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How to Become a WordPress Developer (In 6 Steps)

Thanks to the incredible popularity of WordPress, alternatives for growth abound. Whether you need to create helpful plugins, weave attractive themes, or enhance the core mechanics of WordPress, you'll be able to break into the sector with a little effort and time. Of course, merely Googling “how to become a WordPress developer” will current a bewildering array of paths to select from.

To simplify your journey in direction of changing into a WordPress developer, you’ll need to method it methodically. This entails narrowing down your focus, figuring out your abilities, discovering a area of interest, and studying as a lot as you'll be able to concerning the platform beforehand. Fortunately, there’s a large community on the market keen and prepared to help you in your quest.

In this text, we’ll clarify precisely what a WordPress developer does. Then we’ll discover six important steps you’ll want to soak up order to grow to be each a WordPress skilled and a competent developer for the platform. Let’s bounce in!

What a WordPress Developer Actually Does

A WordPress developer is a skilled who works with the essential coding and infrastructure of the WordPress platform, to enhance WordPress itself, or to create totally new merchandise. Typically, WordPress builders carry out some or all the following duties:

  • Creating and customizing plugins and themes.
  • Developing code and troubleshooting for WordPress core (that's, the precise software program of WordPress).
  • Working carefully with shoppers to assist design and construct their WordPress web sites.
  • Ensuing that consumer web sites are maintained effectively.
  • Improving the accessibility of the WordPress platform.

In order to do these issues effectively, the competent developer additionally has to be a WordPress skilled. That is, they need to have a thorough understanding of every a part of the platform, in addition to the various programming languages used to run it (which we'll talk about in higher element additional on).

Before we method the query of how to grow to be a WordPress developer, let’s first speak about precisely why you may want to achieve this.

Why You Might Want to Get Involved in WordPress Development

In addition to the truth that WordPress builders are in increasingly high demand, there are many causes this discipline may be helpful:

  • There is good money to be made if you happen to grow to be an adept developer, and handle to find the correct area of interest.
  • You can develop for WordPress as a freelancer. This means it’s attainable to be your personal boss, do business from home, and set your personal schedule.
  • WordPress has a broad community of users who're keen to assist, that means it’s simple to acquire entry to the help you want.
  • The abilities you purchase (particularly with regard to the primary languages of WordPress) shall be readily relevant to a huge variety of industries and niches.

If you may have a inventive streak, an curiosity in coding, and a willingness to immerse your self within the mechanics of the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS), studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer shall be value your whereas. It’s additionally value contemplating if you happen to’re searching for a job that’s ‘future-proof’.

Of course, making the choice to enter this discipline is comparatively simple. The actual trick lies in studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer. Let’s stroll via what it takes.

How to Become a WordPress Developer (In 6 Steps)

The technique of changing into a WordPress developer first entails figuring out what information you have already got, and what you’ll want to study. Then you’ll need to decide an space or area of interest that most closely fits your targets and ability set, and undertake the perfect practices to break into that discipline. Let’s bounce proper in!

1. Understand the Primary Skill Sets Required

A visual representation of the WordPress developer skill stack (including HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL).

Before you'll be able to learn the way to grow to be a WordPress developer, it’s necessary to perceive the platform’s numerous programming languages.

The acclaimed philanthropist Charlie Munger once said: “Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant”. This maxim applies completely to WordPress growth. It’s important to determine the preexisting information you will have that may increase your growth journey, in addition to the areas the place your information is missing.

