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What are the Skills Required for a WordPress Developer?

November 10, 2020

When it comes to developing websites, the WordPress platform is a market leader. As the world’s most popular content management system, WordPress powers almost 38% of websites, including 22% of the top eCommerce sites and 14% of the world’s top websites. Plus, more than 500 websites are created through WordPress every day, compared to less than 100 on competitors Shopify and Squarespace.All this is to say, WordPress developer skills make a web developer competitive in the job market. With so many companies relying on WordPress, the ability to use this platform could make or break whether or not you get the web development jobs of your dreams. So what does it take to become a WordPress developer? Let’s look at each segment of skills in-depth.

Business and Soft Skills Needed for WordPress Developers

Before you set out to learn WordPress development, it’s important to consider the business skills and soft skills needed. One of these is project planning. Especially for junior developers, the instinct to just jump right in and start coding is strong. But taking a few steps in advance to make sure you understand the goals and timeline of the project can save lots of time down the road. This means being open and willing to ask for help from more experienced members of the team, especially direct supervisors or peers on the development team. This leads to the second soft skill that is needed, a lifelong learning mindset. As a web developer, there will never be an end to the number of things you can learn about technology. With a popular platform like WordPress, this is especially true. With over 55,000 plugins developed for WordPress and more released each day, there’s no end to the features and functionality you can learn to implement. Lastly, focus and self-motivation will be needed not just in your work environment, but to acquire the skills needed to be a WordPress developer. Whether you’re new to the workforce or a career-changing professional, your drive and commitment to mastering more technical skills will define the speed and depth of your success.Want to see if you're cut out to be a WordPress developer? Attend a FREE Intro to Coding to see if its the right fit for you! SIGN UP NOW!

Reading & Understanding Web Designs

Web developers, especially junior developers, work from instructions that are provided to them by web designers. Since it won’t always be possible for the designer to sit down and talk with you about the specifics of every web page, learning to read and understand these instructions is an important skill for a WordPress developer. Some of the basic elements of web design a developer needs to understand include:

  • Typography Settings including font, font size, paragraph spacing, bullet list design, and more.
  • Heading Hierarchy that defines the size of each headline in your written content.
  • Padding Measurements explaining how much distance to leave between different elements on the page.
  • Design Asset Exports so that graphics and images can be pulled from other programs to use in the build.
  • Images vs Image Effects so you know which layers over an image need to be created with code.

Part of your onboarding or first few projects with an employer may involve helping you learn some of these elements. Making sure you know what is needed and understand the instructions is part of why the project planning process is essential.

WordPress Coding and Technical Fundamentals

WordPress is a unique environment where some elements like themes, templates, and plugins may be pre-defined, while others require custom work from the WordPress developer. Programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript are the basic languages a WordPress developer should know and understand. In addition to coding proficiency, there are other fundamentals of WordPress development that a developer will become familiar with as they complete projects. These include terminology, administration, and features like interoperability. You can start to explore some of these core functions and fundamentals of WordPress development through WordPress itself. The organization has created an online WordPress Codex where information is updated and contributed daily in a living repository to keep all users up-to-date with instructions and documentation.

Expanding WordPress Beyond Core Functions

Outside simple page layouts and content publishing, WordPress can be expanded into new territory to make web development projects even more exciting. A lot of these features rely on plugins, which are pieces of code that integrate with WordPress to allow new functions outside content management. These allow the creation of custom fields, new site features, alternative post types, unique contact forms, and more. While developers should start by learning to build custom themes and pages in WordPress, there are also third-party builders that offer different features and let developers create custom layouts. These include Beaver Builder, Devi, Elementor, and more. If you’re already a WordPress developer wondering how to improve WordPress skills, mastering a builder may be one approach to make your resume and skills stand out. Another way to improve WordPress development skills is to gain a better understanding of JavaScript. JavaScript is a more complex coding language that you may not focus on too closely during the early days of working as a developer.

How Long Does It Take to Become a WordPress Developer?

Becoming a basic-level WordPress user takes only a few hours. However, even being an experienced WordPress user is very different than being a WordPress developer. To learn the basics of coding a custom WordPress website takes anywhere from 6-12 months, working 10-20 hours per week on mastering programming languages along with the specifics of the platform. The ability to master complex coding challenges like eCommerce optimizations, bug fixes, or site migration from one URL to another can take several years of experience and ongoing learning. WordPress development takes such a long time to master because these web developers are actually building many competencies at once. Not only do you need to know several programming languages, there’s the plugin and theme library, user interface and user experience design, image editing, and much more.

Boost Your Wordpress Skills with Eleven Fifty Academy

Eleven Fifty Academy offers coding and web development bootcamps that can help you accelerate through the basics and find your niche in WordPress development. Whether you attend full-time or part-time, our coding bootcamp will help you learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and build a portfolio of real-world projects that can supplement and support your applications for web development jobs. Within 4-6 months, you could be on your way to working as a web developer. We invite you to take a free introductory coding course to explore the subject matter further, or reach out to our admissions team to find out more about the curriculum, courses, and upcoming bootcamp start dates. We look forward to helping you grow!

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