How to become a WordPress developer

How to become a WordPress developer?

If you’re looking to become a WordPress developer, the good news is that you can get started without needing extensive technical experience.

In this blog, you’ll find detailed information on how to start learning WordPress development, essential skills to focus on, tips for gaining hands-on experience, and guidance for developing a well-rounded skillset. It provides actionable steps and resources for rapidly progressing from beginner to professional WordPress developer.

 Here’s a quick intro on how to get your footing:

What is a WordPress developer? 

A WordPress developer is someone who builds, customizes, and maintains websites using the WordPress content management system. Their main job is to turn a client’s website needs and goals into a fully functioning WordPress site.

WordPress developers use PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build themes and plugins that add features and functionality to websites. They know how to work with WordPress templates, hooks, APIs, widgets, and plugins to create custom solutions for clients.

What do WordPress developers do?

Some typical tasks a WordPress developer handles include:

  • Installing, configuring, and updating WordPress sites
  • Designing and building original WordPress themes from scratch
  • Customizing existing WordPress themes to meet client needs
  • Developing custom plugins to add specific functionality
  • Integrating WordPress with APIs, databases, and other external apps
  • Optimizing sites for speed, security, and performance
  • Fixing bugs, troubleshooting issues, and providing support
  • Training clients on how to update and manage their WordPress site
  • Keeping up with the latest WordPress news, trends, and best practices

The bottom line is that WordPress developers use their technical skills to turn a client’s vision into a real, working website on the WordPress platform. They handle all the development work needed to create a custom, feature-rich site.

How long does it take to become a WordPress developer?

Becoming a WordPress developer doesn’t happen overnight – it takes some time and effort to build up the skills. But with focus and consistent practice, you can get job-ready within 6 months to a year.

Here’s a realistic timeline:

Month 1:

  • Learn HTML, CSS, and PHP basics
  • Get set up with WordPress locally
  • Work through WordPress beginner tutorials

Month 2:

  • Build a simple WordPress site
  • Start learning WordPress hooks, templates, custom fields
  • Experiment with some plugins

Month 3:

  • Build a customized WordPress theme from scratch
  • Learn more advanced PHP and MySQL
  • Contribute to some open-source plugins

Month 4:

  • Launch your WordPress site portfolio
  • Learn JavaScript and start using it in themes
  • Build a custom plugin for WordPress

Month 5:

  • Create child themes to modify existing WordPress themes
  • Integrate a 3rd party API into WordPress
  • Fix some bugs on WordPress forums

Month 6:

  • Keep building portfolio sites with custom features
  • Stay up to date on WordPress news and changes
  • Consider applying for junior WordPress developer roles

The key is mixing structured learning with hands-on practice in building real projects. After about 6 months to a year of solid work, you can have the skills to start working as a professional WordPress developer. But plan to keep learning new things, too – WordPress is always evolving!

More details on How long it takes to become a WordPress developer! 

Types of WordPress Developer 

Core Developers

These are the folks who work on the WordPress core software itself. They dig into the main source code to optimize performance, fix bugs, add features, and improve the admin dashboard. Core devs contribute to shaping the future of WordPress.

Plugin Developers

These developers build custom plugins that add functionality and features to WordPress sites. They use hooks, actions, and filters to extend what WordPress can do. Plugin devs might release free plugins or sell premium ones.

Theme Developers

These devs are experts in WordPress themes – building custom themes to control the look, feel, and front-end experience of sites. They know the Template Hierarchy, CSS, and PHP templating. Theme devs might release free themes or sell paid ones.

JavaScript Developers

With the rise of the block editor, JS is playing a bigger role in WP. These developers use modern JavaScript frameworks like React to build dynamic UIs, custom Gutenberg blocks, and interactive front-ends.

Backend Engineers:

These developers work on the server-side and database optimization of WP. They handle stuff like caching, object caching, performance tuning, scale, and APIs. They make sure the backend and DB can handle large amounts of traffic.

There’s a ton of crossover between these roles, too. Most WP developers specialize in one area but have familiarity across disciplines. Having a broad, well-rounded skillset is key.

But An important question arises here. What are the differences between a WordPress developer and a web developer? In the next section, we will talk more about it.

