Over 34 percent of the websites on the internet are WordPress sites, so it’s no surprise there’s a massively high demand for qualified WordPress developers.
After all, someone has to build and maintain all of the WordPress websites and integrations that so many of us use every day. In fact, WordPress developers are in demand around the world, and command strong salaries which make WordPress development an attractive career path for many aspiring technologists.
How do you become a WordPress developer? Here, you’ll find all of the information you need to make an informed decision about your future as a WordPress developer. You’ll also find other helpful resources on WP development courses, salaries, training programs, and more.
What is a WordPress Developer?
WordPress developers are a type of web developer who work with WordPress (WP), an online content management system, to design and create web applications. Unlike traditional web developers who develop sites from scratch, WP developers work on integrations and plugin development for use on WP-powered websites. They may also work on WP theme development.
WordPress developers are responsible for designing both the front end and back end of WordPress sites. WP developers will also be responsible for creating designs for WP websites, and implementing and updating features based on the evolving needs of a business. Overall, a WP developer will help a business create a website which meets their exact needs and goals.
Here are a few of the main responsibilities WordPress developers often take on:
- Spending time meeting with clients to discuss project specifications
- Building the front end and back end for a website
- Designing the structure of a website
- Creating or updating WordPress themes
- Developing or configuring WordPress plugins
- Conducting A/B tests
- Monitoring a website’s performance
- Solving problems related to WordPress
- Conducting training with clients
WordPress development is a great career if you’re interested in web development. But if you want to broaden your horizons, you may want to consider a career in web development itself, whether you want to be a front-end, back-end, or full-stack developer. If you’re thinking about web development as a career, you can read our guide on the field here.
WordPress Developer Job Description - What Does a WordPress Developer Do?
WordPress developers create, update, and manage websites and web applications powered by the WordPress framework. They’ll be responsible for coding a website and then designing its user interface.
WordPress developers will work with existing plugins to help a business implement certain features, and may create their own integrations for a business as well. A WordPress developer may also be responsible for connecting other components of a business’ digital infrastructure to their website through using APIs and other online tools.
In addition, WP developers will also be responsible for ensuring that a website is optimized for content publication and/or commerce, depending on the goals of the business. It’s their job to make sure that a website is up and running, functional, and meets all of the specifications a business has in mind for their website.
WordPress Developer Job Outlook
WordPress developers enjoy a strong job outlook, based on the market share WordPress has on website hosting. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track the growth of WP developer job opportunities specifically, we can use their statistics for web developers to estimate the job outlook for people in this field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of web development jobs is expected to grow by 13 percent by 2028. The Bureau describes this growth as “much faster than average.”
WordPress Developer Salaries - How Much do WordPress Developers Earn?
Full time WordPress developers command good salaries in relation to those of web developers. Most salaries for WP developers are between $45,000 and $74,500, according to ZipRecruiter. The national average salary for WP developers is almost $63,500 per year.
There’s no way to know exactly how much you can expect to earn as a WordPress developer because salaries vary widely between companies and locations. WP developers in San Francisco report an average salary of over $74,000 per year; the same developer would earn almost $69,000 in Seattle.
In addition, your salary will depend on your experience. Senior WordPress developers, who often have more years of experience, can command salaries on the higher end of the salary spectrum. It’s important to note that salary does not include stock options and other perks offered by some companies, so keep that in mind when you’re looking for a job.
Many WordPress developers choose not to work as an employee of one company, but rather operate as a freelancer. Freelance developers can often earn hundreds of dollars for a few hours of work if they have the right skills; WP developers can earn a good living as a freelancer.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
How Can You Become a WordPress Developer?
There are many paths you can take to become a WordPress developer. However, the most common paths people take fall into one of the following categories:
- Attend a short-term coding bootcamp specializing in web development
- Pursue a Computer Science degree at a college or university
- Learn WP development through self-study of WordPress courses and the WordPress codex
Each path has its own positives and negatives. If you’re motivated and able to hold yourself accountable for your learning, teaching yourself about web development can be a good path to consider. Or if you’d prefer a traditional educational experience, you may want to consider going to a traditional college or university. However, there’s another path available which has become popular over the last few years: attending a coding bootcamp.
