Becoming a top WordPress developer is definitely not a walk in the park. If someone or some article tells you that you can become a top WordPress developer overnight, it surely has no credibility and is awfully misleading the reader. To become an expert in any field, let alone WordPress, you need to be extremely passionate about it and have a lot of energy and determination. There is no easy check-list or fast shortcut to becoming a top WordPress developer in matter of few days. Practice here is one of the key essentials to getting on top and practice, as you know, always takes time.
It is also important to understand the fact that lot of developers have a false impression of the fact that they are some top WordPress developers just because they have thoroughly referred to some really good tutorials, they have understood how to install WordPress and have programmed in few themes. In their minds they might think they know more than enough, however when you consider the capacity of the program itself then these people only may know about average and that is just it. A top developer is not someone who changes themes and install the program, he goes far beyond the basics and goes ahead of all the possibilities. They add value, innovate and contribute to the program and show some real expertise and quality while on work.
Now since you have understood the basic premise of a top WordPress Developer, here is how to become a genuine one:
First and foremost why should you become a top developer? The reason for that is very simple, in life average has no place, either you are an expert in something or you are not, also a programming like WordPress is just not enough with basic knowledge, you need to have a proper grip on it in order for you to be of any use at all. Besides the more basic reason there are other solid justifications to becoming a top developer.
Money: WordPress is highly in demand today, as the internet and website technology of modern age, which is the top WordPress developers get some high paying clients with lot of room to work and make extra avenues of earning, so at the end of the day the experts in this field end up earning quiet a lot of money.
Work on the biggest clients: Clients that have some amazing exposure and opportunity are the ones that a top developer ends up working on.
A top WordPress developer has the most influence: They usually end up getting some high authority and freedom jobs that enable a lot of working as well as managing team of junior programmers.
Let us begin with some major insights that guarantees you to becoming a top developer
Read, a lot, at least an hour a day
To get to the top, you need to understand both the theoretical aspects of WordPress, as well as practical. Both can go simultaneously but it is extremely important to start with theory part. You should spend at least an hour to read and understand the program itself, the language, important functions as well as some key technical information. If you think you cannot spare some time then work on creating a schedule that favors some reading for example cut out sometime on your television or spend few hours less playing video games. If you have the passion then nothing can stop you. Also try to ensure that you read in a reading friendly environment that instills knowledge in you right through the pages, distractions cause nothing but failure to comprehend anything that you read so it is always advisable to be free of distractions. Reading with ease of mind is also very important so select a time frame when you think you have the top concentration and energy during the day. WordPress is a complicated program so you have to be at top notch concentration levels to understand its theory. Finally key to great reading is making notes, always make notes of some important technical information that you come across and think it might help in practical learning.
Reading the right material
Sometimes reading is just not enough, because there is so much information available not necessarily that everything is useful for you. Reading smartly is very important, when you read exactly what you need then it increases the changes of your learning as well as decreases the amount of effort you need to put in. Here are some good starters on WordPress that can get you high quality reading
- WordPress Codex
The WordPress Codex is a community for all material related to WordPress. Here you can start strengthening your basics and then move on to more advanced level. It has great technical information on the interface and end-user perspective that you learn very quickly.
- WordPress Books
You can start with WordPress for Dummies; it is a really good book that has some amazing knowledge about the basics of the program. You can also start with some good titles that are popular and easily available on the internet or in libraries.
- WordPress Blogs
Social media has become the most amazing form of learning. You can join some popular blogs like WordPress on Smashing magazine, WP Tuts and gain some really good insight from their regular postings.
Get yourself into WordPress Institutions
There is nothing that can stop an individual to learning what he wants, with so many resources available at his disposal. Similarly with WordPress, its growing importance have been realized by many institutions in the world who have planned out some amazing programs in order to teach WordPress both theory and technical or practical knowledge. Getting enrolled in some institution that has WordPress programs or modules really kick starts you journey to becoming a top developer. Enrolling in programs like these can also make the process of becoming an expert a lot faster because when you learn it all alone you might find some challenges while learning with the masters can be a totally different and even more enlightening journey.
Get to know some people who are the gurus of WordPress
Hanging out and knowing the right people is not only important for your development but also a good tactic to stay ahead with whatever that is going on and find easier solutions to the challenges you face through the help of these people. Sometimes knowing the right people can also result in lot of opportunities that you might not come across on routine basis and not to forget the chance of exposure that you get by interacting with people top in this field. Here are some of the top WordPress developers of all time with their social media identity:
- Andrew Nacin (@nacin)
- Bill Erickson (@billerickson)
- Alex King (@alexkingorg)
- Cory Miller (@corymiller303)
- Carl Hancock (@carlhancock)
- Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt)
- Mark Jaquith (@markjaquith)
- Nathan Rice (@nathanrice)
- Mike Schinkel (@mikeschinkel)
- Peter Westwood (@westi)
- Joost de Valk (@yoast)
- Justin Tadlock (@justintadlock)
- Jeff Starr (@perishable)
- Silviu-Cristian Burcă (@scribu)
Get acquainted with technology
Mastering WordPress requires you to be an expert from all angles; you also should have a really good understanding of the technology and programming languages that are associated with WordPress sometimes. It is extremely crucial and a real bonus if you start learning some associated programming language like PHP/ MySQL etc along with your WordPress course.