WordPress developer vs. web developer:

Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences between a WordPress developer and a web developer:

  • A web developer is someone who builds websites and applications using various programming languages, frameworks, and content management systems.
  • A WordPress developer specializes specifically in building websites and apps using WordPress – they have deep knowledge of WordPress-specific skills.
  • Web developers code sites from scratch and may work with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc.
  • WordPress developers focus mainly on PHP, MySQL, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript in the context of the WordPress platform.
  • For web developers, each project may use a different technology stack. WordPress developers use the same core stack for each project.
  • Web developers integrate various tools like payments, chat, and logins. WP developers leverage existing plugins.
  • Web developers deal with broader software architecture and infrastructure. WP developers work within the constraints of existing CMS.
  • A web developer may build custom platforms and infra. A WP developer works on themes/plugins atop open-source WP.
  • There is a lot of overlap in skills. However, WP developers emphasize WordPress-specific expertise on top of web dev fundamentals.
  • A great WordPress developer is also a competent web developer. But the inverse isn’t necessarily true.

So, in summary, a web developer has broader technical skills, while a WordPress developer specializes specifically in WordPress sites. But there is a lot of shared common ground between the two roles.

Well, let’s go to the main question of the article.

How to become a WordPress Developer overview:  

Learn WordPress Basics

  • Set up a local WordPress site
  • Work through beginner tutorials
  • Get familiar with core WordPress concepts
  • Build a very simple site with existing themes

Learn Web Development Fundamentals

  • HTML – Structure and content
  • CSS – Styling and design
  • JavaScript – Interactivity and effects
  • PHP – Server-side scripting and logic
  • MySQL – Database and content management

Specialize in WordPress Development

  • Study the Template Hierarchy and Theme anatomy
  • Learn Hooks, Filters, Shortcodes, Functions
  • Build a Child Theme to modify a Parent Theme
  • Create basic plugins that add custom features
  • Contribute to open-source plugins and themes

Take On More Advanced WordPress Projects

  • Build custom Gutenberg blocks
  • Integrate external APIs into WordPress
  • Develop complex custom plugins
  • Use modern workflows and tools
  • Optimize sites for speed and performance

Build a Portfolio

  • Create lots of WordPress sites for practice
  • Experiment relentlessly and break/fix things
  • Document your progress and learning
  • Curate your best work into a portfolio

Stay Up to Date

  • Read WordPress news sites and developer blogs
  • Follow relevant people in the WordPress community
  • Attend local WordPress meetups and conferences
  • Continually learn new skills and techniques

 Tips for becoming a WordPress developer:

The following tips will help you become a WordPress developer in a short time:

  • Install WordPress locally and experiment: set up a local environment like MAMP or LocalWP to build sites and test features.
  • Study the Template Hierarchy:  understand how themes and templates work together in WordPress. In order to develop a theme, this is crucial.
  • Learn hooks, actions, and filters:  these allow you to customize and extend WordPress in all types of development. Start using them in your projects.
  • Contribute to open source:  look for opportunities to contribute to WordPress core, plugins, or themes—a great way to learn and get feedback.
  • Take online courses:  WordPress developer courses on platforms like Udemy can help supplement your learning with structure and guidance.
  • Attend local WordPress meetups: connect with the WordPress community near you and learn from others.
  • Learn JavaScript deeply: JavaScript is playing a bigger role in WordPress. Spend time learning modern JS and libraries.
  • Focus on both coding and design: having both development skills and design sense will make you a stronger developer.

WordPress salary: 

You might be motivated to be a WordPress developer by income, so check out this Salary overview: how much does a WordPress developer cost?


Becoming a WordPress developer requires learning web development fundamentals like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL. You need to master WordPress-specific skills like themes, plugins, custom post types, block editors, and hooks. Hands-on practice building real projects is key to reinforcing your learning.

It takes around 6 months to a year of study and practice to gain job-ready WordPress developer skills. Some developer roles include front-end, back-end, full-stack, core control, JavaScript, accessibility, and performance.

When looking to hire dedicated WordPress developers, evaluate their experience with PHP, WordPress APIs, customization, themes, plugins, and optimization. Review their portfolio of past WordPress projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *