How to Become a WordPress Developer in 2019
It’s a great time to start learning WordPress as a developer and not a user. The platform continues to dominate in every single aspect, and more companies than ever are investing their resources into producing WordPress-related content.
Before we look at the available resources for becoming a WordPress developer in 2019 — let’s first explore some of the most burning questions coming right from the community.
How popular is WordPress in 2019?
One word: very.
We know that WordPress continues to dominate the market share of all public CMS solutions. And we also know that WordPress is used by more than 15% of all the sites in the top 100 sites on the planet.
There are now more than 54,000 publicly available WordPress plugins and more than 7,000 free themes.
This post will help you prepare ahead of time for those changes!
What’s the average salary for a WordPress Developer?
There are many factors that need to be accounted for when you try and figure out the average salary of a WordPress developer.
First of all, where are you located? Are you living in the US? If so, your salary might range anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 on a yearly basis. And that’s without bonuses.
On the other hand, if you live in Europe, then you’ll be making up to $50,000 per year as a WP dev. Furthermore, you can expect to make anywhere from $20 to $150 per hour as a freelance developer.
Your experience will play a significant role in your success. As will your choice of finding a company to work with. Many developers settle for popular theme brands, while others focus on working with custom plugin development.
What are the responsibilities of a WordPress Developer?
So, as a WordPress developer, what can you expect your day to day life to look like?
For one, you won’t just be writing code all day. One of the things that count as part of your job is code reviews and bug fixes. As a result, expect to spend a significant amount of your time ‘fixing’ things rather than ‘making’ them.
Also, you might be put on maintenance tasks and otherwise task that help the customer. All in all, you’ll ensure that the WordPress site/theme/plugin/platforms function perfectly each and every day.
What programming languages do you need to know to be efficient?
In 2019, in order to be effective as a WordPress developer, you are going to have to learn a few programming languages.
Namely, the most important ones are:
What are the essentials that you must know?
WordPress is great because it doesn’t limit you to one thing only. E.g. When you learn WordPress for development purposes, you can easily carry over your skills to the next thing and then the next. Likewise, any skills in development you possess already — you can just as easily implement those skills in your new WordPress development workflow.
Needless to say, making WordPress themes and plugins from scratch is an absolute breeze! Everything you need to know has been documented already, and every single WordPress theme or plugin has an open source code. As a result of this, the learning curve is minimized exponentially.
As for the essentials that you must know, a lot of the stuff you are going to learn automatically along the way.
Don’t spend your entire practice time trying to come up with a “unique” theme or plugin idea. Instead, practice the very basis until you can create something functional within an hours time. Afterward, build on your existing knowledge to learn new things and skills.
Full-time vs. Freelancing: Which one is best?
There is always going to be a debate about whether Freelancing is better than Full-Time. Such a debate has been happening for years now, but it all comes down to preference.
If you can afford to take care of your health and other related costs by yourself. Well, then freelance does sound like a solid option. A full-time job might provide more stability and better networking opportunities though.
A freelance job will give you the freedom to work from anywhere and work on things that truly mean something to you. Although, since a few years now, more companies are embracing the remote work culture.
So, if you want to remain within a close circle of like-minded people but want some ‘office freedom’ — consider joining a company that lets you work remotely.
Why GitHub is an excellent resource to learn
Whether you work freelance or full-time — GitHub is a name that you are going to come across very often as a developer. And it’s best that you get acquainted with the platform as early as possible.
It’s not even as much of a resource as it is development heaven! You can explore the latest trends, make new friends, and work on amazing open-source projects.
But most importantly, you can acquire new skills as you contribute to new projects, or best of all — publish your own work.
Here are some great articles from the past year to help you get started:
WordPress Development: The Best Online Courses
So, now that you know so much about the state of WordPress development — it’s time to dive deeper into this whole thing.
The following section is dedicated to courses and other learning resources to help you start shaping up your WordPress skills.
Remember, you should always spend more time practicing than spend time “learning”.
Practice is where the real learn happens, and we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to work on goals/projects that you can actually accomplish.
Gradually, you can increase your difficulty as you start to comprehend the fundamental concepts.
Skillcrush is offering this course as a 4-month immersive experience.
You are going to learn about WordPress history, what is PHP, and how themes work. Afterward, you will explore how Git works and how to use GitHub to manage your projects.
On the third month, you’ll explore plugin customization, mobile optimization, and the art of deploying new software to GitHub.
And lastly, on the fourth month, at which point you will have some level of expertise — you are going to learn all about freelancing and how to make money.
If you want to get the most out of your 4 months, we recommend that you put in an extra amount of work to truly grasp the concepts thoroughly!
Chris Dixon, the course author, has been working with website development for more than 20 years already. After learning about WordPress, he dedicated a lot of his time to master the art of plugin and theme development.
