What should I learn to be a WordPress developer?

Are you looking for tips about what you should learn to become a WordPress developer? First, ask yourself what WordPress developer really means.

You could become one of this kind of WordPress developer:

  • WordPress themes and plugin expert with no programming skills
  • Very high programming skills and no experience on themes and plugins
  • Very high programming skills and enough experience on themes and plugins
  • No programming skills and no experience on themes and plugins
  • Medium programming skills and medium experience on themes and plugins
  • …..

I let you play with the combination of programming skills and experience level with themes and plugins.

You can find really every kind of so-called WordPress developer, from totally no knowledge to very experienced ones in all fields that could be involved in building a WordPress website.

It’s up to you what kind of WordPress developer you want to become.

Sometimes to make a website you don’t need any special knowledge, it will be enough to get a theme, import demo content, replace the content with the needed one and that’s it. You will find people who do that for a few dollars. If you want to become one of these so-called WordPress developers, you don’t have to learn anything, excluding the really basic things as to install a theme, how to use a theme …

Of course, if you are this kind of developer (if you can use the word developer), you will do something that many people are able to do and you will have a lot of competitors.

The WordPress game starts to become interesting when you need to build a website with specific functionality that neither the WordPress core nor any plugins on the free or paid market are able to provide. In this situation, many of the so-called WordPress developers start to say: no, better you renounce to this functionality, you don’t really need to do that, why don’t we do it in this other way …. (ways covered by plugins they find on the market). In some cases for doing something that could be done with a couple of lines of code, because they don’t find the perfect plugin, they install more than 20 plugins that fight against each other in a way that gives a result that is almost similar to what was asked by the customer.

If you want to be this kind of so-called WordPress developer, you don’t really need to learn anything, but just do experience with as many plugins as you can.

So let’s suppose you are interested to learn how to do become a real WordPress developer. A real WordPress developer can do whatever it’s possible to do with WordPress, without compromises.

Be also careful to don’t go to the opposite extreme. Some developers, no matters what they have to do, need to make their hands dirty with the code, even if there are dozen of plugins on the market that are very well coded and tested by millions of users. For me, this is also not the best practice. In the end writing code is not so far as writing a plugin. Many developers hate plugins because they believe their code is a lot better and lighter than plugins that are not written by themselves, this is not always true.

The first thing you should do when you have to solve a problem related to WordPress is to ask yourself if someone else has already solved that problem, if so, did they solve it in a good way? Would you be able to solve it better? If so, would it be worth investing your time (that will mean the money of the customer)? Do you think you will need that solution again in the future?

Many times it will be better to use plugins written by others, but surely during your career, you will find a situation where you don’t find anything and you have to write your own code.

To be prepared for this situation, I suggest you learn the basics and improve your skills in solving problems after problems in real life. For the basics I suggest:

  • HTML => https://www.w3schools.com/html/
  • CSS => https://www.w3schools.com/css/
  • JavaScript => https://www.w3schools.com/js/
  • PHP => https://www.w3schools.com/php/
  • WordPress APIs for plugins => the book “Professional WordPress Plugin Developer
  • WordPress APIs for themes => the book “Pro WordPress Theme Development
  • JavaScript skills improvement and react.js => https://javascript30.com/, https://learn.co/lessons/introduction-to-es6, https://reactjs.org/docs/introducing-jsx.html, https://egghead.io/browse/frameworks/react, https://github.com/facebook/create-react-app, https://ahmadawais.com/create-guten-block-toolkit/

After you have the basics, you can start to grow as a real WordPress developer.


I think we should do what we like and what we do should make us feel happy and satisfied. If you feel overwhelmed learning programming languages, don’t do it, in this case, you have surely a talent in another field.

Focus your energy and time on what you like the most. If you like something it means you have the potential to become a guru in that field.

Many people have skills in programming languages, but they don’t like it. For them, it’s a job to earn money and nothing else. These people struggle to do their job and will never be able to express their full potential. So before starting your journey in WordPress development, ask yourself: do I really like it? Would I do it if I was a millionaire?

If the answer is yes, then start learning what I’ve suggested in the list above, it will be a big pleasure for you.