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How to Become a WordPress Developer

If you have solid project management skills, attention to detail, good communication skills, and strong technical ability, you might consider a career as a WordPress developer.

WordPress developers design, implement and manage websites using the WordPress creation tool, a free, open-source content management system (CMS). They are skilled in both front-end and back-end development and use their fine-tuned talents to create websites following client requirements and specifications. They must have a good eye for aesthetics to design and build websites that are attractive, functional, and user-friendly. They troubleshoot and resolve problems and must have good technical and problem-solving skills. WordPress developers are found in a variety of industries, including marketing firms and graphic design agencies

To excel as a WordPress developer, you will need to have advanced knowledge of front-end programming languages, such as HTML and JavaScript, good project management skills, and a solid ability to manage content per specifications.  Communication and interpersonal skills are required to meet with clients and other stakeholders to discuss website design, requirements, and function. 

Sample job description

Do you love creating attractive and functional designs? Are you great at handling both the technical complexities of programming while having an eye for aesthetics? If so, you might be a perfect fit as our WordPress developer! WordPress developers use their skills to create and implement websites for clients. They use their fluency in several programming languages like HTML, jQuery, JavaScript, alongside their command of architecture and back-end systems to create optimized, user-friendly sites. Our ideal candidate will need excellent project management skills, a keen analytical mind, and a good eye for design alongside their ability to communicate in order to thrive in this position.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Design, implement and manage websites using WordPress
  • Collaborate with members of a creative team 
  • Manage front-end and back-end website development 
  • Create WordPress plug-ins and themes 
  • Maintain well-documented, reusable, and transferrable code
  • Troubleshoot and resolve website problems for clients and co-workers
  • Stay abreast of new developments in software, trends, and practices

Education and experience

This position requires an associate or bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer programming, computer science, or a related field. Employers look for job candidates with extensive WordPress experience. 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proficiency using WordPress 
  • Expertise in HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and jQuery 
  • Experience using debugging tools such as Firebug and Chrome Inspector 
  • Strong understanding of front-end and back-end website development 
  • Keen attention to detail 

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience with responsive and adaptive design
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience with a preference for a computer science related field
  • 4+ years’ experience with WordPress related technologies – mostly as part of a development team
  • Knowledge of and/or experience with the Genesis Framework

Typical work environment

WordPress developers will spend a significant amount of time seated at a computer working with a mouse and keyboard. They may or may not work with a team, however, they will always work with a client of some kind. Light travel and meetings in various locations should be occasionally expected.

Given the nature of this position, remote work is possible, which will provide further flexibility on meeting styles and working environments.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a WordPress developer are from 9 AM to 5 PM in an office setting. 

Available certifications

As WordPress developers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • WordPress Academy. Skillshare provides this introductory course to WordPress with step-by-step guides and walkthroughs to get your feet wet. With occasional discounts and free trials, this is a fantastic first step to familiarize yourself with the world of WordPress.
  • Web Development Career Path. Codecademy offers this must-have credential for anyone looking to make a serious living building websites. You’ll learn the basics of web development, touch on several programming languages like HTML and CSS, and move on to more complex topics like databases. Not only will these be instrumental in your success, but they’ll also round you out as a developer and help you later when you’ve moved on to higher-level work.
  • WordPress Theme Development. Udemy’s course offers this certification that will help you learn how to create highly responsive themes using the Bootstrap Framework. You’ll walk away knowing the essentials on how to create page styles and make versatile and dynamic content. It’s recommended you have a working knowledge of the languages you’ll need to operate within WordPress before taking this course.
  • Learn PHP. This certification offered by Codecademy demonstrates your understanding of the foundational language used in the WordPress platform – PHP. This course will teach you everything you need to know about the language, and once you’ve completed this course you’ll have an outstanding level of the inner workings of the platform since you’ll have learned how it works from the ground up.

Career path

WordPress developers typically enter the field with an associate degree. More technical roles can require a four-year degree, preferably in computer programing or a related field. A background in WordPress is necessary, but some candidates with web programming certification can qualify. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment199,400
Projected Employment in 2030224,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift25,500 increase

According to the industry website Torque, one trend that will affect all web developers in the near future is the expansion of chatbots, which are becoming more “human-like” every day. Voice search is also quickly gaining traction as a staple technology for both business and personal purposes. Blockchain technology is becoming particularly prevalent in financial sectors; it will doubtless also influence plug-in development and content monetization for WordPress sites.