Learn How to Become a WordPress Developer

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In the early days of learning WordPress Web Development might have seemed like a bad move. Why spend time in a part of open-source software that might tank any day?
Today, years after it became the most used CMS, it is difficult to imagine that it is going anywhere anytime soon.
Before beginning seriously studying WordPress development, it is very important to look where you stand.

What Level Are You At?

Are you a complete beginner? Are you mostly a beginner but you want to tinker with WordPress themes? Have you made a simple theme before?
I have shared three different kinds of beginners below, and there is a section with particular recommendations for every archetype. So if you are not a beginner you can simply skip that section and get pointers best for your level.

Complete beginner

  • Very limited or no knowledge of HTML/CSS/JS/PHP
  • Zero experience trying to edit the actual code of themes

Tinkering Beginner

  • Knows basic CSS/HTML
  • Likes to edit themes to get it to look ‘just right’

Seasoned Beginner

  • Has made simple themes before
  • Knows CSS/HTML and basic PHP

Complete Beginners

First, to begin with, complete beginners. In this scenario what I mean by a complete beginner is at the WordPress web development sense. Does this describe you:

  • I do not understand the code at all well.
  • What is PHP/HTML/CSS?
  • If I find any solution that involves coding, I’d rather keep looking for a plugin.

If your instinct is to avoid language and coding as much as possible, you are starting from a small disadvantage in comparison to WordPress users.

Set Up A Local Development Environment

To establish a local development environment means to set up software that behaves as a web server but only locally for your computer. This helps you to operate and work with WordPress on your computer.
The best thing about it, is that you are able to quickly use and test modifications to this code, without risking breaking a live site which has readers as well as customers.

Tinkering Beginner

Now let us proceed to what I’d like to call ‘tinkering’ beginners. You should begin from this part if the following points apply to you:

  • You like to check under the hood of WordPress.
  • You are HTML/CSS literate enough to create little design changes.
  • You understand how to utilize some Chrome Development Tools such as the inspector.
  • You know a little PHP but aren’t sure enough to mess with plugins.

Before you do something else, if you do not have a local development environment set up yet, that is the very first thing you should do.

Seasoned Beginner

If you are new to development, but following a few tutorials or courses, you have been able to build some themes with custom features. If this applies to you:

  • You have created a theme (with guidance).
  • You are familiar with WordPress features and the loop.
  • You have gone over the coding finest practices in the handbook.
  • You understand CSS/HTML very well, and you know some PHP.

Getting Started with basic plugin development

So you understand CSS/HTML well, you know your way around basic PHP and you are in a position to build themes the way that you like them without a lot of trouble. Basically, you have learned how to deal with how WordPress looks. Today you may want to get started studying WordPress development for plugins.

Really Get To Know The Foundation: Learn JavaScript

As you start studying custom WordPress development, you realize you understand CSS/HTML very well, some JS or PHP and you are knowledgeable about the core and working with themes. Time to level up your understanding of the foundation languages much more.

Not only did Matt Mullenweg inform the WordPress developer community to ‘study JavaScript deeply’ throughout the last ‘State of the Word’ speech, but the Automattic team made a completely new multi-website dashboard for WordPress.com and Jetpack users.

And obviously, JavaScript has played a significant role in core WordPress for a huge time already. There has never been a good time to learn JavaScript for a WordPress developer than now.

Where To Find Help, Peers and Friends

Learning WordPress web development is a long, hard road, and it may be impossible to attempt to tough it out independently. Go to these areas to find answers, peers and even friends.

Stack Exchange

It is the Quora for programmers/Yahoo Answers/developers. It is very helpful because unlike most questions that you might need to be answered about relationships/life/business or other complex things on Quora or even yahoo answers, coding questions and issues tend to have applicable solutions and answers.

The principles of conduct are essential: Do not be lazy and paste a URL, describe your issue, then write out the smallest amount of code you believe is necessary to do what you would like to do.

Intermediate WordPress

A fantastic group for somebody just starting out as a WordPress developer. This group has everybody from ‘power users’, seasoned developers, and budding developers. And to top it off, it’s a very welcoming atmosphere.

Advanced WordPress

Do not allow the name scare you away, this group isn’t out of bounds for a beginning developer that likes WordPress.
The group is reserved for complex questions. So Stack/Google Exchange first, utilizing some different keywords you can think about, before submitting a question in the group.
It is also an excellent place to be a fly on the wall, and watch all types of various interesting things that people are doing with WordPress, as well as learning from other people’s issues and solutions.

Relevant SubReddits

If you are an avid redditor that you can always look up relevant subreddits such as Learn PHP, Learning JavaScript, or even web development.

Start Learning WordPress Development Now!

With many large changes already set up, and much more on the horizon, it is easy to feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the idea of attempting to turn into a WordPress developer now.
But do not listen to that inner voice which tells you came across WordPress several years too late, you missed your opportunity or anything your skull-inhabiting bad nancy might have you think. When it comes to enhancing our own lives, whether that means exercising more, eating healthy, or learning some new skills, there isn’t a better time than right now.