A WordPress developer is someone who specializes in the overall infrastructure of the WordPress platform.
They are responsible for the front-end and back-end development of a WordPress website and implement WordPress themes and WordPress plugins to deliver high-functioning, optimized websites for clients. This requires extensive WordPress training and WordPress experience.
But did you know that WordPress developers specialize in different skills? While most WordPress developers have a basic understanding of the WordPress platform as a whole, developers usually specialize in different skills that include website design, PHP and plugin development.
If you want to learn more about the role of a WordPress developer and the different specialties they can have, keep reading on to find out more.
Promotional Site Builder
Some WordPress developers only have the skills needed to create a basic promotional website. This type of role usually falls under the job title of “Website Builder” or “Website Designer”, although some people consider it to fall under the umbrella term of “developer” as there is a bit of crossover between the two roles.
Website builders and designers are responsible for creating the design and layout of a WordPress website and its subsequent pages. Web designers can work on websites that have already been established or are completely brand new.
Some of the core responsibilities of website builders and designers include:
- Create WordPress website designs
- Create sample WordPress sites
- Be responsible for the overall visual presentation of a WordPress website
- In-depth understanding of pre-made WordPress themes and WordPress plugins
- Partake in meetings with clients to discuss requirements for each website and to monitor ongoing progress
- Work as part of a wider team (depending on the project)
- Basic understanding of image editing software such as Photoshop or Illustrator in order to enhance websites
While WordPress designers and WordPress developers may have different specialties when it comes to the WordPress platform, both roles require extensive WordPress training in order to deliver quality websites.
WordPress site builders need to have an in-depth understanding of how WordPress works and need to know the working dashboard like the back of their hand.
As WordPress provides WordPress themes and WordPress plugins that have already been created, designers can simply use these ready-made tools in order to provide clients with a website that looks great depending on their personal preferences.
WordPress Developer who Specializes in PHP
WordPress website builders specialize in using graphic design tools and WordPress experience to enhance the design and overall appearance of a WordPress site. WordPress Developers, on the other hand, have extensive coding and programming skills and are usually able to create the skeleton of a WordPress website from scratch.
Like with web design, WordPress developers can also specialize in the different uses and needs stemming from the WordPress platform. This includes WordPress developers who specialize in PHP.
PHP is an open-source, server-side programming language that’s used in website development. As the majority of WordPress software is written in PHP, having in-depth PHP skills as a WordPress developer is incredibly helpful.
But what exactly is PHP? As noted above, PHP is a server-side programming language. Put simply, this means that all processing associated with a website happens on your web server before anything gets delivered to a visitor’s browser.
Still not sure what this means? Hopefully, this example helps. Let’s say someone decides to visit your WordPress website. Before your WordPress website sends your website’s files to a visitor, your web server will first run the PHP code used in the WordPress core and in your WordPress theme and WordPress plugins installed on your website.
Once your web server has finished processing the PHP code, it then delivers the output of all the programming language to your visitor’s browser. This means that your website visitors will never see the PHP code used that powers your website but will instead see only the readily-made code.
While WordPress website builders don’t need to know PHP, it is a sought after skill for WordPress developers. While the core WordPress software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes are all written in PHP, WordPress developers with PHP know how can make tailored customizations to take a website to the next level.
These types of developers usually work with clients who have very detailed and specific website requests as opposed to clients with basic needs that can be accomplished with ready-made WordPress themes and WordPress plugins.
It’s important to understand that PHP isn’t limited just to WordPress. Having a strong understanding of PHP won’t only make for a great WordPress developer, but will also be beneficial for developers working on other platforms, too.
Some WordPress developers learn PHP after working with WordPress for several years and some PHP developers decide to focus exclusively on the WordPress platform after already having acquired PHP skills.
So when exactly is PHP useful when it comes to WordPress? Having an in-depth understanding of PHP is especially useful when it comes to WordPress sites that have applications built into them. As the WordPress developer will need to know how to develop the application within the WordPress framework, having PHP skills is necessary.