Coding bootcamps are short-term training programs which offer a viable alternative to a traditional college experience. Rather than spending four years in a university and taking out a loan, prospective web developers can instead attend a coding bootcamp, where they’ll learn the practical skills they need to break into a career in tech in less than a year.
Companies the Hire Bootcamp Grads
How to Learn WordPress Development
There are a few ways you can learn WordPress development. Some WP developers attend a college or university and pursue a degree in computer science. Others have taught themselves how to code, and lack any formal programming experience. However, there’s another path available to you.
Instead of going to college or teaching yourself how to code, you can go to a coding bootcamp. Coding bootcamps, which usually last between three and nine months, are intensive training programs where you’ll learn all of the practical skills you need to pursue a certain career in tech. You’ll also create a portfolio which will allow you to demonstrate your skills to prospective employers.
- Options for both in person and online bootcamps
- Immersive and structured program
- Mentors, instructors, and peers at your fingertips
- Quick-start to a new career
- Learn to collaborate with others
- Build a strong professional network in technology
- Requires motivation and hard work
- Fast-paced learning style
- Staying up to date with evolving web technologies
How to Become a Remote WordPress Developer
The path to become a remote WordPress developer is similar to that of becoming a traditional WP developer, with a few exceptions. If you want to become a remote WP developer, you should make sure that you have the skills you need to thrive, either through going to college, attending a bootcamp, or teaching yourself to code.
When you have the right skills, you’ll need to learn about how to pitch your services to clients, or find a job that supports remote workers. Freelancing platforms are a good place to start, but you’ll find that after a while more opportunities will come to you when you have established your reputation.
Top Skills Needed for WordPress Development Careers
In order to become a WordPress developer, you’ll need to acquire a few skills. Let’s break these down into two categories: technical skills and “soft” interpersonal skills.
Essential Technical Skills for WordPress Developers
You’ll need to have all of the below technical skills in order to succeed as a WordPress developer. These WP developer skills include programming languages, development tools, and other technical abilities.
You should know all of the basics of how WordPress works, and how you can build on top of the platform. You should also know why businesses use WP, and how it can be used by businesses to help them achieve their goals. In addition, you’ll need to know how to work with themes and plugins, and build on top of them.
- Knowledge of a Programming Language
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the primary reasons companies use WP is because it offers a variety of SEO features which make it easy to distribute content through the internet. So, you should know how SEO works.
- Content Management
As a WP developer, you should know the basics of content management and how businesses coordinate digital content strategies. This is important because you’ll be designing technologies to help businesses with their content, and so you should be aware of how their processes work, and what businesses need in Content Management Tools.
- Responsive Design
You’ll likely have to make aesthetic changes to a website’s front-end, or even create completely new designs. So, you should know about how responsive web design works and how you can design websites which are usable on multiple devices.
Essential Soft Skills for WordPress Developers
To be a successful WordPress developer, you’ll need more than just technical skills. You’ll also need a wide range of “soft” skills. Here are a few of the soft skills you should have as a WordPress developer:
- Problem Solving
Problem solving is one of the most important skills you need as a web developer -- programming is all about solving problems through using code. You should know how to break down problems into smaller components, and know how to effectively solve problems.
WordPress receives frequent updates, and so do the thousands of integrations which have been developed for the platform. You should be comfortable adapting to new technologies, and making changes to your work to account for those updates. You should also be able to adapt in cases where project specifications change.
- Communication and Teamwork
No matter whether you work as a freelancer or as part of a company, you’re going to be working on a team at some point. You should be able to work with others efficiently and effectively in a team environment, and be able to communicate with a non-technical audience.
How to Become a WordPress Developer: Step-by-Step
There are a few steps you’ll need to take to become a WordPress developer:
- Choose a web development career path
- Learn about web development through a bootcamp, college, or self-study
- Develop and refine your technical skills
- Create your WP development portfolio
- Write your technical resume
- Start the job search
Good news! Career Karma can help you through every step of your career transition toward WordPress development. We’ll provide you with the coaching and mentorship you need, as well as access to a community of your peers who can support your new career journey.
We’ll also help you prepare for and get accepted to one of the top web development bootcamps, so you can get the training you need to succeed as a WordPress Developer!
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