them too. Being skilled in all of the mentioned technologies would let you do anything related to WP development, even improve the core itself.
What does a WP developer do?
Any experienced WP developer can change almost everything about a website. It starts with the looks and ends with functionality. The control panel can also be modified. Having extensive knowledge of PHP language, a coder can create a completely new user profile page or even the entire control panel. Depending on the level of expertise, different WP developers can create:
- Themes (templates) - change the appearance of the site;
- Plugins - modify or extend WP capabilities;
- Widgets to display certain information;
- A completely new WordPress website - create or combine the items above to get a new, custom website based on customer preferences;
- Applications that use WordPress via the REST API;
Themes determine the layout and style of the site based on WordPress. HTML5, CSS3, and responsive design are integral parts of modern websites. Themes use different basic WordPress features, so it is recommended that you have basic knowledge of PHP. Themes work effectively on top of WordPress. Information such as the title and content of the record is displayed by writing certain PHP functions in HTML.
Plugins extend WordPress functionality without changing the base code. PHP is mostly used for this purpose, so knowing how to call and write a function is recommended. The plugin is a separate code that interacts with WordPress using the features provided by the base code.
You can add new features, delete standard features, modify standard information before it is actually displayed (for example, by adding text to a record title) and much more. Any extension of WordPress functionality should be done by creating a plugin. The user should be able to disable the plugin at any time and continue working with the site without any problems or errors.
Start by using and modifying existing plugins and themes
If you are not ready to start building themes and plugins from scratch, try using existing ones and modify them a bit. It would give you real experience and a better understanding of how things actually work. You can create something called a "fork" - your own version of a theme you changed or plugin you modified.
Even though PHP and SQL are pretty hard to master, it does not take that much time to get to an entry-level. Real experience is the most valuable so the best way is to find an internship or something like that. Even though PHP and SQL are rather hard to master, you can use existing plugins and themes to dig into this area easier. Just take one thing at a time and be patient. Good luck!