Every day, 500 plus websites are built using WordPress. This popular content management system, or CMS, powers more than 60 million websites on the internet. It’s no secret that many prefer the platform because of its versatile and user-friendly interface. 

But is WordPress straightforward to use? Well, not exactly. Tasks such as backing up data, customizing your themes and plugins, and error troubleshooting require the skills of an expert–a WordPress developer. The demand for these developers is high, and the pay is often very lucrative.

According to research by Delicious Brains, most WordPress developers earn between $45,000 and $150,000 per year. So, if you’re looking to start a career in web development, then becoming a WordPress developer is a great place to start.

Luckily for you, we have just the right steps to get you started. If you’re ready, let’s dive in. 

 

1. Tap Into Online Courses and Reading Material

You need to start from scratch. The journey to becoming a WordPress guru begins with an in-depth understanding of how the platform works. 

There are piles of reading materials and online courses that can help you grow from an amateur to an industry expert. We recommend starting with WordPress's proprietary learning platform, WordPress Codex.

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You'll find tons of easy-to-follow tutorials and guides that cover everything from getting started with WordPress to writing plugins. Alternatively, companies like QuickStart Inc. offer comprehensive web development courses for beginners. 

Because of updates and new releases, the learning cycle is a never-ending process, and even geeks continue to fall back on these sites for help. As such, these materials would be your lifelong partner in your journey as a WordPress developer. 

 

2. Learn The Basics of Coding

Understanding the underlying technology WordPress runs on can grow your potential to become a sought-after WordPress expert. The WordPress platform, including its plugins, core, and themes, is built on several programming languages.

Examples of these languages are PHP, Javascript, HTML, and CSS. You need to have some basic knowledge of these languages to help you customize your templates and plugins and quickly troubleshoot any challenges you face.

But don’t give up yet. If you find programming a bit technical and challenging, some sites can help you learn fast, even as a beginner. Sign up for a programming course, like QuickStart’s Introduction to Programming & Coding, a good introductory course for new developers. 

If you don't have money to pay for a coding course, you can go with YouTube instead. You'd be surprised at the number of free coding videos and resources available on the platform. If you’re lucky, you can even find some useful tips in the comments.

 

3. Focus On a Specialization

Companies are always in search of the best developers they can afford. If you want to make it far in your career as a WordPress developer, you're better off specializing in a specific area. 

Fortunately, there is a wide range of WordPress areas you can focus on. For instance, you can become a WordPress theme developer, a niche that involves creating and troubleshooting custom themes for clients at a fee. You can also decide to specialize as a plugin developer or a core software developer. 

It’s essential to have basic knowledge of other fields as well. For instance, considering how websites work hand-in-hand with social media sites, you'll give yourself an edge over others if you go through social media training along with your WordPress training. 

 

4. Make Connections by Joining Communities

Try searching "WordPress community" using Google. You're likely to have hundreds, if not thousands of hits. With WordPress’ popularity, the platform’s communities have sprung up all over the internet and in several countries, from Argentina to Singapore. 

There are several benefits you can gain from these communities. First, you can learn from pros in your industry from the experiences they share on the platform. Here’s an example of a WordPress developer from Singapore who also happens to be the creator of the first WordPress plugin.

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Imagine just how much you can learn from someone who created the first WordPress plugin. 

Furthermore, by engaging with the WordPress community, you’ll always stay updated with the latest technology and happenings in your field. Finally, community members can help you troubleshoot compelling issues and network you with top-paying clients.

Some examples of these communities include Make WordPress, Slack, Stackoverflow, and Github. If you want to get the best out of these communities, don’t just be a spectator. Being an active contributor will expose you to more learning opportunities and build your reputation as a promising new developer.

 

5. Build Your Portfolio

Your next step is to build a remarkable portfolio that attracts clients. A portfolio is essentially a summary of your working experience that also contains samples of your previous work. 

If you don’t have any paid coding experience, you can start by offering your services for free. You can do this by collaborating on projects on sites like Givecamp, Gobeyong, and Idealist. Instead of seeing the transition period as idle time, you need to welcome that lull in activity as an opportunity to gain experience and identify your initial client base.

As long as you keep developing WordPress sites, it shouldn’t take you a long time to get offers from clients for paid jobs. As a WordPress developer, you can land lucrative jobs on LinkedIn, FlexJobs, Toptal, and Codeable. Building a portfolio is also one of the eternal cycles for every developer. As you work with more clients, you grow your knowledge base and experience.

 

In Closing

In this article, we've shared with you five simple steps to get you started in WordPress development. Thanks to the wealth of resources available online, it's easy to learn a thing or two about WordPress development even without paying a dime. However, we recommend picking a niche and building expertise there. 

Additionally, there are several WordPress communities where you can collaborate with your field’s top experts to grow your skillset, networking space, and portfolio. 

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and launch your career as a WordPress developer. You’ll find the experience rather rewarding. Remember, there is never a perfect time. Start now!

 

Chris Norton is the founder of insight-led PR agency Prohibition, former University lecturer, author of Share This Too, and is listed in the UK's top 10 PR and social media bloggers.