The most significant factor any WordPress developer wants to perceive is the languages the platform makes use of. Let’s have a look at every, one after the other:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): This foundational language is highly effective and pretty simple to grasp. It’s comprised of markup codes (components) that dictate how completely different features of a web page shall be displayed. These components might embrace web page titles, headings, paragraph text, knowledge tables, and so forth. As a very primary instance, use of the HTML code <title>Learning HTML</title> would set “Learning HTML” because the title of a web page.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)Whereas HTML includes the constructing blocks of internet pages, CSS is used to dictate the best way components look. CSS controls features like font varieties and colours, web page layouts, click on results, and different stylistic sides. For instance, the HTML ingredient for some physique text may additionally embrace the CSS code to specify what shade the text ought to show in (similar to: {background-color: darkgreen;}).
  • PHP (Personal Home Page): PHP is a considerably deceptive acronym. Over the years, it’s come to extra aptly stand for Hypertext Preprocessor (because it’s relevant to all areas of a website, not simply your private home web page). It can be utilized for a lot of features, together with auto-generating recordsdata, accessing databases, encrypting knowledge, and way more. Fortunately, there are many on-line guides for mastering PHP, which can come in useful when studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer.
  • MySQL (My Sequel)Finally, MySQL is an open supply relational database administration system. In a nutshell, WordPress makes use of PHP to retrieve and retailer knowledge from MySQL databases. Important website administrative options, similar to person roles, are made attainable on WordPress utilizing MySQL. For that motive, a developer ought to at the very least have a rudimentary information of its capabilities.

You don’t essentially have to be a grasp of all these languages. However, it's best to be adept at at the very least a few earlier than studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer. This will assist you higher market your self within the discipline, and extra readily tackle consumer expectations.

Once you’ve decided that you just perceive the fundamentals required, you’ll want to learn the way they are often utilized to the WordPress platform. To do that, you’ll want to be nothing in need of a WordPress skilled (at the very least when it comes to the basics).

2. Learn All You Can About WordPress

The WP101 WordPress course welcoming screen displayed on desktop and mobile devices.

Completing a web based course (such because the one supplied by WordPress101) is a helpful manner to fast-track your journey to changing into a WordPress skilled.

Before you deal with the query of how to grow to be a WordPress developer, you’ll want to study as a lot as attainable concerning the platform itself. After all, the extra you already know, the extra you are able to do. The good news is that there are many assets accessible to take you from being a full novice to a WordPress skilled.

The first step you must take is to set up a WordPress sandbox. This will allow you to quickly get a really feel for the dashboard, and to mess around with the features of the platform in a safe setting. By utilizing a sandbox, you’ll additionally give you the option to observe together with the tutorials supplied in lots of on-line WordPress programs.

Although it should doubtless require a monetary funding, finishing a WordPress course will assist you fast-track your studying progress. Most WordPress programs current data in a well-structured and beginner-friendly format, and may be simply referenced at later factors. Popular examples embrace WordPress 101 (which additionally accommodates tutorials for important plugins), WP Apprentice, and the WordPress for Beginners course on Udemy.

Of course, no overview of WordPress studying assets could be full with out reference to the WordPress Codex – the official WordPress wiki. This is a useful useful resource for looking phrases and discovering officially-approved explanations and tutorials. It can be a helpful reference when coding or contributing to the platform.

Finally, it’s sensible to subscribe to numerous WordPress blogs and YouTube channels. These function a wonderful manner sustain to date with WordPress trends, and uncover methods to use the platform extra effectively. After you’ve acquired a stable grounding in WordPress fundamentals, you’ll be in a a lot better place to deal with the query of how to grow to be a WordPress developer.

3.Choose the Area of Development You’ll Focus On

The various popular WordPress.org themes.

There are many areas of WordPress you'll be able to develop for, similar to plugins, themes, or the core platform itself.

WordPress is famend for being a broad, versatile, and constantly-evolving CMS. This is sweet news for potential builders, because it means there are entry factors that cater to a broad array of pursuits and ability units. Although a robust technical information is essential, niches similar to theme and plugin growth additionally current alternatives to be inventive. Once you’ve made the choice to learn the way to grow to be a WordPress developer, you’ll need to begin by specializing in one of many platform’s three foremost parts.

WordPress Core

WordPress growth for the core (the default files that make up the back-end performance for the platform) entails a variety of duties. These embrace figuring out and resolving bugs, addressing person inquiry tickets, enhancing translations, and submitting enchancment strategies to WordPress trac.

Despite being largely a voluntary space (since WordPress is open-source), core growth is a wonderful manner to develop information that may be utilized to different areas. If you’re a full newbie to growth, or don’t know a lot about the important thing WordPress languages but, this is a chance to study. The Core Contributor Handbook is a wonderful place to discover out extra.