Some of the core responsibilities of WordPress Developers with a specialization in PHP include:
- Convert designs and wireframes from website designers into state-of-the-art WordPress sites
- Connect to external resources and services using API
- Optimize WordPress sites for speed, performance and overall security
- Extensive experience with PHP and other programming languages like HTML, CSS and more
- Experience writing tests with PHP
- Update clients’ websites by adding new functionality
- Ability to work with demanding clients with specific requests
- Expert understanding of the WordPress platform
- Excellent attention to detail
- Create custom WordPress themes, plugins, page-builder blocks and more
Like with many jobs, WordPress developers with a background in PHP come in both junior and senior roles. Depending on a developer’s WordPress experience, the salary range between a junior WordPress developer and a Senior WordPress developer can vary dramatically.
WordPress Developer who Specializes in Plugin Development
The great thing about the WordPress platform is that it already has several themes and plugins readily available for both developers and designers to use.
While this can be really helpful for clients with basic website requests, things tend to get a bit trickier when clients want a plugin that doesn’t exist. This is where WordPress plugin developers come in.
WordPress plugins add additional functionality to WordPress sites. Typical plugins known by many include contact forms, payment platforms, insight tools, SEO assistance and more. While ready-made WordPress plugins can be helpful, sometimes custom ones are needed for enhanced functionality.
Creating bespoke WordPress plugins can add customized functionality to WordPress websites, and make a site stand out from the rest without having to directly edit the basic code of the site.
WordPress plugin developers usually have a basic understanding of PHP, CSS and HTML. They will also need to have the relevant WordPress training and WordPress experience to know how to take into account other plugins used on each website and understand how different themes operate with each plugin used.
Some of the core responsibilities of WordPress plugin developers include:
- Extensive WordPress training and WordPress experience
- Ability to create custom tables
- Ability to create shortcodes
- Experience using Ajax
- Validate all data before executing plugins for security reasons
- Plugin activation and deactivation
- Understating of MySQL and how to use it within WordPress
- Understanding of external API when connecting the plugin to an external service
- Meetings with clients and other team members to understand custom requirements
- In-depth understanding of WordPress themes and WordPress plugins already available
WordPress developers who are able to create plugins usually have a strong background in PHP. That’s why it’s so important to learn this useful scripting language for various WordPress functions.
When a WordPress developer develops a plugin to sell, they need to make sure it works everywhere without interfering with other products, plugins or services. This requires expert training and experience.
A quick search for ‘WordPress developer’ jobs on Google yields many results asking for individuals who have the ability to develop WordPress plugins as well as standard day-to-day requests.
Having WordPress plugin development skills helps developers land clients with more specific requirements and can result in a better salary for having this additional skill.
WordPress Developer Who Specializes in Theme Development
WordPress developers usually work on the front-end or back-end of a website. Sometimes they work on both. WordPress developers who specializes in front-end development usually have a strong focus on the overall visual appearance of a website. Their work is usually centered around theme development.
While WordPress has an extensive catalogue of ready-made themes, it is often the case that clients need custom themes. That’s where theme developers come in.
These types of WordPress developers are highly skilled in HTML and CSS and know how to create custom themes that provide clients with the appearance and functionality their website needs.
Some of the main responsibilities of a theme developer include:
- Code out the templates needed for each page
- Meet with clients to discuss design requirements
- Test customized themes on various devices and browsers
- Be literate in CSS and HTML
- Optimize each website for content, publication and trade
- Make sure there are no bugs on the frontend
Front-end developers are responsible for making sure websites look great. They need to be able to use WordPress creatively and create custom themes for clients.
The Role of a WordPress Developer
If you’re looking to become a WordPress developer, it’s time to start thinking about what areas of the WordPress platform you want to specialize in.
While having as many skills as possible will make you a more sought-after professional, specializing in PHP, plugin development or web design can be helpful when setting yourself apart from the competition when it comes to landing quality clients.
If you’re looking to join a young, ambitious team filled with expert WordPress Developers, get in touch with CreativeMinds today. We’ve developed over 200 WordPress plugins and apps and have an expert team that will help you hit the ground running.
Our team can develop and customize WordPress plugins and integrate WordPress with 3rd party services such as Facebook, Google Maps and more. If you’re looking to join the best of the best, get in touch today.