Now, Chris spends most of his time teaching thousands of his students how to become better WordPress developers.
And this course offers you the chance to work with Chris directly.
The whole course is dedicated to help you understand how WordPress works on the inside. Then, session by session you will learn how to build your very own responsive WordPress theme.
And judging by the reviews, taking part in this course is not going to leave you disappointed.
WordPress development can be a tricky thing when you don’t have access to thorough learning materials. Up and Running from WPShout tries to solve this issue by providing a comprehensive learning course, teaching you ins and outs of WP development.
Unlike tutorials or courses that you can find online, WPShout’s learning materials are designed in a way to help you learn all there is to know about the entire WordPress development workflow.
Up and Running is divided into 8 unique sections, with a total of 36 learning chapters. You’ll start off by learning basics, and work your way up to learn about more intricate aspects of creating WordPress projects. Further, each chapter comes with an extensive video tutorial to help you understand everything you have learned.
That is not to say that you get only 8 videos, each lesson does include its own separate video session. Further, you’ll get access to an eBook that you can study whenever you are not near an internet connection. This is a phenomenal course that can set you up so that you can start a new career in WP dev as a junior developer.
An API opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities. You can create themes and plugins by taking advantage of existing API from other software and tools. And this course from Morten Rand-Hendriksen is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of how to use the REST API within the context of WordPress.
Worth noting here is that you’ll learn how to use the WordPress API specifically, but you can apply your learned knowledge to other API easily. The course is designed in a way that you are going to work on a unique application project. Learning as you go so to speak.
For the remainder of the course, he walks through how to build an interactive, standalone app that consumes and delivers data to and from the WordPress REST API while keeping communication secure and private.
Here are some of the topics included in this course:
- How to plan your application workflow
- How to extend a WordPress plugin with an API
- How to utilize tasks and views within the context of an API
- How to visualize data (within WordPress) using the Graph.js library
- … and a lot more!
Jeff Starr has worked with WordPress for nearly two decades. He has authored several books, built countless plugins and themes, and also manages his own WordPress-related websites.
In 2017, Jeff released his highly acclaimed Plugin Development course, which to date has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
It’s the essential course to get you started with building new plugins from scratch. And best of all, you can do it in less than 5 hours of learning material.
You’ll dig inside topics such as API, PHP, CSS, AJAX, Cron Jobs, HTTP requests, and Transients. Additionally, the course includes information on securing your plugins and how to build secure apps overall.
And in case you are wondering, the course does cover the development of widgets too. Now is a great time to get into widget development as WordPress continues to expand its efforts with Gutenberg.
Development for WordPress
Treehouse has helped thousands of people to find amazing jobs in software development. And upon completing this WordPress course, you might find yourself with ample amounts of new opportunities too!
This medium-paced course takes you through the basics of WordPress and finishes off with an extensive course on how to build a WordPress plugin in just 5 hours.
That said, this course assumes no previous experience. You’ll learn how to set up a development environment, the basics of programming languages, and how to establish a strong workflow routine.
At the end of it, you’ll get a certificate that you can use as leverage whenever applying for a new job.
Udemy is home to hundreds of WordPress courses, so finding the best one takes some time. That said, we are strictly focusing on courses that we feel best fit the narrative of this post. In other words, the following courses are all tailored to helping you learn what’s relevant in 2019.
This course is for anyone who wants to extend their understanding of WordPress beyond just a ‘CMS’. Further, if you want to take your WordPress to the next level, in terms of features and design, then this course is also for you.
This extensive course has 13,000+ students and includes almost 15 hours of learning material. And what is it about? It’s about learning to create WordPress themes through 10 unique projects.
That’s right, you won’t just learn how to create one theme, but ten of them! With this much diversity, this course offers the perfect learning curve to help you understand exactly how themes work, and how you can achieve unique designs by applying different methods and techniques.
And lastly, we have a course that’s super fresh and also super relevant. It’s a course about Gutenberg Blocks and how you can use the new editor to build amazing Block experiences.
As you might have read earlier, Gutenberg offers Blocks as a means to create content, but also to build website designs. So, in a sense, this course will help you learn how to build not only Blocks but also website designs!
Join #Slack communities to communicate with other developers!
Slack is arguably the most successful messaging app of our generation. And it’s highly admired by the developer community! You can join Slack channels that talk about many different and specific topics, including WordPress development and more.
To find communities, we recommend using Slack List — a website that lists prominent communities and tells you how you can join them!
Getting your feet wet with WordPress coding-side of things isn’t all that hard in 2019. Every year, the availability of resources continues to grow.
But ask anyone who has learned WordPress before, and they will tell you that the combination of courses and practice are the two best assets to learning quickly.