It’s become very easy for a novice to create a website site in 5 minutes with the kind of “click and build” packages offered by hosting companies like GoDaddy. But there are tons and tons of websites being built by medium to large companies that require the help of a developer. Nowadays, most of them are being creating with the content management system known as WordPress.
“Developer” is a job title that can scare you off. It infers a deep knowledge of programming languages that’s hard to get. But WordPress development is an area where many people have successfully taken a first step into a tech career. It requires some basic geek skills, but most of them can be learned fairly quickly.
The very first thing you need to have is a basic familiarity with WordPress itself. It’s just about the easiest CMS (content management system) out there, but it does involve things like plugins, widgets and themes. If you’ve had a blog, you’re probably up to speed on this.
The main prerequisites to learn WordPress development are a knowledge of HTML and at least a pretty good understanding of CSS.
HTML is the markup language that turns a bunch of code into all the pretty text and pictures in your Internet browser. It’s probably the easiest of all coding languages to learn.
CSS is the styling language a website uses to put a header into the top of a page, a footer at the bottom, a column on the right side and so forth. It’s more difficult to learn than HTML, but it’s quite possible to be successful by simply gaining a basic knowledge of CSS and then using the many, many online resources available on it when you need to go and solve specific problems.
A key element of getting hired to do CSS coding nowadays is a good skill level at building “responsive” websites, meaning ones that look good not only on a computer, but also on a phone, a tablet or any other type of device.
PHP is a programming language that lives behind to scenes of all WordPress sites. It basicaly calls the varies pieces of the site – the header, sidebar, footer and more – from the server and assembles them each time a page is opened. Learning PHP can be challenging. It’s a real step up from HTML in terms of complexity. But it’s key to maintaining a WordPress site and fixing many of the problems that can arise with one.
Mobile optimization is key to understand, because it’s critical that all sites look good today on mobile devices.
Git is a system that allows a team of people to work on a site without getting confused about all the versions of the files being created. It’s important if you want to work for a company of any size.
To be a true WordPress expert, you’ll need to expand your knowledge to include SEO, content marketing and a sense of design. It’s a specialization that stretches across several areas, as opposed to some types of development that hone in on a single programming language.