Some easier ways to get familiar with the technological spectrum is
- Get a good understanding of PHP/ MySQL
Start your basic understanding with PHP and MySQL with effective tutorials from lynds.com or learnable.com. It is good to start with some fresh and basic understanding of these programs not more, remember your aim is WordPress not some other programming language.
- Play around with the codebase
Start getting some experiential learning by playing around and exploring the WordPress codebase on Trac and Xref. Prior to that you should have read the documentation on how exactly these things work, you can also look up on internet forums if you have questions that are not answered in the documents.
- Start using make “WordPress”
Make.wordpress.org is an amazing place to be for aspiring top developers. Follow the discussions on core, plugins and themes as the start of your learning and then move on to more advanced discussions also try to contribute whatever you learn.
Do some homework
After you get done with the theoretical and technical reading, try to apply those basics on to the program. Start exploring and getting familiar with the interface and overall WordPress programs, it is very important to start practicing from the initial stages, this is also a very good way to keep your reading alive, interesting and fresh.
Some areas that you can start exploring are:
- WordPress APIs
Get acquainted with the available API’s on the codex, read the information for all API’s and look for associated tutorials. This could be a great start to your journey.
- Ajax in WordPress
Getting familiarity with Ajax could very effective, start learning the basics then move on to using Ajax in plug-in development. You can easily find related tutorials over the internet.
- WordPress PHP Classes
Start taking online programs and classes created by experts in WordPress development, get some basic projects or work on dummy ones, pay good attention to WP_Query, WP_Theme, and wpdp.
Start learning and gaining experience
Experience is key to proving your effectiveness with WordPress program, it is also the only way you can tell whether you are an expert and a top developer or no. After you have done all your learning start getting some work and clients that you think you can easily tackle and solve problems of.
Look for projects free or paid
Taking on real client work whether free or paid is the only way you can gain some work experience, practical work experience can enable you to come across problems and solutions that a programmed learning cannot so it is imperative for you to be successfully become a top WordPress developer that you take on some clients.
Create and publish themes
Besides gaining clients, you should also work on a public theme in order to test your skills, publish these theme free or if you confident enough then paid and look for areas of improvements as well as feedback from your audience. An appreciation will give you real boost in confidence.
Contribute by working on patch
Look for tutorials on how you can contribute a patch, this can be challenging task initially but once you have mastered it, this could be some priceless addition to your overall work experience and can make your journey more insightful.
Learn to de-bug
Mastering the art of writing error free code is another trait of a top WordPress developer. It not only entails a great technical knowledge but also requires really good understanding of the codes. You can start with getting use to some developer tools like Core Control and Debug bar.
Become a member of WordPress Community
Now as you go to more advanced levels of your journey it is essential that you become a part of the ring you wish to be an expert in. Being active member of WordPress community is not only your obligation to but also a good way to prove your talent to a wider audience. This is where you can shine and gain wide public appreciation besides your regular client work.
Start making tutorials
One of the most effective ways to give back to the community of WordPress and contribute towards is to start making tutorials that can help other aspiring individuals or people who are looking for solutions to some problem.
Dedicate sometime over the use of Codex, find areas of improvement and then provide some really effective solutions to it. If something you think is not under your capacity to resolve then form a forum or a group that can come together and address the underlying issue.
Participate actively on forums
Be a regular on forums, post actively to questions that people ask. Towards your advanced levels it is important you not only grow but also support others towards achieving their objectives.
Be a WordCamp presenter
Start WordCamps in your area; attend the big ones around your locality. Present your ideas and your knowledge to a forum of people.
The ending, the rewards and your responsibility
After ticking on each and everything that you have done with pure commitment and passion, the final stage is when you start reaping rewards of your effort, if you are trying to establish some business around WordPress then reading books on it can be a good step towards establishing a successful platform. A top WordPress developer often ends up earning 50$ an hour this is something that can be one of the rewarding journey of your lifetime.
To be an expert and to stay on top, is something that comes with continues learning, it is an evolving process and technology is something that changes every day so today if you think you have mastered everything and your learning has stopped then you are badly mistaken. Never stop learning and always contribute to the WordPress community because now you belong to this field and it is your ethical obligation to return back.
Have a mindset that focuses on active listening and willingness to learn and continually develop despite the success. Try to find challenges that you have not faced yet and start gaining more and more.