Focusing on growing themes is a great way to entice shoppers (offering that you just adhere to best practices). Since themes function the graphical front-end styling for a WordPress website, potential builders with a background or curiosity in graphic design might discover this space interesting.

An understanding of HTML and CSS is essential for theme growth, as these languages are used to dictate the looks of a theme’s components. If you’re on this space, the Theme Developer Handbook can inform you most of what you’ll want to know.


Without plugins (software program extending the performance of the CMS with out affecting core recordsdata), WordPress wouldn't have attained its present prominence. If you may have a robust curiosity in modifying WordPress to obtain a explicit aim, and a few grounding in PHP and HTML, that is the realm for you.

Although plugin growth isn’t sometimes as profitable as theme growth, the market additionally isn’t as saturated. Once you’ve discovered the fundamentals, and developed a plugin that you just really feel has an viewers, you'll be able to take into account promoting it on websites similar to CodeCanyon. Your first step in direction of studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer for plugins shall be to learn via the Plugin Developer Handbook.

And More!

Of course, there are different areas of WordPress the place you'll be able to strive your hand as a developer. For instance, REST API development might be your factor if you happen to’re concerned with creating functions for WordPress. However, this entails pretty complicated coding practices. Focusing on one of many three main areas we’ve outlined above is a higher manner to begin, until you may have a lot of growth expertise already.

4. Prepare Yourself For Potential Pitfalls

Debug This Plugin Potential Pitfalls WordPress Development

The Debug This plugin is a wonderful instrument for resolving frequent bugs within the WordPress platform.

Regardless of the realm you want to concentrate on as a WordPress developer, you’ll doubtless encounter Challenges from time to time. This isn’t in any respect uncommon. However, failure to tackle these Challenges might imply hours of expensive downtime, and even the lack of shoppers.

System bugs represent one main recurring Challenge. They may cause all the things from minor formatting points to main system crashes. Learning some stable WordPress debugging practices is essential, so as to save your self from even higher complications down the road. WordPress plugins such as DebugThis may assist you to quickly detect and resolve bugs.

In addition to bugs, you’ll want to pay shut consideration to potential safety points. Although the WordPress core is very secure by default, it’s good follow to ensure that the set up you're utilizing for growth is as secure as attainable. When you place what you’ve developed out into the world, it may be weak to a number of assaults if you happen to aren’t cautious. By familiarizing your self with confirmed WordPress developer security practices, you'll be able to proceed with higher confidence.

Finally, to keep away from shedding hours of labor (or, even worse, placing consumer knowledge in danger), you must make a behavior of backing up your WordPress growth tasks repeatedly. Sites like GitHub will help you observe and retailer your tasks safely. After you’ve armed your self with the information required to resolve potential Challenges, you’ll be prepared to get your toes moist some precise growth.

5. Set Up a Local Development Environment

Screenshot of the Atom text editor website.

Atom is a widespread text editor program, enabling you to check numerous codes in your native growth setting.

If you’re specializing in theme or plugin growth, it’s best to conduct your work locally. This is to be certain that the testing and troubleshooting you conduct when growing is confined to your system. Working in a stay setting can lead to disaster, particularly in case you are coping with a consumer’s website.  Fortunately, WordPress makes it relatively easy to arrange a native growth setting.

The very first thing you’ll want is a server stack. This is the software program that can type the operational infrastructure for growth in your pc. This might sound a little daunting. Fortunately, there are well-documented bundled server stacks which you can Download and use with little expertise. These embrace MAMP (for Mac customers solely) and XAMPP (for each Windows and Mac customers). There are many beneficial guides can be found for getting each MAMP and XAMPP up and operating in your pc.

Once you may have a stack that can facilitate native growth put in, you’ll want an space to work in your code. This is the place the text editor comes into play. Although you can use nearly any customary editor (similar to Notepad), it’s beneficial to use a extra superior system. Atom, for instance, permits you to share your office with different builders to facilitate easy collaboration. Plus, it permits you to break up your work into a number of viewing panes.

With these two components in place, you'll be able to start growing tasks in your WordPress set up. If you need a head begin, there are a variety of WordPress tools and plugins to assist you run growth duties, together with troubleshooting and theme knowledge testing.

Screenshot of a WordPress Developer Community

In addition to gathering data on how to grow to be a WordPress developer, you ought to be certain to be part of the broader WordPress neighborhood.

While studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer, it’s simple to fall into the behavior of working in your tasks in isolation. However, so as to actually progress in your chosen space of growth, it’s important to connect with the wider WordPress community. This helps you complement your ability set, acquire entry to further growth help, and higher anticipate WordPress trends. Better nonetheless, by becoming a member of the WordPress neighborhood, you'll be able to improve your possibilities of making profitable connections.

What’s extra, starting a complete new growth undertaking once you’re simply beginning out isn’t at all times the perfect plan of action. By becoming a member of in on a preexisting project, you'll be able to acquire first-hand perception into the event practices others use. You can apply this data to higher inform your personal methods. You may take into account, for instance, adopting an abandoned plugin or theme, and utilizing it as a base to enhance upon (moderately than spending time and vitality ranging from scratch).

Whether or not you be part of a longtime undertaking, it’s sensible to get into the behavior of visiting WordPress forums repeatedly. By posting your concepts, in addition to responding to inquiries, you'll be able to additional set up your credibility as a competent developer. What’s extra, by becoming a member of and shopping via these boards, you will get concepts for plugins and themes that can tackle unmet wants.

Finally, it's also possible to take into account beginning a fledgling WordPress growth weblog. A weblog presents a excellent manner to join with the WordPress neighborhood at giant, and share your journey with others. By creating SEO-rich articles, and linking out to different distinguished WordPress blogs, it's also possible to generate credibility and get your identify on the market.

How to Actually Start Developing for WordPress

If you’ve adopted every of the above steps, you’ll be armed with the instruments and know-how essential to succeed as a WordPress developer. Of course, after studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer, the inevitable query you’ll ask is: “What’s next?” Although there are numerous methods to market your self as a developer, we’ve handpicked a few tried-and-true strategies for getting began. Which route you are taking will rely upon which space of growth you selected to concentrate on earlier.

WordPress Core

Developing for the core is a way more linear and structured course of than getting concerned in plugin or theme growth. You ought to begin by studying via the Core Contributor Handbook. Then, you'll be able to apply the procedures it accommodates for including code, fixing bugs, testing new options, reporting potential safety flaws, or offering some other service that pursuits you.


After you’ve carried out loads of analysis, and experimented sufficiently in your native growth setting, you must decide on an concept for a theme you’d like to make public. It may be one thing comparatively easy to begin with, though you shouldn’t shrink back from innovation and creativity. Once you’ve created (and completely examined) your theme, and submitted it to an accepting website, you should utilize the suggestions you garner to make tweaks and enhancements till it's in good enough shape for monetization.


Before you begin wielding your PHP and HTML information to write a plugin, we suggest committing severe time to discovering the correct area of interest for it. After all, shoppers aren’t doubtless to select your plugin if there are a number of well-established choices already. Once you’ve recognized an concept for a plugin you consider shall be worthwhile, and created an early model of it (making certain that it’s copyearighted and safe), we suggest submitting it to WordPress and growing it additional primarily based on the suggestions you obtain.


Although studying how to grow to be a WordPress developer is comparatively simple, really changing into one is one other matter. It takes loads of laborious work, time studying blogs and guides, and a nice deal of trial and error. However, you'll be able to take consolation figuring out that you're studying abilities which are readily relevant to major clients in a host of industries.

Let’s recap the six steps you’ll want to observe in order for you to grow to be a WordPress developer:

  1. Understand the first ability units required. You’ll need to be accustomed to core WordPress languages like CSS, HTML, PHP, and MySQL.
  2. Learn all you'll be able to about WordPress. We suggest getting a stable basis by finishing a web based course.
  3. Choose the realm of growth you’ll concentrate on. This might be themes, plugins, or the WordPress core platform.
  4. Prepare your self for potential pitfalls. Save your self from attainable complications by studying foundational debugging abilities.
  5. Set up a native growth setting. This will allow you to safely check your tasks.
  6. Join the WordPress neighborhood. You can set up a identify for your self, study further abilities, make connections, and anticipate trends.

Do you may have any questions on how to grow to be a WordPress developer? If so, tell us within the feedback part under!